Adelaide and South Australia's premier Arts & Entertainment coverage

‘Emotion Is Dead’ – The Most South Aussie Story Ever Told – To Hit Cinema Screens Australia-Wide

 A new feature film about South Australia’s iconic Holden Factory closure will soon hit theatres as part of an Australia-Wide Indie Cinema Tour from late June, with the film already being dubbed ‘the most South Aussie story ever told’ with an entirely local cast, crew, theme, and locations. 

Launching at the Capri Theatre on Friday, 28 June, EMOTION IS DEAD, written and directed by PETE WILLIAMS, is a coming-of-age crime/thriller that combines Pete’s own experiences growing up in the Northern suburbs of Adelaide, true stories from family and friends, and research into the universal effects of de-industrialisation on working-class communities. 

The independently produced film, likened to Snowtown, Parasite and Donnie Darko, follows BROCK (JUDE TURNER), a teenage skateboarder suffering from a recent family tragedy connected to the Holden Elizabeth Plant. To survive, Brock develops a unique money-making scheme that tangles him up in Adelaide’s criminal underworld and only his Peter-Brock obsessed mum SHAZZA (GABBY LLEWELYN) and emo ex-girlfriend KYLIE (TATIANA GOODE) can save him from a terrifying fate. 

The film also explores a mother’s unconditional love for her child, the disconnection between wealth and morality and the precarious employment opportunities facing young people in the wake of de- industrialisation, rising inflation and the global housing crisis in Australia and around the world. 

Pete grew up in Elizabeth and spent 15 years honing his filmmaking craft in London and Los Angeles, before returning to Australia in 2020, inspired to tell an authentic story about the people and places of his youth. 

Many of his family and friends worked at the Holden Elizabeth Plant which employed 5,400 workers at its peak and closed in 2017 after years of lay-offs and cut-backs, marking the end of the car manufacture in Australia. This had a huge impact on the surrounding community, leading to unemployment, marriage break-ups and depression. The area is now one of the lowest socio-economic suburbs in the country. 

Having debuted the film at the Adelaide Film Festival last year, Pete is thrilled to be releasing the film in cinema’s Australia-wide, starting with special Event Screenings in Adelaide, Regional South Australia and then interstate. 

“I wanted EMOTION IS DEAD to be a love letter to Adelaide and its northern suburbs and wanted to come to terms with some of the demons of my own past by writing about them and representing them on screen.” 

“When the Elizabeth Holden Factory closed, it was the end of an era that felt really significant to me. This became the catalyst for my screenplay. The story quickly evolved to include many of my personal experiences growing up, where skateboarding, punk rock and petty crimes were all a big part of our lives as teenagers. 

“I liked the idea of using a small family story to explore deeper universal themes like generational and wealth inequality and tried hard to find comedy in the heavy subject matter to ensure the lives of working-class people aren’t always represented as grim on screen.” 

“I met with friends, family, Holden retirees and academics who had been impacted by the factory closing and started combining their stories into a single protagonist who could represent the pain, helplessness, and confusion many Elizabethans (Elizabeth-locals) felt when the factory closed,” Pete explained. 

The film was produced by BRIAN HAYES, who worked on Hotel Mumbai, and it has an entirely South Australian cast, most notably ADAM TUOMINEN who appeared on Power Rangers Ninja Storm, Tatiana Goode who starred in A Sunburnt Christmas for Stan and rising star Jude Turner. 

Emerging filmmakers were recruited from South Australia’s leading film schools for different crew roles including make-up, camera assistants and lighting techs, while casting was generously supported by the South Australian talent agencies. 

The shoot took place over two years, mostly on weekends and school holidays, and involved over 100 crew members. Many of the locations were donated free of charge, including Hindley Street Dive Bar Cry Baby, which hosted over 100 background actors in one of the film’s most memorable scenes. Other iconic South Australian locations include The Big Rocking Horse at Gumeracha, and, of course, the old Holden Elizabeth Plant, while its original production line was all still in place. 

The EMOTION IS DEAD Australia-Wide Indie Cinema Tour kicks off with a special Launch Event at the Capri Theatre on Friday, 28 June, with many of the 750 guests expected to be former Holden Elizabeth Plant Workers. 

The cinema tour will then continue with 30+ Event Screenings over three months Australia-wide, including 15 Event Screenings in metro Adelaide and regional South Australia, each with cast and crew Q&A’s. 

Capri Theatre, 28 June from 6pm Cast & crew Q&A 
More information: 
Tickets: EMOTION IS DEAD | CINEMA TOUR LAUNCH Tickets, Fri, Jun 28, 2024 at 6:00 PM | Eventbrite 

Share your love

Popular News

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. We don’t send any spam email ever!