John Sheedy

Screen & Photography

Tarneit

A cinematic exploration of Australian youth, and also a social document, a hard look at Australia’s immigrants, its poor and other marginalised groups. A film about identity and sense of placement.

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It is a story and a poem written in light, tenderness and vivid human faces.

In the growing suburb of Tarneit, west of Melbourne, 15-year-old Tyrone lives with his distressed mother and pick-of-the-month boyfriend Pommy, a lowlife opportunist who despises immigrants and homosexuals. Tyrone’s best friend Shaker, a South Sudanese immigrant, lives with his mother and older brother Clinton, in the same fast developing housing trust crammed together for a disenfranchised society.

Their friendship is viewed with racism, bigotry and malice. Both long for an escape from the hopelessness that surrounds them. Both neglected and silent, they navigate the urban sprawl of racial tension and violence. Through vulnerability and tenderness, they grow toward an understanding of each other and their world. Though it is agonising to witness their progression, it is also thrilling.

It is a story and a poem written in light, tenderness and vivid human faces.

Writer/director John Sheedy has raised those questions when he came up with the concept for the acclaimed stage production Driving Into Walls. It is no surprise that Sheedy’s next exploration would be a cinematic look at the current issues involving the Australian youth, bringing to the foreshore the issues of race, immigration and stereotype. Tarneit comes to explore the themes of youth identity, diversity, engagement and placement within the Australian current social context.

For this project, we team up once again with cinematographer Sky Davies, production designer Marg Horwell and editor Johanna Scott in telling this coming-of-age tale of growing up in the margins of society and finding your inner sense-of-worth. We also welcome composer Kelly Ryall to help us create the world of Tarneit with his gripping, immersive and multi-layered musical landscapes.

As well as investing our own funds to take the production ahead, we are running this campaign and you may be inspired to help support the making of this important film. Your donation will support essential production elements such as camera and light equipment, production design, special effects, makeup, post-production and professionals involved.

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John Sheedy is a multi-award winning Australian Theatre Director whose work has been staged extensively throughout Australia.

In 1998, John completed his Bachelor of Dramatic Art at the National Drama School in Melbourne before completing his Masters of Fine Arts (Directing) at the National Institute of Dramatic Arts in 2002. Throughout his career, John has directed productions for Belvoir Street, Bell Shakespeare, Parramatta Riverside, Black Swan State Theatre Company, Sydney Opera House, Sydney Theatre Company, Griffin and Opera Australia. In 2015, John adapted and directed The Rabbits from the novel by John Marsden and Shaun Tan, presented at the 2015 Perth International Arts Festival and 2015 Melbourne Festival. The Rabbits was the winner of four 2015 Helpmann Awards – Best Presentation for Children, Best Original Score, Best Costume Design and Best New Australian Work.

John is the current CEO and Creative Director of Theatre Works, a contemporary theatre company in the heart of St Kilda, Melbourne.

In 2017 he premiered his first film Mrs McCutcheon at the 63rd Oberhausen International Short Film Festival, where it received the Special Mention of the International Children’s Competition. Mrs McCutcheon is now running the international festival circuit.

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