The Nice House: Louise Turley
SOCIAL WORK with Neil Boyack
The Nice House, directed by Louise Turley is a touching insight and tribute to Luke Batty and his mother Rosie. Australia was shocked to the core when Luke was murdered at the hand of his own father, and this rarely screened documentary recounts the lives of all involved. Turley’s film sheds light on the normal lives that were destroyed, the mission of Rosie Batty, and the messages we all need to act upon.
Neil Boyack: Where and when were you born Louise?
Louise Turley: Dumbleyung, WA, 1969
NB: What is your earliest memory of wanting to make films?
LT: When I was six I remember becoming addicted to watching midday movies on Saturdays. I loved watching old movies, especially classic westerns with John Wayne, musicals with Elvis Presley and Ealing Studio dramas.
NB: What was your first job?
LT: I worked in a lollie shop in Perth.
NB: How many films have you made? Please name them.
LT: I have made twenty films in total. They are: Patricia Piccinini: A Dark Fairytale (30 min doc), The Nice House (22 min doc), The Art of Australia (3 x 1hr docs), Patrick White: Will They Read Me When I’m Dead? (30 min doc), Hannah Gadsby: The NGV Story (2 x 30min docs), Artists at Work: Del Kathryn Barton (30 min doc), Artists at Work: Jon Cattapan (30 min doc), Circus Oz: The Big Birthday Bash (3 x 30 min docs), Artists at Work: Lindy Lee (30 min doc), Artists at Work: Lindy Ivimey (30 min doc), Luminous (30 min doc), To Russia With Love (30 min doc), The Art of Biography (30 min doc), Stephen Poliakoff: Shooting the Present (50 min doc), The Baroque Age (30 min doc).
NB: Who is the best teacher you’ve ever had?
LT: My children
NB: Who had the most influence on you, from within your family with regards to who you are?
LT: My mother, Beth Allbeury. She was a social worker who worked in Child Protection for 37 years in WA. She is an incredible person who always advocated for the rights of children above all.
NB: Who are your influences in terms of filmmaking?
LT: Many. I went to film school and was influenced by everyone from Sergei Eisenstein to Martin Scorsese More recently I have been influenced by the films of the American documentary filmmaker Errol Morris and Werner Herzog.
NB: Which film have you enjoyed viewing recently, and why?
LT: I really enjoyed a documentary I saw at the Melbourne International Film Festival. It was called, Nowhere Line: Voices from Manus Island, by Lucas Schrank. Recorded interviews with two men detained on the Manus Island Processing Centre are vividly brought to life with incredible animation, highlighting the personal side of the human rights crisis faced by the detainees. It is a very moving portrayal.
NB: Any films you haven’t enjoyed recently?
LT: Not that i can think of.
NB: With regard to The Nice House; you told me that you approached Rosie Batty 3 weeks after the murder of Luke – how difficult is it to separate yourself from such emotional subject matter, so close to an event that really swept the whole country up into despair?
LT: Yes, absolutely. I just tried to focus on Rosie and the story I wanted to tell and the message she wanted to convey. I thought, however painful this is for me it must be nothing compared to what Rosie is going through.
NB: Did you receive any criticism for suggesting this project? (“it’s too soon? How dare you? You are being insensitive…” etc). Please discuss the lead up to the “pitch” and the traffic within.
LT: Yes, I had some criticism from some of the lecturers at the University of Melbourne who said that it was too difficult to tell this story in a half hour and that I couldn’t do justice to Rosie’s story.
NB: How did you deal with this?
LT: I just held firm to my idea for the film.
NB: What were your greatest learnings from creating The Nice House?
LT: I learnt a lot from Rosie about the insidious nature of domestic violence, motherhood, the cycles of grief, strength and ultimately the power of forgiveness.
NB: What are you working on now in terms of film?
LT: I am working for the ABC at the moment on an eight-part documentary series called Back Roads. It goes to air next month and showcases rural Australian towns.
NB: What other subjects/events/ themes do you want to cover in the near future?
LT: I would love to do a documentary about an artist friend of mine, Asher Bilu. He’s a forgotten hero.
NB: Is there something you believe now, that you think will never change?
LT: Yes. I believe that having children makes you more tolerant. This is exactly what happened to me.
NB: Is there such a thing as evil? Why do you think this?
LT: Yes. Because we live in a world of binaries. You can’t have good without evil.
NB: Is it okay to lie?
LT: No. Except for little white ones.
The Nice House screened previously at the 2015 Melbourne International Film Festival. FOX TV have purchased the film, which will air in November, 2015. The film will also be screened at CAFS Survival International Film Festival, Regent Cinemas Ballarat, 49 Lydiard Street North, Ballarat (VIC), 10 – 13 November – siff.net.au
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