Me and My Left Brain Film Review

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What happens when you’re in love with someone and you don’t know how they feel about you, plus you have an audition in the morning and can’t sleep? This is exactly what happens to Arthur (Alex Lykos) in “Me and My Left Brain.”


“Me and My Left Brain,” is Alex’s second feature film making his debut as a director. Malcolm Kennard plays Left Brain who Arthur airs out his insecurities to and Rachel Beck plays his best friend, Vivien. The three main characters play off each other well. Left Brain is intense with nice glimpses of bro-ish camaraderie between him and Arthur, which is appealing to watch. Alex plays Arthur who is down to earth and relatable; anyone who’s experienced insomnia and anxiety will see themselves in this character, like I have. There are wonderful similarities to Woody Allen in performance and style with Alex’s own intertwined into this feature, which is captivating and delightful to watch. Rachel Beck’s directed performance is outstanding. Many female audience members remarked afterwards how natural and effortless her performance was and how they loved her likeable yet fun loving character. There are many hilarious moments for audiences to enjoy!

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The screenplay is an original work written by Alex whose other credits include Alex and Eve (feature) and stage shows Better ManThe Negotiating Table, It’s War and the original musical Australia’s Game. Me & My Left Brain is an adaptation of the successful stage play A Long Night that celebrated two sold out seasons in Sydney and won several awards at the 2013 Sydney Comedy Festival.


Alex has another feature and series in the works and is a writer / director/ producer of this generation and one to watch. Everyone should support such great talent, who is generous & gives a lot to the industry like he has.

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Me and My Left Brain is currently showing at Rtiz Randwick and selected Event cinemas.


The making of Me and My Left Brain


Me and my Left Brain with Alex Lykos




Diversity Spotlight: Interview with Sam Wang, starring in Skyduck (Belvoir St Theatre)

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Sam Wang studied film and law at UTS before training as an actor at Toi Whakaari: New Zealand Drama School. His previous credits include The Chairs, The Mooncake & The Kumara and Hope & Wire. In 2019, he will be appearing in Runaway Millionaires, The Script of Life and Skyduck: A Chinese Spy Comedy as part of Belvoir’s 25A program.

  1. What made you want to be an actor?

S.W: By accident! When applying for uni, I picked a film and law degree as a joke for my third choice – thinking it’ll never come to that – and then ended up in it. Had no idea how to find actors for our first-year film projects so just acted in them and was hooked.

I then convinced my parents that taking acting classes would help my law career…it didn’t!

  1. Who were your role models growing up? 

S.W: Michael Jordan, Jackie Chan, Jim Carrey and Rowan Atkinson.

Also, can I say The Mighty Ducks and the Jamaican bobsled team in Cool Runnings? There was an Asian kid in The Mighty Ducks who was an ex-figure skater turned ice hockey player. As an adult, you’re like ‘well, that’s very different skillsets,’ but when you’re a kid, it’s like “he can do that jumpy-spinny thing! Of course he plays ice hockey!”

I think that’s why I ended up in the arts. It’s not about winning or losing, it’s about playing with MOFO style! (Disclaimer: in a way that wouldn’t work in any other real-life situation)

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  1. What made you want to write your play & what was your inspiration?

S.W: Since reading the book See No Evil by Robert Baer which was loosely adapted into the film Syriana, I’ve become fascinated with the role and influence of intelligence agencies on domestic and international politics (and vice-versa). So I really wanted to write something on that subject but since I’m not a real spy – promise – and couldn’t ‘openly’ plagiarise someone else’s memoir, a historically accurate drama wasn’t really viable. So I went with the next best option – a historical parody where truth was optional…like contemporary politics!

  1. Can you explain a bit of the process of how you got your play at Belvoir?

S.W: We pitched Skyduck for 25A in the first year and didn’t get in. I was ready to scrap the idea but at their launch party, I met Christine, one of the festival directors at Crack X, who convinced me to pitch to their festival in Newcastle. We did, got in, and that forced us to actually make the show! It had a great run, we got some great footage and then, with a very convincing letter from Pierce, the other festival director, we were able to submit a much more competitive pitch to Belvoir this second time round and were lucky enough to get in.

  1. What is your dream role & why?

S.W: Probably a character like Abed in a show like Community. I just really like Community…like really, really, really like!

  1. What do you think about the current state of diversity in Australian theatre, tv and film? (and how can we make it better? Do u think one medium is better than the other?)

S.W: It’s hard to be objective but it definitely feels like some really, really positive things are happening. I think what’s really encouraging is that tastes are slowly shifting. Audiences are more and more exposed to stories that are diverse and some of them are developing a taste for it.

Is it enough to justify from a purely economic standpoint, a business case for investing in more diverse stories right now? Maybe, maybe not! But it’s still a business risk. Of course you won’t get a hit show simply by ticking off as many ‘diversity’ boxes as you can…but if your competition can, and they do it well, then they’ll be changing the game and you’ll be playing catch up.

I think this is already happening. It’s just a question of how far can it go and who’s voices are still being excluded.

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  1. Where do you think you will be in 10 years time? 

S.W: Hopefully still pursuing a career in this industry…fingers-crossed!!!

  1. What advice do you have for upcoming actors?

S.W: My favourite advice is that everyone’s running their own race…

Followed closely by stupidity is a very special quality…But then again, if you’re pursuing a career in acting…you probably have an abundance of it! Good job! And keep going!

Diversity Spotlight: Interview with Alex Lykos about his latest film, “Me and my left brain,” & his latest idea for the Oz film industry.

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Alex Lykos makes his directing debut, a new Australian comedy called Me & My Left Brain & is the writer of the successful Aussie movie – Alex and Eve.

Me & My Left Brain stars Mal Kennard as Left Brain (Catching Milat), Rachel Beck as Vivien (Hey Dad!), Chantelle Barry as Helen (Entourage) and Laura Dundovic as Sandra (Ruben Guthrie) as well as Lykos who plays the film’s central character Arthur – his second acting role after a brief appearance in Alex & Eve.

J.H: What inspired you want to make, Me and my left brain?
A.L: The making of Alex & Eve film wasn’t a pleasant experience for me. And coming from the theatre whereby we were putting on 2 shows a year, the process of filmmaking felt extremely slow. We spent 6 years in development and I thought that there has to be a better way. So for my next film I adapted Me & My Left Brain which I knew could be shot on a much lower budget and therefore get it made much quicker. 
J.H: How did you come to choose your actors? (What was your casting process?)
A.L: Being the writer of the film, I had a strong but abstract idea of what I was looking for. I put together a shortlist of names for each role and then met with prospective actors. For example, for the role of Left Brain, I planned to me with Mal Kennard for half-hour. Two-hours later, we were finishing each other’s sentences. The chemistry was instant. 
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J.H: Do you see a change in the TV and cinema landscape regarding diversity? 
A.L: I think now there is a strong push at both the state level of government and an overall acknowledgement from the public that we are a diverse nation. And with more and more creatives from a CALD background, there is a shift in progress, which will gain momentum and down the road the shift will be exponential.
J.H: You are one of this year’s judges for the annual Joy House Film Festival, what are you looking out for & what makes a great film? 
A.L: I always gravitate to good story with interesting characters. Production values are nice but they do not make or break a film for me. If the story is good, I wont notice the production values. 
J.H: You’ve come up with a great idea attracting the Australian public to come and see more Australian Films, what made you come to think of this and what is it exactly?
A.L: The idea came to me as we prepare to promote our film. Whilst brainstorming ideas I thought, what if Australians could watch Aussie movies for free? So from there I thought of an annual government cinema voucher scheme.
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J.H: When is “Me and my left brain?” coming out, where can we see it? 
A.L: The film was scheduled for release 16th May. However, we understand that the federal election is going to be called for Saturday 18th May — which will make it tough as the country is distracted at this time.
We are speaking with cinemas for an alternative date in June. We are waiting to confirm this new date if it is possible.
Alex Lykos video link:

Diversity Spotlight: Interview with Aileen Huynh performing in David Williamson’s The Big Time

The Big Time - by Brett Boardman

Aileen Huynh is a Australian-Vietnamese actor who has appeared in films

including, Tim Ferguson’s Spin Out, The Casting Game and  T.V. shows:

 Cleverman, Betterman and Neighbours. She is now starring

in David Williamson’s latest play, The Big Time, at the Ensemble

Theatre. This is a fast paced, modern play which depicts the wonderful

world of entertainment where Celia (Aileen Huynh) is playing a lead role

in a soapie, earning her big money and her friend Vicki (Claudia Barrie),

whom she graduated from NIDA with, is doing the hard yards creating

worthwhile art for smaller, sophisticated audiences. It’s not until Vicki

turns her hand into film directing that she has the opportunity to cast

Celia, but will jealousy and bitterness get the best of her?  


I feel that this is David Williamson’s best work, as he’s able to draw on

personal experience in the entertainment industry – that of his sons who both

attended drama school and his daughter who is an agent, and his wife who

was a theatre critic. I particularly love the twists and turns and the fact that

colourblind casting played a big part in this play.


I had the pleasure of interviewing Aileen for our Diversity Spotlight post.

The Big Time by Prudence Upton

J.H: What was it like reading David Williamson’s latest play?
A.H: David’s latest play is about the acting industry and the ruthless
world of ambition and celebrity. It was quite funny reading it as a performer
and seeing certain parallels and reflecting on my own experiences in the
industry. David’s whole family have had careers in the arts, so he had a
lot to draw from!!
J.H: What was it like meeting Mr Williamson during your play read?
A.H: Meeting David was such a pleasure. He is a very kind-spirited,
easy-going (and VERY tall) man. I remember writing my HSC drama essay
on ‘The Removalists’,  so it was quite the moment for me to sit around a table
with him in the flesh and read his new play.
J.H: What changes have you seen in the last few years in regards to diversity?
A.H: The last few years have seen a huge wave of dialogue and conversation
in regards to the need for diversity in our industry, and it is starting to filtrate
into some changes within the industry. We are starting to see a much richer
range of stories that are being told across our stages, which has wonderfully
drawn in a more diverse range of theatre goers. Although I feel Australian
mainstream TV is very slow on the uptake, there is a much different feeling
through platforms like Netflix, which make such a wide range of content,
many of which authentically celebrate diversity and have proven that there
are big audience numbers who want this. And then you have opportunities like
‘The Big Time’ that have come along, where for the first time in my acting
career onstage, I am playing a character that is not race-specific to my
background, and it is a wonderfully weird thing.
J.H: How can we maintain and keep diversity going in the entertainment


A.H: Maintaining, improving, keeping diversity alive and importantly

giving it its most authentic voice means representation needs to happen

both on and behind the scenes. Diversity must start from the key members:

CEO’s, producers, directors, writers and it must filter through to cast, crew

and all the other players. There is a feeling at the moment that diversity is,

‘in’, or ‘on-trend’, and we are more willing to showcase it on our screens

and stages while it’s hot. However diversity isn’t a novelty and going

to die out.

Far more change needs to happen in our working environments,

which is changing far slower than representation onscreen, where it

can be more easily called out.  The same teams and people are ultimately

still the gate-keepers. To really embrace diversity and genuinely reflect

our society we need to have more balance within the whole machine. 

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J.H: What has been most challenging as an actor?
A.H: For me, one of the most challenging things has been maintaining
such a topsy turvy lifestyle. Each week is different, things can get thrown
at you last minute and it’s hard to ever get into a long-term routine or flow.
It’s something I’m still constantly trying to work out and improve and it
never gets any easier. 
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J.H: What advice do you have for the next generation of actors?
A.H: Be kind to each other, share information, work together –
it will only make your career stronger.


Photos courtesy of Ensemble theatre, Brett Boardman, Haiha Le
and Prudence Upton

World Film Fair (New York) – filmmaking & distribution

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The first World Film Fair was held in New York on 26th to 31st October, 2018. Joy House Film Festival was invited to attend this event and we submitted all our 10 finalists’ work and one of our own feature films, The Casting Game, to be judged among thousands of entries from across the world.

The opening dinner was held at Trump Hotel, 1 Central Park West, New York, where many filmmakers and directors from other international festivals attended. Here media asked, “what makes a good film?” & “what makes your film festival different from all the other festivals in the world?” My answers were, “a great story and the right chemistry of characters/ actors, especially the leads and the way the film was shot – cinematography.” (Key points I’ve learned from Australian distributors.) The answer to the second question was, “to spread joy through the many films selected and awareness in diversity – not only through the casting of the actors but through the story itself. My aim is for people to feel uplifted after attending my festival and hope for social change in thought, action and behaviour. To change people’s views – acceptance, forgiveness, kindness and paying it forward. These have been popular themes for Joy House Film Festival films and my own work.”

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The films were shown at The Producer’s Club in uptown New York and Cinepolis in Chelsea. They were screened on rotation from 10am to midnight over four days. Here I was lucky to meet some wonderful filmmakers from New York, Los Angeles and Switzerland. Jillie Simon, Markus Otz, Emine Dursun, Phillip Walker. They were generous in sharing their thoughts about filmmaking. Many shared the importance of choosing people well, ones who are positive and enthusiastic throughout filming and who can actually deliver, in terms of cast and crew. And the importance of selecting great talent. I admire Jillie Simon’s tenacity in casting Eric Roberts in her film, “Hungry.” It took great persistence and it paid off in the end as her film has been selected in many festivals and won over a dozen awards. Well done Jillie!

world film fair people

On closing night, it was a great surprise that our 2018 Joy House Film Festival winner, “Joy and Heron” won best World Film Fair’s international animation award, and “Give me a minute” won best World Film Fair short film in Australia/N.Z/Asia & “The Casting Game” won best World Film Fair feature film in Australia/N.Z./Asia too.

World Film Fair best animation  World Film Fair Give me a minuteWorld Film Fair Best Australian Film

I went to New York with no expectations as I was just happy that our films were selected for exhibition and came back extremely proud and chuffed that our films were well received and won awards. We look forward to World Film Fair 2019.


While over in New York I was fortunate to meet distributors outside from World Film Fair. I’d like to share some important food for thought & lessons I’ve learned, as I’d like filmmakers in my shoes to be prepared and receive contract deals too.

Firstly, always make contact before going there and show a press kit of your film, trailer and a private link to your film too. Some distributors may only have time to read your press kit and see your trailer, so carry a USB of the best parts of your film and your whole film too – they’ll probably have time to just watch 10 mins of your film with you. Others do watch your film privately.

Secondly, they’ll ask for the budget breakdown of your film. Who brought in what. Never give a budget based on in-kind work or evaluations, as I learned in Australia in my first ever distribution meeting, that the market value for some work is based on experience and to over value your work as first time filmmakers is perceived to be arrogant / narcissistic. So keep the figures real. Over here I was asked, “Were your E.P.’s on board in title/name only, where they bring in at least a fifth of the budget and finish their work when filming finishes or are your E.P.s on board fully-fledged, finishing after the festival circuit is complete and distribution, and have ownership of rights / profits etc?” Also distributors would like to see a copy of the chain of title – rights to the story and ask what each of you are currently doing.

During conversation, you’ll be asked what made you want to tell your story and why you’re the best person to tell that story. It’s also great to find a connection with the person you’re dealing with, like I did with one here. It’s important to show humility – we talked about how life is too short to hold grudges and the power of forgiveness, and we connected when talking about our fathers.

Once you break down any fronts/barriers a person may have and just be in the moment, (don’t go in with any preconceived ideas or perceptions or expectations, and if you have a good enough product that has won awards, and has been selected into festivals), you have a greater chance in securing a distribution deal. I hope this helps you in reaching your goals and dreams as filmmakers. Don’t ever expect things in life as you’ll be greatly disappointed, just enjoy the ride!

world film fair the producers club

Interview with newly published author – Barton Williams

Barton Cuong Williams was adopted from Saigon, Vietnam in 1975 and raised in Adelaide, South Australia. He graduated as a school teacher and has written an award winning fitness programme for kids and self-published his first book, “Angry Mangry.” His second book, “But what are you?” has now been published by Olympia Publishers.

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J.H.  Who were your role models growing up and why?
B.W. Actor: Andrew Mc Farlane from Patrol Boat and The Sullivans because I just thought he was cool as a kid. Surf Ironman Champion: Guy Leech because he was one of the youngest ever competitors to win the famous Coolangatta Gold surf ironman competition and I was lifesaving Nipper from the age of 8. And my Mum: She was the most supportive, tough but honest mum, a child could ask for.
J.H. What drives you to do what you do?
B.W. I want to set an example for anyone who feels they cannot achieve. I had a challenging start to my childhood and there is not a day go by where I am not grateful for that. I owe it to my family and friends to pay that back in some way, shape or form.
J.H. What do you like doing best and why?
B.W. I like being creative. Starting with an idea in my head, writing it down (or typing it down these days) then getting it to a stage that it becomes a finished product. At the moment I am doing more educational writing and fitness writing than ever before!
J.H. What are the differences between self publishing and having a traditional publisher?
B.W. I don’t see a huge difference as both these days require social media marketing and a lot of work for all involved. (author and publisher)
J.H. Why did you want to write this book?
B.W. This manuscript has been a long time coming. Four years ago I had a documentary made by AFTRS on my childhood which sparked a lot of curiosity. I then felt that kids could really benefit from some of my challenges experienced as a child, hence I wrote “But What Are You?”
Baby Bart
J.H. Do you see changes in the Arts with Diversity?
B.W. Absolutely yes, there is sooooo much more cultural diversity on film and TV. eg. Street Smart (Channel 10) Crazy Rich Asians (feature film), Kens Convenience (Netflix), Master of None (Netflix) I think overall we are seeing ethnic minority groups being represented better but it needs to continue. Sadly Australia has take it’s time in doing so but has come a long way. I believe it has to start with writing diversity which will ultimately lead to casting diversity.
J.H. What is your advice for future writers?
B.W. Never give up! My manuscript was rejected by over 10 publishers in Australia and about the same in London. I was not giving up because I believed that this story was worthy of publishing! “But What Are You?” has been a long journey.
J.H. Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?
B.W. I hope to have written more children’s books, produced the stage production of BUT WHAT ARE YOU? which is already in development, having taken it to Edinburgh Scotland Festival and the Adelaide Fringe Festival. Hopefully continued to act professionally more and marketed my fitness programs internationally.
J.H. But does success looks like to you?
B.W. Repeated work from my publisher, acting agent or business colleagues is what defines success. I am not driven by awards or money but if people want to give them to us, sure we will accept them LOL.
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Interview with Joy House Film Festival’s Best Women’s Filmmaker & People’s Choice Winners – The challenges being a filmmaker!

The Annual Joy House Film Festival was on again at Hoyts cinema on Sept 9th, 2018. The only uplifting festival Downunder that promotes stories of JOY and celebrates DIVERSITY, supported by the Media Entertainment & Arts Alliance’s Diversity Committee.

I had the privilege of interviewing our Winners, this week my interview is with our Best Women’s Filmmaker (“Munchies” – Hayley Warnock) and People’s Choice Winner (“That’s Life” – Katharine Rogers).

Munchies    That's life

1) What made you want to produce / make your short film?
H.W.: I am a self taught stop motion animator. For every stop motion that I make, my aim is for it to be better then the previous one. This particular film Munchies had the biggest, most detailed set i’ve ever made before. It had proper film lighting instead of my desk lamps and I used stop motion computer software to help capture the animation. My overall goal for this film was to keep enhancing my animation skills and tell a story along the way.
K.R.: Growing up I spent a lot of time watching movies.  They formed a lot of my childhood and I had an understanding of movie images and the power of stories to move people.  When I started telling stories it seemed natural to tell them in a visual medium.
Hayley Warnock  Hayley Warnock Katharine Katharine Rogers
2) What do you consider important as a filmmaker and why? 
H.W.: When you don’t have human characters that people can relate to, I think as an animator you have to work extra hard for your characters performance to be taken seriously, however I think every element that goes into filmmaking is equally important. If you have a message that your audience can take away from your film, and they think about your film after it is shown, then you have created more than just a film.
K.R.: It always comes back to story.  Everything you do should be informed by the story you’re telling.   And only tell the story if it’s something that matters to do you.
3) Did you see any challenges whilst making your short film entry?
H.W.: My biggest challenge while making Munchies was the ability to create realistic smooth movements. Stop motion obviously requires an incredible amount of patience and if you lose focus even for a second you can lose the flow of your movements. After creating all the elements of the set with plasticine or other materials, another challenge arose when I had to move house. It meant carefully picking up and transporting the set across Melbourne. To top it off it also meant tilting the set on its side to fit through the doorframe! It was a delicate process. Luckily there were only a few carrots that didn’t survive the trip.

It’s always challenging making a short film. No have no budget or very little budget and you’re trying to make everything work to your advantage with only minimum help.   In my case I only had some of the actors for a short window of time, so I had to figure how to get the most out of the time and get the essential shots to tell the story.
Munchies set  Munchies set
4) Who inspired you to be a filmmaker and why?
H.W.: I don’t necessarily get inspiration from any person in particular but rather certain films or single moments in films. When I was much younger I wanted to make films but I didn’t have anybody that wanted to act in them, so thats when I decided to make my first animation. I didn’t need to rely on any actors, I could create my own. However in saying that, YouTube has been an incredible source of inspiration for myself and if I had to pick a singular person, it would be Brit Marling.
K.R.: ‘m not sure there was just one filmmaker.  There were a number of filmmakers who have influenced me over time.  It changes, a little I think as your tastes change.  I grew up watching MGM musicals so those must have had some influence and then I saw a of arthouse and offbeat cinema which as a young teenager kind of blew my mind, so all that factors in.
That's life scene That’s Life
5) How did you discover the annual Joy House Film Festival and why did you want to enter?

H.W.: When entering film festivals you never really have anything to lose, so when I came across the Joy House Film Festival in the online platform FilmFreeway, I was delighted to read about the festival and subsequently entered. There is something extra special about film festivals hosted in Australia, and it was a great opportunity for my film to reach a wider audience.


K.R: Three of my films have played at JHFF.  I can’t remember how I discovered it, probably via one of the film festival entry sites.  I think it’s always nice to have a screening in your home town and they’re aren’t masses of short film festivals in Sydney so Joy House Film Festival definitely adds to that landscape.

6) What’s the best thing about the Joy House Film Festival?
H.W.: I was lucky enough to attend the Joy House Film Festival this year. The biggest thing I noticed was that everyone was very supportive of each other with a general vibe of happiness going around! I also loved that it was inside the Hoyts cinema. Everyone’s film looked fantastic on the big screen!
K.R.: I really like that the festival’s focus is on Joy and Diversity.  There aren’t really any other festivals I can think of that focus on that topic.  A lot of my films are joyful, which is unusual in Australia (lots of shorts made here tend to be quite dark) so it’s nice to have some place to show films that focus on something positive.
JHFF 2018 poster & peeps v sml
Joy House Film Festival is always held on the Sunday after Father’s Day in September every year.
Spread the JOY! Pay it forward.