Review Fix chats with ”This Perfect Day” director Lydia Rui, who lets us know what inspired the film and how special it was for her to be a part of this year’s Tribeca Film Festival.
Review Fix: Where were you when you heard the news that your film has been selected to screen at Tribeca?
Lydia Rui: I was half-asleep in bed at 6 or 7am in Melbourne, Australia, and saw an email from Ben Thompson and Sharon Badal, the head Tribeca Shorts Programmers, asking if my film still had World Premiere status available. I recall thinking I was still dreaming, but promising myself that if this was real, I would invest in myself more seriously as a filmmaker (I had made the film more as an exercise, it being the second film I’ve ever made). A few hours later, Ben called from New York — it would’ve been nightfall for him, on a wintry day, whilst it was a summer Melbourne morning for me. This was just days before Christmas — without a doubt the best Christmas present I’d ever received. I told Ben he was my Santa!
Review Fix: Following up from the last question, how do you feel about your film screening at Tribeca?
Rui: It’s been an amazing experience unlike any other. Granted there are not many festivals I’ve been to to compare with, but there is a certain intensity with the festival also being held in New York. The pace is relentless in the best way possible, if you choose it to be. Tribeca Film Festival really look after their filmmakers, and run a very well-orchestrated system that facilitate incredible connections. I’ve loved meeting the other filmmakers here and when possible, watching other great films. When I first saw our premiere in the ‘Express Yourself’ shorts program, I was so impressed by the other films in our block. It’s an honour to be in such great company!
Review Fix: Was it difficult to direct this film?
Rui: No, it was the best feeling. I loved every moment of it.
Review Fix: What was the feeling like on set?
Rui: Calm, nurturing, respectful, like we were all making the same thing. It’s important for sets to have a familial warmth especially as everybody is generously giving of their time to make this.
Review Fix: What stands out the most about your cast?
Rui: As we only had one day to shoot the store scenes, which is 90% of the the film, both Michelle Keating and Lee Mason had to flex real emotional agility where scenes were so chop and change. Hannah Koch, despite playing a minor role, treated the character with respect and still came to rehearsals where we built a relationship history between her and Michelle Keating’s character. I’m impressed by all of their abilities to listen, to approach acting as a true craft, by their stamina and commitment.
Review Fix: Who will enjoy it the most?
Rui: Those who like coming-of-age films, personal films, character-driven films, quiet and tense dramas. Filmmakers who particularly inspired me in this film are Debra Granik and Andrea Arnold. I also love Agnes Varda’s Vagabond.
Review Fix: Why is the subject matter of this film important?
Rui: It touches on universal themes through the lens of a singular, underrepresented voice. Many people have reached out to me after seeing the film and found it resonated with them.
Review Fix: Bottom Line: Why must someone see this film?
Rui: It’s a bite-sized, personal film with cathartic effects — without credits, it’s only 6 minutes, yet delivers emotional impact.
Review Fix: What’s next?
Rui: I’m working a feature expansion of this film which builds on the same themes explored in the short ‘This Perfect Day’.