When Peter Weir’s Gallipoli (1981) was shown to me, I was a mere five year old girl, watching for two important reasons. The first being that I am a half-caste Maori, with a Maori father and an Australian mother, and roots connecting back to the ANZACs and the tragic unfolding that happened in Gallipoli in 1915. The second being, because my grandmother Merekaraka Tipoki-Caesar played a small, but identifiable role in the film. A madam in Cairo, telling Frank (Mel Gibson), Jack (Bill Kerr), Snowy (David Argue) and Billy (Robert Grubb) that her women were clear of sexually transmitted diseases as they are passing through, about to pay for sexual acts the night before they are sent out to battle. Filmed in Adelaide, my Grandmother made friends with Peter Weir, and originally took her dance group of young Maori women to be extras in this scene – but upon arrival, Weir had decided he was to place her in the scene. A fun fact – My Uncle Tane (Caesar), was also taken to set, where he would also be in this scene and Weir would ask him and some of the young Maori men to perform a Haka, which he filmed and intended to place in the film. It was later cut. Gallipoli (1981), not only helped form my sense of national identity, but Australia’s as a whole – as it launches the Australian film industry to whole new heights, putting Australia on the map as serious filmmakers.
“Film plays a crucial role in the formation of national identity, and an equally important part in providing interpretations of history… Nations often identify themselves by glorifying key moments in their history, and film and television interpretations then bring these events to life in a more immediate way than any other form of communication. Peter Weir’s Gallipoli is a film about an historical event that played a key role in shaping Australia’s perception of itself, and its qualities, as a nation. To Australian and world audiences, the film took on an added significance for it also marked the coming-of-age of the Australian film industry. Few moments of Australian history had ever been put on film before, and so Gallipoli brought to world audiences an Australia shaped by an Australian cast and crew (Connelly, M., 2007, pp. 41).”
The personal family connection to the film aside, it is undeniable that Gallipoli helped to shape not only my sense of national identity, but help Australia and it’s people as a whole, forming this sense of national identity through the film – as we reflect on what was a reality for our people in 1915.
- Gallipoli, V.H.S., 1981. directed by Peter Weir. Sydney: Roadshow.
- Connelly, M., 2007. Gallipoli (1981): ‘A Poignant Search for National Identity’. In The New Film History (pp. 41-54). Palgrave Macmillan, London.
The key learning we did this week was all in relation to Assignment #4. This week we presented our Assignment #4 concepts to ACMI industry professional Field Carr, and RMIT Lecturer and industry professional Alan Nguyen. My group were presenting our concept on Peppers Ghost, to which we had really positive response from the both of them. The main conceptual elements we discussed were in relation to our concept, and how we were going to make it work. This included explaining how we would build our Pepper’s Ghost set and attempt to create our own Pepper’s Ghost hologram of myself – presenting on the history and other examples of Pepper’s Ghost. We explained how we would be using plexi-glass and foam board to create our own smaller-scale Pepper’s Ghost set to try one theory, and also a projection pyramid out of the plexi-glass to place on an iPad to test another theory. We plan to see which of the pair works best, or even if we can, incorporate both of the ways Pepper’s Ghost can be created.
The main media making element we discussed was how we would be moving towards the production of Assignment #4. This included how we would begin working towards our rough-cuts now. For us, this is through creating these sets and beginning the filming of me on a green screen, so we can move towards editing the footage to work within our sets. We intend on working on this immediately.
The key learning we did this week was in relation to preparation for assignment four. This was through doing research and examination of previous ACMI examples, and what factors we could take from these in order to help conceptualise our ideas for our ACMI films for assignment four. We discussed how it should be first and foremost, highly educational, but still engaging and entertaining. We discussed how Field Carr from ACMI would provide further feedback on how we can do this in Week nine.
The main conceptual elements we discussed were about how we can obtain funding for feature films through Screen Australia, and all the guidelines that come with applying for funding for a film (which can be found at: https://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/funding-and-support/feature-films/development/generate). This is especially useful for us, as students, and as as budding filmmakers.
The main media making element we discussed this week was how we would execute both our practice presentation this week, and the pitch presentations we will be having in class in the following week to Field Carr and another guest. This weeks practise run could be made into pdfs or powerpoint slides to show an example of our idea, or alternatively can be basic rough cut or basic elevator pitches at this stage. We should be continuing our assignment four pre-production now, through doing research, scripts, shot-lists and storyboards – which from Week eight onwards, will be included in our assignment four reflections. Come Week nine, we should have a much further refined concept – with a com-partnering powerpoint presentation and potentially a rough cut or test run to show the class and guests.
“It is an old story but, in all of its guises, a perennially appealing one. A poor boy makes good. A secretary marries her boss, thereby launching herself from the steno pool to the penthouse. A lowborn young man with a burning ambition and an idea that everyone tells him is crazy becomes a successful entrepreneur (Levinson, J., 2012, pp.1)”. This is the case in Ethan Coen and Joel Coen’s 1994 film, The Hudsucker Proxy – A satirical comedy about the world of business and corporate greed, following an ambitious but naive young man, who is blissfully unaware that he is part of the board of directors’ bigger plans, and moves up the corporate ladder from the mailroom to the executive suite after showing the directors his ‘idea’. “The myth of success, with its fervid conviction that the opportunity for material attainment and spiritual fulfillment is every individual’s birthright and is within each person’s power, is central to American national identity. Our public discourse and our cultural artifacts exalt the archetype of the self-made man who, with determination, industriousness, and strategy, propels himself to the pinnacle of achievement. Since the eighteenth century, the success myth has been a key component of American master narratives: those resonant stories that seem to contain the essence of the nation and that get told and retold across generations and genres (Levinson, J., 2012, pp.1-2)”.The Hudsucker Proxy (1994) uses a satirical approach to bring the Coen’s opinions on the workplace to the fore. But it’s only one approach, among many different examples of the many ways that entrepreneurship and the work society can be depicted on screen.
We can see the many examples of how this is done in the work of Michael Schur and Dan Goor alone, who hone in on the workplace in their many successful sitcoms inclusive of The Office, The Good Place and more recently successful, Brooklyn Nine-Nine. All of which discuss the workplace in a satirical, but simultaneously entirely serious all at the same time – approaching current social topics that involves workplace concerns inclusive of sexism and discrimination within the workplace and society, issues of inequality and even touching on specific social issues relative to the workplace such as police brutality.
- Levinson, J., 2012, The American Success Myth on Film, Palgrave Macmillan UK, London.
The key learning we did this week was in relation to preparing for Assignment #4. To do this, we need to begin working on Assignment #3, which is a presentation to the class, Cat and guest speakers that involves either a powerpoint presentation on our concept or a rough cut of Assignment #4.
The main conceptual elements we discussed were in relation to the topics that we have to choose from to create a micro-essay for ACMI. Talking about the topics we could pick, what they meant, and how we could possibly make them engaging – all while meeting the key requirements given to us by ACMI.
The main media making elements we discussed were ways that we would be able to make our micro-essays and presentations, given the current circumstances. This included helpful tips for pre-production, including storyboarding, shot-listing, research, and how we have to reference when presenting our concept and creating our content for the ACMI Exhibition.