AUSTRALIAN SPRING is the working title of a feature film that will be produced by the screen and media students at SIFA (Sydney Institute Film Academy), Randwick TAFE.
The film is the outcome of an on-going script development programme, now into its second year, involving four writers writing four, stand-alone 20-25 minute short films, all of which are set over one, long Australia Day weekend. Currently in pre-production, it is the second feature to be developed and produced by the innovative Sydney Institute of Film Academy, the first being BLACKOUT, which is in the last stages of post.
The methodology behind the conception and making of AUSTRALIAN SPRING has its origins in a project developed at Information and Cultural Exchange (ICE) by Amin Palangi and Stoneking in beginning in 2010. That project – entitled SEEING THE ELEPHANT – provided a practical and innovative approach to film studies that offered film students a way of creating a viable feature-length film without sacrificing the experiences derived from writing and producing short-form dramas.
The stories that comprise the content of the present film are self-contained, stand-alone dramas, each dealing with aspects of “growing up” – the search for self and how the quest to shape an identity is fraught with self-doubt, betrayal, guilt and the eternal disconnect that so often characterizes generational differences and values.
Each of the stories was written separately by different writers whose only brief was to create a dramatic narrative set over one, long Australia Day weekend. The time span offered a natural 3-act structure for every story, and allowed the writers to shape the feature script more easily out of the 4 separate journeys.
In constructing the feature, the writers were tasked with the job of creating a coherent and emotionally meaningful narrative by intercutting the separate stories in ways that established a thematic cohesion between the various narratives. It was important to find a structure that allowed the action in each story to impact our “reading” of all the stories. As a result, each of the stories in this multi-plot drama resonates with and helps to illuminate the issues presented by all the stories.
One of the defining and more remarkable differences between a film like this and what is the usually the case in “anthology” films in which one story sequentially follows the next (as is the case in films like Subway Stories, Paris, je t’aime, and Twilight Zone, The Movie) is that by intercutting the stories with one another the writers are able to alter the contexts in which each of the scenes was originally conceived, and through this re-contextualization are able to produce often startling and unusually compelling juxtapositions that serve to multiply the meaning of every scene and sequence of scenes.
The nature of the current project, as was the case with the SEEING THE ELEPHANT, has been and continues to be highly experimental, both at the short-script development stage, which includes working with both actors and camera, exploring choices of coverage, casting and POV, etc. , as well as in the feature scripting process and the production and post-production phases, the impetus of which is to maximise the creative interactions among all of the storytellers – both cast and crew – and to provoke a share ability of experience that is often lacking in more conventional production models. The executive producer/mentors of the project have encourage to employ ALL the story-finding tools at whatever stage of the process that they are relevant, including the re-shooting of re-written scenes based upon the director’s evolving understanding of a story’s coming-into-being.
The development of original soundtrack music, produced in the Randwick TAFE recording studio, as well as a “Making Of” documentary that will chronicle the process from conception to completion, are also part of the overall learning curve. Selected footage from some of the Scene workshops (which also serve as a thorough-going auditioning process) will be posted on this website for use by cast, crew, and others.
READ THE FEATURE SCRIPT BY CLICKING THE BANNER BELOW:
LINKS : Headshots of participants
THE FOUR EPISODES/SCRIPTS THAT MAKE UP AUSTRALIAN SPRING (Click on poster to read script)