Backwards Man receives grant ahead of filming in Bega Valley

FILMMAKER: Lis Shelley is the writer, director and producer of web series Backwards Man that will be filmed in the Bega Valley.
FILMMAKER: Lis Shelley is the writer, director and producer of web series Backwards Man that will be filmed in the Bega Valley.

A local filmmaker is preparing to start production on a Bega Valley-made web series that will be screened on ABC Online.

In a boost for the series, titled Backwards Man, the pilot episode has been awarded a $4000 Seed: Regional Shorts grant from Screen NSW.

Speaking on Wednesday, Lis Shelley of Lochiel only found out her project was a recipient of the grant the day before so was still feeling the excitement. 

The director, writer and producer of the project will be working with 10 other, mainly local, cast and crew members to create the series of six episodes that will each be 10 minutes long. 

“Most of what we see on TV is made in Sydney or Melbourne, so it’s great we can write a story and pitch it back to the city!” Ms Shelley said. 

The project had to be prepared and ready to go under the grant’s criteria, so filming has already been planned for late April or early May in the Bega Valley. 

“I feel like there’s this wave that’s about to hit me,” Ms Shelley laughed.

“But it’s really exciting and fun to be working with other local people.” 

Backwards Man will be set in a regional town and is about its title character, a man who walks everywhere backwards.  

“The idea is about difference and how people perceive and react to it. It’s a bit of a metaphor for any perceived difference in our society, racial, physical or otherwise,” Ms Shelley said.

“It is about how the difference is in the eye of the beholder, as well as how people accept or don’t accept that.” 

The announcement of the grant coincided nicely with International Women’s Day on Wednesday, as only 15 per cent of film directors in Australia are women. 

While Ms Shelley has a long history of involvement in the theatre she only recently become involved in films and thought women have a lot to offer as directors. 

“When I started doing theatre I went in with the assumption ‘I can do this’,” she said. 

“I think women may tend to hold back and not put themselves out there, but you’ve just got to be courageous and seize the day.”