This morning I’m having a virtual hangout with Melbourne based actor/writer Alice Foulcher. We are talking all things, great Australian Films; (that’s right Alice & her hubby Gregory made a great Australian film), tight-ass movie budgets, making people laugh, fashion, keeping it real and of course coffee.
Alice stars in and co-wrote ‘That’s Not Me’ Film with her husband/director Gregory Erdstein. ‘That’s Not Me’ was created whilst doing an artists residency in Paris, France… sounds pretty schamncy fancy #right! Well these down-to-earth Aussies are here to show the world that a) Australians can make GREAT comedies and B) you don’t need a shit tonne of money to do it.
That’s Not Me is a tale of shattered dreams and charts the heartbreak and hope that comes from following your childhood dreams. Featuring ever so-lovely Alice Foulcher in the roles of Polly and Amy, with support from Isabel Lucas (TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN), and Richard Davies (OFFSPRING).
‘That’s Not Me’ had its worldwide premiere at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival in February this year, before it went to have its Australian premiere at the Sydney Film Festival. ‘That’s Not Me’ skipped across to New Zealand before heading to Foulcher/Erdstein’s home town of Melbourne and now it is coming to Brisbane for the Brisbane International Film Festival! They say good things come to those who wait and us Brissie locals can’t wait to belly laugh and snort out loud; all through ‘That’s Not Me. Seriously if the trailer is anything to go by… #LMFAO.
Alice, thanks for catching up with us here at Brisbane Threads. You’ve had a hell of a ride this year with ‘That’s Not Me’. Has it all be the go, go, go, up, up, up?
It’s been an insane, wonderful year so far! This time last year we were in a much murkier headspace – seeing our initial film festival rejections come in and not knowing how we’d ever get the film out there or who would ever see it. So to have now played all these film festivals and be looking at a cinema release in just a few short weeks… it’s beyond our wildest dreams. That’s Not Me is an indie film, made with a whole lot of love. We’re so proud of our little film and we really hope audiences enjoy it as much as we’ve enjoyed making it.
TGINF!! (N=nearly #amiright) What’s your drink of choice? Cocktail? Coffee or Tea or Wine?
All of the above, please and thank you. But primarily coffee first thing in the morning, mid-morning cuppa tea (earl grey), and then a whole lot of red wine in the evenings.
Describe your daily style?
If I’m really busy and have a whole lot of emails to write, I pretty much roll out of bed, chuck a bra on underneath my pyjamas and head straight into my study. When I finally have to leave the house (lunch!), then I usually oscillate between trackies and a puffy jacket (it’s like wearing a sleeping bag you guys), or oversized comfy overalls (which for the record I am wearing now). Comfort is very important to me.
In terms of fancy-pants events I like to wear vintage or local designs. When we went to the New Zealand International Film Festival I was lucky enough to wear beautiful gowns by NZ local designer Penny Sage, and to our Australian Premiere at Sydney Film Festival I wore Australian designer Nevenka – both designers are exquisite. At BIFF Opening Night I’m wearing a wonderful onesie by Melbourne designer UNC.
How do you wind down on the weekend?
On Saturday mornings we take it really easy – after a sleep in with our cat Albert, we usually go out for a late brekkie (often mushroom burgers at Market Lane in Prahran) and do the crossword, and then do our grocery shopping at the markets. Then I might potter about the house and do some cleaning, or some gardening. I’ve been trying to spend less time in front of screens on Saturdays where possible – be it phone, computer or TV.
Top Five Australian Films of all time?
I can’t go past The Castle. It’s perfect, I never get sick of it and I still quote it on a regular basis. It makes me cackle just thinking about. I’m also a massive Muriel’s Wedding fan – I watched it recently and it’s aged so well. Animal Kingdom would have to be up there – it’s dark and unbelievably tense, but still somehow has a sense of humour to it. Rounding out my Top 5 would be Samson and Delilah; a brilliant film and Looking for Alibrandi, which holds a special place in my teenage heart. And is totally underrated.
Australia has such a rich cinematic history, and for our population size we punch well above our weight. I was watching the David Stratton doco (David Stratton: A Cinematic Life) on the plane the other day, and was so filled with pride for our industry looking back at all the terrific films and talent to come out of our country. It makes me sad when people diss Australian cinema, and I hate the Australian “cultural cringe”. I’ve heard it said that in order for people to go see an Australian film they need to be told to by four different people. That could be bullshit, but it rings true. So if you like our film, please be one of those four people!
You’ve been making films for nearly ten years now? What advice to you have for budding filmmakers and actors?
- Keep making. When we got out of film school we were momentarily paralysed not knowing what to do next. The only way you get better at something is by doing it lots. Make cheap short films for the practice – don’t hold off making things if you miss out on funding.
- Don’t be precious – experiment, knowing full well you won’t pull everything off. Don’t take yourself too seriously.
- Be nice to people. Getting your art made doesn’t give you a free pass to be an asshole. Life is people, and people are more important than art.
“That’s Not Me’ was filmed with a small as heck budget of $60K, (which might seem like a lot of money to the average joe ahem me…) but how did you guys shoot a film on basically peanuts?
To give you an idea of how little money we had to play with, the average budget for Australian features over the past few years has been between $3.5 – 10 million. (source: https://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/fact-finders/production-trends/feature-production/australian-feature-films)
We called in a whole lot of favours to get That’s Not Me made. Everyone worked on deferred payments contracts (which means if the film ever makes money, they get paid). You can really only make that “favour film” once though, so fingers crossed it pays off for us and we get funding for the next one!
I should also note that $60k took us through production to a finished (graded & sound mixed) film. But we will double that budget by the time the film hits cinemas – with costs like advertising, publicity, film insurance and music licenses etc. We’ve been very fortunate to get some financial support at this stage from Film Victoria.
You wrote ‘That’s Not Me’ whilst at an artist residency in Paris (gosh darn that sounds romantic). Where did the inspiration come from?
Writing in Paris was as ridiculously amazing (and yes, romantic) as it sounds. We ate croissants every day. Seriously.
With the residency, we had the time and headspace away from our normal lives to focus on our creativity in a way we never had before. For us, with that time and headspace came the existential crisis of asking yourself why you are doing what you are doing. A Parisian cliché, I’m sure. So as much as the film is about twins, and about the way we compare ourselves against one another, it’s also about that crisis. It’s about being part of a generation who, for better or worse, have been raised to believe we can do or be whatever we want. And how the further you get into your twenties, the more you realise you might have to reassess those dreams. Polly has wanted to be an actor for as long as she can remember, but she hasn’t stopped to ask herself why.
For me, the answer doesn’t have to some kind of higher calling. If you want to be a doctor it might be because that’s what you’re good at, and it’s what you enjoy. That’s the same for me and writing/acting: I enjoy it, and I think it’s where my skillset in life is. I’d be a terrible doctor, and quite frankly – a danger to society.
You studied at the Queensland University of Technology here in Brisbane. Tell me a bit about that.
I completed my bachelor degree at QUT in Drama. I liked the fact that in the Drama course we were encouraged to create our own work, rather than wait for work to come to us. It’s something I’ve taken with me at every stage of my creative life. QUT is also where I met actor Rowan Davie, who plays “Oliver” in That’s Not Me. Rowan is absolutely hilarious, and nothing like the character he plays. It’s also where I met actors Emily Thomas and Erica Field – who were incredibly generous with their time and skills for That’s Not Me. They both acted opposite me as the twins Polly and Amy – they learnt all the lines, came to rehearsals, and gave me beautiful performances on the day to work off… only to be cut out and replaced by me in the final film. I’m so grateful to them.
Finally, we’re all massive coffee lovers here at BT… so where is you go-to coffee spot?
My go-to coffee spot is somewhat exclusive. Every morning Greg (affectionally know as Greggles) brings me a coffee in bed – in my favourite pottery mug with chickens on it (made by Lucy Vanstone which I got at the Bangalow markets), using freshly ground Market Lane beans and full cream Schultz milk. Even though I am somewhat biased, it is the best coffee in the world.
Close second is our local café Cheerio, in Richmond. We go there so often they know us by name. When I lived in Brisbane we also used to hang at Sassafras in Paddington! I still pop in there when I visit.
That’s Not Me has its Queensland premiere at BIFF on Friday 18th August at Palace Barracks with additional screenings at BIFF on the 24th and 31st August. Followed by a cinema release at Palace Centro from 7th September.
Thanks for chatting with us here at Brisbane Threads today Alice. I loved catching up with you can’t wait to see you on the big screen; you’ll hear me in the audience #LMAO. #TOTESLEGIT #IHAVEALOUDLAUGH
For more information on the Brisbane International Film Festival check out our BIFF IS BACK article?