Outback Australia: A Beautiful red dustry plain where the sun shines strong and brights and the people encapsulate the true meaning of mateship.

This depiction of the outback has developed into what is quintessentially the idealistic tourism pitch for what life is like in outback Australia. Descriptors like financial strife and hopelessness are often adjectives we use to describe innercity life and the pitfalls of the corporate cosmopolitan world. However, the reality of the outback is riddled with struggle, financial strife and unfortunately suicide. With suicide rates higher than ever in rural Australia, drastic and immediate actions need to be taken now more than ever.

Enter Bronwyn Bernardin, Derek Griffiths and the crew behind True Blue. Screenwriter, director and JMC graduate Bronwyn Bernardin wrote the script for True Blue with Brisbane production company VISUL bringing the script to life on the big screen. Speaking on her motivation behind making the film, Bernardin cites the heartbreak and the real world consequences outback drought has had on families in rural Australia. “The heartbreaking reality is that many people have no idea how bad the drought is in Australia; it is our hope that this film can help spread awareness to a wider community, and with any luck, encourage some to donate if they can.”

Producer of the film, JMC graduate Derek Griffiths of VISUL Productions said, “As a producer, I read the script and immediately saw it as something that needed to be told.” Griffiths spoke frankly of how he knew outback Australia suffered from drought but did not realise how much it affected the people. “Australia is so big; we always know that there’s a drought — but when I read the script, I saw It immediately as something that I could help raise awareness towards.” The film comes on the heels of one of the worst droughts ever experienced in Australian history. According to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, the present drought is now officially the worst on record, particularly in the Murray-Darling Basin. Farmers drought relief campaigns like Buy a Bale were organised to help combat the effects the drought had on Australian farming families.

The film itself centres on a farming family struggling to cope in the face of a crippling drought, exploring the all too real struggle of living in the outback while also shedding a light on what people have to do to survive. Griffiths wanted to convey this struggle. “Essentially we want people watching the film to understand that the drought comes with harsh consequences like suicide.” Earlier this year, the team behind the film started a campaign to raise money for the film while also hoping to donate enough of the raised money to drought relief campaigns. “One of the most challenging parts of independent filmmaking is raising the necessary funds. We’ve been fortunate to have the support of charities endorse us like Need for Feed and, Drought Angels.” The film is being submitted to film festivals in October with a premiere date expected in early 2020.