True events inspired the debut film of Bar Beach's Cameron Utiger.
The 22-year-old aspiring filmmaker has just completed shooting the film, titled Cooked.
"It's a coming-of-age story set in my hometown of Newcastle," said Cameron, who wrote, directed and produced the film.
He's now in the middle of post-production for the feature-length film.
"The story of the film is entirely based on real events that myself and my group of best friends experienced growing up in Newcastle," Cameron said.
"The film is inspired by these stories. When I was around 16, I began to write down these stories in my notebook thinking eventually they would translate well to film."
He was inspired by films like Lady Bird, Superbad and Dazed & Confused.
The title of the film was inspired by the term "cooked".
"It's something that was thrown around, especially in my teenage years, and I thought it was the perfect title for an Aussie coming-of-age story. For a definition, look no further than the Urban Dictionary."
The film is set around the final HSC exam and the start of adulthood.
"What better way to commemorate the end of this chapter than indulging in an 18th birthday party," Cameron said.
"We follow Ethan and his group of best mates as they throw themselves into their last big night together as a group, before they all go their separate ways. The coming night will test their friendship as everything, inevitably, doesn't go exactly to plan."
The actors were sourced from people he knows from the Newcastle region and a free website called StarNow.
"They are from all across the country, including Sydney, Newcastle, Brisbane, Canberra and Melbourne," he said.
"The filmmaking process was challenging, but the most gratifying experience of my life. Working over a year and a half to a goal, and the final product turning out how you envisioned, is the best feeling in the world.
"I learnt so much and hope to bring this experience to the next film."
To finance the film, he spent more than a year working and saving until he reached half the budget. Crowdfunding helped raise the rest, with the overall budget about $31,000.
The film was shot and set entirely in Newcastle at locations including Bar Beach, University of Newcastle, The Obelisk, Newcastle Beach, Watt Street, The Grand Hotel, Newcastle Grammar School and The Junction.
"Our goal is to have the film edited and completed by the end of the year," he said.
"We have no cemented plan for release - we hope to submit to film festivals and hope some producers and distributors pick up the film and release it in cinemas Australia-wide.
"Any distributors or producers interested in the film, contact me on 0478-624-998 or find us on Instagram or Facebook @TheFilmCooked."
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