"Gypsy is clutching a suitcase with a possessive anxiety while her mother confronts the landlord BARRY (45) who is throwing Gypsy’s toys at them." From The Bower Girl written by Sunny Grace.
Sunny and I have worked together over the years on a variety of projects from fashion campaigns to short films. I love working with Sunny as she has a thorough understanding of the filmmaking process from pre through to post, as well as the ability to trust in and inspire her collaborators. I was thrilled to be involved in Sunny's recent creative venture, a mood teaser for her feature film The Bower Girl which is currently in development.
On location there was a sense nostalgia and a heavy sense of memory as we were using some very precious and personal props. I also wanted to pay tribute to my memories of home movies shot on film, hand held and textured. Shooting digitally meant part of this process had to be delegated to post. Working quickly with late afternoon light we still left room to be inspired by the space and pick off shots of Genevieve Graham's bower set.
Here is what Sunny has to say about this project...
What was the teaser used for?
The Bower Girl is a feature script I wrote while studying my Masters of Fine Arts in Performance Writing at NIDA. It is a coming of age film set in the 1970’s about a teenage girl growing up amongst a bunch of mad hippies. At the end of the year we were asked to present a 30 minute excerpt from this work to key industry players. In order to give the audience a taste of the visual feeling of the script before the reading I decided to film a teaser. Velinda and I had filmed the teaser on a beautiful backlit afternoon in Centennial Park and Velinda also edited and treated the film to give it the seventies quality I desired. After screening the teaser I received great feedback from my lecturer, writer and director, Stephen Sewell, as well as the audience.
What does the project mean to you?
This project was my first taste of directing my own work whereas in the past my role has been as Producer. It meant a great deal to me that the project was high quality and evocative especially as it was going to be seen by many influential people in the industry.
What was the aesthetic & the process of achieving that?
The aesthetic we were aiming for was nineteen seventies nostalgia but with a truth to it. The script has some fantasy dream like qualities to it which this particular scene alludes to. The scene depicts the main character Gypsy who is twelve in her special tree with which she has a special relationship - it is her magic tree. Also the story is based on my own experience so I wanted it to convey a sense of how I remember being that little girl. We used specific colours, personal props such as old photos, post production filters to give the seventies look. Our cast member was young and quite nervous so we needed to shoot quickly and be sensitive to her needs and feelings during the process. We were lucky to have a NIDA design student help with the production design however being quite young herself her idea of the seventies was occasionally at odds with mine. Velinda and I worked very well together in directing the design to be more authentic to the times while allowing the designer to feel confident in her own vision and ability.
Anything else you would like to say about the project?
This project was a delight for me to direct with Velinda alongside. I was confident we shared the same vision. Velinda was mindful of my inexperience in the role of director and also of any vulnerability I may have felt working with my own words. Not only did she help realise the vision but she instilled in me a confidence in my own ability and the project as a whole.
- Writer/Director: Sunny Grace
- Cinematographer: Velinda Wardell ACS
- Production Design: Genevieve Graham
- Gypsy: Dannyelle Danic-Krsnik
- China McDonald sings cover of Janis Jolpin's Mercedes Benz
- Canon 5d Mark lll
- Canon L-Series Lenses
- Editing and Graded in Adobe Premier Pro
- Film Grain added with CrumplePop Grain35