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The process diary of film director Glendyn Ivin

Filtering by Category: Beaconsfield


Glendyn Ivin

Spinal Tap fans may appreciate the title of this entry, but it's a line that seems most appropriate when trying to describe how dark it is inside a mine. I've been down a few mines in the past week and it really surprised me just how 'dark' they are. It's not a dark I've ever experienced. It's a dark that is so thick and dense and seemingly never ending. None of the access roads or mine drives are lit, and where there is a light the fact that it is surrounded by so much darkness it seems to be sucked up by the shadows and surrounding black rock walls much quicker than it would above ground. At one point while standing in a group we all momentarily turned our head lamps off at the same time. I don't think I've ever experienced that kind of blackness. You can't get 'none more black'. Your eyes will never adjust to the point where you can make out even the slightest variation in tone or definition. It's like your sense of 'sight' no longer exists.

This disorientating quality of darkness has been a recurring theme in our conversations of how we 'light' the film and how we approach the film visually and thematically as well. How do we 'show nothing'? It's a problem thats always been there for filmmakers. And I'm forever distracted with 'night scenes' where everything is lit with blue ambience and 'silver' halo cutting everyone magically from the background. If this was a film to be released in cinemas I think we could get away with sections of just blackness on screen, no light, but as this is for commercial TV we will have to have 'something' on screen that the audience can see. I think there will be many ways we can use the darkness to our advantage in creating a really immersive experience for the viewer. And as we will be shooting much of the film in studio (read: a warehouse in Footscray), we can use the darkness to 'extend' the sets we are planning to build.

Images screen grabbed from test and recce footage shot by DOP Toby Oliver.


Glendyn Ivin

So... I'm directing a film on the Beaconsfield mine rescue (if you are from Australia you should know the story). The film, to be screened on Channel 9, is being produced by John Edwards (Southern Star) and Jane Liscombe and is written by Judi McCrossin. While I'm still in the thick of developing Cherry Bomb and other things, the offer to direct a project like this was to good to refuse. I dipped my toe into the world of commercial TV with Offspring last year and really enjoyed the experience. So I've been keen to do more when the timing and the project was right.

I've been in 'pre-pre-production for the last month or so (scripting, casting, crewing) and official pre-production starts next week. We start shooting in just under 7 weeks for a scheduled 23 days. The film will be around 2.5 hours in length. Fast and furious to say the least. But that's how it rolls in TV land.

I'm heading back to Beaconsfield in the north of Tasmania today and will be going down the mine for the first time to have a look. The kid in me is quite excited about going a 1000m underground into the dark and the heat. The older, perhaps slightly wiser part of me feels a little uncomfortable about it. Much more to come...