Cinema Australia Original Content:
Set in Sydney, Chocolate Oyster follows twenty-somethings Ellie (Anna Lawrence) and Taylor (Rosie Lourde), who live in Bondi apartments they can’t really afford, and pursue their dreams in a city that seems intent on thwarting them. Taylor chases a dance career by day and works as a waitress at night, while supporting her new boyfriend Henry (Ryan Harrison), an aspiring playwright. Tired of being with a dependent and juvenile boyfriend, Ellie ends her relationship and begins to see Craig (Aaron Glenane), a chef who dreams of creating a signature dish that will make his name.
Writer and director Steve Jaggi comments that, “Chocolate Oyster is an observational piece that details a number of decisive moments, best described as ‘forks in the road’, which we all face in our mid-20s.”
1 Director Steve Jaggi describes Chololate Oyster as being a ‘Docu-Drama’
Jaggi says that Chocolate Oyster was, “retro-scripted, the filmmaker process is truly collaborative: Director and actor workshop and develop the character and backstory, the director then places the actor in a scenario which each actor adapts and interprets in their own way. Further underscoring the artistic ethos is the photographic style – where possible, each scene is shot in one take.”
2 Chocolate Oyster is Steve Jaggi’s first feature film as director
Super-producer Steve Jaggi has a tonne of film credits to his name including 4WD adventure thriller Rough Stuff (executive producer), relationship drama Zelos (co-producer), Rhiannon Bannenberg’s surf drama Rip Tide (producer) and music documentary The Spirit of Jazz (story). Chocolate Oyster is the busy filmmaker’s first venture as director. Canadian-born, Jaggi studied film at Griffith University in Brisbane.
3 Rhiannon Bannenberg is responsible for Chocolate Oyster’s superb, documentary-style cinematography
Rhiannon Bannenberg has been a familiar name throughout Australian film over the last few years. Bannenberg’s debut feature film was the critically acclaimed Ambrosia which she wrote, directed, shot, edited and composed the music for. Bannenberg then went on to shoot Stephen Sewell’s erotic political thriller Embedded. Bannenberg’s latest film was Rip Tide – a family film starring Disney star Debby Ryan. Cinema Australia rates Bannenberg very highly and is a filmmaker we recommend keeping an eye on.
[You can listen to our Rip Tide interview with Rhiannon Bannenberg and Steve Jaggi here.]
4 Chocolate Oyster actor Rosie Lorde is also a multi-talented filmmaker
Rosie Lorde, who plays Taylor in Chocolate Oyster, is also a very busy filmmaker who also starred in and produced Starting from… Now, a dramatic web series co-starring Sarah de Possesse, Lauren Orrell and Bianca Bradey. As of mid 2018, Starting from… Now had reached over 100 million views online across 230 countries. Skin Deep, Rosie’s first project as a producer, received an Honourable Mention for Best Narrative Feature at the Austin Film Festival. In 2015, Rosie was a Screen NSW Emerging Producer as well as a Screen Producers Association Australia (SPAA) ‘Ones to Watch’.
5 Chocolate Oyster’s music is composed by an AFI-award nominated composer.
Chocolate Oyster’s composer Angela Little was nominated for an AFI Award for Best Original Score for her work as a composer of Additional Music on Baz Luhrmann’s Australia. Angela is also a vocalist whose work has featured on major international productions including Australia and the 2015 Alex Proyas film Gods of Egypt.
Chocolate Oyster is about to embark on a national Q&A tour. You can find out where you can see the film here.