"Film Debut for Archipelago"

Tasmanian Times article, written by Geoffrey Swan

At the start of 2020 Archipelago Productions had just completed the theatrical adaptation of Favel Parrett’s novel “Past the Shallows” and were in discussions with interstate theatre companies looking to tour the work. Then came COVID-19 and shut down happened. Arts Tasmania and Screen Tasmania offered a response grant to adapt live works to a digital platform, and thus was born the experimental film version of the play.

“The concept is simple, a radio play combined with a silent film. The execution has been much more complex” said Director Ben Winspear.

“In order to create a second, parallel story that would complement the spoken text, without simply illustrating the story, I conceived the idea of one of the surviving children from the novel, Miles, returning to the land of his childhood decades later, to collect mementos and build a shrine to his lost brother.”

Ten Days on the Island backed the concept, and supported Archipelago Productions in completing the shoot and edit, which was shot on locations across southern Tasmania using an all Tasmanian cast and crew.

Award winning Author of Past the Shallows, Favel Parrett, spent much of her time growing up on similar Tasmanian Beaches, searching for “treasures” that had been washed up on the shore. She loves to surf and the ocean plays a significant part in Parrett’s life and to a greater extent, her writing.

Set in lutruwita/Tasmania’s rugged South, Past the Shallows centres on the plight of a family of brothers as they try to negotiate the loss of their mother, a father turned to alcohol, and life as young workers on a dangerously derelict abalone fishing boat.

This experimental film adaptation from director Ben Winspear and cinematographer Matt Scott casts us into a cold, dark lutruwita/Tasmania where beauty and hardship reign and where an apple from an outcast can be the kindness that saves a child, if only for a day.

This debut film from Archipelago Productions follows Parrett’s characters as they attempt to land a life-changing catch – and as they finally discover the truth about their tragic upbringing.

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