Kooralbyn musician debuts on the big screen in award winning short film

STAR QUALITY: Kooralbyn musician Joanna Funk made her debut on the silver screen. Photo: Supplied
STAR QUALITY: Kooralbyn musician Joanna Funk made her debut on the silver screen. Photo: Supplied

KOORALBYN musician Joanna Funk has made her debut on the big screen after starring in a short film that has taken international film festivals by storm.

The film, Jacks (referring to the colloquial term for police) was written and directed by Joel Stephen Fleming of 13th Street Films and in December won the Oniros Best Dark Comedy Award in New York.

Released only last month, Jacks has so far been accepted for screening at nine film festivals across Australia and the world.

The film was the first time Funk had tried her hand at acting.

"In June 2020 I received a phone call asking if I was interested in auditioning for the part of an Asian drug lord. They said they needed a strong Asian character, so I said sure.

"I sent in a self-tape (video) and I got the part."

Funk said she knew a little bit about Joel Fleming as he had won awards for his work and while her first acting job was a bit daunting she felt she was in safe hands with the 13th Street creative team.

"I loved it," she said.

"When they told me I was going to play a drug lord complete with my own assassin I thought I was going to get a killer wardrobe but I ended up wearing a bathrobe made out of the same material as the curtains and bedspread in the motel room where the film was shot.

"It was explained to me that my character, Yang, was so strong that she didn't need to stand out.

"I was lucky to get to know these young, talented, positive people and I am so happy for Joel, winning this award"

Fleming is no stranger to the Scenic Rim, having filmed at Rathdowney for his comedy series pilot Welcome to Wrigleton in 2019. He said Funk was a natural, despite her inexperience.

"She is intelligent, creative and confident," he said.

"And she was happy to have a good go at it. She has raw talent and she did fantastic."

Another good thing to come out of the film, said Funk, was her collaboration with Continuance Pictures to create a blog featuring interviews with emerging film makers.

The Occasion with Joanna Funk shines a light on up and coming creatives, with written interviews and podcasts available on the Continuance website as well as Apple and Spotify. Funk said her experience demonstrated how life can take you in different directions no matter what your age.

"Here's the message. Life isn't over after you turn 40," she said.

The 58-year-old said she was amazed at the opportunities that had come her way, buying her first keyboard and joining her first band 18 months ago as well as her acting and writing gigs.