Working in advertising for many years gifted me a deep interest in film, but without the opportunity to take it beyond that. I made, as an art director and writer, many, many ads with some very talented directors and cinematographers. I learned a lot by osmosis. The work below, though, is none of that. Making a documentary called Musica Surfica in 2007 was a push into a new world.
Spring is my contribution to a suite of four music videos, from four different directors, commissioned by Delsinki Records. A great deal of fun shooting on a very cold morning, notwithstanding the near death experience of trying to blow up a huge plastic unicorn with just lung power. Concept, direction, edit and grading by me, with some great cinematography from Ed Sloane. Hannah Butler and Marcus Hyett were the brave, happy souls out in the cold.
The Reef 2012-2016
The most important work, for me, has been The Reef, a four year project with two iterations. A film for Performance with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, it is a collaboration between Richard Tognetti AO, Cinematographer Jon Frank, and myself as Writer, Producer and Director. First filmed and performed nationally and internationally in 2012/2013, an added years work in 2015, including three weeks of filming and five months of editing, has grown and improved it into a new edition, a Redux, that toured the US in February 2016.
The Reef comprises 21 individual pieces of music that act as the spine to a day as a life, a mythic day that is a metaphor for our lives, from birth to death. each part of the film expressing an aspect of that journey.
It received standing ovations in Los Angeles' Disney Hall, and at 92Y in New York. It was performed, to a similar reception, in March 2017 at the Barbican in London.
"...abstract, probing, and at times sublimely alienating imagery and editing, (The Reef) pushed and pulled my expectations (and thereby emotions) twisting me into a state of constant surprise."
Todd Stewart - EndlessBummerNY
Documentary - Musica Surfica
Musica Surfica was my filmic beginning. An off the cuff (in a considered way) email led to a now nearly decade long relationship with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, and Richard Tognetti as a great friend, collaborator and oft time surfing buddy... It was also my first outing with cinematographer Jon Frank, another monumental talent I've been lucky enough to work with, and we've become like brothers. Sharing a caravan in the desert for three weeks and laughing through every day is a pretty good sign of a friendship being forged.
The cover of the Musica Surfica DVD was designed by me, an advantage for directors on a budget. Problems arose when we began to win too many awards and space became an issue. I can live with that. The work itself was an idea Richard Tognetti and surfer of finless boards Derek Hynd cooked up to get young 'bums on seats' at classical music concerts. Play surfing behind the orchestra. Finless surfing. Where I came in was after a conversation about the 'why finless' Richard said that if you don't risk, you learn nothing. Out of that came a two page treatment from me that snowballed into Musica Surfica the Documentary, a tale of the benefits of risk in learning, and creativity in general.
"Musica Surfica, more than any other film, draws a clear line in the sand and defines an area of aristocratic endeavour in our culture. Most will stand outside, full of scorn and distrust. It will be written off and generally misunderstood by the mainstream. For others it will seem not a document of the zeitgeist but a new map. A map whose outline remains hazy and whose contours, interior secrets and hidden veins of ore remain as yet undiscovered. This film belongs in the pantheon containing Morning of the Earth and Litmus as essential documents of the Australian surfing experience".
Stephen Shearer - Swellnet