A mysterious young drifter named Eleanor (Fildes) arrives in the city of Melbourne with the clothes on her back little money and a difficult past she'd rather not discuss.
She takes up residence in a decrepit boarding house sarcastically dubbed "The Hotel California" by her new flatmate Roy (Cochrane), located on the volatile outskirts of the city where Eleanor comes across a series of fellow exiles fugitives and outcasts.
Over the next year, Eleanor struggles to adapt and finds her feet in this strange new place spending most of her time working a series of dead-end jobs pursuing a futile affair with her married neighbor while remaining totally oblivious to the men and women who do care for her.
By the end of the year small victories are won friendships are formed relationships rise and fall lives are lost and harsh lessons are learned and the world keeps turning.
Producers: Dia Taylor & Daniela Ercoli
Cinematographer: Scott David Lister
Composer: Michael Mumford
Editor: Ivan Malekin
I begun work on the script for ‘How Deep Is The Ocean’ in October 2018. I wasn't particularly looking for a story but rather the story came looking for me. I was 32 years old at a low point where I felt like I was losing out on everything. A failed relationship, a house eviction hanging over my head and a crippling sense of disappointment with my quote unquote “career” as a filmmaker. Despite my disillusionment with the industry I had always wanted to write and direct a feature film.
This difficult time made me reflect on all I’d been through which lead me to this point and thus our protagonist Eleanor Grey was born. Like the protagonist Eleanor, I too moved to Melbourne 15 years ago. I arrived in the city with no money, a safety net, or a plan, seeking money notoriety fortune and fame. Now I'm older and look back and realize deep down I was running away from myself and failed. I was inspired by unconventional films “On The Edge” by John Carney, “The Misadventures Of Sebastian Cole” by Tod Williams “Quadrophenia” by Franc Roddam and “Midnight Cowboy” by John Schlesinger. The common thread tying them together is the unconventional story of the outsider undergoing a journey of self discovery and - for better or worse - not being the same person as they were in the beginning. I always wanted to make something that would be like the soundtrack to the end of your childhood. The ocean to me represents destruction, growth, emotional clarity, and rebirth.
Life goes so fast. Especially when you're young. Too fast to put into words, pictures, and sounds. So many things happen but only few moments stay with us forever.
I wanted to capture those profound moments in a film. I didn't just want people to see Eleanor on the screen, I wanted them to feel like Eleanor experiencing everything as she is. The frustrations, the uncertainty, the laughter, the tears. Those small significant victories, the losses and eventual hard earned inner strength and self acceptance.
I've always maintained our city of Melbourne is a character within itself and it was important that we showed everything - the good, the bad, the ugly, beautiful, and the strange. Melbourne means something different to everyone. A world class liveable city. A romantic place where anything is possible. A grim crime ridden urban metropolis. A city of lost souls.
In my 15 years living here I have experienced all of these incarnations but have related to the latter the most of all.
There’s something about this place that draws broken people from all over the country and the planet hoping that somewhere within this concrete jungle lies the key to finding all the answers we seek.
Most of us still haven't found what we were looking for . Maybe we never will but that’s okay.
For better or worse these streets are our home.
I hope you enjoy this film about our home.
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