Culture //

Just Say Go

Caitlin Still got drunk with Andrew Morgan and talked about his film, Yes No Yes Yes Go.

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He’s called the film Yes No Yes Yes Yes Go. “There’s a reason for the title,” says Andrew Morgan, the man behind Prorevolution Films. “All day, everybody has this pushback thing,” he explains animatedly, describing the moment of inhibition that precedes action. “Like when you see someone you want to talk to… you even say it to yourself most of the time, you’re like ‘yes, no, yes, no,’ and then you just go.” For the emerging filmmaker, it sums up any social situation. There are, however, some situations where reality is heightened, where people become exaggerated versions of themselves.

“Everyone’s been to a music festival,” reads the film’s new website. “We wanted to capture what it’s like to be there.” In this new, independent Australian feature, Morgan has done just that. Describing the film as “part video art, part documentary, part fantasy,” the 26-year-old filmmaker defies the conventions of today’s film industry. From a simple premise, Morgan has created something entirely new, following a group of Australian twenty-somethings through a day at a popular music festival. Through a pill-fuelled odyssey of dance music, short shorts, booze, drugs, and one-upmanship, Morgan aims to present a true-to-life depiction of one of the stranger aspects of Australian youth culture.

Combining choppy editing, sped-up, slowed-down, glitched up and reversed footage, and heavy use of colourisation, Morgan’s film creates an effect that is at once destabilising and hyperreal. One immediately feels present and involved. Although the film’s main characters are played by actors among ordinary festival-goers, the film is entirely unscripted. Much of the action relies on voiced-over internal monologue, allowing the audience to access both the internal and external aspects of the overall experience.

“Nobody else is doing this,” Morgan says of his own approach to filmmaking. He points out that authentic depictions of youth in film and television, especially of people in their twenties, is ostensibly lacking. While acknowledging that this has been attempted with Skins in the UK and, more recently, GIRLS in the US, he points out that this has not yet been done in Australia, and hopes to be a forerunner for a new school of young filmmakers capturing a true-to-life perspective on our generation.

It’s an exciting time for emerging artists worldwide. While a young filmmaker like Morgan might once have had to rely on funding from Screen Australia to make a feature like Yes No Yes Yes Go, which would inevitably entail compromising creative autonomy, social media and crowdfunding platforms have changed the game for independent filmmakers and shifted a great deal of power into the hands of the emerging artist.

While the use of a flexible funding campaign will allow Morgan to recoup some of the costs and time that went into making the film, Morgan is committed first and foremost to getting his film seen. He says that social media has allowed him to build his own sustainable audience on his own terms, creating his own destiny as an artist “in every single way.” Being in his formative years as a filmmaker, he acknowledges that while his work may not yet be perfect, he hopes to keep expanding his audience and arouse curiosity as to what will come next from the imagination of the idiosyncratic auteur. “Maybe they’ll only pay one dollar this time,” he says, “but maybe next time it might be three, then five the next time.”

Despite his obvious talent and ingenuity, Morgan remains humble, yet quietly confident about what he has achieved so far. “You just have to… not have an ego about it… I achieved something, it was a bit of a fluke, and people are like, wow, you can really make movies like this? And people will support it. Everybody was telling me it was the stupidest idea and that it was going to fail.”

When asked about the statement he aims to make about Australian festival culture, Morgan is adamant in maintaining a non-judgmental perspective. “I don’t have to do anything but capture it, and show people that it exists.” Making reference to news coverage of recent festivals, he expresses amusement at headlines such as “20 people caught with drugs.”

“It was probably more like 20 000 people on drugs,” he laughs. “Adults have no idea what’s actually going on… it’s like how your brothers and sisters never tell you what stuff’s like, who their friends are, what’s happening, if they’ve been drinking… I just wanted to show people what’s inside.”

To watch the trailer for Yes No Yes Yes Go, or to download the film for $1, go to www.yesnoyesyesgo.com or like the page on Facebook.