A competitive diver faces her fears while taking on new heights.
Interview with writer, director, editor Kate Lefoe
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
Somersault Pike is my Masters graduating film from the Victorian College of the Arts. Somersault Pike is a poetic exploration of the process of self-doubt, mentally preparing for action, and taking the final steps towards achieving a goal. It is played out on the ten-metre dive platform, where failure can mean serious injury. I was drawn into the world of competitive diving by the strength and commitment it demands to succeed. Divers chase the elusive perfect score of ten. Perfectionism can be a strong and powerful motivator, but it can be paralysing if the focus is too much on the outcome rather than the process. This is universal. The film suggests that the final results matter less than the journey to get there.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
This film is a beautiful and poetic meditation that takes the audience through a journey of anxiety and the creative process.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
My philosophy of filmmaking is to explore my own darkest fears, bringing them into the light to share with an audience. By tapping into a raw truth, I believe these stories will always resonate with an audience. In my short films, my characters are struggling to take control of their lives, often in a world that is unforgiving and indifferent. For example in Plunge (2014) a woman’s lover disappears without a trace, and in Somersault Pike (2016) a young diver struggles to dive from the ten-metre platform.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development?
I wrote many different versions of the script of Somersault Pike, pushing to really explore my ideas about anxiety and perfectionism. The process of editing Somersault Pike was challenging but ultimately it was where I was finally able find my voice and my vision. The first rough cuts of the film sat awkwardly between a narrative story and a poetic film. I drew on inspiration from director Lynne Ramsay’s films, where her style is to focus on the details of the scene, believing that they say everything about it. I understand that being an editor is like being a doctor. A scene might not be working, but that may be just a symptom, and the cause of that illness may lie in another scene.
I sought feedback from a few select people to protect myself from being overwhelmed. I worked with an editing consultant for a few sessions, and found this invaluable, as she was able to help me to process the feedback into action, i.e. diagnose the illness. On my last day of editing, I cut out about 1 minute of the mid-point of the film. And it worked! A few more tweaks on other shots, and it was finished. I found the editing process incredibly rewarding. It was only the last day of editing that I became proud of my film. A film is reborn in the edit suite.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
It’s been quite well received with screenings at the Melbourne International Film Festival Accelerator program, international festivals In Germany, France, and Indonesia, and picked up a handful of awards for its sound design, editing and direction.
It screened at Interfilm Berlin, in the Experiments – New Ways in Form and Narrative, and the Sound and Vision screening, where a musician, Christopher Zitterbart, composed a new soundtrack using electric guitar and a range of effect pedals and performed it live during a screening. It was really exciting to see what another artist would do with it!
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
I was really pleased to hear from people that parts of the film made them feel incredibly anxious. It has no dialogue and I worked very closely with Sound Designer Livia Rusic and mixer Ant Bohun to really use the sound design to feel the tension and anxiety of the diver. So it’s been wonderful to have it recognized both by festivals and by audience members telling them it made them feel really anxious with their stomachs in knots.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
I’d like to encourage people to come to Flickerfest International Short Film Festival at Bondi Beach to see Somersault Pike or any of the other amazing packages of shorts screening through the festival.
One of the things I love about short films as a medium is that there is so much room for creativity in a bite-sized package, and this is a joy to share with a festival audience.
I’m seeking to give Somersault Pike a wider distribution in early 2018. We shot Somersault Pike at the beautiful Gold Coast Aquatic Centre, which is where the 2018 Commonwealth Games Diving events are being held, so I would love to work with a distributor or buyer to have the film reach a larger audience such as through screening as inflight entertainment or TV on demand.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
I’m looking to connect with sales agents, distributors, film festival directors and journalists.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
I’ve been delighted with the festival response so far and being involved in the Melbourne International Film Festival Accelerator industry program was a dream come true.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
Somersault Pike plays with form, structure and time, and people will connect with the meaning of the film differently. So I think the question is, what did the film mean to you?
What other projects are the key creatives developing or working on now?
I’m working on a comedy webseries, Twingers: The Ginger Conspiracy with writers Meegan May and Lauren Anderson, produced by web series guru Hayley Adams. It’s been well received so far, having been shortlisted for Screen Australia’s Hot Shots Program and winning platinum sponsorship from Savage Rentals. We’re shooting our proof of concept in early 2018.
After having two shorts in MIFF this year, producer Honeylyn is taking a well deserved break to travel overseas and to check out the film industry in Vancouver in the new year.
Mary Holgate, our diver, just returned from touring the world performing in a dive show on a cruise ship!
Darrell, our DOP, has been busy returning to shooting for television, most recently Ten’s show Offspring.
Interview: December 2017
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
A competitive diver faces her fears while taking on new heights.
Length: 7 minutes
Director: Kate Lefoe
Producer: Honeylyn Lisson
Writer: Kate Lefoe
About the writer, director and producer:
Kate Lefoe (writer / director /editor)
A graduate of the VCA Masters of Film and Television, Kate Lefoe is an award-winning writer and director with shorts including Somersault Pike (2016), Plunge (2014), Ladies without Lipstick (2014), Under Pressure (2010) and director of several episodes of the webseries I Can’t Even https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VewR-3PcJ08&t=42s
Honeylyn Lisson (producer)
Based in Melbourne, Honeylyn Lisson has produced shorts and music videos including short films Locker Room and Somersault Pike, which both premiered at the Melbourne International Film Festival in 2017.
Key cast: Mary Holgate
Looking for (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists): sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists
Social media handles:
Funders: Ian Potter Cultural Trust Grant, Jim Marks Postgraduate Scholarship and Private funding.
Made in association with: Victorian College of the Arts, School of Film and Television
Where can I watch it next and in the coming month?
Flickerfest International Short Film Festival
Somersault Pike screens in the Best of Australia Program 6
Best Of Australian 6
Tue 16 Jan, 8.45pm 2018
Runtime: 112 min | Classification: under 15 to be w/adult
Now in its 27th year, Flickerfest continues to be the most influential and dedicated short film festival on the Australian landscape. Over 100 films will screen in competition, which is both Academy® accredited and BAFTA recognised.
See you at Flickerfest in January!