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Meet the team behind the big-hearted MIFF comedy

Stephen Russel from TIME OUT talks MIFF, Paper Champions and red-carpet-lined uggboots with Jo-Anne Brechin and Luke Saliba.

Shot entirely in Geelong, the filmmakers behind cute rom com Paper Champions were looking forward to upping sticks and walking the red carpet at the 2020 Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF). Obviously you-know-what had other ideas, throwing Victoria’s capital into lockdown and the festival online only. Just a short hour’s drive westward, suddenly the thriving regional hub of Geelong feels like it’s a million miles away.

“We don’t need The Handmaid’s Tale, we’re living it,” Saliba laughs. “We can’t be there physically to enjoy that satisfaction of people enjoying it, so it’s been tough, but we’re still really lucky MIFF gave us an opportunity to premiere our film, and being able to offer something to people in their lounge rooms right now is also a really cool thing.”

Even further away in Sydney, director Jo-Anne Brechin agrees. “I’m lucky to be in the land of the free at the moment, but it suuuuuucks,” she says of the no-show IRL. “We finished the film at the beginning of the year and we were so amped for the release, and then you have to sort of lock it away. It’s so amazing that it’s going online for MIFF. I guess we just have to get red carpet insoles for our Ugg boots and walk around our lounge rooms.”

That sounds like an Etsy side-hustle waiting to happen. “I might get on to that,” Brechin nods.

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