Premiering at SXSW: A Conversation with Josephine Mackerras for her Female-Led drama Alice
Award-winning Writer and Director Josephine Mackerras’ feature Alice shares the story of a mother who stumbles on a devastating secret that changes her life, this remarkable film’s world premiere will be at the prestige SXSW Festival in Austin this March. The film stars Chloé Boreham (Ready for This), Emilie Piponnier (La stagiaire) and Martin Swabey (The kidnapping of Phil Frisco).
Alice, a happy and perfect wife and mother who appears to have it all until she discovers her husband is living a double life, leaving her penniless and alone with a child. Her fight back leads her into a world of discovery, not only about her husband but also about herself.
Multi-award-winning filmmaker Josephine Mackerras grew up in Australia and China. Her first passion was acting, joining a theatre company at the age of 9. At 16 she left the southern hemisphere and lived in Jerusalem, Amsterdam and later in NYC where she studied filmmaking at NYU.
Her shorts A Sign, Modlitba, L’enfant perdu, and Diva have been selected by over 90 high profile festivals, including Slamdance, AFI, Rome, Palm Springs, Rhode Island and Raindance. When she was in pre-production with an Oscar-winning producer, Josephine fell pregnant and the project went sideways, deciding to take things into her own hands, she wrote a screenplay and created Alice.
In our interview, The Fan Carpet’s Camila Sayers talks to Josephine about the themes in Alice, letting actors find their voice and premiering at SXSW…
Congratulations on your film ‘Alice’, a very powerful film about women taking control of their lives.
Thank you! I’m glad you liked it.
This film has many themes; family, marriage, life, all whilst revolving around female leads. As the writer of the screenplay, can you tell us about the process of writing for the film?
There’s a saying that all emotional pain comes from the breaking of fantasies we have held. I thought about that idea a lot when writing Alice. I love the idea of taking a character who has done everything right in life, by following conditioned societal rules, and then exploring what unfolds when that reality falls apart.
On the more social/political level, I was interested in trying to expose some blind spots we have in gender politics today through this drama.
The character of Alice has a full life turnaround throughout the film, what compelled you to write a story from the standpoint of a woman?
I wanted to explore how a young mother copes when left with nothing but purpose, determination and a young child to support. I wanted to see if she could change directions so that her strength of being a mother and a woman can go from surviving to thriving.
Some of the scenes in the film are quite raw and emotional, can you tell us about your work as a director when working with the brilliant cast, to tell the stories of the characters you have written?
Each actor worked in their own way. Sometimes I was hands on while shooting, other times I had to get out of the way. I was very fortunate to have such amazing talent working with me! And so lucky to have met my casting agent Elise Mcleod who helped so much in my hunt for real and interesting talent.
There are also some wonderful comedic moments throughout the film when Alice embarks on the new chapter of her life, how important was it to bring a balance of different tones to each scene?
I love finding humour in unexpected places. My idea while writing was to keep turning the story on its head, so we laugh when we are not expecting to.
What are your hopes for this film, going forward?
Alice was made on the budget of blood, sweat, tears and plenty of love by all who were involved in the making of Alice. I am so excited that our hard work is paying off with the SFSX world premiere. My hope is it gets distribution and gets seen!
Thank you very much for talking to us!
Thank you for asking such great questions!
ALICE WILL PREMIERE AT SOUTH BY SOUTH WEST FILM FESTIVAL IN MARCH.