The Best Australian Short Film Competition: Home and Away star Jacqui Purvis on kicking dad out to shoot film
Home and Away star Jacqui Purvis politely asked her dad to move out of his home so she could pursue her dream of creating the poignant short film Voicemails Last Forever.
Purvis, most known for playing Felicity “Flick” Newman in the popular soap, can now add writer and producer to her resume following the release of the 16-minute film that is very close to her heart.
The narrative revolves around two housemates, Ali (Purvis) and Robbie (Bradley Walsh), who grapple with the sudden and tragic loss of their dearest friend and boyfriend James (Adam Rowland), who passed away by suicide.
The project had been three years in the making and in order to get it off the ground, she asked her dad to move out of his Melbourne home as she wanted to shoot the film there.
“We filmed it in my dad’s house in Melbourne. We kicked him out for four days and he went into a motel,” she said.
“We needed the whole house. He was happy to do it and he’s been really supportive.”
Purvis spilled the secret to creating the perfect short film, having filmed hers across two days on a budget of $15,000.
“So mine isn’t this because I’ve learnt so much, but if I had my time again, a really good short film is a really simple idea executed very clearly,” she said.
Voicemails Last Forever was released on YouTube on September 14 to coincide with RU OK? Day and is recommended for mature audiences.
Inspired to write the film after her friend Walsh opened up about his suicidal thoughts, Purvis said it was like the public reading her diary.
Exploring topics of mental health and grief, it underscores the idea that mental health experiences vary among individuals, yet the fundamental truth remains constant: no one is alone in their struggle.
“They are really touchy subjects. Pretty much everyone has felt grief in their own way. My hope is that people watch it and connect to it in some way,” Purvis said.
“I hope it touches people and gets them talking. Mental health shouldn’t be taboo, everyone does struggle with it and it’s important for us as listeners to know how to deal with that when someone comes to you looking for support.”
Since this first venture into a major role behind the camera, Purvis said she is now hooked on producing.
“I fell in love with producing. I’m obsessed with film and been involved from choosing the location to picking the music,” she said.
Raising money for the film through a GoFundMe page, Purvis soon realised filmmaking was “very expensive”.
“But I was able to pay everyone and that enabled me to get creatives who are at the top of their game and I ended up with an incredible crew,” she said.
Now back to normal programming with Home and Away, Purvis said working on the set of the short film was “very different” to the TV series.
“Being a new environment, everyone was super passionate, putting their heart and soul into it and sometimes you don’t have that with Home and Away because it’s such a machine, everyone’s been there for a while and it’s just a job,” she said.
Watch the film here.
For more details on The Best Australian Short Film Competition, visit bestshortfilm.com.au. Entries are open from September 22, 2023 until January 22, 2024.
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