Meet the film crew who brought you Katherine Alive
Updated: Sep 24, 2019
Written by Joseph Meldrum, Director, Faun Films.
Way up in the North Lies a Secret.
Being a born and bred Territorian I have had the pleasure of being able to live and grow up in the Katherine region. With a childhood that closely resembled the true outback stereotype filled with cattle stations, crocodiles, kangaroos, and riding in the back of Landcruisers down dirt roads. I have had the true Northern Territorian experience, and in my travels I have had the pleasure of meeting many unique and interesting characters. Having also gone to school and worked in the region I have also become aware of the great change happening in the area. I have seen the town grow in so many new and exciting ways so when I was approached by the Katherine Town Council to create a video campaign for the region I knew from the beginning the exact theme that I wanted to work throughout the film, which was “life”. The town I know so well is so full of life, from the new life being brought into the world, to the older life still as vibrant as ever, the amazing wildlife we get to live alongside, and the rich biodiversity we see ebb and flow with the changing seasons. We see so many different faces coming and going and new opportunities always rising to the surface. Therefore the one element of this great town I wanted to show to the outside world was the incredible sense of being alive. Katherine is Alive!
So in peak wet season myself and my crew (Natasha Walford, Maximilian Mckay and Maud Freeman) set off to capture scenes of the town flourishing with life. The initial reactions from the crew were of wonder and awe of the beautiful landscape and scenery, with much wildlife spotted from the road along the way. They were also very interested in the local community and were incredibly excited to begin shooting. With a jam packed, week long, shooting schedule the crew took a little while to adapt to the wet season heat and humidity, and after hearing many stories of the giant crocodiles we get in the area they were a little anxious about our first shoot along the Katherine River. But with the amazing help of our local tour guides/fishermen Connor and Jake Vincent the shoot went smoothly and it was a wonderful welcome to Katherine for the crew. The rest of the week flew by with many scenes being shot throughout the Katherine region including The Katherine Gorge, The Hot Springs, St Joseph’s School, King’s Farms, Maiden’s Lane, The Hospital, and many other important locations of the community and during our shoot we gathered a great insight into what it means to be a part of the Katherine community. We noticed a consistent theme with the people and the general feel of the town. Katherine is a place where you feel complete peace, the people are incredibly open and hospitable, and there is a huge support system for people who want to achieve great things. We were inspired by the determination of local cafe owner Brogan Hanrahan, we felt the real passion for their sport with the local rugby teams and we saw a genuine connection between the midwives and their patients. In all of our shoots we met kind hearted and genuine people so I think it’s fair to say that Katherine nurtures a good spirit into all its inhabitants and it was an honour to be able to capture that Katherine spirit.
There were many highlights from the campaign but the one that stood out to the crew was on one of the last days of shooting which was where we drove out to the Beswick community to film with Scott Hall and the Bongiliny Bongiliny Dancers. The raw passion the dancers had for their culture and heritage was an inspiration to all of us and we were very grateful to have been invited so generously into their community where they worked very hard to put on a good performance. Having grown up mostly in the greater metropolitan area of Queensland the crew have not had as much access to such genuine cultural experiences, but even for myself, having grown up in Katherine my whole life I was still greatly moved by their devotion to keeping their culture strong within their community. This was a beautiful way to finish the shoot and the crew left in high spirits after being sent off with a goodbye dance.
Having the opportunity to showcase all of the parts of my home that I have grown to love dearly was an incredible opportunity for myself and my crew. I wanted to show Katherine for everything that it is in my mind and everything that it can be. It was important for me to also show the rich cultural history that the town has and which must be protected and it was an honour to be able to display all the beauty of the Territory to an outside audience. Therefore I must say a huge thank you to former Chief Executive Officer Robert Jennings, Rebecca Mewburn, Katherine Town Council, Jessica Powter and NT Department of Trade Business & Innovation, for all the help, support and for giving me this opportunity. I also want to thank the Katherine Community who came together to make this possible and I look forward to what the future holds for my home town.