With Crackers, Melbourne comedian David Swann sought to inject
freshness and spontaneity into his script: "The essence of
good film writing," he says, "is brevity; condensing
things to the essence. Whereas theatre is 90 per cent dialogue,
cinema is more visual. So I redrafted a lot to write out the
cliches, searching for how I could find the freshness in the
cliches, the uniqueness of the characters, especially in the
Making his feature film debut, 13 year old Daniel Kellie plays
great grandson to Warren Mitchell’s character, Albert, who
is Scottish – and highly effective at troublemaking.
Shot in Melbourne between April and June last year, the comedy
is produced by Chris Warner and photographed by Laszlo Baranyai,
with Peter Rowsthorn, Susan Lyons, Maggie King, Terry Gill,
Valerie Bader and Chris Chapman in supporting roles.
Funded by the Film Finance Corporation and Film Victoria, with
distribution deals from Beyond Films for international, Sharmill
Films for Australia, and a presale to pay-tv channel, The Movie
Network, Family Crackers is a mid budget film with the appearance
of a family movie.
Despite this, Crackers is not aimed at family audiences, with
drug references, some strong language and a couple of sex scenes,
"but the truth is, kids will go," says Warner. That is
cited as a possible reason why "the hardest thing was to
lock in the Australian distribution," Warner says.
"It’s not a kids’ film…there are some serious
emotions dealt with. It’s a comedy with heart, about Joey,
this 13 year old who saw his dad die in a plane crash. His mum
wants to remarry, but Joey attempts to sabotage the new family.
It’s about how ultimately he comes to terms with it through
his friendship with his great grandfather, all during one crazy
Christmas. Underneath, it’s quite a serious story, with
large scale comic mayhem - that’s David Swann’s form of
comedy. The characters are real and they go through real
Natalie Miller of Sharmill says "people obviously want
entertainment and this is certainly that." In early
screenings in Melbourne, test audiences howled with laughter,
especially at the blackest bits. Miller has pledged the biggest
national release she has ever undertaken on a film, with 58