As a producer and director of independent films, I know full-well that finding an audience for your work is just as important as making a film in the first place. Whilst working on the feature length documentary film Cuttlefish Country, I began to compile a list of independent cinemas around regional South Australia for the purposes of touring the film to relevant local audiences. I was pleasantly surprised to find the full gamut of cinemas peppered around my state, ranging from grand old art-deco cinemas built in the 1930’s (like the Victa Cinemas) to the outback drive-in at Coober Pedy and pop-up cinemas like Cinemallunga (with special event screenings only) and the Moonta Cinema (which operates during school-holidays). This is not yet an exhaustive list of cinemas in regional SA, though we hope to make it so with your help. If you can provide us with additional venue information, please leave a comment below, or send me an email. These cinemas all play mainstream movie releases and can host special events and screenings by arrangement.
Since embarking on the production of my first feature-length documentary film Cuttlefish Country a year ago, my life been dedicated, broadly speaking, to investigating the topic of water justice in South Australia. While we initially approached the topic from a marine biodiversity perspective (through examining the potential impact of large-scale desalination plants on Gulf systems) the scope of our enquiry expanded rapidly to include groundwater use and to a lesser extent, catchment management. For the benefit of readers beyond our borders, South Australia boasts a reputation for being the driest state on the driest continent on this blue planet of ours. Needless to say, in SA, water management has the potential make or break the health of our environment, our primary industries’ productivity and the sustainability of our towns and cities.
I am very pleased to have met many intelligent, articulate and activated experts and concerned citizens through the course of making Cuttlefish Country (the production is ongoing), and am looking forward to attending tonight’s Water Justice Forum in Adelaide. I expect to listen and learn from the wisdom of others and broaden my knowledge on the history of water resource management in SA. I also expect to hear some though-provoking visions for water-wise future in my home state. If you’re in Adelaide and reading this, I sincerely hope to see you there.
The event is co-presented by the Water Action Coalition and The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre, 50-55 North Terrace, Adelaide. Doors at 5.30pm for a prompt 6pm start. The panel discussion will feature short presentations from each speaker, followed by a question and answer session. The event is officially described as follows:
The natural water resources of the River Murray are critical to the environment, economy and population of South Australia. Any Basin Plan that fails to ensure that South Australia receives a fair share of the water resources of the Murray-Darling Basin, for consumptive use and to sustain its precious environments, presents a significant threat to the rights of this state. In addition, South Australia’s share will only be truly fair if it is sufficient to allow for the full range of natural variability of climate cycles, the projected impacts of climate change and the requirements of a growing population.
This forum seeks to discuss the legal matters of those rights at a community level, with an emphasis on South Australia, its history, the problems with sharing those rights and to discuss what can be done to achieve water justice for all South Australians.
The forum speakers will focus on the following topics:
Brief History of Water Allocation & Creation of Property Rights as Water Shares – Professor Jennifer McKay, UniSA Professor of Business Law
What are the Problems with Sharing Water between & within States? – Professor John Williams, University of Adelaide Dean of Law & Adam Webster, 2012 Fulbright Scholar winner
What can be done to Achieve Water Justice for all South Australians, including indigenous Australians? – Shaun Berg, Berg Lawyers
I’ve always loved Kangaroo Island– from my first taste of it with my family back in the 1980’s, to the numerous visits paid in the last few years. Recently, Emma Sterling and I had another reason to travel there- to produce a series of promotional videos for a holiday home called Le Casuarina. Since this was to be a new endeavour for us, we decided we would make a number versions of the piece, demonstrating what could be done for a variety of budgets. Called as I often am by nature, I couldn’t resist spending time in the garden filming bees and birds, hanging over the ferry bow shooting dolphin… and along with interiors, exteriors, some peopled shots and stills, we came home with a hefty volume of footage.
The main distinguishing feature of our deluxe package (above) was the use of models and actors, and the video’s extended 3 minute duration. Stylistically, placing people in the video creates a much more personal ‘lived in’ feel for the property, and also helps hold the viewer’s attention for longer, with a suggestion of story. It does so at a price though, and working with actors is costly and more difficult to schedule than shooting bricks, mortar and the surrounding environment. Local filmmaker David Mackey (who I first met many years ago when I storyboarded his short film $um Assault) and his wife Belinda Mackey, a talented South Australian model and actress, both volunteered their time to play as guests of the house. Tess O’Flaherty, another talented local actress performed the voice-over once we’d returned to Adelaide, and the score was created using a great software package called SmartSound SonicFire Pro. While I’m a musician myself, SonicFire was able to save me countless hours of composition and recording time, and allowed me to conveniently export versions of the song at four different durations and with variations in instrumentation. Nice.
For the ‘standard’ version, another fine local actress Michelle Nightingale volunteered her time and talents. As you will see, many of the shots are the same as in the deluxe version, and there is much common material in the script. The whole process would have been much faster to turn around if we weren’t so obsessed with riding the bleeding edge of production techniques though! We shot all the footage on our new Sanyo Xacti VPC-HD2000 , and the pictures looked great. Since it is sold as a ‘Dual Camera’ (a hybrid of digital still and video) it offers traditional photographic control of the video image (aperture, ISO, shutter-speed) and offers the kick-ass bonus of recording FullHD progressive footage (1920 x 1080). We shot everything in the highest resolution and frame rate (1080p at 60 frames per second) without any expectation that our editing software, Adobe Premiere Pro CS4 would struggle processing it.
Sure enough, whenever our 1080p editing timeline reached about a minute of content, the program would crash. We purchased and installed the MainConcept MPEG Pro H.264/MP4 plugin and enjoyed improved results, but still could not get more than about three minutes of material onto the timeline without toppling the system. This is on a powerhouse i7 920 cpu, with 12 Gb of RAM, might I add. Admitting defeat after experimenting with countless variables, Emma edited the project in segements, down converting slabs of footage to 720p resolution, and re-importing them into a 720p timeline. We floated the two longest clips online yesterday, and as always, have spread the word using Web 2.0 platforms, most notably Facebook and Twitter to help get the pieces circulating. With any luck, we’ll be able to follow this job with more commercial work along a similar vein armed with the knowledge to just shoot 720p resolution footage in the first place… at least until the next patch for Premiere Pro is released.