by Dov Kornits

“I was going through a number of setbacks in life and that brought up all sorts of big questions,” James Ivor explains about the inspirations behind his self-funded short film Crushing Season, which played Flickerfest.

“I also noticed how common it was, that feeling of loss of identity or failure,” Ivor continues. “Most people find themselves at a crossroads at some point. I wanted to take a dive into the psyche of a young man who’s trying to figure himself out.”

Figuring it out is the key here, with Ivor writing, directing, and producing Crushing Season, and playing the quietly spoken lead character Tim Cassidy.

A brawny young man, Tim has returned to regional Queensland after being axed by the Rabbitohs in the National Rugby League competition. Leisurely walking past sugar cane fields with his mate (played by a rifle-wielding Rahel Romahn, seen below with Ivor), the pair run into a motley crew of bikies, with flash forwards hinting at a criminal act ahead of them all.

Although Ivor broke through as an actor on stage and screen – best known for his role in the Picnic at Hanging Rock series – the Queensland native says that his aspirations in the arts were initially cinematography related, which is telling in the short film’s striking compositions by DOP Gabriel Devereux.

“Terrence Malick’s films Badlands and The Thin Red Line are big inspirations,” Ivor says, in terms of his visual references for Crushing Season.

“The short film is effectively Act One of the feature film script, emotionally,” he says. “The feature script has a lot more moving parts and added story lines, but boiled down to it, Tim is at the same crossroads by the end of the short. I chose this because it’s the starting point of Tim’s odyssey and I wanted anyone watching the short to want to see what he does next.”

Speak of the devil, what’s next for Ivor? “Just continue writing, I have a more upbeat, intimate family drama and a modern western that I’m working on currently,” he answers before moving forward and, no doubt, figuring things out in the process.

Crushing Season is screening at the 2023 Melbourne International Film Festival