by director Rosemary Myers
The backstory of Girl Asleep features a group of theatre makers including myself, writer Matthew Whittet and production designer Jonathon Oxlade, who work together at Windmill Theatre Co in Adelaide, South Australia. Over the past few years we have collaborated with wonderful actors like Amber McMahon and Eamon Farren, pursuing our collective imaginings to create a playful, anarchic and at times, even ridiculous theatre language. Our suite of plays about the teenage experience have been embraced by audiences here in Australia.
It was very exciting when Matt and I participated in a workshop called the HIVE, a funding program that encouraged artists from outside the world of film to think about translating their work into screen projects. At the time, we were beginning to imagine Girl Asleep as a play, and we were encouraged and excited to pitch it as a film.
The opportunity for us to think in a new medium was incredibly liberating. We are driven with a passion for stories as a means of connecting to our humanity and to each other. But we don’t like to be too bound by a rulebook in terms of how we tell the story. Our experiences in the theatre have taught us that we can take a lateral approach—and our audiences actually have a lot of fun going there.
As a creative team our ways of thinking are fairly aesthetically aligned, so it was very important for us to make a careful match with our Director of Photography Andrew Commis and Editor Karryn deCinque. These experienced filmmakers weren’t afraid to think outside the square and they taught us a lot about the medium.
Another great joy of making Girl Asleep was working with the wonderful teenage cast, particularly Bethany Whitmore and Harrison Feldman. Both deliver such winning performances. They are abundantly talented and lovely to be around, and at times our set felt like one big school camp.
Character Greta Driscoll and her family are facing the inescapable fact that things are changing and she is growing up. We know that the teenage years can be equal parts exhilarating, terrifying and full of high stakes as you take a leap into the great unknown. It actually sounds a lot like the process of making this film!
Theatre is an ephemeral medium; once the show is over it’s forever gone. But now we have made this film, it’s been an absolute joy to share it with audiences far and wide. It has been a creative journey way beyond our greatest dreams and, most of all, we hope you enjoy what we’ve made.