Australian writer and director Andrew Traucki is currently finalizing his third feature – The Jungle – in his trilogy of terror, which he names “Three Colours Red”.
The Jungle tells the story of an Australian leopard conservationist who travels deep into the remote Indonesian jungle with his documentary filmmaker brother. Intending to investigate an endangered species of leopard, the protagonists soon discover that they have become the target of a deadly unseen predator.
“I have been trying to think of a third story of thriller that I can do,” he said. “It is not conventional. It is more experimental in a sense. I like the idea of being stuck in the jungle and having to work out how to survive.”
Like his previous two features, crocodile thriller Black Water (co-directed with David Nerlich) and shark film The Reef, The Jungle continues exploring terror in the natural environment.
“I kind of like the survival-thriller. It helps you put yourself in the position of a person who tries to survive. It’s quite exciting to think about what I can do in this situation and how I can fix the problem.
“But I’m not only interested in shock. I’m interested in lots of genres but what is interesting about this particular genre is that it is kind of a game of trying to scare people and keep people intrigued and see if you can wrong-foot them. It is quite hard to do, really. So I enjoy from that point of view. I’m not exactly sure what attracts me to this genre but I know that’s the kind of film I want to make.”
Nature provided another major challenge.
“The weather was a problem,” Traucki said. “My last two films were set in water. The Reef was set in water and Black Water was set around water. I thought I’ve escaped water but unfortunately it rained. It got very muddy. At times the gears got dirty. And shooting at night could get very tiring and sometimes even cold. But this is essential when you are in an environment so natural, whether it being the sea, the jungle or whatever. These elements make the shooting difficult.”
Traucki is also one among 26 directors from around the world participating in the anthology film ABCs of Death, which will have its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival's Midnight Madness Programme.
Traucki was the only Australian director involved. The project involved selecting a letter from the alphabet which inspired each segment about death.
“I chose the letter G for gravity. So I will use gravity to kill my character,” he laughed. “I haven’t seen the film yet. It’s kind of weird to collaborate with 25 other people. It’s a strange experience in a way. I just made my film and wondered how things went with the others, so I can’t wait to see it.”