At this years GIFF festival many audiences – including Tampere GIFF – were amused by the Australian film Geocare – Home for the Aged Geocacher made by chooknchunk. No wonder that the film also won the global voting and got People’s choice award in this year’s GIFF. Chooknchunk was kind enough to give us an interview on the making of the film. We already published the interview in Finnish, but this is the original English interview so the larger audience can also enjoy it.
What made you participate in the GIFF contest?
I had the idea for the story for the GIFF for many years, since watching the earliest GIFFs. But I had absolutely no experience whatsoever in videoing, let alone filmmaking. After waffling on about the idea in the work tea room a couple of years ago I was encouraged to make it by my work colleagues, and with some support from Seemyshell, I decided I might as well give it a try.
Where did you get the idea for the film?
I am a Registered Nurse and have been working in Community and Aged Care for the past decade. I have always loved helping people maintain their daily activities and hobbies whilst dealing with their health problems. Therefore the idea to make a movie based on this principle came from this passion, throwing in your typical aged care and geocaching gags of course.
How many people you had in your team making the movie?
There were 16 cast members (all geocachers), 3 on cameras (all Android phones), and a couple of support crew in the props, costume and equipment department. So that’s 21 in total.
What was your role in the team?
I was the writer, the director, the editor and the producer. Chunk (Glen) was the poor suffering partner whom I would bounce the ideas off, help gather props and equipment, set up and film on the day, and generally be the best PA one could ever wish for.
Do you have previous experience in film making?
None at all. In fact I had hardly ever used the video feature on my phone. Once I had decided to make the GIFF and I was unable to find anyone who could do all the work for me, I started reading up on how to make a movie, studying how shots looked on movies and TV, practicing the shots I wanted to do, and bothering Seemyshell with rookie questions.
How long it took to make the film?
Once the decision was made to give the filmmaking a try, it took about 18 months to plan and prepare. This included storyboard preparation (done with practice camera shots because I can’t draw for peanuts), liaison for location and equipment, designing and gathering of props and costumes, canvassing for cast, and finally organising and preparing everyone involved for a single afternoon shoot. On the day we only had 2 hours in which to complete the filming – so we had to be super organised. After getting all the footage, it took about a month to edit it all into the 3 minutes 28 seconds you have watched in the GIFF.
The film location looked authentic enough. Was it an actual retirement home? How did you find the filming location for Geocare?
Geocare was filmed at my workplace – the Skipton campus of the Beaufort & Skipton Health Service. We used the Day Centre activities room and surrounding areas, and I booked this location nearly a year out from filming. The garden area was deliberately left to overgrow for the filming, and was returned to its normal manicured state within the next couple of days afterwards. We chose New Years Eve because it was a time when the selected cast and crew would be available, and the Day Centre was not being used.
What was the most difficult part in making the movie?
Covid19!! Here in Victoria Australia, we had been subject to many lockdowns due to this pesky virus. It decided to peak another wave just when we wanted to film. Nevertheless, thanks to the New Year holiday period, we were able to basically quarantine the filming locations from access by anyone else for nearly a week after use. Not only did I have to make sure the required disinfection was performed afterwards, I had to run a routine Covid testing clinic in the car park prior to any of us entering the facility. We had no contact with the residential part of the facility, and we were very grateful to be able to go ahead despite this complication.
Was there any funny incidents during the filming you would like to share?
While the storyboard was scripted, the cast, being geocachers, were perfect actors (better than real actors could have been) and totally adopted their roles every time the cameras were rolling. We still see new things that the cast have done in the background every time we watch our own movie! The bit where the resident does a runner in the carpark wasn’t scripted – it was Mary from Maccamob never dropping her role of ‘the wanderer’ even in breaks between shots.
Can you tell me a little bit of your geocaching background?
We started caching back in April 2013. Prior to this we were both heavily involved in the sport of horse endurance (long distance) competition. Once we discovered geocaching it became our obsession, and like many others, we make sure there is a geocache or ten in any travels we do.
What do you enjoy most in geocaching?
The people! We love going to events, meeting other geocachers and making new friends. We also love the places geocaches take us to – discovering those little known gems that the local cache owner has chosen to share with us.
What kind of caches you enjoy most?
We aren’t too fussy, but we do appreciate a clever hide or enjoy a good gadget cache. But we are just as happy to find a container under a bush that that takes us to new areas. We love learning about the world via geocaching. We are lucky enough to live in a rural setting, so while we have an assortment of shapes and sizes in our own hides, we can sometimes place a few more regular or large containers.
What is your most memorable geocaching moment so far?
So many memorable moments. Going out of our comfort zone to get a cache – be it hiking, kayaking, climbing or caving. However the most memorable moment for us was when we accompanied a good friend and geocaching buddy to get to the top of Mt Buller in Victoria. This might not be much in the average cacher’s eyes, but for this friend it was a major achievement, considering that only a few years before he could barely walk 50 metres due to a major health condition. Witnessing the thrill of this achievement and the happiness we all felt will never leave us. We nearly forgot to find the cache before descending.
What do you want to say to Finnish geocachers?
We are so happy that you enjoyed Geocare and thank you for voting for it as your favourite. If any of you want to travel to Australia, in particular to Victoria, please feel welcome to contact us so we can help you out with ideas and information to achieve your travel goals here. You never know, we may meet at an event somewhere!
Thank you chooknchunk so much for the interview.
If you haven’t seen the film yet, you can check it out below