Search
3D 5th Wave 70s Culture 80s Cinema A Night of Horror AAustralian film Action Activism Adaptation Adelaide Film Festival Adventure Advocacy African American Age of Adaline AI albanian Alien Abduction alien covenant aliens alt-right altzheimers amazon Amitabh Bachchan Animation anime anthology Anti-vaxx Ari Gold Art Asia Pacific Screen Awards Asian Cinema Australian film AV Industry Bad Robot BDSM Beach Boys Berlinale BFG Bianca Biasi Big Hero 6 Biography Biopic Blade Runner Blake Lively B-Movies Bollywood Breast Cancer Brian Wilson Brisbane Bruce Willis Camille Keenan Cancer candyman Cannes cannibalism Cannon Films Cesars CGI Chapman To Character Actors Charlie Hunnam Charlize Theron Chemsex China Lion Chloe Grace Moretz Chris Hemsworth Chris Pratt Christchurch christian cinema christmas Christopher Nolan Classic Cinema Clint Eastwood Close Encounters Cloverfield Comedy Coming-of-Age Conor McGregor Conspiracy Controversy Crowd-sourced Cult Cure Dakota Johnson Dance Academy Dardennes Brothers darth vader Debut Deepika Padukone Depression Disaster Movies Disney Diversity Documentary doomsday Dr Moreau drama Dunkirk Dustin Clare Dystopic EL James eli roth Elizabeth Banks Entourage Environmental Epic Erotic Cinema Extra-terrestrial Extreme Sports faith-based Family Film Fantasy Father Daughter Feminism Fifty Shades of Grey Film Film Festival Foreign found footage French Cinema Friendship Fusion Technology Gareth Edwards Gay Cinema Ghostbusters Ghosts Golan Globus Gothic green inferno Guardians of the Galaxy Guillermo del Toro Gun Control Hacker Hailee Steinfeld Han Solo Happiness Harrison Ford Harry Dean Stanton Hasbro Haunted house Hhorror Himalaya Hitchcock Hollywood Holocaust Hong Kong horror Horror Film Housebound Hunger Games
Wednesday
Sep042013

LADIES FIRST: ANTENNA'S KIM LONGINOTTO RETROSPECTIVE

If women have no rights, if they are completely powerless, then they're the ones that you're going to want to make films about. If there was a place where men were being kicked around and women were locking them in cages, then you'd focus on [the men]." – Kim Longinotto, February 2010.

Arguably the most potent cinematic voice in the ongoing struggle for women’s rights, British documentarian Kim Longinotto (Pink Saris, 2010; Rough Aunties, 2008) has amassed an extraordinary body of work that has challenged gender bias and the social restraint of women the world over. The 2013 edition of Australia’s Antenna Documentary Festival will present a five film retrospective that broadly encapsulates the last 20 years of her groundbreaking projects.

SHINJUKU BOYS (UK, Japan; 1995)
In the New Marilyn Club, gender roles and their mainstream definitions do not apply. This Tokyo nightclub is the domain of the ‘Onnabes’ – women who dress as men to entertain a clientele of upmarket women. With co-director Jano Williams, Longinotto presents a wildly entertaining, deeply insightful take on female archetypes in modern Japan, exploring transvestitism, lesbianism, sexuality and romance with a candid and forthright lens.
Critics said…: “Shinjuku Boys gets just about everything right, providing a window into a world we might otherwise never have realised even existed, but through an approach that promotes genuine understanding and admiration for its subjects and their refusal to be hammered down by the conventions of society.” – Slarek, Cine Outsider

DIVORCE IRANIAN STYLE (UK, Iran; 1998)
With Iranian anthropologist Ziba Mir-Hosseini providing context at crucial points, Longinotto’s observational eye chronicles the personal bitterness and cultural constraints on display in Tehran’s divorce court. The vociferous pleas of women determined to be heard from beneath the veil of Islamic doctrine makes for a highly-charged, complex study of women battling history, law and society for individual freedom.  
Critics said…: "Divorce Iranian Style, which was runner-up for the audience award at this year's San Francisco International Film Festival, chafes with outrage over the sexism rampant in Iranian society… a document of vexing (and vexed) immediacy.” – Wesley Morris, San Francisco Chronicle.

GAEA GIRLS (UK, Japan; 2000)
Reteaming with her Shinjuku Boys collaborator, Longinotto displays a lightness of touch in telling the story of four rookie female wrestlers undergoing a gruelling training regime at the famous Gaea facility in rural Japan. Women’s pro-wrestling, or ‘joshi puroresu’, is a big-ticket item in the sports-mad big cities of modern Japan; the filmmakers capture the pressure of fulfilling one’s dream to be the pinnacle of a sport that, from day one of training camp, tolerates nothing less than perfection.
Critics said…: “The documentary's rawness—its handheld cameras, lack of snappy editing or music, and lengthy, realistically wandering scenes—conveys the rawness of the fighting itself, particularly its lack of form, grace, style, or mercy… emotionally wracking, exhausting, and real in ways that a more polished and packaged documentary couldn't [be]” – Tasha Robinson, The AV Club.

SISTERS IN LAW (UK, Cameroon; 2005)
One of Longinotto’s most lauded works (including the prestigious Peabody award and the CICAE honour at the Cannes Film Festival), this expansive study in personal determination and faith in the word of law follows two high-ranking women court officials in the southwest township of Kumba in Cameroon.  State Prosecutor Vera Ngassa and Court President Beatrice Ntuba are faced with the worst instances of abuse against women of all ages in their courtroom and have taken a stand against systemic patriarchal dominance.
Critics said…: A compelling study of a small-town lawyer's determination to challenge Cameroon's institutionalised chauvinism, which judiciously combines small triumphs with a daunting sense of the task that lies ahead.” – David Parkinson, Empire.

SALMA (UK, India; 2013)
In her most current work, Longinotto recounts the story of a Muslim child from a South Indian village who has only recently emerged from 25 years of being held against her will. In that time, Salma would sneak out poetic observations of her life to be distributed to her growing legion of supporters. Today, Salma is the most famous Tamil poet of her generation and an iconoclastic advocate for change in her home state. 
Critics said…: “Kim Longinotto's Salma feels like a dispatch from the social-justice front, a profile that in many way symbolizes the resistance of women to a developing world that hasn't caught up with developments in gender equality.” – John Anderson, Variety.

The Antenna Documentary Film Festival's Kim Longinotto Retrospective launches at the Chauvel Cinema on Friday October 4 then continues at the Art Gallery of New South Wales until Monday October 7. Further details and booking information can be found here.

Saturday
Aug242013

AMERICAN ANTI-HERO: MUFF'S LAWRENCE TIERNEY RETROSPECTIVE

The 2013 Melbourne Underground Film Festival (MUFF) will screen four films that define the career and persona of one of Hollywood’s most fearsome leading men, the late Lawrence Tierney (pictured, below; in 1987’s Tough Guys Don’t Dance). Many will only know him as Joe Cabot in Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs or for his one-off guest spot as Elaine's terrifying father, Alton in the sitcom 'Seinfeld', but it was his roles in America's dark, post-war noir cinema that would reflect the volatile, dangerous archetype he personified, both on- and off-screen. With the MUFF programme as our guide, SCREEN-SPACE examines the legacy of one of American cinema’s last great real-life hard men…

DILLINGER (1945)
The handsome Brooklyn native had quit college, worked a series of blue collar jobs and did some catalogue modelling before trying his hand at acting. Walk-ons in minor works such as Government Girl (1943), The Ghost Ship (1943) and Youth Runs Wild (1944) led to his career-defining part – the title role in Max Nosseck’s gritty biopic of the infamous lawbreaker, John Dillinger. Nominated for a Best Screenplay Oscar, the film was a box-office smash and delivered audiences an anti-hero shaded in dark greys and a leading man that refused to conform to the stereotypical middle-American heart-throb.
Incredible but true…: Dillinger had its Chicago premiere at the Biograph Theatre – the same theatre he was attending when gunned down by FBI agents on July 22,1934.  

 

THE DEVIL THUMBS A RIDE (1947)
As killer-on-the-run Steve Morgan, Tierney gives what many believe to be his greatest performance in a film that has risen above its status as one-half of a B-movie double bill. Bumming a ride when hapless drunk Jimmy Ferguson (Ted North) rolls up to stop-sign, then picking up two clueless gals before holing up in a beach house as the cops close in, Tierney is chillingly real as the titular evil force.
Incredible but true…: These years were dark ones for Lawrence Tierney, who saw the inside of a jail cell on no less than twelve occasion on drunk and disorderly charges, including several violent clashes with police officials.

 

BORN TO KILL (1947)
Director Robert Wise kicked off a remarkable series of film noir thrillers with Born to Kill and afforded Lawrence Tierney his darkest characterisation yet. As multiple-murderer Sam Wilde, the actor proved all too effective for some. The New York Times said the film was, “not only morally disgusting but an offense to a normal intellect.” The film’s backers, RKO, ultimately trimmed scenes of brutality and added dialogue that defined Tierney’s actions as those of someone criminally insane.
Incredible but true…: The dark nature of the roles that made him famous weighed heavily on Tierney. Later in his career, he reflected, “I never thought of myself as that kind of guy. I thought of myself as a nice guy who wouldn't do rotten things. I hated that character so much but I had to do it for the picture.”

THE HOODLUM (1951)
Reteaming with his friend and Dillinger director Max Nosseck, Tierney threw himself into a role that captured both the man and the actor in a violent downward spiral. Drawing comparisons to the silver-screen gangsters of yesteryear, Tierney proves a fierce, merciless on-screen presence as career criminal Vincent Lubeck, whose immoral actions in defiance of his family’s trust have profound and awful consequences.
Incredible but true…: Tierney’s younger brother, actor Scott Brady, was originally cast but was mired in legal issues with the production company Eagle Lion, opening the path for Lawrence to step in. Their other sibling, Edward Tierney, gave a career-best performance in the co-lead role of the exploited, troubled and ultimately doomed Johnny.

The Melbourne Underground Film Festival's season of Lawrence Tierney films will be introduced by the actor's nephew, Michael Tierney, and begin with a screening of Dillinger on Saturday, September 7. Tickets are available at the venue; further details of all MUFF events can be found here.

Thursday
Aug222013

SUFFOCATION: THE KATHERINE BERGER INTERVIEW

Sydney Underground Film Festival (SUFF) co-director Katherine Berger had just launched the 7th edition of the East Coast's most provocative film event when she spoke to SCREEN-SPACE. With the 2013 programme in every storefront along the Harbour City's ultra-arty inner-west district, Berger reveals just how difficult it is to stage a niche film event and how much it means to secure the latest works from such agent provocateurs as Paul Schrader and Alejandro Jodorowsky.

“It’s not that we are a huge festival that gets to travel the world to select films,” says Berger, who has shared duities with co-director Stefan Popescu since SUFF launched in 2007. “So a lot of our time is spent researching and determining which of the current films our patrons are going to be interested in. And Stefan and I certainly pick films that appeal to us, that we find interesting and challenging.”

In 2013, their choices reveal a broadening of what is considered ‘underground’. As the arthouse venues of yesteryear all but disappear and the major chains steer clear of darker, hard-to-market fare, the SUFF schedule fills a void that allows them to program name titles that still have left-field credibility. This year, that includes Rob Zombie’s cult shocker The Lords of Salem, Don Coscarelli’s John Dies at The End with Paul Giamatti and Chase Williamson (pictured, right); and, Sebastian Silva’s Magic Magic, a Sundance hit starring Michael Cera and Juno Temple.

“This year, we probably have more of a cross-section,” acknowledges Berger, pointing out that perhaps SUFF’s biggest coup, the Closing Night Australian premiere of Schrader’s The Canyons, starring Lindsay Lohan and porn-star James Deen, came about through the global network the team has worked hard to establish. “We are friends with the Boston Underground Film festival and we heard about it through them. We had to beat an email path to the film’s producer (Braxton Pope) and plead with him,” she recalls. “We made it clear that if they passed us by then they loose the opportunity for a Sydney festival slot entirely. So I got the producer on side who then helped us get the distributor on side. We have to work really hard to get the bigger titles.”

Berger sings a similar tune about the Opening Night event, which will be the national premiere of Chilean surrealist legend Alejandro Jodorowsky’s first feature in 23 years, the autobiographical study The Dance of Reality. “It was required that I go through the producers in France to get the ok to screen this important work at SUFF,” she says. “We really wanted to focus on our festival as being type of an adventure, of being able to take viewers on a sort of cinematic ride and it was important that we opened with a film that embodied that.”

This year sees a surge in the factual filmmaking component, reflecting a global filmmaking community seeking truth through the medium. “Documentaries have become such a big part of festival programming over the last few years and, as lovers of the format, we think that is a very exciting development,” says Berger. This year, her team has chosen such acclaimed works as Stephen Vittoria’s lengthy account of social activist Mumia Abu-Jamal, Long Distance Revolutionary (pictured, left); Stephen Graves’ heartbreaking physical-horror chronicle, A Body Without Organs; Sophie Huber's atmospheric insight into an iconic man's career, Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction; and, two films that focus on the torturous lives of those obsessed with the male sex organ (ie; men), Brian Spitz’s Unhung Hero and Jonah Bekhor and Zac Math’s The Final Member.

Perhaps most confronting will be a very rare screening of UK director Keith Allen’s Unlawful Killing, the 2011 expose of the final hours of Princess Diana that has been all but shunned by the global film festival community. “We saw it, aware of all the controversy, and were just struck by how sad it would be that this film, because of its content matter, would just go by unseen,” reveals Berger. “And we’d had a lot of interest from people who wanted to see it. It’s probably one of our more ballsy decisions, showing that film. The film offers so much more than just stating over and over that, ‘They killed Diana!’”

If much of this year’s programme sounds a little heavy going, Berger assure us that there will, in fact, be a great deal of fun to be had, especially during the late-night Bad Movie Bingo event, featuring three classic Bad Movies – Troll 2, The Room and Birdemic: Shock and Terror. “Yeah, Stefan thought that would be a good idea,” Berger says with a laugh. “It has always been really important to us that we not only screen films but also encourage the community aspect of watching films and being together. The B-Movie Bingo concept has proved hugely popular overseas and you couldn’t have three movies that are more suited to the concept.”

The Sydney Underground Film Festival runs Thursday September 5 to Sunday September 8 at The Factory Theatre in Marrickville. Further programme and film information as well as ticket sales are available here.

Wednesday
Jul032013

STREETS OF FIRE: THE BRENNA SANCHEZ INTERVIEW

With her co-director Tom Putnam, Detroit native Brenna Sanchez (pictured, below) has crafted Burn, an intimate yet exciting documentary that all but defines the term 'fly-on-the-wall' filmmaking. Together, they were not only allowed access to the grinding bureaucratic gears of a local government struggling to halt the decline of Sanchez's hometown, but were also afforded a year with the firefighters of a metropolis slowly burning to the ground. Sanchez spoke with SCREEN-SPACE only a few hours prior to the film's Australian premiere at Perth's Revelations Film Festival, filing her email responses mid-flight from Los Angeles to Australia's West Coast.   

The American firefighter has always been held in a sort of mythical regard, more so since 9/11. Your film plays to that but also reveals the very human side of the role. Was that the intention going into Burn?

Absolutely! Some of the best documentaries get beyond what we think we know about a subject. After spending five minutes with these guys, we knew there was more to firefighters than we'd ever seen on TV or in movies. Sure, firefighters are heroes. But they're more than that. We knew there was a deeper story here.

The access you achieved is quite incredible. Not only in terms of the extraordinary footage inside burning buildings but also with regard to the coverage you got of the notoriously publicity-shy local government bodies. Which of the two proved more welcoming?

Once the firefighters (pictured, right; Putnam and Sanchez, back-row centre) heard the tenor and depth of the questions we asked, they opened up. No one had ever asked them about them — who they are, what they do. What they see and deal with every day is too tough to talk about at home; they don't want to scare their wives and families. And the department doesn't have therapists. So once they felt we were there to listen, and tell their story, they were incredibly generous.

We went through four fire commissioners before Donald Austin came in. He was the first to understand what we were trying to do, and supported us. We were transparent with him, and he gave us the access we needed. He could have shut us down at any point, but he saw the good that could come from the film.

I know this may sound unusual but structurally, it reminded me of a western – real-men protectors of the people against a black-hearted villain (fire) and a ‘crooked system’ (local government), all set in a decaying ghost town. I don’t mean for that to belittle the real-world issues of Burn, but does the film embrace a kind of traditional Hollywood ethos?

You're spot on. At its core, BURN is a movie about change. Just like in the old Westerns, there's a new sheriff in town, and the railroad is coming through. Can the cowboys adapt? Does the sheriff have what it takes to lead them through the change? The story is evergreen except, instead of horses, we're talking about shifting industry and economics. We talked about Westerns constantly when we were filming, which is one of the reasons we shot the film in 2.35 widescreen, which is very unusual for a documentary. The other genre we were thinking of was a war film, where we thought of ourselves as if we were embedded with a platoon during a tour of duty in a combat zone. We get to know this tight-knit brotherhood, and we see the larger issues, but through their eyes.

How involved was executive producer Denis Leary? At what point in the production did he come on board and did he have any stipulations as to message he wanted the film to impart?

Denis Leary and Jim Serpico (pictured, above; with, from left, co-directors Putnam and Sanchez) came on about half-way through. They saw what we were doing, where we were headed, and recognized that BURN fell right in line with their work with the Leary Firefighters Foundation. They looked at late cuts of the film, and were always encouraging.

There is fascinating juxtaposition, in that these men and their families represent a classically wholesome American image that has barely altered in a century but the country around them, here represented by the plight of Detroit, is collapsing. Does the film capture the prosperous age of America’s yesteryear in its death throes?  

This is a movie about change. When you go to Detroit, you so often hear, "Detroit was once so great — it needs to be what it used to be." But the world doesn't work like that, life only moves forward. Industry in Detroit and many, many, many other once-industrial areas is gone. Everyone must create a new normal to survive. And whose job hasn't changed in 100 years? Tradition is a dangerous idea if it prevents you from evolving. Detroit, the fire department, and our individual characters are all facing the challenge of change, and learning how to adapt so they can survive it.

When developments occur on a documentary shoot such as the tragic passing of Mr Parnell’s wife or the introduction of the ‘Let It Burn’ policy, does it invariably shift the initial focus of the film? After a year’s shooting, is Burn the doco you thought it would be?

We had no idea what we were getting into, we only knew wanted to know more. We sensed the stories were there, but they were a mystery to us at the start. We began by filming a huge number of characters since we didn't know who would have something eventful happen over the course of the year. We ended up filming over a thousand hours, and were over half-way through filming before the central characters began rising to the surface. If you take the time to be still, to watch, and to really listen, really get to know people, don't the stories always reveal themselves?

BURN - Official Theatrical Trailer (2013) from BURN on Vimeo.

 

Tuesday
Jun252013

DEEP IN THE HEART: THE DON SWAYNOS INTERVIEW

Far from the gaudy excesses of Hollywood is Austin, Texas, home to a small but passionate enclave of independent filmmakers producing some of the most idiosyncratic visions in American cinema. The latest is Pictures of Superheroes, a weird and wonderful slice of bizarro humour and eccentric characters from writer/diector Don Swaynos. Swaynos (pictured, below) spoke with great candor to SCREEN-SPACE about stepping into the director's chair, drawing fearless and funny performances from his cast and what life is like for an independent filmmaker deep in the heart of Texas.

Tell me about the Austin independent film scene and the film community that fosters such unique visions as Pictures of Superheroes. 

Well I definitely couldn't have made this film in this way in an industry city like New York or LA. Austin has great supply of really talented people who can find employment here in the field but aren't completely burned out and cynical about it. They're still willing to help out on a project and they're still passionate about it. I'm not sure anyone in town is making a living as an indie film auteur (is anyone anywhere?) but there are lots of production jobs around, and the cost of living is lower than LA or New York so you can actually afford to do things between jobs, spend money on making a movie, instead of just trying to find another job to pay your rent. I tend to gauge the cost of living in a city by how much a pint of beer costs, a good beer. Austin's probably around five bucks right now. I had trouble finding beer that cheap in New York.

The filmmaker community here is growing, but it's still relatively small so there's this shared energy. If a film is shot in Austin, we most likely we shared some crew members. So there's this communal spirit when something succeeds, it's good for all of us. Just last week I finally saw Andrew Bujalski's Computer Chess, which is one of my favorite films of the year. Chris Doubek (who plays Gil in Pictures of Superheroes) is in it, as is our colorist Brandon Thomas and some of the scenes were shot at the same house as a film I just edited called Pit Stop, which is produced by Pictures' producer Kelly Williams and co-stars John Merriman. It's all very incestuous but and it's a really great thing to be a part of.

(Above: Kerri Lindo as Marie in Pictures of Superheroes)

Though it is clearly impossible to pigeon-hole, Pictures… kind of plays like a mash-up of mumblecore comedy and Wes Anderson-type eccentricity with a dash of Monty Python. Who are the filmmakers and writers that have inspired your creativity?  

I've always like odd things. Weird music, weird movies, weird comic books, things that don't fit easily into one genre, so it makes me happy that I seem to have created something that's hard to categorize. It's probably not the most financially viable way to make a movie but I wasn't too concerned with that here. When we were making the movie I described it as " what if Luis Bunuel made mumblecore comedy" but "Monty Python mumblecore" seems like a much better way to say that.

I was initially drawn to filmmaking by really visual directors like Sam Raimi and the Coen Brothers, but as I've gotten older I've explored more films and that's changed. I'd say my favorite filmmakers are Luis Bunuel, Pedro Almodovar, Errol Morris, John Waters, Gaspar Noe... probably some others I'm forgetting. Comedically I'd say the first few years of The Simpsons and the George Carlin HBO specials I saw as a kid really had a hand in getting me to actually think about comedy and its potential to do more than just get a laugh. Mitch Hedberg was definitely a big influence. Bob Burden's Flaming Carrot Comics are in there somewhere. Currently I really like Louis CK, but who doesn't?

It struck me that career-obsessed ‘Eric’ and self-obsessed man-child ‘John’ only became a single, more fully-formed man when they embraced a little of each other’s personality. Delve into the psychology of your lead characters for us….

I think they're both parts of me, honestly.  Right now I've kind of over-extended myself work-wise, so I basically just work and sleep, and when I talk to people, the only thing I really have to talk about is work. But since I'm a freelance editor, that'll end, and when I'm not working I can fall into a funk like Joe. Sleep late, basically get nothing done... I've definitely gotten closer to the happy medium recently. I like to think making the movie helped me get there, but it might just be getting older. I don't have the energy to get too stressed about work stuff and I can't sleep late anymore.

But the characters are also the two extremes I've seen people become as they enter adulthood. Some dive right into "being a grown-up", like this  forced adulthood, where they graduate from college, get married, get a "real job", get a house, have kids and tell themselves "this is what I'm supposed to be doing now, I'm 23.". Then there's the other extreme, where people refuse to grow up. That's definitely more common in a city like Austin. But neither of those are good, healthy ways to live your life, there's a happy medium in there somewhere. That's the goal in life. Get a real job, but leave time for some other stuff too.

In creating ‘Marie’, I imagine it would’ve been hard for Kerri Lendo, or any actress for that matter, to play so droll and so caustic for an entire shoot. How would you define the relationship between director and star?

It's funny because I wrote Joe and Eric with John Merriman and Shannon McCormick in mind. I had worked with both of them before, I knew how incredibly funny they both were, and I was hearing their voices in my head as I was writing. But I never had anyone in mind for Marie. Even when we decided to make the movie, we had no idea who to cast. I tried auditioning a few people, but that didn't really go anywhere. I was sitting with producer Tate English trying to think of what we were going to do and he suggested Kerri (based on a short she had made with John Merriman). I had seen Kerri do stand-up a few times and I just thought she would be perfect. We didn't even audition her, which seems kind of crazy in retrospect, we just offered her the part. As a first time director, I probably wasn't much help to her. Kerri gets all the credit for Marie.

All the men in your film are really quite grotesque, even idiotic, in a hilarious, playful sort of way, while your women are very sure of themselves. Marie is quirky but very quick-witted and incisive; Danu Uribe’s ‘Susan’ is actually a real-world human being. Are you suggesting that, yes, it’s true - women are the stronger sex?

Yeah, I mean, they pretty much are. I think it's easier for me to apply negative traits to male characters than to female. Maybe because there are some autobiographical elements in all of the men in this film or maybe I've just had more bad experiences dealing with men than I have with women. I'd hate to analyze it (or myself) too much but it seems like if I think, in general, about humanity as a whole, a lot of dudes are assholes, but most women seem pretty cool.

My sound re-recording mixer Eric Friend pointed out that like Joe and Eric, Marie is also a loser. She's stuck in this job that she has no interest in, that she doesn't seem to be particularly good at, and she's allowing the direction of her life to be controlled by the people around her. The difference is that, even though I'm not totally sure she's aware of it, she's at least fed up with it, while the men around her are happy stuck in their ruts. Marie can actually do something and break the cycle that her life has fallen into. Not sure what that means in terms of gender roles though...

(Above: Lendo and co-star John Merriman)

You’ve been an editor most of your professional career. What sort of learning curve did you go through when you stepped behind the camera? What surprised you most about the role of feature-film director?

I'm comfortable as an editor and I'm comfortable as a writer, but directing was a new experience. I liked the script, and I has a list of shots that I knew I needed to be able to cut scenes together but everything else was totally alien to me. Editing is such a solitary task, you do it by yourself, you can apply as much or as little time as you feel you need, but when you're on set and there are a bunch of people looking at you for a plan and you've got a schedule and something isn't working- it's really nerve-wracking. Basically the whole "interacting with other humans to make a movie" thing is new to me. I lucked out with the cast and crew that I had and if you didn't know better, watching the film you might think I'm competent. 

Editing other people's films prepared me, in a sense, to direct my own. I'd seen the problems that had arisen on other productions that we needed to fix in post and kept a tally to make sure I didn't commit any of those. But also, when you're editing, it's so easy to say "why didn't they get that shot?" or "why didn't they do another take?" but being on set actually served as a harsh reminder of why. Because you've got time constraints, and the sun's going down, and getting that angle would take too long, etc. 

How does your vision for the world and wonderful but oddball sense of character translate to studio-size budgets and Hollywood fame? Will ‘A Film by Don Swaynos’ ever adorn a multiplex screen?

Hmmm....I don't know. I think I've just come to the realization that that probably won't ever happen, but I'm totally fine with it. So many of the things I've loved have always been on the fringes that it probably makes sense that the things I make are out there too.  The film industry is going through some pretty radical changes right now and I'm not sure what's going to happen but it's a great time to be making independent films, because you can actually get them out there. So as long as I can make films that are financially sustainable that people seem to be enjoying, I'll be happy.

Picture of Superheroes has it's New South Wales premiere on Saturday 7th of September as part of the Sydney Underground Film Festival. Tickets available here.