INTERVIEW: 2016 Audience Choice Award winner SCOTT SOWTER
As we gear up for this year's Made in the West Film Festival, we thought we'd catch up with one half of the brains and brawn behind 2016’s Audience Choice Award winning film, Pillow Talk, Scott Sowter. If you haven’t seen the film, get out from under your rock, give yourself a long, hard talking to, and give it a squiz here.
And if you haven’t yet entered a film in this year's festival, then get cracking! SUBMIT YOUR FILM and you could go home with one of the most highly coveted crystal trophies in town.
Made in the West Film Festival: Hey Scott! Congrats on your big win last year with Pillow Talk. What have you been working on since we saw you last?
Scott Sowter: Since winning the 2016 Audience Choice Award and taking home a VA Digital Hire voucher I have written and directed two short films. They feature actor (and my personal hero) Adnan Zey, who you might remember as one of the stars from Pillow Talk. The first is a neo-noir film named The Neighbour and it was a lot of fun to produce. The other isn't titled yet but is presented as a modern day western. I devised the script using old-fashioned language but wanted to feature a contemporary setting and clothing. Both films showcase him murdering people – so it's a slight departure from what Pillow Talk was about. Editing has been a slow process as my wife Jess and I welcomed our son Wyatt into the world! His arrival has been very exciting but has forced the film work into the background for the moment.
MITWFF: Pillow Talk was so funny, and a definite crowd favourite! How do you jump from something so comedic and light... to murdering people? Which is more enjoyable to write and produce: light-hearted, funny stuff - or the darker side of life?
SS: I have never found it hard to go from one extreme to the other. I used to do stand up comedy and I feel like Pillow Talk came from that part of my mind. I like exploring topics that scare people but try to make them funny. People can be so scared of discussing about what turns them on and all sorts of issues surrounding sexuality – be it a taboo or just shame. Which is horseshit! We all love sex, and sex can be pretty funny! The dark stuff I have always found more fun to write. I enjoy exploring the things that make people feel icky or confronting. So, naturally, I enjoy writing dark characters and dark situations. Cue Adnan.
MITWFF: What is it like to see your project on the big screen at Made in the West?
SS: It’s unreal! It was amazing to see Pillow Talk up on the big screen at Paddo RSL. To hear the laughter and the audience response filled me with joy. When you see your blood, sweat and tears being so well received it fills you with an element of confidence and validation. I think it can be very easy to feel alienated and trapped in a bubble producing films in Western Sydney. You sometimes feel removed from the arts and culture that one would associate with the Sydney CBD for example. But screening and networking opportunities such as Made in the West are great and extremely eye-opening for filmmakers such as myself. It’s great to see a festival that looks after us talented folk out West.
MITWFF: Which local filmmakers would you be keen to work with next?
SS: Apart from the gang at Still Searchin Productions, I’d love to work with Rah Sharma. His cinematography is incredible! And I'd like to work with Matt Vella. I'm terrible at shooting action but he is totally on point! I'd love to write something with him.
MITWFF: What advice do you have for other Western Sydney filmmakers?
SS: The best advice I can give is make the movies you want to watch. Don't worry about pleasing people or thinking about other people's tastes. Make yourself happy. Chances are someone else will want to watch it too – I think Pillow Talk proved that! Also, reach out: there are tonnes of other Western Sydney filmmakers who are only too eager to help out!
MITWFF: What are you looking forward to at this year’s MITW?
SS: I can’t wait to see more great local talent! Those films last year were so damn impressive!
MITWFF: What’s the best way for people to connect with you?
SS: Problem Child Productions is an independent production company, owned by my wife Jess and I. We specialise in original concepts for films, corporate videos, photo shoots and script editing. I also form one third of the Out of Shot podcast, which is completely dedicated to movies and is hosted by Adnan Zey, Alison Headrick and myself.
Awesome! Thanks for chatting with us Scott. We're looking forward to seeing this year's films too! This year's event is on Saturday 25th November - we'll see you there!
Entries are now open for Made in the West Film Festival 2017. If you've made a short film featuring cast, crew or locations from Western Sydney, you might be in the running to WIN this year's Audience Choice Award! Check out the ENTRY CRITERIA and SUBMIT YOUR FILM now!
Made in the West Film Festival returns to the Paddington RSL on 25 November 2017 from 6pm.