LISP Film Festival 2023 Feature Movie Winner, Entanglement by Lliane Clarke, Kaye Tuckerman, Otgadahe Whitman-Fox
Interview with Lliane Clarke (she/her), Artistic Director
- Can you please tell us about you and your daily life? I live in Sydney, in the inner west of the city, on the beautiful land of the Gadigal traditional owners, which has the best coffee in the world, is a multicultural hub of creative people, and not too far from the glorious Sydney beaches. My daily life is typical of anyone in the arts! A relentless juggling act with a mantra of positivity! Developing new projects that will have an authentic connection to the women of the world, quarantining time for creative thought and process in amongst the digital noise, writing, exploring new text forms, reading, watching films and TV shows, and making sure the rent is going to be paid in my day job. - When and how did you get into filmmaking? I have always written creatively, beginning with poetry and then short story and then in my professional life I worked as a Publisher in non-fiction book publishing and in journalism, so I have written a lot of articles, edited an anthology of stories about women, and worked with incredible authors. I stumbled into monologue with my daughter when she was a student and fell in love with the direct immersion into a character and the incredible variety of form and treatment of time, and its impact in performance. I developed the Voices of Women program to present monologues by women whose voices can’t be heard, or women who had been told they can’t write or have nothing to say - and to share that with actors and professional storytellers. I wrote monologues for the live shows and also for our first feature film Clearway. When it came to Entanglement, I explored directing and absolutely adored it - directing four short films, and then the final feature film. Entanglement was truly a group effort, and we would meet across four time lines online every week. I loved working really closely with my co directors, the mega talented fellow Australian Kaye Tuckerman, who is an actor/writer/director based in New York, and actor/writer and director Otgadahe Whitman-Fox, a proud First Nations American who had such passion for this film, and also wasn’t afraid to call a spade a spade and tell it straight - which I still love about her! Our coproducers Sally Paridis and Laura Patinkin just keep us all afloat and kept the ship heading in the right direction - aka forwards! - Do you have a working routine? And what inspires you to create? What inspires me is a deep connection to the natural world and country, and working with or being with people who are brave, generous in spirit and courageous to speak up. - How does it feel to have your work recognised? When we won the NSW Arts and Culture Medal for the Entanglement program on the same day it was launched at NSW Government House with Her Excellency Margaret Beazley AC KC, it was such a huge boost and acknowledgement that the creative vision for the program was authentic and also inspiring to other people. It was incredibly heartwarming and moving to think that others also share that passion. The film was also launched at the Australian Consulate in New York, which was so exciting! Since then the film has gone on to win prizes and accolades all over the world, recently winning Best Documentary at the New York Arthouse Film Festival, and being in the official selection at the United Nations Women’s Conference Film Festival in Rwanda which I am most proud of. To connect with that group of women was amazing. - What's the best and most challenging thing about writing and Filmmaking? For writing I think the most challenging thing is to follow and trust your own instinct - that you know what a creative journey is and also to admit sometimes you don’t know… yet! But if you are given some time you will get there! When you stop and start to question who might like it or whether its ‘great’, and you lose the deep connection within your own soul, the inner voice that keeps you humming along, then you get a bit lost. The best thing about a film or stage play is when you get to hear the words and see them appear in colours and characters that go beyond the page - the transformative talent of actors never fails to amaze me. - How did you develop the idea for your LISP-selected film? Is there a story behind your story? And, how long have you been working on it? I developed the idea of the script for Entanglement from the work we had already been doing in the theatre shows since 2018, collaging monologues and hearing them as a whole. The word Entanglement I read in a book called Hidden in Plain View, by Paul Irish, which tells the story of a poorly understood period in Sydney’s colonial history, about the Gadigal Aboriginal People of Coastal Sydney and myths about them ‘disappearing’, when in fact they survived and still do - are still resilient and strong and entangled into the history as it continues to unfold. I thought that encapsulated our history as women, and also it spoke to me on a personal level as well, we twist and turn, change, reinvent ourselves, question our identity, find new pathways, change within relationships and without them. So when we met as producers on the film we decided that the subtext was indeed, within our differences, how do we connect? - Can you please give us a few tips about Filmmaking? The best tip is to plan as much as you can! Plan out your screenplay as soon as you start thinking about it - that writing down all of your thoughts much as possible before you start filming or rehearsing with as much information you can put into it about how you imagine it - colours, moods, music tones. The trick is also be prepared to stay flexible in the editing phase, so that a different nuance may reveal itself and you can allow that to come out. - What's the best thing and the most challenging thing about competitions and festivals? The best best thing is that you find people across the whole world to connect with! You are not alone and there are people who really like what you are doing! How exciting is that! Of course when you don’t hear or you get rejected it’s hard, but we are all in that boat. - Lastly, do you recommend the writers submit to LISP?
Yes I would absolutely encourage all writers to submit to LISP! The list of people involved in this program is outstanding, there are some incredible writers and creatives involved. To be amongst this community is such an honour and I’m only sorry that I don’t live in London and come around for a coffee!