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28th October 2015
Wild and cultured
Title of film: Paspaley Pearls, Behind the Lens
Director: Ariel Kleiman
Production Company: Stink / Rabbit
Ariel Kleiman’s graduation film about a crew of submariners suffering a rather savage form of cabin fever went on to scoop up accolades at film festivals all over the world, including Cannes and Sundance. And we still smile at the Aussie director’s take on London in his film Summertimes. It was all a very good start to his career … and then things just got better. We spoke with the newly-signed Stink director about his feature film and a mysterious short about pearls

Your feature film Partisan, starring Vincent Cassels in a rather chilling tale of a cult leader, murder and lots of children, is due to be released early next year. In terms of film making and life what were the key lessons you learnt in the process of making your first feature?

I think on a weird level a feature film mirrors an element of life in that once it starts it moves really quickly. You need to learn to trust your instincts, make very quick decisions and remember to take moments to enjoy the ride as it speeds along.

Is it a completely different process from making short films – especially where a client is concerned?

Yeah it’s a little different but when I think about it, while each project I’ve been involved in has its own unique dynamics and idiosyncrasies, ultimately no matter the size, format, budget etc, they all follow the same patterns: we never have enough time or money and we’re trying to tell a story with a camera, a microphone and some actors.

You have now signed to Stink and produced a mysterious short film for Paspaley Pearls in co-production with Rabbit. Were you involved in writing the narrative or did you pitch to a brief?

The only guideline I was given from SPECIAL group was that they wanted it to be a short film set behind the scenes of their Pasapley photo shoot… the rest came out of Sarah (Cyngler) and my demented heads. It was actually really fun for us to write a horror, or what we dubbed an ‘existential horror’. It’s something we’ve never done before but really enjoyed.

Stunning location, looks like paradise but having been there we do know it’s all about searing heat, lots of wild things, and if they don’t get you the crocodiles will in the sea. How did you find shooting there?

It was honestly incredible. As you say the landscape is pretty tough and unforgiving (I even broke my toe) but I loved that about it. It’s so rare these days to find places like that – so raw and untouched. It’s visually breathtaking and made finding frames an absolute dream.

What were the main challenges of the whole production and how did you resolve them?

We were shooting in sweltering heat and meters from the most beautiful beach and clear blue water I’ve ever seen… so I think for all of us, fighting off the relentless urge to ditch it and just go swimming all day was our biggest challenge.

What’s next on your agenda?

Hopefully more films & commercials of varying sizes, shapes and personalities.

Now that you’re signed to Stink do you think you may come and live in Europe for a bit?

That’s definitely our plan. We lived in London for three years while writing Partisan and totally fell in love with the city. We’re pretty keen to get back there in the next year or so… if for no other reason than the Pret A Manger carrot cake. What the fuck do they put in those things? I used to eat at least one a day.

Please tell us five inspirations that have connected with you recently:

1. Oneohtrix Point Never new album ‘Garden of Delete’
2. Carson Mell’s cartoons
3. TV show ‘Nathan For You’
4. Todd Haynes new movie ‘Carol’
5. Travelling Indonesia