For Josh Futcher, acting is about connection. He can be resonating with an audience through film or stage, or with a fellow actor, director, or crew; he loves the fact that his work can affect someone on the other side of the world, whether it’s laughter, tears, or even just escapism. Throughout his life, many performances by great actors have positively affected his life, and now, through his work, he hopes to have that same impact on others.
Throughout his career, Futcher has worked on a number of acclaimed film and television projects and become one of Australia’s leading actors. Films like Fatal Flame, From Parts Unknown, and Wedgetail have been seen by audiences all over the world, and he is known for his work on the hit television show Conspiracy 365 and the award-winning web series No Pink Cowboys. Most recently, however, Futcher worked on the film Répetez S’il-Vous-Plait, which premiered at the world renowned 2018 Festival de Cannes. It ended up taking home the Silver Award for the Festival’s Straight8 competition. The experience, according to Futcher, was the highlight of his esteemed career.
“It’s very exciting. For a humble film shot in Melbourne to be so well received at the most prestigious film festival in the world, it makes me feel incredibly grateful. I have been receiving calls and emails of congratulations from people in the industry for weeks. It’s exciting to be a part of an award-winning production and the opportunities that come from it,” said Futcher.
For the Straight8 competition, the entire film had to be shot on a Super 8 camera, with one cartridge. All editing was done within the camera, with no post production allowed, meaning every shot had to be done in one take, a unique challenge for Futcher. That being said, he rose to the occasion, and working on Répétez S’il-Vous-Plait was one of his favorite on-set experiences. He had to stay incredibly focused on his character’s journey at all times, as any slip up couldn’t just be edited out as it normally would.
“I loved the challenge of working in this way. The pressure of needing to nail it on each shot pushed me to work at the top of my game. The director and crew were all fantastic to work with, and it felt like it was a truly shared collaborative process. Shooting in the streets of Melbourne on a Super8 camera meant that we could also pick up shots wherever we went, as there wasn’t the usual huge set up for every shot. It felt like guerilla filmmaking,” he said.
The story itself is what enticed Futcher. Répetez S’il-Vous-Plait tells the story of Jeff, a filmmaker running late for his film’s screening at Cannes. Shot by shot, audiences see Jeff waking and rushing to get to the theatre through the streets of Cannes. Eventually, he arrives and takes his seat just in time to see his film’s opening title: "Répetez S’il-Vous-Plait". What he sees on the screen, though, is shot for shot everything that was just seen in the minutes leading up to this event. He sees himself on the screen; waking, shaving, running. Terror enters his body as realisation dawns upon him. He turns slowly to look behind him; eyeballing the camera right as the film ends.
“I love that the story is based around a creative person and his journey to get where he needs to be. It feels like a metaphor for the pursuit of creative dreams. He wakes up late, he’s already behind the eight-ball. He cuts himself shaving, and trips over dogs that are walking – all little bumps in the road to get where he wants to be. When he finally gets to his destination, the security guard stops him and tells him he’s too late. Even though he has his pass, they won’t let him in. He catches a lucky break and is let in by the candy girl. When he’s reached his destination, he’s confronted by the terror that it’s not what he thought it would be. I feel it’s important for creatives to feel like they are not the only one in the work struggling to make it,” Futcher described.
On top of being a film director, the character of Jeff is a positive and good person, albeit a little nerdy and clumsy, according to Futcher. He is motivated and determined, but also unlucky, as seen throughout the film. Because he is the sole character, Futcher’s work in keeping the suspense was what drove the film’s thrilling conclusion, and in turn helped toward the project’s success at Cannes. Needless to say, Futcher’s acting chops were on full display.
“With the digital revolution, it’s been so long since I’ve worked on something recorded on film, particularly Super8. Being able to hear the click of the film cartridge turning over was very nostalgic and took me back to the beginnings of my career,” he concluded.
Photo by Lachian Woods