Exit director Glendyn Ivin has just completed three years of directing the 7-hour drama, The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart, starring Sigourney Weaver, Leah Purcell, Asher Keddie, and Alycia Debnam-Carey. He is available once again for his other love, directing commercials.
Ivin was in post-production for his second feature film, Penguin Bloom, when the opportunity to make The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart came to him.
He recalls: “Jodi Matterson, one of the producers of Penguin, sent me Episode 1 of Lost Flowers. She just said, ‘Read this I think you will like it…’ The first page of the script was so vivid and alive, it felt like it was written specifically for me. From that first page, I knew I was going to make the series.”
The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart premieres on August 4 and will screen through Amazon Prime in 240 countries and territories.
Lost Flowers was by far the most challenging project Ivin has conquered according to Ivin, not least because of its size. It was seven hours long.
Says Ivin: “It’s near impossible to keep that much story in your head. This show is huge in scale and the story and characters so complex and layered. But fortunately, I had incredible support from my amazing cast and crew to help me along the way. We all helped to keep each other heading in the right direction. You need like minds as well minds that challenge and question what you are doing and how you are doing it. My DOP, Sam Chiplin, and I work very closely together. We create a manifesto for each project that we stick to. It helps us make decisions under pressure.
“The shoot itself was 108 days and one of the difficult things about long shoots like this is being able to care as much on day 100 as you did on day 1. But somehow you get through it, one day at time.”
Says Sigourney Weaver: “Glendyn and Sam can almost read each other’s Minds. I’ve never seen anything quite like this on television – this is so beautiful and powerful. I think it’s great that we had these two guys who love working together, and in fact all the crew, everyone was so ‘there ’and such a pleasure to work with.”
Returning to commercials is a joy for Ivin: “I really love making commercials. I have always made time for them in between drama projects. I kind of learned to be a film director through making commercials. They helped make me a better storyteller. You quickly learn what is essential and I gained so much on set experience and craft from constantly shooting commercials.
“Melbourne Tourism Lose Yourself, with the woman walking around Melbourne with a giant ball of wool, was an incredible experience. I learned so much on that project and it was a bit of a turning point in my career. Similar was the work I did for Qantas, part of its Feels Like Home series. These were very special films. I love how we cast real people and the stories portrayed were essentially true and based on the cast’s own stories.”
Since completing Lost Flowers Ivin has completed campaigns for Spec Savers, Optus and the TAC.
Between making memorable commercials, he has directed feature films, most recently Penguin Bloom starring Naomi Watts and for television, Puberty Blues, The Beautiful Lie starring Sarah Snook, The Seven Types of Ambiguity starring Hugo Weaving, Safe Harbour for SBS and the BBC1 drama mini-series, The Cry. He has won a Palme D’Or, and multiple AACTA awards for Best Direction in Television and been named in the Sydney Morning Herald’s list of Australian Television’s Most Powerful and Influential.
Also important to him is his relationship with Exit: “I have been with Exit for over twenty years now. They are my creative family that have always supported and encouraged me to do the work I want to do. Whether that be commercials or long form. I’ve always been inspired by the directors on our roster. Exit will always hold a special place in my heart. They made me the filmmaker I am today.”
Says Leah Churchill-Brown, executive producer, Exit: ““He has such a creative soul. He treats each project with fresh eyes. But always with sensitivity and truthfulness.”