Interview: Matthew Goldsworthy and Julian Barbor

Matthew Goldsworthy and Julian Barbor at the premiere of Marital Problems.

Marital Problems is a solid little Australian dramedy. With a great script and an impressive cast, Marital Problems is the surprise film of the year. Here, Cinema Australia caught up with the film’s creators to discuss bringing their micro-budget indie to life.

Interview by Matthew Eeles

How did you two come to work on Marital Problems together

Matthew Goldsworthy:  Back in 2009 I met Julian at a pop culture convention where we became friends. We both had a mutual interest in film. In 2012 I started my film career doing extra work but soon wanted more. I decided that a feature should be made. Thankfully Julian had the idea of Marital Problems so we decided to do that. We formed a partnership and we then started work.

Can you both tell us about your respective roles on the film?

Matthew Goldsworthy:  For the most part I was the business end of the filmmaking. I set up the legal structures for the business, wrote and reviewed contracts and looked into the industry trends. After post-production I devised a marketing plan and set up the premiere and helped organise press.

Julian Barbor:  I wrote the script for the film with guidance from Matthew as to how the direction of it should go. In pre-preproduction I acted as a producer helping to organise finance, assist in getting cast and crew and working with other producers to get locations. On set I assisted Dia (director) to help bring the script to the screen.  I organised all of the post-production with the other producers and then Matthew and I went out to promote the premiere.

Dia does a great job directing this film which mostly focuses on male characters. Can you tell us about the decision to bring Dia on board?

Julian Barbor: The best way I can put this is that Dia and I were very close at the time. She was a filmmaker having made short films throughout her youth. She read my script and, based on our relationship, I believed she could do it some justice and remain faithful to my screenplay. Together, we organised casting, conducted rehearsals, and even arranged songs for the film’s soundtrack. We both decided the film be listed as ‘A film by Dia Taylor & Julian Barbor’, respectively. Dia has since gone on to direct more of her own films, and we wish her nothing but the best!

Nick Capper in Marital Problems.

The entire cast are terrific in the film. What was the casting process like for Marital Problems?

Matthew Goldsworthy:  The casting process was lengthy as we wanted to make sure we got the best talent for the film. I was working on a small film shoot at my home and Julian and I decided that night that Callum Gault would be ideal. After some of the script was written we got Callum to audition and he was hired right away. Casting Nick Capper is a funny story, both Julian and I missed a tram to get home so we waited for the next one and we bumped into Nick. Nick told Julian that he was looking to get some acting work and we asked him to audition. His audition was great and we cast him on the spot.

Julian Barbor: I met Callum Gault (Ian) at my home where he was hired as an extra for a TV pilot. I knew straight away he was right for the part. I met Nick Capper (Clarke) by chance out in public. I had been familiar with his work as a stand up comic and was a long time admirer. I was very excited having him on board and his performance was beyond brilliant. I’d like to say most of the casting was a group-effort between Dia, Matthew & myself and easily one of our proudest efforts. They all worked and performed well together.

The house where most of the film takes place almost acts as another character in the film. Was this a rental or did a cast or crew member own it?

Julian Barbor: The homeowner was the grandfather of Dia Taylor. It’s come to my attention now the house has been sold and has, or is soon to be, demolished. The location was in Glenroy, Victoria.

The film has a unique storyline with an unexpected twist. Was any of it based on real life?

Julian Barbor: Loosely based. I get asked this the most. I figured as a writer you tend to write what you know so that being said there is a part of me that fits into all those characters or inspired by people I know, I’ve never denied that. Though I have not encountered any squatters mowing my lawn and living in my garden shed or at least not to my knowledge!

Matthew Goldsworthy in Marital Problems.

What’s one of the most memorable moments working on Marital Problems?

Matthew Goldsworthy:  For me I had a blast portraying the bartender in the movie. It was my first ever speaking role on a film. It was such great fun to work with Nick Capper. My scene was shot at the Brunswick Hotel where Julian and I both go to see music gigs. To play my part at the venue was just awesome.

Julian Barbor: For me I think overseeing the sound design was an enjoyable part of the process. They say sound makes up for 50% of your movie and I can vouch for that! Our sound designers, Brad & Cliff, were great to work with and I highly recommend them for their services at Audio Chemistry.

The film had its premiere recently. Did you have any interesting reaction from the audience?

Matthew Goldsworthy:  There were many moments, especially Nick Cappers where the audience burst out laughing. It was great to see the public react like this. By the end of the film there was a round of applause, which was really nice. We had people aged 15 to 80 at the premiere and it was very well received across the board.

Julian Barbor: I can honestly say the reactions have been very positive. I’ve spoken to quite a few people since the premiere and I’ve heard nothing but good things. Words cannot describe what a wonderful feeling it was to have so many people come out and commend you for the work you’ve done.

What’s next for you both as filmmakers?

Matthew Goldsworthy: We are considering doing a web series or TV series based on us as producers going through all of the struggles of making a film. We want it to be a comedy with substance where we poke fun at the film industry and make fun of ourselves. We are looking to star as ourselves in this project and hopefully have well known people make apperances.

Marital Problems will screen at the Melbourne Underground Film Festival on November 1.

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