Home isn’t always where the heart is.
Interview with Writer And Director Andrew Walsh
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
Thanks a lot Its been a very hard road these last 3 years but were almost there. I wrote the script back in June of 2014 and we shot it in September 2014. I wanted to take my filmmaking into a more complex and vulnerable direction. My first three films were motivated by anger mainly. It’s not a good way to live.
It’s a film about three sisters whose lives were changed by this terrible event that occurred when they were growing up and its grown to define their personalities nine years later.
Mental health awareness is something I’m really passionate about. There wasn’t a lot of room to explore this stuff in my past projects. For years I wanted to get all this stuff off my chest but could never figure out how. I Miss The War was a lot harder to write then all the others but it was worth it.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
It’s a film that tackles some pretty heavy topics: Suicide, grief, mental illness, childhood traumas and addiction but there’s a lot of laughter and warmth in the scenes; its got three strong complex female characters and a unique perspective on Indigenous Australia that’s rarely been shown on film and television.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
Well all the films are pretty intensely personal. The Comedian and Rearranged were based on stuff that happened to me in my early 20’s when I first moved to Melbourne. Empire Of Nowhere and Growing Out were based heavily on things I saw in my teen years in Whyalla and I Miss The War was taken straight from my childhood. Just like the characters I lost a parent at an early age- my father took his own life when I was 13 years old which shattered me and to a certain extent still affects me to this very day. That’s really want drove me- to explore the effects of things that happen in our childhood influence our behavior and belief systems as adults I saw the 3 sisters as a way to express different aspects of my personality and experience.
For most of my life like the character of Charlotte (Sarah Golding) I had a lot of problems with anger and had a lot of difficulty connecting with people and expressing my feelings. Stella (Laura Vine) represented my desire to run away from myself and live a life free of all attachments and much like Annie (Hannah Gott) with a lot of help I finally made it to the other side of that grief and loss a better person and somewhat intact.
I think a lot of the audience will relate to the dysfunctional family dynamic.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development?
Well I wrote the original script in 3 days. It was 40 pages. After that It was a process of workshopping the scenes, breaking the script down and building that connection between the actors. We didn’t actually rehearse that much. From what I remember we only did two full on sessions with the entire cast other then that we all just spent every Friday night hanging out at Sarah Golding's apartment eating a lot of food, drinking and getting to know each other. By the time we got on set we all knew what to do.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive- there were a lot of times I was worried I was pushing too hard. A comedy about grief and suicide isn’t exactly an easy sell but so far people have really gotten the humor and see’s how its balanced out well with the dramatic narrative.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
Well my point of view hasn’t been challenged yet but I’m expecting it upon the film's release. A lot of humor in my film is really dark and satirical and there’s always a small section of people who misinterpret satire is fact and totally miss the context. There were people who complained about Rearranged being too explicit and had this warped idea with Growing Out we were pushing a homophobic message all of which are untrue. I’m sure War will put a few noses out of joint as well but I’m ready. Over the last few years I’ve learnt You cant stress out too much over negative press. If people don’t understand it wasn’t made for them.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
Just to get exposure and spread the word anyway we can. The cards aren’t stacked in our favour. There’s so much content out there right now it's difficult to stand out especially when you don't have a lot of resources. We don’t have Screen Australia behind us. I don’t have a publicist or a manager. I can't afford to submit the film to every single major international festival so the strategy is to hold a few intimate screenings here in our hometown of Melbourne and hopefully play interstate as well which we’ve never done before while reaching international audiences as well.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
All of the above! The more the merrier.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
I'd like to use the film to make people laugh and feel but to also break down the barriers, confront taboos and shine a light on an issue that’s eating away at every society on the planet that everyone is too afraid to discuss. The world wants to sweep these things were talking about under the rug and I want to do the opposite and give these people a voice.
Sometimes life can be so brutal it feels like there’s no way out and then you see a painting on the street, hear a line in a song or identify with an actors expression on screen and for one crystal clear moment you no longer feel alone and everything makes sense.
That’s always been the aim with everything I do.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
Why is it we're living in one of the wealthiest countries in the world and yet were so terrified of talking about mental health publicly? How many more people have to die needlessly before we learn to break the stigma?
I don’t think the films going to fix the world but I would like to see it start an open dialogue within the community.
Would you like to add anything else?
Nah (laughs) Think I’ve run my mouth enough for today.
What are the key creatives developing or working on now?
My producer Ivan and Art director Sarah Jayne have just begun their third feature film Called In Copore. It’s a ambitious mumblecore film that takes place across 3 different continents. I’ve got no idea how that’s going to work but if anyone can pull off something like that it's those two.
Sarah Golding has been busy making music under the name Saraphika and is close to releasing her first album.
James Barr has also gone back to making music. He’s busy running his record label Groove Penguin Records which is doing very well.
Laura Vine is about to star in a new web series called People People.
Our cinematographer Stewart Fairweather is about to embark on a feature film called Twisted, directed by Leanne Campbell and starring renowned actor Albert Goikhman
They’re currently trying to raise funding through the Australian Cultural fund.
As for myself once War is out I’ve got a couple of feature film projects I want to develop. I feel like I’ve gone as far as I can with short films now it's time to move up to the next level.
Interview: June 2017
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I Miss The War
Home isn’t always where the heart is.
Writer And Director
Andrew Walsh, Ivan Malekin and Sarah Golding
About the writer director and producer
Andrew Walsh is an Independent film director based in Melbourne Australia who specializes in short films that mix a fearless uncompromising style with intimate sensitive storytelling.
is controversial and subversive work has screened in venues festivals and events across Australia and overseas.
Looking for Producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists
Where can I see it in the next month?
I Miss The War is currently in post production we don’t have a release date yet but at this stage we are hoping to premiere the film in August/September 2017. To stay updated on the film please visit our website