Interview with Caroline Layt

Updated: Mar 17

It is a film that explores Queensland with a particular local focus at the Sunshine Coast's Rainbow Beach, where Team Rainbow's inclusive painting of the Rainbow Stairs was hijacked by another group graffiti-ing their own message "How Good Is Living" on those same stairs.

The occurrences over a period of 18-24 months is explored in this documentary, through a series of interviews and a timeline of events.

It is the director's first attempt at producing/directing a documentary and she felt this story needed to be told, as she feels there’s still much to be done before inclusion of LGBTIQ people and other minority groups extends universally to regional areas in Australia.

Caroline is an alumna of Macleay College, graduating with her Bachelor of Journalism in 2018.

She’s a trans woman who currently writes as a freelance journalist, including having recent articles published by Pink Advocate.

She’s also a former fitness instructor and is a Trans Athlete; former representative women's rugby player, a medalist at World Masters Athletics Championship level, she also plays women's grade cricket and recently took up lawn bowls.

Talk to us about your love for movies. The movies that still inspire you and directors you would like to emulate.

There’s so many, where do I start? Shawshank Redemption and the Green Mile by Frank Darabont, then you have Stephen Spielberg, George Lucas, Ron Howard, Clint Eastwood, Peter Jackson and their very successful assortment of films.

I love JJ Abrams work as in my eyes he redefined movie making with the way he tells those stories through his movies.

I recently watched Clueless again with my mother and it was directed by Amy Heckerling and we both loved it.

They’re all fantastically talented directors and they all inspire me along with many others I haven’t named, but also from a documentary perspective it’s interesting as Dr Darryl Gauld OAM who was an interviewee talent in my documentary, “Is this Queensland in the 20s?” called me and excitedly said after watching one of Michael Moore’s documentaries that I make film’s similar to his, which I took as a huge compliment.

But, yes I have attempted to base my work similar to Moore’s, as I like the way he goes about his work and how he asks the hard questions.

Recent works I’ve really enjoyed are 1917 directed by Sam Mendes and Most Promising Woman directed by Emerald Fennell.

As for LGBTQIA films I recently loved Netflix’s Disclosure directed by Sam Feder and Holding the Man directed by Neil Armfield.

It would be a cliché but I would still go ahead and ask you. Could you discuss the trajectory of love in its various dimensions?

Human love and emotions can be many things, but I’d have to say the most powerful love is unconditional love, where a person is loved regardless of their station in life or if people don’t quite understand them or what they're about, yet they love them anyway.

This can be seen in family settings all across our wonderful world.

A personal example: I’m a Trans Woman and my parents don’t always understand the reasons why I’m Trans, but over time they’ve realised I’m still the same person after I transitioned and they still love me regardless.

Also, love isn’t a final destination and is a series of stops along the way. Our emotions change as we go along in life and what fits today might not fit in the future and this can be quite true, especially in regards to romantic love.

Still, there are many happily married couples - heterosexual and LGBTQIA - in the world and they survive the many trials and tribulations the world has to offer and they stay strong and united and this shows unconditional love can conquer all if people open their hearts and accept that none of us are perfect human beings.

What is the significance of Rainbow Beach? Why do you think it has turned into a tourist attraction?

Rainbow Beach is the town and gateway closest to Queensland’s beautiful island and holiday playground; the heritage listed Fraser Island.

It has some significance on that score alone, but it also has many of its own beautiful features due to the Carlo sand blow and its rainbow coloured sands, hence the name Rainbow Beach. It also has beautiful scenery all around it.

As Phill Horne (another interviewee in ITQIN20s?) said in my documentary, “The Rainbow Stairs has added light and colour to the township and what was once bare concrete is now attracting tourists to it.”

So the stairs are an added tourism attraction through their being painted rainbow colours and many tourists do indeed go and have their photos taken on the stairs.

Why do you think this documentary is important today? How important would this documentary be tomorrow? What would it retain, you believe?