CinéfestOZ Exclusive! Tim Ferguson on his new film Spin Out and the $100,000 film prize

Tim Ferguson with his Spin Out cast.

Tim Ferguson with his Spin Out cast.

“Balancing the true heart of the story with a fun, comic touch took a lot of work.”

Interview by Matthew Eeles

How long has Spin Out been with you as an idea for a feature film?
Co-writer Edwina Exton and I started work on the script in 2004. A long road. Lots of fun researching Bachelor & Spinster Balls and Ute Musters!

It must be a relief to finally show it to audiences.
It’s great to see the rubber hit the road.  We’re so happy to see the world of B&S and utes hit the big screen. I grew up in Blayney NSW where they’re a big part of social life. Now the world can see how we party. We hope it gives people a giggle and a thrill. Featuring so many brilliant young actors in a fun movie is very exciting!

This is your first film as a director. How was the experience?
Wild! It’s a genuine joy working with a creative team to bring a dream to life. Co-directing was a daunting and challenging role every day. So many decisions! I was lucky to share the pressure with a great mate, Marc Gracie.

You and co-director Marc Gracie have collaborated before on television, what was the experience like working together on a feature film?
Marc Gracie has been my dear friend since the early tours of the Doug Anthony All Stars. Working with Marc on Spin Out was a blast. I learned so much from him on set. Marc’s made many movies and TV shows – his producing and directing skills are formidable. We’ve worked together on many live and TV comedy projects but this was a whole new level of challenge for me. We always agreed on the heart of the movie, the character drama and comedy of young people making big decisions. This made every creative decision clearer. Teamwork is at the centre of the movie’s story, and our work together.

Tell us a bit about working with the cast of the film?
Authenticity and comedy are a tricky mix. This terrific bunch of talented young people brought the characters to life. Balancing the true heart of the story with a fun, comic touch took a lot of work. We worked together to make the movie a celebration of the characters. Sure, it was great fun, but we all worked hard to unify the large ensemble. We had to be sure each actor was acting at the same performance ‘level’, creating fun and comedy with genuine heart.

Can you tell us a bit about some of the more interesting experiences working on set?
We had plenty of dummy-spits – from the utes! The driving sport circle-work involves V8 engines gunning at full revs, spinning and drifting, donuts and figure-eights. Punishing for any car. Our mechanics spent hours in the guts of the cars. The ‘hero’ ute is an old Holden Kingswood and had the aches and pains to prove it!

When did you first become aware of the CinéfestOZ $100,000 film prize?
CinéfestOZ hosted a public reading of our script in 2012. This gave Edwina and I a great boost. I only heard about the prize this year. It’s a tremendous recognition for the sacrifices producers make to bring projects to the screen.

Will you be attending the festival in August?
You betcha! Wouldn’t miss it for the world.

What would it mean to you to win the $100,000 film prize?
It would be wonderful to see our years of teamwork recognised by Australia’s most vibrant and committed festival.

Are you aware there was a film from the 60s called Spinout starring Elvis Presley as a race car driver?
Who’s Elvis Presley?

Spin Out hits theatres in September and is in competition at this year’s CinéfestOZ which runs from 24 – 28 August. Tickets here.

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