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Podcast – Director Jocelyn Moorhouse on Savage River

Jocelyn Moorhouse discusses directing six-part ABC crime drama Savage River and a career working across different formats and genres.

Jocelyn Moorhouse, Katherine Langford and James Mackay

Find this episode of the Screen Australia Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Pocket Casts

Since directing Australian box office hit The Dressmaker, Jocelyn Moorhouse has been focused on Australian television, working on series including Wanted, Les Norton, Stateless, Wakefield, Troppo and most recently ABC’s Savage River.

“I love the fact that [in TV] it comes to air pretty quickly, because in feature films you spend years developing them and then years making them and trying to get them sold and seen, that it’s a much slower process,” Moorhouse says.

“Whereas in television you can work on something and it has an audience within months.”

Created by Belinda Bradley, Franz Docherty and Giula Sandler, Savage River stars Katherine Langford (13 Reasons Why) as Miki, a young woman who returns to her hometown in rural Victoria after eight years in prison. She’s determined to move on with her life, but when a murder rocks the community, all eyes are immediately on her and as she set out to prove her innocence, she uncovers some long-buried secrets along the way. The six-part crime drama from Aquarius Films premieres on September 4 on ABC TV and ABC iview. 

Throughout the latest episode of the Screen Australia Podcast, Moorhouse talks about directing all six episodes of Savage River, and working again with cinematographer Don McAlpine, who also shot The Dressmaker.

“I think he was the cinematographer on two of my favourite Australian films back in the 80s or even earlier – My Brilliant Career and Breaker Morant,” she says. “I remember seeing those two films and being really bowled over by how they looked. Of course I looked up who the directors were because I wanted to be a director, but the next thing I looked up is ‘who the hell is Don McAlpine?’ Even then he was pretty legendary… he’s a lovely human being, an Encyclopedia of facts about the Australian film industry and he’s… still passionate about making good looking films and television.”

Moorhouse also talks to producing on her husband PJ Hogan’s features, including Muriel’s Wedding, Peter Pan and Mental, as well as discussing screenwriting, general advice and pre-production on her upcoming Australian-shot feature film The Fabulous Four, starring Bette Midler, Susan Sarandon, Megan Mullally and more.

Watch Savage River on ABC TV and ABC iview from 4 September 2022.

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