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BEAT: Stan to stream Newcastle filmmaker’s biggest production

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It’s been breaking ground in the US and Canada since its launch earlier this month and, on Thursday, Newcastle filmmaker Jye Currie will see his film BEAT aired on Nine Network streaming service Stan.

As the largest independent film produced, written, and directed in the former steel city, the 95-minute Green Frog Productions flick is already proving itself and its creator are world-class.

BEAT explores the themes of homelessness and mental illness, set to a unique, original classical music soundtrack.

It is both haunting and yet beautiful and leaves an indelible mark on its viewers.

“I think there are two ways to leave a memory in someone’s mind,” Currie says.

“Something is either good or really bad. If you can remember a film a week after you’ve experienced it that’s good, but if you think about it three months later and still feel ‘ah remember how good that was’ then that’s the goal.”

BEAT has already broken records by its sheer scale.

Featuring 300 extras, 90 cast and crew, shot across 35 different locations, its touted as being the largest independent film produced in Australia.

Other than some of its lead actors, the film boasts an entirely Newcastle-based team, including Alexandra Jensen, famed for her roles in Frayed, Talk to Me, My Life is Murder and Amazing Grace.

Other big names include Gold Logie winning actress Rachel Carpani from McLeod’s Daughters fame, Alexis Lane known for The Flood and Cleverman, and former Blue Heelers actor John Woods.

Aptly titled, BEAT follows a young woman who finds herself connecting with a homeless man through classical music, after her own heart transplant: heartbeat merges with musical beat.

“I’ve always liked classical music and I believe it’s something that hasn’t been explored much in cinema,” Currie says.

Not stemming from a musical background, he says the genre has always had a soothing effect on him.

“I do a lot of long distance running and sometimes when I’m running for three hours classical music keeps me calm,” he said.

“It keeps the heart rate down and I don’t get tired out as quickly.”

For the film, it has an evocative effect.

“I wanted the film to feel timeless. It’s not set in the 90s or today, there’s only one person you see on a mobile phone in the whole movie,” Currie told the Newcastle Weekly.

“By including classical music, it makes it feel like [the film] is in its own reality.”

And, what about the theme of mental health.

“I’ve had my share of ups and downs, I think everyone does, but along the way I’ve found different perspectives or thoughts towards mental illness,” Currie says.

“I like the psychological element of mental health as opposed to just suggesting someone is just depressed. “

Curious by nature, Currie uses the film to explore a world in which organs and psychology intercept.

At times the collision is dark and eerie, at others the music offers a soft reprieve from the heaviness of the topic.

“I think the audience is engaged in the film; they’ve told me that when they watch it the second time there’s so many more clues that they pick up on.”

BEAT was released on major streaming services Apple TV, Amazon and VUDU last month.

The soundtrack to the film features a record-breaking 12 full-length original piano compositions, written and performed solely for BEAT.

Currie is now working on a documentary on mental health and suicide prevention to be filmed in North America early next year.

He was first recognised in his hometown in 2020 when he released Victim, shining a light on domestic violence.

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