Eva Justine Torkkola

Screen & Photography

Something Has Died In The Forest Film

A Ukrainian woman, recently migrated to Australia post World War 2, struggles to come to terms with her pregnancy as she relives the trauma of losing her first child.

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A VCA Masters Graduating film inspired by real events. “Like lost children we live our unfinished lives.” Guy Debord.

SHDITF is a dark, psychological drama written and directed by Eva Justine Torkkola.

This is my final VCA Masters of Directing film and has seen the collaboration of over 30 talented and upcoming creatives on both sides of the camera. Behind the scenes includes our wonderful co-producers CJ Welsh and Alice Chaston and our DP extraordinaire Alper Kasap who just won GOLD at the 2019 Victorian and Tasmanian ACS Awards for Cinematography for his previous short film ‘Crossfire’. And in front of the camera our brilliant lead actors Sarah Krndija, Yassica Switakowski and Sergej Arcaba. Having cast first generation Australians in all the lead roles, their personal stories intertwined with the world of the film and has created a really special piece of Australian cinema. You can have a look at some of our beautiful sneaky stills above. The footage is pretty magical so far, and we still have a tiny bit more to shoot so we need your help!

This film is about the realities of war at a psychological level, and the ramifications of not only what is left behind, but what is hidden in the shadows and brought into another life, in another country. The film gives a voice to migrants who struggle to cope with their loss of ‘home’ and what it means to them; to all the mothers’ that struggle to cope even years later when they have lost a child; and is a project led by strong, female characters with real, unique perspectives of their world. It’s our time.

SHDITF is a very personal project for me and my most ambitious one to date. I was lucky enough to grow up with my grandparents in North Geelong in an almost mini-Ukraine. They had come over to Australia from Ukraine in the 1940’s and my childhood was filled with stories of another place, another time. Like many of the migrants back then, and that still arrive in Australia today, they tried to make Australia home. It wasn’t until I travelled to Ukraine this year for a research trip for the film, that I realised they had recreated in Australia what they had been forced to leave behind.

When I wrote the script I honestly never dreamt of having such incredible performers and such a wonderful creative team to bring it to life and now I feel I need to do them justice for their beautiful and dedicated work. From our actors’ late nights nailing the Ukrainian inflections through to the entire team carrying buckets of water uphill through mud and hail to fill a bath tub on set. It’s been beyond heartwarming.

The total cost of the film to date is $15,000 and we are aiming to fund $10,000 so any donation will also allow you to have a credit in the film as a much thanked sponsor. You will also have access to our private cast and crew screening over summer at a secret country location! Honestly, any and every donation will assist in making this film the best it can be and comes with a huge personal hug from our director.

The first $5,000 will primarily be used to pay off the production design of the film which is just over $4,900. Creating 1940’s Ukraine and late 1940’s Australian migrant camp is no mean feat, but we did it thanks to our incredible Production Designer Lauren Gould and her team. From Nissen huts through to Ukrainian children’s’ books. The rest of the money will go to accomodation costs for our wonderful 30 cast and crew in Rawson (Australian migrant camp) and Creswick (1940’s Ukraine). These total just over $3,5000 with the final $1,500 going to our Costume and HMU budget. Should we exceed our aim for donations of $10,000 for this campaign we will be able to fund the film festival circuit for the following year to get our film seen across the globe along with publicity costs and a promotional poster and trailer for the film. We can’t wait!

You can find out more at https://www.instagram.com/somethinghasdiedintheforest/ and https://www.facebook.com/somethinghasdied/.
Feel free to follow and share our posts if you can’t donate – even that can be a huge help!

Eva & the entire SHDITF team. xx

Eva is a Melbourne based director, writer and actor.

She is an Acting Tutor for the National Institute of Dramatic Arts (NIDA Open) and is currently completing her Masters of Film and Television at the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) which she will finish later this year. Having worked primarily as an actor in Melbourne for the past 10 years, Eva is now telling her own stories stepping behind the camera.

Eva was fortunate enough to be chosen this year for two trips overseas to create her own films. In May she was chosen out of her cohort to travel to China to make a documentary over three weeks. She researched, shot, recorded sound and edited that film which is currently doing the film festival rounds and is called ‘Artery’ and was one of the most formative experiences of her life as a filmmaker.

The second and more recent trip was in July with the International Filmmaking Academy in Bologna, Italy, where she was chosen as one of the 20 emerging directors from around the world to study for two weeks with Jane Campion. Whilst there, Eva created a short film under Jane’s guidance titled ‘Jamie Oliver is not my Father’ and also got to workshop ‘Something Has Died in the Forest’ – the film you are able to donate to today through the ACF!

Follow Eva and her work on facebook.com/EvaJustTorks/ and at instagram.com/EvaJustTorks.

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