Perth-based filmmakers Director Nick Petkov and Producer Morgan Munro defied the uncertainties and fears of the Covid lockdown in 2020 to create their edgy psychodrama film, ‘Painkiller.’ Shot during that challenging time, the film explores the gripping story of Steven Sullivan, an office worker desperate to escape his mundane existence. Seeking thrills, he embarks on a dangerous journey that leads him down a path of violence, tragedy, and murder, delving into themes of isolation, emotional longing, and the desperate actions people with mental illnesses resort to when they feel trapped and abandoned by society.
Director Nick Petkov aimed to shed light on pressing social issues, particularly mental health and domestic violence, which he believes lack sufficient support and understanding. ‘Painkiller’ takes audiences on a disturbing and occasionally surreal ride, capturing Steven’s descent into darkness, his increasing isolation, and the fragmentation of his personality. Filming over a period of three months in various city and urban locations across Western Australia, the film was privately funded and received help from many local businesses including the renowned Tradewinds Hotel.
Fresh out of high school, Petkov attended the University of Western Australia to study economics but chose later to follow his artistic passion when he returned to study film at Edith Cowan University on the same campus as the prestigious WAAPA which has seen graduates like Heath Ledger and Hugh Jackman.
Since then, he has written and directed multiple short films exploring similarly important themes as Painkiller as well as an experimental film and projects that offer critiques on the film industry. He Even starred in one of his own short films “Whitewash.”
Petkov and Munro met in the middle of 2016 at a networking event and became friends ever since, appreciating each other’s style and love for film. Their first collaboration was a short film Aerial which was shot in 2017 and saw success when it was accepted into the Melbourne Underground Film Festival in 2018.
Despite the challenges faced, ‘Painkiller’ made its premiere at the WA Made Film Festival in February 2023 and has since garnered attention at ten international film festivals. The exceptional cinematography by Michael Thomas earned him the Australian Cinematographers Society – Bronze Award, celebrated for its stark and evocative style.
In addition to its festival success, ‘Painkiller’ secured an international distribution deal with Bounty Films and is currently in negotiations with major networks nationwide. This achievement attests to the film’s appeal and its potential to reach a broader audience.
Petkov and Munro are continuing their creative partnership and are currently engaged in developing their next feature film project.
To find out more about Painkiller and the film makers, visit the Left Of Centre Films website here: https://leftofcentrefilms.com.au/