Deep Storage

I wanted to make a film that I’d like to see. Deep Storage brought together two ideas that I’d been playing with for a while. What makes a home feel like home? And storage facilities; why are they now so prevalent? Why do people keep so much stuff? How do objects relate us emotionally to our sense of home.

A few years ago I put my stuff in storage. At the time I had a job in a nice office with a kitchen and showers for staff. I used to ponder how easy it would have been to live in my storage unit and wash at work. Finding a home felt elusive for much of my 20s and 30s. Sometimes I was most happy in the grottiest of places and other times lonely in the smartest of environments. I think it has to do with love and feeling like you’re in the right place; feeling like you have found a home because love is present.

I wanted my two main characters to be people who are overlooked or ignored because they don’t fit social norms in the way they communicate or in their looks. I wanted my main character Gus to have a terrible stammer. I wanted him to find love with someone who also doesn’t fit in, so Sylvia has giant buck teeth. I liked the idea of showing their difference in a visually strong or obvious way but to do this without being a parody. I wanted to tell this story wrapped in a particular tone; gentle warm humour with an emotional truth to the performances and for inspiration I looked to films like Lars and the Real Girl.

Casting was a dream come true. In the audition Miles O’Neil made me teary with his stammering Gus and Alice Ansara lifted Sylvia beyond the page with her delightful quirky warmth. They understood the characters so quickly and perfectly I couldn’t believe my luck and worried they wouldn’t accept the roles when offered. They did and Gus and Sylvia became alive through them. Their performances are tender and open, warm and a little comic. To round off the cast James Lawson is delightful as Paul – a clowny, efficient but not mean-spirited storage facility manager. And though only a small role, it was a privilege to have Dawn Klingberg as Millie.

My producer Jannine Barnes assembled a gifted crew. This is where Deep Storage got even luckier. The film was shepherded along by these experienced and talented professionals who grasped the tone and type of film we were trying to achieve from the beginning. We are also grateful for the support and respect Screen Australia gave us which allowed this film to be made.

My hope is that the audience are taken into a cold storage facility and emerge warmed by the openhearted journey of Gus and Sylvia.

Susan Earl