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Surf break: A conversation with filmmaker Anny Duff

Interviews • Written by Genero

Genero filmmaker Anny Duff has created a perfectly nostalgic music video for ‘Can You Hear Me Talking At You’, the new release from Melbourne-based duo, Manor. The video is shot entirely on Super 8 film by a surfer in the late ’60s, at Cactus, a surf break off the coast of South Australia.

I love a guerrilla crew where everyone’s on the same page and doesn’t mind plugging in a battery or two.

Can You Hear Me Talking At You - Manor Australia

Anny is a busy woman, spending her time on various commercial and creative projects as a filmmaker and art director, as well as running her own sustainable clothing brand, B Goods Label. We recently caught up with the talented multi-tasker to have a chat about creative processes and developing as a filmmaker.

You directed a beautiful video for ‘Can You hear Me Talking At You’. What inspired the idea?

The song itself has quite a ‘psychedelic surfer vibe’. Our Stepdad who has surfed all his life, put together a book a few years ago called Cactus, and had collected a whole myriad of different paraphernalia depicting surf life in the 70’s. We had a look through and thought, yeah that’ll work!

The visuals suit the song so well! Was the video a collaborative process, or did the artist give you complete creative control?

It was collaborative, I put together the structure and feel, trying to match the pace with the different musical sections and then sent through versions and Manor would be like “more layers, more layers!” They’re really into layers.

You’ve got quite a unique filmmaking background, with a strong focus on art direction as well. How did you get into the film industry?

I never had any formal training but was always into making movies as a kid. I got some recognition for a music video I did for my final year school project and that sort of propelled me into the industry. 10 years later, I’ve just been making movies, commercials and music videos and working with mates. In the past, I’ve worked on really traditionally structured sets (with hierarchies and per diems) but I love a guerrilla crew where everyone’s on the same page and doesn’t mind plugging in a battery or two.

After first getting involved with Genero, you did some amazing work for Tourism New Zealand! How did it feel to be announced as one of the official selections?

To be honest I can’t recall how I heard about you guys but I was really excited about the concept. When the Tourism New Zealand brief came up I thought “DREAM JOB” and got my mate Miles Rowland involved. We were so stoked when we got the go-ahead to fly over and shoot. It was an absolute hoot and we just want to head back and shoot more! To be then selected as a runner up was brilliant.

Tourism New Zealand - Make films for Tourism New Zealand

Anny and Miles received a $3000 grant to produce their concept, as part of the brief for Tourism New Zealand.

Yourself and Miles both directed, shot and starred in the video, what was that like?

We had put together a pretty summery pitch which had been approved to shoot by the client, so when we lobbed into a snow-capped very wintery Queenstown, we had to rethink the script a bit on the fly. I think this approach leant to a really organic explorative feel in the imagery – we were literally driving around, shooting and thinking ‘there isn’t a bad angle in the whole South Island!” With just the two of us there shooting AND starring, we had to be pretty clever without shots; both of us shooting at every location and using static shots every now and then to get us both in imagery together. It was the most amazing experience, we both still pinch ourselves that we got to do it!

Photo by Julian Apse

What’s your hot tip for nurturing creativity?

Just book the ticket and get out there!

Finally, what can we expect from you in the near future?

I co-run a sustainable clothing label, so there are always shoots and travel on the go for that. And hopefully some more shoots for Genero (wink wink)!

Big thanks to Anny for chatting with us.

Cover photo by T J Mccammon.

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