A BROKEN television during their childhood put twin brothers Jonathan and Josh Baker on to a path of filmmaking.
The brothers, who went to high school in Kenwick and studied design in Northbridge, have graduated from commercials and short films to movies with their Hollywood feature film debut Kin.
Kin is a sci-fi drama about teenager Eli Solinski (Myles Truitt) who finds a futuristic weapon in a derelict building around the time his troubled older brother Jimmy (Jack Reynor) is released from prison.
The two find themselves on the run from a dangerous gang led by Taylor Balik (James Franco), the authorities and mysterious soldiers wanting their weapon back.
Speaking to Community News on the phone from Austin, Texas, the brothers said they were films buffs before they began studying and pursuing a career in graphic design.
“We were big film buffs but not from a film-watching family,” Jonathan said.
“Our TV broke when we were six years old so that influenced the next decade because we were not able to watch movies at home; we had to go to the cinema and sneak into multiple films on one ticket or go to a friend’s house.
“We love ’80s movies The Terminator, Aliens, Back to the Future, all those big American event films we love, but also the smaller, obscure ones.”
He said they became fascinated with filmmaking when they reached high school and began filming themselves, each other and emulating film trailers.
They completed their studies and worked in graphic design, providing titles for Burke’s Backyard, but in 2007 packed up and headed to New York to hit the big time with feature films.
“We had to start at the bottom and just give it a crack,” Josh said.
“We had been looking at and reading scripts since 2005 and we were getting two genres – either really big ones or small ones we were not interested in.
“So we held off; to us it has to matter, it has to be personal and not just direct it for the sake of it.”
Kin is an adaptation of their own short film Bag Man, which caught the attention of the people behind hits such as Stranger Things and Arrival.
“Advertising was literally our film school; we worked with the best of the best in cinematography and editing,” Jonathan said.
“We asked a lot of questions and heard a lot of stories.
“Bag Man was a knee jerk reaction to doing commercials for so long.”
Josh said it was a conscious decision to make a film with sci-fi elements but to put character and relationship development in the foreground.
“Hollywood is interested in fresh ideas and want original content, but when you talk to the money people, that’s when they want to make it safer and rely on things that have been done before,” he said.
“The pitch had commercial elements and people thought it was cool and they got the references.”
Kin is in cinemas now.