Life and death are one thread, the same line viewed from different sides.
Director's Statement-Lifting Clouds
For the past few years I had been thinking about the definitives in life. But, no matter how hard I thought about it, there were no ‘definitives’ as such, except one ‘definite’, and that was, once we were born, we were all on the way to a death of some sort.
It was such a grim thought, but, it was what got me thinking about the types of deaths that humans have and whether there could be some control with the way that humans die. After all, there is control in every other aspect of the human life, so why the persistence in leaving human deaths to chance, particularly when they are imminent and obvious. Pets’ deaths, when they are terminally ill, are not left to chance. Pets are surrounded by their family, swaddled in blankets and love for their final goodbye. Yet humans, are never given this luxury.
Some countries in the world have legalised Euthanasia, with various stipulations. Each country differs in the way, and in the how, Euthanasia can be administered. Australia is close to drafting up a proposal to legalise Euthanasia, and with this there will be lots of relief for many terminally ill people who wish to control the end of their lives.
I, however, wanted to explore the concept of Euthanasia within the family environment when a terminally ill family member wants to be Euthanised. I wrote the script to incorporate three generations of women in one family grappling with this issue. I wanted to see what the dialogue would be like, who would be more prone to accept the decision? Can a decision ever be reversed with persuasion? What are those arguments against? What are the arguments for? Can anyone put a stop to the decision?, Finally, what happens to those left behind when the person has passed?
It was important to keep the cast and crew on a homestead in Warrnambool, Country Victoria for the duration of the shoot so that the feelings and the thoughts were contained within this isolated space. Many times the cast would bring their own sentiments to the performance for the topic became personal to them, as this is the one definitive and common denominator-death, that all people have.
I am very proud of the result, showing audiences in the short space of thirteen minutes various answers to questions pertaining to Euthanasia that can crop up when faced with this issue in a family environment. I wanted all the cast to be women, as it is mainly women who care for those that are dying.
A big thank you to the cast; Linda Whitaker as the grandmother, Robyn Svojtka as the mother, Isabella Svojtka as ‘Billy’, (the granddaughter), Jessica Fallow as narrator and Makani Alexandra Gladman, as the young ‘Billy’.
The entire crew weaved a lot of magic in Pre Production, during Principal Photography and in Post Production. Thank you to: Blake Borcich, Con Filippidis, Matt Brown (Mbryo), Sasha Kane, Jim Dunwoodie, Andrew Lock, Craig Jansson, Christopher Bitcon, Louis Puli, Laura Douglas, Hayley Beveridge and Aldi Godjali. My vision would not have been realised without their input, determination and professionalism. For that, I will always be grateful, and the result; a film that can take audiences on a personal journey on the philosophy behind Euthanasia. “When the Clouds won’t lift you. You have to force them yourself.”
Writer, Director Producer, Lifting Clouds, 2017.