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GS: What was the inspiration for your film?
AB: The music video “Tragic Fairytale” is from my Original Music Soundtrack from my documentary short film “Change The World” and my documentary feature film trilogy series (https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0071537/). In my films, I have chronicled my journey, humanitarian work and also shared the story behind my music. I began collaborating on an album with my boyfriend, Erick Deeby, in 2005 whilst living in Sydney’s red light district, Kings Cross. We developed the sound over the next couple years and he was adamant I wait until he had finished writing and recording the instrumentals for me before I began to write the lyrics and melody. He wanted our project to be completely 50/50 from our hearts and souls and for me to hear the finished product so I could feel the music. In August 2007, two weeks after he had finished recording my instrumental pieces of music in his recording studio, we got engaged after living together for five years. Life couldn’t have been better and we were just so excited to be getting married. Then three days later, suddenly and unexpectedly, he suffered a massive heart attack in our home. I performed CPR but tragically he never regained consciousness and was in a coma for a week before his life support system was turned off. I literally lived my worst nightmare and my life changed in an instant.
GS: When did you conceive the idea for your film and how long did it take before it was realized?
AB: I left Sydney after his funeral and went to my family’s property in the country. It was there that I hit rock bottom and was depressed and having suicidal thoughts. I just didn’t know how I was going to be able to go on without my soulmate. Six weeks later, my twin brother was getting married and I wasn’t expected to attend due to my loss but there was no way I was missing his wedding! On the long drive to the venue I was thinking to myself how this was all just an absolute tragic fairytale and then I thought that could be a title for one of my songs. Without my songs to play in the car I mentally went through all our music and knew which one it would suit by the tempo and tune. I got a piece of paper and a pen out and wrote the song in 15 minutes. I began the lines like a fairytale “Once upon a time, in a land far away” and then put the last line in “and I know, oh yes I know this is not the end”. I then worked backwards and filled it in like a jigsaw puzzle. I allowed my heart to feel my emotions and let them flow and this song is just so special to me. I then wrote the rest of the album like chapters in a book and the whole process was extremely cathartic. The project then sat on the shelf until 2016 when I began making my first documentary feature film ‘Angelena: Change The World” and decided to share our music.
GS: What was the most challenging aspect of working in a short film format?
AB: I personally love the short film format but it definitely has it’s challenges as a filmmaker. For example, you need to convey your story concisely and succinctly to ensure your audience is engaged and understands your vision. There is no time to ramble and it means editing becomes even more important as you choose your frames very carefully and only include what is absolutely necessary. When producing my music videos, even though they are part of my films and soundtrack, I treat each one as a stand alone piece of art telling that particular story/song. Music videos are short films and I love bringing the intangible to life and manifesting my inner vision into our world to then share with others. There is something very magical about music and I enjoy every aspect of my creations from the writing to the singing to the directing, producing and editing because they are all essentially intertwined and each a piece of the puzzle that creates my vision.
GS: What was the most challenging aspect of your production?
AB: The one constant that I couldn’t remove from my mind during production was that Erick was no longer here and doing our project together and that I had written “Tragic Fairytale” about him and his passing. I had never produced an album before, let alone made films so the whole project was enormous to take on by my self with no team and no budget! However, I had promised him at his bedside while he was in a coma that someday, somehow I would finish our special project and I meant it. There was no way I was going to break that promise, especially after all the hard work we had put in while he was alive. The music gave me a focus, something to strive towards and an outlet that I believe saved my life. I am eternally grateful to Erick for believing in me as an artist and for writing these instrumental pieces of music for me. He saw my potential even when I couldn’t and without him, I wouldn’t be accepting this award. I’m truly blessed and am cherishing every moment as I know the fragility of life.
GS: Do you have any advice for first-time filmmakers?
AB: My advice for first-time filmmakers is always to do your homework. Really get clear on what genre you resonate with and hone your skills. I produce all my work in their entirety and even though it is a ridiculous amount of work, I love the whole creative process and how it unfolds organically. Filmmaking is definitely not a nine to five job so being passionate about what you’re wanting to create is imperative so you have the drive to persist with your project. Don’t be afraid to take risks either because being in your comfort zone as an artist is never a good thing. Being uncomfortable is where the magic happens so believe in yourself!