Two Piece

Cinematographer Max Walter shoots the coming-of-age short Two Piece, winner of this year’s Tropfest Film Festival in Sydney. By Vanessa Abbott.

Ava needs to buy a new swimsuit for a beach trip. At the age of thirteen, this task is anything but simple. Two Piece is inspired by Director Greta Nash’s personal experiences shopping with her mother. As an adult, she would often fall into foul moods and leave my mum feeling totally perplexed and frustrated.

I thought the best way to express this idea would be to go right back to the root of it, where it all began,” explains Nash, “as a young girl going through puberty and starting to experience body image issues for the first time.” An experience she thinks a lot of young people can relate to.

The short film was unanimously selected by an extraordinary panel of industry leaders including: Academy Award winner Susan Sarandon, Oscar-nominated actress Rachel Griffiths, Primetime Emmy-nominated filmmaker Garth Davis (Lion), BAFTA-nominated Aussie documentarian Jennifer Peedom (Mountain), and Logie award-winning actor Rob Collins (Cleverman).

Cinematographer Max Walter was nominated for Best Cinematography in VCA’s 2015 graduating year for his work on Kawaki and Sharp. He has lensed multiple music videos for award-winning Australian artists like Rufus and Crooked Colours, and collected a Gold ACS Award for Cinematography in a Music Video for his work on ‘Wait for You’ by Dena Amy. Also an old classmate of Director Greta Nash, Two Piece is their latest collaboration. 

On the way to the beach, thirteen-year-old Ava (Freya Van Dyke Goodman) stops to buy a swimsuit with her mum Kelly (Lulu McClatchy) and little brother Wally (Liam Smith). Distressed by her own changing body and newfound self-consciousness, Ava lashes out at her mum, and the pair have to navigate their way through one of the many tricky and traumatic moments thrown at us by puberty. 

Two Piece was shot over two days in Melbourne’s South-Eastern suburbs. The director, producers, cinematographer, 1st AD, composer, costume designer and script supervisor are all past or present students of the VCA School of Film and Television. The female-led creative team were committed to telling a truthful story about the self-esteem and body image issues that affect many adolescent girls. 

Although I can’t offer a solution,” says Nash, “I can hopefully offer a heartwarming ending to the story by bringing the focus away from how we look, and towards how we feel.

Two Piece screened to a packed out audience in Parramatta Park, attracting over 45,000 Tropfest fans this year. The film was also live broadcast on the ABC, as well as on YouTube for audiences across the world to enjoy.

Vanessa Abbott is a writer based in Melbourne.

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