Written by Audrey Lam:
The starting point of Magic Miles was that I felt like there was a bunch of art and music – together with small everyday but somehow ecstatic stuff – going on around me, that seemed quite wonderfully joined in a tenuous but breathtaking way, by their shared thrill and chance and emotion, and I wanted to hold it together in a film.
There’s not really a story or narrative in Magic Miles, it’s more that I wanted to convey some of the feelings and atmosphere of living in a place where things can feel both freeing and trapping, shaped by your situation, where you are in life, and the dreams and stuff you make of it.
For the past few years, I’d really enjoyed seeing the music and art shows of friends and people I knew. There’s a really great art and music scene in Brisbane – a lot of the younger artists and musicians hang out with each other, many make both.
The shows were great, low-key (though not necessarily low-noise/spectacle) hangout times, I especially liked the ones at houses and backyards, parks and car parks. Of course, it’s only one small scene I know within all the other stuff going on in Brisbane that it overlaps with. But I really liked how small this bit seemed: friends making music and playing for just a few people, it felt like they were really making it for its sake, and for themselves and a few others. How by nature it all became inevitably private and intimate, and part of the lives lived.
I realise just now I’m talking about it in the past tense, because I’ve been away for a little while (but returning soon!). Anyway, I was also thinking about how brilliantly – but in a quiet and ordinary way – they fitted in with the buildings and landscapes they happened within. For instance, my friend, David Creed, his performance – where no car/one seemed to notice while he danced like the inflatable figures along the busy stretch road of car-dealerships in Brisbane inner-suburbia – kind of summed up and physicalized all this joy and melancholy and aloneness.
Like Faraways, the short I made before Magic Miles, I didn’t have a script written down. But I do think and go through a lot of stuff before shooting – it’s really important and exciting to me to figure out the kind of film I want to make, and I have generous friends and collaborators to talk things over with. I love cinema, and it’s one of my favourite things about filmmaking: how the film forms through thinking and talking about cinema, about art and books and music, and all other random and shared ideas and anecdotes and experiences.
Definitely Magic Miles was triggered and shaped by the art and music and stuff of people I know, but there are always filmmakers who figure strongly in my thoughts. I’ve been a cinema projectionist for the past six or so years, and I really love going to the movies. If I remember right, I was thinking a lot about Jean Rouch, Pasolini, Kaurismäki and Buster Keaton, especially the method and form and rhythm of their films.
The crew who worked on the film, they’re all great friends and conversationalists – Joel, Denny, Jerry, Kate, Rosie – we’ve whiled away so many hours talking about movies and stuff.
Shooting was fun, I hadn’t made a film with anyone else in the group of us except Xiao before, who was also in Faraways (Joel and Marly did the sound on Faraways too, but they weren’t around for either shoots). We were all excited, the light was beautiful at that time of the year, and it was such a joy to discover filming Athena – she shines.
I loved her mood and feeling against Xiao’s. Filming them both is wonderfully, simultaneously familiar and mysterious: it’s so nice to watch it unfold.
Magic Miles is screening at MIFF in Accelerator. It screened at Oberhausen; there are also a few other international film festivals coming up, which will be listed once the press embargos lifts.
For more information about the film you can visit: www.magicmilesmovie.com