Beck Cole Here I Am Interview Cast
: Shai Pittman, Marcia Langton, Quinaiha Scott, Bruce Carter, Pauline Whyman, Vanessa Worrall, Tanith Glynn-MaloneyDirector
: Beck ColeGenre
: MRunning Time
: 91 minutes Synopsis
: Karen is a beautiful young woman with a dark past, but she's got potential and she knows it. Fresh out of prison, she finds herself on the streets with a burning desire to turn her life around but no one to call for help. Eventually she finds a haven at a shelter for women like herself. With the support of her new community of friends, Karen begins the journey of reconnecting with her estranged mother and her young daughter, and she is soon propelled to face the most difficult truths of her life. But she's determined to never give up. Set and shot in and around Port Adelaide, Here I Am is a moving and hopeful story about the strength and resilience of women.Website
Interview with Beck ColeQuestion:
Tell us about the film:Beck Cole
: The film is called Here I Am and it's a story about a young woman trying to reconnect with her mother and daughter, so it's a film about the strength and resilience of one young woman who's desperately trying to turn her life around for the better and make a better future for herself, so it's kind of her journey.
The character in the film's name is Karen and the story begins on the day that she's released from prison and it follows her in the few weeks after her release, and upon her release she realises basically that she's got nowhere to go, she's burnt a lot of bridges in the past, so she ends up at a woman's shelter in Port Adelaide where the story's set, and from there she begins the process of trying to put the steps in process to get access to her daughter, to strive for a goal which is to see her child.Question:
How did you come to tell this story?Beck Cole
: I sort of had the character of Karen in mind for the whole time that I was writing the script, and writing the script took a long time, it was about a five year process, and so I just wanted to create a character that was quite dark but also quite unique, and actually had this positive drive, so she's come from a dark place but she's working towards a goal, and I wanted to write a film that looked inwardly, that doesn't point the finger at anyone else, and cast the blame on anyone. It's about her choices and her responsibilities, and the mistakes she's made in the past and how she wants to make amends with that.Question:
Would you call it an indigenous film?Beck Cole
: The film is set in an Aboriginal community, the women are all Aboriginal women, but it's a universal story. There are lots of people that have broken families and difficulties with relationships between their mums and their daughters. I think it's very truthful to being an Indigenous experience, as well as other people can relate to it.Question:
When did you start shooting?Beck Cole
: We started shooting the film in May of 2010 and we shot for six weeks in Port Adelaide which is kind of the epicentre for social services in that part of Adelaide, so we were always constantly reminded of the issues that the film deals with because it was all around us, so it was a really great setting to make the film.
Everyone was really generous because we made a film here in Adelaide, it's a really laidback friendly supportive environment to make the film and I really wanted to cast a lot of the women from Adelaide so we went high and low and met a lot of the people along the way in the pre-production process and overall, yeah, everyone's been really supportive and eager to help out and keen to be a part of it, so yeah, it was great.Question:
How did you go about casting?Beck Cole
: Firstly it was really important to cast the character of Karen and then we needed to build the other cast members around her so we started there. We came to Adelaide and looked quite thoroughly around for someone I thought could pull it off, and then we met Shai who's actually from Blacktown in Sydney, and she came down to Adelaide to meet Kath and I and almost immediately it was clear that you know, she had an edge, a uniqueness, that I thought was really interesting, and obviously she's very beautiful, and because the character Karen is in every single scene it was really important that the woman that we cast had that energy and that beauty for an audience to want to watch her for the whole film. And also I think Shai was fantastic because she's got lots of dimensions. She can look very different from different angles, and is just a very intriguing, I think, character.
So we cast Shai and then we started looking further afield. I also always had Marcia Langton in mind for the character of Lois, because she owns that sort of strength and that hard edge that I wanted Lois to have, so those two had to come together first and from there we were looking further afield for all the women in the house.Question:
Were you taking a risk using women who hadn't acted much?Beck Cole
: Maybe, I think the good thing about - I always wanted to cast women who hadn't done a lot of acting before simply because I wanted the performances to be really raw, and I just wanted there to be lots of fresh faces and great opportunities for women to play characters in the film, and it kind of gives the film a kooky edge to it in that, there's all sorts of personalities, and the women who have been cast in these roles are all sort of very similar to the way I've written the characters, and often I've got those women in mind as I'm writing. For instance, Pauline Whyman who plays Skinny, I always knew it would be Pauline who plays that role. Jodie, Tanith, and others as well. I just think it gives the film a bit more realism and a sense of reality.Question:
How did the shoot go?Beck Cole
: It was all pretty straightforward really. We were shooting in Adelaide in the height of winter. I wanted the film to look really cold, for it to be wet and windy and pretty miserable, like Adelaide is a lot of the time, so I guess everyone was battling the elements a little bit. But no, everything went really smoothly, all the woman became friends instantly. All the women were really supportive of each other. I mean it sounds a bit wanky to say that, but it was true I think in this instance. It was a really generous warm experience for me, and hopefully for Shai and Kath as well. Question:
What do you hope the audiences get out of this?Beck Cole
: I hope that the audience will come away with a sense of joy and hopefully a smile on their face, and a kind of positive attitude or outlook, because although the film does deal with many difficult issues and emotions and obstacles that Karen gees through, I think the, well I'd hope that the audience really wants to back her up and see that she gets to where she wants to go, so I hope that people appreciate the humour and the joy in the film, and the romance and the friendships, because I think that's key to the story.Question:
What's next for you?Beck Cole
: I hate this question, because I don't know what I'm doing next! Okay, next I am co-writing a script with Warwick Thornton and beginning to write a novel that I've been working on for a little while, and have a few other projects that I'm thinking of but it's early days because this has been such a big project for such a long time, so just looking at other options for now. What's next, I don't know.Question:
What's it like working with Warwick?Beck Cole
: Warwick, who?! No, basically I work with Kath Shelper, the producer, and Warwick, the cinematographer, a lot. We sort of work together on each other's projects. Kath produces my films as well as Warwick's. So, we're all very close and have a really great working relationship, and in terms of how Warwick and I work together, we've been doing it for a pretty long time, you know. Warwick's pretty much shot everything I've done as a director, so it's just second nature, easy. We understand each other, and it just seems to fit, so yeah.