STARS: From left, Zai (Amit Pala), Jed (Michael Philippou),  Laila (Bijou Grace Henry) Sadie (Luca Sardelis) and Aero (Thomas Weatherall) are some of the characters of Deadlock.
STARS: From left, Zai (Amit Pala), Jed (Michael Philippou), Laila (Bijou Grace Henry) Sadie (Luca Sardelis) and Aero (Thomas Weatherall) are some of the characters of Deadlock. JULIAN PANETTA

Tragic crash to set the background for new series

A NEW web series based on a tragic car crash that killed four young Northern Rivers men will undoubtedly bring up painful memories, but the father of one of the victims supports the project.

Deadlock, developed by film-maker Deb Cox (Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries), was described as "loosely based, but not a re-enactment" of the tragic events of October 2006, when four teenagers from Goonellabah lost their lives at Broken Head after the car they were travelling in left the road and hit a tree.

The series, set against the backdrop of a terrible car crash that transforms the lives of five teenagers and their community, aims to explore "the incredible highs, lows, joys, heartbreak, camaraderie, laughs and bitter-sweet sorrow that make up a teenager's life."

Rob Wells, the father of Bryce Robert Wells, who passed away in the Broken Head crash, said he was contacted by Deb Cox while the show was in pre-production.

Mr Wells said he was advised the program was inspired by the tragedy but not a re-enactment, and was supportive of the series.

"If we can educate the kids that these things do happen, and that they are responsible for it, they can be more aware of the risks of driving cars," he said.

"As long as we can get it out there and out it in kids' faces... that it's for keeps if you get it wrong."

The five, 12-minute episode web series will air on ABC iView exclusively on Friday, July 20. 

YouTube stars

The web series stars YouTube sensations Michael and Danny Philippou (aka RackaRacka), Luca Sardelis (Nowhere Boys), Darcy McGrath (My Place), and newcomers Amit Pala and Thomas Weatherall.

Deadlock also features young talent from the Northern Rivers including Bijou Gracie Henry, Audrey Spence, Paddy Swain, Theodore Bourgoin, Sophia Wright and Ned Sacks.

The project was originated by Deb Cox and developed by she and Fiona Eagger's Every Cloud productions, alongside the writer and director Billie Pleffer.

Deadlock draws directly from the issues and experiences faced by teenagers in Australia, with local teenagers sharing their stories with the series' creatives as part of Every Cloud Productions' Development Workshop.

The workshop was funded by Screen Australia's Enterprise Stories program in partnership with Northern Rivers Screenworks, and led by series consultant Bryan Elsley, the internationally-acclaimed creator and co-writer of the UK hit series Skins.

Deadlock was filmed on location on and around the Northern Rivers and also engaged many locals across the cast and crew.

iView and Splendour in the Grass

The series will be available to watch in full on ABC iView on Friday, July 20, coinciding with its launch at the Splendour in the Grass music and arts festival in North Byron Parklands on the same day.

The entire series will screen at the Splendour Forum tent from 10am ahead of a panel discussion.

The LADS facility

Mr Wells said if the series could also somehow promote the LADS facility, it was doing a good thing for the community.

Southern Cross LADS (Learn About Driving Skills) was formed in January 2007 following the tragic motor vehicle crash at Broken Head.

One of the main projects of the Southern Cross LADS is the Driver Education Facility, a community resource based in Lismore that will be accessible to all road users from Tweed Heads in the North to Coffs Harbour in the South and Tenterfield in the West.

The facility will be the only one of its kind in the area.