“It was very difficult, very demanding and very hectic,” writer/director Ulysses Oliver says of his feature debut. road of love, which premiered to packed houses at this year’s Sydney Film Festival (SFF). “We only took two cars. It was like a dysfunctional family traveling through the countryside.
road of love is Oliver’s feature debut. It is a romantic road movie retracing the breakdown of a relationship on the same ground, but over three different periods.
“I was sitting in a bathtub in Japan, after being away from the kids with my wife, and it was one of those times when you can ask yourself all these philosophical questions about where you are in your relationship. Those questions you can only really ask when you’re stuck in a car, plane or train,” says Oliver. “Most of the episodes in the story come from me being in those situations myself.”
On a shoestring budget, Oliver and his crew faced many unforeseen challenges during a remarkable two-week filming period.
“We have been evacuated several times with the bushfires in New South Wales,” shares Oliver. “And then on the backend with the release, we had to deal with the COVID restrictions.”
Oliver has over 20 years of film production experience, producing previous SFF hits such as Lonely And The longest weekend. He currently runs Breathless Films, which has three films on the SFF schedule this year, including Tennessee And bird eater.
“As the producer of the film, I also took on a production manager role, so when things went wrong, it would be entirely my fault,” he laughs. “I found it difficult to dedicate my time to all departments equally, especially the actors.”
It’s an experience any low-budget filmmaker could attest to. Either way, there’s a reason the creative enterprise coined the term “the show must go on.”
“Would the film be made differently? Oliver asks. “It took that creative energy, my own experience in production, and a healthy level of naivety to do it all.”
The films of Oliver and Breathless are the champions of this style of filmmaking, and it has proven itself in the past.
“It was a packed audience, great Q&A and a really engaged audience,” Oliver says of road of loveis the first. “We had a great response.”
Breathless Films is a micro-budget new wave cinema hub, with its website stating that “our aim is to unapologetically support contemporary filmmakers who tell audacious, uncompromising Australian stories”.
“We’re entering our second slate of films with some of the same directors as well as new faces,” Oliver shares. “We would like to complete the production of at least two films a year, while challenging ourselves to go further and better. We also want to stick to our dogma of making films: limits breed creativity.
For more information about Breathless Films, please visit their website at https://breathlessfilms.com.au