Julian Shaw looks forward to a range of acting projects in 2016, beginning this weekend with the short film ‘First & Second’, which has its world premiere at Flickerfest.
He might be known for directing the documentaries Darling! The Pieter-Dirk Uys Story and Cup of Dreams, but Julian Shaw has been making waves as an actor ever since he starred in the marriage equality ad It’s Time, a viral short that racked up 16 millions views on YouTube and earned shares from the likes of Stephen Fry and Madonna.
“It’s quite funny, the best thing I ever did for my acting career was studying directing at film school,” says Julian from Portland, Oregon where he is developing a new film project to direct and star in. “We had to do these classes at AFTRS where the directors get up to act, and it seemed like the other directors took notice of me that day. It’s Time was actually directed by Stephen McCallum and produced by Peter Slee, both directors in my year. Like I said, studying directing formally was probably the most advantageous thing I’ve ever done as an actor.”
Another director in Julian’s year was talented up-and-comer Kacie Anning, who directed Julian in the short film Emu (an official selection at Flickerfest 2015), and with whom he now shares the screen in the moving two-hander First & Second, about a courier who is unexpectedly re-united with his boyhood crush.
“Kacie and I had been meaning to perform in something together for a while, and she wrote a beautiful little script, which she also directed; very sparse and pure, a two-hander with a lot of undercurrents of emotion and shared history between the characters. It seemed like the degree of difficulty for being engaging for the whole running time was extremely high, but I thought if we pulled it off it would be special. I’d like to work with Kacie again, she is very talented and we have a great shorthand from our film school days.”
Besides appearing as an actor in Flickerfest shorts three years running (2014’s entry was the black comedy The Speaker co-starring Demtel salesman Tim Shaw), Julian made his Hollywood feature debut in San Andreas in 2015, sharing the screen with none other than Paul Giamatti. “Definitely not a bad scene partner to have right out of the gate! The biggest thing I took from it was that even though it’s a 100 million dollar movie, it’s still exactly the same job when you’re in front of the camera, as if you were in a no-budget student film. Your responsibilities are virtually identical. I felt totally at home and probably even more comfortable in that environment than I’ve ever felt before on a film set.”
Julian is currently developing a new film in the US: the genre-bending feature Ruin Me, featuring notorious online dominatrix Ceara Lynch. The film recently launched a Facebook page on the Joe Rogan show, one of the world’s most downloaded podcasts, and will be crowd funding in 2016. “That’s a very exciting project I’ve been developing for a couple of years now, I hope it’s going to really make a huge splash. It will be very controversial no doubt, but I think it will get audiences talking.”