Gracie Otto: 'Keeping it in the family'

Michael White, Lara Bingle, Gigi Hadid, Sarah Silverman, Evan Rachel Wood, Nicole Richie - Gracie Otto has directed a range of notable people throughout her career, but her current project is the one closest to her heart.

Following the success of her directorial debut in 2013, The Last Impresario, the 30-year-old has started filming a documentary on her father Barry Otto, 76, an Australian entertainment icon, who has worked in the performing arts world for almost 50 years across stage and screen, perhaps best known for his AFI-award winning role in Strictly Ballroom.

Once the lesser-known of Barry's two fair-haired daughters (she is the younger, half-sister of The Lord of the Rings actor Miranda Otto, 50) Gracie started off a Sydney It girl and had drifted between modelling and acting before making a name of herself in the editing world.

The project, which has been granted "some development money from Screen Australia" and will be made by the same team that made her film on prolific British theatre impresario and film producer Michael White, hadn't initially crossed her mind.

"One of my good friends, Nick Broomfield, who I worked with as an associate producer on the Whitney Houston film [Whitney: Can I Be Me] he directed was like: 'I can't believe that you have this amazing man in front of you, why have you not done a film on him?'" Gracie told Fairfax Media at the recent Alfa Romeo Portsea Polo.

"And I was like, 'Ya, he is pretty cool and funny.' I hadn't really thought about it that way, so I started shooting. We're keeping it in the family."

When asked what it was like going from a father/daughter relationship to director/subject, Gracie laughed: "It is easy because he is free and he is around, but he's hard work because you've got to have a lot of energy. He is like a wind-up doll, he wants to perform and perform, and perform."

Although the pair have acted together in Three Blind Mice, and starred in a QVB campaign, the documentary has made them closer.

"I have lived with him until I was 27 and I don't know that much about him. He is a very beautiful, amazing, loving man," she said.

As a prominent female in the entertainment industry, she believes that although there is some way to go following Me Too and Time's Up -the movements against sexual harassment which started in the entertainment industry following accusations of sexual misconduct against Harvey Weinstein - she is feeling positive about the future.

"My mum sent me an article yesterday from a thing she did 30 years ago, when she was at the forefront of that movement as well, so things haven't changed as much, it's not going to happen overnight," Gracie said.

"But it's great that everyone is getting behind it, that is the right attitude to have. Hopefully things do change, and I think they will. It's about time."

Dressed in Zimmermann, Gracie was a guest of Alfa Romeo at the glamorous Porstea Polo in the Mornington Peninsula last Saturday.

She rubbed shoulders with Asher Keddie, her husband Vincent Fantauzzo, Clementine McVeigh and Rozalia Russian, who were also in attendance.

This story Gracie Otto: 'Keeping it in the family' first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.