Abe Forsythe makes Cronulla comedy Down Under


Writer/director Abe Forsythe on the set of Down Under.
Writer/director Abe Forsythe on the set of Down Under.

AUSTRALIAN satire Down Under, about the country’s problem with racism, could be remade with marionettes.

Writer/director Abe Forsythe, who was inspired by the politically incorrect and boundary pushing Team America, joked he could give the film another crack without actors.

“I was inspired by Team America,” he said.

“It took a serious subject and paints a ridiculous, crude picture with puppets, but it says something important.

“It is an extreme way to use comedy.”

When Community Newspaper Group asked if he ever considered making Down Under with puppets, he laughed.

“I would definitely do Down Under again with marionettes,” he said.

Forsythe said when concocting the story for his feature film, which follows two hothead groups of Australians on a collision course the day after the Cronulla riots in 2005, there was no question he would be making satirical jabs at pockets of Australian society.

“There were a lot of ridiculous things that led people to be there at the Cronulla riots (and I thought there was) no better genre than comedy for this potentially controversial subject,” he said.

“With comedy, when you make people laugh you open people up to an emotional reaction to something, then when you get drama in there as well, it is more effective.

“As a film-maker it is a challenging tonal line to walk, but if you can pull it off it is more interesting.”

Forsythe said he surrounded himself on the set with people who understood what he wanted to say about a controversial topic with the film.

“I was selective with who I approached to work on the film,” he said.

“It could have been a bad idea to make a comedy about the Cronulla riots but I gave them context and everyone understood.

“Also the way the trailer is cut and the poster campaign, we wanted the audience to be aware they are seeing a comedy.”

Down Under is in cinema August 11.