Your new movie Watch
the Sunset - in a few words, what is it about?
TB: In a single afternoon, a
man comes to grips with the power of his past when his estranged family
becomes entangled in its web. Basically an
ex-bikie member is on the run from his gang and a past he can’t escape.
things first of course, why a one-take movie?
nature of the content of Watch
the Sunset pushed us in that
direction early on. The
fly-on-the-wall approach that we employed of the one-shot makes it so the
audience is with the character/s in every single moment of this horrific
part of their lives. That raw, gritty nature you feel when watching was
essential for the film to work.
your inspirations when writing Watch
the Sunset - and did you plan this as a one-take movie from the
get-go, and in what way did that impact your writing?
story was based on true events and the characters on real people whom I
have personal experience with which stirred me to write the concept. So
the biggest appeal or motivation for me was bringing light to their story
and this raw reality in regional Australia. The theme of an underdog
seeking redemption along with the technical challenges of shooting the
film in a single take was thrilling to me.
MG: I think they all came hand in hand. One inspiration led onto another
inspiration and it snow-balled from there. Our film-based
genre inspirations were Animal Kingdom and Snow Town. Their
raw, gritty and uncompromising approach to film making had
opened up a big world for us to draw from while writing. What was being
said while no one was talking, how to fill the gaps between those pieces
of dialogue. We knew that the one-shot was something we were always
curious about but knew it wouldn’t work without the story to carry it.
We had to have the right story before committing to the one-shot feature
entirely. Boxing Day, Russian Ark and Birdman were huge
inspirations in the development of the overall arc as well. How do you
keep a film moving forward, while not over/under-feeding the audience,
while keeping the shot interesting and dynamic? It was a constant battle
we had with the writing and development that we continued all the way up
to the shooting dates.
how do you even plan a one-set movie like Watch
the Sunset, and how do you find the right locations to handle such
an enterprise ... and did you sometimes curse yourselves for the approach
you had chosen?
TB: I actually have grown accustomed to working with extended takes. It is a
lot more enjoyable for the cast as they have more of an opportunity to
really get into the characters without stopping and starting, which
happens a lot on normal shoots. But it does put an extreme amount of
pressure on everyone, particularly the crew. The only thing I curse about
is the compromise you have to make, sometimes elements suffer in order for
others to be fulfilled. This made the end choice of take difficult, some
days the cinematography was incredible but the actors performances were a
little low and vice versa. But everything on the fourth day came together
so that was a nice feeling.
were had aplenty! But never because we regretted it, collectively
everyone in the cast and crew (upon reflection most of the time) was
hooked by what we were attempting, because it had never been done before like
this. The budget caused a whole list of problems that needed creative
solutions, and generally they were needed very quickly. The approach we
chose has matured, moulded and solidified everyone as a
filmmaker, so I guess you could never regret that. The location itself
happened quite quickly and we were truly fortunate in being gifted with
Kerang as our location. Kerang, our D.O.P./producer’s hometown, and the
story seemed to fit perfectly from the start, that we actually started
writing according to the layout of the town itself. The entire town
pitched in to help as well and if we didn’t have their generosity, we
wouldn’t have had a film.
the Sunset doesn't exactly hold back when it comes to violence -
so what can you tell us about those scenes, how did you go about them, and
was there ever a line you refused to cross?
the actors in our film, except the amazing Annabelle Williamson, were
trained at the Victorian College of the Arts. There, we were taught a lot
about stage combat and how to safely, but effectively, create fight
choreography while still being aware of who’s in control of those scenes
so no-one gets hurt. We rehearsed extensively on those moments as well and
that allowed us all to dive deep into the scenes, without losing that
control. We knew that the world we were creating was far more unforgiving
and terrifying than we could’ve imagined, all the scenarios in the film
were actually inspired by true events. So when it came to what was
possibly too far, it always came back to the story and what was needed to
TB: Yeah these events have actually happened, so we didn’t want to shy
away from them.
both appear in front of the camera in Watch
the Sunset - so what can you tell us about your characters, and
how much of a strain was it to act and try to keep things moving to get
through your one take pretty much at the same time?
TB: So I played Danny Biaro who the story follows and I based the
character on a person I know very well.
So I just had to feel as though I was doing the actual person
justice when acting, which is a very strong motivator. In terms of directing while we were shooting, we really were just acting. We had
passed all of the responsibility onto the crew: Damien Lipp & Jesse
Goheir-Fleet behind the camera, Ally Bjørnstad organizing the locations
and the timings, and the rest of the creative team who were incredibly
self-sufficient and brought precision to their work. The 5 weeks of
rehearsals was imperative to this success.
think that was one of the biggest wins in having two directors. In
rehearsals, when one was in the scene the other could step out to watch
and vice versa. So when it came to being in the character on the day and
relenting the power over the film, we were confident everything was
already in place. We also gave a lot of artistic license to our actors. We
had cast them all very early on knowing they would have visions of their
own that only complimented the story. Aaron Walton and Chelsea Zeller had
a lot of input in the writing of their scenes as well. My character
Russell is definitely the most unpredictable person in the film. Like Zia
Zantis-Vinycomb’s character Charis, Russell doesn’t have a lot of
screentime in the overall film, but when he’s on the screen you’re on
edge. I knew that Russell was someone that I could have a lot of fun with
and that that would test the actors around me.
can you tell us about the rest of your cast, and why exactly these people?
were gifted to have spent 3 years of training with most of the cast at VCA
and when it came time to writing the film, their names were instantly in
the mix. We knew we needed a rare intelligence that would give Sally the
depth, authenticity and vulnerability required, and Chelsea Zeller had all
that and more in spades. She brought a deep strength to Sally and her
ability to show a million things at once and have each and every single
moment be drenched in the reality of the situation was
incomparable, as you can tell it was an easy choice.
think one of the most modest but essential roles in the film was Charis,
played by Zia Zantis-Vinycomb. I can’t imagine anyone giving Charis such
an incredible performance that lasts with you long after she’s left the
screen. Zia managed to give a performance of innocence and fragility, with
next to no words. Pretty awe-inspiring.
Also Chelsea actually came on board to write the film when I pitched the
idea, so we scripted a lot together and she knew where the character had
to go. I’ve acted alongside Chelsea since we were teenagers, so in a way
that really worked for the characters.
I had always wanted to work
with Aaron Walton because he is a very bold actor and doesn’t shy away
from making big choices which I love watching. There is also nothing
better than working with an actor who will bring something fresh every new
take. And Annabelle Williamson who played Joey we came to through an
audition process of all the kids in the area where the film was shot. She
is such an incredible kid, so smart and clued on for her age but maintains
her childlike innocence. I still can’t believe we came across
Annabelle, and her supportive parents were instrumental in her performance.
talk about the shoot as such for a bit, and the on-set atmosphere?
worked towards the shoot extensively, with all the crew and cast, for
about 4-5 weeks in the lead up to the shoot dates. We’d given ourselves
7 days to actually capture the film, starting around the exact same time
every afternoon. We all had multiple jobs that were required of us and
each and every single person stepped up to the mark more than we
could’ve hoped! I think the closeness of our shoot combined with
everyone’s desire to help out in anyway, made for a unique filming
experience that I know will be hard to ever find again! The atmosphere was
exciting and inspiring and I’m so grateful that everyone who did help
out was able to.
$64-question of course, where can your movie be seen?
we’re currently in the process of embarking on our submission path for
local and international film festivals. It’s an incredibly exciting time
the Sunset as we are able to spread the film to a wider
audience and through that process, we’re hoping to secure a distribution
sale that will get the film out into cinemas. So, hopefully, next we will
show the film to the public.
You can follow the film’s progress on all social media platforms:
Instagram - @watchthesunsetfilm
Twitter - @watchthesunfilm
you can tell us about critical and audience reception of your movie yet?
been incredibly humbled by the attention the film has received so far from
so many different walks of life. So far, the film has been able to show us
that it has the ability to connect no matter where you grew up or what
circles you currently exist in. Watch
the Sunset focuses on people’s
capacity to change and to let that be fuelled by the love of others.
It’s something we always spoke intensively about while creating the
film, but we have been genuinely surprised by how great the impact has
been on such a diverse range of people.
future projects you'd like to share?
written a TV show that’s based on my days in the removalist business,
set up in the same style as The Office.
also currently writing a script with a friend for a feature film that
follows a few kids in their final year at high school and the expectations
that are thrown onto them from the “grown ups” around them. Think Whiplash meets
The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
I’m in preproduction for another feature that deals with long extended
takes, it’s a post apocalyptic thriller set in the Australian desert.
Also scripting another film, which is a survivalist horror, set in the
Norwegian mountains. Another project to keep an eye out for is a quirky
short film I directed called Gabby’s First Time that should be hitting
screens in the very near future.
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The above websites and you can
also catch our future works from BarrLipp Productions at:
Anything else you are
dying to tell us and I have merely forgotten to ask?
there is. We’re currently in the final week of our crowd funding
campaign through the Australian Cultural Fund website. We’ve been
incredibly fortunate to have so many generous people donate to our
campaign, but we still need a bit more to help us over the line. This
campaign is in place to help us pay for our essential post-production with
sound, composition, colour and so much more. All of which will
the Sunset go from a great film to an incredible film. If any
of your readers are able to help, please visit -
donation over $2 is completely tax deductible also, so that’s a win!
for the interview!