Jocelyn Moorhouse

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Jocelyn Moorhouse
Jocelyn Moorhouse at the premiere of 2015 film, The Dressmaker, at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival, September 2015
Moorhouse at the premiere of The Dressmaker at TIFF, September 2015
Born (1960-09-04) 4 September 1960 (age 58)
OccupationFilm director, screenwriter
Spouse(s)P.J. Hogan
AwardsAustralian Film Institute Award for Best Direction
1991 Proof
Australian Film Institute Award for Best Screenplay
1991 Proof
Australian Film Institute Award for Best Film
1994 Muriel's Wedding

Jocelyn Denise Moorhouse (born 4 September 1960) is an Australian writer and film director. She has directed films such as Proof,[1] How to Make an American Quilt[2] and A Thousand Acres.[3]

Moorhouse has produced some of her husband, film director P. J. Hogan's films: Muriel's Wedding[4] and 2012's Mental.

In 2012, Moorhouse directed her first play Sex with Strangers for the Sydney Theatre Company. In October 2014, she started filming The Dressmaker, with Kate Winslet and Judy Davis.[5]

Early life[edit]

Moorhouse was born in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Moorhouse did her HSC year in 1978 at Vermont High School where her mother taught art, which is the same high school that Gillian Armstrong attended a few years earlier. She then enrolled in the Australian Film, Television and Radio School (AFTRS).


It was while studying at Australian Film, Television and Radio School (AFTRS) that Moorhouse completed her first short film entitled Pavane in 1983. Moorhouse then graduated from AFTRS in 1984 and started work as television script editor. She created a twelve-part series called c/o The Bartons for the ABC in 1988—the series was based on one of her short films at AFTRS called The Siege of the Bartons' Bathroom. Some of the other television shows she worked on included The Flying Doctors, Out of the Blue, A Place to Call Home, and The Humpty Dumpty Man.[6] Moorhouse made her feature film debut in 1991 with Proof. The idea for the film came from Moorhouse’s interest in blindness and photography. She initially intended on this being a short film but since she wasn’t able to secure the funding for a short she decided to make it into a feature film instead.[6] It took Proof five years to go into production, but when it did it had a budget of 1.1 million dollars. The film ended up taking six weeks to shoot in Melbourne during the winter of 1990.[7]

The success of Proof allowed Moorhouse to get bigger and better opportunities. She followed up that film with her first "Hollywood blockbuster" with How to Make an American Quilt (1995). The film had a talented cast which featured Anne Bancroft, Winona Ryder, Kate Nelligan, Dermot Mulroney, and Alfre Woodard. The film was met with mixed reviews.[7]

Her next feature film was A Thousand Acres (1997). It was an adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Jane Smiley. The film is about the relationship between a father and three daughters when tragedy is introduced into their lives. The film starred Jessica Lange, Michelle Pfeiffer, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Jason Robards. This film, just like How to Make an American Quilt, was met with mixed reviews.[7]

Moorhouse is married to director P.J. Hogan. She was the screenwriter for one of his films entitled Unconditional Love (2001). This was her second project with her husband as they both collaborated on Muriel's Wedding.[7]

Moorhouse's most recent project is The Dressmaker (2015). The film stars Kate Winslet, Judy Davis, Liam Hemsworth, and Hugo Weaving. The film is based on the novel by Rosalie Ham and is about a dressmaker who returns to her home in Australia to take care of her ailing, mentally unstable mother.

Personal life[edit]

Moorhouse is married to film director P. J. Hogan. They have four children, two of whom are autistic.[8][9]


Moorhouse's first feature film Proof earned instant critical acclaim in Australia winning six Australian Film Institute Awards, including best screenplay and best director. Proof also won multiple prizes at various international film festivals. These include the Silver Hugo award in Chicago, the Golden Camera-Special Mention Award in Cannes, the 2nd place audience award at Mill Valley, the Bronze Award in Tokyo, and the Critics Award in São Paulo. Proof also enabled Moorhouse to win the Sutherland Trophy at the British Film Institute Awards. Moorhouse also won an Australian Film Institute Award for best film for Muriel's Wedding.[6]


Year Film Director Producer Writer Notes
1983 Pavane
1991 Proof
AACTA Award for Best Direction
AACTA Award for Best Screenplay, Original or Adapted
BFI Sutherland Trophy
Cannes Film Festival Golden Camera
Chicago International Film Festival Silver Hugo
São Paulo International Film Festival Critics Award
Tokyo International Film Festival Bronze Award
1994 Muriel's Wedding
AACTA Award for Best Film
1995 How to Make an American Quilt
1997 A Thousand Acres
2002 Unconditional Love
2012 Mental
2015 The Dressmaker
AACTA People's Choice Award for Favourite Australian Film
AFCA Award for Best Screenplay
2nd place — Mill Valley Film Festival Audience Award
Nominated — AACTA Award for Best Direction
Nominated — AFCA Award for Best Director
Nominated — FCCA Award for Best Director


  1. ^ Maslin, Janet (20 March 1992). "Review/Film Festival; Acerbity and Escapism In 'Proof,' From Australia". The New York Times.
  2. ^ "'How to Make an American Quilt'". The Washington Post.
  3. ^ "'A Thousand Acres': Sow-Sow Potentially Fertile Farm Drama Plowed Under By Stale Conventions". Daily News. 1997.
  4. ^ "Muriel's Wedding". Rolling Stone.
  5. ^ "The Dressmaker Financed". Retrieved 14 October 2014.
  6. ^ a b c "The Australian Women's Register".
  7. ^ a b c d "The New York Times".
  8. ^ THR Staff (6 January 2016). "Watch THR's Full, Uncensored Actress Roundtable With Jennifer Lawrence, Brie Larson and More". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 12 January 2016.
  9. ^ Neill, Rosemary (26 September 2015). "Dressmaker director Jocelyn Moorhouse on Kate Winslet and Eucalyptus". The Australian. Retrieved 12 January 2016.

External links[edit]