Interview: Filmmaker Tristan Barr on his acclaimed crime thriller ‘Watch The Sunset’

Spotlight Report was fortunate to have an interview with Australian filmmaker Tristan Barr as he spoke to us about his highly acclaimed film Watch The Sunset. A film Barr co –directed with Michael Gosden, produced, wrote and acted in. Watch The Sunset centres on Danny Biaro a man desperate to flee the outlaw bikie gang he is apart of. Set in one afternoon, the film follows Danny as he races against time to be reunited with his estranged family and escape with them before its too late. The 89-minute film is shot in one take, a huge cinematic achievement for cinematographer Damian Lipp.

Watch The Sunset is shot in one take, how did that decision come about?

Originally the idea was to use long and slow takes, to build the feelings of dread and anticipation in the scenes. It was when we got to the Kerang, the country town used in the film we realised it was possible to shoot the whole film in one take if the story was manipulated.

Why was this a story you were interested in telling?

The idea for the film started from a scene I wrote and performed with Chelsea Zeller in drama school. The scene was about two underprivileged adults and from that grew a film. The film is based on true events and a lot of research. The film is personal to me as I have a family history that has been involved in gangs. The struggles of the characters in the film is something I sympathise with because these are genuine people with good hearts that have just gotten mixed up in the wrong crowds. The drug abuse is regional communities is a real systemic issue and comes from people just trying to escape their woes. I wanted to put a spotlight on these issues.

Shooting in one take forces the audience to engage with the action onscreen, what was the preparation like for shooing in one take?

The film had three months of rehearsal and the preparation for the film like theatre rehearsals as everyone had to know their stage positions throughout the one shot. The car goes to nine locations throughout the film so we had to map out each spot and also be aware of where the sun would be. Initially we had problems moving the camera in and out of the car so we had to get a small camera gimbal which made it much easier. We shot the film seven times and started shooting each day at 3.45pm in order for the sun to be right. We shot the films seven times in total and the fifth time was what we used for the final film.

Screenings for Watch The Sunset will take place in Brisbane, Gold Coast and Perth later on this month and the film will also be available on Stan on August the 31st.