Meet the Filmmaker Interview
The Clams – Director Abbie Pobjoy
“Nothing opens up the mind quite like a group of women dancing in sync with giant tampons!”
Meet Abbie Pobjoy, the young director behind the quirky, fun and empowering short documentary The Clams. A film which follows a woman’s book club turned synchronized swimming performers – all in the name of period positivity.
Abbie Pobjoy (Director) joined by an all-female crew Nicoletta Centofanti (Cinematographer), Isobelle Amie (Editor), Hazal Alakus (Producer) and Elle Richards (Sound Recordist/Designer) filmed the documentary in 2017, in the lead up to The Clams performance at the Melbourne Fringe Festival.
Upon the recent notification that the documentary had been selected for screening at BBFF2018 we had the chance to speak with Abbie, here is what we learnt.
What was your biggest inspiration to make this film/How did you get involved or attached to the project?
My cinematographer, Nicoletta, showed me an article about a recent performance of The Clams – I had no idea they existed. The fact that there was an Australian group out there, creating period positivity through synchronised swimming routines, was such a new and exciting type of activism no one had ever seen before.
As soon as I heard what these women do, I was immediately inspired. So, Nicoletta and I got a group together with three other girls Isobelle, Hazal and Elle and set out to make the first documentary of the first group of its kind.
Tell us a bit more about your connection to the film?
Showcasing Australia’s first and only feminist underwater ballet squad is something audiences have never seen before. Growing up as a young woman, I can say now is the time to push female centered stories to the screen, in whatever form they come.
I couldn’t help but create a documentary once I heard what these women do – synchronized swimming routines to raise awareness of stigmas around menstruation, and to construct a new wave of period positivity. The commitment and friendship between the performers are what binds this documentary at its core – advocating, dancing and bleeding together through it all!
What is it that drives you as a filmmaker?
I think what drives me as a filmmaker [changes] and surprises me every day. There seems to always be certain themes I lean towards. Stories of women, growing up, sexuality and gender. But the more I continue to create, the more I find that inspiration expands to crazy lengths. If you had said a year ago I was going to be driven and inspired by thirty women mimicking the period cycle in a local swimming pool, I wouldn’t have believed you.
What does it mean to you and your work being selected for a festival like BBFF2018?
The Byron Bay Film Festival has always been at the top of my list for selections. So many of my peers I look up to started their filmmaking journeys by being a part of this festival. BBFF is such a great platform and voice for emerging talent yet, mixed with a great line of filmmakers who have been a part of the Australian film world for years. It’s truly a pleasure to be a part of it all.
Byron Bay Film Festival seeks to showcases an array of entertaining, inspiring and thought-provoking films. Do you feel that your film helps people ‘open their aperture’?
I think The Clams offers a type of perspective that no one really talks about or even knew was out there. It stands for a message of opening our aperture to the way our bodies work and celebrating the ‘nitty gritty’ of our bodily functions in wondrous and fearless ways. Nothing opens up the mind quite like a group of women dancing in sync with giant tampons!
What’s next for you and the rest of the filmmaking team?
We are all currently graduating from our Bachelor of Film and Television at Swinburne University. So, a lot of our team are currently creating great works to hopefully be around in the festival seasons to come.
What advice would you give to other filmmakers?
Stories start everywhere. Even in an ordinary book club.
Abbie and crew have recently confirmed their attendance to the festival and are very excited to be sharing their documentary with their audiences.