Director of Photography: David Rusanow.

Surrounded by family violence, ten-year-old James (Kieran Cochrane) uses the power of his imagination as a sanctuary for himself, his brother and mother from a disturbing reality. He uses his amazing talent of drawing his own superheroes as a way of keeping his hopes for safety and respect alive in a household dominated by his father’s use of violence as a source of power over his family.

Shot by David Rusanow, Superheroes is a live-action and animated short film which tells the story of a boy’s connection to his imagination. Rusanow has won numerous awards for his work from the ACS and in 2009 received the Kodak AWARD for ‘New Director of the Year’. He has a particular aesthetic vision and meticulously applies his cinematography experience and skill to create stunning moving pictures. That is evidenced skilfully here.

Rusanow’s cinematography is simple yet pristine and mood-setting, companion to a nearly twelve-minute journey with a subtlety that never overwhelms or dominates the film. Director Chris Busuttil rather sparsely populates the film with dialogue, lending an intentionality to each word that works nicely within the dynamics of each unfolding scene.

The film was partly inspired by the story of Rosie Batty, who tragically lost her son to domestic violence in 2014 before shining a national light on the issue. Batty was awarded ‘Australian of the Year’ in 2015 and the Batty Foundation supported Superheroes. A must-see, it will screen twice at the festival.

Reviewed at the 2017 Sydney Film Festival (SFF).

By Vanessa Abbott.

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