The process diary of film director Glendyn Ivin
For years I’ve dreamt of making a film based in and around ‘nature’. Where an animal would be a main character and there would be a spirit of generosity and a wildness throughout. And it would be hopeful and emotional and beautiful and there would be darkness as well as light. And if it was based on a true story and had real life elements that could be drawn heavily on then that would be a bonus.
Dreams like this, especially when written down come across as thin and vague and highly unlikely, but… then along came Penguin!
Penguin Bloom: Based on the International best-selling book of the same name, this magical film tells the true and emotional story of a family’s extraordinary friendship with a unique little bird. Set on Australia’s northern beaches, the film stars Naomi Watts (The Impossible) as Sam Bloom, a young mother recovering from a near-fatal accident that has left her unable to walk. As they struggle to come to terms with their new situation, a guardian angel enters their lives in the form of an injured magpie chick, whom they name ‘Penguin’. This odd little bird helps them rediscover the preciousness of life, as they learn to heal as a family. Produced by Bruna Papandrea, Naomi Watts and Emma Cooper, the film is directed by Glendyn Ivin (The Cry) and written by Shaun Grant (The True History of the Kelly Gang) and Harry Cripps (The Dry).
Pre-production starts soon…
RIP Mark Hollis. One of my few Heroes…
Secrets and Lies (60 pages, colour, hardcover) is a very limited edition book of photographs from The Cry. The images range from location scouting photos, portraits, behind the scenes, details and visual explorations many of which became frames in the series. There is also storyboards, script notes and an introduction. ) NB: Not for sale.
Excerpt from the introduction…
On one of our first days of shooting The Cry we were setting up for a scene between Ewen and Jenna in the backyard of ‘Elizabeths house’. In the scene, ‘Alistair’ schools ‘Joanna’ in how to behave in an upcoming press conference. We blocked and talked through the beats of the scene and now adjustments to lighting and camera were being made and there was the usual commotion of crew getting ready to shoot.
More often than not actors step off set during this time but Jenna chose to stay seated where the scene would take place. From behind my monitors I watched Jenna take a deep breath and gently closed her eyes and exhale. At first I thought it might be jet lag, but as the crew worked around her, Jenna sat still, eyes closed and seemingly unaware of the work going on around her. After five minutes or so, even when ‘final checks’ were called, her eyes remained closed as the hair and make- up departments moved in and made their final adjustments to her.
It wasn’t until all the crew had fallen silent and “Action!” was called that Jenna then opened her eyes and ‘Joan- na’s’ world, began. I realised then, that if we were to find our way through this complex story, I also had to filter out all the noise of the ‘real world’ and find myself present in the ever shifting, fractured realities of The Cry.
The images in this book are some of my own moments of stillness within those parallel realities that closely coiled around each other. The spiralling layers of tone, atmosphere, the look, the feel, the secrets and lies. The physical world of what we eventually called ‘the vortex’ of The Cry.
ABCTV trailer for the Australian release of The Cry which goes to air and streams on iView on Feb 3rd.
Saw the New Year in quietly with some country fireworks and a swim on New Years day. 2018 was a huge year for me a director and us all as a family. 2019 promises more good things along with some challenges. Wishing you a creative year ahead!
Richard Billingham’s book Ray’s A Laugh (below) changed the way I saw photography and has inspired me directly and indirectly over the years.
I’m very keen to see the film Ray and Liz (above) which is like watching Richards’ photographs come to life. Ray and Liz seems to be sitting in that sweet grey area where documentary and drama blur and dissolve and hopefully becomes something altogether new.
The Cry goes to air on BBC1 in the U.K this Sunday night (Sept, 30th). I’m very proud of this series and everyone who worked so tirelessly to make it as good as it can be. Amazing writing by Jac Perske who I worked with on Seven Types Of Ambiguity. I’ve worked on The Cry for close to a year and we have only just finished polishing the first episode. Usually a series sits on the shelf for a little while giving a chance for all the stress and tiredness to fade… but this quick turn around feels like it’s going out into the world with the paint still wet ; )
Really looking forward to people seeing it… especially the incredible performances from our amazing cast but in particular Jenna Coleman and Ewen Leslie who are both incredible. There are certain sequences and moments in this series that even though I helped conceive them, directed them, edited and watched them over and over and over, I’m still completely in awe.