Aftershock, Directed by Gareth Wilkes (Australia) - While closing up alone one night at the diner where she works, single mother and student Kate is brutally raped by Paul, a regular customer who mistakes friendly service for a personal connection. When an earthquake traps the two together overnight, their survival becomes dependent and entwined, with the balance of power constantly shifting until only one survives. My initial interest in both writing and directing this story is that I wanted to explore themes of vulnerability and power, with the power between the characters shifting repeatedly. Having grown up in an underprivileged family, I witnessed oppressive and violent male figures and the women who survive beneath them. This developed a passion for stories exploring power, survival and strength. Script development involved working closely with Lisa to develop ideas to attain believability of the story and ensure the characterization reflected what our research told us about the psychology behind the characters. After we spent considerable time with rape counsellors and educators who dissected the script with us, we felt we were in a really honest place. Given the film is a two-hander, I focused equally on both performers, ensuring a 3-dimensional story was realised. It was always my intention to cast talented actors who could portray the complexities, understanding that our moral compass can shift when under pressure. My film career to date has provided me with solid art department experience and it was naturally something I wanted to bring to Aftershock. With regard to production and costume design, I chose a 1950's look, uniform and singular location to situate Kate in a place of submission with limited choice.