“The Fort” will have special screenings across the country from May 18.
The feature film is executive produced by Shaynna Blaze and directed by her children Carly Anne Kenneally and Jess Kenneally.
It explores the generational cycles and shames of family violence, patriarchal masculinity, survival tactics and the communication challenges experienced by victim-survivors and the people around them who want to support them.
The story is set in regional Victoria in the 1990s with Kitty (Eliza Charley) attempting to escape her abusive marriage while also sheltering her son from the grim realities of family violence. Kitty’s husband Graham (Jess Kenneally) has been suppressing a traumatic childhood, and repeats the abusive patterns of behaviour he and his own mother experienced from his father.
Kitty builds her son Tom (Dean Bills) a fort in his bedroom, which transports the duo to a series of fantasy worlds. The fort gives Kitty a taste of freedom from the fear and control that dominates her life, fortifying her to plan their escape.
The screenings coincide with Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Month.
To encourage audiences to engage with the subject matter and continue discussions, “The Fort” includes apre-filmed post-screening discussion presented by Voice of Change with Ryder Jack (Facilitator of Tomorrowman), Georgina Williams (Chair, UN Women Australia) and Adrian Asdagi (Carlton Football Club’s Carlton Respects). In the discussion, the panellists discuss the important themes explored in the film, suggest ways we can all bring about change by calling out disrespect when we see it and how the small actions of many can lead to meaningful large-scale change.
Blaze is an interior designer, TV personality and writer who appears on “The Block” on Channel 9. She also won “Celebrity Apprentice Australia” last year.