Sundance Film Festival 2022
INTERNATIONAL LIVE ACTION SHORT FILMS
Shark tells the continuing adventures of Jack, who loves to prank — but in his latest relationship, he may have finally met his match.
Hi Nash thank you for talking to The New Current, how have you been holding up during these very strange times?
My pleasure. I have been well thanks. Despite the craziness of the world it’s been nice to sit still in one place for awhile and hang out with family. Sydney has been a relatively sane place to be.
Has this time offered you any new creative inspiration or opportunities?
Yes, I think so. It’s been good to have some time to develop projects. Plus we managed to make Shark which I’ve been wanting to make for a number of years and we also got to make a third season of 'Mr Inbetween' for FX as Sydney was quite a safe place to shoot during last year.
Shark has had an incredible run gaining nominations at the AFI Grand Jury Prize and the Dendy Award for Best Short Fiction at Sydney Film Festival, what has meant for you to get this type of recognition for your film?’
It’s been great to have festivals embrace the film. Ultimately you make films to be seen with an audience and for short films that is the main place for them to be seen by a collective of people. Also having a short film play at some of the larger festivals helps the film have a long life at more festivals going forward.
Congratulations on having Shark selected in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition at Sundance 2022, what does it feel to be part of such an amazing line-up of films?
It’s so awesome to have Shark play at Sundance. When Spider and Bear played there, their screenings were some of my favourite festival experiences I’ve had. So am very happy to have the third film in the trilogy play in Park City too especially knowing how many films are entered every year and how few are selected.
"The best idea always wins if it serves the overall story."
Can you tell me a little bit about how you and David Michôd came about writing Shark?
Like Spider and Bear, I came to David with an overall idea where I wanted to set the film and some of the things I wanted to happen in the film. We would get together and talk about it and throw ideas back and forth and bring things about ourselves and our partners into it. It's always a fun process.
This is the third film in your trilogy have there been any apprehensions about bringing this series to a close?
This felt like the next right step for the character - him meeting someone that gets him and that is possibly better at pranking than he is. Whether this is where it ends or not is anyone’s guess. When we made Spider we weren’t thinking of Bear and when we made Bear we actually wrote a more definitive ending but then when we were shooting the film I thought maybe we should leave it open in case another idea presented itself.
Had you always intended on playing Jack and do you ever find it hard directing yourself in a short like Shark?
When we wrote Spider I definitely didn’t intend on playing Jack, even though there is probably a lot of me in him. The idea of directing and acting at the same time seemed crazy to me. It feels like splitting your brain in two. As an actor you are trying to be present in the moment while as a director you are watching performances and answering lots of questions while also thinking of the shots ahead and how the hell you are going to complete your day. But to do the needle in the eye effect, we needed to do a head mould of the actor ahead of time while Nick and Paul from Make-Up Effects Group were available - they were about to work on one of the Narnia Films so had to do it a couple of months prior to our shoot. The trouble was I didn’t have an actor yet and even if I did, I couldn’t guarantee they’d be available as we didn’t have a lot of money and if that person got a “real job” I was going to lose them.
The only person I could guarantee at that point who would be on the shoot was me and so Nick suggested I play Jack. He and Paul basically talked me into it, which I am happy about now as I have enjoyed the challenge of it and it got me out of my comfort zone, but on Spider I didn’t realise how hard directing for part of the day with only one eye was going to be.
How different is your approach to your short films compared to your feature films and TV series?
I don’t know that it is any different. I treat every shoot like I’m making a film whether it's a short, a music video, a feature or a TV series. Each project is just a different length in the end or in the case of a TV series it is chopped up into smaller pieces.
As a writer/director, and in this case actor, how flexible are you with your screenplay?
I’m always open to a better idea or a happy accident while making a film. The best idea always wins if it serves the overall story.
Have you always had a passion for filmmaking?
Yes I think so. Even before I was old enough to realise that I could actually do it as a job. I love films and I love the collaboration of filmmaking.
Should filmmakers continue to push the boundaries of the films/stories they want to tell?
Do you have any advice you would offer someone wanting to get into filmmaking?
Find people you like to collaborate with and make films that you want to see.
And finally, what do you hope audiences will take away from Shark?
How to be a better prankster than Jack.