PRESS CONFERENCE

by Rayed Darwish

Short Films
Email: [email protected]

Only Ernie Dingo could play the role of Australia’s first President. A man who enters a press conference and takes questions from everyone, including Alan Jones! He tells all about where Australia came from and where it’s going. Of how sport, not the Queen, is more important to our hearts. But is this picture too good to be true? There’s only way to find out.

press conference
by
Rayed Darwish
Revisions by
Rayed Darwish
Current Revisions by
Rayed Darwish, 13-4-2004
INT. PRESS CONFERENCE ROOM - NIGHT
On the press stage stands an AUSTRALIAN FLAG, emblazoned
with half the ABORIGINAL FLAG flag and half GREEN AND GOLD.
A SPEAKERS MICROPHONE stands in the middle.
WALTZING MATILDA, ever so faintly, plays in the background.
Cameras FLASH as JOURNALISTS and PAPARAZZI jostle for the
best position.
A POLITICAL AIDE, a stout, white 35 year-old man, enters
the stage and takes the mike.
AIDE
Good evening ladies and gentlemen. The
president of Australia will now answer
any questions you may have.
The aide leaves and the AUSTRALIAN PRESIDENT, ERNIE DINGO,
takes the stage. The national anthem ceases playing.
ERNIE
Brothers and sisters, greetings.
(points to journalist)
Go ahead mate!
JOURNALIST
Mr. President, why are you not backing
America in the war against terror?
ERNIE
What are you talking about? We got
enough problems at home to be worried
about someone else’s quest for world
domination.
(beat)
Besides, the Australian treaty states
that we only go to war if “we” are
attacked - not the other way round.
Journalists compete to ask the next question.
JOURNALIST 2
So you won’t be sending troops to
Iraq?
ERNIE (CONT’D)
Come on, I mean, why wage war against
a country where over 50% of the
population is under the age of 15? Or
whose child mortality rate is 133
deaths per 1000 live births?
(beat)
Let’s be realistic people.
(CONTINUED)
JOURNALIST 3
Are you afraid you may further enrage
President Bush who will, with or
without UN approval, go to war with
Iraq?
ERNIE
Afraid? Are you serious? I am the
legally and democratically elected
leader of this country. The majority
of Australians do not want - or need -
a war.
(beat)
Let's face it folks, our indigenous
forefathers maintained this land just
so we could live in it. We've fought
many battles but it’s time to look
after our brothers and sisters - not
the interests of warmongers out for
money and resources.
A CAMERA FLASH takes the president by surprise.
ERNIE (CONT’D)
Enough about the yanks. Why not
discuss our beautiful country,
Australia!
JOURNALIST 4
Mr. President, how will the up-coming
free-trade talks with England improve
Australia's position in the economic
world?
ERNIE
Oh, you haven't heard?
(beat)
There won’t be any “free-trade” talks
with England! Because from this day
forth, Australia will be “free” of all
foreign owned companies within our
borders. I mean, I’m sick of living in
the second most foreign owned country
on the planet.
JOURNALIST 4
(screams with anger)
So what are you saying Mr. President?
ERNIE
Simple mate. Australians are smart
enough to run Australia. Australian
made means Australian owned. And with
new legislation there will be an
influx of an extra 50,000 migrants per
year from now on end.
(beat)
2.
CONTINUED:
(MORE)
(CONTINUED)
We need to eradicate the damage the
WHITE AUSTRALIA POLICY has caused us
all.
The crowd is gob-smacked by such outspoken vigor displayed
by the no-holds-barred President.
ALAN JONES
Mr. Dingo, how do you propose
improving the health system when your
government keeps spending exorbitant
amounts of money on sport in
Australia?
ERNIE
With respect to your brilliant
question, Jonesy, I say to you, what
is Australia without sport? It’s in
our blood - it’s who we are.
ALAN JONES
Would you please answer the question!
ERNIE
Jonesy mate, obesity is our biggest
killer. Followed closely by smoking
and alcohol. The more people who play
sport, the fitter they become and the
less likely they are to indulge in
those deadly activities and the less
stressed our health system will be.
(beat)
Which is why the people’s lower house
passed legislation last night
prohibiting, in fact banning, all
cigarettes and alcohol within
Australia!
The audience are in an UPROAR!
ERNIE (CONT’D)
Australian parents and children have
lost too may close ones to these
deadly habits.
ALAN JONES
You can’t be serious!
ERNIE
Damn right I am bro! In fact, I’m
seeking to legalize marijuana!
(beat)
It’s natural and it’s been used for
medicinal purposes for generations and
it works in Holland. But remember
folks, only in moderation.
3.
CONTINUED: (2)
ERNIE (CONT'D)
(CONTINUED)
JOURNALIST
Frank Marks, The Boomerang Express.
ERNIE
Howyagoin’ Frank?
JOURNALIST
Mr. President, is it true you intend
to scrap private school funding all
together?
ERNIE
Damn straight bro. I mean, let’s be
honest, private schools by name - and
nature - are exclusive institutions
run by private interests. And that’s
why they should be privately funded.
JOURNALIST
But won’t that affect schooling
infrastructure and academic results in
the private schooling sector?
ERNIE
That’s exactly what the public
schooling sector has been saying for a
long time, Frank. PUBLIC schools -
which are not PRIVATE - will receive
an extra 50% funding each year.
(beat)
And I got one more thing to say as I
have a football game to attend.
The audience sits in silence as the President prepares his
farewell.
ERNIE (CONT’D)
This country was founded some 50,000
years ago by people who nurtured and
respected the land. A people who used
its resources so that the land could
prosper - not dwindle. Sure, there was
some colonialism, but hey, why not
share and be as equitable as possible?
(beat)
Now I’m not saying all the sins of the
past can be rectified, but we can - as
a nation - forge to create a society
based on egalitarianism, hope and a
better future for all who trek - and
live - in this great southern land!
A SNIPER SHOT is barely heard as the president looks
slightly worried. He peers down at his chest where a BULLET
HOLE has entered and a TRICKLE OF BLOOD flows out from. He
slumps down on the mike and sends a MASSIVE REVERBERATION
throughout the room.
4.
CONTINUED: (3)
EXT. ALICE SPRINGS - AYERS ROCK - DAY
Ernie, eyes closed, lays slumped on the desolate, barren
land. Clad in a ripped shirt and torn jeans, he picks
himself up slowly and dusts himself off. He holds a CAN OF
BEER in his hand which he throws away with all his might -
and frustration - into the sun.
He turns around and sees a SMALL ABORIGINAL COMMUNITY
living in squalor and third world conditions.
A few ABORIGINAL BOYS play Aussie Rules with poor excuse of
a ball with 4 WOODEN STICKS for goal posts.
He then turns and looks at Ayers Rock.
WALTZING MATILDA can be heard. It’s source a TOURIST BUS
heading to the rock filled with TOURISTS.
ERNIE
Dreams.
(beat)
Nothin’ but dreams.
FADE OUT.
5.

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