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14 Dec 2012
Dangerously Smart Children's TV Series
28 Mar 2012
First Commandos Mini Series
14 Jul 2011
Around the World in 80 Ways the Musical!
13 Jul 2011
NEWSFRONT Tribute to Bill Hunter
13 Jul 2011
BOPPIN' with BENNY 1st Series Completed
26 Aug 2009
Two Fists One Heart - out on DVD
10 Aug 2009
Daniel Amalm to host The Contender
With the focus on boxing, it would be easy to categorise Two Fists One Heart as another action film. Boxing is only one element of its rich story though and Two Fist One Heart is above all a story which explores tradition, multiculturalism and loyalty. Alongside the trials of a young man coming to terms with life and his role within his family is a deep father son battle for understanding. Both determined and both believing they are right, the film is ultimately a journey of love.
The project was born when Rai Fazio was nine. He read a book about Sylvester Stallone and how the film 'Rocky' was made. Being an Italian and the only kid in school who boxed, this sparked a desire in Rai to one day write a movie drawing from his own boxing and family experiences.
A decade ago In a New York café Rai had a chance meeting with Harvey Keitel, an actor he had always admired. Keitel was interested in boxing and encouraged Rai. He said that everybody has an idea for a film, but if you're passionate, don't talk about it do something about it.
Inspired, Rai returned to Perth Western Australia, locked himself in a room and began writing a screenplay. After months of hard work he had a very long first draft. He began showing it to people in the film and television industry who encouraged him to keep working on the screenplay. They saw a story full of vitality with a great heart. With this encouragement Rai continued to work on the screenplay.
He was introduced David Elfick (Rabbit Proof Fence, Blackrock, Newsfront) who decided the screenplay was the type of project he was looking for and they became a formidable team.
Nine years after Rai began writing that first page, principal photography of TWO FISTS ONE HEART commenced in Perth Western Australia.
Shawn Seet directs the Two Fists One Heart in his feature film debut. Shawn has an impressive career as a thought provoking television drama director and feature film editor. With an ethos of 'keep it real', Shawn has brought an unpredictable excitement and energy to this Australian family drama set in the boxing world with a multicultural mix of Italian, Australian and Greek characters.
The film was shot entirely in Perth using the sensational backdrop of Cottesloe Beach, the port city of Fremantle, the colour of inner city Northbridge and the Perth city skyline and the Swan river at sunset.
Twenty one actors were in final consideration for the lead role of Anthony Argo, Daniel Amalm secured the role.
Casting Director Ann Robinson "He's a superb actor, had the right physicality and it was a bonus that he had the boxing experience." The role of Anthony required someone who is believably Southern Italian, possessed strength and resilience whilst also being able to access the vulnerability and the emotional aspects of the character, all which Daniel clearly demonstrated in his auditions". Daniel had some boxing experience so he could spar properly and wasn't put off if he had to wear a few punches, all part of a boxer's training.
The casting of Joe, the father figure, proved more difficult. An extensive search by Mulliners Casting failed to uncover an actor in Australia in the right age group, who could slip into Italian dialogue when his English failed him and could portray a seasoned boxing trainer. The role also demanded a performance that would evoke compassion from the audience even if they disagreed with the character's philosophy and actions. The search extended to America and the UK without an obvious candidate emerging.
Producer David Elfick felt that the part would be best played by an Italian actor who spoke English because that would give the role a reality that cannot be easily created. He secured the services of Beatrice Kruger one of Europe's leading casting agents. Elfick's actor friend Tony Poli, who is fluent in Italian, happened to be in Italy at the time so he went to Rome to work with Bertrice. The search continued. Director Shawn Seet joined Poli in Rome to test the potential Joes that had been uncovered. When Ennio Fantastichini auditioned Shawn knew immediately they had found their Joe.
Ennio Fantastichini had never been to Australia but was passionate about playing the part. Tony Poli agreed to play a supporting role in the film and to work with Ennio as dialogue coach. Thus began one of the many friendships that developed during the making of TWO FISTS ONE HEART.
Jessica Marias has had an extraordinary year since graduating from NIDA. She was cast in a lead role for the television pilot and then the series of PACKED TO THE RAFTERS , played Kate in the feature film TWO FISTS ONE HEART and was on stage in the MTC's production of Patrick White's SEASON OF SASPERILLA. Jessica has the most elusive of an actors attributes being able be able to emotionally connect the character with the audience, whether it is through the lens or live on stage. Her talent coupled with her natural good looks makes Jessica one of the brightest new stars to emerge from NIDA which has produced such stella talents as Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush and Mel Gibson.
Jessica, like Tim Minchin who plays her brother Tom in the film, both hail from Perth.
Tim Minchin's involvement began after David Elfick saw him perform at an inner city club. The material was topical modern, and socially aware. David approached Tim to create a character who could open up Anthony's world from the tough ethnic suburban life he knew. Making this character Tom brother of Anthony's love interest Kate gave the story a clear and economic narrative.
For the film to succeed the final showdown in the ring has to be the climax of the film. Director Seet's mantra was " Keep it real " and the casting had reflected this. How do you shoot an extended boxing finale without throwing real leather? The character of Nico Manchini is older, tougher that Anthony a fighter rather than a boxer,a brutal unforgiving opponent, a knockout specialist. Rai Fazio was ready to play this role. In preparation Rai had been taking acting classes for a several of years and appeared in three short films. As director and producer looked at these films they realized that Rai has an on screen chemistry. After an intensive one on one rehearsal period Director Seet was confident that Rai could deliver a performance that would have the brute power"\this role demanded but just as importantly an inner complecity so that Nico was not a one dimensional " bad " character.
An added bonus for the production was the ability for Rai and Daniel to train, rehearse and choreograph the fight scenes together.
When it came to shooting the end fight sequence Daniel joked that this was the only fight movie where for the early rounds they were putting makeup on to cover facial bruising and then taking the makeup off for the later rounds rather than faking it.
Theo, Anthony's amusing mate was always going to be played by Paul Pantano. Of Sicilian extraction and one of the director's favorite actors, Pantono revelled in the chance to play a role with a light touch while also getting into some of the fight action.
Another NIDA graduate Rosemarie Lenzo plays the of role of Anthony's mother Concetta, A Perth resident for the past 15 years Rosemarie has worked extensively on stage with the Black Swan Theatre company. She relished this film opportunity to play opposite Ennio Fantasticini as his wife. Her Italian upbringing allowed Rosmarie and Ennio to create an improvised scene entirely in Italian language during the shooting of the film, a scene which adds an intimacy to their on screen relationship.
An important theme in TWO FISTS ONE HEART is the role boxing training has played in giving young Aboriginal men focus and discipline in their lives.
Rai created the character of Athol a thirteen year old Aboriginal boxer who is trained by Joe. It's a rich character laced with pathos and humour drawn from the many experiences Rai has had with fellow Aboriginal boxers. The role is played by Karl Bin Rashid who in front of the camera has a natural bright confidence, and then is able to give an extra ordinary vulnerability. Karl, with his million dollar smile, quickly became the on set favorite. Ennio became deeply attached to this talented young fellow, Ennio having a son back in Italy who is just a few years younger than " Young Athol" as he was affectionately known.
Two Fists One Heart unites a cast of international and Australian award winners and nominees, newcomers and stars of the future.
The music for the film TWO FISTS ONE HEART was drawn from four areas : dramatic score, live performance, Italian music and contemporary tracks.
The Dramatic Score.
Australia has a wealth of talent when it comes to composers for feature films. A brief was sent to a select number of composers who provided us with some very exciting musical concepts .
David Bridie's music stood out. It had a wonderful abstract quality in the melodies that made the music feel very original and contemporary. His use of rhythm and percussion drawn from his many years experience working with South pacific and New guinea musicians gave us a primitive energy and vitality so perfect for the boxing sequences of the film. His use of electronica gave the score a contemporary flavour using loops and sequences and analogue keyboards.
This is a modern film shot in a very specific way and the music needed to compliment this approach to the storytelling. Conventional dramatic score would have lessened the effect of Shawn Seet's original direction and Hugh Millers camerawork.
David Bridie worked closely with sound designer Andrew Plain creating the pieces required for the dramatic underscore but also providing rhythm and melody tracks that could be used as extra texture in scenes. David also threw in some templates from his Succumb album which was being compiled at the same time. Having such a wealth of material provided by the composer meant we had greater freedom in creating the film's soundscape.
David describes the score elements as "a mixture of electronica and ambience with Melanesian undertones plus some more conventional usage of piano moods"
Tim Minchin performs two original songs in the film.
Tim plays the part of Tom, a musician with a quick wit. He composed 'Drowned' and 'I'm Not Going Anywhere' with lyrics that illustrated this clever and confident aspect of the character. The songs also serve to open a new world to Anthony ( Daniel Amalm) and lead into the amusing dialogue that begins their friendship.
Tim recorded the tracks in Perth with Dan Minchin ( his brother), Robbie Lumsden and Joshua Jones who appear as the on stage band in the film.
Three places in the story are quintessentially Italian. The Bar Angelo, Concetta's Birthday celebration and the Blessing of the fleet. For these scenes we needed music that reinforced the strong Italian texture of the film.
Marina Rei's 'Primavera' is the popular dance track for the party, Young Perth musical talent Adrian Galant mingled with the guests playing 'Sorrento' on the clarinet as they tucked into their pasta and vino rosso and Fratelli D'Italia provided popular music for the party and the Bar Angelo.
For the Blessing of the Fleet , Joe Argo (Ennio Fantasticini ) carries the Madonna to the docks as the Canning Brass Band play a traditional Italian procession music.
The contemporary tracks in the film needed to reflect the type music being played in the clubs and bars of Perth today.
With the assistance of Musical Supervisor Julie Hodges tracks were selected from TZU, Fish Go Deep, Gyroscope, Custom Kings , Lowrider, Eskimo Joe and Pyromesh. By obtaining mixes of the tracks with and without lyrics the tracks were adjusted so that they could be played at a level that didn't compete with the dialogue, rather than the standard approach of dipping the music under dialogue when song lyrics were competing. Boxers are cool and confident customers and so the music scewed toward tracks with an R and B influence.
The big challenge was to select two tracks to dramatize the entry into the stadium of Anthony ( Daniel Amalm ) and Nico "the bull" Mancini ( Rai Fazio) for the climactic final championship fight. For Anthony we needed a track with a sense of occasion and destiny. TZU's 'Step With The Pressure' has a sense of gladiatorial drama reminiscent of a matador entering the bull ring , perfect for a contestant who relies on his boxing skills for victory. For Nico the heavy metal of Pyromesh has the wall of sound that announced the confident and arrogant fighter, the knockout specialist , the undefeated champion.