A week or two before my mum died of brain cancer, my dad took her on a road trip to Seymour in Country Victoria. They intended to spend the night and wake-up to the sound of kookaburras. Dad was back by the end of the day. Mum had lost her mind somewhere on the Hume highway.
Once we’d gotten Mum safely inside the family home back in Melbourne, I left Dad with her so I could have a moment alone, under the guise of getting his and Mum’s things out of their car. When I approached the car I noticed a large crack in the front windscreen. It had begun to splinter in different directions, like some anarchic omen determined to shatter the glass around it.
Dad hadn’t noticed the crack. It may have formed that day, or a long time ago. But it wasn’t going anywhere.
Skewwhiff is not about my parents. It’s about that crack. The characters and circumstances in the film are different, but that crack was the driving force for this film.
I was drawn to the image of an elderly couple driving silently with a cracked front windscreen. This opening to the film felt off kilter and somehow wrong, or 'skewwhiff'. I used this motif in the moment when Bill’s (Chris Haywood) collar literally needs straightening, but also applied it to the general fabric and feel of the film. I hope the audience are immersed in this fabric and are pulled into a visceral experience of Bill's world.
In order to help express Rae’s (Kaarin Fairfax) state of mind, we made sure we shot the film under complete cloud cover, to emphasise her lack of clarity as she loses herself to an oppressive disease.
Working with these actors was a pleasure, and I’m so glad to have made a film about an older demographic I rarely see given rich on-screen roles.
Most of all, I’m grateful to my mum Michel for supporting me in my want to be a storyteller. She taught me the meaning of countless words, most notably ‘skewwhiff’. She won’t see this film, but she’s somehow in it.