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Cloudy Rhodes on truth in film and her new project Deluge

“I am always drawn to beauty and nature. I would say my work has an organic softness that’s almost dreamlike, I like to keep the camera constantly in motion to almost feel like its floating.” We’ve been fans of filmmaker Cloudy Rhodes since the start – it’s impossible to not feel drawn into her on screen universe, sensual and fluid, with the ocean as an ever-present co-star.

From artistic inspirations to her new film, Deluge, showing at Sydney Film Festival next month, Rhodes opens up on the importance of telling minority stories on screen and the power of female endurance.

“Most of my childhood memories involve the ocean. I remember getting caught in a storm sailing with my dad, the boat nearly capsized and I fell out in open water – it was a wild experience. That day I learnt take risks and trust in life.”

On her new film, Deluge

The powerful feminist sentiment and redemption is what compelled me to make Deluge. Jessica Carerra, the producer of the film who heads a production company Dollhouse Pictures, came to me with the script. It was written by Llewellyn Michael Bates, a writer with a disability who has such an unexplored perspective … There is such an urgency for films that represent minorities – this film tells the story of a hero with a disability alongside empowered female characters. Deluge was funded through the Screenability strand of Create NSW which priorities minority stories on screen. It is a story about female endurance and bravery and the power harnessed in rising up and speaking out against abusers … about the redemption and resilience that is intrinsic to the female experience and something I am always trying to uncover in my work.

On truth in storytelling …

Deluge is a film about women rising up and speaking their truth. I’m always trying to get to the truth of the human experience – the feeling truth – my work particularly centres around uncovering the truth of the female and queer experience.

On audience reaction to Deluge

The most important thing for me in film is to be moved. Deluge tells an important and timely story, I hope that it raises awareness around representation, abuse and the world’s climate. I also think it’s important for people to feel hope. There is real redemption in this film, and I hope people leave with a sense of optimism.

“There are so many important stories to tell I honestly never short of inspiration. If anything I get overwhelmed by all the films I want to make.”

On Deluge‘s selection in the Sydney Film Festival 2019 …

To have a film I have directed screen alongside some of the incredible filmmakers at SFF is an honour. Create NSW and SFF  have been so supportive of highlighting so many important stories.  I can’t wait to be a part of it and spend a week watching films from around the world. The line up this year is so diverse and exciting.

On representations of queer narratives in the media and film industry …

I think we are in a really exciting time and there is more and more representation everyday. Its so important for young queer kids to grow up with queer narratives and queer characters they can identify with. My next project explores gender and moving beyond the binary – I think thats something that we are only just starting to uncover. It’s very personal to my experience which I think is the most powerful place to create from.

“[Deluge] was also an opportunity to highlight the notion of the earth’s dying ecology, and highlight the need for urgent action on climate change.”