|still frame from Sick|
10 years since we created Sick To The Vitals and a few thoughts
on its creation.It was gratifying when Bill Mousoulis listed it at number 4 in his top 50 Australian Independent Films......
I had a thought about the winner of Australian Idol who was a young women who was overweight and how when they get into the fame 'system' they get advised/styled/surgeried into a conventionally acceptable size/shape/look.I thought about the winner doing this but ending up on alcohol and drugs to facilitate/cope and ends up being very lost,aggressive and angry.I was always interested in strong women possibly as a reaction to the male dominated landscape in film story telling or even my own gender possibilities ie male/female/androgynous/non binary.
So I wrote my longest script ever and for this type of length broke it up into many different shoots(never interested/capable of doing the whole thing at once).
As usual it was Patrick on the Sony PD 150 standard definition camera(incidentally David Lynch's favourite camera these days for his digital work)A few times we had someone on a boom microphone but I think most may have been recorded in camera plus my household lamps for a bit of light.And we used make-up artists(always important in my work!)
Always lucky with casting gathered some terrific performers.
We had a quiet pub in Brunswick to shoot most of the film, around the same time Nicholas Cage was filming Ghost Rider in the city and I remember saying that they had millions and we had nothing but we were both doing the same thing ......capturing images with a camera.........there was no difference.........and some of the stuff we created was just as, or more impressive than them.(this remains my filmmaking philosophy).
Each shoot was organized and filmed without too much trauma.I have always tried to keep things relaxed/playful.Its never about getting performers to do what I want but discovering within the framework.....the accidents/the surprises etc.
We had a good editor who smoothed the rough edges(lots!) and created some wonderful special effects including a bit of green screen.
I had all the Sonic Youth CD's and knew their sounds would be perfect...(don't ask about the getting permission process.......).
I didn't (and never do) know what the film will reveal.I think it ended up being about the yin and the yang.........the dark,dirty woman and the white,clean woman.It alluded to how many women can be anxious/uncomfortable with their genitals and the surreal conversation about bodily functions/menstruation the men and the woman disguised as a man have around the eight-ball table.
Watching the film for the first time in years reinforced the idea about cinema being about a mood/a sensation/a dream and how there are no limits to what you can do.
White skin in the blackness/skin turning red/removing the vocal track/the white room/faces misted over/superimposing images/freeze frames/home made special effects/bright lights in faces.......
There is always so much to explore/uncover if we have the instinct/courage to look inside and express in our art.