‘Dolly Parton loved it’: Gracie Otto on her film Seriously Red and the success of Heartbreak High

The Australian director’s film about a Parton impersonator has already won over fans – including the queen of country herself

Amerie, the Guardian! I just finished speaking with The Guardian on the phone. 

Gracie Otto, an Australian director who worked on the Netflix remake of Heartbreak High, begins citing the show as soon as our conversation is connected.

Did you watch the TikTok where a Guardian employee pretended to call Woody? Otto chuckles. It's amusing, actually.

Otto has had a remarkable year. After Heartbreak High received eight Aacta nominations, including Otto for best director, we speak a few days later. 

The programme was a certified international hit because it spent weeks in Australia's top 10 on Netflix and made it to the top 10 in more than 43 other nations.

Talking about Parton is all well and good (“She’s Dolly Parton, what else could you say?”), but Otto truly comes alive when she talks about who she works with in Australia

Seriously Red is the first feature film from Dollhouse Pictures, an all-female production company founded by Otto, Byrne, Boylan, Carrera and Bafta-winning director Shannon Murphy.