Crowd funding support rallies for Broke

21 January, 2014 by Don Groves

The crowd funding campaign for Broke, an Australian drama about a washed up, former rugby league star who battles a gambling addiction, is kicking goals

Producer Luke Graham and first-time director Heath Davis aim to raise $55,000 via Indiegogo (


Since the campaign went live on January 16, 71 people have chipped in more than $22,000. With 49 days to run, Davis is hopeful he’ll reach the target so he can start shooting in Gladstone, Queensland, in May.

Steve Le Marquand will play the protagonist Ben “BK” Kelly, who tackles his demons and strives to win back the respect of his community with the help of an ageing railway worker (Steve Bisley) and his single parent daughter (Claire van der Boom).

“We’re pretty stoked,” says Davis, who made the short films Bee Sting, Bella, Spoon Man and Rabbit, and The Jezabels Live at the Hordern DVD. “There is a real buzz about it.”

Davis believes the filmmakers’ pledge to direct the profits to the Men of League Foundation, a charity which supports members of the rugby league community who have fallen on hard times, is an added hook.

The campaign has enlisted the help of Owen Craigie, who quit rugby league in 2006 after experiencing suicidal thoughts, a drinking problem and a debilitating gambling habit. Craigie has offered to introduce the filmmakers to NRL clubs. Filmmaker Bill Bennett and writers Shaun Grant and Andrew Bovell have offered their support.

Most of the Indiegogo contributors have pledged $100 (which entitles each to two tickets to a VIP screening), while two have coughed up $1,000 (which means each will get a small speaking role and other perks).

The filmmakers say on their Indiegogo page, “Unlike many other established, wealthy and famous folks who have used this platform to finance their respective projects, we aren’t millionaires or even “thousand-aires” (unless you’re talking in Balinese terms, of course).

“In fact, we are just average Joes with average day jobs but with plenty of passion, self-belief and we think it’s okay to say “talent”. Sadly, that can only get us so far. While we are investing as much as we can afford of our own funds into this film, we still need your help and generosity to get us further down the yellow brick road and bring a life time’s dream to reality.”

Executive producer Jonathan Page plans to screen the film on the international festival circuit to build buzz and awareness before negotiating with distributors for the theatrical, home video and VOD releases.