Interview: Australian director Amanda Jane Simon Fitzjohn November 17, 2011 Features, Interviews 1997 Written by Emily Ansell Australian film maker Amanda Jane came to London’s Piccadilly Circus for her new movie’s European Premiere recently and to talk to Brits about film making down under. Told from the perspective of a dysfunctional family, The Wedding Party is a comedy-drama about the struggles of adult relationships. The movie tells the tale of Steve (Josh Lawson) who marries a Russian woman for a cash sum to save him self from financial ruin but, after his family find out, he finds himself at the centre of unavoidable chaos. Jane said: “The real joy was all the different characters and their relationships in the family. “I was always obsessed with the ensemble film drama.” The ensemble feel is created by Steve’s unfaithful dad, his sexually frustrated brother whose wife is struggling with his fetishes and his sister who is having trouble with her gynaecologist. “It was a challenge to balance all the character’s stories and give each of them room to breathe. “I wanted to capture sexuality within a family and how it affects everyone in that family unit,” Jane added. She acknowledged that many Brits think of Australian cinema as quirky and alternative but her comedy plot is much more main stream. She said: “I wasn’t aware when making it but I think there is an American sensibility to the movie. “I’ve had a lot of feedback that it’s American and not your ordinary, quirky Australian film. I just did what I felt it should be – I’ll let you decide.” Jane believes Australian individuality is brought to the movie by the portrayal of the characters and the story’s conclusion. “I hoped not to have larger than life caricatures. I tried to focus on the performance being more raw and realistic.” The film’s ending does not tie up the characters’ difficulties and the viewer does not know what will happen to them. “I don’t think everything is tied up in life so I tried not to tie up the end too much. It is up to you what you think happened to each character,” Jane explained. Jane revealed that as an Australian independent film maker you have to make some sacrifices. “I was going to have it snowing at the end but it hardly ever does here and I couldn’t afford the fake snow.” She also confessed she found some sneaky ways of cutting financial corners when it came to casting. “We didn’t have much to pay the actors. A lot of the extras were my family and I wrote a sort of love letter to Josh Lawson saying we’d written the character for him. Other actors knew him and wanted to be a part of the movie because he was.” Jane is currently developing another feature film while continuing to promote The Wedding Party with plans to release it in Australia next year.