83 mins, video, drama
Produced by Tom Cowan and Murray Inglis
by Adam Bowen and Tom Cowan
A tale of
a town called Orange and the people who live there. A story too,
of longing and courage, which unveils some of the different faces
of love. A teenage daughter, a single mother, a caring brother,
a romantic girl, an abusive father, a young rebel, a dreamy farmhand
and a tough farmer - their stories connect, affecting each other
and the challenges they face in their rural lives. All brave love
and loss, together weaving a story - a country love story - in
a place called Orange.
of the year's best films" - Adrian Martin, The Age.
for Melbourne International Film Festival, 2004.
heart and intentions very much on its sleeve, this raw and utterly
unique new Australian film is a labour of love for cinematographer
and director Tom Cowan.
In the NSW
town of Orange, Cowan held open 'auditions' for local people to
tell stories of love - their own experiences, rumours they had
heard. From that basis, Cowan, and writer Adam Bowen, fashioned
a series of rough stories, from which the actors would improvise
during filming. The non-professional actors played versions of
themselves, achieving a level of realism that is testament to
Cowan's vision. Unpolished and often clumsy - just like real life
- Orange Love Story is peppered with moments of such poignancy
that it makes you draw breath at its frank depiction of love.
its experimental nature, Orange Love Story is gripping
in its drama and profoundly moving in its effect. Stripped of
the 'artificial' highs and lows of the conventional romantic film.
Cowan's 'local emotion picture' is quietly hopeful. The film's
idiosyncratic ambience (the very human awkwardness of the central
performances) is ultimately very seductive. 'I'm very interested
in trying to photograph that moment of truth people have,' Cowan
says." - Inside Film
blossoms as a city with real character
by Garry Maddox,
Sydney Morning Herald, October 18, 2003
roots talent . . . Ellen Rossi, 17, stars in Orange Love
Story, a film written around the romantic experiences
of the city's locals. Photo: Jon Reid
for her Higher School Certificate in town, Ellen Rossi has been
excited about the big night all week. So has Trevor Dawe while
fixing water pipes on an outlying farm.
others are waiting to see how they scrub up at the local cinema
tomorrow night. And how the city, population 38,000, has been
captured by the veteran film-maker Tom Cowan, best known for shooting
the IMAX films Antarctica and Africa's Elephant Kingdom
and directing Journey Among Women in the 1970s.
For an under-the-radar
feature film called Orange Love Story, Cowan has mined
the district for talent and stories. He calls his effort to get
real people and their stories on screen an "emotion picture".
to do this for 20 years. Develop a story from a group rather than
trying to fit them into a script that's already been perfected
through many drafts and approved by all sorts of people like sales
agents and bureaucrats."
ago Cowan chose Orange because a film-maker friend, Michael Caulfield,
lives there and he was impressed by its energetic theatre and
used to audition locals who wanted to be involved - getting them
to tell real-life love stories - turned into the film after shaping
by Cowan and fellow scriptwriter Adam Bowen. With dramaturg Nico
Lathouris, who worked on Blue Murder and Wildside,
Cowan used workshops to turn locals with limited theatre experience
One of the
five interweaving strands in Orange Love Story is about
a strong willed 15-year-old, played by Rossi, 17, who elopes with
a 23-year-old mobile phone salesman. Another centres on a dreamy
farmer's son, played by Dawe, with a secret infatuation.
is the main value of the film - the depth of the characters,"
Cowan says. "The love stories are all about people trying to express
how they feel and wanting to be appreciated in return. And Nico
was fantastic at getting people to confront their deepest desires."
had only acted in school plays and musicals, found it challenging.
"It wasn't a style that I was used to - it was based on a lot
She now hopes
to study acting while becoming a karate instructor. "Ultimately
I'd love to make a martial arts movie."
film premieres at the Australia Cinema, Cowan plans to roadshow
it through the west of the state before taking it to Sydney.
the locals are intrigued and tickled that someone has made a film
about the city. "We've achieved something together," he says.
Garry Maddox, October 2003
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