Interview with ASFF Filmmaker Simon Trevorrow

Simon Trevorrow’s There’s a Bluebird in my Heart was selected to screen at the BAFTA Qualifying Aesthetica Short Film Festival. The compelling drama follows a lone man, diagnosed with a life-changing condition, who returns to his home town looking to make amends with the people from his past. He has more than one debt to repay. We speak to Trevorrow about developing his storyline, which was based on personal experiences, driven by an aim to explore the way in which we express our emotions.

ASFF: What was the inspiration behind your short drama?
ST: There’s a Bluebird in my Heart, initially came from my desire to explore an observation about men and the difficulty we can have expressing emotions and letting people in. I was diagnosed with an illness where I was faced with my own mortality. Facing that, really made me aware of how much I pushed difficult emotions away, whether that was from fear or a sense of I how I thought I need to behave. I feel sometimes men aren’t really taught how to deal with emotions.  I wanted to make a movie for them, by exploring a character that sets out to make amends with people who he has harmed through his inability to express himself.

ASFF: How did your time at the Victorian College of Art impact on your work?
ST: VCA was instrumental in helping me to trust my voice as a filmmaker and that if I wrote about what I found interesting or cared about it would find an audience. I think before then I was trying to find stories that hadn’t been seen, to do something different for an audience; you can still achieve that same effect with an audience by trusting in the uniqueness of who you are and how that translates into the work you create. It’s a shift to look within instead of guessing what would be interesting or different for the sake of trying to win an audience.

ASFF: Why do you think it is important to attend festivals, and what are your highlights from this years ASFF?
ST: From my experience, attending a festival is about witnessing the reaction of the audience who have no personal connection to your film. It’s invaluable and can help you re-evaluate the way you approach your storytelling. Film festivals are a way to meet so many creative from all over the globe in a short space of time, who all share the same passion for films as you. Being around that energy is inspiring! The highlight for me at ASFF was the opportunity to meet and network with organisations, I’m based in Australia, so it was great experience to gain a better understanding of how the industry works in the UK. I feel like I made some really great friends, that I hope one day in the future I get the chance to work with them on a project.

ASFF: What would be your advice to filmmakers looking to reach new audiences?
ST: I would look at exploring a different genre for your ideas. I always had a resistance to genre, but exploring aspect of film noir in my film was liberating. Working with action sequences was really fun and something I never really saw myself doing. Without the film noir element the film would be a character driven drama about a man looking for his ex boyfriend. Generally speaking, it is not a movie that men would typically want to go and see. But I feel like I got to reach a wider audience through exploring this story with film noir tropes.

ASFF: Have you got any future project in the pipeline that we can look at for?
ST: Currently I’m developing a feature film called Home, which is an extension of the ideas in my short, about a man who is isolated from his family and throug experiencing grief and loss is able to find a new path to reconnect. I’m also in the middle of production for a workplace comedy called Fresh Food People, which is set in a local food market and is exploring ideas about racial identity, generational divide and belief systems.

1.Simon Trevorrow, There’s a Bluebird in my Heart (Victorian College of the Arts), Australia, 2015.