The Trophy Thief is a short film set in the world of Saturday morning sport, where a young boy slowly comes to terms with the injustices of life. The film aims to paint a vivid and rich portrait of what it is to be a child growing up, and examine how skewed a child’s value system can become when faced with a traumatic life-changing event. It captures a child’s first glimpse into adult life where the innocent façade of playtime morphs into a harsher social reality.
The story originated from my girlfriend’s youth. Like myself, she was an avid sportswoman, who had for many years sought after, and idealised sporting trophies, only to walk into a trophy store and realise that any trophy could be bought for a price. The image struck me as a great metaphor for growing up, representing all the false idols and perceptions that we create for ourselves in youth. Immediately upon hearing the story, I began work on the script for The Trophy Thief.
Truth, illusion and loss are big themes in The Trophy Thief. I’ve often been fascinated by these themes, and they feature prominently in all my previous work. In addition to exploring these themes, the film is an investigation into what is real and authentic in the lives we lead. It poses a number of dramatic questions: How do we deal with loss? How do you survive when the world is against you? How do you know whom to trust? And: What is truly valuable in the lives we lead?
When I think back to my youthful perceptions, I believed that life had defined rules where fairness and honesty would often bring positive change. In growing up, I realised that life was not that simple, and that part of becoming an adult was recognising and accepting the injustices of the world, but finding the strength to move forwards regardless. This is the human experience that the film is based on, and hopefully that everyone can relate to. At a premise level the film says: you can overcome any problem by sticking besides the people who are true to you. It’s a coming of age story where truth triumphs over illusion.