Wandiligong film maker returns home to create a North East war story

AN EMERGING film maker returned home to Wandiligong – with more than 30 crew – to shoot her most challenging assignment yet.

At one point we did a take that went for about 15 minutes and when one of the actors got out of the trench, his uniform had completely frosted over

Grace Griffith

Grace Griffith, 21, hopes Fallen, a short period film that includes some North East military history, will find a place on the festival circuit when released next year.

“We’re aiming high, we want to submit it to Sundance and the Berlin International Film Festival,” she said.

Fallen, set in the trenches of Mont St Quentin during World War I, began as an assessment for Griffith’s film and television degree at Swinburne University.

“I decided for my graduate film I’m going to go all out and make the most of it,” she said.

Last month, as writer, producer and director, she oversaw three consecutive nights of filming in Wandiligong, recreating a wartime trench on her parents’ property.

“We would start at 6pm and shoot through to when the sun would rise,” Griffith said. “At one point we did a take that went for about 15 minutes and when one of the actors got out of the trench, his uniform had completely frosted over.”

Based in Bright, the team was overwhelmed by the support they received from the community.

“It wasn’t exactly small scale either, there was 30-plus crew and we had professional actors on board and we had professional equipment,” the director said.

The 12-minute film sees two soldiers, a private tending to an injured captain, talking about their life back home in Australia, with flashback sequences set in Melbourne.

“You come to understand and sympathise with the actions of all the characters and not just one individual,” Griffith said. “I feel like this is truer to real life and that’s something that I really wanted to emulate.”

Originally planning to set the film in Gallipoli and scouting for locations, she saw a statue to Myrtleford’s Sergeant Albert Lowerson, awarded a Victoria Cross for action at Mont St Quentin in 1918.

“Seeing that statue actually inspired me to then set it in Mont St Quentin instead and change it up a little bit, because I really wanted that tie back to Bright and Myrtleford,” Griffith said.