When we are trapped in the bubble that is lala land (Hollywood), it is easy to forget about the incredible creatives around the world that are exploring similar topics and experiencing similar hardships as my friends and myself in LA. Luckily, I have had the wonderful opportunity to learn about the Australian entertainment industry and work with some brilliant women that are creating change “down-under.” When I was in Australia a few weeks ago, I sat down with the creators of L&L Film Productions, a Brisbane based film company that prides itself “on [their]ability to capture the real, and beautiful, and tell its story.”
I first met director and co-founder of L&L Film Productions, Lauren Panrucker a few years ago, and I have had the pleasure to work with her a few times since. She is one of those special directors who really understands actors while holding on to the integrity of the story and the creative process of her team.
The other L in L&L Film Productions is Leticia Jenkins, Tish for short, a producer who connected to Lauren’s beautiful filmmaking and together they discovered the idea of beautiful truth. They are continuously encouraged by each others’ love of discovery and have found a perfect partnership. These women absolutely blew me away with their insight, vision, and grasp of the necessary concept that this industry is a BUSINESS and should be run as such. So much so, that this interview will be shared in a multi part series. Let the storytelling begin…
I was an actor. In school, theater class was all I cared about and my life goal was to get performer of the year, which I did get.
When I left high school I did a theater course which I really enjoyed, and when I graduated I auditioned but I hit this wall because there were other brunettes that were also available on the same day that could do the same thing as me.
Then I did this film and when I got the footage, it was beautiful. The shots were incredibly visual and I thought that this is exactly what I wanted to make but I had to wait eight months after we shot it to get one 30 second clip, and I felt like the character that I created wasn’t even that interesting. So I thought to myself that I wanted to create characters that have more depth in stories that actually matter. And for the next few years whenever I was on set, I would be breaking down the beats for the camera and listening to the director interact with the crew and my passion just swerved. I caught the filmmaking bug.
I have found that directing allows me to express myself so much more clearly and that it is like painting. You have the colors, and the movement of the camera, and the performance, and all these different layers that create a visual painting.
I started in dance, musical theater, and tv broadcasting, but when I went to Griffith University for film and television producing I found that they don’t focus on tv broadcasting, only drama and feature films. I stumbled into documentary, where I met Lauren, and I loved that this was a medium about telling true stories. I think it is just incredible that you aren’t creating the situation, you just found it, and are capturing it.
Initial Connection with Documentary
We didn’t immediately fall in love with it as an artform. Coming from a drama background, I always thought that documentaries were one-dimensional and it seemed like a bunch of rookies running around with a handycam. Half the shots were ugly but that didn’t matter because it was a documentary. I had a real problem with that so when Tish and I first came together a lot of our earlier conversations were about why it didn’t have to be ugly. So the first documentary we shot together, we spent a great deal of time figuring out how we could tell a true story in the most beautiful way possible.
The current project that we are doing is a group of stories about individuals in a specific situation and the other people around them that affect the situation. So we interview a few different people and then follow his or her story arc and show what each person is feeling over the course of a day. We love that we are able to tell someone’s story that would otherwise be silent.
How did this project start?
It started out as interviews with single people. It would be one person’s journey in that particular situation so that it could be a comforting tool for people in that same situation in the future. But soon we realized that it was more powerful to tell different sides of one narrative. I love that we can make these stories powerful but also beautiful.
I connected with Lauren and Tish because of their vulnerability, willingness to share their mistakes, and drive to tell stories that would otherwise go unheard. In my next article, I will be sharing part two of the interview in which we delve into their difficulties starting out, and the different ways they connected with small businesses to help each other out. By the end of this article series, the brilliant women of L & L Film Productions will inspire you and prove that Australia’s film industry is a force to be reckoned with.