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Q&A with Hunter Page-Lochard | SPEAR

Deckchair Cinema celebrates its much-anticipated 2016 season opening with a screening of SPEAR – the groundbreaking debut feature film by renowned choreographer and Artistic Director of Bangarra Dance Theatre, Stephen Page. 

Through movement and dance, SPEAR follows young Aboriginal man Djali, as he discovers what it means to be a man with ancient traditions in a modern world. SPEAR features dancers from Bangarra Dance Theatre and, on the night, audience members will be treated to a Q&A with the star of the film, Hunter Page-Lochard.

Off The Leash's Tierney White chatted with Page-Lochard ahead of his visit to Darwin. 

In SPEAR you play the lead role of Djali, what was the experience like working on this film?

It was exhilarating – but tough and gruelling at the same time. I read a quote recently that says, “Blood, sweat and respect – you put in the first two and the last one you gain,” and that’s definitely what shooting this film was like. Working with Dad [Stephen Page] and the Bangarra dancers felt like I was working with family. We actually shot the film in three weeks with a three-week rehearsal period as well, so we really had to pull together as a team.

A feature film in six weeks? Hats off to you guys! What was it like working with your dad? 

Look, it was good! I’m so used to working on projects with him that he completely understands, like theatre work for example. This was the first time I was directed by him in my world – as in on a film set. It was really exciting – I got to see my dad learn in a new arena and it made me feel quite proud of him.

The character of Djali is on a quest to understand what it means to be a man with ancient traditions in a modern world, could you relate to your character?

Yes – definitely. It happens to a lot of people today and I think Djali translated to me that as a young Aboriginal person, in this fast emerging, technological world, you have kids in communities on their phones rather than learning their stories. The obstacles Djali faces in the film are stylised to represent the obstacles Aboriginal people face, but it’s important to remember that Djali has a spirit and a culture that can heal his wounds whenever he needs it to. It’s a struggle I deal with being an actor – why can’t I be an Australian actor? Why do I always have to be cast as an Indigenous actor? It’s slowly changing, but it’s certainly had an impact on my career.

Speaking of which, you’ve already achieved so much, starring in Bran Nue Day and The Sapphires, not to mention other film, television and theatre roles – what’s next for you?

I’ve studied Screen Writing and, for as long as I can remember, my plan has always been to create. In current works, I’m working on a short film coming out independently this year and another exciting project is on the horizon – I’d love to say more but my hands are kind of tied there!

Ooh – that sounds very exciting! You’ll be in Darwin for the Deckchair Opening Night – have you been to Darwin before?

Yes – I was there for the Deckchair Opening Night for Around The Block, which I was in with Christina Ricci, so I’m really looking forward to it.

And are you planning to see some crocodiles while you’re here?

Oh God, I hope not – unless I’m in a very safe spot!

Wed 20 Apr | 6.30pm | $16 | $12 Conc | $10 Memb | $35 Fam (2 Adults, 2 Kids) |

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