A good friend of mine needs your help to make his masters project short film. He’s pretty good at what he does and at first I thought I’d write about how wonderful he is. But then I asked him a few questions and he speaks for himself beautifully.
Meet Tom Augustine, writer/ director of Long Time Coming and if you like what he says then please, donate to his pledge me.
Tell us about Long Time Coming, where did it come from?
Long Time Coming follows Pat, a down on his luck ex-rugby player, who risks everything after a local high school girl is drugged and sexually assaulted on camera by a fellow student.
When the video surfaces on the internet, the victim takes her life prompting the offer of a reward from enraged members of the community if revenge is exacted on the boy who committed the act. This gives Pat the incentive he needs to take justice into his own hands.
Long Time Coming has been a passion project for me for a couple of years now. In particular on this film, it was important to me that the story didn’t cheapen the experiences and trauma of real victims of sexual assault – while I think it essential that New Zealand art deals with issues and current problems in our society it is also our duty to not trivialize or cheapen the roots of those issues.It is a fine line between exploration and exploitation and my hope is that the film delves into these immense, complex ideas and leaves the audience with hard to answer questions.
For me Long Time Coming is part of a culmination of themes and ideas I have struggled with for years – where do these traditional ideas of masculinity come from and are they valid? Is violence as an answer to violence justice? These are questions no short film could completely answer, but if people exit the film moved and pondering their own opinions on these issues we will have done our job.
Why did you want to tell this story?
The film grew out of my concern and befuddlement with the current state of New Zealand masculinity. With misogynist crimes making headlines here and around the world over the past couple of years it was my opinion that it was important that New Zealand communities begin a discussion about the way men and women coexist in society and what can be done about these horrible crimes men are committing against women.
In that way I suppose Long Time Coming is a comment on the way we view justice in society and how that forms the rest of our worldview. This is not exactly criminal justice – I was not interested in this film being a police story in the same way I didn’t want it to be a blood-soaked vigilante revenge flick.
Far too often we as New Zealanders (and beyond, this issue is not purely a Kiwi thing) focus on the punishment of the crime at hand, not realizing this is at best a temporary salve on a far deeper wound. This film is urging people to consider the root of the cause and the way it effects both men and women.
What are your aspirations? who inspires you?
On a filmmaking level what I want to do is make films that are true to me and the people and places I’ve known. At the moment that means capturing issues and settings familiar to me from the experiences I’ve had and the people around me in my life.
Ultimately I want to make things that feel real to everyone who watch them – hardly a groundbreaking concept, but one that I think becomes more and more valid in independent cinema – while remaining unique to my own inner world and viewpoint.
On a more professional level I would like to make the jump from short film cinema to feature length cinema at some point in the future – short filmmaking is great fun and a necessary starting point but a lot of the stories I want to tell are too expansive for the short format!
In terms of who inspires me I have to split the distinction between the film world and my personal life. I have had filmmakers whose films have introduced me to the wider world of cinema to whom I still return and delight in all the time – Scorsese, The Coen Brothers, Francis Ford Coppola – while others have helped me to discover what my personal filmmaking style is and will be – Michael Haneke, Mike Leigh, even going back to Ingmar Bergman, David Lean, John Cassavetes a bunch more.
I owe a huge debt to my supervisors and teachers at the University of Auckland, and my fellow Masters students for continuing to introduce to films and filmmakers that expand the way I think about our craft. In my personal life there are too many people to count. My mum is a big inspiration though!
Tell me something that really excites you about this project.
For me it is the chance to create something that I feel has some valuable things to say about our society, and the opportunity to make something that accesses a new level of filmmaking craft for me personally.
Our production team is absolutely amazing, and we are hugely lucky to be working with some great actors and crew members over the next couple of weeks. It has always been a point of excitement (and ego-stroking probably) that my artistic voice can be seen and heard by people who have never met me, by audiences of people open to discovering other people’s viewpoints and ideas.
That’s seriously cool to me.
Last but not least! You mention that its part of a trilogy about South Auckland, can you expand on that?
The trilogy, such as it is, is one that is united by recurring themes and ideas, rather than an extension of characters or narrative. Long Time Coming is the second of three, where Big Man, the film I made last year, was the beginning.
All three are loosely set in South Auckland but take aim at the same key issues that in my opinion are universal – masculinity, cycles of violence, the nature of justice and the relationship between men and women.
For me, these themes are very potent and relevant to my life and the lives of the people around me.
The trilogy is a way to unite the three in my mind and hopefully present a well rounded discussion of these ideas through my own attempts to capture the South Auckland I know.
Big Man was about a young man attempting to control his serious anger management issues when he by chance encounters his mother’s rapist after he is released from prison. I was interested in the way violence spreads from one world to another like a disease – something I’ve tried to return to with Long Time Coming.
The third one isn’t quite done yet but at the moment is called Edge of Town and departs slightly from the first two in the fact that it isn’t about sexual assault and its effects, but rather masculinity and violence through another viewpoint. It is also probably going to be a lot more fast-paced as it deals with a robbery gone wrong…but that’s all I’ll say at the moment.
Tom has six days to make this happen. You can be part of that! Pledge now.