It was a quirky start to the working year as I joined my closest and oldest film crew family on the low budget feature One Hundred Bloody Acres, shooting locally to me in the Adelaide hills. Writer/director brothers, Colin and Cameron Cairnes, had worked hard and done extremely well to get their grizzly horror script financed. They were nice guys who knew their subject, their passion for their project was contagious and they deserved my best work as much as anyone, even though they were from Victoria. In a career first I needed to wear a plastic poncho to stop the blood from getting all over my camera and clothes.
My friend and accidental agent, publicist Fiona Nix, alerted me to the French/Australian co-production The Grandmothers and we put my name in the hat for the stills photographer position early. Later, I travelled to Sydney on short notice and met accaimed French director Anne Fontaine and her team in a brief meeting, and ended up putting together several portfolios for them over the following weeks. It had all the signs of being a great job, so I also asked everyone I knew already attached to the film to put in a good word for me, as you do. A week before shooting commenced all the work paid off, I was offered the job, they sent me a script, and yes, I packed my snorkel and goggles.
In one of the best decisions I have made for a long time, I organised to stay at the isolated seaside location, Seal Rocks, on the central coast of New South Wales, rather than at the resort with the rest of the crew 30 minutes drive away. I rode a push bike everywhere and got to know the stunning coastal region and the local community well. On my daily swimming and snorkelling adventures, just around my local bay (above), I had close encounters with a Giant Sea Turtle, Grey Nurse and Wobbegong Sharks, a myriad of rays, big schools of fish and pods of dolphins. The work itself was deluxe; shooting happened on or around the beach every day, a terrific crew and fantastic catering, the sort of job where you could bring your dog, of which there were several.
Director of Photography, Belgian, Christophe Beauparte, made the increasingly rare decision to shoot on film, in Anamorphic no less, a creative decision worthy of his masterful camera work and sublime lighting. All of the actors were fantastic with me, making it easy to get great coverage of the scenes and to just enjoy the job. Our extremely talented and beautiful leading ladies, Naomi Watts and Robin Wright, never once told me to get lost, on a job where they were predominately in their bikini’s or naked with someone in bed. Indeed, the films strong French accent gave the entire shoot very unique flavour. Director Anne Fontaine and her charming partner, the film’s producer Phillippe Carcassonne, gave the Australian crew many laughs, and plenty of new French words, over the 8 weeks.
We finished up the shooting in Sydney, my passionate lunchtime hacky sack crew displaying its best form in those closing day, it had been a great job.