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This Is Going To Be Big

1h 30m Documentary, Musical 2023

Peek behind the curtain as a cast of neurodivergent teens prepares to come of age and hit the stage in their school’s time-travelling, John Farnham–themed musical.

Every two years, the Sunbury and Macedon Ranges Specialist School’s Bullengarook campus puts on a play. For expressive overachiever Halle, it will be an opportunity to honour her late aunt, who loved to sing. For methodical Josh, it will be a challenge to take seriously, while wide-eyed Elyse is just happy to be involved. And for charismatic Chelsea, it will be a chance to wow an audience with her undeniable comedic skill. Six months of auditions, rehearsals and nerves will be gruelling, but everything will pay off on The Time-Travelling Trio’s opening night.

The first MIFF Premiere Fund film to be awarded Bus Stop Films’ ‘Inclusively Made’ certification, in recognition of authentic representation and inclusive filmmaking processes, Thomas Charles Hyland’s feature directorial debut brims with unfettered honesty and quirky humour, revealing the human story behind the performed one. Told squarely from the teenagers’ perspective and documenting their experiences of autism, clinical anxiety and acquired brain injury, the film follows them, their families and the school staff as they weather the highs and lows leading up to showtime, foregrounding creativity’s role in fostering self-acceptance and in nurturing agency and resilience. As its title suggests, This Is Going to Be Big is sure to be a hit – an endearing, relatable tale of adolescent aspiration and a community that comes together to ensure these young voices ring out, both as John Farnham through the ages and, most importantly, as their optimistic selves.


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Jim Wright