Middle Kids musician and vocalist Hannah Joy will make her feature film debut in an “unconventional” Christmas movie.

Filming for Christmess is underway right now in Campbelltown, Greater Western Sydney.

Written and directed by Heath Davis (Book Week, Broke, Locusts) the film stars Steve Le Marquand (Last Train to Freo), Darren Gilshenan (No Activity) and Joy, who will also contribute original music and Christmas covers to the film.

The unconventional film follows desperate, fresh out of rehab, formerly famous actor Chris Flint (Steve Le Marquand) as he takes a job as a suburban strip mall Santa Claus, where he unexpectedly encounters his long-estranged daughter (Nicole Pastor) and infant grandson.

“With the love and support of his sponsor, Nick (Darren Gilshenan), and a young, sharp tongued, gay musician in recovery named Joy (Hannah Joy), Chris sets about staying sober in order to win his daughter’s forgiveness for Christmas,” says the film’s press release.

Director Davis says the film is a “realistic” depiction of Christmas.

 “I love Christmas movies, but I’ve never really seen a Christmas movie that depicts the reality of what the holiday season is for many of us – crippling stress, anxiety, malaise and economic struggle, all too often underpinned by alcohol abuse,” he says. “At its core, Christmess is a celebration of the human spirit, the kindness of strangers and the healing power of forgiveness.”

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Producer Daniel Fenech said it made sense to film the project in Greater Western Sydney.

“Our unconventional Christmas movie has heart, and with Heath and I both having spent a large portion of our upbringing in Greater Western Sydney, it feels right to be shooting the film here in Campbelltown,” he says. “We have a strong local contingent of cast and crew from the Macarthur region, and there’s a lot of love and community support behind the project.” 

The film should be completed in time for a Christmas release via Bonsai Films. Filming is already underway, and will take place over three weeks in Campbelltown.

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