An 8 hour flight Sydney-Bangkok. Two films and a bit of sleep. Lots of water, some passable food. Now I’m working and waiting for my connecting flight to Chiang Mai. Most of the shops in the airport are closed and cleaning up…except Starbucks. But they have a powerpoint, and that’s the main thing I was looking for. I must say…I’m a little disappointed in myself that I have a phone number already! Always connected…always on…doesn’t feel like I’ve travelled far…
I’m leaving Australia today – moving to NY for 12 months for directing work. Unfortunately between moving out of my house, selling my stuff, shooting a music video and all the rest, I have not had time to develop this site properly! Which will be amazing when it’s done…but it’s not done yet..
First stop today is Chiang Mai in Thailand, where I’ll be looking at completing a photography exhibition with my friend Luke Fechner. However, he’s just informed me his home is flooded, so the next two weeks may be up in the air.
Anyway, I title this post No Promises because of the many blogs that are started with vigor only to fizzle soon after. Given most of these pages are not built yet, I figure anything I add will be a vast improvement on it’s initial offering…
My films are up online, and when I get a chance to organise my photography, I’ll have galleries with prints and downloads for sale.
See you on the road!
As you wish…
I found these two in conversation in Erskineville yesterday. Seated on a roll of lawn behind the railway station, he seemed to have forgotten for a brief moment that they were just dandelions.
She was gazing into the setting sun, murmuring of her aunt’s tales of wild grass on lonely expanses of the Southern Highlands. She dreamed of morning mist drifting through temperate bushland and glimpses of snow-capped Brindabellas – a world away from terrace houses and drunk emo teenagers staggering from the back-end of King St.
The orb of sunlight captured in her crest of seeds dazzled him. As much as he desired to hold her, he knew by her full-bloomed sway that he could not keep her. Her heart was alight for foreign lands, and he couldn’t help but bend to hide his empty frame.
The week-long warm weather sunk abruptly into overcast skies. Up the road, Iggy’s bread sold out before 10:15am – a new record for the bakery.
Tom and I soldiered on towards the beach; past the park where we’d encountered a free-roaming macaw two days prior, through crooked streets testament to a suburb evolved without planning, past retro coastal-brick apartments wedged between larger, post-modern designer homes, and on to the iconic white-wood fence gilding the the eastern suburb clifftops.
Bruised cloud hung over a turquoise sea flecked with wild white caps. A cry ran from the shore as ten tai chi devotees, robed in white, danced in sync across the sand. A lone figure sporting red speedos and cap braced the ocean’s rage with hands planted on hips. Bobbing up from the surf like penguins returning from a hunt, fifteen others soon joined him. They huddled together a moment, discussing the trek from Tamarama in the adjacent cove. Then, one-by-one, launched themselves back into the waters.
A Dangerous Currents sign staked the sand in place of the usual red and yellow flags. Tom and I walked the shoreline, dodging dying blue-bottles and disassembling the shape-shifting beach front: wide and flat some seasons, gutted by king-tides; then a sharp drop-off to the breakers in the months when the local council replenished the sand.
We climbed to the ocean pool to watch the surfers paddle out through the lazy-faced waves. Their rides were short and scarce, much of the appeal simply sitting on the board, surrounded by stormy elements.
One surfer, distinctive for his canvas backpack, carved his way through the others to deeper water where the waves are only fluctuating thoughts. We joked that perhaps he had packed his picnic lunch. He sat abreast his board and swung the satchel around, removing with difficulty a white canister. Perhaps it was underwater camera housing instead.
But he removed its lid and raised it above his head, tipping its contents to the wind. We grew quiet.
Ashes fell like talcum powder, streaming back behind him. In fact, coating the surfer behind him, who dipped into the water and pulled away.
The surfer knocked the last from the tin, dunking it in the ocean, swilling and emptying the pale-grey water. The event seemed somewhat solo and unceremonious, yet I felt we had witnessed something significant; out of the ordinary.
Dry, but with sandied feet, we made our way to the cafe strip to read the weekend paper.
I’ve been reading Hugh Mackay’s “What Makes Us Tick?” recently. Here are some of my favourite quotes:
If we lack self-knowledge and are unable to resolve our own internal conflicts, we’re less likely to be able to express ourselves clearly. If we’re not in touch with ourselves, it will be harder for other people to get in touch with us.
The greatest barriers to connection are within us.
If we only consume and never create, there’s every chance we’ll become jaded in our response to the arts, increasingly hard to please, too worried about the “meaning” and “value” of the work. Create something yourself and such questions either dissolve or evolve into a more sympathetic appreciation of the power of the arts to connect us to ourselves.
The narrow focus of the creative process admits no distractions and that’s therapeutic in itself. Creativity is all about exploring the self; the therapeutic benefit of learning how to express yourself.
This guy was getting so ‘creative’ taking pictures of us on the red-carpet I decided to take some of my own…
We received the most amazing audience reaction to Ferdinand the Third at Dungog today! Laughs and gasps in all the right places wonderfully comedic nuances in performance by Bridie and Duncan 🙂 Great to see it on the big screen for the first time to a sold out venue. Many thanks to the cast and crew who worked so hard to make it possible: actors Duncan Fellows and Bridie Latona, DOP Michael Steel, writer Alex Edmondson, set design Kavi Jarrott, composer Aaron Kenny, MUA Megan Kirkup, Jacqueline Miller, Alexi Wilson, Kylie Simmonds, Annette Sicari, Gemma Tamock, Davi Soesilo, Adam Lynch, Rodney Monk, Dan Rossi, Miguel Lemaire, Kristy Best, Damian Del Borrello, Sarah Bishop..and more..
Dungog Film Festival has been something of a slow and quiet awakening for young film director David Joshua Ford.
Ford, 27, visited the area a few years ago, attended the film festival on the spur of the moment for the first time last year and, in a major coup, had three of his films shown at the festival in 2011.
“I have such positive associations with this place,” the Sydney-based director said of Dungog.
“There’s a community spirit and I’m so glad I made the decision to come here and be part of it.”
Ford’s showings were the documentary Lillie, music video Entwined and the quirky comedy Ferdinand the Third which starred a silky bantam.
“Directing is what I’ve always wanted to do,” he said. “But I think it’s a long and windy road.”
He said Dungog Film Festival was amazing for aspiring directors because it allowed them to show their talents but, more importantly, learn by watching the work of some of Australia’s best directors and producers.
But it wasn’t just about the films; it was also about being given the opportunity to mix it with a network of the best people Australian film has to offer.
“It’s the ‘in-between times’ that get people talking,” Ford said.
Ford believes the next 12 months will be integral to his career development and he hopes to be back in Dungog next year with some new films ready for the big screen.
01 Jun 2011 05:33 PM, DungogChronicle.com.au
FOR Sydney filmmaker David Ford, Dungog is a chance to meet and greet some of the industry’s heavyweights and upcoming talents.
After visiting the festival with friends last year, the Sydney director returned with three pieces on the 2011 program – the documentary Lillie and music video Entwined, which screened on Friday, and short film Ferdinand the Third, starring a bantam chicken, slated for yesterday.
“I think it’s a good chance for me to showcase the diversity of my directing,” Ford said.
The festival’s non-competitive approach and ability to attract Australian stars was a major drawcard for aspiring filmmakers, he said.
“When you brush shoulders with those people, it breaks down the walls,” he said.
Ferdinand the Third (playing at Oovie Theatre, Sunday 11:45am): a Frenchman travels to Australia to declare his love for his his long-time friend… only to be lumped with her pet silky bantam instead (that ball of fluff in the poster). I workedon the black-comedy with Alexandra Edmondson, coincidentally a writer I met through friendships formed in Dungog last year!
I’m very proud of this film. It is a tight and entertaining 5 minutes. Our crew was a delight to work with, dedicated to pulling off a great look on a modest budget… in a grossly overcrowded apartment. We learnt how taxing action sequences with animals are… strangely not because the cat and chicken were difficult to control, but rather because they were languid!
Rounding out a year of industry ‘don’ts’, Lillie (playing at the RSL Cinema 9:15am on Friday) follows the life of a four year old girl raised by her single mother and grandmother. She was such a delight to work with, and being documentary, the filming process didn’t have the same complexities as a drama would have.
Lillie has a natural openness with people that translates down the lens, the likes of which I typically see in children in countries like Mozambique or Brazil rather than Australia. I knew she’d be great on film and I wanted to explore the sense of wonder and intrigue that a four year old has for the world.
Her mother Pam and grandmother provide the backstory with amazing depth and honesty. I think the film’s strength is in contrasting Pam’s own traumatic experiences as a child alongside her daughter’s un-shattered world. It’s a family portrait of three of women, minus the men in their lives, and shows how difficulties that permeate down generations can be overcome by a supportive family member.
Entwined (playing RSL Cinema, Friday 4pm) is a musical drama about the romance between an Australian and an Indian. As my graduate project at AFTRS last year, we engaged five composers to write an original song and score. The music video screening at Dungog is a radio edit of the theme song from the film, combining pictures from the film together with some new scenes shot specifically for this shorter narrative.
Entwined is the most challenging film I have worked on to date, as reflected in the budget, number of people involved and the technical aspects of the concept – combining lyrics, music, dance & drama. The music video will be released on the net after its festival run, but I’m proud to have its premiere at Dungog!
Because Dungog is three hours north of Sydney, people have to get accommodation and commit to the weekend. It’s not like other festivals where you can dip in and out of sessions. As such, Dungog builds a fantastic community in a RELAXED atmosphere! Such a welcome break to Sydney. A holiday even.
There are many great Aussie films, guest speakers and workshops, but what I particularly love about Dungog are the social events: parades, gala dinners and parties. There is more than you can possibly do in three days, and eventually the cafes and pubs take over! I made a whole new set of friendships last year – people with whom I went on to make films with and even formed a sporting team with.
This festival is definitely a highlight of my year, and having some films in it is an added bonus! Cute township, interesting people, great films. And the odd cow, crisp air and space… 26-29 May… hope to see you there!!
The annual festival will run from Thursday to Sunday (26-29th May, 2011), with more than 160 Australian films including World Premieres, being shown, Master Classes, Gala Events, Parties and the fabulous local Main Street Parade.
Screening times for David’s films are:
- Lillie, 9:15am Friday at RSL Cinema
- Entwined, 4pm Friday at RSL Cinema
- Ferdinand the Third, 11:45am at Oovie Theatre
You can find more information about David’s three films online at:
- Entwined MV: IMDb | facebook | YouTube | Vimeo
- Lillie: IMDb | facebook |
- Ferdinand the Third: IMDb | facebook | YouTube | Vimeo
and at his website www.davidjoshuaford.com. David is available for comment; contact email@example.com.
Article by Rohan Stephens, IOnBondi.com
Meeting a successful person can be a moving experience. The ability to learn from the lives they’ve lead the mistakes they’ve made and the opportunities they’ve taken can in turn harbour our own aspirations in a similar field. Being the impressionable young man that I am, I like to gravitate towards these people in the hope that feeding off their excellence will some how help in my own personal endeavours. So far, to no avail.
Meeting a person who is on the cusp of excellence is something different. Its like what I assume buying a Warhol print before he died would be, or purchasing Apple shares just before iPod’s were released; this sense of impending greatness that isn’t justifiable just now but you can feel it in your gut that its going to happen. David Joshua Ford is this to a tee.
Interestingly, one of the first things I discovered about David’s early life before we met, was the fact that he grew up without a television. Probably not that significant of a loss to most, but for a budding director this places him in a highly unique position amongst most people of his age. As opposed to approaching the media from the, for the lack of a better phrase, ‘Americanised’ perspective that most seem to have experienced, David’s lack of exposure to such a structure for film and television means that his vision is still somewhat unadulterated. Like I said, rare for a man of 27 years.
An undergraduate from Charles Sturt and a recent graduate from Directing at the renowned AFTRS (Australian Film, Television and Radio School) obviously means he isn’t running around the world oblivious to the last twenty years of cinematic achievements, however it still seems to place him a distinct category of his own. His attention to narrative and character development for example is reflective of this early and unusually high exposure to literature in the absence of a television. His meticulous fascination with people and their relationships with not only each other but with the world in which they live is something that can only be likened to the plot of a brilliant novel.
I first heard of David after reading of his submission for the Bondi Short Film Festival in 2010. His documentary “Lillie” depicts the world of a four-year-old girl, contrasting her relatively sheltered upbringing against the fragility and trauma of her mother’s childhood. The portrait covers three generations of women who pull together to form an eclectic family unit in the absence of their men. David was intrigued by Lillie’s natural candour and wanted to explore the sense of wonder that a child holds for the world.
Other notable projects of his include his contribution to the Fanging It travel series on ABC2 and a self-produced documentary titled Children With Hope filmed in Mozambique and broadcast on pay TV in Australia bad overseas. More recently, David presented the Channel 31 music program, Scout TV.
David’s talents also transcend genres with a striking collection of travel photography accompanying his achievements in film. Trips to South East Asia, Africa, North America and Europe have been captured by this ability of his to apprehend certain emotions and experiences so vividly in his work; not simply to record the sights one sees whilst on holidays which is a trap most travellers with a camera tend to fall into.
Sitting with David in Gould St, was like sitting with a friend dreaming about what’s going to happen once school is finished or uni is done and all the options that lay ahead. Listening to him talk about his work was not dissimilar to hearing an artist describe the meaning of a painting; there just constantly seems so much substance to what he does. Calling his future ‘bright,’ seems too cliché a word for such a unique person. Blindingly iridescent may be more fitting for David is that Warhol painting. Watch this space.
For more information please visit David’s website www.davidjoshuaford.com
Original article at ionbondi.com
The sheet sticks to her skin like an unwashed floor. She blows her palms but it only pushes humidity. Take-away Thai hangs in the air and the clock hand pounds. She waits, apprehensive. She waits for her mobile to illuminate the dinge. Silent at the foot of her bed, its corpse eye threatens to snap open as soon as she looks away. Her foot slides across dated magazines as she rolls off the double bed. At the mirror she smears lip balm and sheds her clothes on her rack of shoes. She flicks the fan on high. It sparks and coasts several revolutions to a halt. With a hiss she swipes it to the floor and crashes face down into her pillow.
Green dash lights illuminate his frown like a stage production. Across the front lawn, saplings billow and curtain the house. The building sleeps but for the bathroom window. He shuts the driver’s door softly, locking it manually to avoid the pips. Ceiling stars glisten. Crickets are silenced by his footsteps across the grass to the front steps. He splashes water on his face from the garden hose and slips through the rickety screen door.
Suspended in glass, she strokes her way to the reef bed. Shoals of fish brush her skin as she winds her way though seaweed swaying to the sweeping waves. Surface space; blinding. Salt air crashes into her lungs. He stands on the dune, his lone figure silhouetted on blue sky. Treading water she waves, but he remains static. He must be facing the mountains, she thinks, and calls his name, but her cry is drowned on the waves and the stifling off-shore wind. She sets out for the beach. With each stroke the breakers remain distant. Her body aches as it strains the current and limbs grow heavy. The figure remains frozen on the dune.
His eyes gradually adjust to the ambience as he shuffles down the burgundy Persian rug that lines the hall. The skin of his arm tingles on her cashmere coat, hanging on the inside the corner of her bedroom door. Beads of sweat sparkle and collect down the line of her back. The moon carves its highlight across the deranged sheets and the dimple of her spine. He sits in the shadows at the foot of her bed – he sits on her phone. Pulling it from under him, he checks the next alarm, cancelling the 5:30am due in 2 minutes time. Though a mop of brown hair covers the pillow, he knows the angst written on her face. He reaches for a strand and twines it through his fingers. His absence for days at her most vulnerable could have been avoided. He dare not touch her skin. He would not be able to explain. She stirs; he freezes. And backs off her bed.
The heatwave encroaches from all sides. She wakes wet and burning, rolls to the dry edge. At the kitchen tap she suckles water from her hand. Suddenly the ticking of the midday clock catches her ear. She stops.
He had come.
Q. Can you tell me a little bit about your short documentary Lillie? What is it about and what inspired you to follow the life of this family?
Lillie was the flower-girl at a wedding I photographed last year. She has a natural openness with people that translates down the lens, the likes of which I typically see in children in countries like Mozambique or Brazil rather than Australia. I knew she’d be great on film and I wanted to explore the sense of wonder and intrigue that a four year old has for the world.
Lillie’s mother Pam and grandmother provide the backstory with amazing depth and honesty. I think the film’s strength is in contrasting Pam’s own traumatic experiences as a child alongside her daughter’s un-shattered world. It’s a family portrait of three of women, minus the men in their lives, and shows how difficulties that permeate down generations can be overcome by a supportive family member. I really love this little film and Lillie herself is just fantastic!
Q. What hardships or creative struggles do you face as a filmmaker, when you choose to tell a story via a documentary as opposed to say, a more fictional narrative device?
Generally I think documentary is easier than fiction! Certainly so on a production level, because we accept the naturalism of the documentary style and this becomes a strength in areas like budget and production design.
The hardest aspect I find is the censure I place on myself as filmmaker. People assign great trust to me in the intimacy of the closed interview and I want to know the assembled film respects that. We’re dealing with representations of actual life, not an actor’s portrayal. It’s what makes documentary-making so wonderful – that there is inherently truth in the ordinary. It’s a bit like a parent sending their kid off to school for the first time though – I want people to know how amazing my subjects are but I also want to protect their life stories.
In that sense, fictional film is liberating because it allows your mind to wander and create scenarios (like I did for another of my recent films – a Bollywood musical). But it’s just a matter of finding the right tool for the job, and it gets interesting when the two forms start to blend.
Q. As a filmmaker, how do you deal with the time constraints placed upon you in the short film category? Do you find short films inspire more creativity and encourage filmmakers to find innovative ways to tell a story?
You have to be very concise in determining what the core of your story is in short form. As the creator, I learn more about the story than what ends up on screen. It’s challenging to try to approach the story with fresh eyes (like the audience does) and ask ‘is this segment essential to understanding the story and characters or can it be cut because it’s self explanatory?’.
It can be hard too when you have to cut some gems from the film because they are superfluous. For instance, we have one scene where Lillie quite spontaneously eats some flowers, calling them “flavour nice”. “Flavour Nice” became an expression amongst our crew to describe everything from our lunch to our stationary, but the sound bite didn’t make the final cut because there was other material that supported the story better.
Q. You’ve had so much success and experience as a filmmaker/producer/presenter. For you, what’s unique about the Bondi Short Film Festival (BSFF) that sets it apart from others?
Well personally I appreciated walking to the Festival because I’m a local! Bondi is an amazing area to live in and the beach venue was a great backdrop for a film festival.
I also like Francis Coady’s (the festival director’s) initiative to keep all content Australian. It must be very tempting to include buzz films from places like Europe, but there’s a consistency of voice when you gather story-listeners to story-tellers of the same nation. It felt homely.
Q. Film festivals have become so central to the cinema scene here in Australia with events like Tropfest putting filmmakers on the map. How important have you found these festivals to be in helping up and coming or even seasoned filmmakers find an audience, or even perhaps, create a unique space where independence and creativity is encouraged?
There’s something special about film festivals. In one sense their audience base is tiny compared to broadcast mediums, and yet their significance as an art form seems heightened by the act of gathering together for the event. It’s like the effect of hanging a picture on a white wall in a gallery – it focuses a group of people and starts a discussion.
Festivals are more for kudos than a money spinner. You enter them because you have an idea you want an audience for, or to meet other industry people or just because you’re passionate about making great films and want creative expression.
Q. Your thoughts on the winner of the BSFF?
Happenstance was a great film. It’s main strength was that the script was tight. I liked the casting choices, there were some wonderful subtitles in timing. It’s a very “Tropfest” film (off-beat humour with a twist and an end punch), so it was good to see it get some acclaim at Bondi Short Film Festival.
Q. Do you have any links to the local Bondi area that I could use to help localise our focus on you as a filmmaker?
I just finished Directing at AFTRS. I made an Indian-Australian musical using a house location at Dover Heights on the cliffs overlooking the ocean. I’m currently living in Bronte and have been in Bondi for the three years prior. I used to present a music show on Channel 31 which was produced out of Vaucluse. Centennial Park is the only place I feel “at home” in Sydney (I was born in Canberra). If you want to know more feel free to give me a call.
Q. Anything else to add?
Carry me forward
that I may carry you also
In my frailty
Wrap your body round me
as I wrap you in mine
I need an ally beyond
this modern discontent
A feeling state from past-time
An arena where hand held mine
And tender hearts beat beat
Nudging you and I
out to face the rest of them
Warm and comforted
Cold and terrified
Displaced and unaware
of the nearness of your thoughts
Make it easy for me
In this social disenchantment
Make it more than an educated hope
that you still remember
The time I carried you home