'Sharko' documentary trailer circling for December
CENTRAL Queensland filmmaker Luke Graham is making progress on a feature-length documentary centred on his father, New Zealand rugby league legend Mark Graham, with a trailer set to land by the new year.
Mark Graham, 63, was inducted into the NRL Hall of Fame in July - the first New Zealand player to do so - after a playing career that saw him represent Norths Devils (Brisbane), the North Sydney Bears for 146 games, a short stint for English side Wakefield Trinity and 29 Tests with 18 of those as captain.
Mark currently lives in Gladstone and works for the Gladstone Ports Corporation.
The project, titled Sharko, will be released in theatres and is based on the rugby league legend's personal and public life.
It will tell the story from Mark's childhood on the mean streets of Otahuhu, to his rise to the top of the rugby league world.
Luke is currently working on a trailer for the film and finalising the script after last speaking to The Observer during the infancy of the project two months ago.
"We'll be doing some filming for it by the end of the year. We want to get our script and trailer prepared and ready to go before we go into production in January or February," Luke said.
"Screen Queensland have the final say on when the trailer can be released but I'm hoping by December.
"There's still a few stages and processes but we're slowly getting there and looking forward to getting it out in full by July next year.
"Because of our partnership with the NRL and NZRL we'll be looking to take advantage of Australia and New Zealand Test matches."
Luke said the film will not only highlight Mark's achievements on the field, but also "explore the psyche behind a human being".
"It's quite boring to just live in the past - you really want to make it deep, meaningful and a successful product which crosses genres and target markets," he said.
"It's about making this film, which is something of interest to a general audience and not just your sports-loving male audience.
"Even though it's a documentary we are treating it like a feature... we're developing the important stuff like the story, the character.
"What we're after is a really beautiful story to connect with one of rugby league's hardest men."
Luke wants to the film to be thought-provoking one, but can't give too much information away just yet.
"The key thing is, what makes someone the greatest? I can't say too much more than that but it's exploring what makes a person become the best," he said.
"It's also from the point of view of a son learning about their father's life - those key things we learn about that shape us and can either hinder our life or help them."
The film will feature a mixture of interviews, flashbacks and archival footage.
"We haven't had our interviews with Dad yet - we'll interview him at the end. We've interviewed seven people so far but there's always lots more," Luke said.
"It's interview, archival but also recreation. Sadly there's not a lot of footage - nothing of him as a child - and not a lot of photos.
"Before filming we'll be looking for someone that looks like a young my father and going to New Zealand and filming those scenes of him as a child and those key moments in his life."