Bumpy ride for pregnant actor

REFLECTION: Charlie (Dustin Clare) and Eve (Camille Keenan) attempt to discover if they can rebuild their relationship ...
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REFLECTION: Charlie (Dustin Clare) and Eve (Camille Keenan) attempt to discover if they can rebuild their relationship in the Christchurch-set movie Sunday.

Writing, filming and co-producing her first feature film while pregnant was not the experience first-time mother Camille Keenan was hoping for.

The Wellington actor and her partner, Dustin Clare, based in Sydney's Byron Bay, wrote, produced and starred in the film Sunday, released last weekend.

Clare pitched the idea about a separated couple raising a baby in post-earthquake Christchurch to an apprehensive Keenan when she became pregnant in 2011.

"I just wanted to have the baby," Keenan said. "I was already three months pregnant. I didn't see how we would write and shoot it before I had the baby.

"I was a bit apprehensive shooting in Christchurch during all the aftershocks, but the story drew me in and I got to work with Dustin again."

They contacted Melbourne-based New Zealand first-time director Michelle Joy Lloyd and her husband, the film's director of photography, who came on board as producers.

From there it was a race against time to write the script and start filming before the baby was born, Keenan said.

"We had a real deadline because of the baby. Instead of a year working on the script, we had six weeks."

The script was divided into scenes that were workshopped and written separately by Keenan, Clare and the director. Afterwards, Keenan combined the scenes to create "one voice".

"It wasn't a conventional way of writing a script. Then before I knew it, we were in Christchurch shooting. It was really the passion for it that got us through. We're really happy with it."

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Being able to contribute different skills to Sunday made the finished product even more rewarding, she said.

"It was a bit of a whirlwind and a lot of fun."

Keenan began acting at Onslow College and gained a theatre and film degree from Otago and Victoria universities.

She acted at Bats Theatre in Young and Hungry festivals, but struggled to find film jobs until she moved to Australia in 2009.

She met Clare on the set of Satisfaction that year and has since starred in police dramas Rush and City Homicide and short films.

Australian-born Clare has acted in The Eye of the Storm, Goddess, Love is Now and the television series Spartacus and McLeod's Daughters.

The couple's main priority is raising their 2-year-old son Darcy - the famous baby bump in Sunday.

Keenan said she hoped to develop her writing skills.

"It's something I'd really like to do. It's important to have more female writers and directors. We shouldn't just leave it up to men to tell the stories because women make up half the population.

"It's something Michelle and I feel passionate about."

Sunday, Nga Taonga Sound & Vision, 84 Taranaki St: December 11, 7pm, with Q&A. Also December 12, 13, 17, 18 and 20, 7pm, December 13 and 20 at 4.30pm. Tickets: $8 and $10.

 - The Wellingtonian

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