TF Archives

Unlocking The Combination

Author: Scott Henderson
Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Director David Field spoke to 3D’s Scott Henderson about his directorial debut The Combination, a new Australian film exploring gang violence in Sydney’s Western suburbs…

How are you and the cast all feeling about everything now that the film’s finished and now you just gotta get people out to see it-

I think almost this is the hardest part of the film, especially in this country where Australian films aren’t carrying any currency with them at the moment and it’s difficult to get to the screens to reach your audience. The easy part is making the film and that’s the joy, when you are in your pleasure. I think the cast and crew though are all very proud of what they’ve done and confident they have at least made a film that certainly can be respected.

How much did you know about the Lebanese-Australia experience prior to making the film-
I think, like a lot of people, [it’s] more of what you hear than what you know. Obviously it was a real eye-opening for me getting into that world. The moment I entered George’s street I know I was in a world I hadn’t been in before. One of the things that appealed to me in the script was that we could find the beauty in the Lebanese culture, I wanted to see the beauty of that world come out as much as the ferocity of everything else going on around it.

There’s obviously an authenticity throughout the film, and in the music as well, that must have been hugely important for you…

A lot of people haven’t mentioned the music and I’m glad you have. I think Labib Jammal’s music here surely one of the best soundtracks to come out of this country for a long, long time, not just for its authenticity, but its artistry.

The film is also quite an ensemble piece, how was managing all those young and inexperienced actors in that context-

To be quite honest a lot easier than people might think, they responded so innately to the piece. There’s a couple of guys there who are going to be actors in the industry, they’re not just first timers who are going back on the trail. There are kids there with genuine talent who I think have been given this opportunity as an actor and grabbed it. They were very disciplined in fact.

How important is this film to portraying the experience of all Australians-

Since 9/11 anyone Arabic has been copping a hell of a time from the media and I think it is time for us to venture from the eastern suburbs and the inner west and look at the bigger population and the stories from out there. There must be hundreds of George Bashas waiting to tell their story… We’re not here to educate people but certainly a dramatic film should have some sense of an emotional experience on you. Hopefully we’ve done that with The Combination.

The Combination opens 26 February.