began his career as an actor and then moved into directing and shooting
documentaries which he credits for having helped him as a fiction filmmaker. A firm believer that real life is more extraordinary than anything you could dream up, Mordaunt believes his acting experience
gave him an insight into the detail of people’s incredible stories and
how to paint them with truth and respect. The half Anglo and half Indian Mauritian filmmaker is married to Sylvia Wilczynski who worked alongside him as a producer for “The Rocket,” which will premiere at Tribeca.
What it’s about: “The Rocket” is a determined and resourceful boy’s quest to prove he is
not cursed with bad luck – his epic journey through war ravaged Laos to
the dangerous but lucrative Rocket Festival.
What else audiences should know: “The Rocket” has come from a 10 year long relationship with Laos and its
people. Producer Sylvia Wilczynski and I made a documentary called
“Bomb Harvest” in Laos which very much seeded the idea for “The Rocket”,
and on this film we also met Lao Pauline Phayvanh Phoumindr, who became
an associate producer on “The Rocket”.
His biggest challenges: “After making “Bomb Harvest” about an Australian bomb disposal
specialist working in Laos , we and the Lao community in Laos,
Australia and around the world really wanted our next film to be
centered around a Lao protagonist in Laos, in Lao language. This was a
huge challenge to finance – to have people have faith in a foreign
language story set in Laos with kids, animals, action, explosives, a
lot of travel and filming restrictions, without any international stars
by a first time feature producer and writer and director.”
What he hopes Tribeca audiences will walk away with: “A view into a mostly unseen and disappearing world that hums with
meaning in a global context – to have an inkling of the personal impact
on people of outside forces such as war and economic development. That human beings are capable of both terrible and wonderful things and
that hope can come from the most unexpected and amazing places.”
Films that inspired him: “Films that inspire me are: The Motorcycle Diaries, Central Station, The
Intouchables, Babel, The Piano, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Betty Blue,
The Deer Hunter, Don’t Look Now, Fargo, Gallipoli, How to Train Your
Dragon, Shrek, Slumdog Millionaire, The Birds, One Flew Over the
Cuckoo’s Nest. And all of David Attenborough’s work.”
On his background: “I’m an eternal student of film making from reading screenplays and
watching and analyzing films, but also just generally trying to work out
what makes people tick. I have a film-making degree from University of
Technology Sydney and a diploma in acting from LAMDA, the London Academy of
Music and Dramatic art. My mentors to date have been my art teacher
at school, Kerry Woods, my father, Richard, who is a documentary filmmaker and step-mother ,Diana, who is a painter. As well as working collaborations with
people like writer and director Howard Jackson who I worked with as an actor
Indiewire invited Tribeca Film Festival directors to tell us about their films, including what inspired them, the challenges they faced and what they’re doing next. We’ll be publishing their responses leading up to the 2013 festival.
Keep checking HERE every day up to the launch of the festival on April 17 for the latest profiles.