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A life-long obsession with the wit and wisdom of Woody Allen has led to French director Sophie Lellouch's film debut, the eccentric Parisian romantic-comedy Paris Manhattan. In her charmingly staggered version of English, she discusses her first feature, stars Patrick Bruel and Alice Taglioni and directing her idol.

Screen-Space: What inspires you most about the works of Woody Allen? Why is he such an important author/artist/filmmaker?

Lellouch: Because I think he answers with the very words I imagine. Do you understand? When you watch a Woody Allen work, you can see and believe that everything is possible. He is a director that works a lot with dreams, poetry and the imaginary. When I saw, for the first time, The Purple Rose of Cairo, it was a shock because I remember as a young girl a dream I had to be inside of a movie, to be part of a movie. And it’s weird because a lot times and for a lot of people, he makes true your fantasy. Even for this movie, Paris Manhattan, I was inspired by Play It Again, Sam. (After that film), everyone was dreaming of having Humphrey Bogart as a friend, to help you seduce women. I immediately imagined Woody Allen as my friend.

Screen-Space: Did you ever tell Mr Allen of the depth of your adoration for him?

Lellouch: No, no. I was too shy and I think he was very shy also. We would exchange some nice words. He would say, “So, this is your first movie?” So, no, I never told him but I think he may have figured it out by now (laughs).

Screen-Space: We should get this question out of the way, I suppose. What is your favourite Woody Allen film?

Lellouch: Right now, it is Midnight in Paris. It is a beautiful, beautiful Woody Allen movie.

Screen-Space: Allen is often guilty of casting actors who are then called upon to do their own version of Allen, such as Kenneth Brannagh in Celebrity or John Cusack in Bullets Over Broadway. In casting Alice Taglioni as your leading lady, how determined were you that she would resemble or even mimic you?

Lellouch: Alice and I (pictured, right; on-set, from l-r, Patrick Bruel, Lellouch and Taglioni, seated) spent a lot of time together and she very clearly understood what I needed. Alice is not at all like her character; she is not a dreamer, she is very rehearsed and responsible. But she understood and she is very good actress. But it is true that sometimes when I saw her, I would think it is me. It is true! When you know Alice in real life, you realise her character is not her but the more I looked the more I was able to see what she was doing with the character and what she was doing with me and my words. She is a very good actress.

Screen-Space: Working with someone as experienced as your leading man, Patrick Bruel, must have been a thrill. What did he bring to both the role and the set?

Lellouch: Patrick is very charming, very natural and authentic. I needed that for the character. I needed someone who was able to fit in everywhere. When ‘Victor’ is invited for the dinner, you don’t feel uncomfortable for him; he certainly doesn’t seem uncomfortable. There is no place for him, but he still eats and he talks. He is at ease everywhere. And that’s Patrick. He has lots of qualities so it was easy working with him.

Screen-Space: You directed the very well-received short, Dieu, que la nature est bien faite!, in 1999. Some reports say you were disheartened by a tough shoot. Why the long gap between projects?

Lellouch: No, it wasn’t tough. Time, for me, is not something that is very concrete. For thirteen years, time was very good for me and I didn’t feel its passage. But the moment I felt older, I decided to make the step and make the movie. Do you understand? I am a real dreamer, not really into real life, so I didn’t have a real one year or two year strategy. Now, I am a bit more like that (laughs). And life was different, too. I had children so my life was more focussed on that. I did not feel the urgency to make a movie. I knew it would come later.

Screen-Space: So you chose as your return to directing a project that featured your idol, Mr Allen. Describe that first day on set. Did you ever have to say “Cut! Woody, can we do that one more time...?”

Lellouch: (Laughs) It was crazy! It was my first day on my first movie, so I wasn’t going to say “No, no good! Repeat please!” (laughs) I would have to do a first and second take, but it was more for Patrick (laughs). He was not the usual Patrick. He was there but he would take me aside and say, “This is hard!” It is very unusual to be playing alongside Woody Allen; we were all startstruck. But Mr Allen was perfect. He knew his text and he would always lighten the mood. He was very generous.

Paris Manhattan will be in Australian cinemas on December 13.



Moments after Sarah Snook's Lead Actress nomination was announced, the radiant star of Not Suitable for Children sat with Screen-Space to reflect upon her time making Peter Templeman's inner-city dramedy and what this nomination (her second consecutive nod) means to her.

Screen-Space: At this stage of your career, what does an AACTA nomination mean to you?

Snook: I think at any stage of an actor’s career an AACTA nomination is pretty exciting. I was pretty shocked but certainly thrilled. Very thrilled.

Screen-Space: What was the mood like on the set of Not Suitable for Children? Did the project feel a comfortable fit from the start?

Snook: It was confusing in a way because we were enjoying ourselves so much, which is good. But it can be a dangerous thing, if you are enjoying yourself too much, because then maybe the audience doesn’t get to or it can come across as something completely different. Luckily in the hands of Peter Templeman, he was able to craft it that didn’t seem too self-indulgent, that the actors were running off with the script.

Screen-Space: What environment did Templeman create on the set?

Snook: Pretty chilled (laughs). He’s a bit of a surfer dude from Perth and he had a lot of personal experience, living that party lifestyle in his 20s in a big warehouse in Perth so he was able to fill us in on that reality. And we had a lot of rehearsal before we started shooting, which was good, because it allowed us to create a more realistic bond between those core friendships in the film. So when we were on-set, Peter would say, “Right, you all know what you’re doing, now let me go focus on the technical.”

Screen-Space: When you first read the part of your character, Stevie, what appealed to you most?

Snook: I think her wit. She changed quite a lot over the course of the audition process. Where I read her being, at the beginning of the process, and where she ended being was quite different but, I guess, a little bit of the beginning always stayed with me, all the way through. I enjoyed meeting that first person and I enjoyed creating the last version of her.

Screen-Space: How deliberately did the production try to steer clear of the grungy, inner-city attitude? There is a warmth to the story and characters that is at odds with how many people would view that hedonistic, 20-something crowd.

Snook. I know totally what you mean. I’ve just moved from Redfern to Stanmore and almost immediately I was like “Uh, there’s hipsters everywhere!” (laughs) Which I love, they are my friends. The costume designer on the film, the amazing Gypsy Taylor, created a look that was definitely of now but that wouldn’t age so obviously. She still had the tight jeans but she made things that were a little off-beat but also still cool; not so “Wow, that looks so 2012.” And, you know, hipsters are people, too (laughs). You were probably a hipster when you were a kid, right?

In addition to Sarah Snook's Lead Actress nomination, Not Suitable for Children was nominated for Best Supporting Actor (Ryan Corr), Best Original Screenplay and Best Original Music Score at the 2012 AACTAs. It is currently available on DVD.



Driven but humble to a fault, Julietta Boscolo would never acknowledge what many in the industry already know; the Perth-born director is at the forefront of the next wave of Australian feature filmmakers.  Graduating from the Victorian College of the Arts in 2011 with a Masters in Film and Television Directing (Narrative), she quickly made industry waves. She became the only Australian (amongst 35 world industry attendees) to be invited to the inaugural Edinburgh International Film Festival’s Talent Lab; her script Acoustic was a finalist in the Vegas Cine Fest Screenwriting Competition and the FirstGlance Screenplay Competition in Philadelphia. To date, her short Safe has secured festival acclaim the world over; her other works, including The Branch and Sam's Gold (pictured on-set, below), are generating serious industry buzz. In SCREEN-SPACE's biggest interview to-date, Boscolo granted generous time and insight into her Australian film industry far....  

Who were the earliest influences on your decision to become a film-maker?

My decision to become a filmmaker was driven solely by my perfectionist streak. After acting school I decided I wanted to create some work for myself. I saw an ad in the Sunday paper to make a short scene for the Comedy Channel and I thought: ‘How hard can it be to make a short film?’ I wasn’t happy with my first film so I sought ways to make a better one. I still do that with every film and thankfully they’ve been getting better. I’ve always been driven to tell stories. I can remember directing skits at primary school. For some reason, that was always my job, that and acting in them and the other kids just accepted that that was what I did, although I was incredibly shy otherwise. I also really love every aspect of creating a film and collaborating with talented people in order to tell a story.  It didn’t influence me to become a filmmaker but Chris Marker’s La Jetée, really resonated with me when I first starting making films. I think it was because it was so simple, composed of still images, yet expressed emotion so powerfully.

Which modern artists most influence your creativity?

Nowadays, I’m inspired by anyone who looks at the world in a fresh way. Whether it’s someone like the painter Franz Marc, the psychiatrist Norman Doidge, who writes about brain plasticity, or a graffiti artist. Although your question does remind me that I need to go look at some art; it’s been too long! Certain films rather than certain filmmakers inspire me. The Fisher King, Le Notti di Cabiria , Lantana, Muriel’s Wedding, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Miracolo a Milano, Life is Beautiful, Iris, Beasts of the Southern Wild. Films full of humour and magic and light. Walter Murch, because I’m really inspired by his original way of approaching sound design, even when he was working in mono. I haven’t even gotten started on inspiring documentaries but I saw two docos in Edinburgh, Calvet and Bombay Beach, that I thought were astounding. Oh and Jane’s Journey about Jane Goodall, there’s one inspiring woman right there!

What does the quote by Albert Szent-Gyorgyi that features on your website reveal about you and your films? Is there an archetypal 'Boscolo' character or theme forming in your works?

“Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody else has thought” doesn’t really reflect an archetypal character or theme but it does reflect my desire to make films which allow audiences to make emotional discoveries; to see the world and themselves as they never have before.  And be inspired to live their lives as completely and as compassionately as they can. Charlie Kaufman’s address to BAFTA on screenwriting also summed it up beautifully. He gave the example of carpenter ants who are infected by a fungus and turn into ‘zombie slaves’ of the fungus, acting against their own interests and the interests of their fellow ants to serve the needs of the fungus. Kaufman said: ‘…I want to do what I can to understand my carpenter ant self and not mindlessly disseminate the fungal spores of my masters’. This is what I want to express in my work, understand my carpenter ant self and the way people understand each other.

And to put that in the context of your narratives…

I’m interested in stories of people who are trying to live in everyday circumstances and find what we all want- love, acceptance, peace of mind, but who see the world differently. People who appear like everyone else but aren’t. Whether this is because of something they’ve been through in their past, the extreme example of this being that poor woman in Austria who was imprisoned by her father in the basement. Or whether it is a physical thing, such as a severe learning disability like that experienced by Barbara Arrowsmith-Young, author of ‘The Woman Who Changed her Brain.’ Or because of something they’re fighting to achieve. I’m really interested in perception and portraying emotional states viscerally, so audiences can empathise with these characters and understand where they’re coming from. Humour is also very important as I think people can see it in even the worst circumstances; it’s a survival mechanism.

Safe (pictured, below) continues to enjoy acclaim at festivals worldwide. Why is this film connecting so profoundly with audiences, programmers and juries?

Safe is about a woman, Mia, who wants to fall in love but she never gets past the second date because she is too scared about answering questions about her past. So she goes online and orders ‘The Secrets Safe™’ , a machine that you tell your secrets to and it purports to store them away, encasing them in concrete blocks. But the question the film asks is, “Can you find love if you lock away your past?” No matter how small or trivial their secrets might seem to other people, most people can empathise with someone who wants to hide them away. People seem to either love or hate Safe, which I’m completely fine with. I’d prefer that they hate it, rather than think it ‘so-so’. It’s also been really nice to receive emails from strangers who were moved by the film and calls from actors who’d like to work with me after seeing it. There are things I would like to change in all my films and this also applies to Safe but I’m happy with how it turned out.

Many remark that Safe is a visually stunning work, a very bold vision...

Safe was my first collaboration with cinematographer Jeremy Rouse. For me it was really important to show Mia’s emotional perspective visually to convey how this impacted her relationships with men. So Jeremy and I collaborated on getting this across to an audience through the use of lenses and shot sizes. I’m also a big believer in shooting with natural light and Jeremy thinks natural light is the best light. Performance is also a strong focus of mine and Jeremy was very mindful of the cast. He suggested that rather than have the set of The Secrets Safe booth three-sided (leaving the fourth side open for lighting, camera and sound access), that we enclose the booth completely and just drill a hole for the lens to fit through. The whole thing would be lit from overhead or from within the booth. Effectively, Adrienne (Pickering, lead actress) was alone with the camera and I think that this really helped in what were some incredibly emotional scenes.

Was the production the usual struggle associated with getting short-film visions to the screen?

I was really lucky to find an amazing team that read the script, embraced my vision of it and helped to bring it to life. The beautiful Adrienne Pickering (pictured, left), who completely understood the character of Mia and delivered such an astounding performance in the film. The funny thing is that when we were shooting, Adrienne had just finished up on the first series of Rake and on paper, her character Missy could seem very similar to Mia. Both were women with pasts to hide. Yet Adrienne played them completely differently, a testament to her talent. On the production side, our producers, Fiona Leally and Janet Duncan, thought outside the box and made a difficult film happen logistically including arranging for us to shoot underwater in the Olympic diving pool at the Melbourne Aquatic Centre in the middle of the night. VCA also allowed me the freedom to tell the story I wanted to tell.

What lessons did you take from the Sam’s Gold shoot?

Sam’s Gold is about how sometimes stories are our way out. The film was made through Screen NSW’s Emerging Filmmakers Fund and it really helped having a little bit of money to pay everyone, although it was literally a little bit. Sam’s Gold was the first of my films I hadn’t written and I really enjoyed working with the writer, Rebecca Clarke, who wrote such a beautiful and original little script. Bec’s a close friend of mine and it was her first film and she was very open to feedback but also knew when to go with her instinct. Matt Reeder is a really creative producer and it was great to hear his input at every stage of the process. I’m really proud of the film. And although we’re just starting to send out to festivals, we’ve already been offered distribution from a large shorts distributor which is nice.

Describe the industry environment for the Australian short film-maker. Is there a commitment in the industry to mentoring young directors of short-films?.

I see myself as a storyteller who has started out telling short stories and is now moving into telling longer tales. I am also willing to tell stories of any length, as long as I tell them well. When I was first starting out, working as an assistant editor at a TVC cutting house, Ray Lawrence (pictured, right) was incredibly generous to me at a time when I was just starting to find my own voice. He read a short script of mine, sent me writings on story by Aristotle, lent me a copy of his favourite short film and gave me a book on screenwriting. Ray taught me: ‘You have to tell stories that you care about and want to share.’ I also was inspired to shoot with natural light after working with him. It was funny, as an Assistant Editor I often had to make Ray coffee on this professional coffee machine that we had in the office. Problem is, I don’t drink coffee. So I had really no idea how to make a good one.  And Ray had no problem expressing time and time again how bad the coffees were that I brought him. After I left my job at the editing place, Cate Jarman who was producing for Ray at the time, got me a job as runner on one of his TVCs. My job was to make coffee for the crew. I went around taking people’s orders but when I got to Ray, he said loudly: ‘She can’t make coffee… But she’s a good writer’. So rather than making coffees for the crew, I had to go to the shop and buy them for everyone instead. But I didn’t care.  I wasn’t planning a career as a barista. My long-term mentor is also a friend, Paul Goldman.  Paul has supported me for years, giving me references and advice, reading scripts, watching my work, giving me very honest, insightful but mindful criticism. I feel very honoured because I think Paul is an incredible director. It was also fantastic doing a Director’s Attachment with Tony Krawitz on the Sydney shoot for Dead Europe. I feel very blessed - lots of people in the industry have been incredibly supportive when I needed them; too many to mention although I do remember them. The industry is full of big-hearted, caring people.

What have been your highs and lows? What moments will you reflect upon when mentoring the next generation of film-makers?

There are a lot of lows but you move past them.  Struggling for money; being shortlisted but not getting funding; having to shoot incredibly quickly; not being able to pay people properly. It was also very difficult being at VCA while my partner Simon was in Sydney. That was probably the most difficult thing for me. The rest of it is transitory. Highs include being the only Australian at the inaugural Edinburgh Film Festival’s Talent Lab. Having someone quite high up in the international industry asking to read my script. It was also nice to be nominated for an If Award for Rising Talent, screen in some fantastic festivals and of course receiving the Emerging Filmmakers Fund grant from Screen NSW.  Acknowledgements are great as they help you get where you need to be and show you you’re not entirely crazy for pursuing what you want to do; you’re crazy for other reasons! Ultimately the high for me though, is when your film finishes and there is loaded silence before people start to respond. Or a stranger waits to talk to you so they can tell you how much it affected them. That means you’ve done your job well and makes all the hard work worth it.

Julietta Boscolo’s debut feature film script, Catching Sight, was short listed for Screen Australia’s Springboard Initiative and is currently in development.



A passionate, humanitarian filmmaker is set to launch a multi-media vision of one day in the life cycle of Planet Earth.

A select number of screening venues worldwide will open their doors to a very special simultaneous event this Sunday, November 11. One year to the day after submissions closed for The 11Eleven Project, filmmaker Danielle Lauren (pictured, above) will present her 75 minute documentary; it is a work that encapsulates the global human experience during a singularly unremarkable but, by definition, utterly unique 24 hour period in mankind’s history.

“It was just an idea that if we got people to just tell their own stories we will probably learn more, rather than trying to project a version of their world from our points-of-view,” says Lauren, preparing for the global roll-out of her film from her base in Sydney. The scope of the endeavour covers a multi-media landscape of music, photography, personal device technology and visual art unlike anything to date; the documentary is but one component of a movement determined to create a worldwide community via imagery, connection and understanding.

“I think when something is expressed from the heart it penetrates and reaches another heart and audiences are human beings and have reacted to that. That is what most excited me about this job,” Lauren explains. Despite her youthful looks, Lauren has a wealth of international philanthropic experience; currently the Australian Ambassador for the Charter for Compassion, she has consulted for Australians for United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees as well as taking on production roles on such small-screen successes as ‘I’m a Celebrity Get me Out of Here’ and ‘Australian Idol’.

Having established a reputation in a field defined by the skilful ability to communicate, it was the absence of the traditional spoken-word paradigm that most surprised Lauren. “I like that so much can be communicated above language. That we could go on this big journey and meet all these characters and fall in love and that they are real people,” she explains of her filmmaking odyssey, which took in submissions from 179 countries. “I hope that through the film and through the Facebook and Twitter links we are able to have and continue to have a global conversation.”

Originally conceived in 2000 (“At the time the technology did not exist to make it happen, not the way that it exists today,” says Lauren), The 11Eleven Project has ballooned into a conscientious movement towards a more humanistic existence. With sell-out events in 20 countries confirmed, Danielle Lauren is now looking for the next wave of socially-minded camera-wielding activists to carry the 11Eleven torch. “If I knew I had to do it again, or felt obliged to do it again, I don’t think you could give the same 100% commitment. Someone, anyone else is welcome to pick up a 12/12/12 project and run with it,” she says.

The 11Eleven Project debuts in several sites Australia-wide this Sunday, November 11; it will also screen in USA, UK, Fiji, France, Chile, Ghana, Greece, Germany, El Salvador, Japan, Madagascar, Morocco, The Netherlands, Russia, Singapore, Spain and Ukraine, with more participating nations to be announced. Information regarding community screening initiatives are available via the website.



Writer/director Colin Trevorrow's Safety Not Guaranteed explores the lives of three tart-mouthed 20-somethings searching for deeper meaning to their shallow lives. For those of you still with me, you'll be ably rewarded; it is also a time travel-themed love story full of warmth and character-driven humour. Having played to the Closing Night audience at the Sydney Film Festival (where it's rousing finale was met with spontaneous rapture by the jaded crowd), Trevorrow's debut feature goes into wide commercial release in Australia this week. Below is an edited text of the San Franciscan's chat with SCREEN-SPACE, during which he discussed the film's genesis, production and, with surprising candour, its US box office fate.

I can’t imagine a high-concept/low-budget premise such as Safety Not Guaranteed is an easy sell to financiers. Was the script-to-budgeting period the usual tough slog?

To a certain extent, high-concept/low-budget is an easy sell. I mean, nothing is an easy sell but in most cases it comes back to the script. If the script isn’t good, high-concept/low-budget can be as much of a disaster as anything else. But on something like this, you are reliant upon the characters feeling real and the story being engaging because you just don’t have anything else to fall back on. There are no fireworks...well, maybe a little bit in ours, but for the most part the people have to be the fireworks. And when you’re talking about convincing someone to lay down money on a movie, it comes down to that script in the end. They certainly had no reason to trust me! It wasn’t my name attracting anyone to this movie.

In both Aubrey Plaza and Jake Johnson (pictured, right; with the director), you capture actors on the cusp of big careers. There is a naturalness to the performances that I assume stems from your influence on the set...

Well, Jake and I have been friends for quite a long time. I have just literally come from the set of The New Girl, where I caught up with him because I haven’t seen him in a while. And that’s just a friendship that existed before the film and that I knew, no matter what, it would exist after. The film is just a great opportunity for the two of us to get together and use the very natural language that we already speak within a filmmaking environment.

So the actors found that chemistry and rhythm in the rehearsal process?

There was no rehearsal on this! We just didn’t have that luxury at all. And not because I don’t like to do rehearsal, which I do. But I do like to find the moment right there, on set. Extended rehearsal can sometimes take away from feeling of discovery that can often capture on film while it’s happening. Whether I wanted rehearsal or not didn’t matter because we weren’t going to have it. Everybody did a lot of homework and came with their characters fully formed. I warned all these actors before we went in that I was going to be very technical director, focussing on something that has absolutely no budget look like an actual movie and so you have to come with these characters fully rounded, complete and whole. Of course, we had a lot of conversations about them at different points, but I really wanted them to be able to play in that sandbox but they had to build the sandbox before they came to set. And they did; everyone understood their character really well. That allowed us to open it up and let the scenes breathe and improvise a little bit.

The casting of Mark Duplass (pictured, left; on-set, with the director) must have been pivotal, given his independent-film background and grasp of what can be both idiosyncratic and warm on screen.

Mark was a big part of that just because that’s what he does on a lot of his films. Not exactly what we did, because his films are completely improvisational and we did have a script. His character could be played very broad and theoretically it could have become a funnier character but I think that playing him as less hilarious and a bit more damaged and real is what creates the balance in the film.

As the writer of the film (with Derek Connolly) and director, was the editing process difficult? Were deeply entrenched visions of the film challenged and changed?

The editing process is an amazing one. You can do a bit of a rewrite when editing. A lot of times what changes are scenes that, you know, feel a bit on the nose. Scenes that perhaps are telling the audience information that they have already deduced on their own. In this case, the script and the film were very similar except, of course, the ending which we changed very late in the game. That’s what you can do in the editing room – make something happen that no one ever thought would be possible.

I want to ask you about the film’s US box office, if that’s ok with you. The film has had a hugely positive critical response; Aubrey’s doing Letterman and the film is in Sundance and closing the Sydney Film Festival, amongst many other festival slots, and the internet loves it. So I was stunned to find it will barely creep over US$5million. And similarly loved films aimed at that 20-something demographic, like Ruby Sparks and Jesse and Celeste Forever, are doing even less business. Has Hollywood forgotten how to sell to this demo?

That’s fine to talk about. I think there a couple of factors involved. One, you’re dealing with a generation that just doesn’t go the movies as much as...well, any generation before them. When you and I were kids, there was only one way to see a movie – if you didn’t see a movie when it was in the theatres, then you were never going to see it again. Now, if you don’t see a movie in the theatre, you can see it in 5 different places for the rest of your life whenever you want to (laughs). And that’s a very big difference. Also, movies in America are very expensive to go and see, especially if you factor in kids and stuff like that. Frankly, I’m not sure that if I looked at my film, I wouldn’t say ‘Man, we are going to really enjoy that when it is on Netflix.’ That’s just the reality. If I’m going to spend $50 to go to the theatre, I am going want to see The Master in 70mm or I want to see The Dark Knight Rises. There are other movies where my brain automatically says, ‘Yeah, I’m going to love that and I’ll love it in my home on my couch.

That’s an admirably pragmatic way to look at the business side of your creative output.

I’m not crushed by the box office, to be honest. A lot of the films that I love made far less at the box office and went on to become movies that really matter to people. Everybody cared so much about this movie and everyone involved, all the actors and the writer and certainly with me, wanted to be as good as they know they are. Historically, when you look back at a lot of movies with young people, they have that sort of ‘first-film urgency’ stemming from a need to prove you can do what you have gambled your life on.