Your Love is Mine Filmmakers Chat Ahead of Their A Night of Horror International Film Festival Launch

A Night of Horror International Film Festival kicks off with some truly brilliant horror films from around the globe from October 17th and runs til October 23rd at Dendy Cinemas Newtown. For Aussie indie filmmakers Luke Wijayasinha-Gray and Luke J.S., they found a creative bond for their first feature film with their impressive drama-horror Your Love is Mine.

This unsettling horror tells the story of young couple Violet (Senie Priti) and Sam (Lester Ellis) who live in a remote town in Australia where the growth possibilities are limited to being the person who cleans the dishes to the person who takes the orders at the local pub. She wants to escape the town and start a new life, he wants to settle down and get married. Through a tragic event, their relationship morphs into something more sinister and horrifying.

Your Love is Mine is a film that’s best engaged with knowing as little as possible about the narrative and just letting its unsettling nature envelope you as you watch it. I found myself engaged by the excellent central performances from Senie and Lester which captivate you to the point where you’re left stunned by the narrative revelations.

I chatted with both of the Luke’s about their creative journey, finding a working relationship together, and more in this interview. Note, there are some spoiler sections.

Your Love is Mine screens on Sunday, October 23 at A Night of Horror International Film Festival and will include a Q&A. Details here.

Where did your interest in filmmaking kick off?

Luke Wijayasinha-Gray: The seed for this film was planted when I moved to Melbourne from Darwin. At the time I was in a band. Luke used to make showreels for actors, and he found my music on Triple J Unearthed. He reached out to me to ask if he could use one of my tracks in a showreel and we became mates through that. Back in Darwin I’d been trying to get this stage play off the ground which never eventuated. Up there, especially at the time, there wasn’t much of a creative scene going on. I couldn’t really get serious actors to commit to the project. So when I got here and met Luke, I told him I had a script for a play and he liked the idea. The film that you saw is really different from the play. What we wound up with is very loosely based on the play.

Luke J.S.: The play was basically about someone being brought back to life, that’s the only thing we carried over into the film. We initially talked about doing it as a short film, but we wanted to include much more character development that wasn’t going to fit into a short, so we stretched it out into a feature. Prior to that I’d done a bit of commercial work in cinematography and editing, and we both studied screenwriting at RMIT. This (Your Love Is Mine) was our first film.

I’ve found with emerging filmmakers there is this balance of wanting to make something and then almost feeling like there’s this need of asking permission to make something as well. Was that a questioning that you both went through?

LW-G: Absolutely. Coming out of film school you have this idea that to make a feature you need at least a hundred thousand bucks and a massive crew, and trying to do that when you’re starting out is pretty impossible. And so you go through what we went through, starting out with a lot of excitement, and then a bit of deflation when you realise getting that kind of budget together is not realistic. You get to this point where you just go, “Well, are we going to do this thing or not?”

LJ.S.: At the time we thought all we had to do was get the script together, and then we’d get some help through the funding bodies to get it made. Obviously that’s pretty naïve, but having that blind optimism, I think, made us do it anyway. We were absolutely not gonna give up. We both decided to get on with it and make it because we couldn’t wait. We never got any funding from the government, but we ended up getting a private investor attached.


What was the interest in working in the horror genre for you both?

LW-G: What’s funny about that is we didn’t actually set out to make a horror film. I don’t think either of us realised it would be that scary until we started showing people the script. Even when we did a cast and crew screening, and a lot of people told us they found it really frightening, we kind of looked at each other and were like, was it? We knew that it would have a certain darkness, but more than anything we set out to make a film that was surprising. We wanted to show something that hopefully people haven’t seen on screen before. From the start we knew we wanted to lull people into a sense of the film going one way and then it goes in a completely different direction.

LJ.S.: I agree. When we were writing it we said okay, how are we going to do this in a way that would be as realistic as possible? How would someone react if their partner was suddenly brought back to life with a motorbike engine? Rather than thinking, “oh, this would be creepy and scary.” This would happen and then this would happen, and then she’d be pissed off that she’s been brought back. She didn’t want to be with him in the first place. And that’s where the horror lies.

What is the interest in working with body horror? Were there any influences that you both had?

LW-G: It’s interesting because the films that we looked to for inspiration weren’t horror films. We wanted to create this kind of oddball, lightly comical vibe that a lot of 80s and 90s Aussie films had, like Muriel’s Wedding and Love, Serenade. We weren’t talking a lot about body horror, funnily enough. Sam’s whole thing came from his insecurity. He’s aware that Violet doesn’t need him as much as he needs her, and the motorbike symbolises her freedom, her independence from him. I think that’s how we came to it. It wasn’t necessarily from looking at body horror films.

LJ.S.: We were excited about making it look as realistic as possible when he puts an engine inside her chest. That sounds disgusting when you talk about it out of context, and within context as well, but it wasn’t “Let’s be really disgusting with this and be really gory”, it was more about how would it look in real life?

You don’t see in the film how graphic it got. We had a makeup artist come in who did a full body prosthetic based on mortuary pictures which was attached to Senie, but when we saw the footage we were all surprised by how shocking it looked. Which is a testament to our makeup artists, Bec Smith and Julian Dimase. But that’s when it hit us that this could be a bit too much, so we pulled back. It was never our intention to make something gross just for the sake of it. I was into 80s horror, so maybe on a subconscious level that was coming through when we were making the film.


I’m curious about the manner that the obsessive love is presented here because it’s not just a love that Sam has for Violet, other characters have an obsessive love about other things, too. The mum ranks the people that she loves the most. Then there is this obsessive love for the town itself, even though there are characters who really want to get out of there and just leave. How did you both discuss how love would look in the film?

LW-G: We were thinking and talking a lot about love from the angle of two people who have been together for a long time and the shine has worn off. And how to make that work, is it possible to sustain that love over time? The other relationship that we concentrated a lot on was Violet and her mum who is missing throughout the whole film, and her relationship with Violet’s dad, Tony.

LJ.S.: And not just with a romantic partner. How do you maintain your closeness with family and friends as well over time?

We always wanted to show that even though Violet hated the town, that it isn’t a bad thing to live in a place out where everything’s quiet, [where] you don’t have to think too much about the future or anything like that. It’s just “This is where we live. This is what we do.” That’s a pretty beautiful place to be. Because Violet was so serious about hating the town and wanting to leave, we were trying to create some balance and contrast with how dark the film gets.

I don’t know about you Luke, but I’m still processing what it was that we made. I mean I know what we were trying to do, but I think there were certain parts of it that were just coming out of our subconscious rather than us being totally aware of it.

What was the relationship of working together like?

LJ.S.: It was good. It kind of built up as time went on. At the start we were meeting up maybe twice a month. At that point we were still getting to know each other as friends as well. Once we really started to take it seriously, we hired a little studio at the back of a jeweller’s shop. At that point we were working three-four hours a day, meeting up five days a week, writing scene breakdowns and fleshing it all out from Luke’s stage play. It was just Violet and Sam – they had different names at that point – that carried over into the film. A lot of the time we’d act out the scenes to make sure they felt genuine and that it was coming from as authentic a place as possible based on our own personal experiences.

LW-G: From the start we’ve both been pretty conscious of it being a shared film. For me, I didn’t want anything to go through unless I was sure that Luke had given it his approval. Because we’re friends and respect each other professionally, it’s been pretty easy to work together and make sure that both of our voices are coming through.

LJ.S.: It felt very 50/50, even all the way through post-production. Any changes that were made, we were always cross referencing each other constantly. As Luke said, I wanted it to be both of our input.

What does being an Australian filmmaker mean to you?

LW-G: For me the answer is a cultural one. My mum migrated to Australia from Sri Lanka, so going forward, something I’ve realised that I want to represent as an Australian filmmaker is the migrant experience. Which is something that I didn’t realise with our first movie. It’s a combination of where the world is now – audiences want to hear from diverse creators and diverse stories – but it’s also for me, getting a bit older and a having a daughter, I’m thinking more about what do I want to pass on? And part of that is culture. The second part of my answer to that question is reckoning with the past in terms of colonisation. Having roots in another country that was also colonised, I’ve found that’s something that’s been coming up in my ideas for future projects.

LJ.S.: I don’t see myself as an Australian filmmaker really. Half the time I feel connected to what’s happening around me and half of the time I feel like an observer. I’m not sure how much that has to do with spending most of my formative years in the UK, or something else. I think the stories I tell are perhaps always going to come from an outsider’s perspective and are maybe more universal rather than specifically Australian.

Where do you see your creative journeys going from here?

LJ.S.: I’m writing my next feature script, which is much more personal compared to Your Love Is Mine. I love suspense and horror, so the next film will be a mix of both.

LW-G: My next project is about a woman in Melbourne who is a serial killer. It’s a psych-horror with a bit of dark comedy and meta weirdness. From the feedback I’ve got so far, it’s a lot scarier than this one.

Andrew F Peirce

Andrew is passionate about Australian cinema, Australian politics, Australian culture, and Australia in general. Found regularly talking online about Sweet Country, and reminding people to watch Young Adult.

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