Tuesday, July 31, 2012


We've been cleaning up the studio. Folks moving in. Folks moving out. Productions about to start. Dust starting to form into small ferocious creatures. In doing so, I stumbled across an old notebook and these photographs I'd taken years ago of my younger brothers out front of our childhood home. Like all photos taken of childhood - whether mine or my brothers - they are terrifying in how, in a still moment, time both collapses and expands, making the passing of time seem to have been endless and as brief as the blink of an eye.

Monday, July 30, 2012

A horse, night.

Wanderers are my favourite people. And one of my favourite people and collaborators, Mr Tim Mummery, is currently wandering the Kimberleys in remote Western Australia, making new films, finishing old ones, camping with the old folk and meeting new mob. Every now and then, during his travels, whether in Mexico or the USA, India or the Gulf of Carpentaria, he sends me a cluster of beautiful images or a small excerpt of his meandering/thinking from wherever he is. Things like this:

And a while back he sent me this poem by an acclaimed and well known US poet I'd never read and never imagined I would read (but have since planned some time in this life to read more of): 
Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.

You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.

Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.

Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.

Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
call to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Mary Oliver
 And he sent these:

And these:

And this:

Then, a few nights ago, he sent me this mysterious and intensely beautiful photograph he had taken while sleeping rough on the edge of a horseman's camp. Over the space of several days, the horses would slowly let him approach closer and closer until they met in this way:

It was strange to get this image as I had been having some kind of day dream just before receiving this (perhaps around the same time as the photograph was taken) about frightened horses in a paddock at night, whinnying and rearing. And, with this thought in mind, I'd resolved to incorporate an image of the slightest light in a horse's eyeball into one of the end sequences of a film I'm working on. In the sequence an approaching fire frightens the horses and kangaroos in the paddocks near to the fringes of the fire. I didn't want to be able to see anything other than a frightened eye in the darkness. The image in my mind's eye was almost identical to this. Somewhere his thought had wandered to mine, or mine to his. Whatever it is, it's a beautiful thing.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Crush #2

Making playlists for unmade films is easily one of my favourite things to do. For a feature script that I've been writing with my shady best pal and colleague Christopher O'Young, the soundtrack has turned out to just be a single album... no mixes, no omissions, not even a reordering of the tracklist. The album is Flight of Delusion by Guai Li, a band - one of the acts who have been reshaping Beijing music - that is criminally unknown around these parts*.

My love for the band is helped by the creative crush I've got on the lead singer Wen Jun who has the charisma of a cinema star and the mess and noise of a punk god. You should check them out if you've got the time and inclination. They are lords. And if you dig them, you should buy their album from tenzenmen, who are a local company that releases a fucking amazing roster of indie, punk and experimental artists from the massive music scenes in China, Indonesia and beyond.

Sigh. Crush.

From the tenzenmen site:
*There are a few clips on the web of Guai Li live and a handful of interviews and reviews. This is an excerpt of one of my favourite poorly translated blog reviews:
"As their name, Guai Li people love all the mysterious and inexpressible things, like the ghost, witchcraft, universe, white noise and a little addiction."

Love #1

I love this man:

And I love his films. So, it is probably stating the obvious to confess that I love this interview.
"If the filming is done with love, then it’s very easy to engage in such a way where you feel that person’s experience as your own."
Portrait of the artist as a young man:

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Screen Tests #3

If only you could make images like these guys did in their whirlwind years...

Screen Tests #2

From camera and lens tests for 'Galore':


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Screen Tests #1

Above is a little behind the scenes snap someone posted on instagram from some of our recent camera and lens tests. I think it was an Alexa studio with Cooke sphericals that we were testing. I should have kept notes.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Fog and Film

Crush #1

Image from '3-Iron' by Kim Ki-Duk

Your Eye

“Practice, practice, practice and the camera becomes your eye and not so much this complicated technological thing to mediate to get an image.” 

image - Lukasz Wierzbowski
words -  Peter Hutton

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Coast Is Always Changing #2

More photos from the location scouting for 'Small Mercies'...

(Some days the light is just right and the seaspray in the air is dense and the coast is something extraordinary. And some days it is as dull and banal as the deepest, bleakest suburbia but simply more bleached by the sun and salt.)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Coast is Always Changing #1

When I write, I normally have a strong sense of the places and locations that I'm writing about. The sense or feel of a place and time often prefigures character. There is a thick-headed old adage that you hear people lobbing about like neo-conservative gospel that you should only write about what you know (What right, it seems to suggest, do we have to search out the unknown, or to identify deeply with someone other than ourselves?) I have to confess I rarely write about characters I know. Maybe the characters think and feel in ways that echo what I might have thought or felt, or people I know may have thought or felt; but how insanely dull would the months of writing be if you weren't trying at the same time to discover those things about characters, about people, that you don't know?

In any case, when I write my half baked scripts, the characters might remain unknown to me, but what I do normally 'know' are the places where the stories are set. So, the project I'm currently undertaking is a strange one for me. I've adapted the short story 'Small Mercies' for the portmanteau adaptation of 'The Turning' written by Tim Winton, to be produced by Robert Connolly. A whole pack of filmmakers, actors turned directors and cross disciplinary artists are tackling the seventeen intertwined stories from the book. True to Winton's deep attachment to the ocean and the West Australian coast, most of the stories take place along the fringes of the continent, in small run down fishing towns. I'm thousands of kilometres from these locations, so we're trying to find a sense of his story in other locations closer to home. 

So, these past days, I've been haunting the South Gippsland coast, looking for and photographing places and spaces that feel like the unmade film in my head. It's strange when you get a shock of recognition in a place you've never seen… and slowly, slowly, those small sparks are accumulating and the script is finding it's place in the real world.

Strangely, due to time restraints, we'll shoot the film in just a little over a month, but delay our post production until some time after we've shot the feature 'Galore'. So, I won't know for many, many months whether these imaginary spaces tie themselves together in the real world in a way that creates a unified sense of this fictional town. Here's hoping.

"We look out upon the sea / The coast is always changing / We'll take the train out to the sea / My heart is always changing / It won't be long before you've gone / I can't imagine leaving"