• Australian director Jeffrey Walker, on the set of 'Dance Academy: The Movie' with Xenia Goodwin. (Australian Children's Television Foundation)Source: Australian Children's Television Foundation
Need some help deciding what to watch while you're stuck at home? We ask Australian directors, whose films are streaming at SBS On Demand, for five movie recommendations.
Richard Harris

1 May 2020 - 4:50 PM  UPDATED 1 May 2020 - 4:50 PM

Jeffrey Walker is an Australian director who has been in high demand in recent years. Coronavirus aside, he hardly ever stops working.

Starting in the industry as a child actor (Round the Twist), he worked his way up through Australian television, winning ridiculous numbers of awards, before moving into feature films.

His TV credits include Angry Boys, Jack Irish, Rake, US comedy Modern Family and more recently Riot and Lambs of God. His features include Ali’s Wedding and Dance Academy

Tell us a little about your film at SBS On Demand

I directed a film called Ali’s Wedding – a somewhat subversive rom-com – intending to pull back the curtain on a community of Muslim families, living in Melbourne. This is not a culture-clash film; it is a film that shows the many similarities between all of us, regardless of religion or nationality. The film is based on a true story... unfortunately.

Watch Ali’s Wedding now at SBS On Demand


What are you currently working on? 

All of my projects have been paused until this dreadful pandemic passes. I am attached to direct a film for the Jim Henson Company starring Christoph Waltz and Guy Pearce, as well as TV projects in Australia and the US.


How are you coping with self-isolation? 

I have three young boys so I wouldn’t describe my quarantine and isolation as boring. I am loving spending time at home with my wife and kids – managing the little fellas through their day is all-consuming, and very fulfilling. 


What are your 5 favourite films at SBS On Demand? 


1. The Big Blue 

Director: Luc Besson

Cast: Jean-Marc Barr, Jean Reno
Country: France
Language: French, English

I love this film for its cinematic craft, performances, locations and ultimately, for the incredible journey it takes toward its philosophically challenging conclusion. The “behind the scenes” is fascinating for this film, also.

Watch The Big Blue now at SBS On Demand.


2. The Piano

Director: Jane Campion
Cast: Holly Hunter, Harvey Keitel, Anna Paquin, Sam Neill
Country: New Zealand
Language: English, Sign Language

Jane Campion’s masterpiece is a beautiful case study into tortured love and isolation. It beautifully depicts communication without words and is a near perfect film. Not surprisingly given the title, the score for this film is stunning, emotive and iconic.

Watch The Piano now at SBS On Demand.


3. The Infinite Man

Director: Hugh Sullivan
Cast: Alex Dimitriades, Hannah Marshall, John McConville
Country: Australia
Language: English 

This film was made with a tiny budget, yet delivers completely on its conceit – a very rare thing. I was so impressed with this film when I first saw it. The script is clever and complicated, yet the theme of a “relationship do-over” is so clear and present in each moment.

Watch The Infinite Man now at SBS On Demand.


4. Once Upon A Time In The West

Director: Sergio Leone
Cast: Charles Bronson, Claudia Cardinale, Henry Fonda
Country: Italy
Language: English 

A masterclass in direction. Watch this for sheer entertainment, or watch this as if you’re a film student learning your craft. 

Special note: the sound design is magnificent. The lesson to take away from the sound design in this film is that when introducing a sound effect, which may be repeated or reprised for impact, like a dripping tap, an old windmill, locusts, etc., it is important to seed those elements visually. The opposite of this is inserting sounds gratuitously, for example, a distant dog barking, the rumble of a train in the distance, a rusty door hinge swinging back and forth off camera. One cutaway can buy you an entire sound design approach.

Watch Once Upon A Time In The West now at SBS On Demand.



5. Strange Colours

Director: Alena Lodkina
Cast: Kate Cheel, Justin Courtin
Country: Australia
Language: English

This wonderful film, directed by Alena Lodkina, holds perhaps the most naturalistic performances you may ever see. The beautiful location is mesmerising and develops as a major character in the piece. Also, this film is very much open to interpretation. I saw this film with friends at the Sydney Film Festival, and the film meant something quite different to all of us. 

Watch Strange Colours now at SBS On Demand.

And find out what Alena Lodkina's own Five Faves are here.   



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