“I’ve always wanted to make an epic coming of age story,” says Andrew Walsh [on set, below], who makes his feature directorial debut with How Deep is the Ocean after five short films. “Like the character of Eleanor, I moved to Melbourne alone in 2008, I had no money, didn’t know a single soul or have anywhere to go but I wanted an adventure. Believe me, adventure is what I got.
“A lot of things happened to me. Some good. Some traumatic but it made me the person I am today. The underlying theme in the film is that it doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from, we all get lost and it’s up to us to find where we belong. Each main character is yearning for something they can’t articulate into words. The film does have some very dark moments which makes the ending all the more uplifting.”
A comedic drama, How Deep is the Ocean follows Eleanor Grey (Olivia Fildes), who runs away from her past in Adelaide to start anew in Melbourne, and after various challenges, both personal and of the heart, finds her inner strength and self-worth.
Casting the supporting roles through Melbourne’s creative community, who were excited by the unconventional approach of acting with just a rough outline, the lead role proved most challenging. “We had 500 people apply for Eleanor,” says Walsh. “Olivia feels so much in each moment and her character wrestles with these emotions and learns things about herself at the same time as the audience does. There’s a vulnerability there and an emotional intimacy between her and the audience.”
“We had a micro budget film that was entirely self-funded,” says Producer Dia Taylor (Marital Problems). “A lot of favours were asked from cast and crew alike, with many working for the passion alone.”
“I’ve always been influenced by European cinema much more than anything in Australia and I think our cinematography and design is a reflection of that,” says Walsh. “It’s a Melbourne story with universal themes which is why I think it appeals to a lot of different people.”