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SXSW '05 Interview: 'Josh Jarman' Director Pip Mushin

by Scott Weinberg

The 'Josh Jarman' Pitch: Josh Jarman is a passionate playwright who only wants one thing - to get his play produced in a proper theater with a decent audience. But ambition comes at a price. Yes, Josh Jarman only wants one thing in life...and he'll do almost anything to get it.

Will this be your first time at SXSW? Any other film festival experience?
First time at SXSW. Josh Jarman premiered at the Melbourne International Film Festival where it played to sell out audiences and we signed a domestic (Australian) distribution deal as a result. Since then we’ve screened at the Sao Paulo International Film Festival, the Hollywood Film Festival and have been chosen as the closing film at the London Australian Film Festival.

When you were 14 years old, if someone asked you what you wanted to be when you grew up, what would your answer have been?
I probably would have said “an adult” – thankfully my humor’s improved since then.

How did you get started in filmmaking?
Was first an actor, then started directing theatre, then borrowed my uncle’s video camera, asked him what the “zoom” button did and applied for film school.

How have things changed for you since your film was accepted into the festival?
People are really into SXSW. It gives the film another level of credibility.

When you were shooting the film, did you have SXSW (or film festivals in general) in mind?
Definitely – SXSW has a reputation that has grown fast. I wanted to be part of it while it’s on its way up. Like getting into Sundance 10 years ago - you can say “I was there when …”

How did you get your film started? How did you go from script to finished product?
I originally wrote a film with a bigger budget and then found out how hard it was to get films funded. After a while trying to get it funded, I decided that if I wanted to be a film maker I had to make a film, so I wrote a script that could be made on a lower budget (Josh Jarman) raised as much money as I could, and then set out to make the film. Thankfully some talented people came along for the ride and it all just snowballed from there. The great thing is that I’ve got my previous film script and I’ve just done a bit of a re-write and it’s ready to go. I’ve started to get quite a bit of interest in it as a result of Josh Jarman.

What’s the one glaring lesson you learned while making this film?
Surround yourself with talented people and make sure they’re passionate. If they’re not passionate then all the talent in the world isn’t going to help.

When you were in pre-production, did you find yourself watching other great movies in preparation?
Pre-production was crazy! Incredibly intense. It’s ironic because just when you want to be watching all these movies for ideas and inspiration, there’s just no time – it was frenetic.

If a studio said ‘we love this, we love you, you can remake anything in our back catalogue for $40m’ – what film, if any, would you want to remake?
The thing with remakes is, if you love a film why would you want to remake it and if you don’t love it, then what would inspire you to do it again. Doesn’t really make sense to me. The exception, I guess is when it’s an old movie and today’s technology can take it to new and wonderful places.

Two parter – name an actor you'd KILL to work with, and then name an actor in your own film that you really think is destined for great things.
Too many - Daniel Day Lewis, Dustin Hoffman, Ewan McGregor. And of course some of the new breed of Aussie’s are terrific – Cate Blanchett and Hugh Jackman to name just a couple.

In my film Marcus Graham is incredibly talented. People in the US who don’t know his work, don’t believe me when I tell them that he is a sex icon in Australia – he just does the geeky thing too well. Kestie Morassi, who also stars in Wolf Creek, which screened at Sundance and has been picked up by Mirimax, will also go on to do great things – she lights up the screen.

The festival circuit: what could be improved? What's been your favorite part of the ride?
The filmmakers should always be well looked after. After all, they supply the product (for free).

Have you ‘made it’ yet? If not, at what point will you be able to say ‘yes’?
You know the saying – “I’m an overnight success, pity that night’s been five years long”.

A film is made by many people, including the director (of course), but you'll often see movies that open with a credit that says “a film by…” – Did you use that credit in your film? If so, defend yourself! If not, what do you think of those who do?
No I didn’t - but not because I have any great objection to it. I guess at the end of the day, I didn’t feel the need to have it there. I’ve got a directors credit, I’ve got a writers credit, I’ve got a producers credit, do I really need “a film by” credit …that’d be Pip Mushin overload and the last thing I want to do is upstage my own film.


Josh Jarman, starring Marcus Graham, Daniela Farinacci, Damien Richardson, Kestie Morassi & Kim Gyngell, will premiere at the 2005 South By Southwest Film Festival. Click here for more information, and be sure to check out the official Josh Jarman website!.

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originally posted: 02/25/05 13:33:16
last updated: 02/25/05 13:37:28
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