29th Feb2016

Interview: Director Tristan Barr talks ‘Watch the Sunset’

by Phil Wheat


If you loved Animal Kingdom, you’ll dig Watch the Sunset – an Australian crime-thriller that’s currently looking for a release sometime later this year. We caught up with co-director Tristan Barr to see where the movie is at, why they’re crowdfunding (post completion) and whether we might see the movie here in the UK.

Is it fair to say the film is similar in tone to Animal Kingdom?

Yes definitely, Animal kingdom was a strong reference when making the film. They captured an Australian crime story in a very engaging and real way. Another reference was Snowtown and more unknown film called Boxing Day. We wanted to tell another Aussie crime story in intimate and unescapable way and that is why we decided to shoot entirety of it in the one shot, without cutting to relieve the audience.

Is this based on a true story?

Yes it’s based on real events and real people. Some accounts of events have been merged with others in order for us to construct a cohesive story, but all events have actually taken place and the characters are based on people we know or have researched. We can’t give too many details as to not piss these people off, as you can tell from the film, the stakes are very high.

Did you meet anyone with addictions or in a biker gang beforehand to make sure the film played as authentically as possible?

Everyone did different things in order to prepare, some of us spoke to people in similar circumstances to our characters with addictions or criminal history, and some actors used very personal methods to reach the authenticity required. But the whole cast and crew shared a lot of knowledge and research and there was not a single person on set who wasn’t educated about the content. Except, Annabelle, offcourse who plays my young daughter in the film. It was all pretend and fun for her.

How hard is it to generate finance via crowdfunding? I imagine so many are doing it these days that it’s hard to break through the clutter?

Yeah it is a flooded market and I think you do have to have strategic approach. But with the assistance of different institutions it can help a lot. We have been assisted by the Australian Cultural Fund and MATCH, which means every dollar donated is tax deductable and that our money is doubled by the government, so that helps a lot!

Have you been told any tips or tricks that seem to be helping?

Constant updates and insights to your project to keep people engaged. Reward your networks with exclusive material.

The film is getting some great reviews – are you surprised by the reaction? Is this some of the first feedback you’ve received from the critical community?

Yes, I’ve been blown away from the reaction and I’m so amazed as the film is yet to be fully completed. So I can’t wait to get it out to the public.

Will you be bringing the film to the UK in the future?

Definitely. I’m based out of the UK at the moment and I can’t wait to have a British premiere, hopefully at one of the terrific festivals here.

How can we help get this movie on screens?

To support the film with a donation head to https://australianculturalfund.org.au/projects/watch-the-sunset. Also just following our progress is integral to the film finding its audience so you can follow us on Facebook.


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