The Wog Boy "is a very broad, very Australian film,"
says producer John Brousek, "and encompasses the whole spectrum of Australian society - it's an observation of it, and not just the multicultural aspects of it. It has a lot to say about coming together, harmony and bringing Australians together.
It has heart and spirit."
Writer/producer Nick Giannopoulos, of Greek origin, has taken Acropolis Now and Wogs Out of Work, satirising both the Australian attitude to wogs and the wogs themselves and now the
concept has found a home in a screenplay that retains the
irreverent humour and the larger than life attitude.
"It's everything the fans ever wanted," remarks
Giannopoulos. "That was my brief to myself. I'm competing
with $100 million films - Bond, de Caprio, Julia
Roberts….we've got an original Australian story and great
"a sort of anti
Giannopolous says he loathed the word 'wog' ever since it was
hurled at him from the age of five. "But we claimed the word
for ourselves in the playground - the wog boys - as a sort of
anti hero." It was, he says, in part a film that he wanted
to make "for my parents and all the others who came here and
stayed despite being told to 'go back home, ya wog
bastards'…this is my way fo saying to them that we've
arrived and we're a major part of this society. I wasn't
comfortable with this being my country until five years
Giannopoulos was kicked out of film school after two years for
being too disruptive. It has taken him 10 years to get his
earliest ideas into a shooting script, working with schoolfriend
Chris Anastassiades. "I hope this little film will inspire
"how the little guy
can maintain his dignity"
For director Aleksi Vellis, the message of the film is simple
and unoriginal: "it's about the little guy and how the
government can use the man in the street, and how the little guy
can maintain his dignity. This guy is plucked out of nowhere and
portrayed as a dole bludger; the government uses him with a
hidden agenda which he pursues."
Ensconced in the largely Greek neighbourhood of an inner-city
Melbourne suburb, Steve (Nick Giannopoulos) is a good-natured
larrikin whose life revolves around hanging out with his mates at
the pizza parlour, posing at the local nightclub and hooning
around in his cherished '69 Valiant. When he has a minor prang
with a limo carrying the Minister for Employment, and later
impudently sends her the repair bill, the Minister (Geraldine
Turner) decides to teach him a lesson by engineering a media slur
campaign - with help from her PR (Lucy Bell) - whereby he is
labeled as 'Australia's Biggest Dole Bludger'. With his
reputation (not to mention his unemployment benefits) hanging in
the balance, Steve sets out to clear his name. (Dole bludger:
Australian for person happily taking social security benefits and
not seeking work.)
"we got it."
"To me," says Vellis, "cinema is fantasy and
the volume has been turned up. This is a romantic comedy and
we're aiming for a broader appeal to what Nick has done before,
to introduce audiences to his comedy."
The mid-range budget was hard to pull together, says producer
Brousek, who was "surprised how much convincing some people
needed - except Beyond Films and the Film Finance Corporation,
which was "very keen." But Giannopoulos "had
to" invest some of his own money "to fill up the
shortfall". The final deal gives large back end points to
investors, says Brousak, assuming there is plenty of 'blue sky'.
And Brousek is optimistic: the six week shoot in melbourne went
well. "We're trying to do something bigger than normal and
we've been blessed with the weather. For a feelgood movie you
need blue sky - and we got it."