Treacle by Rosie Westhoff is a film about the relationship between two 20-something girls. It’s ‘a delicately provocative, smartly orchestrated love story wrapped in a gorgeous colour pallet and played to a unique soundtrack‘. We spoke to Roise about the film and what drives her storytelling
D&CFilm: Tell us about Treacle and what attracted you to making it?
Rosie Westhoff: April Kelley (the writer/Producer/Lead Actor) is an amazing woman! She approached me and wanted me to write and direct the film. However, as it was such a personal story for her to tell I urged her to write it. So we worked together on the script for about 6-9 months before we went into pre production. She wrote it, I script edited and added things here and there. It was very much her baby and I am just very thankful that she trusted me with it.
D&CFilm: In terms of themes and style, how does Treacle fit with your other films?
Rosie Westhoff: As a filmmaker you’re always expected to stick to one style, one look for your films. However, I want to experiment and explore with the craft especially as I’m still new to it. I love working in drama and drama comedy. Particularly coming of age. I’d say overall the themes I stick to are pretty common – young women going through transitional moments in their lives.
D&CFilm: We’ve checked out a heap-load of reviews for Treacle, and they all praise the writing, performances, cinematography, soundtrack… and overall film, basically. How satisfying is to be faced with such a reception and how much planning do you have to do achieve it?
Rosie Westhoff: We were very lucky to have some budget backing the film so we were able to rehearse, and work with a brilliant DP Halyna Hutchins and use kit we wanted to. I also worked with my friend and collaborator Sam Bryant on the soundtrack, which was a joy. It’s very satisfying that people are liking the film so much and because so much prep, time, sleepless nights went into it it kind of feels like the hard work was worth it.
D&CFilm: James Maitre on Directors Notes said Treacle was filled with fun, but also had tender, awkward moments. Making a film can be a combination of frustration, really hard work and happy accidents. What pleased you most about the making of the film?
Rosie Westhoff: Probably the chemistry between April & Ari (who plays Jessie). Throwing two strangers together with only 2 days rehearsal isn’t easy. And they had to trust me a lot, and I pushed them hard in the lead up and on the shoot days. So I’m pleased that comes across on screen.
D&CFilm: This is one of our stock questions, but we think it’s important – what do you think the role of the artist / filmmaker in society?
Rosie Westhoff: I think it’s important to tell stories that bring different characters to the screen. All my films have shown young women going through big milestones in their lives, and all have been characters that aren’t often portrayed on screen, and even though they’re different to what we’re used to seeing they highlight the commonalities and the universalities that drive us all; love, sexuality, family, identity.
D&CFilm: Cheers Rosie, thanks for your time!
See more of Rosie Westhoff’s work on her website.
Treacle by Rosie Westhoff was at the English Riviera Film Festival on as part of the Finalist Screening.
For times and tickets, go to the ERFF site.
Treacle by Rosie Westhoff is at Two Short Nights film fest at the Exeter Phoenix Screening #5: Defining Moments Thu Nov 28. Book tickets