Film maker Adrian Tyson has written, produced and directed four short films. His short film The Decision is a poignant look at life, death and honoring the wishes of those we love dearest. One of his other short films Genetics is a dark, twisted look at obsession and going after what you want regardless of others. Complete opposites of one another - The Decision explores the act of selflessness, whereas Genetics is about pure selfishness.
Adrian Tyson is definitely a film maker to keep your eye, especially if you like films that make you think, rather than spoon feed you. The Australian Short Film Network Journal had the pleasure of interviewing Adrian.
Welcome to The Australian Short Film Network Adrian Tyson.
Adrian – Thank you, it’s great to be here.
When did you realise that you wanted to create films?
Adrian – When I first saw Luc Besson’s “Subway” (1985) in about 1988 when I was at school, that inspired me. Over the years certain films the relied on acting alone like Running Scared, No Country for Old Men or The Royal Tenenbaums and The Big Chill where the filmmaker relies on a look from a character to convey nuance really struck me and inspired me.
Who have been your biggest inspirations when it comes to film?
Adrian – Lately it is Alain Resnais with not only his masterpiece Last Year at Marienbad (1961) but also some of his commercial shorts, there is one about the manufacture of Styrene in the 1950’s and its shots are amazing. Last Year at Marienbad is a film with no narrative to speak of, dreamlike and otherworldly and that’s what film should be like, not that I have achieved anything like that yet. I have particularly interested in The Mirror (1975) by Andrei Tarkovsky for the same reasons, a stream of consciousness style film that leaves you to make your own interpretation. Andrei Zvyagintsev’s recent work like Leviathan (2014) and Loveless (2018) show a masterful attention to detail and emotion that I could only hope to approach.
What is your favourite Australian film?
Adrian – Two Hands, I just rewatched it too, once again it relies on actors, no special effects, it’s gritty in that is in parts portrays a world I knew (filthy mechanics shops with dodgy blokes in them in the 90’s having grown up working in car yards with my father in 80’s). My short “The Decision” has some interesting links to Two Hands as well as our leading lady Jacqui Phillips was “Coughing Sharon” in Two Hands whose coughing fit sent Heath Ledger’s character to the beach where all his problems began. Our Hair and Makeup lady on the shoot was Mariel McClory, the street-kid character who stole the cash from Bondi from Heath’s character, which was really cool. I’ll give a special mention to “The Castle” and “Malcolm” as two other great Australian films that rely totally on acting to tell a story.
Do you think that there is enough support for Australian film makers within Australia?
Adrian – I think as a filmmaker you always wish for more, personally I haven’t received any as yet as I just forge ahead and make the film, I’m not waiting for someone else to green light me, as long as I can afford it or have funding from an Executive Producer like we did on “The Decision”. Doing it that way I have competed at the 2018 St Kilda Film Festival, and twice shown my films at the Cannes Short Film Corner, which despite its non relevance gets you over there and talking to people in the industry. I will add that I’ve had the most unbelievable support throughout from a crew including DP Mick Jones from Filthy Look Films, without Mick, my films would still be just pipe dreams.
Can you tell us about what you are currently working on?
Adrian – I’m currently working on what may be a short or may develop into a feature, a concept around what is the nature of consciousness through the lens of a desperate man who has faked a dissociative fugue to run from necessary brain surgery that he fears will change his sense of self forever, against an impeding collapse. Like Alexander Supertramp from “Into the Wild” trying to hide from the medical reality of his situation just long enough to find himself.
What is your favourite genre of film?
Adrian - Drama
What is the last film that you watched?
Adrian – Unforgiven (1992) and Open Range (2003) back to back, both amazing Western’s that are so good they overcome my dislike for Westerns.
Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years?
Adrian – I’d like to have either made a couple more short films or a feature.
Has the Covid 19 pandemic affected or influenced your work?
Adrian – I think Covid 19 has blocked a lot of peoples plans, many terminally, as the film crews are hit extremely hard and haven’t been able to work for some time, so the pool available will inevitably shrink as people need to find other work etc and may never return. I wasn’t at a stage to make a new film at this point so it hasn’t done anything other than allow me more time at home to write, I’m lucky in that respect, it’s the crews I am worried about.
(Still from The Decision)
If you could remake any film what would it be and why?
Adrian – I’ve always wanted to remake “Subway” (1985) but in the Sydney underground railway set in the early 90’s with elements of the graffiti scene in it. I like the idea of a world hidden underground with these characters who are existing in a parallel universe to the regular commuter, Subway also is an example of the Cinema Du Look movement and it would be very cool to recreate that style.
(Still from The Decision)
If you could give any new film maker advice what would it be?
Adrian – Not that long ago I just had an idea, I knew exactly no one in the film industry, and had no clue how to make it happen, but I started telling everyone what I wanted to do, and suddenly there were personal introductions to people who knew people and I was able to start making films. Get out there, make stuff on the cheap, let it be known what you want to do and you may be surprised how people can help you out and open up opportunities for you. Watch as many films as possible, advice I’m poor on myself sometimes, but when you see international films etc you get great new ideas and inspiration.
(Still from The Decision)
Where can our readers find your work/ social media?
Adrian – They can find me at www.adriantyson.com or on Instagram @Artys2
Thank you for your time Adrian.
(Short film The Decision)