After witnessing the death of her class pet frog by her cruel and menacing classmates, 10 year old Ellen decides to find a way to exit life’s misery.
Interview with Director Samantha Dinning
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
I have been working for many years in drama and doco production and script development. I wanted to make a short drama to help better understand the entire production process and to see if its something I enjoyed.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
Well for starters its beautifully shot! We had a wonderful DOP, Jaque Fisher, who made the film look divine, particularly the river landscape. I guess the film's appeal is that it’s a small tale with big themes that are easy to relate to. Ella Speedie’s performance as the lead Ella, is also very special.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
The film has very minimal dialogue and relies heavily on the visual world, so it had to have strong themes. The theme of isolation is central to the story – both in terms of Ella’s journey and the landscape and I think this translates on screen. Because the film has so little dialogue it’s accessible to a broad audience and its had a good reception in Europe and the UK. There is a lot you can say without having to use words and this is what interests me most about filmmaking.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development and production?
The idea for the film started with the single image of a girl riding her bike into a river to escape something. I grew up across the road from the river where we shot the film and I guess in someways its very central to my identity. I drew on some of the experiences I had growing up in a small town and a script evolved from that.
I then collaborated with Producers Hylton Shaw and Cecilia Condon and together we drew on many many friends and colleagues to help us make the film. We shot over 3 days on location in Frankston, Milawa and Wangaratta and the crew were amazing and very generous with their time.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
We’ve had great feedback on the film. Its played at over 10 festivals in Europe and the UK. Its also played at Dungog Festival and the Capricorn Festival in Australia. Festival Director Paul Bruce voted the film in the Top Ten Films played over the Edinburgh Short Film Festival since its incarnation, which was nice to hear.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
I think I’ve been surprised by how well the themes in the story translate. The risk of not using a lot of dialogue is that the story is communicated very subtly. I’m glad that the film works on this level and still translates strongly.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
I’d like to share the film with a broader audience.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
Journalists, Distributors, Buyers
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
I hope people enjoy watching it and would like to see more!
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
The choice to use little dialogue.
Would you like to add anything else?
Hylton, Cecilia and myself were very passionate about having as many of our crew roles filled by women as possible. This is something we try to achieve on every production to increase female participation and contribution to the film industry.
What are the key creatives developing or working on now?
I have just locked of on a feature documentary that I shot in Turkey and co-produced with AFI award winning writer/director Claire Jager. We also had an entirely female crew! I’m also developing a music based feature doc with Hylton Shaw, who I currently run Airpunch Productions with and another short drama which will be shot in December this year. I also work as an external drama development assessor for a number of the Screen Agencies.
Hylton is currently working in film and TV production and together we are developing a feature doc that she will direct. Cecilia is working as a writer and developing a number of scripts, stage-plays and poems. Jaque Fisher our DOP is working on a number of drama projects and his own documentaries. Our editor Lydia Springhall is working as an editor and edit assistant extensively in the film and TV industry.
Interview: May 2016
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series and music video. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us? More info: Carmela
Director: Samantha Dinning
Producer: Hylton Shaw, Cecilia Condon, Samantha Dinning
About the director and producer:
Samantha Dinning: Currently, Sam is working as an independent producer and script reader. She also works as an external development assessor for a number of Screen Agencies. She is engaged in an ongoing partnership with award-winning producer/director Claire Jager working across her documentary slate, including a feature doc shot in Turkey which she was DOP and is co-producing with Claire.
Hylton Shaw: For the past four years Hylton has worked as a Freelancer across Production and Casting in both television, film, live events and documentary. She has worked on projects for The Australian Broadcast Cooperation (ABC), Seven Network, HBO and BBC3 including JONAH FROM TONGA, J’AMIE PRIVATE SCHOOL GIRL and IT’S A DATE (Seasons 1 & 2). Over the last year she has been the Production Coordinator on the YouTube hit web series THE KATERING SHOW (Seasons 1 & 2), and has been the Assistant Producer for Televised Events for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival for the past two years.
Cecilia Condon: Cecilia is a Melbourne based writer, poet and filmmaker.
Looking for (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists): Film Fest Directors, Distributors, Journalist
Funders: Self Funded
Release date: Sept 2015