Synopsis: It is 1970 and families in Australia are torn apart by the Vietnam War and popular resistance to conscription. Jenny, a young woman with a sweet voice, loses her ability to sing after her family rejects her active membership of the protest movement. Emotions are high as her brother joins the army and then is wounded in action. Only her love for him and family reconciliation enables her to regain her voice and sing to him as he lies unconscious.
Adrian Brunato (Bobby)
Eva Grzelak (Carol - the mother)
Nick Buckland (Father)
I had experienced a choke, a loss of voice, a complete tightening of the throat, when I was 18 and couldn’t perform in front of an audience because I was in a personal, emotional turmoil. I wanted to write about this (for me) devastating experience and looked for an equivalent setting. Australian involvement in the Vietnam War and especially the conscription of young men by ballot, split society’s attitudes and beliefs in much the same way as happened with the recent plebiscite on marriage equality. I chose to focus on the earlier conflict and show how its visceral potency had damaging consequences in families and individuals and which could destroy a young woman’s talent.
As a period-piece that was set in a time that is still very much remembered, I was able to talk to participants in the protest movement, to observers and to draftees. I was given permission to use privately taken photos, could read some diaries and examine artefacts and documents in the University library. We were able to find a house that was hardly changed from the 1970s, and our production designer Lauren Murray with her great colleague, Letecia Wood, found furnishings and props to complete the picture.
The story called for a young actor and singer. I wrote the role with Camryn Jordans in mind having worked with her and heard her before and she is perfect. She wrote the protest song that is central to the story. Adam Ritchie has composed music for all my short films and he has filled the awkward moments in this family drama very appropriately. Rebecca Duncker, our Director of Cinematography, also makes up the other half of our ‘writer’s room’ and much of the dialogue has been tweaked through her inciteful suggestions.
This film has taken almost two years to be completed to my satisfaction, and my son Max created the splendid final edit of the story which can now be told.
2005: I completed a Graduate Certificate in Event and Festival Management which enhanced the skills to become a film producer, though I had been managing events for many years.
In 2013 I resigned after 20 years as a researcher at Flinders University with the intention of becoming a film maker and studying at MAPS Film School where the highly practical training attracted me. I completed the Advanced Diploma in Screen and Media Production in 2015.
Since becoming a freelance, I have worked with many of my MAPS cohort and increasingly with others to create, direct and produce mainly short film dramas, but now am including documentary as a favourite genre.
In 2016, we made 5 short films. I produced all these, directed all but one and wrote many. These were self-funded, with some grant assistance for My Light arranged by the Fleurieu Film Festival and the MRC which we shot on Kangaroo Island.
In 2017 I wrote, directed and produced a short horror fantasy, Playing With Fire. I have also produced a web series of cooking demonstrations and the stories behind the cakes, for the BakingJust4Me project. 36 episodes are completed. These are being broadcast on Channels 44 and 31.
In 2018 I wrote, directed and produced two short films, a period piece drama, The Silent Song, and Future Harvest, a short horror film about the extreme consequences of climate change. I am the Producer of three others with Victoria Morgan (Mad as a Cut Snake), Simon Tait (The Ton) and Vincent Donato (Wrong Tracks).
In September 2019 I took over as Director of the Fleurieu Film Festival, a regional festival with its base in the countryside South of Adelaide South Australia. Before this:
In 2019/20 I was co-producer, writer and director with Christine Belford of a 30 minute documentary based around the owners of a historic mansion in Mount Barker, The Magic of Auchendarroch. The first private screening of this was in February 2021. I also shot The Fork in the Road, a coming of Age fantasy, which is now in post-production.
In 2021 I worked with Caroline Rowe and Rebecca Duncker on a new food/war on waste show for (initially) Channel 44 that has been funded by the Community Broadcasting Foundation. It has been screened in May and June 2021.
I am managing the progress of all the recent short films through film festivals and working on pre and post production of more short films and the Resist documentary.