“It’s all fun and games until a volcano goes off.” – Director Gracie Otto on her doco ‘Under the Volcano’, lingering industry sexism and her upcoming works

“People will always listen to a guy over a girl on set about something technical.”

It was supposed to be a quick, five-minute catch-up to cover a couple of questions we didn’t get to cover in our initial interview (with producer Cody Greenwood) for her terrific documentary Under the Volcano, about Beatles’ producer George Martins recording studio on the Caribbean island of Monserrat.

But Gracie Otto was in a chatty mood, so into her CV we went to talk about Bump, The Other Guy and her upcoming projects, including Seriously Red, about a Dolly Parton impersonator due next year) and Otto on Otto, a documentary about her remarkable actor/artist father Barry Otto.

She also touches on her issues with sexism in the film industry, a surprising topic one hoped would be a faded memory in 2021.

Under the Volcano is screening at the Sydney Film Festival 3-21 November). For screening and ticket details go here.

Enjoy the unexpected second part to our interview, with Gracie Otto again proving an articulate and open interviewee.

Interview Index
00:00 Under the Volcano: visiting the site of the abandoned studio;
00:30 What it felt like; “It’s all fun and games until a volcano goes off.”
01:45 Amount of material;
02:30 How the film is travelling;
03:00 Directing Bump & The Other Guy;
04:00 Too experienced to do an attachment;
04:10 Landing The Other Guy;
05:20 On-set tricks;
06:10 Bump;
07:00 Criticisms of Bump and The Other Guy;
08:50 Love for Matt Okine;
08:55 Otto On Otto;
10:15 Bikini Girls – “It’s not something that I’m attached to”;
11:45 Seriously Red, about a Dolly Parton impersonators;
12:00 Busy, busy; “I think you ought to ride the wave when the wave’s coming.”;
13:15 Work ethic;
14:18 Why so generous with interviews;
16:10 Reality of being a female director;
17:45 “People will always listen to a guy over a girl on set about something technical”;
18:50 Dressing down on set!;
19:40 Sexism still an issue in 2021;
20:38 Attempt to end the interview;
20:50 Working on The Moth Effect;
21:25 Kate Box;
21:58 Landing the gig;
24:30 Describing the show;
25:50 Mother Susan Hill, creative collaborator;
26:55 Side projects on YouTube; Breakfast With channel;
29:50 Small Town News;
31:55 Coping with Covid; “I really enjoy my own company”.