A messy suburban cottage is the location, but Angst is a low
budget production so the number of vans and trailers in the
street is so few that I almost miss the place. And I even find a
parking spot bang outside.
There’s a trestle table with hot water in a steel can and
a box of biscuits. I wonder if lunch is BYO… After a while I
am led to a rickety chair on the lawn, and Daniel Nettheim, the
director, joins me for a short chat while the next shot is set up
inside the house.
Pain is funny, at least for the audience, reckons Nettheim,
who admits to making his debut with an eye on filmmakers such as
Woody Allen and Mike Leigh. "The style draws on these
filmmakers, but with younger characters - hence the pain, and
hence the title." Nettheim came across the script while
looking for a screenplay "aimed at the 15 - 25 year old male
and female market - a date film. A lot of Australian films are
aimed at older audiences. I loved going to movies at that age so
I wanted to give that audience a local film with identifiable
"truth in film...the comedy will look
"I came across the script via Steve Worland who was
teaching at Sydney University and had a 19 year old in his class
with a script that was incredibly funny. That was Angst. Steve
hooked me up with (writer) Anthony O'Connor and we developed the
screenplay over the next three years." Nettheim, himself an
'elder' at 33 in the context of this film, says he believes in
aiming for truth in the film, "and the comedy will look
Dialogue driven as it is, Nettheim recognised the challenge
when casting and worked with Mullinar's Casting even before the
finance was locked in. "It was tricky," he says.
"We couldn't cast well known stars as they would be too old
- but still needed very capable and mature actors to handle the
script. It's difficult…a comedy…effectively it's a four
hander and they need strong technical skills, plus they had to
complement each other."
"our one champion always stuck by us"
Producer Jonathon Green - who met Nettheim at film school -
credits UIP's Australian Managing Director, Mike Selwyn as
"our one champion who always stuck by us. We had trouble
getting an international sales agent right up until the final
draft of the script, when Beyond's reluctance evaporated. The
Film Finance Corporation was interested as it's a low budget
project with a clear audience in mind, and the NSW Film and
Television Office extended its interest into production
Beyond's reluctance was based on the lack of star casting.
"They wanted us to cast up, but the only way would have been
to cast UK or US names at 20 - and we felt that would have
damaged the integrity of the movie."
The youthful enthusiasm of all was a key in production, says
Green: "they were all keen to come to work every day. And
the average age of the crew is 28 - with me at 33, I felt a sense
of authority!" he jokes.
Published August 31, 2000