Filming of a feature length documentary is underway in the Central Desert region of the
Northern Territory. It is the story of Gwoya Tjungurrayi, also known by his nickname One
Pound Jimmy, who became the first Aboriginal person to be featured on an Australian
postage stamp and now the only indigenous person to appear on an Australian coin ($2). It
is being written, produced and filmed by the PAW Media and Communications (Pintubi
Anmatjere Warlpiri) based in Yuendumu, 300k NW of Alice Springs.
I was invited to fly up for a week to train and mentor four indigenous cinematographers and
some of the production team in camera setup, drone and gimbal operation but importantly,
documentary cinematography techniques.
Some key skills were already in place as the unit has Sony FS7Mk2, FS5Mk2 and NX200 4K
cameras plus GoPro’s, Apple iPhone 12Pro’s, Black Magic kits and a DJI Mavic 2 Pro drone
and gimbal. There was much to pack and unpack literally plus a readiness to unpack as much
knowledge about the equipment as was possible during my stay. Our shooting locations
took us to remote overnight camping locations including Central Mount Wedge and the
stunning sacred gorge, Pulka Karrinya.
The presenter for one of the corporate productions was Hamilton Morris. He is from the
small community of Nyirripi, also in the Central Desert region of the NT. Hamilton won the
2018 AACTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his role in Sweet Country. He is an
inspiration for everyone in the crew.
This was a successful and productive week with largely on-location mentoring. There were
always two or three cameras covering any given scene so in this case, on-the-job training
seemed a good option.
This marks around four trips that I’ve made to conduct cinematography training in all parts
of the Territory. It’s always a rewarding and fun gig and it allows me to do a little of my own
photography and cinematography at the same time.
Thank you to Jeff Bruer General Manager PAW Media & Communications and Mark (Max)
Walker, Special Projects Director/Producer.