The aesthetic that underpins DISCLOSURE is drawn from the concept of ‘traumascapes’ articulated by Melbourne-based writer and academic Maria Tumarkin.
The idyllic setting for the film is Victoria’s Dandenong Ranges. At the heart of this landscape is the first-world icon of the private swimming pool, sitting just out of reach of the soaring gums and tangled native bush of a nearby creek. This physical proximity serves as a metaphor for the temporality, and fragility, of Western bourgeois cultural values in a landscape that for tens of millennia had been the home of the indigenous Wurundjeri.
To evoke the layers of trauma that reverberate through the drama of DISCLOSURE, and the landscape in which the story takes place, I intend to apply a bold grade that overlays an oppressive
feel to the temperate rainforest and plush first-world settlements of Australia’s Dandenong Ranges.
Sound design and music will be key to building the dramatic tension in which the narrative lurches from friendship and cooperation to ferocious rage and destructive aggression. Musical references we have used in the edit to inform the rhythm of the narrative, and open up subjective spaces, include Kate Moore, Eugene Ysaye, JS Bach and Tony Dupe.
Shot on 4K, with high production values, we have captured stunning performances from a world-class ensemble – Geraldine Hakewill, Matilda Ridgway, Mark Leonard Winter and Tom Wren, supported by a stylized production and costume design, and a sophisticated mise-en-scene comprising deep-focus closed frames, and long developing shots.
It is rare that a compelling story, which has the right elements to make an effective micro budget drama, comes your way. DISCLOSURE is one of those projects.
A tense dialogue-driven psychological drama, DISCLOSURE draws our audience into the world of two empathetic protagonists, soul mates Danny and Emily, as they respond to the horror of their 4-year-old daughter’s disclosure of sexual abuse at the hands of their friends’ 9-year-old son. When Danny and Emily reach out to the parents of the accused, in a bid to tackle the issue constructively, they are instead forced to counter an increasingly brutal attempt to retract their accusation.
At a time when the #MeToo campaign is capturing the public zeitgeist, DISCLOSURE expands the conversation to tackle the issue of child-on-child sexual abuse. The alarming scale of this problem, still mired in secrecy and denial, is being brought into the public domain by a slew of academic papers, articles and news reports across the developed world.
DISCLOSURE asks, what would you do if your child revealed something that had happened to them, that was one of your worst nightmares as a parent?
In a market primed for a discussion about this subject, DISCLOSURE will engage the audience with a powerful story of trauma, revenge, doubt and despair, as the ethical, emotional and professional dilemmas faced by the four main characters are exposed.
The narrative of DISCLOSURE focuses on the well- documented phenomenon of victims of sexual abuse, being victimised a second time after disclosure. In the case of accusations of child-on-child abuse, there is a
pattern of victims’ families being attacked and driven out of their homes and neighbourhoods following disclosure to the authorities (Briggs 2016).
Our film explores how victim disclosure within a friendship (and close-knit community) can trigger such a destructive human dynamic.
DISCLOSURE is writer/director Michael Bentham’s debut feature, and continues the line of outstanding debut films emerging from Melbourne-based directors, including Justin Kurzel (Snowtown) and David Michôd (Animal Kingdom). Michael’s realisation of this bold and dramatic piece cleverly couples a Kubrick-esque visual style with black comedic beats, differentiating it from the wider independent Australian scene, and ensuring it will cut a distinctive profile on the global festival circuit.
Our distribution plan aims to create maximum social impact, reaching out beyond our target audience to both survivors and policy makers, stimulating discussion on how best to tackle the pressing problem of child-on-child abuse, and acting as an important educational resource.