Q&A with Justin Olstein, screen director and writer of The Visitor

July 23, 2018
Based in Melbourne, Justin is an AFI nominated screen director and writer. We chat with him about his latest project, The Visitor, which has its launch at our Museum on Sunday 19 August.

The Visitor recently won the Grand Prize for best short film script at the New York Screenplay Contest. Can you tell us what it’s about?
Without giving too much away, the film is about a woman whose comfortable home is descended upon by a woman from the past. It references a history we all know well.

How did the work come about? Was it inspired by other stories or films?
It came about from an image, of this person from the past rocking up on one’s doorstep, needing urgent assistance to escape from her oppressors. The script kind of developed pretty organically from there.

What would you say the main themes of your work are?
I wanted to explore how the experience of suffering of one generation can leave psychological marks and wield tremendous power over succeeding generations, and how deadly histories can indeed be repeated if we are not cognisant of the mistakes of the past.

How does your Jewish heritage impact your work?
Heavily. I’m interested in our ancient storytelling traditions, as well as the benefits and pitfalls of our tight-knit suburban community.  

What’s next for you? Are there any other projects in development?
Several. Another short and two feature film projects. The hard part, as always, is obtaining the funding 🙂

Great to chat, Justin. You can book tickets to a screening of The Visitor by clicking here.