Words: Elissa Friday
“As a female and an actor it’s always very competitive,” says Geelong writer-director Miranda Nation.
“There aren’t always many roles and I wanted to create strong roles for women.
“I’d like to think that through my work and the way I cast my films there’s room to make some positive change as well, in terms of equality and diversity.”
Miranda will have a chance to apply her film-making ethos to Undertow, which she begins shooting soon in Geelong and the Surf Coast, with a $2 million budget.
A former student of Montpellier Primary School and Geelong College, Miranda grew up at Highton with her teacher mum and pharmacist dad before moving to Melbourne for university.
“I originally studied medicine but dropped out to pursue acting, which some may say was a foolish choice but, you know, I always wanted to be a creative.
“It took that courage to follow the path that I always dreamed of.”
So in 2000 Miranda went to Paris to study acting at L’Ecole Internationale de Theatre Jaques Le Coque.
“Geoffrey Rush actually studied there,” she says.
Intent on making her own work, Miranda returned to Australia to write for film before going on to study directing in Sydney for a year.
She won a best short movie award at 2013’s Sydney Film Festival and was nominated for an actor award in 2014.
Undertow, to be filmed in 2017, will be the first full-length movie she has made.
But the $2 million budget is “pretty tight” for an away-shoot from her Melbourne base, she says.
“The story is about a couple who lost a baby and struggle to deal with that grief and they meet a young woman who’s pregnant,” Miranda explains.
“It’s about the way that they start trying to care for her, projecting their unresolved grief onto her and wanting to kind of protect her and her baby, so it’s a thriller but in a very understated and subtle way.
“We’re in casting, were location-scouting, we’re raising private investments – the stuff that goes on behind the scenes that you have to do to get the film to the stage where you’re shooting.”
Miranda’s writing is “performance-driven,” so she enjoys collaborating with her actors during rehearsals and shoots to “bring the characters to life,” she says.
“Ultimately, I’m about wanting to tell a great story.”
With a baby girl, Miranda has little time spare outside work but loves going to the cinema, even though it’s “still in the realm of work”.
She also enjoys yoga, running, walking, getting out of Melbourne to swim in the ocean and being “connected to this part of the world”.