Australian rock band The Sunnyboys, formed in 1980, were known for their powerful yet melodic songs, many written by frontman Jeremy Oxley. Jeremy and his brother and fellow band member Peter originally hailed from Kingscliff where they were students at Tweed River High and members of garage band Wooden Horse. After moving to Sydney and forming The Sunnyboys, the band moved from playing small inner-city venues to cracking the mainstream music charts very quickly. However as is the case with many bands, talent and enthusiasm was not enough to keep them together. Jeremy Oxley was battling mental illness and after much internal dissent, and despite critical praise and a number of hits, The Sunnyboys broke up in 1984.
The Sunnyboy is a new film that follows Jeremy Oxley as he emerges from a 30-year battle with schizophrenia. Only recently stabilised with medication and secure in a loving environment, the documentary follows Jeremy as he begins to unpick the confused thoughts and feelings he has about his painful past. Unsure of what is real and what is misconstrued, Jeremy tentatively revisits relationships damaged by his illness, most significantly with his brother and fellow band member Peter. With the support of his partner Mary, Jeremy also struggles with the physical ravages of his illness and years of a destructive lifestyle, as well as the many relationship challenges they face as they prepare for marriage.
Told largely from Jeremy’s own perspective, The Sunnyboy had its world premiere in June at the Sydney Opera House for the Vivid Festival, in partnership with the Sydney Film Festival. The film received a standing ovation from the sell out 1300 audience as Jeremy, Mary, Peter and director Kaye Harrison took the stage. An enlightening exploration of one man’s experience of a misunderstood and stigmatised condition, The Sunnyboy is an inspiring story of hope, survival and the healing power of unconditional love.
Palace Byron Bay will be screening The Sunnyboy on Sunday September 15 at 1pm, followed by a Q&A with director Kaye Harrison and Jeremy’s wife Mary Oxley Griffiths.
Tickets available now at the cinema box office, phone bookings 6680 8555, or online at www.palacecinemas.com.au.