Thursday, August 30, 2007


The Jammed and the damned
I'm a bit stirred up since last night.I went with some friends to see the new australian movie THE JAMMED. It chronicles the stories of three trafficked survivors from Melbourne. It really highlights the injustice within the current law for trafficking survivors. Perhaps you don't know?1. trafficked survivors found in Australia have to testify against their traffickers if they want ANY help from the government. If they don't testify they get deported immediately. 2. IF they do testify they have 30 days for the police to make an actual case... if they can't make a case the survivor is STILL deported. 3. Even if they can make a case - the survivor isn't assured permanent status...The suffering these women have endured is unimaginable. I think we could do better. What do you think of these ideas:1. investigative teams that find out where they are being held and bust them out (the early army used to STORM BROTHELS - there would be about 75 soldiers and they'd bust in through the door go into the brothels and any women that wanted to come would be put in the centre of the salvationists and accompanied out - then disappear into a salvo home)... Let's bring back some muscular salvation?2. An Underground railroad: yep, just like the days of slavery - we just absorb trafficked women into Christian community. Until the unjust laws are changed... we care for them/ we don't 'report' them until they can be guaranteed safety and provision. People think these are unrealistic but I think they are a normal Christian response... it's not like they haven't been done before. I think often we hide behind risk management and professional social work instead of just doing what we can when we can... we are the Church - I think we can do more. I pray God will help me to know what I can do to fulfill Isa. 61 and bring His Kingdom to these women NOW as it is in heaven.

From:Armybarmy REMIX Ramblings of a warrior on a long walk to Kingdom come.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007


The Jammed (MA) * * * 1/2

FILM fans at BIFF who caught this local drama about the plight of migrant women who are exploited as sex slaves voted it one of the top 10 movies of the film festival, yet it almost didn't make it for a general cinema release. However, after such a strong showing at the festival and early critical support, Dendy has picked up Dee McLachlan's powerful film for an exclusive season. McLachlan was inspired to write a film about migrant women caught up in the shady word of human trafficking after reading a small newspaper article about a convicted sex trafficker getting a suspended sentence. The resulting story involves fictional characters who have been created out of real scenarios. It's emotionally confronting, with several scenes of rape and humiliation, but not terribly sexually explicit given the content. Ashley Hudson (Veronica Sywak from Blurred) is the ordinary woman who finds herself caught up in an extraordinary situation. She's a woman who works in an insurance office shuffling papers and her biggest challenge in life is dealing with the type of relationship hassles that many of us face. Then she encounters a Chinese woman who needs help. She's arrived in Melbourne looking for her daughter who could be working as a prostitute, with the only clue being a postcard of Flinders St Station. Hudson finds herself caught up in a world where people have no escape. The missing daughter turns out to be working as a prostitute under the name of Rubi (Sun Park, who has a very different role here than her normal gig as one of Hi-Five). Rubi shares a room, or really a hovel, with two other girls. There is Vanya (Saskia Burmeister of Sea Patrol) who retains some of her Russian feistiness despite her helpless situation and Crystal (Emma Lung of 48 Shades), who came to Australia to work as a table dancer but is raped repeatedly by a pimp who arranged for her immigration, before she agrees to work in his brothel. Sywak, Lung and Burmeister all give strong performances as women caught up in a desperate situation. (89 min)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Click to enlarge


Click to enlarge


The Jammed (Dee McLachlan, 2007, Australia)
Running time 89 minutes
Review by Sharon Hurst

Synopsis: A young Asian woman, Crystal (Emma Lung) is being quizzed by Immigration Officers who learn that she has been imprisoned against her will and held for the purpose of prostitution. We then go back three weeks in time, to meet Melbourne office worker, Ashley Hudson (Veronica Sywak), who goes to the airport to pick up a passenger. There she is approached by Sunee, (Amanda Ma), a woman who has just flown over from China desperate to find her missing daughter. Ashley’s at first reluctant search leads her into the murky world of human trafficking, where Crystal, along with Vanya (Saskia Burmeister) and Rubi (Sun Park) have been lured to Australia on the promise of being dancers, only to find themselves held as sex slaves.
Amidst all the publicity about illegal immigrant smuggling the important issue of sexual trafficking is often ignored. Inspired by actual events and court transcripts, this powerful film reveals a world many of us have little idea exists, at least in Australia. As the story unfolds, the sinister workings of human trafficking and enforced prostitution are exposed, along with the harshly uncompassionate approach taken by the Immigration Department in dealing with its victims.
The Jammed works on multiple levels, both as a thriller and as a powerful piece of social commentary. Director/writer McLachlan deftly interlaces the fictional story line with the real human issues. Full credit must go first to the excellent scripting which rings true at every turn. Add to this the splendid performances by the young women, who manage to elicit such intense empathy for their shocking plights. Emma Lung (Peaches, 48 Shades Of Brown) skilfully captures Crystal’s fear, combined with her increasingly resilient attitude, while Park displays Rubi’s extreme fragility, especially in one scene of searing emotional intensity. Burmeister’s Vanya (Hating Alison Ashley, Thunderstruck) is a powerhouse of sexuality, resentment and strength. Sywak (Romulus My Father) also shows her exceptional talent in a measured and authentic performance. Also be commended is the fine cinematography which manages to capture Melbourne with an immediacy and vibrancy that is at once alluring and impersonal and the empathetic soundtrack, composed by the director’s brother, Grant McLachlan.
The film takes a strongly committed approach to the suffering women, revealing their vulnerability and contrasting it with the detestable brutality of the men who exploit these naïve and hapless girls. From the heavily-tattooed client to those actually running the prostitution ring, men emerge as having very little to commend them, as all the male actors in their respective roles convincingly bring home. Even with the occasional male who attempts to be helpful we are left with the feeling that they cannot understand what it must be like for a woman to be treated in such a sub-human way. Several scenes are very raw in their depiction of physical abuse and drawing us into intense sympathy for the girls’ desperate situation. A compassionate and inspiring film, The Jammed should be seen by everyone with a concern for social justice and the aspiration to make a difference in our too-often complacent society.


The Jammed

George Palathingal, reviewerAugust 30, 2007

As the story races on, the meaning of the film's title becomes harrowingly accurate.

Saskia Burmeister as Vanya, a woman subjected to sexual slavery in Jammed.

Run Time
89 minutes
MA 15+
Dee McLachlan
Emma Lung, Saskia Burmeister, Sun Park, Veronica Sywak
stars-4 half
You know from the start that this film isn't going to have a happy ending. The caption warning that it was inspired by Australian court transcripts is one clue; opening scenes involving a vacant-eyed Chinese prostitute being interrogated by immigration officers, and the frustrated white woman who turns up to help her, hammer the point home.
But in the world of dramatic cinema, happy endings can be overrated - and never more so than when the alternative is a film such as The Jammed. In a time when every other idiot seems to have a story to tell and, worse still, a wide variety of forums to clog up doing so, here's a tale actually worth telling. It doesn't hurt, either, that this film is so superbly put together.
The prostitute being questioned answers to the name of Crystal (Emma Lung, from Peaches) and it's her hellish Australian experience we flash back to see unfold. Crystal was sent to Sydney to sort out a family debt she thought she was going to pay off by dancing on tables. Having been brutally set straight, she is driven to an illegal Melbourne brothel to work off her debt along with two other young women in similar circumstances, the Russian Vanya (Saskia Burmeister) and the Chinese Rubi (Sun Park).
In a more affluent part of town, a glimmer of hope appears when a bored office worker named Ashley (Veronica Sywak) gets roped into giving a Chinese stranger a lift. This desperate older woman is looking for her missing daughter and, despite Ashley's instinct to mind her own business, her humanity gets the better of her and she gets drawn into the search. She'll confront many unpredictable scenarios in her quest to help, but ultimately how much can she help, if at all? As the story races on, the meaning of the film's title becomes harrowingly accurate.
That this film was made in Australia and mainly by natives (although writer-director Dee McLachlan is South African) is all well and good but really neither here nor there; what's important is that The Jammed will be revelatory and powerful to most audiences anywhere. It's dynamically lit and filmed and credibly acted, with an elegant score to boot, but there's much more to it than that. It isn't provocative for the sake of being provocative, nor is it merely some worthy exercise in politically correct filmmaking.
Sexual trafficking, modern slavery, call it what you want - the point is there's a terrifying amount of truth in what this film depicts.
Rarely do you come across a film that everyone could learn from



Dee McLachlan (third from left) hopes the audience realises the types of cities we’re really living in.
The sinister workings of illegal prostitution have burdened our detention centres and courts for many years. Since the recent uncovering of sex trafficking in Australia, transsexual director and writer Dee McLachlan has embarked on a creative journey to tackle the issue.Her latest film, The Jammed,captures the true essence of Melbourne and Sydney’s sex trade.“I once read that 40 girls were being held captive in Kew – an upper class suburb of Melbourne. I was in such disbelief that a thing like this was possible,” McLachlan said.“My script is mild compared to what really goes on. A large percentage of the girls don’t know that they’re coming to Australia to become prostitutes and they’re treated like dirt.“I remember reading one transcript where a girl was repeatedly raped until she was broken in and agreed to do it. Some girls who refuse are locked away for weeks on end and fed pizza under the door.”McLachlan said the demand for prostitutes in Australia and the lack of local girls willing to go into the business were key reasons why women were trafficked into the country and forced to serve as sex slaves. She said the problem was more pronounced in America where up to 50,000 women a year are illegally brought in to work as prostitutes.“Our government is in denial. It’s much easier to deport them than to sort out the problems and see them as victims,” McLachlan said. “Many don’t testify because they fear the consequences and retribution on their family.“Some girls won’t testify even with [a 30-day temporary] visa. They say, ‘Why should we help you and get our lives threatened at the other end?’ Other countries have amended the laws and the victims get residency and protection, which helps when testifying.”McLachlan said The Jammed took just 19 days to film. The script centres on a Chinese mother who comes to Australia to find her missing daughter. She enlists the help of an innocent bystander and together they rescue three girls from a trafficking syndicate.It is a graphic and confronting film, which contains rape and physical abuse scenes. But it is also an emotional movie that taps into the strength of relationships, desperation and a need to survive.“Many of these slaves carry a large amount of shame and guilt – some even take their own lives, so they’re not looked down upon by their family,” McLachlan said.“I never wanted to make a movie that was black and white. There’s no real closure. I hope the gay and transsexual community can see the struggle for rights and freedom in the film.”

The Jammed opens at the Palace Verona, Paddington, and Palace Norton St, Leichhardt, on 30 August.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Check out the podcast here:


There is only a handful of tickets left for tonight's charity screening which will be available on the door at Cinema Nova...head down early. The Sydney event last night was terrific!


If small is beautiful, it shows

REEL TIME: Lynden Barber August 29, 2007

MELBOURNE film The Jammed seems the unlikeliest success story.It's a confronting, low-budget movie set against a background of human trafficking and the sex trade. Yet the film, directed by Dee McLachlan, has broken box office records in its first week on a single screen at Melbourne's Nova cinema, leading to its release in cinemas across the country. The impressive film, starring up-and-comers Emma Lung, Veronica Sywak and Saskia Burmeister, and inspired by cases drawn from court transcripts, couldn't attract an established commercial distributor but was granted a brief season at the Nova. Now that season has been extended indefinitely, after the film earned $38,000 in its first week and followed it up this weekend with earnings of $32,000, a figure likely to rise to $40,000 for the week: a sign the initial success is no flash in the pan. The film has already opened at three other Melbourne cinemas and will be released in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth tomorrow, and in Canberra next month, while screenings in Tasmania, South Australia and the Northern Territory are being negotiated.
Nova owner Natalie Miller describes the results as extraordinary. But when so many good films, including Australian ones, fall over, to what does this one owe its initial success? Miller isolates four factors: its quality, effective grassroots marketing (mainly street posters), a controversy in the Victorian media over its rejection by distributors and the Melbourne International Film Festival (even though it was selected for the Sydney and Brisbane festivals and won a prize at the latter), and three key rave reviews, two of them from ABC television's At the Movies. Would it have performed so well without the controversy? Miller isn't sure. Reel Time hears the Sydney preview figures at the weekend were not in the same ball park as the Melbourne ones. But it's an impressive start for a film that has no trailer or big stars and initially seemed destined to go straight to DVD.
NOVA'S Miller, meanwhile, is planning an exclusive season for another powerful low-budget local film, Kriv Stenders's Boxing Day, which was funded by the Adelaide Film Festival. Yet another local film without an established distributor but with healthy revenues in limited release is 4, a musical documentary based on Vivaldi's The Four Seasons and directed by Tim Slade. The film, praised glowingly by The Australian's Evan Williams, earned about $15,500 at Sydney's Cremorne Orpheum in its first week. Orpheum general manager Paul Dravet says its popularity exemplifies a trend: audiences are returning to "offbeat, independent, exclusive" films and showing less interest in mainstream Hollywood titles. As 4 doesn't have a distributor, Dravet deals directly with the filmmakers. "That could be an interesting future for us: bypassing the distributor," he says. "That means we take full control of the advertising campaign."
IN its 40th week at Dravet's cinema (and therefore surely by far the longest-running film in Australia) is As It is in Heaven, a Swedish film that was overlooked by distributors but which audiences have clearly taken to their hearts. All of this points to a future that resembles the days when individual cinemas would play a successful title for months on end: a pattern that ended when it became common for films to be released simultaneously at several cinemas in each city and, as a consequence, they burned out relatively quickly. Even the smaller films have generally been expected to do well during their opening weekend instead of being allowed to slowly build an audience via word of mouth.
Someone acutely aware of this is Tony Ayres, writer and director of the local drama The Home Song Stories, starring Joan Chen. In an instance of viral marketing, Ayres and his colleagues emailed a letter to all their friends and contacts ahead of the film's release, urging them to turn out on the first weekend and to forward the message to 10 more people. Reel Time received the email from a non-film industry source, suggesting the message successfully circulated beyond the usual industry crowd. "Cinema exhibitors regard the opening weekend as the most significant time in the film's season," reads the email. "A strong opening weekend will also encourage other cinemas to consider screening The Home Song Stories. Australian films have limited publicity budgets compared to the big American films. We can't afford billboards or TV ads. We are relying on the kindness of friends and colleagues to help us let the public know that our film is screening." One of the film's producers, Michael McMahon, says feedback suggests the campaign seemed to work very well, with some recipients organising groups of people to see the film at the weekend.
THE Home Song Stories is one of nine Australian features that will be screened next month at the Toronto International Film Festival. The others are Gillian Armstrong's Death Defying Acts, starring Guy Pearce and Catherine Zeta Jones, Richard Roxburgh's Romulus, My Father, Scott Hicks's documentary about composer Philip Glass, Glass: a Portrait of Philip in Twelve Parts, Rolf de Heer's silent comedy Dr Plonk, Peter Duncan's Unfinished Sky, Ben Hackworth's Corroboree, Lawrence Johnston's doco Night and Peter Carstairs's September (the first film from the Tropfest Feature Program).

Monday, August 27, 2007


This article discusses how many Australian movies slip thru the cracks and straight to DVD. This was almost the case with The Jammed, alas it is now coming to cinemas around the country...

Sunday, August 26, 2007


Discussion, comments and views continue to roll out over at Jim Schembri's blog on The Age website, keep em coming:


The audience response to The Jammed as being simply overwhelming and we are delighted to inform everyone that The Jammed is opening soon at a cinema near you:

New South Wales

PALACE NORTON STREET (Sneak peaks from 24/807) 99 Norton St, Leichhardt. 02 9550 0122
VERONA (Sneak peaks from 24/807) 17 Oxford St, Paddington. 02 9360 6099

PLAZA THEATRE (5/9/07)47 Bold St, Laurieton. 02 6559 8755
THE REGENT THEATRE (31/8/07) Murwillumbah. 02 6672 8265
AVOCA BEACH (30/8/07) Avoca Beach Drive, Avoca Beach. 02 4382 1677


DENDY CANBERRA CENTRE (September)Level 2 North Quarter, Canberra Centre. 02 6221 8900


CINEMA NOVA (16/807) Lygon Street, Carlton. 03 9347 5331
PALACE BRIGHTON (30/8/07) 294 Bay St, Brighton. 03 9596 3590
METRO BORONIA (30/8/07)212 - 216 Dorset Rd, Boronia. 03 9762 8744
CAMEO CINEMAS (30/8/07)1628 Burwood Hwy, Belgrave. 03 9754 7844 to top

Western Australia

CINEMA PARADISO (30/8/07)164 James St, Northbridge. 08 9227 1771


DENDY (30/8/07)346 George St, Brisbane. 07 3211 3244
DENDY PORTSIDE (30/8/07)Portside Wharf, Remora Rd, Hamilton. 07 3137 6000

More cities & cinemas to be added soon check out for updates


Pick up a copy of Who it's on newstands


The Inside Film Awards are the people's choice awards for Australian films.
The Inside Film Awards celebrates and champions Australian film and creative talent. They facilitate a unique dialogue between Australian filmmakers and their audience, support and promote Australian cinema and invigorate the national screen culture.

With less than three weeks till voting closes head over to :
and RATE THE JAMMED, Veronica Sywak is nominated for best actress & Adriano Cortese fo best actor.


The Jammed spreads

It's been a big week for producers of a low budget Australian film called The Jammed, about the sex slave business in Australian brothels. This film was passed over by every Australian funding agency and rejected by the Melbourne International Film Festival. It won an Interfaith Jury Award at the Brisbane International Film festival and was set for just a modest ten day season at one cinema in Melbourne, when Margaret Pomeranz and David Stratton gave it a four star rating on their ABC Television show last week. If you're listening to the Sunday morning edition of this show, you may have heard producer Dee McLachlan talking to Amanda Smith about the response to the film.

Now Palace has picked the film up to open in two cinemas in Sydney from next weekend, with sneak previews this weekend. And the filmmakers have bids from most Australian states and New Zealand, so expect the rollout from next weekend.
Listen to the audio over at:


The Jammed is shaping up as the little Aussie movie that could.

Unable to get government funding, writer-producer-director Dee McLachlan forged ahead anyway to dramatise grim stories of sex slavery in Australia.

Distributors weren’t interested in putting The Jammed into cinemas, so the filmmakers paid for a short run on one screen themselves. The response has been so good that their movie is now going into expanded release.

The film is based on true stories and transcripts. It begins with Emma Lung’s Eurasian prostitute Crystal being questioned by immigration officials while Veronica Sywak’s concerned lawyer Ashley tries to prevent her deportation.

We flashback to see how Crystal was lured from China to Australia by men who told her she’d make big money as a dancer.

Ashley, meanwhile, has been drawn into this seedy world after reluctantly helping a Chinese mother track down her missing daughter Rubi, played by Sun Park. We also see the plight of Saskia Burmeister’s Russian sex slave Vanya.

The structure of The Jammed is a little unwieldy. I think I would’ve preferred to see the story unfold chronologically, which might’ve also allowed for rounder characters. But it’s a thought-provoking drama with some exciting thriller moments.

The performances from the up-and-coming young cast are all good and I especially liked the real-world bewilderment of Veronica Sywak’s heroine.

Writer-director Dee McLachlan doesn’t soft-pedal the material. This is gritty stuff but she also draws the line at rubbing our noses in it too graphically.

The Jammed illuminates the deadly catch 22 these women face - liberation from sex slavery means more degradation in the form of a detention centre and deportation.

And it scores points for not serving up neat answers to what is a messy, complex problem.

I’m glad The Jammed has made it against the odds and it rates three stars as a worthy look at a horrific world that’s hidden from most Australians.
Reviewed by Michael Adams

To submit your own review of The Jammed visit the SBS Movie Show website:


To look at the bigger picture surrounding The Jammed is to witness the story of an inexorable film. Writer/producer/director Dee McLachlan crafted a feature that by any normal standards shouldn't have been made. With very little in terms of funding, and no one willing to distribute it, it's a wonder that it got released at all. Since several high profile critics gave rave reviews, however, it seems that it will now get the release it deserves.
To read the full review head over to:


"The Jammed" - Australian Thriller Reveals A Dark Underbelly In Human Trafficking Feedback

One of the Australian films that screened at this year's Brisbane International Film Festival is 'The Jammed', a story set amidst the human trafficking and illegal prostitution that is taking place in our cities

The film begins as Crystal (Emma Lung), a young Indonesian girl, is questioned by immigration officials and about to be sent to a detention centre. It then shifts back three weeks, as insurance clerk Ashley Hudson (Veronica Sywak) is drawn into Melbourne's sinister underworld when she reluctantly agrees to help a Thai woman Sunee (Amanda Ma) find her daughter Rubi (Sun Park).

Speaking at the BIFF screening of 'The Jammed', writer and director Dee McLachlan said that her film presents a "huge cultural calamity" currently taking place in Australia. "This is about displaced people," she said, referring to the victims of human trafficking - 30% of whom have no idea they will be working as prostitutes.

"They work for nothing, and then get deported," she said. Ms McLachlan said that the inspiration for 'The Jammed' came from a series of court cases, in particular the case of Gary Glasner who in the late 1990s, was found guilty of violations of the Victorian Prostitution Control Act (the federal slavery and sexual servitude legislation had not been introduced at that stage). Glazner received a penalty of 18 months imprisonment (fully suspended for two years) and a $31,000 fine.

According to Ms McLachlan, one criticism of the film, put to her by a human rights advocate was that the girls should have been shown working in a legal brothel, because in reality, that's where they are. Actress Veronica Sywak (who had initially auditioned for the role of Vanya - played by Saskia Burmesiter) also spoke at the screening. Of her role as Ashley, Ms Sywak said she had to "plumb the depths of human debauchery and sadness." "It was an incredibly emotionally charged set," she said. Ms McLachlan said that such was the potency of the subject matter, on difficult days the assistance of a "talent alignment" person was sought for counselling purposes.

“The Jammed' is a powerful piece of cinema that delves into Australia's dark underbelly - a confronting and unpleasant place - that like Ashley Hudson, many of us would prefer to turn our back on. It was interesting to see Debra Lawrence (Pippa from 'Home & Away') in the role of the heartless DIMIA Case Officer, and Kate Atkinson ('Seachange's' Constable Karen Miller) as Ashley's detached, middle class friend Gabi.

'The Jammed' screens exclusively in Brisbane at the Dendy from August 30.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


The Jammed (Dee McLachlan, 2007, Australia)
Rating TBA Running time 89 minutes

Review by Bernard Hemingway

Synopsis: When insurance agent, Ashley Hudson (Veronica Sywak), goes to the airport to collect someone as a favour for a friend she finds herself reluctantly led into the world of sex trafficking.
The Jammed is a hard-hitting action drama with a compassionate heart. Written and directed by Dee McLachlan, a South African-born director making her first feature in Australia, it is a worthy addition to the catalogue of “social issue” films, works which address real life injustices via the format of cinematic fiction (the opening titles tell us that the story was inspired by court transcripts and actual events). Made by women, including, besides McLachlan, who also co-produced with Sally Ayre-Smith and co-edited with Anne Carter, Andrea Buck (who writes for this website) as executive producer, it is all the stronger for that fact as this brings to its subject matter, the brutal exploitation of women by men for commercial gain, the values of commitment, credibility and empathy in equal measure.
The script, with its well-developed array of characters, gives the film its solid foundation. Here the device of making the main character an ordinary young woman with a certain amount of emotional baggage is particularly effective as, in its contrast to the young women she tries to help, it both grounds the story in the everyday and brings home the message of injustice which is at the heart of the film. Also effective is the film’s narrative structure which in demanding the audience’s close attention to track events keeps our attention focused on the collision of worlds as officialdom, the workaday and the underworld interpenetrate.
Veronica Sywak is a strong presence at the epicentre of the story, playing the part with the kind of level-headed tenacity that actresses like Toni Collette and Cate Blanchett have made so typical of their screen personae. No doubt credit here also goes to McLachlan who judiciously keeps the film well clear of the strident or crusading. In this respect, the film’s score by the director’s brother, Grant McLachlan, has an important role, the simple and subdued music underlying the broader sense of human tragedy underpinning the specifics of this tale. Impressively shot by Peter Falk, Melbourne, particularly at night, has rarely looked better. Indeed it might be argued that a grittier visual style would have been more appropriate to the subject matter but the upside to this is that the film has more appeal as a cinematic experience. The Jammed is not without it flaws, notably in the casting of Emma Lung and a somewhat provocative but under-developed sub-story involving the laundering of dirty money in the galleries of high art, but overall it is an impressively well-made film that commendably throws light into a dark corner of our society


SBS film critic, Tim Hunter, reviews, The Jammed. He's with host Greg Dyett listen here:

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


THE JAMMED is confirmed as the HIGHEST weekly opening SCREEN AVERAGE for an independent Australian film and FOURTH highest for all Australian films on record after Lantana, Crocodile Dundee II & I.....Just a few weeks ago this film was going to be released straight to DVD, how things change!



"Whoever wins the best actress awards at the AFIs are going to have to thank Emma Lung, Saskia Burmeister and Veronica Sywack for not being in the running." Jim Schembri The Age

Check out Jim's Schembri's new blog topic that asks the question 'Should critics go soft on Australian films?'


Last night The Jammed's writer/director Dee Mclachlan was interviewed by BBC radio international. We will update you as to when the interview will be broadcast and how you can hear the podcast....


Yes The Jammed is finally hitting cinemas in New South Wales! Catch the Sneak peak sessions from this Friday 24th of August:

PALACE VERONA 17 Oxford Street, Paddington
Fri/Sat/Sun 2.30pm, 4.30pm, 6.30pm, 8.30pm

PALACE NORTON STREET99 Norton Street, Leichhardt
Fri/Sat 11.30am, 3.30pm, 7.30pm, 9.30pm
Sun 10.10, 2.10, 6.10 and 8.10pm

& Smashing Melbourne box office records at:

Lygon Street, Carlton

Tuesday, August 21, 2007



Writer/director Dee McLachlan and one of the film’s stars, Saskia Burmeister talk to Andrew L. Urban about The Jammed – an exposé of Australia’s sex trafficking – which McLachlan calls the new slave trade - and its sinister underworld, which the authorities do little to control and even less to help the victims.
A special counsellor was on the set during some of the most challenging scenes in The Jammed, to help the cast cope with the emotional stress, says Saskia Burmeister, who plays Vanya, the Russian girl enslaved by Melbourne sex traffickers. One scene made her shudder after each take. And no, these sex traffickers are not burly, hairy, dark monsters, but middle class Melbournians; the owners of the illegal brothel, Glassman, is played by Andrew S. ...
The full article can be read at: urban cinephile subscribers only.


"The Jammed" After Initial Rejections, Makes Waves After 4 Star Ratings

August 17, 2007 8:33 a.m. EST
Radhika Basuthakur - AHN News Writer

Melbourne, Australia (AHN) - A movie about the sex slave trade in Melbourne, Australia, which originally was to remain a 10-day independent cinema release, is now touted to become one of the biggest Australian movies of the year.
"The Jammed", written and directed by Dee McLachlan, was turned down by government funding bodies and even rejected by every film distributor. However, its low-key debut did a 360-degree turn when the hosts of Australian Broadcasting Corp. (ABC) TV's 'At The Movies' - Margaret Pomeranz and David Stratton - both rated the movie as four-star. The very next day "The Age's" film critic raved about the movie as well.
Distributors who initially rejected the film, have since hounded McLachlan to screen the provocative feature film about Melbourne's sex trade. The story is that of a Chinese mother searching for her missing daughter, and it features a cast of up-and-coming young actors including Sydney's Emma Lung, Saskia Burmeister and Sun Park.
McLachlan said, "It's been quite astonishing the amount of support we have received from all over the country. I mean, I think we have had about 15 emails from various organizations ... that are saying, 'we will get the movie out to the public' ... It's been absolutely amazing."
She expects to sign the deal Monday to screen the movie in cinemas across Australia.

Monday, August 20, 2007


Plain sailing for Saskia

Graham Readfearn
July 25, 2007 12:00am
Saskia (far right) with The Jammed cast at Sydney Film Festival

MOVING effortlessly from navy officer to Russian prostitute, there are few dangers of Aussie actor Saskia Burmeister being typecast.
Burmeister, 22, is racking up the acting credits at an impressive rate.
"What I'm always looking for is diversity," Burmeister says.
"But I want to be working with really great producers, directors and inspiring cast members."
Burmeister plays Lieutenant Nikki Caetano in the Channel 9 drama series Sea Patrol.
Brisbanites will also see her play a prostitute in gritty Aussie movie The Jammed when it screens next month at the Brisbane International Film Festival. Already under her belt are TV roles in Water Rats and Blue Heelers and movie credits for Ned Kelly, Hating Alison Ashley and Jewboy.
Burmeister says it was the diversity of the role and the quality of cast and crew that attracted her to Sea Patrol.
"With Lisa McCune being attached to it, I knew it was going to be a lot of fun and that I was going to be inspired," she says.
Much of the show was filmed on and off the decks of navy vessel HMAS Ipswich in the Coral Sea off Mission Beach, north Queensland.
Burmeister says she was fortunate to be able to work with real-life navy crew who gave her and the cast plenty of advice.
"It was just method acting the entire time. The navy really took us under their wings . . . or should that be hulls.
"We were addressing each other by our crew names and were living it 24/7. It was certainly a real adventure to shoot.
"There were three navy officers that taught me everything about their experiences and about being a navigator. I reckon I would be able to plot a course now!"
As well as looking for her next acting project and preparing for a second series of Sea Patrol, Burmeister is also planning her wedding to Aussie actor Jamie Croft, hopefully early next year.
The pair met in 2002 on the set of her first movie, The Pact.
"We played boyfriend and girlfriend," says Burmeister, who reveals her fella took a traditional approach to the proposal. "Jamie asked my parents first and then proposed on Christmas Day at my family's beach house."
Before the off-screen wedding, fans of Sea Patrol will see Burmeister's character in very choppy seas when it comes to liaising with crew members.
"My character, Nikki, is a bit rebellious and she is pushing the boundaries a bit, especially with her love affair with ET. But hopefully, the public will see her as someone that they can relate to."


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The Jammed

The Jammed is one of the best Australian Films of this year and it makes you wonder what sort of country is Australia turning into when this sort of movie has troubles getting funding and a decent release? So get off facebook, take off your ipod headphones and go out and support local films and watch this brilliant movie.
Young Melbourne woman, Ashley Hudson, is drawn into a world she had no idea existed as she reluctantly agrees to help a Chinese mother search for her missing daughter. As the story unravels, the sinister workings of human trafficking, illegal prostitution and governmental deportation are exposed. Inspired by actual events and court transcripts, The Jammed is a gritty social thriller.


Not the Lucky Country

It is estimated that around a thousand girls are imported into Australia every year to find themselves trapped in sexual servitude and working in often appalling conditions. The demand for young Asian girls is ever increasing. When they are of no further use they are often "dobbed in" to Immigration and deported. Recently sex trafficking in Europe has been a hot subject for TV, as world wide up to four million people are trafficked annually into sexual slavery. Apparently Australia is the tenth main destination for victims. On this basis Dee McLachlan has scripted her new movie which was screened at the Sydney Film Festival.
Ashley Hudson (Veronica Sywak) with a dreary job as an insurance clerk does a favour in picking up a friend from Tullamarine airport, also giving a lift to a Sunee (Amanda Ma) a mother from China desperately looking for her daughter Rubi (Sun Park) whom it transpires has been tricked, kidnapped, violated and forced to become a sex slave at a Melbourne brothel. Rubi makes friends with other victims Crystal (Emma Lung) and Vanya (Saskia Burmeister). Ashley bored with her routine life takes pity on Sunee and rather reluctantly decides to help her find her daughter. In so doing becomes herself frighteningly entangled in the local underworld of sex slavery and gangland violence.
But determined Ashley discovers the illegal brothel which is owned by Vic Glassman (Andrew S. Gilbert) a Toorak entrepreneur, whose wife runs an art gallery and enjoys the patronage of the social set. A cover for what is a very shocking business indeed. Ashley tries to rescue the three girls from the brothel but with dire consequences. Crystal the young Indonesian girl is finally to be deported, despite her allegations of sexual slavery in untenable conditions which seems to make little impact on the DIMIA officer.
Dee McLachlan's script is well researched based on court transcripts, so it does carry some weight although at times the dialogue verges on clunky. However the actors do very well, especially the girls in the often vicious and explicit scenes. Worthy of mention are Veronica Sywak (Romulus My Father) an attractive but fiery protagonist, Emma Lung (Peaches, Stranded) convincing as the abused Crystal, a strong performance from Saskia Burmeister (Hating Alison Ashley), and Andrew S. Gilbert (Look Both Ways) does a neat turn as the ironic gangster. Things do become a trifle heavy when the people at the Dept of Immigration down to the receptionist all seem to be trained by the Gestapo.
Dee McLachlan (previously known as Duncan) is a South African film director with credits for Born Wild, and The Second Jungle Book. In directing this movie, McLachlan runs a tight ship although the first reel is somewhat confusing, but after a muddling start the film gets its grip on you and doesn't let go. The photography is available light for the many night scenes and has the gritty look of a television documentary which seems to work in the film's favour. Guitar and strings with atonal voices for a music track doesn't. The music simply fails to help the tension on the screen.
As it happened, I had just seen The Home Song Stories before the preview for this movie. Curiously they have much in common. Dark themes, immigration of Asians in the 60's or illegally now, largely filmed in Melbourne, and disturbing endings. Possibly comparison might be made with Tony Ayres' polished production although one must consider the budget restraints of The Jammed with just a 19 day shoot. It's a worthy effort with a confronting and concerning story that deserves to be widely seen.
John Bale



Writer/director Dee McLachlan's edgy expose on foreign sex slaves in Melbourne is a fast, arresting and hard-hitting film boostered by exceptional performances and a tightly honed screenplay.
production info
Cast: Emma Lung, Veronica Sywak, Saskia Burmeister, Sun Park, Amanda Ma, Andrew S. Gilbert, Alison Whyte, Debra Lawrence, Damien Richardson, Kate Atkinson, Todd MacDonald, Masa YamaguchiDirector: Dee McLachlan Screenplay: Dee McLachlan Cinematography: Peter Falk Music: Grant Innes McLachlan Australian theatrical release date: August 16 (Melbourne), August 30 (national) 2007
It could just as well have been called The Damned. Writer/director Dee McLachlan's edgy expose on foreign sex slaves in Melbourne lock and loads a hot topic largely shirked by the media, using several powerful performances and a tightly honed script to pump it full of knife-edge, gut-based, flesh-for-sale, street curb realism.
Inspired by actual court transcripts, McLachlan's direction takes on the fatalistic perspective of a court room stenographer: matter-of-fact, a-to-b, no place for didacticism, no room to get preachy. The Jammed comes on hard and fast and McLachlan shoots for a hybrid of social realist, thriller and investigatory drama. The scope is tight and narrow so there is no room for her, or the audience, or the characters, to budge. But McLachlan also carves out a tiny aperture of light from which the darkness is momentarily illuminated. It's a pin point beam to that rank alternate reality on the Other Side - the underbelly, the bizarro world, the wrong side of the looking glass. It is a place, dare I say it, that we sometimes visit in the movies. McLachlan wants major city audiences to understand that this place is more or less in front of our eyes.
It is through the character of preoccupied career woman Ashley (Veronica Sywak) that general society peeks through the shades. When picking up a friend of a friend from the airport Ashley agrees to give a random woman, Sunee (Amanda Ma), a ride to the city. She quickly discovers Sunee is from China and trying to locate her missing daughter Rubi (Sun Park). There is nobody else to help, so Ashley agrees to have her phone number printed on missing person posters and vola - one night she gets a phone call. The story switches between Ashley in reluctant Nancy Drew mode and three foreigners caught in an inextricable rut of prostitution and illegal citizenship: Rubi, Crystal (Emma Lung) and Vanya (Saskia Burmeister). If they go to the police they get deported. If they don't, they wave their rights as well as their bodies. The story's harsh grasp of reality boxes them in at every turn; with no ins or outs in sight, The Jammed is a title that rings true.
Rarely does an Australian film - or any film - exhibit such a strong line-up of young, fresh-faced female performances. Fresh-faced is not a literal summation of the downtrodden, woebegone, makeup-stained, shabbily clothed appearances of Park, Lung and Burmeister, all of whom are totally convincing as real people dehumanised into rag dolls and live stock. Veronica Sywak is a perfect fit as the level-headed, middle-of-the-road, this-could-be-you incidental hero, a role that strings the cast together and cross-examines the audience with that simple, timeless hypothetical: how would we act? Sywak segues smoothly from nonchalance to gusto as the stakes of the story rise like tempers around a poker table.
Every exceptional performance in this film comes from a female, though McLachlan ascertains with savage lucidity that this is a "man's world" - codename for barbaric and brutal. That these women are not held captive by literal chains is a powerful reminder that the shackles of slavery come in many forms. It is rare for a female writer/director to capture male chauvinism with such meat hook authenticity (without overdoing it), just as it is rare for a male writer/director to paint female characters as impressionably as they are here. McLachlan understands both sides of the gender fence better than most, an understanding no doubt partly obtained by her personal experiences - when Dee McLachlan directed her last film, The Second Jungle Book (1997), she was in fact Duncan McLachlan, though that's not entirely relevant here. What is relevant – tremendously so - is the film itself. The Jammed is a fast, thudding, ultra-timely expose, a bucket of icy cold water thrown on the groggy, ambivalent face of public conscience.

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Every once in a while, an Australian film emerges with a story of such rare power and insight that it demands to be seen. Soroptimist International – Victoria Region, in conjunction with Roadshow Entertainment, is delighted to present a very special night at Cinema Nova, Lygon Street, on Wednesday 29 August at 6.30pm to view The Jammed. A story based on real events and court transcripts, The Jammed unravels the sinister workings of human trafficking, illegal prostitution and deportation.
We are delighted to offer you a rare opportunity to meet and ask questions of the movie Director, Executive Producer and key members of the cast. Join us for drinks and nibbles following the screening.
Book now to save disappointment! Details on the attached flyer are summarised below for your convenience. Please help make this event a successful one by forwarding this invitation to all of your friends, family and work colleagues.
Proceeds from this special screening will be given to Project Respect to assist with the running of a safe house for women and young girls who have been trafficked into slavery.
What: The Jammed, an Australian thriller based on real events
When: Wednesday 29 August, 6.30pm (arrive early to collect pre-booked tickets)
Where: Cinema Nova, Lygon Street, Carton, Melbourne
Tickets: $25 each (sorry no concessions)
Payment: Payment up front please, either:
Call (03) 9551 2066 with your credit card details (please note, payment by credit card will incur a 4% surcharge)
EFT: Account Name: SIBOC, BSB No: 033157; Account No: 861061; Identify your deposit: “Jammed & your surname/initial”


Come along to the very special charity screening of The Jammed in Sydney, all proceeds will be donated to the UTS Anti Slavery Project.
Cast Q & A and drinks to be held after the screening.
Book now to save disappointment!

What: The Jammed, an Australian thriller based on real events
When: Tuesday 28th August, 6.30pm (arrive early to collect pre-booked tickets)
Where: UTS Gutherie Theatre Tickets, 702-730 Harris St, Broadway
Tickets: $20 each($15 concessions)
Payment: Payment up front please, either: Call (03) 9551 2066 with your credit card details (please note, payment by credit card will incur a 4% surcharge)
EFT: Account Name: SIBOC, BSB No: 033157; Account No: 861061; Identify your deposit: “Jammed & your surname/initial”

See you there!!!!


Sex slave film enjoys sudden success

By Rebekah van Druten
Posted August 17, 2007 11:48:00 Updated August 17, 2007 11:54:00

The Jammed tells the story of a sex-trafficking syndicate in Melbourne.

Just days ago it was only going to have a 10-day release at an independent cinema in Melbourne.
Now The Jammed, a new feature film about the sex slave trade in Melbourne, is on the brink of becoming one of the biggest Australian movies of 2007.
Writer and director Dee McLachlan says the film's fortune changed when the hosts of ABC TV's At The Movies, Margaret Pomeranz and David Stratton, both gave it a four-star rating. A rave review appeared in The Age the next day.
McLachlan's phone has been ringing non-stop ever since. She says distributors that originally rejected the film are now eager to screen it.
"It's been quite astonishing the amount of support we have received from all over the country," she said.
"I mean, I think we have had about 15 emails from various organisations ... that are saying, 'we will get the movie out to the public' ... It's been absolutely amazing.
"There's a, sort of, groundswell of support from all kinds of people, organisations that I've never heard of in my life saying, 'we want to show this movie in our city, we'll get it to Brisbane, we'll get it to Sydney'."
McLachlan expects a deal to show the film in cinemas across the country will be stitched up on Monday.
To hear a podcast of Dee's interview with John Faine head to the 774 website:


Clint's Review : The Jammed

Date : August 5, 2007 Posted By : Clint Morris

Veronica Sywak, Emma Lung, Saskia Burmeister, Sun Park, Amanda Ma, Andrew S.Gilbert

There are films that’ll make you cry. There are films that’ll make you laugh. Some that’ll even keep you up at night. “The Jammed” will make you ‘Google’.
Thought-provoking and, at times, alarming, Dee McLachlan’s Melbourne-made drama fixes on a topic rarely delegated newspaper space : human trafficking; and not in South Africa or Eastern Europe but right here in pothole-ridden polluted Melbourne. As you sleep comfortably in your bed tonight, faintly listening to 3AW on the clock radio, somewhere out there some unsuspecting foreigner is being forced into being the good that some scumbag’s going to use for barter.
Australia is a destination country for some women from East Asia and Eastern Europe trafficked for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. The majority of trafficking victims were women who traveled to Australia voluntarily to work in both legal and illegal brothels, but were subject to conditions of debt bondage or involuntary servitude. There were several reports of men and women from India, the People's Republic of China, and South Korea migrating to Australia temporarily for work whose labor conditions amounted to slavery, debt bondage, and involuntary servitude. - U.S. State Dept Trafficking in Persons Report, June, 2007
Based on a script by McLachlan, “The Jammed” tells the story of an Asian woman who arrives in Melbourne determined to find her missing daughter. With the aid of the reluctant Ashley (Veronica Swyak),the distraught woman discovers her daughter Ruby (Sun Park) has been sold into slavery – and as a consequence, her life won’t be the same. Now that Ruby has been discovered, there’s hope for a couple of other sex slaves, Vanya (Saskia Burmeister) and Crystal (Emma Lung) – or is there?
If it were a Junior cricketer, “The Jammed” wouldn’t be picked in a line-up. It wouldn’t. It’s too small, it’s talents aren’t as showy as the others and it’s seemingly quite keen just to stay as quiet as a POW. Like the cricketer though, it does have the talent and it’s also got a lot more offer than some of the other players do – in this case, a story that’ll have you thinking and talking for days to come – in most cases. Give it a pitch and it’ll bowl you over. It just needs the pitch first.
The film itself may be a little too small in scale to ever compete with the big boys – it feels a little underwhelming in parts (especially the finale – which needed a little more punch) - and doesn’t have the all-encompassing story that many theatre goers might be hankering for, but if it was to do an intentionally small piece about an intriguing subject then McLachlan has succeeded. Merit is sometimes better than moulah, after all.
Performance-wise, everyone is rather brilliant – Lung, Sywak and especially Saskia Burmeister (“Hating Alison Ashley”) who fools the audience with her frighteningly credible performance as the fiery Vanya. It’s a turn the AFI should notice come last quarter.The supporting players (particularly, er, Clint Morris, who plays drunken art gallery patron #5 … snigger) are also rather impressive. From Todd MacDonald to Debra Lawrence and the always fab Kate Atkinson, McLachlan scores points off the bat for casting the fantastic rather than the famous.
Hopefully “The Jammed” won’t be swallowed whole by whatever hugely-marketed blockbuster is released the same week – it should be seen; it deserves to be seen. It’s undoubtedly one of the best Australian films in recent times.
Rating : Reviewer : Clint Morris


The Jammed Comes Unstuck

Critical support could fuel Oz movie
17 August 2007

What a difference a few days make. And the support of several of Australia's best known movie critics. Before Wednesday this week, Australian sex slave thriller The Jammed was headed towards a modest DVD release after its Sydney Film Festival premiere in June and subsequent limited screenings at the Brisbane International Film Festival, and a short season at a Melbourne arthouse cinema.But the glowing 4-star reviews of ABC At The Movies stalwarts david Stratton and Margaret Pomeranz, as well as a similarly favourable write-up in The Age, led to The Jammed's production team fielding loads of distribution-related calls.The Jammed had countless knock backs from government funding bodies and major distributors. Starring Emma Lung, Saskia Burmeister and Veronica Sywak, The Jammed shines a light on human trafficking and the sex slave situation in Melbourne, a humanitarian crisis many ignore or are ignorant of.The moral of the story? The Jammed might be coming to a cinema near you. And film critics DO have some sway. Oh, happy day.


Jammed release is not to script

August 17, 2007
Page 1 of 2

A top Australian film is barely getting a release. The Jammed writer/director Dee McLachlan talks to Jim Schembri.

In 25 words or less, review your new film The Jammed.
The Jammed is a very powerful human story about how a Melbourne woman tries to rescue three girls from a sex-trafficking syndicate.
Can you now explain why this outstanding film is only getting a meagre 10-day release at the Nova?
I'm floored. I think Australian distributors are not used to engaging with a political film, with what's seen as a social-political film. They don't know what to do with it. It's very hard for distributors to make money from films in Australia and so they are choosing the safer films, which may not be the right films.
Why this topic?
I'm from South Africa and at the time of writing this script I was feeling like a fairly displaced person. I'd emigrated for the third time and arrived in Australia at the end of 1999. I found it very difficult to get work and it took a number of years to feel settled, so I started researching for another story to tell.
At the time there were a lot of issues about refugees, children overboard and detainees throwing themselves on fences. Then I read this little article on page seven about a court case where some guys had enslaved 20 girls in a hotel in Kew. I thought: "Why is it not on page one?" As a result, I was drawn to the story of the disadvantaged person in Australia.
The performances in this film are extraordinary, especially from Emma Lung and Saskia Burmeister, who play sex slaves from China and Russia respectively. I've never seen anything so good from actors this young.
They were extremely passionate about the script and that allowed them to open up and push their envelopes. Saskia spoke in a Russian accent all the way through, so she didn't break from her character. We had a very short rehearsal period so we used unorthodox rehearsal methods. We didn't rehearse the script or story, we just discussed the actor and the character and tried to find the connection between them.
How long do you normally have for rehearsals on a film?
You should have a week or two, but (on this) sometimes we only had two or three hours per person.
Three hours? Are you joking?
No, seriously. We just worked out the character. It's a little bit like this: you prepare water and you prepare fire. Then you put them together on the set in front of the camera and sparks are going to fly.


Sudden success for sex slaves flick

Richard Jinman August 17, 2007

IT WAS turned down by government funding bodies and rejected by every film distributor in the country, and was poised to make a low-key debut on the shelves of video stores.
Now The Jammed, a provocative feature film about the sex slave trade, is shaping up as one of the hottest Australian movies of the year.
The film's fortunes were transformed on Wednesday night, when the hosts of the ABC's At the Movies both gave it a four-star rating. Describing the movie as a "fabulous taut thriller", Margaret Pomeranz decried the lack of interest from funding boards and distributors as "shocking".
A rave review appeared in The Age the next day, and suddenly the producers of the film no one wanted were bombarded with calls from distributors anxious to screen it. A bidding war is now a real possibility and the producers are hoping to delay the DVD release to allow it to be shown in cinemas across the country.
The film's executive producer, Andrea Buck, described the superlative reviews as "way better than we could have expected - it felt life-changing. We've dealt for so long with lukewarm, negative responses. To have someone say 'I love your movie' with such passion and conviction is overwhelming."
None of this seemed possible a few days ago, when the film's producers were preparing for last night's low-key premiere at an independent cinema in Melbourne. They secured a modest two-week season - designed to promote the release of a DVD on September 5 - by agreeing to pay the cinema's marketing costs and sharing any profits.
"The motivation for having the theatrical screening was really to give the cast and crew an opportunity to celebrate," Buck said.
The Jammed was written, directed and co-produced by South African-born Dee McLachlan. She researched her screenplay by reading court transcripts and attending the trials of those accused of forcing women into prostitution.
The story of a Chinese mother searching for her missing daughter, it features a cast of up-and-coming young actors including Sydney's Emma Lung, Saskia Burmeister and Sun Park.
"Demand for this film was coming from the ground up," Buck said. "People were demanding to see this film."


Welcome to the Best Australian Film of the Year

The Jammed is one of those films you just can't get out of your head. I've seen it twice and it still gives me chills. If another film comes along this year that is as powerful, as compelling, as skillfully made as this we'll be doing very well indeed.
And if that film also happens to be Australian - or more accurately, as Australian - as The Jammed, it'll be nothing short of miraculous.
A Quick Rave
The Jammed tackles the contemporary, hot-button topic of Melbourne's sex slave trade through the eyes of five women.
Rubi (Sun Park), Crystal (Emma Lung) and Vanya (Saskia Burmeister) are three young women who have been brought into the country on false papers by illegal brothel owners who blackmail them into sexual service. Sunee (Amanda Ma) is a Chinese mother looking for her daughter who she fears has been sold into prostitution.
Their stories are brought together when Ashley (Veronica Sywack), a bored, single insurance clerk, unwittingly becomes involved in the search for a missing girl when she meets Sunee while picking up a friend-of-a-friend at the airport.
What follows is one of the most graphic, realistic and harrowing portraits of the criminal underworld we've seen. The film is unrelenting in its detailed exposition of the physical and psychological conditions these enslaved prostitutes endure.
Great Performances
The standard of the acting throughout is outstanding, with Saskia Burmeister doing a flawless turn as a Russian prostitute - you will not recognise her as the sweet-faced actress from Hating Alison Ashley and Sea Patrol - and Emma Lung proving an absolute revelation as Crystal, the naive girl from Shanghai who comes to Australia on false papers and under the false impression that she is merely going to be "a dancer on the table".
As Ashley, Sywack has the onerous task of driving the narrative. The story pinwheels on her performance and she simply does a superb job, morphing from reluctant Samaritan to a woman compelled by conscience to take action. This leads her into the darker corners of the city and ultimately puts her within arm's reach of some extremely dangerous and violent men who consider rape a managerial tool.
To read the full article and have your say on The Jammed head over to:


The Jammed Interview
DEE MCLACHLAN: I first read about sex trafficking in Melbourne in a small little article on page 7 and it was about these 20 girls that had been enslaved in a hotel in Kew in Melbourne and it was with quite disbelief that I read it, you know, because slavery was abolished 200 years ago and if it did occur nowadays it would sort of happen in - in far off places or far off lands. So, I just felt that this little article should have been on the front page and not on page 7 or page 8.I tried to go through the normal routes of the state bodies and the funding bodies and that's always a difficult and quite a long road but eventually I decided, okay, I'm going to make this. This is an important story. It needs to be told now. It doesn't - it can't go through the two or three years of development and the funding processes that most films normally do so I decided, okay, I'm just going to do it, so I'm going to do it on a low budget and I'll do it with whatever resources I've got. VERONICA SYWAK: I had to really face the reality of this world. I mean, preparing for this role I did a lot of door knocking on brothels; suburban brothels especially because that's where the problem is more hidden. It's kind of more apparent in the cities. And when I was speaking with one girl in a suburban brothel, I think in Burwood in Sydney, I was speaking with her about the issue of human trafficking and this was just - I have to clarify this was a legal brothel and the girls were there on their own accord and I was talking to them and they said - I casually mentioned that I was going to go up to the Cross to learn - to discover more about human trafficking and try and contact or try to come face to face with some of these girls who have been enslaved. And this woman said to me, she stopped, she said, "Sweetheart, if you go up to the Cross and ask about human trafficking, you're going to be dead by this afternoon." And that's when I kind of knew how important this film was to be made. And also from my research I learned that human trafficking has actually become more lucrative than the trade of narcotics because with drugs you can sell a drug once, but a girl, you can sell her 500 times.DEE MCLACHLAN: In the broad social framework I think in the next 20 years we're going to be challenged or the next 20, 30 years, we're going to - the world's going to be challenged by a few major issues and, you know, energy is one but they're different alternatives to energy. Global warming is another. And then the third one is really refugees and the haves and the have nots. As the haves get more and the have nots get less, refugees, human trafficking is going to be an increasing problem.
Head over to: to watch the full video of Dee & Veronica on At The Movies.


The Jammed
Review by David Stratton

Ashley Hudson, (VERONICA SYWAK), works in a Melbourne office. There’s nothing unusual about her, she’s just broken up with her boyfriend, but otherwise she lives a normal life.And then, by chance, she meets Sunee, (AMANDA MA), who has come from China searching for her missing daughter, Rubi, (SUN PARK). Ashley reluctantly agrees to help Sunee, but the trail proves to be a dangerous one. Rubi is working as a sex slave along with Crystal, (EMMA LUNG), and Vanya, (SASKIA BURMEISTER). Writer-director Dee McLachlan has fashioned a fine thriller on a serious theme: the sex slave trade in Australia.The film works so well because the protagonist, very well played by VERONICA SYWAK, is so convincing as an average person caught up in this illicit and very confronting trade.Without being over-explicit, McLachlan vividly depicts the brutality of the sex trade, the hopelessness of the young victims, far from home, raped and abused and forced into prostitution by brutal thugs.It’s an added irony that the boss of the gang, played by ANDREW S. GILBERT, is a "respectable" citizen whose wife runs an upmarket art gallery.THE JAMMED was shot on HD video, and it’s been skilfully made in every department and all of the actors are remarkable; it’s better than many more heavily publicised Australian films and it deserves to be widely seen.

Head over to: for full review, show transcript & comments board


The Jammed

Jim Schembri, ReviewerAugust 16, 2007

Just when it was beginning to look like a ho-hum year for Australian film, along comes The Jammed.

The Jammed

Run Time
89 minutes
MA 15+
Dee McLachlan

Just when it was beginning to look like a ho-hum year for Australian film, along comes The Jammed, a low-budget, locally made shock of electricity that further restores one's faith in just how good Australian social-realist films can be.
Set largely in the underworld of Melbourne's illegal sex trade, the film is a prime example of how a factually based story about a hot-button topic can be morphed into compelling fiction. For want of a more eloquent analogy, watching The Jammed is the cinematic equivalent of having a bucket of cold water thrown into your face.
The film kicks off with a traditionally frenetic "what the hell is going on?" opening sequence as an illegal immigrant working as a prostitute undergoes interrogation in an immigration office, on the verge of being deported.
We then jump back in time a mere three weeks for the back-story and are introduced to five women. Crystal (Emma Lung), Vanya (Saskia Burmeister) and Rubi (Sun Park) have been imported into Australia with false papers and forced to work as prostitutes. Sunee (Amanda Ma) is a frightened Chinese mother with a purse full of cash looking for her missing daughter.
Linking these women is Ashley (Veronica Sywack), a bored, single insurance clerk who unwittingly becomes involved in the search when she meets Sunee while picking up somebody at the airport.
Reluctant at first to help this stranger, Ashley is overtaken by growing compassion for her plight, first putting up missing posters on poles then pressing an ex-boyfriend into service to help her out. She, of course, has no idea how nasty and violent the underworld is, and at one point is the recipient of the most violent verbal threat since Robert De Niro told Nick Nolte in Cape Fear that he was going to learn about loss.
The film is unrelenting in its detailed dramatic exposition of the physical and psychological conditions these women endure. It also explains how criminal brothel owners are able to enslave women without the need for chains, and without the fear that they will run off at the first opportunity and tell the police.
The story rides on a strong undercurrent of information about the Melbourne sex slave trade, reflecting the extensive research that went into the film. Thankfully, though, the film does not sidestep its duty to tell a story by resorting to the docu-drama format.
The film's primary obligation is not as a public service announcement but to deliver an engrossing dramatic thriller. Dee McLachlan deserves an award for the quality of her direction of that rarest of all beasts - a finely honed screenplay.

Every frame of the film breathes with authenticity, whether it is showing how bored Ashley is with her desk job, how women can be forced to become prostitutes, or why anyone would sit motionless while her tormentor urinates over her.
And though there are some nasty characters here, McLachlan avoids easy stereotypes. Even as one brothel owner disciplines a girl by repeatedly raping her - a singularly harrowing scene - there is an implicit understanding of what violence will happen to him if he does not bring her into line.
The performances throughout are outstanding, even in the minor roles, but the work of young Melbourne actress Emma Lung is a revelation. As the naive Shanghai woman who has come to Australia "to be a dancer on the table", Lung is positively spellbinding. You need to remind yourself that this is the same actress from Peaches and the TV series Cooks. The same applies to Saskia Burmeister. It really is the same girl from Hating Alison Ashley.
In terms of type of films the Australian industry should be making, The Jammed, easily the best local film of 2007, serves as a perfect contrast to Lucky Miles, which is easily the worst.
Despite the praise it has received, Lucky Miles represents the type of flaccid, one-act film we thought we had seen the last of with Somersault. It basks in the illusion of topicality while failing to make good the promise of its opening 20 minutes.
The Jammed, on the other hand, is contemporary, immediate, vital, controversial and enthralling to behold. Like Wolf Creek and The Proposition, it uses the conventions of genre as a narrative template to tell a unique, and uniquely Australian, story.
Regrettably, the film has managed only a limited release at the Nova until 29 August. Please don't miss it.