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Q&A with actor Miranda Tapsell

Darwin actor Miranda Tapsell features in this year's Darwin International Film Festival (DIFF) program, gracing the Deckie screen where she spent many a night watching films under the stars with her parents and friends. We caught up with Miranda to chat about Words with Gods, racial diversity on the telly and stuffed chicken wings.

The film Words with Gods features in this year’s DIFF program and was created in a pretty unconventional way – can you tell us a little about what that experience was like? 
So just to explain, it was an idea from well-known Mexican filmmaker Guillermo Arriaga, where he approached a whole bunch of filmmakers from around the world to see what their respective countries thought about faith. They then made short films that were put together to make this feature length film.

Can you tell us a little about your  role in the film? 
I played a young pregnant woman in the desert – it was a really beautiful thing! As you might know I’m no stranger to playing a pregnant lady [Love Child] but I find I always get emotional when I hold babies. I don’t like to use the word “clucky”, but think it's more of an overwhelming feeling at holding a new life. People will have their own interpretations of her experience, but my take was that she’d felt a bit let down by western society and returned to the desert to have her baby. It was like she was reconnecting with her ancestors and found solitude in the bush. 

Last year you won two gongs at the Logies and used your acceptance speech as an opportunity to shine a light on the lack of racial diversity on TV. Do you think anything has changed in the last year? 
Well, speaking from my experience, I’ve been involved with some pretty culturally diverse projects in the last year. A few examples include Playschool, a new program called Newton’s Law and Cleverman. When they asked me to be on Cleverman I was like “YES!” and played the role of a young Aboriginal woman who didn’t put up with being sexually harassed on the bus. I love that Cleverman has Aboriginal writers and a mostly Aboriginal cast – it’s like they’re at the helm telling stories that involve Ab-original people – it’s really exciting! I hope it doesn't stop there. I hope we keep on track!

The nature of your work has meant you’ve had to leave the NT – what do you miss about home? 
I really miss my Mum’s side of the family and my rellies. I’m an only child so I was very close to my cousins growing up. Some of them have their own children now so it’s hard to be missing out on that. And, of course, I really miss Mum and Dad. It wasn’t easy leaving – there’s so much that’s special about home. I miss the laid-back lifestyle I grew up with and definitely Parap Market food! My favourite things to get when I come home are the stuffed chicken wings or I’ll pick up a chicken noodle soup from Happy Garden. I can’t touch South East Asian food in Sydney –  it’s just not the same!

What advice would you offer people with big dreams? 
The message I really want to get across to Darwin’s young people is, if you really enjoy doing something and your hometown doesn’t have the capacity for you to pursue it, make the sacrifice and chase your dreams. Darwin will always be there – If you’ve got a dream, get out there and grab it!

Words with Gods | Thu 15 Sep | 7.15pm | Deckchair Cinema |

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