Filmmaker Sasha Hadden does not do things by halves. The film editor is attempting to bring to the big screen, a story that hits right at the heart of the clash between homosexuality and religion.
Set in a wealthy Catholic school, Against the Principle is ambitiously described as a cross between coming of age classic Dead Poets Society and Philadelphia, starring Tom Hanks.
“We’re doing something that hasn’t really been done before and that’s really questioning the bible,” Hadden told the Star Observer.
“The script actually questions it, what does the bible actually say… it’s eye opening.”
The film follows the aftermath of tragedy involving a teenage boy caught up in the controversy of having been found in a compromising position with another boy.
The boy commits suicide and the film charts one student’s quest to change the school’s policy on homosexuality by challenging the very religious doctrine the church stands firm on.
Hadden, who hails from a Catholic family but describes himself as a “spiritual” person, said his feelings about his own sexuality were challenged while writing the script. “When you talk to some gay people, they really turn against their religion and they’ve dealt with it,” he said.
“You can turn against your religion, but don’t use your sexuality as an excuse because I don’t believe the Bible is against homosexuality.
“When you look at the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, the story’s not about homosexuality at all, the more you look into it, the more ridiculous it is to even think that.
“I have a friend who says ‘That’s great Sasha, that’s really nice, but the Bible does really say.’
“He finally said, ‘Give me a read of the scripture’ and he actually read it and he was on the phone straight away saying, ‘It’s eye opening’.”
Although the film has a title, the project is still in development. The script has been written but a producer is still being sought.
Luckily for Hadden, cinematographer Don McAlpine (Moulin Rouge) and former High Court judge Michael Kirby are champions of the film.
Perhaps unusually, Hadden is set to screen a rough version of the first 22 pages of the script at the Australian Centre for Moving Image (ACMI) this month.
“Often when you’re making a film you keep it really quiet, you don’t tell anyone about it,” Hadden said. “It’s basically going to give people the opportunity to come along and have a look at what we’re doing. We’re certainly prepared to listen to any new ideas.”
Financial backing is still needed for the film but Hadden says he’s determined to see it made.
“This is a film that would change my life if I’d seen it when I was 14 years old,” he said.
“I think it’s important I do my best to get the film off the ground and make it as good as I possibly can do. The odds are against against film maker, but you have to try.”
info: Against The Principle will be show in Sydney on December 13 and 14 at Paddington RSL Club from 7.30pm. Email firstname.lastname@example.org