Albany provides intimate setting for Adam Morris’ ‘Edward and Isabella’

Daniel Barwick and Chloe Hurst in 'Edward and Isabella'.

For Western Australian author Adam Morris, screenwriting may carry some advantages over penning a novel but making a film is far from an easy ride.

The Albany-based writer can now add director and producer to his titles after wrapping production on debut feature Edward and Isabella in August.

Morris, who has published books My Dog Gave Me the Clap and Bird, said while there was less pressure than what he was used to in the writing process, the project as a whole was the “most stressful thing” he’s ever done.

“Writing the screenplay was a lot of fun and casting was a lot of fun but we were living all together in my house while also filming there,” he told IF.

“We’d shoot and I’d be doing the catering some days as well, so I’d cook after we’d finished.

“There were cameras and boom stands set up across the house and some of the relationship scenes are quite intense, so everyone was a bit wired, emotional, and raw.”

Daniel Barwick being directed by Adam Morris.

Shot across 18 days at the end of last year, Edward and Isabella stars Chloe Hurst (I Feel Pretty) and Daniel Barwick as a successful Perth couple who go on holiday in the country to determine the fate of their relationship.

The cast is rounded out by Renato Fabretti, with editing by Talarah Pedrocchi Roelofs and the score composed by Jonathon Jie Hong Yang.

Morris began writing the screenplay while travelling between Germany and Poland at the beginning of 2020.

With a budget of $15,000, he said the self-financed project was always intended as an exploration of one-on-one interaction.

“I wasn’t able to write a giant film with a big cast and I don’t like being around lots and lots of people so I had to make it really small,” he said.

“So it was going to be a relationship film – there might have been a father and son or two sisters but I picked the romantic relationship for the intimate setting.

“We’re not filming car chases or anything like that so it was mainly about getting good performances out of the actors, and they were brilliant.”

Edward and Isabella is the latest film to utilise the natural landscape of WA’s Great Southern region, which has also housed production on Simon Baker’s Breath, John Sheedy’s H is for Happiness, and Jeremy Sims’ Rams.

Part of the film was shot at Bluff Knoll.

Scenes were shot on location in Albany, as well as at wineries in the Porongurup region and on Bluff Knoll, which is the highest peak of the Stirling Range.

Morris said while he tried not to include too much “scenery porn”, the region stood out as a setting.

“It’s moody and broody with a west coast of Ireland vibe, so it’s very cinematic,” he said.

“Places like Albany have a European feel to it that’s missing in WA – it’s just very unique and unusual.

“We filmed a scene out at the Porongurups which is almost a space landscape.

“Both the Porongurups and the Stirling Range are peculiar in terms of flora and landscape.”

WA audiences may get their first look at the film next March as part of the WA Made Festival, with Morris in the process of trying to secure a wider release.

The author is also preparing to put out his third novel, Winter of One Fire, next year, while also continuing to contribute to podcast Talking Wild Madness.

Despite the challenges, he is keen to build his filmmaking portfolio.

“I just want to put this one to bed first and then I’d love to get in and make another one,” he said.