Underneath the greatest betrayal can lie the truest love.
Interview with Writer/Executive Producer/Actor Amanda Maple-Brown
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
This is the first film I have produced and the second I have written. I wrote it five years ago when I was processing a lot of stuff in my life. I was a bit late to the party but I look back at it being a period of maturity, of ‘adulating’, of almost ‘coming of age’ and embracing the difficulties of life. I suppose that is what is at the heart of the story too – it is Tim’s emancipation, when he discovers that beauty lies not only in the black and white, but even more so in the grey.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
It’s a really simple movie that I hope has been beautifully told. It’s one scene, one moment in time - a crossroad for the two characters. I wanted to push the boundaries of human emotion and discovery in one contained moment, a rollercoaster ride of discovery for them both. In their world, their relationship, themselves. It’s not didactic - it gives space for the audience to make their own conclusion. I suppose it has a bit of a French feel? Probably why we premiered in Paris!
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
This film is about two personal journeys: one the woman has already made and one that the man experiences with the audience. It’s about the complexity of love and human decisions in unguarded moments, the driving force behind them rarely being clean-cut. Explanations rarely suffice – it is almost like one has to discover them yourself. I’m fascinated by the ongoing battle within us all between the inner child and inner adult… At what point does the child rule the adult and vice versa? At what point does the adult take the child’s hand and lead it away from self-sabotage?
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development?
I was told there is the film you write, the film you shoot, and the film you edit. That has been true of this experience! All three have been similar in tone and story but of course things get left out in the process. An action in the script you realise on set in rehearsal that there isn’t the space to 'jump on a bed' nor shoot in that area so everything gets relocated… Cherries are out of season so blackberries fill in.. Some happy bring other meaning but the original scripted meaning dissipates. As a beginner writer and seeing the editing process, aiming to keep it as taught as possible, you realise how meaning can be conveyed in a moment - a touch, a glance. The page of exposition that I had written for the audience ‘to fall into their love’ was not necessary at the beginning of the film, so even though it was shot, we cut it. The story told is so much stronger when the audience can feel and experience it without language. An interesting but challenging notion for a writer like me to absorb! But a great challenge. I am now constantly thinking, “How can I show that in gesture or action?” And really, I think like that as an actor, too, it can be so much more effective.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
We’ve had such a lovely response to the film. When you make something (for the first time!), you really have no idea. I remember when I sent it to the DOP Josh Flavell to read, as well as Henry Zalapa (1st AD), I remember being so nervous because whilst it was the man's story, I knew I had told it in a very feminine way. My friend said to me (thanks Briony!), “Just be like a man and think it’s awesome!” Amusingly, that helped! Sending it to Maggie first and Kenny Ang (the editor), I didn’t worry as I somehow knew it would resonate with them. Maggie really was the one that started the process off. I wanted to make it, sent it to her in LA with the hopeful, “Want to come and hang in Sydney for a week?”, not thinking she would even have the time to read it, and the next morning I woke to an email saying “I love it. Let’s shoot it,” which was incredible. And petrifying!
We have had a lovely response to the finished film. We’ve played in about 17 or 18 festivals by now and have received three awards: one First Prize Director and two Best Actress awards. That was a good feeling!
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
For a first film, it has been awesome and I couldn’t have hoped for anything more. I have realised I am not a great post-producer, though – my strength is the acting and writing part! I have also now MASSIVE respect for all the technical guys and gals that do all the different formatting for everything. That has been the most exhausting part, just because I have no idea about it.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
I think when you make a film, you just want people to see it, for it to speak to them. Every avenue that helps that happen is great. And wearemovingstories is awesome.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
I’d love to get some sort of distribution so the film lives on for a few more years, so post-producers who are great with that, sales agents, buyers and distributors. Happy to chat to any journalists too, of course.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
I would just love it to be seen and ultimately have some cathartic release for viewers, for them to really sink into the story, and walk away with their own experience of what was put in front of them.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
Whose fault was it?
What other projects are the key creatives developing or working on now?
I have just finished writing a pilot for a one-hour Australian drama and am writing a feature film. Michael Dorman is the lead in Amazon’s Patriot tv show and is going into the third season now which is incredible. I think he has shot a few films of late too. He is such an incredible actor and the most beautiful, deep soul - I hope he does so so well. Maggie Kiley has been on an unbelievable directing roll – from directing episodes of (US-based) Riverdale, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Insatiable, Riverdale, 9-1-1, American Horror Story, The Gifted, Nightflyers, as well as being an acting coach and directing ‘resource’ for Lucasfilm’s 'Solo: A Star Wars Story’. She is nailing it! Josh Flavell, the DOP, is always busy – he now has an ‘ACS’ behind his name – so deserved!
Interview: January 2019
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series, music video, women's films, LGBTQIA+, POC, First Nations, scifi, supernatural, horror, world cinema. 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
Underneath the greatest betrayal can lie the truest love.
Director: Maggie Kiley
Producer: Liz Topen
Writer: Amanda Maple-Brown
About the writer, director and producer:
Writer - This is AMANDA MAPLE BROWN’s second short film. She is an actor and writer and has studied writing at NYU and acting in the US and in Australia. She is currently writing a TV pilot and feature film.
Director - MAGGIE KILEY is an American director and actor, part of the Atlantic Ensemble in NY alongside William H. Macy and Felicity Huffman. Her first short film ‘Some Boys Don’t Leave’ won the Student Director Award at Tribeca in 2010 and her three subsequent features, Brightest Star, Caught and Dial-a-Prayer, were all wonderfully received. She is part of Film Fatales and one of Ryan Murphy’s go-to directors for TV.
Producer - LIZ TOPEN is an accomplished TVC producer who knows how to get things done! This is her first short film that she has produced.
Key cast: Michael Dorman and Amanda Maple-Brown
Looking for: Producer, sales agents, buyers, distributors, journalists
Instagram: 6ate7 (although I have not been doing it - planning to!)
Where was this filmed? Darling Point, Sydney
Where can I watch it next and in the coming month? Flickerfest - Best of Australia 1 (Sat 12th Jan, 6.30pm) and Love Bites (Thurs 17th Jan, 8.45pm)