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The Lunatics' Ball

Film (Excerpts) – 1999

Passion project The Lunatics' Ball follows an unorthodox psychologist who arrives at a psychiatric hospital and tries to use art, joy and respect to motivate his patients. First-timer Michael Thorp wrote the script partly out of worries that drug-based treatment programmes could prove more of a trap than a solution. After casting American-born oboist Russel Walder in the main role, and shooting on a shoestring, Thorp completed editing thanks to $400,000 in Film Commission funding, and help from some major industry names. The result won a jury prize at the Shanghai Film Festival.


I really wanted the part because the heart of the story is about someone who puts it all on the line, who is willing to do anything, and I found that a very impressive quality.
– Lead actor Russel Walder

Key Cast & Crew

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Russel Walder

As: Charles

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Peter Scholes


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Michael Thorp

Producer, Writer, Director

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Jane Irwin

As: Charlotte

Generic Profile image for Sarah Ashworth

Sarah Ashworth

As: Sarah

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Michael Daly

As: Taylor

See all 26 credits

Produced by

Michael Thorp Films


Music composed and conducted by Peter Scholes, and played by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.

Soundtrack includes 'Core', Chrysalis' and 'Code',all composed and performed by Russel Walder, and 'Adagio in G Minor' composed by Remo Giazotto