Authentic voices are plentiful in Joshua Longhurst’s short film Cherry Season.
Cherry Season delves into the experiences of LGBTQIA communities living in regional NSW and was a recipient of Create NSW’s 2018 Generator: Emerging Filmmakers Fund (GEFF). Ahead of its screening at this years’ Queer Screen Mardi Gras Film Festival, Joshua shared what inspired him to tell this story.
How does it feel to have your film in Queer Screen Mardi Gras Film Festival 2019?
It’s an incredible opportunity to screen at Queer Screen Mardi Gras Film Festival alongside some of the best LGBTQIA films in the country. It’s an exciting festival with many opportunities to network with other filmmakers and enjoy the inclusivity the festival promotes.
The significance of this film festival is huge, it is an opportunity for LGBTQIA filmmakers to have their voices heard and encourage more people to create LGBTQIA content. This festival is supported by many major partners and it is great to see such strong support for LGBTQIA films and the stories we are telling.
Cherry Season explores many complex themes – sexuality, identity, conformity, conflicting notions of isolation, responsibility – presenting a unique perspective on LGBTQIA issues in regional communities. Tell us about your idea?
When Tim Spencer (Cherry Season’s writer) and I first spoke about this story, we felt it was important to explore LGBTQIA stories that weren’t a first-hand recount of our own experiences as people who identify as gay men. However, there are elements of this story that are deeply personal to me. Rosie Braye (Cherry Season’s producer) and I thank Tim for pushing the story to a place that explored these complex themes and allowed me to translate them to the screen. I am deeply passionate about presenting the unique perspectives of our experiences and the experiences that our community often faces. I have been given a platform to do this and push myself as a filmmaker through this opportunity with Create NSW.
The film was shot in your hometown of Young. Can you tell us how yourself and production designer Jean-Pierre Yomona worked together to portray the unique identity of Young?
I loved working with JP (Jean-Pierre). He is dedicated to presenting the authenticity of a place. Emma Paine (Cherry Season’s cinematographer) and I had visited Young on a recce to seek out locations that would work best for each moment. JP and I were really collaborative. JP wasn’t going to see any of the locations or the actors until we arrived in Young, so we had a lot of trust in each other and an ability to work quickly when a challenge arose. Bringing the crew to Young a day before the shoot gave JP and I the opportunity to find ways to make what we had work. When working with a low budget, it’s invaluable to have a team that can really collaborate and be creative with what is available. Once in Young, JP found a Vinnies and purchased a lot of the costumes for the characters. So, in this, it was authentic.
Cherry Season was one of a few projects successful in its application to Create NSW’s 2018 Generator: Emerging Filmmakers Fund (GEFF). What would you say to filmmakers thinking of applying to Generator in 2019?
Apply! I wish I had done it sooner. The team at Create NSW surrounded us with a strong team of Executive Producers and broadcaster support that you don’t often get when making short films. I’d say find people who genuinely resonate with the story and the project you want to make and find a producer who will talk to anyone to make a deal happen. Also, go shoot in regional NSW! We had such great support in Young from a lot of individuals and businesses who were excited to be a part of the filmmaking process.
Has Generator: Emerging Filmmakers Fund contributed to your screen career?
Absolutely, this experience has given me, our company, Wintergarden Pictures, and my co-creators, Tim Spencer and Rosie Braye, the foundations to continue to develop as filmmakers and to explore new opportunities to build a sustainable career. We’ve since received development funding from Screen Australia for our online series Ding Dong I’m Gay and we’re exploring opportunities to expand Cherry Season into a longer project. The masterclass that is GEFF really helped solidify our capabilities as filmmakers.
Queer Screen Mardi Gras Film Festival | 13 - 28 February 2019
Cherry Season will be screening at Queer Screen Mardi Gras Film Festival 2019 in the My Queer Career Program. Tickets available here: https://tix.queerscreen.org.au/Events/Cherry-Season.
Generator: Emerging Filmmakers Fund (GEFF)
More information on GEFF can be found here: https://www.screen.nsw.gov.au/funding/production-support/generator-emerging-filmmakers-fund.
Image 1: Cherry Season behind-the-scenes with Yassica Switakowski and Travis Jeffery with director Joshua Longhurst. Photo: Stuart Steenbergen.
Image 2: Cherry Season behind-the-scenes with director Joshua Longhurst. Photo: Stuart Steenbergen.