Toronto diary

Jucy team at the world premiere, Toronto Film Festival

8th September

Jucy is to have it’s world premiere at the Toronto Film festival. Travel to Toronto on a plane to TIFF with one hundred or so D girls in economy class. They are all reading scripts.

9th September

We are in Variety today in the Variety Exec Checklist. There is a still photo of the leads in floral bathing caps dominating the article. Winner! Tickets to Jucy have been sold out for at least a week. We are listed in the programme as one of the programmer’s 15 must see films. Programmer Jane Schottle says in an online interview that her two favourite films are Jucy and Dirty Girl. Her enthusiasm is the reason for the interest. What a legend! The heat has been fanned by Roundstone Communications – our publicists.

The morning involves registration and meeting up with actors Cindy Nelson and Francesca Gasteen and producer Kelly Chapman, who are staying around the corner. I also meet Michael and Wendy from Odin’s Eye, our sales agent.

11.30am Speak at the TIFF talent lab. I follow a Bollywood star. He recently made an independent feature directed by his wife. She is lovely. We bond over being women directors. The talent lab has lots of interesting looking youngish filmmakers. I tell them about how I developed the script with the actors and Stephen Vagg, the writer, using Mike Leigh methods.

Lunch time, Stephen and I run into Pat Brammall, an actor in Griff the Invisible. We have lunch and talk about his experience with Griff, Edinburgh festival etc. Nice calm before the storm.

10.30pm Attend the opening night party with Cindy Nelson and Francesca Gasteen. It’s an ice hockey theme in keeping with the opening night film, Score! A hockey musical. Stephen can’t understand why Australia can’t make a similar film about cricket.

10th September


Jucy on the cover of the Hollywood Reporter
Jucy on the cover of the Hollywood Reporter

We are on the cover of Screen Daily. The picture of the leads in floral bathing caps. That photo is such a good one!

Media day. Our genius publicist, Cyntha Amsden has several interviews lined up, a couple on TV. Kelly has been liaising with our publicity team. The actors, Kelly Chapman and I travel with her to the Intercontinental. My first interview is a bit shaky… I haven’t yet worked out a bank of cool off the cuff stories. The actors seemed to have been practicing for weeks! They have it all figured out. Several photos are taken that later turn up on the web! Kelly is liaising with our sales team (Michael and Wendy of Odin’s Eye) and is taking lots of meetings.

11th September

10am, Filmmaker’s Brunch. I meet Michael Henry, the Blame director, who I had already met on Facebook. Susanne Bier recognises me and says hello!! I am honoured. I have a lovely time meeting and talking to several people, including one of the actors on The IT Crowd, Richard Ayoade. He’s directed a film that’s here called Submarine.

4pm, Coffee with Richard Guardian, Lightning Entertainment. Richard is a lovely guy who is a fan of my first film, All My Friends are Leaving Brisbane. He gives feedback about the script for my next film.

Screen International

6.30pm, Screen Australia drinks. I meet filmmakers, film bureaucrats and the Australian consul. Also there is Geoffrey Rush. He talks to Kelly, Cindy and Frannie about growing up in old-time Brisbane and never hearing Australian voices on screen. It amazes him that he can see two Australian productions in the West End in London at the moment, Holding the Man and Pricilla Queen of the Desert. We also meet Ryan Kwanten, Toby Schmitz, Leon Ford from Griff the Invisible. The girls are photographed with Ryan and the pic appears on the back page of Screen International. But have to run off to…

7.45pm, Jucy world premiere. The film is sold out. I am shaking and read an intro speech before the film. Screening goes really well. Lots of laughs. Cinematographer Jan Reichle and his partner, Belinda Mayne are there too. The digi print looks amazing and people ask him about the look and the colours.

12th September

10am, See Beautiful Boy with Stephen Vagg.  It’s structure is the rhythm of grief…. very well made and acted but heavy going!

Jucy tea party

4pm, Jucy Tea Party at the Red Tea Box. The Jucy Tea Party has been sponsored by Jucy van rentals in return for a big plug at the Brisbane Film Festival in November. Thanks to our producer Kelly for making this happen! Kelly’s sister is also there to help. The venue is a longish way off from the action, but very nice. The party features on Movie Extra Movie News in Australia and Dan Ilic does a video story that makes the front page of the Sydney Morning Herald online. Happy, funny beautiful actresses and lots of bright colours = press coverage!

8.30pm, Stephen and I attend the Beautiful Boy party at the invitation of Richard Guardian. No one is there for the first 40 mins, except us and an older guy talking to someone who looks like a junior sales exec. They are poms and seem to be running out of things to say. We join them and it turns out the old guy is an investor in the King’s Speech. He tells us stories of investing in Dances with Wolves long ago. He also gossips about Princess Di and Fergie. People arrive and the party gets going. I see Michael Sheen through the crowd and swoon. We pass Maria Bellow as we leave, Stephen swoons.

13th September

Publicist Cynthia Amsden, leads team Jucy to interviews in hotel rooms

Media day #2 Stephen comes to star spot. We are in our stride now. The actors and I are taken to the gifting room. The girls are offered designer jeans but say no because they never wear jeans! My favourite thing is a tube of cream that can make you “Look 10 years younger in 10 minutes.”  Allegedly, it’s a trick of the light. The girls are born celebs. They have a fantastic line for every journalist. More photos. Make up. Free perfume.

4.30pm, Drinks at IFF. I meet Yael Bergman who produced Love and Other Catastrophes. I tell her how her film changed my life!

8.30pm, Second screening of AMF. I do a better job. Maybe they can feel less stress in the air, but this time the audience laughs louder and more often. I sit next to Bec Smith (UTA agent and Animal Kingdom producer). The actors are mobbed afterwards. We go to drinks with some Screen Australia people. Stephen and I go to a party with the actors at a place called Bovine. We meet strangers who are buzzing about Jucy! We go to another cool venue that makes us feel like rockstars, we have our names on the door….there is cool art, cool peeps, lollies and chocolate everywhere.

14th September

Meet up with Bec Smith who wants to take three copies of Jucy back to LA. I hang around the hotel and Bell Light Box Theatre where our sales agents are working hard. Stephen and I see John Carpenter’s The Ward and meet director, John Sayles on the street.

15th September

Drive to Niagra Falls for lunch. Get back just in time for an interview with a radio journo.
Dinner with festival programmers where I meet a fantastic actress called Wunmi Mosaku and her London agent. She is here with a film called I Am Slave. I meet a director called Justin Learner who has a film in the festival called Girlfriend he says he might be able get me in touch with Teresa Palmer when I get back to LA. I also meet Abe Sylvia, director of Dirty Girl. He tells me the story of his film selling to the Weinstein company for 3 million dollars DURING it’s world premiere. He saw all his producers leave 20 mins into the film. Apparently, while the screening was going on, Harvey Weinstein was negotiating the deal with them in the food court downstairs!

16th September

Our sales agents have been working so hard, there are no more screeners left. I manage to track down one remaining copy of Jucy. Thank god I have at least one to take to LA. I fly back to LA with Stephen.

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