19th In-Edit Festival 2021
I'm Wanita is the story of a renegade country music singer from Tamworth, Australia, hell-bent on realising her childhood dreams of stardom. Self-crowned as 'Australia's Queen of Honky Tonk", Wanita is still waiting for fir the recognition she knows she deserves. Wanita embarks on a quest to record an album in the country music Mecca of Nashville, but her inability to toe the line threatens to derail her plans - can she keep her date with destiny?
Hey Wanita, it's great to talk with you, how have you been keeping during these strange times?
Oh well, as well as can be expected. Like everyone has been keeping. Quiet. And looking forward to everything opening up.
Has this time offered you the chance to find some new inspiration or opportunities?
It’s allowed me to reflect on myself and write some more songs.
Congratulations on having I'm Wanita at In-Edit Barcelona 2021, what does it mean to you to be at the festival?
Well I’ve got a Spanish name that’s incorrectly spelt, so it’s only befitting I get into Barcelona. But very much a privilege. Thank you, thank you Barcelona.
You have had an amazing festival run with your film getting multiple nominations including Best Music Documentary at the Nashville Film Festival, did you imagine you would get this type of recognition for your film?
I always knew I would get some form of recognition, I just didn’t know how. But a film’s as good as any.
What was the first thing that came to your head when you drove through the streets of Nashville for the first time?
Am I allowed to express profanity?
How did I'm Wanita come about and what was the process like working with your director Matthew Walker?
The process came about through a mere suggestion that this lady’s life should be documented. It was backed up by a lot of hard work and a few nervous breakdowns. And Matthew Walker was absolutely respectful and reverent of the task at hand and did everything humanly possible within his craft to accommodate The Queen of Honky Tonk.
Did you have any apprehensions about making I'm Wanita?
Absolutely. I had all the apprehensions in the world because I was about to display my entrails. It’s literally like disembowelling yourself on the tarmac as the jet engine is going off. That’s what it felt like. It felt like kamikaze…not kamikaze…it felt like committing hari kari. And it still does. Nothing’s changed. Let’s face it, that’s what it’s like.
Where did you passion for Honky Tonk come from and what inspires your music?
My passion for Honky Tonk came from Hank Williams, Jimmie Rodgers…but I’ll tell you, the first song I ever sang in public was On The Inside by Allan Caswell. What inspires my music is integral artists…any genre of music as long as it’s raw, natural and honest. Because I can tell the difference if it’s not.
In the film you are brutally honest and leave very little out do you think more people could find a greater sense of their own happiness if they too where willing to be open and more honest about their lives, their experiences and were they want to go?
Absolutely. I think everyone should be taught that in school - to embrace who they are. To embrace who they are with integrity, it should be taught in school! I’m not asking everyone to put their genitals on the chopping block in a film. I’m not asking anyone else to do that. But everyone should be taught from a young age just to be contented with who they are irrespective of the consequences.
What would you say has been the most important thing you've learnt about yourself after taking part in this experience?
The most important thing I’ve learnt about myself in this experience is that I now have to come to terms with acceptance. All my life I’ve come to terms with rejection. But now I’ve got to relearn the concept of acceptance. There was never any fucking compromise but now, knowing human behaviour and how people can be fickle, I’ve now got to believe this acceptance which is now bestowed upon me.
"That’s what it felt like. It felt like kamikaze…not kamikaze…it felt like committing hari kari. And it still does."
Any advice you would offer a fellow dreamer?
Be true to yourself. Look after your body. And take everything only seriously enough to execute the function. So that means living long enough to fulfil your dream. Live a healthy lifestyle. Take from this film an example of someone who has laid everything on the line. You can then choose whether this is the right path or whether it’s not. It’s not nuclear physics. It’s just an account of someone’s life that hopefully you can draw inspiration and integrity and honesty from. Keep dreaming but actions speak louder than words.
And finally, what do you hope people will take away from I'm Wanita?
I want this film to be known and documented in history as the story of an autistic genius who laid everything on the line through the most fucking vulnerable period in her life. And let that be an example to anyone that has got corrupted by racism, prejudices or dishonesty. I hope the film will encourage people to accept themselves and be inspired to live the dream. A dream is only fucking as good as living it unless you’re asleep dreaming about it. Because you’re a long time dead. Which is a continual dream anyway.