Asylum seeker's soybean success story up for short film honours

Ben Cameron A Sunshine filmmaker who once played a surgeon on English soapie East Enders hopes to make the cut at a Yarraville festival.

A Sunshine filmmaker who once played a surgeon on English soapie East Enders hopes to make the cut at a Yarraville festival with his film on an asylum seeker success story.

Andrew Robb’s Tofu Man, a five-minute film shot on a mobile phone, won the ‘‘Dream Voices’’ award at this month’s Shepparton Short Film Festival.

Robb, who has lived in Sunshine for two years, worked as an actor in the UK on

The Basil Brush Show and produced the cult-hit Australian comedy The Vegemite Tales in London’s West End.

In keeping with his history of producing quirky films telling simple stories,

Tofu Man is up for best director, best cultural diversity, best screenplay and best documentary at this weekend’s Setting Sun Short Film Festival at the Sun Theatre.

The film, Robb’s first documentary, is described as a candid portrait of Vietnamese refugee Duc Nga.

Nga came to Australia after being orphaned aged 14. He built a tofu-making business in an old converted milk bar across the road from Robb’s Sunshine home.

“I realised there was more to this story than just coagulated soy milk,’’ Robb says. ‘‘It is an asylum seeker success story of great heart and humour, and quite timely in today’s political climate.’’

Robb said the asylum seeker issue was “a real can of worms”.

‘‘Having spent almost 20 years in London and seen how asylum seekers and refugees seem to be more widely accepted, it has
taken me a while to understand why there is such resistance here, and why the ‘stop the boats’ policy was so prominent in the last election.

“I do feel that anyone with a genuine need to get away from persecution and seek asylum in Australia should be given that opportunity.”


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