…not sure how this could ever be a ‘planned’ scene, unless those birds are CGI. But I like to think it’s a wonderful example of a cast and crew working intuitively and responsively to any given moment. A process where everyone is in synch. Where the director creates an atmosphere and gives ‘permission’ for moments for this to occur and develop. I think it’s about being open to every moment and ultimately being well and truley ‘in the moment’. Which with all the pressures of time and money and in this scene, fading light, I find as a director the absolute hardest thing to be… but moments like the above remind me to keep at the forefront of my mind. Regardless of what I’m expecting, planning or needing from a scene, ultimately the most important thing to happen, is the thing that is happening right there and then.
The owner / hoarder (pictured) of the ‘record store’ assured me at least five times in the three minutes I was in there, that he was coming in “tomorrow to clean up and organise everything…”. Definitely the strangest record store I have ever been in.
My friends Rhys and Tash over at Daybreak Films have recently released their latest feature documentary ‘Murundak’. The film tells the story of the ‘Black Arm Band’ a super-group of legendary Aboriginal musicians from the past and present. In showcasing the talents of the individuals the film charts the history of the Aboriginal protest movement and it’s unique and very defined relationship to music.
I really didnt know what to expect from the film, I have no special interest in Aboriginal protest music nor is it something I would actively seek out. But Rhys and Tash have created a film that is so rich with the spirit of ‘music’ in general and not just a particular genre that I was soon swept away into a world I knew nothing of, but was really keen to explore and learn much more about.
The surprising thing for me and I’m sure for others, is even though I know very little about Aboriginal protest music, I have actually been quite happily exposed to it through far more popular music over the years. For example, I knew some of what the song Solid Rock was about. As a kid growing up in the 80′s I loved it, but the film showed me the song in a new and very different light. It’s way more than a forgotten mega hit of the 80′s. It’s relevance and power is just as significant now, perhaps even more so. The live version of that song that is performed in the film will stay with me for some time. Another song I’m quite familiar with is ‘From Little Things Big Things Grow’ which forms one of the centre pieces of the film, again I really like that song, and who doesn’t, but never knew of it’s history and it’s significance to Aboriginal people. I like how these songs and more, exist in the mainstream and yet are very powerful political messages. I can’t imagine a song like Solid Rock making it to the top 10 these days.
Having followed the making of the film from afar over the years it took to make, I know the guys really struggled in particular with the editing of the film. I think Rhys nd Tash were stuck in the edit suite for over a year (!) Trying to find the right balance of performance, interviews, historical footage, the history etc. And perhaps most importantly trying to shape a film which welcomes you in a way so you want to learn more (as apposed to a lot of films which become just advocacy for an ‘issue’) But watching it I could see no evidence of this creative struggle, in fact to their credit the film feels effortless in the way it flows. In this way the film actually feels like one whole piece of music.And making something so hard, look so easy is part of the filmmaking process these guys have nailed.
Murundak is currently in cinemas, check here to see if it’s playing near you.
I’ve just returned from twelve fun filled days in New York City. Man, I love that place so much. The impetus to head there this time, not that I need much encouragement, was Last Ride played at MoMA as part of Adelaide Produces, a programme curated of films that have been produced with the assistance of the Adelaide Film Festival. I’ve been lucky enough to accompany the film to many great places around the world over the last year and half but this screening was very special indeed. Last Ride is unapologetically an ‘art house’ film, and MoMA is arguably one of THE greatest of art houses! Here, the audiences were really appreciative, their questions and comments afterwards were encouraging and insightful. It was a great experience all round.
I think NY is the one city in the world other than Melbourne, where I feel at ‘home’. When I’m there I feel as though every moment, on every street, holds the potential for something amazing to happen. A good friend described New York as ‘Disneyland for Adults’. It’s such an apt description. I love the way how you can have no real plan but just set off in a direction and you will soon stumble upon something great. Whether it be some incredible architectural, retail or gastronomic experience, strange and wonderful people or being drawn to the details and the incidental moments of beauty that spontaneously jump out while strolling block after glorious block.
I’m not really into cars, but somewhere along the line I got hooked on taking photos of all the cool old cars in and around Venice. I had to stop myself from doing it though because you could spend your whole life taking photos of cool cars in L.A.
Also I’ve recently signed to SKUNK here in L.A for commercial representation in the U.S, so it has been a good opportunity to meet the team face to face and not via skype. SKUNK has a great roster of directors, including fellow aussie John Hillcoat (The Road, The Proposition) and one of my favorite Belgian directors Koen Mortier who made a great film Ex Drummer a couple of years back (Such a freaky film, so wrong but so right. Watch the first 5 minutes here.).
I’ve only been to L.A a few times, but each time it creeps a little more under my skin. I can see why some people love it and some people hate it. Even though I find it a pretty tricky place at times, I’m really starting to like the place and all the possibility it holds.
Nat (below) is travelling with me and this is the first time we have been ‘child free’ for a long while. It’s a good time. Of course we are missing the kids, but it’s so good to spending some quality time together!