“To be able to just switch off that part of my brain and just focus on the directing was such a great opportunity; it was everything I’d always wanted without realising it.”
It is wholly unfortunate that COVID delayed the release of June Again by a year, allowing the acclaimed, Oscar-winning dementia drama The Father to come out first.
In The Father director Florian Zeller uses a clever device to convey the confusion and disorientation that dementia can cause.
In June Again writer/director JJ Winlove deploys the same device with similar effect, only he did it a year earlier. So credit where credit is due. Winlove’s little Australian film did it first.
In the middle of a busy schedule Winlove was kind enough to carve out some time and fire up his Skype software to talk about the film, the ideas behind it and what it was like going from short films to a feature.
For the time-stressed, there’s an ultra-short version of the interview.
For the real juice though, check out the full version where JJ speaks frankly about the experience of making his first feature.
He also responds to some honest criticisms of June Again and, for his sins, faces the dreaded Schembri Challenge.
Luxury long version:
JJ Winlove interview index
00:00 Outline of story;
00:30 Casting Noni Hazlehurst;
01:46 Unfortunate happenstance of not being released before The Father;
02:35 Reaction to seeing the stylistic similarities;
03:15 Differences from The Father;
03:55 Setting the record straight that release was delayed a year by COVID;
04:20 What brought you to the topic of dementia;
05:10 Love of older audiences;
06:16 Importance of having a target demographic;
08:12 Huge learning curve making your first feature as opposed to making shorts;
10:30 The thrill of delegation;
11:34 Portrayal of a fractured family;
15:00 Importance of word-of-mouth;
15:20 If June Again was American;
16:00 Competing with heavily marketed American films;
18:30 Should there be more funding for marketing;
19:49 The importance of car casting;
23:00 The importance of poster art;
25:25 Some critical notes;
26:04 Rat-with-gold-tooth stereotype;
27:00 Agreeing it jars in the film;
29:09 Tonal shifts in the film;
30:08 Short film work;
33:00 Guessing the budget;
33:46 The Schembri Challenge.