Monday, December 1, 2014

Here We Are #3

After many months of doing the rounds of releasing a film, preparing DVD releases, becoming enmeshed in the relative horrors of distribution and exhibition, tangling with release events, social media promotion and, step by step, losing the shine and inspiration of all the amazing people who bleed to make your film as you fall into step with the cynics and misery-peddlers who sit around at the end; after all this, it's easy to forget the bliss of shooting.

A couple of months back, we filled my brother's van with a bunch of friends whose abilities traversed acting, cinematography and production design and, for three days, we hooned around town and shot this clip on the sly for an old and inspiring friend, Joelistics. These were the people with whom there exists an easy shorthand and where the ability to create something ephemeral and difficult to articulate is possible because there exists a shared sensibility and understanding of what we're all reaching for.

The last story I told with this crew and these actors was one of a love destroyed just at the instant that it happened, so it felt right to create a story that is more like those loves that we experience; one of duration and hardship, or one where the love takes a different, albeit more wary form, after heartache, disappointment or deception; but one where there still exists tenderness and beauty and moments of levity. 

There are moments in here - the woman played by Lily Sullivan, casting her eyes back over her shoulder as she walks down a rainy street, or the man, played by Aliki Matangi looking up to the apartment where he knows his future might lie - that make me as proud as anything I've been involved in. This seems, after Small Mercies and Galore, like a footnote of heartbreak with, at last, more hope than hurt.


A Long Absence, Dawn

Saturday, October 4, 2014


 "You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive."
James Baldwin

 image: Stephen Somerstein 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Here We Are #2

Here We Are #1

Many months deep in writing and reading. A few of those spent lost and wandering. Evidence is lacking. Few photos, even fewer notes. The time was spent spinning out a few half written projects, polishing a few finished projects lost in stasis, and starting out a few that existed only in fragments or echoes. So, here we are.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Hold On To It

The best advice I can offer to those heading into the world of film is not to wait for the system to finance your projects and for others to decide your fate. If you can’t afford to make a million-dollar film, raise $10,000 and produce it yourself. That’s all you need to make a feature film these days. Beware of useless, bottom-rung secretarial jobs in film-production companies. Instead, so long as you are able-bodied, head out to where the real world is. Roll up your sleeves and work as a bouncer in a sex club or a warden in a lunatic asylum or a machine operator in a slaughterhouse. Drive a taxi for six months and you’ll have enough money to make a film. Walk on foot, learn languages and a craft or trade that has nothing to do with cinema. Filmmaking — like great literature — must have experience of life at its foundation. Read Conrad or Hemingway and you can tell how much real life is in those books. A lot of what you see in my films isn’t invention; it’s very much life itself, my own life. If you have an image in your head, hold on to it because — as remote as it might seem — at some point you might be able to use it in a film. I have always sought to transform my own experiences and fantasies into cinema.
Werner Herzog from "A Guide For The Perplexed"

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Secrets of Shadows

“Whenever I see the alcove of a tastefully built Japanese room, I marvel at our comprehension of the secrets of shadows, our sensitive use of shadow and light. For the beauty of the alcove is not the work of some clever device. An empty space is marked off with plain wood and plain walls, so that the light drawn into its forms dim shadows within emptiness. There is nothing more. And yet, when we gaze into the darkness that gathers behind the crossbeam, around the flower vase, beneath the shelves, though we know perfectly well it is mere shadow, we are overcome with the feeling that in this small corner of the atmosphere there reigns complete and utter silence; that here in the darkness immutable tranquility holds sway.”

Junichiro Tanizaki, 'In Praise of Shadows'
Find beauty not only in the thing itself but in the pattern of the shadows, the light and dark which that thing provides.
Find beauty not only in the thing itself but in the pattern of the shadows, the light and dark which that thing provides.
Find beauty not only in the thing itself but in the pattern of the shadows, the light and dark which that thing provides.

Hillside #2

On a hillside in Barcelona with actor Lily Sullivan... Galore hardcore.

Hillside #1

On a hillside in Ainslie, with this one, actor Ashleigh Cummings, who is about to go through the wringer with me on the Australian release of our flick Galore.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Time Unfolds Us: Palenque. Day.

"Have the figurines and books that I lost over the years dissolved into the air of Mexico City? Have they become the ash that blows through the city from north to south and from east to west? Perhaps. The dark night of the soul advances through the streets of Mexico City sweeping all before it. And now it is rare to hear singing, where once everything was a song. The dust cloud reduces everything to dust. First the poets, then love, then, when it seems to be sated and about to disperse, the cloud returns to hang high over your city or your mind, with a mysterious air that means it has no intention of moving.” 

Roberto Bolaño, Amulet

Time Unfolds Us: San Cristobal de la Casas

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Time Unfolds Us: Palenque. Night.

“Do you not then hear this horrible scream all around you that people usually call silence.” 
Werner Herzog, The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser

Time Unfolds Us: Campeche

Time Unfolds Us: Bolaño

“I steal into their dreams," he said. "I steal into their most shameful thoughts, I'm in every shiver, every spasm of their souls, I steal into their hearts, I scrutinize their most fundamental beliefs, I scan their irrational impulses, their unspeakable emotions, I sleep in their lungs during the summer and their muscles during the winter, and all of this I do without the least effort, without intending to, without asking or seeking it out, without constraints, driven only by love and devotion.” 

Roberto Bolaño

Monday, April 28, 2014

Time Unfolds Us: Valladolid

Lost Time and Evidence

Making up for lost time.

More lost months. Been wandering. 

Lost in books. Lost in films. Lost in other worlds, other nights and other places. 

A month lost in Mexico; in Chiapas, Yucatan, DF, Campeche, Tabasco. Strange lost moments and lost days spread over many weeks in the film landscapes of Malmö, Helsinki, Barcelona, Paris; across frozen seas, lazy afternoons on sun drenched balconies, in back rooms and underground dens. A thieves' den of books by Bolaño, Murakami, Houellebecq, Marquez, Mishima, Faulkner. A forged trip to Berlin to premiere Galore and The Turning at the Berlinale and endless lost nights in that city that can so easily steal pockets of your soul if you don't keep vigil.

Weeks spent trying to finish off old scripts. Travelling back and forward. Weeks spent losing things, losing people, losing paths and losing track.

Now, spinning compasses and trying desperately to get home, to return to somewhere where the feet are settled again. 

The missing words from places like this blog are testament to the distance travelled from home. No more time to lose.

Some 35mm evidence: