by actress/co-writer Felicity Price
and director/co-writer Kieran Darcy-Smith
I remember lying in bed, next to Kieran right in the middle of the Cambodian shoot of Wish You Were Here, both of us ridiculously sleep deprived but wide-awake and staring at the ceiling of our three star hotel. Neither of us were able to sleep, and not because of the sweltering 3:00am heat or the steady thump of music coming from the bar just outside our window, or the pink and blue neon cutting through the faded curtains or even our six-month-old daughter safely tucked into the bed next to us but because of two unmentionably severe cases of dysentery.
It was the night of our wedding anniversary. And we were happy because we were finally shooting the movie that we had started writing together four years earlier.
The whole crazy journey began as a plan to write and shoot a super-low-budget feature, starring and produced by ourselves and with Kieran directing. We searched for houses to rent in the heart of the Australian suburbs, where we could live while we wrote the script with the intention of shooting the film in our own home. I was pregnant, just like my character Alice. We figured we’d max-out a dozen credit cards and just get the thing in the can.
Then we met our brilliant and tenacious producer, Angie Fielder, who very quickly put an end to any romantic ideas we’d had about doing this ‘guerrilla style.’ The idea was too good, she said—and so no, if we were going to tell this story then we were going to tell it properly. So then the real work began... We poured the whole of ourselves into the script and for the next four years it was the very center of our lives. All day, every day, we mined the story for drama; debating and improvising; feeding it with everything we’d ever experienced either as individuals or, now, as partners and lovers. We saw ourselves and so many of our friends as ‘generation X’s grown up’; each of us with new responsibilities and yet with a longing, still, for the freedoms of youth. Every mistake, every decision we’d ever made, was put under a microscope. And even as we became the parents of two beautiful babies and writing was squeezed in-between changing nappies and cooking dinners, long drives to family barbeques and more prosaic money-earning jobs….we just kept writing, and writing.
Cut to five years later and Kieran and I are standing in the gently falling snow on the opening night of the Sundance Film Festival, taking a moment alone, together, listening to the sounds of our world premiere party carrying on upstairs without us.
It has been an amazing and fulfilling journey, a formative time in our lives and a gift to experience. All that blood and sweat and all those tears have paid off in so many ways, and especially now that we get to share it with you.