About the film
Desiccation is a short film that surrounds the basis of mental health, especially in rural regions of Australia. The main message within the film is that it is not weak of individuals to seek help when they are struggling through tough times, in this case, through drought.
Although this project displays the subject of drought, drought can be resembled as any obstacle in life that any person may face, and this is how audiences of all
circumstances may relate to the film.
The aim of this project is not only to bring awareness to audiences of this reoccurring issue that farmers and graziers face.
Director's Statement (Jan 2019):
Having grown up on a cattle property myself, I have been influenced by the cattle industry and am fully aware of how the state of the land can impact someone’s mental state and why they may see suicide as a way out. Therefore, this story isn’t just important to me, but is also important for the rural community as it carries a strong message to rural peoples (men more specifically) that it is ok to talk to someone and it is not weak to do so. I say rural men in particular, because there’s this stigma where looking confident and successful is a social norm. Men in general find it hard to show weakness in attempt to keep this image. Ultimately meaning there is no escape for their emotions as they fear their peers may deem them as weak and incapable of running a successful business.
The purpose of the film was to explore the deeper parts of not only the Australian Outback psyche, but humans as a whole in a universally recognized emotional beings. I wanted answers as to why we can and will put people into positions of self loathing. So although the surface question of the film was for him to go and talk to someone, the bigger question is why couldn’t he go and talk to someone. Why, as a society, do we repress people from talking openly about their issues and feelings. Could this be due to an unrealistic ideal of status, masculinity, femininity, power, money, etc?
So in summary of the moral message on the surface of the film is to talk to someone that you’re comfortable with if you are struggling. However, the deeper message is for the people who aren’t hurting and is asking them to allow an environment free of judgement and expectation for the people who are hurting to avoid repression, which in turn, leads to depression. This message holds resonance with me because I too was feeling down before I wrote the script and I felt the need to talk to someone, however is was the same people who put me into a position to think negatively and I couldn’t understand why. I felt trapped and I didn’t fell like there was an escape.
With the recent drought in mind, I realised that many of grazers and farmers experience this hardship and refuse to speak up as a result. I knew of people who had committed suicide in regional and remote Australia growing up, but I never realised the extended of the suicide rate of rural Australian compared to metropolitan Australian until I was researching. On average suicide rates in rural Australia are double to triple the national average. I wanted to make a film that could resonate with this group of people and show that it is ok to let your guard down.
This film was not a very ordinary film set like most others. All crew were living together, with limited mobile communications working in harsh outdoor conditions. So for many, it wasn’t just a new experience, it was an adventure which accounted as a major personal experience. There
were mainly 8 crew on set including myself. Looking back at the film as a whole, I think it is massive achievement of what we were able to capture with such limited crew. Location was over 2000km from base (Brisbane) and the fact that this group of people were dedicated enough to not only travel to a new place, but experience filming conditions they had never experienced before means a lot to me. I will forever show a great amount of gratitude for the people who came on the trip and to the people who committed themselves in all areas of the production to make it the best film it could possibly be.
Producer's Statement (Jan 2019):
With this fictional drama dwelling into the hardships Australian farmers and graziers face in the outback, it is expected that the target audience is towards men aging between 35 to 60. However, on a similar matter when facing problems such as depression and the feelings of weakness combined with uselessness, anyone can resonate with the situation.
Budgeting throughout the entirety of the film has been the backbone to the attentive distribution of funds towards resources, skilled cast, a proficient crew and a real Australian location full of earthy sustenance, in addition to its history. Without significant help from friends, family, and fellow supporters it was determined that the film would exceed its limits way beyond expectation.
With this being said, it enabled a majority of budgeting to be focused into travelling costs, casting as well as food, which provided cast and crew with an approved quality of not only acting ability but a thorough job in all film departments. The remainder of the budgeting was regarded to costume and props, post-production expenses, gifts for those that contributed time, along with resources, as well as a safe-kept allocation of funds that is for future unpredictable events, in addition to publication.
With the film’s current presence in social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, along with its own website, it hopes to accumulate an audience of young, together with, old individuals, based in Brisbane and worldwide film-enthusiasts.
Working alongside well-known mental health advocate, amongst the rural community, Zoe Hayes, the film hopes to combine audiences, spreading the word on mental health for all in Australia and soon internationally through its final release in film festivals, private screenings, as well as on YouTube. In the form of a short film, this is how the Desiccation crew hopes to shine light on the matter of depression, and that in desperate times of need, to not stand alone on your own two feet.