Q&A: Jamieson Pearce, 'Mary In The Locker Room'

Tell us about you. What makes you tick? What keeps you up at night?

Lots of things make me tick. Here are a couple that are currently on my mind. 

  • Short films that use suicide as a plot point or to ‘raise the stakes’. 
  • People in the ‘wellness’ industry that encourage a sense of victimhood in others and then stand to economically gain from that sense of victimhood.
  • The use of inverted commas

What keeps me up at night?  Self-centred fears that I’m spending my life being self-centred.

Why films? And why this film? 

Films are beautiful. Films can change people, if only for a few hours. Films take me out of myself. Towards…

This film is a bit of fun. I like playing with audience expectations, subverting traditional roles etc. I really wanted to work with/exploit my friend Max Riebl, who stars in the film.  Also, I love renaissance/early music and I’m always looking for ways to use pieces in my films. 

What happened behind the scenes on this one? Give us the goss! 

Okay, the goss. So, one thing you might miss about this film - and slight spoiler alert here - is that the actors are also the singers. Those are their real voices. How cool is that!? Max is actually a world-class counter-tenor. He’s studying in Switzerland at the moment. And Susan is doing all sorts of other music and acting gigs here.  Sorry, that’s not really hot goss. 

And the story around the film… I was finishing up at AFTRS and I wanted to make the most of the facilities one last time before their doors were closed to me. There was a big hustle from my fellow students, particularly cinematographer Ben Cotgrove, Prod. Designer Alexandra Hickmott and Music Supervisor Matthew Morison, to get it all done in time. There wasn’t really any budget - basically catering and location hire. It was made on love and devotion. 

We bought a bunch of costume and set dressing from Kmart and then returned it the next day. And HISCOES gym were super nice and gave it to us for next to nothing. The rub was that we shot from 10pm at night until the wee hours. Susan - our star - was cat-napping on the weight machines.  Oh, and the actress who was going to play the one supporting role in the film pulled out on the day because of a clash.  My friend happened to be driving up from Melbourne that day and came direct to set from the Hume Highway. A lifesaver. 

When your dreams have all come true in five years time, where will we find you and what will you have made?

I will be living in Spain, about to start my second feature - an Australian/Spanish co-production - off the back of my fly-away debut feature success, a film about a forbidden cross-cultural romance between a beautician and a businessman.  And I’ll be getting ready to marry the love of my life, Julio Martín, whoever he is.

What's the best advice you've been given / would give to other independent filmmakers?

Advice that I try to heed is to ask yourself why you are making this film: why do you want to tell this story? And it doesn’t have to be a deep and meaningful reason, but whatever the project, I think its worth interrogating the reasons behind your creative impulse.

And take risks. 

Mary In The Locker Room is an official selection film in our upcoming Film Festival with Vivid Ideas in Sydney on Sunday June 4th.  Tickets available via Giant Dwarf

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