‘Little Housewife Army’ dir. Matan Rochlitz (2011)

A look into the life of an Indonesian housewife.

Year: 2011
Country: UK
Director: Matan Rochlitz

10 Questions for Matan Rochlitz, Director of Little Housewife Army

C8: How did you come across this subject matter?  How did you find your main character and gain access to her story?

MR: Funny story. I was sent to Indonesia for 3 weeks to document the dish washing habits of Indonesian households. Yes, really and yes, it was for a big ‘soap’ company. But very soon after meeting Meliana I noticed that she had a shortwave radio constantly on in the background, so I asked her about it…and the story of this incredible ‘housewife’ came out.

C8: What were the hardest things about getting the film made? What obstacles did you come across, both in during production and before/after?

MR: The hardest part was telling my client that, aside from their research filming, I’d taken some time to make this. Fortunately, they liked it.

C8: How many people do you work with when shooting these short documentaries abroad?

MR: Budget means I’m usually alone, with an interpreter/fixer. The idea being that if a project gets picked up for funding, you return to the story with a crew.

C8: You categorised this film an ‘experiment’ in your portfolio - how does it differ to your other work?

MR: Well, its a bit weird isn’t it? At the time I had crazy ideas of making an art project where I’d pair the company’s “research” videos with my little shorts of the same person. On one you’d explore someone’s hopes and dreams, while the other would tell you everything you need to know about their dish washing habits.

C8: How did you come to work with Banyak Films and what sort of work do they produce?

MR: I met Banyak while working as a researcher for Al-Jazeera English. They gave me the chance to produce my first current affairs documentary(Beppe’s Blog). Since then they have gone from strength to strength, most recently producing ”Ping Pong”, a feature length doc about octogenarian ping pong champions which is out in cinemas across the UK and is about to be distributed world wide.

C8: If you could work with anyone in the industry who would it be and why?

MR: Wow. Great question. I’m in awe of some of the hard-hitting, tough-as-nails, investigative journalists on Al-Jazeera’s roster. People like Juliana Ruhfus.

C8: So what’s next on the horizon for Matan Rochlitz?

MR: Hm. In no order: distributing a short film about Mozzarella and being Italian in London, completing one about intimate conversations with joggers and preparing one about an Italian farmer who was also Stanley Kubrick’s assistant for 25 years.