Kieran Darcy-Smith is living the dream.

After a lot of hard yards and credit card debt the actor/writer/producer is looking forward to the release of his first feature film Wish You Were Here in 2012. The film, which he directed and co-wrote with wife, actress Felicity Price, stars Joel Edgerton and Teresa Palmer.

 “It’s like all the ducks have lined up. Fifteen years of working away has amounted to quite a lot now,” the actor and filmmaker tells IF.

He has made several short films, beginning with Loaded in 1996, appeared in television programs such as All Saints, and won the 2008 IF Best Unproduced Screenplay Award for Memorial Day. He is also a founding member of film collective Blue Tongue Films (which found recent success with Animal Kingdom).

Wish You Were Here tells the story of four young people on holiday in South-East Asia and what happens when only three of them return. The film was shot on location in Cambodia and didn't get off to the best start when Darcy-Smith fell into a sewer on the first day.

“I was walking across what I thought was a rubbish dump on a location scout and I went straight through and it turned out to be about three feet of rubbish, but after that three feet layer there was nothing but liquid, pure raw sewage. And I fell straight though and it was just that I happened to grab onto this stick that was fortunately there that saved me from going head under.”

However, despite starting off on the wrong foot, as well as issues with illness and relocating his young family to a new country, the director speaks fondly of the experience.

“The Cambodian stuff is pretty amazing and the cast we dug up and the Cambodian people, everyone we worked with was great – it was such a great experience.”

Darcy-Smith has not been resting on his laurels since the film wrapped.

Along with writing and directing jobs, he has been kept busy in his capacity as curator and producer of the Homebake Festival’s short film program.

This year marks the program’s tenth anniversary, one that's being celebrated with the ‘Classic Edition’ theme, which includes several classic short films  – “guaranteed crowd pleasers,” Darcy-Smith says  – “ones that I’ve seen over many years either at our event or at other festivals.”

The films include previous Tropfest winners Buried (2003) and Marry Me (2008).

Darcy-Smith first became involved with Homebake in 2001 thanks to festival promoter Joe Cegreto whom he met through the music industry. At the time, Homebake was still a music festival; this year it adds a comedy program, including performances from Wil Anderson and Genevieve Fricker.

“The industry we work in is very much closed and it’s hard to get a leg up and what Homebake provides is massive audiences who are just pouring through,” he says, going on to describe how far the program has come in its ten years.

“We’ve moved it – I think it spent four or five years in a big canvas tent – it moved to the Pavilion… We’ve got really state of the art gear and three screens, there’s live music acts in between session.”

The Homebake Festival, which features a comedy programme for the first time, will be held on December 3 in The Domain. Tickets are available from the festival’s official site.

Kieran Darcy-Smith.

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