Interview with Rachel Jessica Tan, Actor, Writer & Creative Producer, ‘For Evie’

An AAFFN feature article about Rachel Jessica Tan
Interview by Indigo Willing
1. How did you come to get the idea to make ‘For Evie’?
The idea for the script came to me about two and a half years ago.  I was actually visiting my partner at the time’s grandparents, and these scenes involving flashbacks of my childhood kept coming in my mind so I typed it all into my Blackberry and that’s when the first draft of the script was born.
2. What’s the main narrative that the film shares?
Evie remembers her father (played by Alfredo Nicdao) playing guitar to her when she was young, and the special bond they shared throughout her childhood. When he leaves the family unexpectedly, it takes her all her teenage years to deal with his absence, until she’s finally ready to reconnect with him as an adult. She journeys to Singapore to find him and rediscover the bond they once had through the love of playing guitar.
3. Your characters are central to driving the film. Can you tell us a bit more about them?
There aren’t many characters in the film and it’s mainly based around Evie and her father.  Though as we see Evie growing up in the film at ages 4, 9, 16 and 23, we can see her development from a girl to a young adult and we follow her emotional journey over those years, dealing with her father leaving the family.
The father and mother characters are pivotal to the story also as they have their own emotional journeys to go through and the affect that has on the whole family dynamic.  It is a story about the bond in a family and how that shifts and evolves through crisis.
4. What are some of the things you can tell us about your co-star/s backgrounds?
Alfred Nicdao (Father), has been in the Australian entertainment industry for over 20 years and has starred in popular Australian television shows such as Bootleg, City Homicide, Neighbours, Blue Heelers, Stingers and most recently appeared in a guest role on Sea Patrol.Amanda Ma (Mother), has appeared in numerous Australian television and film in a career that has spanned over 20 years, having starred in the Jammed (nominated for 7 AFI awards, winning 3 IF awards) most recently on The Slap, Bed of Roses, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mystery’s (currently airing on ABC) and theatre production Taxi which has been nominated for 4 Green Room awards including Best Ensemble, Outstanding Production, Writing and Mis en Scene.

Kate Williams (Evie, 9), from Mount Gambier, South Australia has grown up in front of the camera thanks to her cinematographer half brother David Williams.  This is Kate’s first film role.

Grace Tanner (Evie, 4) has appeared as an extra on several television projects.  This is Grace’s first speaking role

5. How did you come to work with your production team?
I had already worked with the director Rob Innes and cinematograhper David Williams previously and so after our last project, I had told them about this film. They were both keen to come on board and from there, it wasn’t until we began pre-production that we pulled together a really fabulous crew that were all very passionate about the story.
6. You have multiple roles in this production. What are they and any advice for others wanting to do similar?
In this particular project I am the writer, producer and actress (Evie 16/23).  I think to take on multiple roles you really have to understand the responsibilities of each role well and know what you can leave for someone else.  The great thing about this production is that everyone knew what their role was and there was a lot of trust within our production team to leave each creative to fulfil their role with freedom and creativity.  As a writer you need to be able to let go of your script to allow the director to put their own vision to it.  It’s a bit of a collaborative process, though I do believe you really need to trust your director.
As a producer and actress, particularly on set on lower budget productions like this, I believe it’s important to delegate tasks and know when you need to concentrate on your performance rather than running around taking care of the catering.  I had a great co-producer and production assistant who took over production tasks whilst I was performing in scenes, so that my focus was 100% on my performance.
7. What kinds of themes will audiences see in ‘For Evie’?
Evie is about happiness just as much as it is about sadness and grief. It’s about forgiveness and ultimately it’s about familial bonds particularly between father and daughter and how that evolves and changes over time.

8. What’s next?

We’re submitting the film to festivals around the world so we’re very excited about our first public screenings, which will probably be at the beginning of 2013.  The whole creative team really have a strong belief in this film and we’re hoping we’ll get a lot of interest in the film and future projects!

See the trailer and making of ‘For Evie’ here
People wanting to find out more can contact Rachel through Pick Me Up Productions
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Posted on 25/09/2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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