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“It’s Really About Love”: Jocelyn Moorhouse on ‘The Dressmaker’

June 21, 2016

For director Jocelyn Moorhouse, The Dressmaker is about the power of transformation and love. Based on a popular novel by Rosalie Ham, the film marks Moorhouse’s return to directing after about 18 years.

“I didn’t want to leave directing,” says Moorhouse about her departure when two of her children were diagnosed with autism. Her kids are grown and doing well and on the persistent encouragement of producer Sue Maslin, Moorhouse felt the time was right to direct another feature film.  

“I’m really happy that it was The Dressmaker that brought me back,” says Moorhouse. “I loved the novel because it’s pretty crazy.”

The story revolves around Tilly, a fashion designer, who returns to her hometown in rural Australia to deal with some unresolved issues from her past. “It’s got a little magical realism about it, and it’s hilarious but also very poignant, and there are some moments that just make you cry.”

Kate Winslet and Judy Davis in 'The Dressmaker' by Jocelyn Moorhouse

In addition, Moorhouse was particularly drawn to the characters of Molly and Tilly, the mother and daughter at the center of the story.

“What happens between those two women is both hilarious and deeply moving,” she says. The characters are played by Judy Davis and Kate Winslet, respectively. “They’ve always been favorite actresses of mine,” says Moorhouse. “It was a fantastic chemistry, and I think you can see it on the screen.”

The Dressmaker will be in theaters September 23.

About the Director

Jocelyn Moorhouse, Director of The Dressmaker

Jocelyn Moorhouse is a director, producer and screenwriter from Victoria, Australia. She graduated in 1984 from the Australian Film, Television and Radio School, where she met her husband and film collaborator P.J. Hogan, and later went on to produce his film Muriel's Wedding (1994). In 1991, she made her directorial debut with Proof, now widely recognized as an essential contemporary Australian film.



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Laila Kazmi

@Lailakaz — Laila Kazmi is an award-winning senior producer and writer at KCTS 9. Her first love is discovering and telling stories of diverse people, places, and history. She has lived in Karachi, Bahrain, Chicago, and Seattle. Laila is the series producer for Borders & Heritage, which features stories of immigrant and refugee experience in the Pacific Northwest and for Reel NW, featuring independent films from and about the Pacific Northwest. She also produces stories for IN Close and produced for PIE. Laila's video stories have appeared on KCTS 9, PBS NewsHour Art Beat, World Channel at WGBH, and KPBS. Her articles have been published in PBS NewsHour Art Beat, The Seattle Times, Seattle PI, COLORLINES, and Pakistan's daily Dawn.

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Stacey Jenkins

Stacey Jenkins is the Managing Producer of What's Good 206. She is an Emmy-award winning producer who is passionate about pushing the boundaries of digital media and training the next generation of multimedia journalists. Stacey has been a Digital Content Producer at KCTS 9 for the past four years; her stories have been showcased locally on IN Close as well as nationally on SciTech Now and the PBS NewsHour's Art Beat. Stacey’s experience also includes working as a senior producer for KPTS, as an assistant media instructor and producer for Portland Community College and a TV news reporter for the CBC in Canada.

Fun Fact: Stacey’s guilty pleasures include over-the-top Halloween decor, eating sweetened condensed milk straight from the can and Maroon 5’s “Sugar” video.

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