All’s Fair in Art and War

THIS ARTICLE WAS FEATURED IN ISSUE 1 WHICH YOU CAN READ HERE

Black comedy – you may have never heard of the name but you are most certainly familiar with its game: take a controversial (and dark and offensive) topic and attempt to fashion something humorous out of it. You’ve seen it used on TV in shows like Family Guy and Tosh.O, in films such as Fargo and Monty Python’s The Life of Brian and on the internet with the circulation of offensive memes about terrorists and dead babies. Now a new black comedy web series is lurking on the horizon called Attack Attack Art and its unique premise gives us an interesting and darkly entertaining look at just how far seekers of fame will go to earn it and just how deviously competitive they can be in trying to keep it.

Attack Attack Art follows the story of a young artist named Bellamy seeking to create a name for herself and her works, only for that dream to crumble when she finds her work being plagiarised by none other than her grandmother. Over the course of 6 episodes, young and ambitious Bellamy will go on an epic journey to forge for herself an image of ruthlessness and pragmatism and see just who the people in her life really are underneath the skin. According to director Scott Walmsley, the portrayal of Bellamy in this fashion (among the other major portrayals of all the characters to be seen on screen) is his way of exploring the idea of what it means to have an identity driven by passion and desire:

“The show follows Bellamy, an artist out for revenge, but what she is really coming to terms with is who she is and how that is influenced by the people around her. She is pulled in various directions by the characters that contradict her initial impressions; the frail have great strength, the stupid are dastardly cunning, and the most genuine person is a hipster.”

Furthermore, Walmsley’s absurdist narrative has its entire characters end up subverting the traditional gender roles to be expected in most stories of this nature:

“This series has fun subverting traditional gender roles. Bellamy is allowed to be flawed, her identity is more than just her relationships and her strength is celebrated. It was by no mistake that the emotional character is the boyfriend [Gavin], the man [Trevor] is excessively sexualised and punished for it, and an older woman [Gran] is a power player at the head of the family. It was a fantastic jumping off point from which we delve ever deeper past the superficial as each person has a realization of who they are.”

Producer Gita Irwin also echoes this sentiment, saying that:

“It’s rare enough to see a female protagonist onscreen let alone two such complex, distinctive characters who were unapologetically flawed acerbic creations. And the male characters of Gavin and Trevor were satirical archetypes of the kinds of characters you do encounter in the art world. Every character has dual motivations that make you watch them even when they aren’t playing nice or being easy to like, but you do still root for them.”

Taking on the role of the “unapologetically flawed acerbic” protagonist Bellamy is Candice Storey, a versatile and experienced actress of film and TV fame best known for her roles in the films The Inbetweeners 2DeceptionWish You Were Here and in the TV series Wild Boys. Accompanying her as the wildly emotional performance artist Gavin is rising talent NIDA alumni Matt Hardie best known for his Tropfest 2013 short film Bamboozled and the 2013 HomeStart Finance advertisements; seasoned veteran Aussie actress Maggie Dence from such TV shows as The Sullivans, Prisoner Cell Block H and Neighbours also appears in the story as the “unapologetically flawed acerbic” antagonist Gran; and rounding off the spectacular cast is Joshua Morton – another rising star from Coffs Harbour who has appeared in the short film Wurinyan and is set to appear in The Osiris Child and Skinford  – as the “insouciant and often shirtless Trevor”.

Of course, no film would be complete without its stellar crew working behind the scenes – in addition to director and writer Scott Walmsley and producer Gita Irwin there is Ashley Barron as cinematographer and Kate Englefield as production designer; and all of them, as well-seasoned craftspeople in the film industry, each bring in something unique to the projecy. For Walmsley, it is his 15 years of experience writing absurdist and deconstructive comedies which has earned him many accolades and awards from prestigious critical circles such as the Australian Film Institute and even the Director’s Guild of America; for the award-winning short film producer Irwin, it is her strong commitment to good storytelling and an intellectually creative approach towards the well-balanced act of managing a big production; for the unorthodox award-winning cinematographer Barron, it is her unique visual style cultured by training from the American Film Institute at their Conservatory in Hollywood; and for Englefield, it is her “eye-catching sense of mis-en-scene and heightened flair for atmosphere”, a bohemian style developed over the years through its execution in such shows as Deadly WomenLittle Boy Blue and Luna Park’s Halloween Festival Party.

It is not known when this series will be made available on the Internet or where to access it from at this stage but one thing is for certain: audiences should certainly be prepared for a well-executed character-driven comedic battle of wits with many twisted but hilarious turns to come at you when you least expect it.

THOMAS MITCHELL FRIEND IS A FREELANCE WRITER FOR POPCORN MAGAZINE

Header Photo – Supplied