By BEV JORDAN
Davo Hardy spent most of 2021 at home in Bella Vista producing and directing his feature film Public Eye, with the assistance of local technical and creative talents.
He was fortunate in that the brief period between lockdowns “fitted perfectly” with the shooting schedule, which is remarkable, considering the cast and crew consisted of over 50 people.
The R-rated film is about a children’s entertainer, Elliott Sinclair, who posts NSFW (Not Safe For Work) footage on social media which then circulates widely.
The dark comedy-drama follows his fall from grace and his eventual redemption.
Hardy studied Film Production at the International Film School of Sydney (now known as The Academy of Film, Theatre and Television) and made his first film seven years ago, aged 25, after working in a completely different industry.
“I was working in Disability Support Services, but it wasn’t what I ultimately wanted to do,” he said. “Most of my peers were getting married, having kids … and I thought I should get back into film making and make a couple of shorts. From the moment I did that I hit the ground running and haven’t stopped since.”
Hardy, who is fluent in Auslan sign language, is well known for his screenplays which include profoundly deaf characters such as A Silent Agreement (2017) starring Paul Mercurio which was the first feature film made in Australia to showcase Auslan sign language and an LGBT romance involving a profoundly deaf character.
Hardy learned Auslan in his teens to manoeuvre around a severe stammer.
A lecturer advised him to seek another vocation, as one could not expect to be a film director and have a stammer.“I was filled with that wonderfully potent ‘I’ll show you’ energy,” says Hardy.
Public Eye is his fifth film. Hardy not only wrote, produced and directed it, he plays the main role of Elliott.“I was writing it in the first wave of COVID in March/April/May 2020,” he said.
“In October 2020 I had a table read with actor friends to hear the words aloud. They connected with the characters so readily, that most of them actually appear in the finished product, which is very gratifying. We went into 2021 thinking if we can make it — we will. And there was a period between March and June that we could, fortunately.”
It’s a difficult subject to cover but one that Hardy says was prompted by seeing the excessive use of social media in the entertainment industry and the need to be “seen”.
“Seeing the words spelled out ‘to be successful, you MUST have and maintain a profile on every social media platform’ was disheartening,” he said. “The people in my industry seem to need to have an open door to their lives as if nothing really happens unless it’s documented and validated with emojis.”
Public Eye screens at the Palace Chauvel Cinema at 249 Oxford Street, Paddington on January 8th/15th/22nd and 29th with a special Q and A session on February 19th.
Tickets are $30 through Eventbrite only. www.eventbrite.com.au/e/public-eyepalace- chauvel-cinema-screenings-tickets-206131784717?ref=estw