It took the work ethic of a farmer’s son – and a lot of crew & community support – for writer/director Aaron Wilson to endure the 12 years of toil it took to bring ‘Little Tornadoes’ to the screen: interview

“I like to think of film as meditation for me. I’m a very hyper-active person. I’m always over-thinking and talking a lot.”

It took long enough for writer/director Aaron Wilson to get Little Tornadoes into cinemas without the Covid-19 throwing a spanner into the works.

Now that he’s finally got the film before people his hard-earned sense of relief comes with a tincture of frustration as he reflects on the prolonged making of the film.

Filmed about a decade ago in his birthplace Tocumwal, New South Wales (near the Victorian border), the film was reshaped during post-production, including a narration co-written by acclaimed author Christos Tsiolkas.

Taking a seat at his multi-screen work station in his palatial inner-city apartment – well, it’s not palatial, but it is spacious and neat – Wilson discusses the making and meaning of the film, its themes of spousal abandonment, rural masculinity and single fatherhood in 1970s Australia and how he wants the film to touch people.

Also, for his sins, he is forced to face the dreaded Schembri Challenge.

Please enjoy.

Aaron Wilson interview index

00:00 When the film was supposed to be released;
00:52 Relief vs frustration; Q&A tour;
01:50 Outline of story;
02:20 Why set in 1971;
03:16 Directing style; “I love a good spreadsheet”;
04:15 Use of stillness;
05:15 “I like to think of film as meditation for me. I’m a very hyper-active person. I’m always over-thinking and talking a lot”;
05:55 Not using a time stamp caption; The beauty of cinema;
07:30 Resonant themes; depiction of masculinity for rural men; suicide rates;
10:45 Mark Leonard Winter; creating backstory;
13:15 Recreating the feel of the period;
15:29 Help from locals;
16:00 Organic vs Hitchcock approach; reshaping film in post-production;
18:08 Passion vs tool;
19:00 12 years to make a film? Is it tenable?;
20:00 Funding struggles;
21:45 Informal trilogy;
23:35 Life of the film now; will it disappear;
24:25 Filmmaking as a triathlon;
25:45 MIFF Accelerator Lab & MIFF Premiere Fund;
27:23 Budget; community goodwill;
29:15 The Schembri Challenge;
35:33 Marketing;
37:07 Making commercials.