Saara Lamberg in ‘The Lies We Tell Ourselves.’

Finnish-Australian actor/filmmaker Saara Lamberg is playing a fictionalised version of herself in the comedy The Lies We Tell Ourselves.

She plays an eccentric art house director who travels to the Cannes Film Festival, the German countryside, New Caledonia, England and Australia to shoot her latest film.

Along the way she encounters uninvited naked auditions, promoters who want her to sleep with the “right people,” washed-up stars that have ridiculous requests and make-up artists-turned coke dealers as well as falling on the red carpet.

“I play ‘myself,’ but heightened. The stories are fictionalised although based in real life. I call it mockumentary with art house. There is the film within the film because the director is creating her next film,” the director/writer/producer/actor tells IF.

“Most of the acting is improvised and this has created some really hilarious scenes. I have the screenplay structure in my head and I tell actors what happens in scenes but most scenes don’t have written dialogue. For some reason, this form of working creates a lot of comedy and genuinely funny scenes.”

Jane Badler, rising British actor Xander Turian and French veteran Gérard Darmon also play fictionalised versions of themselves. The cast also includes Ezel Doruk, Kristen Condon, Andy Hazel, Brigitte Jarvis, Colin Donald, Heidi Salander and Sandy Mowbray-Clarke.

Lamberg got the idea when Innuendo, her debut feature as a director, was invited to various festivals including Cannes, New Caledonia and England.

After completing the psychological thriller, in which she played a woman who moves to Melbourne from Finland and endures a string of broken relationships, she took it to the American Film Market, where Blairwood Entertainment’s James Dudelson agreed to represent it.

Umbrella Entertainment released the film theatrically last October and on VOD platforms while the Nine Network bought the free-to-air rights.

Dudelson is also handling her follow-up film Westermarck Effect as well as The Lies We Tell Ourselves. Due for release in 2019, Westermarck Effect follows Lamberg as a woman named Sally who gave up her son Sam for adoption 20 years ago. When they meet again, Sally and Sam (Jayden Denke) fall in love.

The filmmaker grew up in Finland where she started acting in theatre productions at the age of seven. She studied production and journalism in Finland and did an acting course in England before moving to Australia in her twenties.

After her screenplay Innuendo won bronze at a Beverly Hills screenplay contest, she shopped it around producers and got some interest but not enough commitment. So she gathered the colleagues with whom she had made short films and raised the funds.

She continues to act in other directors’ films, most recently playing the lead in Mark Bakaitis’s Cult Girls, which is in post. She plays a former cult member who journeys into the wilderness to find an exiled anti-Christ who may hold the key to the disappearance of her two sisters.

“I think I have now proven that I make interesting work and that I am here to stay,” she said. “The next step is for funding bodies to jump in and support my work which I think is unique.

“I would like to find a producer who understands the kind of work I want to be making that would support me while allowing me my creative freedom. If such a producer does not manifest themselves, I am happy to keep producing my own.”

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