What happens when a young man is forced to become a superhero when he loses a bad bet in a poker game?
Produced in Perth, Australia, in 2007, Stingray got its start as a fun discussion that we were having in Turkey on a media production outreach. Two students of the course that I was leading had had the idea of a superhero called “Stingray” (real name: Ray Sting) who doesn’t enjoy his role, and only maintains it because of losing a bet of some sort. As we talked about it, we developed the idea and came up with lots of potential subplots and moments for the character.
I few months later I was prompted by various circumstances with the idea of trying to see if I could capture the entire story we’d developed into a five minute film. It quickly became apparent that five minutes wasn’t going to be enough, but by then we’d gotten started with the idea of making the film and telling the story as tightly as possible (it came out to be about 16 minutes long, but I did later edit a five minute version!)
Nearly the entire film was shot over one very busy weekend in June, 2007. Sadly, however, it was around 16 months later when the editing was finally complete! The music was not written specifically for the film, but selected by permission from pre-existing music by Cale Stanage and Mark Klassen.
One oddity about the production is that there are almost no Australian-born actors in this movie. Most of the cast comes from the USA, Canada, England, and Norway. The main exception was the actor who played one of the two thieves at the end (Lachlan) – but he spoke in a cockney accent!
The themes of Stingray are summed up in two lines of dialogue. The first is spoken by Warren right at the opening of the film: “What’s your dignity worth to you?” The second is “What is justice?” asked by the Professor as part of his lecture. Taken together, these two questions are the heart of Ray Sting’s journey from a victim and passive participant to a hero.
Click here for bonus material.