So my lovely AirBnB host suggested a few shrines and temples I should visit, so somehow I decided to visit them all in one day. Not so crazy considering there were only three, but they were pretty far apart, and given my tendency when travelling to start walking and just keep walking, by the end of the day my feet hated me. But it was worth it.

First of all, I visited Yasaka, a huge Shinto shrine complex, with many different buildings with numerous purposes, and small shrines to different Kami.


Persimmons are one of the Japanese symbols of Autumn, along with chestnuts and sweet potato. I can see why because these beautiful looking fruits are everywhere!





Next was a Buddhist temple; Kodai-ji. This one was a bit more of a tourist spot it seemed, and there was a very strict route around the grounds that the staff wearily directed us along. I felt like a bit of a burden, but still, the autumn colour was lovely.




My host’s favourite was the Zen shrine, Kennin-ji, which I visited last, and I have to agree with her, it was my favourite too. It had a beautiful atmosphere, and long covered corridors where red-slippered visitors wandered peacefully, making the old wooden floorboards creak. The rails and steps were worn smooth with much wandering and sitting.




One of the most amazing things was this incredible painting on the ceiling of the largest building. It is actually on thick paper, painted with ink by Koizumi Jinsako, and it’s roughly 11.5 meters long and 16 meters wide! It’s pretty awe-inspiring.



On the trek home, spotted this extra tiny shrine by a street corner. Nice. :)



– Emily






So as one does when travelling, I decided on a whim to stay on the train late one afternoon and visit Nijo castle, as it was on the same subway route. I got there around 3:30 in the afternoon, which allowed an hour and a half before closing time to wander around and take in the gardens.






I noticed a whole lot of people running about in big red raincoats, and worked out that there was an art event on in the evening, after closing time, so I got in line and bought a ticket. The installation was called “Art Aquarium Castle” by the artist Hidetomo Kimura. It was all these really interesting glass sculptures filled with water and koi fish. He’s been making similar installations all over the world. There’s a website here if you want to see more about it. Definitely worth it, the atmosphere was so magical. There was some really good music playing and a beautiful vanilla-incense kind of smell.









Such a good way to see the castle!

– Emily


So just a little update from today. I had a great day of interview shooting with Scott, and afterwards I decided to stay on the train to Kyoto station and do some evening shopping! (Because in Japan shops always stay open late!)
I found this gem of a store; full of traditional Kyoto sweets. My immediate thought was “Christmas presents!!”


I bought a selection of pretty looking things, with no idea what any of them tasted like.


Seeing as tonight is editing, I suppose I really have no choice but to eat them. You know, for research! Can’t go giving my dear friends and relatives bad gifts, can I?


– Emily


Hullo again from Japan! I thought I’d share a few pictures from my first day of exploring.

This is the area where I’m staying.


On my first full day (Wednesday) I decided to catch the subway into the main city area. The subway was surprisingly easy to navigate! I got off here, on the hunt for something in particular…


It was a cat cafe!! If you aren’t already aware, Japan has a number of these amazing things. It’s basically a room full of cats and cat things where you can have tea and coffee and play with cats. Pretty much the best.


This one, Moka, has bad allergies so she has to wear clothes all the time.


After I managed to tear myself away from the cats, I wandered down an interesting looking street and found an amazing network of alleys and arcades. This shop was particularly incredible. It was paper goods and art supplies. There was an entire wall of brushes!


And all the cards, envelopes, papers, notebooks you could ever possibly want.


There was also a lot of shrines which had their gates right in the arcades.


After more wandering I found the river. A man was flying this beautiful kite in the evening light.


I also saw this fantastic specimen. Maybe it’s from watching too much anime, but I always associate this kind of wire pole mess with Japan.


More adventures soon!

– Em


So! For my first post in ages: I’m in Japan! I’m here to make a short documentary film about Scott Groom, an SA scientist who is based in Kyoto studying bees. I’ll be here for 10 days, thought I’d try to bring you along for the ride. Apologies for the low quality phone photos, I just haven’t felt like being the huge-camera-tourist yet.

Ok so this entry is about travelling. Let’s start with an obligatory plane photo:


Followed by an obligatory Singapore airport koi pond photo. (Really big koi!!)


I had a stopover of about 9 hours in Singapore, so I pottered about a lot, had some delicious dinner:


And a really good massage (but it resulted in a serious case of “massage-chair-face”)


This is my first glimpse of Japan, flying in to Tokyo airport!


Was pretty wiped by the time I got to Tokyo and had another 8 hours to kill. Spent a lot of it napping on chairs. Had a good comfort meal of chicken soup, rice and iced chai.


Eventually it was time to fly to Osaka. This is Osaka airport, where I was picked up by a shuttle bus and delivered another two hours away at my AirBnB host’s home!


This is my comfy room! Complete with sliding doors and tatami mats and futon!


I’ll post more adventures soon!

– Emily



In a crumbling church on the main tourist drag of Vilnius, Lithuania, a deaf man lives alone, battling with time in his efforts to keep the building standing long enough to uncover the story of it’s life, and the story of his family.


Working Title: Vytautas

Directed by: Mahalah Ebony O’Malley

(In Production)

Type: Short Documentary / Installation



From the Director:

7 months ago I went to Lithuania for 2 weeks alone to chase some family history close to my heart, continue my attempts to a very challenging language and make some sort of documentary from whatever I discovered or was inspired by on the trip. I never expected the story I found though and have been so indescribably moved by it, that it has driven me to make this my passion project.

I came across an architecturally striking seventeenth century church run by a kind hearted deaf ex-army general who has silently spent the last decade odd of his solitary life fixing up this building single handedly. What at first appears to be a gloomy, low ceiling church, sectioned off from the public actually houses a centuries old neglected theatre upstairs that Vytautas has been trying to restore with no funding or assistance of any sort. Beneath the building in tunnels he has excavated himself, lie two dozen skeletons, four of whom are members of Vytautas’ own family, murdered during the Soviet occupation. Vytautas sleeps in a cot under the stairs surrounded by books and his research on the church and it’s war torn history. By day he makes candles and runs the small side wing of the church which is the only portion that remains open to the public, and in his own time he fixes this building, memorising every brick, clambering over every inch on his handmade ladders and peeling back paint to reveal colourful artworks in the theatre ceiling.

I spent three days with this man. Communicating was at once complex and primal. Our knowledge of one another’s written language was limited so much was occasional emotive sounds, expression and gestures.


This past month, I have met with an editor by the name of Emily McAllan, who now feels more like my partner on this project. Aside from producing a short “festival cut” of the documentary, we are now in development on what will be more of an installation experience to help an audience grasp the layers of this story in a more intimate way through projections, spaces, objects and bone conducted sound that even those who are hearing impaired can experience. It is my hope that we can put the audience in my shoes exploring this overwhelming space and this man’s story.

– Mahalah Ebony O’Malley








Title: Zach

Type: Short Film

Role: D.O.P.

Client: Headspace, in partnership with MRC

Screening: 6 pm, Wednesday March 4, 2015, Mercury Cinema, 13 Morphett St, Adelaide SA

Tickets: Through FringeTIX, www.adelaidefringe.com.au/fringetix

All tickets $15.00
TREv members $10.00
Companion Card holders FREE

More about the making of this film at http://www.headspace.org.au/headspace-centres/headspace-noarlunga/news-and-events/inside-your-headspace-a-film-project




Title: Amygdala

Type: Game

Role: Artist

Amygdala is the first release from MachineSpirit, a small indie game development company comprised of Ashton McAllan (Director/Code) Sam Morris (Code) and Emily McAllan (Art)

Amygdala is an action platformer that uses dynamically generated levels and a range of wildly different enemies to create a challenging living world to explore.


His body stolen by an angry wizard, an ordinary man must venture into a surreal and magical world. Facing off against a menagerie of foes and a gruelling array of obstacles with his surprising mobility and new-found psychic powers he discovers something important about himself and about god-damned wizards.







To find out more or get yourself a copy of the game, go to amygdala.machinespirit.net!


Title: Á hvaða tungumáli dreymir þig? (What language do you dream in?)

Type: Experimental/Performative Documentary

Role: Director/Camera/Editor

Running Time: 21 mins 31 seconds

Screened at: The Weight of Mountains Film Festival Skagastrond, 2014, The Weight of Mountains Film Festival Sauðárkrókur, 2014, The Weight of Mountains Film Festival Reykjavik, 2014

Synopsis: Emily, a young Australian filmmaker travels to remote northern Iceland to experience the visceral purity of a harsh winter. Her hunt for a reconnection with nature and her own childhood identity leads her to candid discussions with other filmmakers, local residents and at least one soothsayer. Told through the filmmaker’s eyes, this film explores the concept of humanity’s relationship to place and landscape.

From the filmmaker: “I spent three months in a small fishing town on the north coast of Iceland, during their Winter, 2013-2014. This project was part of a filmmaking residency called The Weight Of Mountains, hosted by Nes Artists Residency, Skagastrond. There were 9 other filmmakers taking part and each of us produced a short film on the theme of “the relationship between landscape and humanity.” The finished piece is part documentary, part dreamscape. It is a record of my time in this magical place, and the inner landscapes I traversed while being buffeted by the Icelandic winter. My heartfelt thanks to all who donated to my crowd-funding campaign, and to Carclew Youth Arts for their generous support. Without you I couldn’t have made this journey at all.”

“[The film] expresses the reality of everyday life among the wonders of the awe-inducing Icelandic environment, which is beautifully described as a life where you dream more than you sleep.” – Ben Smick, Reykjavik Grapevine.


Title: Songs From The Deep End

Type: Documentary

Running Time: 53 minutes


What is it that keeps you from chasing your wildest dreams?

Songs From The Deep End is a documentary which follows 13 weeks in the life of Julia Henning, a young South Australian singer/songwriter, as she and her new band prepare for the gig of a lifetime. On September 10th 2012 they make their debut at the Sydney Opera House, one of the most famous performing arts centres in the world. They have just 3 months to write and prepare a whole new set, worthy of this iconic Australian venue. The preparation proves to be an emotional ride, and a poignant reminder of the ups and downs of being a self-employed creative. This is a film about pushing your limits and striving for what you desire, despite the obstacles.

A film by Emily McAllan

Produced by Imagenel in association with Blackwoolholiday Films

For all enquiries, email info@songsfromthedeepend.com