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
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
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
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
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.