For those of us who never win - a glimpse into the lives of two ordinary Australians reveals what it takes to succeed in the world of online competitions.
Interview with Writer/Director Eliza Cox
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
Thank you! The more I heard about the world of competitions, the more it intrigued me. First of all, I couldn’t believe there was so much stuff out there that could so easily be won. But as I dug further into the comping world, I found a widespread culture of generosity and selflessness that seemed to be widespread, and in direct contradiction to the nature of competition itself.
TV shows like A Current Affair and Today Tonight love to depict compers as hoarding crackpots, but in fact the opposite is true. The film’s two participants give away most of their prizes, though they themselves don’t live incredibly comfortably. And this is fairly common for compers. The film became a celebration of human kindness in the face of personal trial.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
We all like to see the underdog succeed. It reminds us we too can win sometimes.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
I think both Hellen & Chris demonstrate the innate desire many of us have to be good at something, and to succeed at something. Perhaps within that are themes of drive and ambition, maybe even identity.
I also think their generosity and giving away of prizes shows perhaps a universal desire to be able to give something of themselves to other people, something they’ve worked for. In the film Hellen says her life without comping would be lonely. I think comping helps both Hellen and Chris avoid loneliness, it helps build relationship with other people. We all need that.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development and production?
I guess it wasn’t until late in pre-production that I had secured my second participant. Chris was in from the get go, but it wasn’t until a few weeks from shooting that Hellen found me. A lot of compers are incredibly shy about being in front of the camera for fear of being portrayed negatively, like in those current affairs shows. Which is completely fair enough.
So I had a few other participants written in to the treatment, perhaps a little prematurely, who all eventually bowed out. Then Hellen replied to one of my old posts on a comping facebook page, and the film really got off the ground at that point.
Initially I also wanted there to be a real 24-hour theme, so it was a proper day-in-the-life of each comper… Lots of images of clocks & timelapses, to give a sense of time passing. That sort of went out the window as I didn’t feel it was that necessary. Both Hellen and Chris had such great stories that they were able to carry the film on their own from start to end. Overall though, the final film wasn’t too far off the mark from the initial treatment.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
It's been rather positive, which has been really lovely and a bit of a relief! When participants put themselves and their lives in front of a camera, I pray for the film to be well received. Luckily everyone loves the main characters and so do I, without them I wouldn’t have a film. There have been a few minor criticisms which I can understand and, for the most part, agree with – so no real surprises there.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
Well it’s been nice to see that a raw and kooky student film can still be appreciated haha… So I guess in that (wonderful) way it’s both surprised and challenged my point of view. As I said the feedback’s been rather positive.
I think, like many of us, we are all probably our biggest critics. I definitely am mine. But the positive response I’ve received to Compers has begun teaching me to back myself and my filmmaking, have confidence in my decisions.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
Am basically looking to get in touch with more filmmakers and work on more projects in as many different roles as possible.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
Film festival directors
What are the key creatives developing or working on now?
I am just about to head to Sichuan, China for two weeks to make a short film there on the Qiang people. Afterwards I’ll be working on my graduate film project, which is a coming-of-age doco on female identity.
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
Length: 9 minutes
Director: Eliza Cox
Producer: Eliza Cox
Writer: Eliza Cox
About the writer, director and producer: Eliza, 27, is an up and coming young filmmaker based in Melbourne, Australia. She is currently studying her Masters of Film & Television (Documentary) at Melbourne University’s Victorian College of the Arts, due for completion later this year.
With a background in print and broadcast journalism both in Australia and overseas, she is especially interested in exploring human nature through stories of the everyday man. She attributes this curiosity to an early interest in journalist Andrew Denton’s ABC TV show Enough Rope.
While relatively new to the game, she’s wasted no time in getting two short documentaries under her belt in the last 12 months. She is currently in pre-production of her graduate film, while also preparing for a separate short film project in China this July.
Key cast: Christopher King, Hellen Waltham as themselves
Looking for (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists): film festival directors, impact producers
Made in association with: The Victorian College of the Arts
Release date: No plans for release at this stage
Where can I watch it? Here at Palm Springs International ShortFest! This Friday June 24, 1030am at the Camelot Theatre as part of the Best of St Kilda Program. There are some awesome other Aussie films being shown in the same slot - Matt Day’s Perry screened on opening night of St Kilda and it was hilarious! I think it’s also going to be showing at CinefestOz in W.A. in August.