Monday, August 20, 2007


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.

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