Filmmaker In Residence Project: Into The Wilderness

Don't worry. The title of this blog isn't a bleak prophecy. The film we are making has a a title now. It's called Wilderness.

The whole thing has moved on significantly from where it began. It has shaken itself loose of the shackles of its nucleus and is emerging as somewhat of a beast. The latest entry in the Screenwriting section of the site goes into more detail on the story and the script progress.

What makes this different?

Before Christmas, Justin and I had two good days working on the project. Well, one good day working and one good day reconnecting and talking film and life and the project as a whole. Living so far apart this is necessary as sometimes just ploughing in to the meat of the work without reminding ourselves of our individual lives, traits, insecurities etc. can cause anxiety. 

During the day we spent talking and reconnecting, over lunch at a Pizza Hut buffet (a nostalgic choice for us if ever there was one) Justin asked me a question.

"What makes this different to other films about couples?"

A tough question. An important question. I may have paraphrased him slightly there and I will likely paraphrase myself with my answer, which may read more succinctly than what I said at the time. Although I should say, Justin liked my answer and we moved forward, together, on the project. 

I said that this film was about a couple of things. Firstly it's about getting to an age where you ask yourself a 'what if' question in a relationship that has more meaning than it did before - 'what if this doesn't work out?' The weight of age and past relationships weighs heavy and this moment, with this person, feels like everything and that everything rests on the relationship working. In addition to this it's a film about what you do in this moment, when the space emerges between the real person you love and the projection of them you have created based on your own needs, desires and romantic ideals. That's what Wilderness is about, two people at this point in their lives, asking that question and dealing with that moment.


The casting call is written and will go out next week. We will cast 4 roles from 2 character breakdowns. I will post the casting breakdown here when it is up. We have some people in mind to see and approach. We have updated our Baracoa Pictures website with the film's information and updated biographies etc. We have a plan for when interviews with students who will work on the project are to take place, and applications are coming in. The script sits at 30+ pages (of 60+) and the remainder has been mapped out. It will be complete by the end of January. It's all moving forward. 


I was listening to the Close-Up podcast produced by the Film Society of Lincoln Center today. The episode featured Tom Noonan discussing Anomalisa and Andrew Haigh and Charlotte Rampling discussing 45 Years. Two things stuck with me. The first was Noonan's comment that 'meaning has nothing to do with the words', regarding the screenplay and the film. This is some kind of a mantra for me on this project (albeit versed more clearly than I have managed in my mind so far). I want there to be space for the director and the actors and the cinematographer and the editor and so on and so forth. I want there to be space for them to create layers of meaning that is rooted in there own lives and comes through their craft. The words uttered are to be only part of it. The second was Haigh discussing how 45 Years was shot mostly in sequence and deployed little coverage, with the cast and crew living near the film's main location, close together. The emotional impact of 45 Years is deep and so much can be felt as related to these decisions, decisions similar to ones we are making with Wilderness. If we can get anywhere near that film's cinematic depth and devastation I will be proud and happy.