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:: Making Venus

An interesting documentary, “Making Venus” tells the story of Jason and Julian, two friends who want to be the new ‘superstars of the film world’. Documentary maker Gary Doust was on set to chronicle this dynamic duo producing “The Venus Factory”, a low budget Australian film about an actor with high hopes who is drawn into the world of porn.

“Making Venus” starts out in very standard fashion, very similar to many previous ‘making of’ films. There are more-or-less professional cast and crew interviews, we observe some scenes of the movie being shot, are privy to some behind the scenes antics. The usual stuff.

Before too long, however, things start to go off the rails. Delays. Costs mount. The film is finally put together and isn’t well received. Re-writes. The hunt for a distributor does not go well. Costs mount. There is blood on the carpet. Re-writes. A new director. Costs mount. Re-writes. Everything is going to hell, while the camera rolls.

“Making Venus” is quite a good film. Reminiscent of “Startup.com” and “Hearts of Darkness” with just a touch of “American Movie” about it, it tracks the activities of Jason and Julian though the many years, and amazing amount of money (mostly borrowed) that they wound up spending on the film. Although it is interesting to speculate about what Doust left on the cutting room floor, the brave face that Jason and Julian sustain for the camera over a period of years is pretty impressive.

Impressive, but perhaps not amazing. Unlike the subjects of many documentaries, Jason and Julian are part of the same world as the documentary makers. Although the massive problems their film encounters shows that the boys do not have showbiz down pat, they are cluey enough to realise the possibilities the documentary presents for them to further their own interests, to provide some publicity and promotion down the line.

Making Venus is definitely worth a look for anyone interested in the film making process, wanting a bit more than the standard ‘this project was just sooooo wonderful’ fluff pieces that are found on most movie dvds these days.

The extras are pretty good as well, a variety of decent cut scenes (amazingly enough, it turns out that sex shops don’t allow returns) a popcorn taxi Q&A session, cast and crew info, (the lead character of “The Venus Factory” is on Play School now) and a good short film by Doust, Murbah Swamp Beer. This DVD is a good package based around an interesting film. Definitely worth checking out.

DVD Extras

Additional Footage: The Directors Cut - Additional Footage Not Screened On TV
Audio Commentary: By Director Gary Doust and Documentary subjects Julian Sagge
Deleted Scenes: Making Venus Deleted Scenes
Interviews - Cast & Crew: Popcorn Taxi Q&A Featuring Documentary Makers + Subjects
Notes: Director's Statement
Short Film: Murbah Swamp Beer (7 MIn Short by Director Gary Doust)
Theatrical Trailer: Making Venus Trailer