A time capsule of girlhood in the mid-2000s: Why Edie and Audrey is a must-see at St Kilda Film Festival
Subscribe
X

Get the latest from Beat

27.05.2024

A time capsule of girlhood in the mid-2000s: Why Edie and Audrey is a must-see at St Kilda Film Festival

Words by Juliette Salom

Alexandra Millen’s short film Edie and Audrey is a family affair, through and through.

From friends and loved ones helping out on set, to Millen’s sister in a starring role, it’s no surprise that a film made with the help of the director’s family is able to explore the story of two sisters in such a beautifully poetic, and at times heartbreaking, way.

Screening at the St Kilda Film Festival’s session of Tandem Tales on June 7 at 7pm at the Alex Theatre in St Kilda, Edie and Audrey is a film not to miss out on this festival season. Talking with Millen, who wrote, directed, shot and edited the film, she speaks to her own experiences of girlhood growing up in the mid-noughties as the catalyst of the project.

“Although the story itself is one of fiction, a lot of my own nostalgia for being a pre-teen in the 2000s is wrapped up in the world of the film and within both girls’ characters,” Millen says.

Edie and Audrey

  • June 7 at 7pm
  • Alex Theatre, St Kilda
  • Tickets here

Find Melbourne’s latest film, TV, literature and gaming news here.

Centred around sisters Edie and Audrey as they traverse the streets of surrounding neighbourhoods, looking for ways to kill time in order to stay away from the troubles brewing at home, the girls’ route takes them through all the stops of sentimentality of a childhood past. From mucking around in a retrofitted bowling alley to playing with shopping trolleys in a lonely carpark – with a visit to the milk bar and a call from a phone booth tucked somewhere in between – whilst the dialogue is restricted in the unfolding of the narrative, it’s clear that the girls’ mission to find fun in their time spent together is being propelled by a hidden, possibly ominous, desire to be away from home.

“I definitely had the dynamic of my younger sister Audrey and myself on my mind when I started forming the film. I wanted to show that deep yet subtle loyalty that can come with being a sibling,” Millen says, referring to Audrey Millen-Sigley, who plays the same-named character in the film.

The authenticity of the relationship between the two girls playing sisters in the film is a product of Millen taking a page from the book of some the directors she most admires. Referencing Andrea Arnold, Sean Baker and the Safdie brothers as major influences on her work, it was clear to Millen that in order to achieve the soft sincerity of the dynamic between the sisters in Edie and Audrey, it would be through casting kids she knew. That choice, consequentially, gave Millen not just the precious authenticity of the relationship as she wrote it, but so much more.

Edie and Audrey

 

“The script was written before the casting had been finalised but most of the best bits are improvised between the two girls. We kept the camera rolling a lot of the time which allowed them both to relax and chat naturally to each other,” Millen says.

Like her predecessors, especially Sean Baker of The Florida Project, which Millen references as “a big inspiration, it’s such a beautiful film,” the dynamic she has orchestrated between the sisters in her film feels very much like a day-in-the-life of two girls existing. It’s almost apt that for these non-actors, there’s not a moment in the film where you feel like they’re acting.

Millen has captured a quiet beauty in the precious relationship of the sisters that’s only exemplified by the unashamed astuteness of kids of a certain age. “I love the understated wisdom of children and their ability to be so blunt and direct because they often aren’t as afraid, as we are as adults, of saying the ‘wrong’ thing,” Millen says. “I love how often they instinctually know more than they let on and are so subtle in how much they understand; specifically, with intuiting adults’ moods and emotions.”

 

Millen – who saved up for the budget of the film herself, utilising free locations or exchanging her skills for a place to shoot – is an example of the incredible standard of filmmaking that exists at a grassroots level in this country, and that the St Kilda Film Festival is known for showcasing. Much of the crew of Edie and Audrey were volunteers, Millen says, “largely friends and family”. “My mum was cooking spaghetti bolognese for us, my brother was on clapper duty, my partner designed Audrey’s t-shirt and Edie’s uncle, Matt, took stills.”

A film made with family, about family, Edie and Audrey is an unassuming gem in the program of this year’s 40th edition of the St Kilda Film Festival. You can catch it at the festival at Tandem Tales on June 7, with tickets on sale now.

You can also view the full program of the St Kilda Film Festival here.