• By Peter Sommerville
  • 29th February 2024
  • Category: News

Courtesy Netflix

April 19, 2023
Currently in release the  Australian film starring Leila McDougall, Robert Taylor, Susan Prior, Joel Jackson and Trevor Jamieson, marking the feature directorial debut of Simon Lyndon.

Merely sitting through the credits of any movie will enlighten moviegoers about the extensive team that is required to bring even the ‘simplest’ film to life.

However, at times, filmmakers are put in positions where the financial resources don’t match the requirements. In that case, a powerful story and an unbridled passion are what brings a team together.

Such is the case for Just A Farmer, a feature film currently shooting in rural Victoria, written by and starring Leila McDougall, directed by Simon Lyndon, who makes his feature debut after almost 30 years of work in front of the camera with standout roles in the likes of Chopper, Blackrock and Troppo. The film also features highly respected thesps Susan Prior, Damian Walshe-Howling, Robert Taylor, Joel Jackson and Trevor Jamieson.

McDougall [pictured with Robert Taylor in main image], who comes from the rural town of Tatyoon in Victoria, speaks to the film’s story. “It is shining a light on the unique issue of having mental health issues in farming communities. There is not always support around, so you’ve got to lean on your community, people who may not be the most qualified. It’s about how a community and family can come together through that,” she says.

“It was a page-turner,” remarks Lyndon who had a gut feeling about the story. “I always thought it would be a difficult movie to make given it being a gut-wrenching and painful story, however, that’s what made it feel so true and moving.”


The difficulties in bringing the film to life don’t just lie with the storytelling. Just A Farmer is relying solely on private investment and a helping hand from the community to complete production.

“With the budget, I’m not going to lie, it is extremely stressful,” says McDougall, who also produces. “We’ve been able to keep the costs low by shooting on our farm. Also, all the farming equipment, animal wranglers and extras are friends who we’ve called on to make this film. But it is made a lot harder by the costs associated with accommodation and living away from home. They definitely don’t make it easy to shoot in rural towns.”

It is a testament to the power of the story that has bought this team together. “With the crew, we wanted people who were passionate about the message. A lot of them aren’t getting paid the big bucks they would be getting paid normally.”

For Lyndon, who has directed short films and theatre, the film has provided a creative symbiosis between him and his team. “Luckily, me and some of the other team members have been working in this industry a while and have connections to people who really do care a lot about this message and the craft itself.”

As her first feature film script, Just A Farmer speaks to a truth that McDougall knows keenly. “I really wanted to be truthful and honest. The people who need to see this film, if they see something dishonest in it, they’ll disconnect immediately and won’t take the film seriously.”

Production on the film is in its final two weeks, with the team recently getting to see an assembly cut of a few scenes. “Everyone was almost in tears even though we watched a scene completely out of context and without the rest of the film to support it,” says McDougall.

Photos by Tea Van de Burgt

Just A Farmer (2024) Release Date is March 21, 2024




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