by Chris Button
The life of a teenager is complex.
In these critical, transitional years, the approval of others reigns supreme over almost every other life goal. But many lives are hampered by peers who resort to bullying in order to feel a sense of belonging themselves.
Bullying has become the bane of schoolyards, adversely affecting individuals, families and entire communities. Many programs have been developed to combat the problem, but an initiative coming out of the Victorian seaside town of Portland might be one of the most promising opportunities yet. It is a locally produced feature-length film, Llewellyn Unlikely, which premiered just days ago. Directed by Steve Gollasch, a teacher at St John’s Lutheran Primary School, the film’s story revolves around the struggles with bullying experienced by the main characters, teenagers Llewellyn and Bridie. The action is set in the fictional school, Harbour View High.
Steve has been a passionate filmmaker ever since he was captivated by the original Star Wars at the age of eleven. He has made upwards of 70 films since his first in 1977, but saw Llewellyn Unlikely as a chance to do something even more remarkable.
‘This was my opportunity to not only attempt a feature but also to spread a topical and important message of care for each other’, Steve said. He did not have to look far for inspiration in the scriptwriting process; the topic of bullying remains very close to his heart.
‘Most of what happens to Llewellyn in the film happened to me’,
Steve explained. ‘High school wasn’t a very enjoyable experience for me between Years 9 and 12.’ Most of what happens to Llewellyn in the film happened to me