Tourist | A Short Film
Urban Fabric’s Secret Cinema Project
April 26th 2013 | 7pm | Brisbane
Cluj Shorts: International Short Film Festival
April 19th 2013 | 11am | Romania
RAW Brisbane: Generation
March 22nd 2013 | 7:30pm
About the Film
Tourist is an Australian/Japanese cross-cultural drama about circumstance. Starring Miyuki Lotz, Masa Yamaguchi (The Condemned, The Jammed) & Brett Molloy.
Written & Directed by Jesse Vogelaar
Produced by Richard Helder
A short film by Quiet Heights
‘His heart was her souvenir’
Electronic Press Kit
Download PDF version here
Duration: 12:04 min
Aspect ratio: 16:9
Format: HD digital 25fps
Shot on Sony F3, RED Scarlet-X and Canon 5DmkIII
Edited on Avid Media Composer, Colour graded in DaVinci Resolve, Sound design in Protools, Titles in Adobe After Effects
Year of production: 2013
Audience rating: PG
Languages spoken: Japanese and English
As the memory of a past lover resurfaces and her marriage begins to wane, it’s time for Ena to deliver the letter she never sent.
Ena, a Japanese wife & mother remembers a time when she was passionate. As her marriage grows stagnant, the memory of a past lover becomes incredibly appealing. During a family holiday in Australia, her fantasy becomes reality as she meets this mysterious man. When everything else in thrown into jeopardy, she must finally make a decision and find closure, before loosing it all.
Tourist tells the story of Ena Igei, a Japanese mother whose life has waned to a stand-still. While she reads the sombre tale of ‘The Great Marsh’ to her daughter, she recollects a vivid and colourful time of her life. Seven years ago, while travelling in Australia, she fell into romance with a mysterious man. Now she leads a stoic life of marriage and responsibility. To break free, she suggests a family holiday to Australia. Her baffled husband, sensing a disturbance, decides to let her go through this time on her own accord.
When emotions intensify and all the cards are on the table, she recieves an ultimatum from her husband… ‘Things will be different now, one way or another.’
With her family at stake, emotions running high, this is the only chance she will get to see this past lover. It is too late to walk away with nothing. She meets him, the weary wanderer, unchanged and unphased. She has changed and things are no longer the same between them. She hands him the letter she never sent and with one last kiss, she leaves. Heartbroken and disappointed, her husband takes her home. This family now has a chance to start again.
Callum grew up on a wildlife reserve in the escarpment ranges of NSW. At a young age his father taught him the fundamentals of stills photography and thus began a life long fascination with capturing moments. He moved to the Gold Coast to complete high school and continued practicing photography, pairing it with his love of surfing and the ocean. After studying fine art and photography at QCA for a year, Callum chose to move to Film Studies and has never regretted it. Working on a variety of short films on 16mm film as well as various digital formats. He hopes to pursue a career in cinematography.
Alex Langridge is a young film enthusiast and recent graduate of the Griffith Film School. With a distinct eye for aesthetics pervading his day-to-day life and a sincere passion for colour grading, Alex aims to bring a distinct air to projects he works on and create keenly realised films of his own. From a child obsessed with reading, to a teen finding a whole other art-form in the films he became exposed to in a high-school film class, a sincere passion for story-telling has grown within Alex, and he hopes to live driven by that passion and joy.
Ryan Smith is an Editor from the Gold Coast. He has studied film at a tertiary level for 5 years, beginning his studies as a cinematographer, but found editing to be his natural calling at Griffith Film School after realising that his body did not enjoy carrying heavy camera equipment. He endured years of Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere Pro, until one day, luckily, he was taught Avid Media Composer by Griffith Film School’s talented staff. With this powerful software and his honed skills, Ryan challenged himself to achieve two personal goals in 2012 by editing a multi-lingual film, Tourist, as well as a slow paced film with limited cuts, Island. Ryan’s heroes are Dede Allen, Sally Menke, Lee Smith, Kirk Baxter, Chris Dickens and Walter Murch. Ryan hopes to further his study at the Australian Film Television & Radio School, and move onto feature film and television editing by working his way up the professional ladder.
George Carpenter contributes the original score and soundtrack for Tourist. A Conservatorium alumni and professional muso for the past several years, George enjoys all things music related. Having recorded and toured with heavy rock group Mourning Tide for five years, George made a happy transition to producer/engineer when the band called hiatus at the beginning of 2012. Now working out of his newly established studio in the Mudgeeraba hills he has already amassed an exciting clientele of up and coming Australia bands including The Delta Riggs, Oceanics, Valley Floor and Hounds to name a few. Tourist marks George’s first real soirée into film scoring but he admits it to be a very natural and exciting evolution of his musical journey.
1st Assistant Director
Following a two-year stint as a secondary school teacher, living and working in the UK, Lauren returned to Brisbane in 2010 to continue her tertiary studies at Griffith Film School and pursue her love of film and screenwriting. Over the past two and half years Lauren has produced a number of different projects and continues to grow and craft her skills towards becoming an independent film producer and a screenwriter. Lauren is currently developing a number of different short film projects through her own creative collective, Little Red Balloon Films, as well as continuing to work on other independent projects as a producer, production manager and a 1st A.D.
Mitch Oehlman graduated from Griffith Film School in 2012 where he developed an interest in sound recording and design, as well as directing a few short films of his own. Based in Brisbane, his interests include sound and sound appliances.
Tourist was one of those projects that grew slowly and unravelled itself to me over time in small pieces. The kind where I would be closing up shop in my part time job and scrambling for a piece of butchers paper to write on before the thoughts escaped me. Developing the script required a lot of stripping back and re-evaluating which I think comes through in the contemplative nature of the film. It was also a story that I feel is a collection of other people’s stories, told to me verbally and observed. Particularly during the times I had travelled.
The nostalgia of a time and place combined with the memory of a person that could have been so much more is a very powerful thing for me. Some people are only visitors in our lives leaving their hearts as souvenirs. It’s very easy to look back at those times fondly, when the present is difficult to deal with.
One thing I wanted to avoid was portraying the Japanese husband as a tired business man stereotype. Performed by the wonderfully professional Masa Yamaguchi, Hiroshi is a very gentle, patient and enlightened character, which makes the protagonist’s journey that much harder to swallow. Miyuki Lotz, who we casted for the lead, Ena, was very much the opposite of her character personality-wise. Because of this, I think you can see a lot happening in her mind, being suppressed; she’s searching for something and it feels genuine.
A common question I get asked is, why did I choose a Japanese family to tell this story? Well firstly, the travel element is integral to this film. These are two people from very different worlds who understood each other at some point in time. I think that cultural clash brings about a unique chemistry. A Japanese Tourist coming to Australia on a working holiday visa having certain expectations of what it would be like and the Aussie muso who hasn’t seen much outside of the town he grew up in.
Having had a Japanese partner for several years definitely helped with my cultural understanding. Creating an authentic setting was a great concern for us. This may not necesarily be what comes to mind when people speak of Australian film, but the constant multicultural progression of Australia’s identity definitely makes this the case.
Tourist, for me, is a story about change. Ena is the kind of person who can’t do the same thing for too long or she’ll go stagnant; this leads her to make life-changing decisions (or at least fantasize about them) in order to maintain her happiness. After years of living with her husband and raising their daughter in Japan, Ena begins to remember the passion she felt for a past lover in Australia. These memories set Ena on a path to finding her ex-lover in an attempt resolve a relationship that was left without an ending.
When Jesse first showed me one of the early drafts of the script I was immediately drawn in by the depth of the characters. Each one had an interesting backstory and they were written in such an honest way that it was hard to believe they weren’t real people. Ena’s relationships with the two men in this film are quite complicated and you have to spend a bit of time contemplating it before you fully get it. This is one of the main reasons I chose to make this film: not only because it’s so different from everything I have made before but also because I could see Jesse had an immensely strong vision.
Working with Jesse has been one of the most rewarding partnerships I’ve ever been in. It’s a really great thing to work with a director who has such a strong vision and who has the passion and drive to achieve it. My job was simply to help Jesse achieve this vision in any way I could.
My involvement in the creative process was fairly limited. I gave story suggestions during pre-production, some were taken on board and some were not, but the great thing about working with Jesse is he’ll always consider your idea. We sat down together on many occasions to discuss what was and wasn’t coming across in the script and also how it could be improved. This method proved to be very helpful as a few really good ideas came out during those meetings.
If I was to make Tourist again there isn’t much I would change. We had such a brilliant cast and crew and I struggle to imagine how it could be improved. I have learnt, throughout the process of making this film, that filmmaking is persistence. Things will never go how you planned but you’ve just got to keep compromising and keep finding work-arounds for all the obstacles that will inevitably appear in your way.
Written & Directed by Jesse Vogelaar
Producer Richard Helder
Cinematographer Callum Richardson
Editor Ryan Smith
1st AD Lauren Brown
Composer George Carpenter
Sound Designer/Recordist Mitch Oehlman
Production Designer Alex Langridge
Original Music by Abbey Hansen and George Carpenter
Continuity Joel Coonan
Production Manager Melissa Hocken
Camera Assistant Megan Woods
Gaffer Qiu Yang
Grip Shea Smith
Sound Assistants Mariko Ouchi,
Boom Scott Laird
Makeup Artist Ngaire Lock
Best Boy Andre Tucker
Art Assistant Charlotte Foley
Runner Jesse Phomsouvanh
Stills Photographers Victoria Nikolova,
Colourist Alex Langridge
Titles Thomas O’Dowd
Extras Abbey Hansen
Jesse Vogelaar | Director
Jesse Vogelaar is a storyteller and visual artist. Occupied with creative writing and fine art from a young age, he moved onto digital media as the technology became more accessible. When his award winning animated short exhibited at the Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane, he took the opportunity to start an animation degree at the Queensland College of art. He eventually completed a degree at the Griffith Film School and founded Quiet Heights, an emerging creative brand of audio/visual media. During this time, he found his footing as a filmmaker and directed several music videos and low-key short films, before hitting the festival circuit with Tourist. He has spent recent years developing a feature film project as well as plans to pursue storytelling in other formats.
Richard Helder | Producer
Richard Helder is a writer and producer currently based on the Gold Coast. His love for storytelling began in high school where he produced a series of tacky short films with his peers. He knew then that telling stories was what he wanted to do. However, he didn’t take filmmaking seriously until after he produced and directed a short documentary about his sick friend, which received the support of a very close-knit online Cystic Fibrosis community. During his three years of service at Griffith Film School, Richard took on many roles including director, cinematographer and editor, but didn’t find his calling until he began producing. His organisational skills, rugged good looks and ability to solve complex problems in a short space of time proved to be a solid skill base for leading a team to creative success.