Night cap with The Spa
The film is both funny and quite sad, often simultaneously. Were you keen to provoke such a reaction in your audience? Would you say your cinematic work is often in this vein?
Absolutely, yeah. I wanted it to feel bittersweet! I haven’t made enough films to say that creating this feeling state is part of my oeuvre or anything, but I certainly gravitate to this kind of emotional terrain in the works of cinema (and art in general) that I love. I think because it most truthfully reflects my experience of life – that it can be bitter and sad and full of despair, but also incredibly beautiful and joyous and hopeful at the same time. In a way, I think it is the absurdity of these two states being able to exist simultaneously that gives rise to my comedic impulses too!
The story works well as a short, neatly concluded in 8 minutes. Are you interested in potentially developing “longer” shorts or working on feature films?
I think the length of a film is entirely dependent on the complexity of the story you wish to tell. The Spa is a very simple story so it works well in an 8-minute timeframe. I have plenty of other stories of greatly varying complexity that I wish to tell so yeah, I’m certainly interested in developing longer works. I’ve just finished writing the first draft of a feature film I hope to direct and I have two short films in development – one that will be about 10 minutes long and the other will be only about 4-5 minutes; timeframes determined only by the stories we’re telling and the form in which we want to tell them.
Any cinematic coups de cœur in the past year you’d like to tell us about?
Ahhhhh not sure I understand this question exactly… Does it mean films I’ve seen that I’ve loved? Or memorable moments I’ve experienced while shooting a film myself?
If it’s films I’ve seen, there’s some incredible shorts on the festival circuit right now, one in particular is a stunning Australian short film that I feel is not getting the attention it deserves called In A Cane Field… Watch it! I also recently found re-watching The Look Of Silence and The Act Of Killing by Joshua Oppenheimer back-to-back was a profound cinematic experience. Independently they are incredible pieces of cinema but viewed together they are transcendent! Or… if the question is about my own filmmaking: I’ve been writing all last year and attending festivals so I haven’t spent much time on set! I did have an incredible experience watching the humpback whale migration up the east coast of Australia from my parent’s seaside house where I locked myself away to write for the Southern winter. To sit and stare at the sea from my writing desk and watch them frolic and splash about was pretty special.
If you’ve already been to Clermont-Ferrand, could you share with us an anecdote or story from the festival? If not, what are your expectations for this year?
I haven’t been before but I have spoken with some friends of mine who have been and they all say it’s an incredibly well-run festival supported by a vibrant, passionate film-going community. I’m ready for it! Really looking forward to getting involved and enriching my filmmaking practice with plenty of robust discussion and seeing some amazing films!
Are any other releases scheduled?
The Spa has a few other screenings lined up but none that have been publicly announced so I can’t really talk about them… It has been on the festival circuit since May last year so it has had plenty of screenings already at some fantastic festivals like Palm Springs International Shortfest, Sydney Film Festival, Hof International Film Festival and about a dozen others.
Are you taking part in other events during the Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival? (Espressos, Conferences, other?)
I’ll be getting involved in everything I can, both the official festival events and whatever adventures happen in between. Sleep is for the weak!