BODGY Creek has seen better days.
The population is dwindling, jobs are scarce and there aren’t enough players for the local footy team.
So, it recruits refugees to survive.
From the makers of Backyard Ashes, director Mark Grentell, producer Anne Robinson and writer Damian Callinan present their newest comedy, The Merger.
”I grew up around those stories,” Mr Grentell said.
“There’s this whole changing landscape in regional Australia, it’s growing and expanding because of this real positive energy and refugees are contributing to communities in massive ways.”
The film follows former football start Troy Carrington, who falls into coaching the undesirable local Aussie Rules team.
He strikes up an unlikely friendship with a young guy named Neil, who’s struggling with the loss of his father.
Teaming up with Neil’s mother Angie who runs the nearby refugee support centre, the pair conspire to recruit refugees to ensure the team survives.
Mr Grentell said he was inspired to write the film because he was sick of the negative media around refugees.
“The great thing about the film is that I tried really hard to not let it bash you over the head, to make it feel like homework when you watch it,” he said.
“These are characters being played by actors with thought and compassion, they were telling their stories through a positive angle and embracing it.”
The cast itself includes actors that came to Australia as refugees.
It lended a great deal of realism to the film, Mr Grentell said.
That was more powerful than anything Damian could write or I could make up.Mark Grentell
“When we found people who were just incredible and had their own refugee story to tell we altered the story to suit them,” he said.
“That was more powerful than anything Damian could write or I could make up.
“The issue is definitely there but it’s not what the film is about, it’s just a good Australian film about who we are as people now.
“We’re a multicultural society and we need to embrace everyone’s strengths instead of focusing on our differences.”
The Merger will screen in Tamworth at The Capitol Theatre from August 30 and The Leader has three double-passes to give away to readers.
The first three people to call 6768 1290 and leave their name and phone number before 10am will win the passes.