I grew up not seeing a coming-of-age film told in an Australian voice. We could look to Britain or America, or anywhere else in the world, but were left lacking a film that reflected our experience of reaching adulthood in this hilarious, beautiful and bizarre country. We had Muriel’s Wedding and the relatable banality of Porpoise Spit, or Josie Alibrandi’s adventures in ‘90s Sydney, but that was about it.

So Suburban Wildlife is a coming-of-age film set in an Australia that I recognise. The suburbia of hot tarmac, brick houses, and messages scribbled on footpaths. Spending sweaty summers at public pools, joyriding at night through empty streets, and dreaming of being anywhere else. The feeling of living on the largest nation island, somewhere that feels so far away from the rest of the world. The feeling of being lost and young and scared. Sunburn and stretchmarks and peeling skin and bruised knees.

This film is about seeing real bodies on screen and a cast that reflect the multiculturalism of Australia, as well exploring different sexual relationships, and characters wrestling with depression, anxiety and identity. It is a film about the joys and absurdities of life.

Movement is key to the film. Influenced by directors like Kelly Reichardt and Andrea Arnold, the handheld style aims to capture the frenetic energy and anticipation of youth. Quivering frames, whip pansand smooth car rides. The colour is bold and bright, capturing the heat and texture of Australian summers.

An inability to communicate is central to all the characters in this film. That feels true to me. Will they stay friends after it ends? I don’t think so. And that’s okay.

We wanted our first feature to speak loud and be bold. To capture the light in the country, its humour and spirit. This film is about the complexity of simultaneously being young and growing older: reaching a cross roads you weren’t prepared to meet. It’s all part of growing up, of becoming more than just Suburban Wildlife.