Screenworks member, Grafton based Sammy Lovejoy combines her experience as a professional performer with her more recently developed skills as a writer and director, to pursue her filmmaking passions.  She recently joined with 2 others to form the production company Banksea’a – together they produce short films, music clips and documentaries, along with live performances and event management.

Banksea’a are the production team behind this year’s Light Up The Valley as part of the Jacaranda Festival in the Clarence Valley.

Tell us a bit about what you do in the Screen Industry and how you got involved.

Photo by Maddison WhitfordI am 1/3 of a film production partnership formed in 2014: Banksea’a with my life partner, Danny Loyden & our friend, Maddison Whitford. We work mostly from our home office in South Grafton. We all completed a Diploma of Screen & Media North Coast Tafe – Grafton in 2013. My background is as a professional performer for over 20 years, with a leaning towards self-devised shows and black comedy. As a filmmaker, my passion is for writing and directing. Being a small team, I also do much of the production management duties (I love lists and spreadsheets!) and I am quite handy with a clapper board too. We tend to swap around roles depending on what the project needs and who is driving it.

What’s the project you have most enjoyed working on, and why?

GlenOne of our current projects is The Parlour: a multi-platform supernatural thriller about the dark truths that lie beneath the surface of our living world. We have just completed our first video pitch for Metro Screen’s Dream Accelerator competition (we are in 3 shortlisted in NSW) in which I was the writer, presenter and one of the actors. We also have a 7 page/2 webisode script mainly set in 1940’s South Grafton, waiting for pre-production in 2015. One of the reasons I am enjoying it so much is because we have set the story where we live in South Grafton… in our house…that used to be a funeral parlour in the 1970’s/80’s.

How long have you been living and working in the Northern Rivers?

Keith and the Big PrawnMy partner and I came to the region in Dec 2012 after travelling in our 1970’s Ford Transit motor home. We were house sitters on a property outside Grafton for three months. We liked the area and decided to stay, buying a house in South Grafton in August last year.

What is important to you in running a successful and creative regional business / working regionally?

Listening to and respecting your co-partners. Being open to all genres of work ie. music videos, promos, short films, web series. Networking with others nearby and far away. Working hard and enjoying the journey.

Tell us a bit about what you have been working on most recently.

Banksea'a Light Up The ValleyLight Up the Valley – Oct 17, 18, 19 will stop you in the street with the visually delightful projected JADA images: from the walls of the Grafton Regional Gallery with the funky tunes of The Ninth Chapter to Market Square and Living Proof. Then across the river to the Pelican Playhouse during their festival production, The Other Side: A Cabaret Journey and onto the sides two historic buildings in Skinner Street. And it all ends up in a front yard music event on a main road in Tucabia on 24th Oct!

Also 17, 18, 19 Oct we are all involved in The Other Side: A Cabaret Journey at the Pelican Playhouse. The Other Side is a collaborative performance piece using actors and musicians to create the cabaret world. The actors and musicians have been independently rehearsing for approx 2 months.

There has been and will be, only 1 group rehearsal / run through of the whole show before we perform.  Myself, as director (and MC during the shows) has given the actors character frameworks to devise their own acts, staying true to the show’s theme.  This is to empower the actor’s with making their own choices for their character and really own their act.

The theme of the show is: People fallen from Grace.  That might be a result of lost or unrequited love, alcohol or drug abuse, being racially outcast.

All the people on The Other Side are contented in their melancholy because they have found comfort through the connections with each other.  The Gypsy Jazz band acts as the soundtrack to the whole show, always physically present and linking the acts together.

Maddison Whitford, Danny Loyden, Sammy LovejoyIs there anything else that you would like to share with us about you and your work?

I am loving living in the region, collaborating with local film artists on projects and being part of a rural community. The Northern Rivers has so much to offer and we enjoy being a part of the cultural growth of not only our local area, but also the region.

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