Byron Bay photographer and filmmaker Evan Malcolm has just placed in the International Timelapse Film Festival film contest. His environmental documentary Lapse of Reason won third place in the Documentary / Social Commentary category on 13 August.
Lapse of Reason captures some of Australia’s most dramatic natural and man-made landscapes and uses original music to help tell the story whilst moving through three distinct acts. It is a non-verbal narrative timelapse documentary showing the fragility and vulnerability of the Australian environment and how mankind’s consumeristic ways are taking their toll on it. Blank’s cultural editor Natalie O’Driscoll spoke with Evan about the film.
Where did you shoot and how did you choose the locations?
It was more just convenience I guess. There were a couple of far and wide [locations]. With all the gear I’ve got I had to drive everywhere. There were only one or two from Arnhem Land where I flew up to for another side project. I did a big road trip out to the furthest western point of NSW and a lot of stuff between here and there. A few coastal missions through southern Queensland and through the hinterland and towards Coffs Harbour way. Obviously Sydney is in there and down to Canberra. I was hoping to have a stronger industrial content but people aren’t very happy with you coming into coal mines and container terminals and coal ports – it was really tricky to get authorisation.
Do you think that was because of the film’s message?
It is very subjective. It is an environmental documentary… it’s blatantly saying that [coal is] not an ideal way forward. The wind farm guys were the only ones giving me any access which was the renewable energy angle.
Apart from access, what were some of the unique challenges the filming process presented?
Mainly dodging wild boars and crocodiles [laughs]. You have a few encounters because you’re out in the middle of nowhere and no one’s around, so wildlife is a part of it.
Were you scared?
You’ve gotta have your wits about you anywhere in the outback so you’d be silly not be in some way fearful or respectful but no, not overly scared. Campfire is your best friend.
How long did the project take?
That project took about six months, planning pre-production and filming about two to three months, and then the editing was probably quicker. The nightscape shots, they can take anything from two to seven hours, possibly longer. You just go camp behind a rock and hopefully it’s all there in the morning.
I’d like to do a similar film on a larger scale. I did start shooting a component of it last year and the whole angle changed and I actually made a separate film about the vulnerability of the outback. It’s getting screened at the Byron Bay Film Festival in October.