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Hanson invited to Cronulla riots film

AAP logoAAP 6/08/2016 By Helen Velissaris

Pauline Hanson has been offered double-pass tickets, choc tops and a kebab to see a black comedy about the Cronulla riots.

Director Abe Forsythe extended the invite to the One Nation party leader while walking the red carpet of his new film Down Under.

The film is set 24 hours after the violence between Middle Eastern and Caucasian mobs in Sydney's south in 2005, and highlights what Forsythe says is the "absurdity" of racism.

"I'd love her to see it, I genuinely mean that too," Forsythe told AAP on Saturday.

"I think if she wants to see it we'll give her a double pass and choc tops and a kebab,"

Forsythe wanted to make a statement with the film and thought using comedy would help him reach a far bigger audience.

"If I made a drama about this it's not going to play out in the suburbs, it's not going to play to Cronulla, it's not going to play where the characters are in this movie because I kind of want these people to see this movie," he said.

He says if one person sees the film and contemplates changing their behaviour, it will be worthwhile.

Stars of Australian film and TV packed the premier screening in Melbourne on Saturday, including Underbelly actor Gyton Grantley, Offspring's Dan Wyllie and The Dressmaker's Sarah Snook.

Rahel Romahn, who starred in SBS's acclaimed The Principal, plays the film's lead, Nick.

He feels the streets are no longer safe for non-Caucasians and leads a carload of men looking for revenge after the riots.

Romahn says his character is conflicted, and finds it hard to justify his actions.

"It doesn't matter who you are, it doesn't matter what you look like, doesn't matter what culture or religion you are, if you go about life the wrong way with anger and hostility you will only be given that in return," he said.

Releasing the movie wasn't that simple for Forsythe.

He initially wanted to release it last year to mark the 10th anniversary of the riots but felt it would be deemed disrespectful, and pushed the release to 2016.

While the movie focuses on events from 10 years ago, Forsythe says the themes are just as relevant today.

"Pauline Hanson and everything else that has been going on here and overseas has just kind of made it frighteningly relevant in a lot of different ways," he said.

"The anger that was coming out of people back then was over something different and it seems like that anger now is being reappropriated."

Forsythe says he's been abused on social media by people objecting to the film, and says it's almost like characters from the film are actually talking to him.

Down Under opens on August 11.

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