On Monday night, I facilitated a Q&A session with writer/director Kieran Darcy-Smith (pictured below on left), following the Northern Rivers premiere of his debut feature film, Wish You Were Here, which was jointly hosted by Screenworks and Dendy Byron.
It was a lively discussion, during which Kieran revealed the genesis of the screenplay (which he wrote with his wife and actress Felicity Price, who stars as 'Alice' in the movie), how he got the film funded in collaboration with producer Angie Fielder and the trials and tribulations of filming in Cambodia. On the first day of the shoot, he fell neck-deep into an open sewer, and apparently that was the easiest day!
Wish You Were Here is a tense, psychological drama that tells the story of husband and wife Dave and Alice, who join Alice's sister Steph and her new boyfriend Jeremy for a quick holiday in Cambodia. Only three return home. Dave and Alice come back to their young family desperate for answers about Jeremy’s mysterious disappearance. When Steph returns not long after, a nasty secret is revealed about the night her boyfriend went missing. But it is only the first of many.
Kieran told the audience at the Byron screening that his and Felicity's goal in telling this story was to explore honesty and integrity - and to examine what happens when "Gen X grow up" and have to face their adult responsiblities. One of the best things about Wish You Were Here is that it explores real, complex, gritty characters who are flawed human beings, like most of us are. But there are some very confronting aspects of the film - and the non-linear way the plot unfolds means that the characters' inner worlds are revealed slowly. But by the end of the film, Kieran succeeds in his goal - by arriving at a point where you feel some sympathy for and empathy towards each of the characters, despite their flaws.
Oh, and by the way, I love my new "stage name", Kerry Saunders! Thanks Lisa ;-)