Call Me Mum

Big and Little Films for SBSI
n/a, 2005
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Call Me Mum, is a digital feature film made up of theatrical, interlinked monologues. Based on the white writers experience of fostering a boy from the Torres Strait Islands, the writing spanned twenty years but the screenplay unfolded in `real time so it couldnt be located in a particular period. The representation of Indigenous Australians by white filmmakers is a contentious space. Being white, and directing, presented me with the problem of how to create an appropriate mise en scène (this includes visual style and performances) that best served this complex narrative. Call Me Mum screened on SBS twice; at national and international film festivals; was nominated for four AFI acting awards; the Indigenous actress won one and the film co-won a Production Design award. Contribution To solve the time frame problem I developed a heightened and distinctive mise en scène where the temporal collapse embodied within the script could exist. As well as cultural research in the Torres Strait I worked with an Indigenous drama coach on set. With almost no possibility of cutting away, each monologue had to work in itself. Some were long and emotionally challenging for the two untrained Torres Strait Islander actors. I developed innovative rehearsal and shooting techniques in order to create safe spaces where they might shine. Significance The creation a unique `world where different time-frames could co-exist, thus locating the story at a pivotal stage in the history of race relations in Australia, rather than a literal moment in time.
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