Ghita Loebenstein: Hello everyone. My name's Ghita, I'm the head of cinemas here at ACMI. I would like to acknowledge the traditional owners, the people of the Kulin Nation on whose land we meet tonight and pay my respects to elders past, present and emerging. I also extend my respects to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are here with us tonight, and from those all around the nation of this land.
A huge welcome to ACMI cinemas for the first of three events we are running this weekend with leading cinematographer and director Warwick Thornton. These events run as part of ACMI's Melbourne Winter Masterpieces exhibitions, "Light: Works from Tate's Collection" where we are spotlighting the work of two Australian cinematographers who have mastered the technical language of light and turned it into an art form: cinema. We have Warwick with us all weekend, and later in November we'll welcome Oscar nominee Ari Wegner to the stage to talk about how she shot "The Power of the Dog" and some of her other works. Alongside tonight's in-conversation Warwick will also be introducing two double bills at ACMI this weekend, pairing his own works with films that have inspired his cinematography practice. Warwick's "Sweet Country", and Jim Jarmusch's "Down by Law" play from 12:00 pm tomorrow, and Warwick's "Samson and Delilah" and Wim Wenders' "Paris, Texas" play from 3:00 pm on Sunday. Most of these screen in 35 millimeter, and Warwick will introduce all four films. So please do join us if you're free, and you like.
We've also prepared a Warwick Thornton shelf on our On-demand Cinema platform in Cinema 3, which features most of the short films that will be mentioned in tonight's conversation. We've made those available to watch for free alongside some of Warwick's feature films for the next 30 days. So if you don't know what I'm talking about, please "Google ACMI Cinema 3," or you can find it via our homepage if you're not already familiar with that excellent digital library.
I want to thank both my film program's team and the many people tech, bio, AV, marketing, comms, and otherwise who have worked behind the scenes quite literally here at ACMI, for their work on this event. I'd especially like to acknowledge Treise Armstrong from my team for her instrumental input. And now for the reason you're actually here, our guests this evening.
Warwick Thornton is a Kaytetye man, born and raised in Alice Springs whose debut feature film as director "Samson and Delilah" won the coveted Camera d'Or at the 2009 Cannes International Film Festival. Thornton was also that film's cinematographer and he has a prolific practice in this field. Alongside "Samson and Delilah" he's has lensed most of his films, including "Sweet Country" and television series, including "Mystery Road" and "Firebite" alongside cinematography for other celebrated directors, including Rachel Perkins, "Radiance" and Wayne Blair's "The Sapphires". I'm thrilled to welcome him to ACMI tonight, to speak with Australia's favourite film critic, Margaret Pomeranz, who most of you know co-hosted "The Movie Show" with David Stratton on SBS and ABC for almost 30 years, followed by "Screen" on Foxtel Art with Graeme Blundell until last year. And today she continues to deliver her always entertaining reviews on "The Weekly" with Charlie Pickering on the ABC.
Thank you for indulging my very long intro, and please join me in welcoming Warwick and Margaret to the stage.
Margaret Pomeranz: My first question is, your identity as a First Nations filmmaker-
WT: Oh, here we go.
MP: Well, no, I mean, what does that mean to you? And what is the responsibility attached to that?
WT: You know, I could be a plumber. I've decided to be a cinematographer, writer village idiot. I can always get rid of that, but I can't get rid of being Aboriginal, you know what I mean? So that's just the way it is. It's purely who I am and that's where I come from and what I love, and it's very special, you know. So yeah, it's, sort of, storytelling is in all of us, filmmaking is in all of us if we want. But who we are and where we come from and our blood, you know, our ancestry is something you can't have a shower and get rid of that one, but you can if you, you can have a shower and get rid of directing.
MP: No, I don't think you can.
WT: Not yet. Yeah, not yet. It's a, yeah, it's a funny, old, the most interesting thing is, I started off as a cinematographer, camera assistant and camera trainee in Alice Springs at CAAMA. And I actually started writing movies, short films to shoot, and, you know, I started writing things that I wanted to shoot because cinematography was all in cumbersome and I wanted to be the greatest cinematographer ever. And so, and no one was ringing me to shoot their films so I went, "Oh, right, I'll start writing." And then they were sent into the, you know, into funding bodies, especially shorts. And they said, "Oh, we love the script, "but you're gonna have to direct it." And it was like, "No, oh, I don't want to direct, "I don't direct that's way too hard." And so that's kind of how I went kicking and screaming into directing, purely to get these films out so that I could shoot them. And I've worked out now, and this is really sad, but the director and the writer in me stay at home with a candle and a pen, a pencil and a piece of paper and they scribe out all night these scripts going, "Do you think he'll like it? "Do you think he'll like it?" While the cinematographer in me is at the pub and he's drunk, and he's dancing on the pool tables and this poor director and this poor writer sitting there going, "Oh, oh, we need to put more visual "storytelling in this 'cause he'll get upset "when he comes home drunk." And so they scribe all night and then the cinematographer with the ego comes swinging through the door and goes, "What's going on?" And I go, "Oh, we've written this stuff, "we think you will really like it." It's like, "Oh, I'll read it tomorrow, "I'm too drunk right now." And it's kind of this, I think my journey in life is the director and writer in me is purely there to keep this d*ckhead cinematographer happy. So, you know, and keep his ego burning and, you know, yeah, that's kind of, that's the weird realisation I have is sort of-
MP: Well, it fits in.
WT: Writing's ridiculously painful.
MP: I know, you've always said that.
WT: And I can't spell, you know, I left school before year eight. I can't spell and I don't care, you know what I mean? And I write with pen and paper, I don't own a computer. I've got an iPad just to watch movies on. So it's like this archaic kind of world I live in, and then directing is so painful and it's all full of, you know, for me as a director, everything's a compromise to have, to keep this creativity alive for this d*ckhead cinematographer. You know what I mean? And it's just painful, and it's a slog, and it's having to answer questions with a 30, you know, with a five-second soundbite within 30 seconds to keep the whole film moving forward. And then this DOP that it's all, you know, it's all for this idiot, anyway.
MP: Well, I mean, we're going to go to a clip from your first film as director, which is "Payback".
MP: Which you-
WT: Cinematographer, black and white,
WT: Yeah. I thinking black and white.
MP: Why black and white?
WT: Yeah, exactly. The funny thing with black and white that I've, the funny thing with black and white, it is such an kind of wank, you know what I mean? It's this really that vanity credit like a film by, which I try and get rid of every time, but the sad thing is that if you put "A film by Warwick Thornton" you kind of get more people to watch it, you know what I mean? And it's really sad. I try to always get rid of "A film by Warwick Thornton" because it's-
MP: I don't like it either, but anyway, it's everywhere.
WT: Yeah, yeah.
MP: Not you, but I mean-
WT: No, no, no, No, no, it is, you know what I mean-
MP: It is everybody.
WT: But it's actually publicists and promoters who actually really push for that more so than directors. That mind you, there's a couple of directors out there who's like, it's in their contract to have to say, "Film by."
MP: No, but listen, I think this is interesting 'cause we were talking earlier and, you know, you were talking about being inspired "Down by Law" for this film. Can you talk about-
MP: Will we see a little bit of it first?
WT: Yeah. Okay.
MP: All right. Can we roll the clip from "Payback".
WT: First short film.
*Fade to Black*
WT: That's George Burrawanga from, the late singer from Warumpi Band. He finished up all beautiful. I'd seen, you know, I went through film school before making that. I never, at film school, I went there for cinematography and I went there for three years and never had an inkling in directing, you know what I mean? That's just way too hard. And obviously the ego of being a cinematographer was much more important. You know what I mean? And I'd seen "Down by Law" obviously. No, I think I'd seen it before film school, maybe in the really early '90s, and I totally emulated, but I didn't do it on purpose in a way, there's so much about that, it's only 10 minutes long, but there's so much about that, that's just completely just taken from "Down by Law" and Robby Muller, the cinematographer who did "Down by Law", who actually did both films. Robby Muller did "Paris, Texas" as well, he's just my total hero as cinematography goes. And you, kind of, when you start backdating, looking at your old stuff and you start looking at the stuff that you really love, you just see these beautiful, natural progressions of who you are and what inspires you, and it being really profoundly visual in what your works are and who the people and the cinema that you've always really, really loved. And I'm a firm believer in, when you start off in storytelling, just emulate, emulate your most favourite writers, directors, cinematographers because that's what you wanna do. You know what I mean? You wanna be like them. And then slowly, the more you do, the more you get your own voice and you start doing what you need to do, you know what I mean? But just to, you know, there's no geniuses in this world from day one, it's hard work and a natural progression of emulations that turn into you being so comfortable with who you are and how you work and how you feel, and with that sort of knowledge and comfortability become, you know, you become slightly fearless and then you start getting your own voice. So I'm a firm believer, and just copy the films that you love until you love the films that you are making and then your voice.
MP: Well, you talk about meeting Robby Muller and Wim Wenders at very young age.
WT: Yeah, yeah, 17. I was a camera assistant, camera trainee in Alice Springs, just loading bits of 35 mil and learning how to use a Betacam and that. And Wim Wenders and Robby Muller rocked up to, firstly they rocked up to do, just do some scouting for a film they're doing called "Until the End of the World", which was, I think was a big budget Wim Wenders' film.
MP: Yeah, it was huge and very problematic.
WT: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Totally.
WT: John Hurt, was it John? Was it John Hurt was the actor?
MP: Yeah, yeah, yeah. But it had a zillion producers on it.
WT: Of course it did. Yeah. Every million is another three producers I think is how it works. Yeah. And you you'll never meet all of them, you know what I mean? None of them come to set.
MP: But, you know, the interesting thing, going back to "Payback", I mean, it's sort of like white justice and then indigenous justice.
WT: Yeah. Yeah. And the quicker, you know, 30 years in jail and then a really, really, which is sort of like a long-term sort of torture and then a five minutes in a car park and he gets stabbed 20 times in the legs, and it's kind of like the different version of torture, you know what I mean? And incarceration is that good for, you know, does it turn you into more of an animal than it does?
MP: No, but I mean, the stabbing is done by-
WT: The family of the actual father. In that film he gets stabbed by his father and his brother for doing the wrong thing to the family. So, you know, it's a different version.
MP: But it is, it's sort of like, it's an interesting look at, the indigenous sense of justice and the white sense of justice.
WT: Yeah. It's a funny old one. That came, that kind of, the idea for that film came from 60 minutes going into a community to witness a payback. And rather than them being neutral they chose the side of the actual perpetrator. You know what I mean? And then suddenly the family and the community felt that they were ostracized because it was kind of like this barbaric thing. And they only, you know, talk about how journalism's supposed to be balanced. You know what I mean? It's like they did not spend any time with the actual, the community or the actual family who were undertaking the payback, they just, they stuck to one side. Which is quite an interesting, you know what I mean? It's sort like we've difficult to, if you're gonna do it, do it properly is what I'm kind of saying, anyway. And look, talk to both families and talked to both laws. And anyway, yeah.
MP: There was an exhibition that you had at the Anna Schwartz Gallery, "The Future is Unforgiving". Well you drive, I mean, your work is political. That's an incredibly political-
WT: Just being, as an indigenous person being alive kind of political, you know what I mean. It's, kind of, like, we've been trying to be shot out, poisoned out, burnt out, bred out, you know what I mean? So actually Aboriginal people today are actually a political statement that we're still here. So, you know, it's kind of, so, and you have to take that and use that, you know what I mean? I have a voice. People have opened doors for me, you know what I mean?
WT: It's important to use that voice.
MP: What's the responsibility to your community having that voice?
WT: I get in trouble all the time.
MP: I thought you might.
WT: Yeah, I get in trouble all the time, but, you know, the kicking against the is, you know, our communities have, can get into cycles of, you know, certain things and think of realities different, and you've sometimes got to slap your own community and say, "Come on." You know what I mean? "Samson and Delilah," you know what I mean?
WT: It's a exact example of that. I had to make sure that with "Samson and Delilah", there was nothing in that film that I haven't seen personally. So no one can say that doesn't happen.
MP: We're getting to "Samson and Delilah"-
WT: Oh, I'll shut then.
MP: No, no, you don't have to shut up. But what I want to do was, 'cause there is a mischievous in you, mischievousness in you.
MP: That as well as a great seriousness. And I wanted to show a clip from "Mimi", which I haven't seen forever, and it's one of your short films, and it's sort of like, it's a mischievous one.
WT: Yeah. Okay.
MP: Can we have a, just a look? Oh, these are the images from the gallery.
WT: Yeah. From Anna the show at Anna-
MP: It's like suicide vests.
WT: Well, sugar kills more people, more indigenous people than any terrorist. So come on, you know what I mean? Are they people, alcohol, sugar, where does big corporation fit into the death of us humans, anyway?
MP: That's, good, they're very powerful-
WT: That's a soundbite version of that -
MP: In each to make a point. All right. Well we're gonna move on.
WT: Young Aaron Pederson.
WT: Young Sophie Lee.
MP: Yeah. Can we have a look at that clip from "Mimi"?
*Fade to black*
MP: I mean, it's gorgeous.
WT: Oh, it's so cocky. I look at that and I'm I just, you know, it's my first foray into cultural, clunky comedy I think it needs a good edit.
MP: Well, I think it worked. Hey. Is it?-
WT: Yeah, no. Well, you know, I don't know.
MP: Is that the least of your films, is it?
WT: It's the one, yeah, it's the one I just, sort of, I wanted to be as naughty as possible and I don't think I got it right. You know what I mean? But anyway, all good.
MP: I thought it was so entertaining.
WT: Practice, practice one, practice, practice training.
MP: Mitjili Gibson, she passed some years ago is in a lot of your work. She's in your award-winning short "Nana".
WT: Yeah. Yeah, Mitjili.
MP: She's also in "Samson and Delilah" And in Nana, particularly, she plays this very strong woman. Now you had a very strong woman in your life in your mother.
WT: Oh, always, always. My sisters and my mother, you know, I had two ratbag brothers and two sisters and a mother who, you know, who were incredibly powerful and empowering and Amazonic and put the food on the table. You know, you really recognise pretty quickly who's doing, you know, the business and creating the law in my household. It was the women chose.
MP: So is that important in your work to represent, you know, women strongly because even in "Samson and Delilah" Delilah's the strong one.
WT: Yeah, totally. I try not to write for it. It's just inherent, I think.
WT: You know what I mean? I'm gonna write some powerful women. It's like, just happens that way. It's just natural. You know what I mean?
MP: Well, we have a look at "Nana", a little clip from "Nana" is very short.
WT: I think, for me, this is getting, sort of, cultural comedy, right. I love this film. This is one of my favorite things I've ever made in my entire life.
MP: It's very short.
WT: It's all really based on "Sesame Street" in a way. You know what I mean? You know what I mean? It's based on a little girl going, you know, "I love," you know, "I love my nana."
MP: But can I just say that for anyone who is indigenous in the audience, you know, we are looking at images from a person who is no longer with us.
WT: Yeah. But we've got permission.
MP: We have permission from the family.
WT: Look we have, yeah. we've got permission for all the clips in these. 'Cause there was Gulpilil before he's passed away as well, you know, from the last film.
MP: Yeah. I've forgotten about him, that actually.
MP: Yeah. All right, can we roll then clip from "Nana".
*Fade to black*
WT: Oh, Mitjili I miss her.
MP: Yeah. She was such a great presence on screen. We'll talk about that later.
WT: And a ratbag, a rockstar ratbag. Yeah, yeah.
MP: Yeah. She just, you know, really grabbed the screen. Didn't she?
MP: A lot of your work is very personal and I, you know, one of my favourites is "Green Bush", which is about an Aboriginal radio station. It's like a fortress shelter out in the middle of nowhere.
WT: Well, an interesting thing happened in the, I think it was in, it was in the '80s the federal government decided that, "Okay, every Aboriginal community needs this thing called a BRACS, which is a remote recording to, you know, help, like a little radio station in a little donger, a little portable thing. And so everyone got one. And it was interesting because it was like, "Well, a lot of people needed health clinics and schools, not little radio stations in a strange way. So they turned them into what they needed them to be. And, you know, something like "Green Bush" is about turning something that is necessary and really important, but turning into what the community needs, which is much more important-
MP: Which is a community centre, really.
WT: A community centre. Yeah, absolutely.
MP: And actually, I mean, and this also, we've got to be careful about this too, because this is starring David Page, who is also no longer with us, and the Page family are very-
WT: Yeah, they're cool.
MP: Yeah. They're cool about this.
WT: Yeah, Steven's cool, and everyone's cool. Yeah.
MP: So can we-
WT: This is, actually, this is my job. I used to do this job "Green Bush".
MP: Yeah. Well, we were gonna talk about that before we go to the clip because you were, you actually did this job.
WT: Yeah. When I was 16, 17, you know, with a hallmark of awesome nepotism from my mother who started CAAMA. It's like I left school and she's like, "Well, you better get a job." And I said, "Well, give us a job." And said, , "Yeah," already had three other children working there, And this was a real mongrel job, this was sort of, this was like, this show started at seven o'clock at night and you had to go to the prison every morning to pick up the requests from the prisoners, and so the job started at seven. The two jobs you do not want in a radio station is breakfast because you have to get up to way too early or something like "Green Bush", where you actually have to stay back late when you can go to the pub. You know what I mean? Or, you know, have a life. So it was a real, it was a mongrel job. And it was like late night and especially, you know, with pension and that sort of stuff, a lot of, but it was right next to a community that had some serious alcohol problems, you know what I mean? And certain nights there was a lot of ringing for ambulance you know, knocking on the door, people bleeding, asking for ambulances. But I did this for about two years, this actual job.
MP: Did you?
MP: Oh God. I haven't realised-
WT: Yeah, 16, 17. And then I started in the video unit-
MP: At CAAMA.
WT: Yeah. Sort of half 17, 18. But, you know, I'm from Alice Springs and I have a lot of community family, but I don't live in a community. I do have a community, but it's Alice Springs and it's kind of, Alice Springs is slightly, the community is a little bit, an inch more, not gentrified, but it's just, this is a really wild community called Little Sisters we used to live next to. And it was, that was hardcore frontline kind of place, and I think I learned a lot about humanity doing that show late at night, you know, and about love and respect. Actually you're a DJ, but you're actually, you're more than that. You take on so many other roles, 'cause there's so many missing roles in indigenous communities that are not paid for, that people, nanas, granddaughters do they're not, you know what I mean? It's sort of like, there's so many roles that are missing because it's just not federally funded or whatever, that sort of stuff that are just taken on by people. And I did this is two years of my life taking on a role that I wasn't cut out to do, but learning a lot about.
MP: I bet you grew a lot to being bloody.
WT: Being a good human being rather than, you know.
MP: Yeah, it shows.
WT: You're not there to be a DJ. You're there to be a, you're there to tell, to transition these people in jail, to their communities and to make sure that, it's not about you playing the song, it's about you telling the community or the community telling the person in jail, all this information and becoming more like a bush telegraph kind of thing.
MP: Yeah. I like that. I didn't include that clip, but there's a line about being a boy or a man, and he goes, "How am I to know?"
WT: Yeah, yeah.
MP: Yeah. Anyway. Can we have a look at a clip from "Green Bush".
*Fade to black*
MP: Oh, I love that.
WT: I forgot about it. I haven't seen that film for a very long time. I actually haven't seen any of these for a very long time.
MP: It's a lovely film, really lovely.
WT: Yeah. And actually, that's actually the first, that's amazing Torres Strait Islander cinematographer, Murray Lui, that was his first film, first short film. Yeah. He shot that for me.
WT: Yeah. Which is really beautiful. He's gone on to do amazing things now, Murray, you know what I mean?
WT: Big TV series and that sort of stuff, yeah.
MP: Now your first feature film as director was quite a triumph, this is "Samson and Delilah". It won the Camera d'Or in Cannes. And I hate, I wanna remind everybody, including you, that I predicted it before you even left the country.
WT: Yeah. Yeah. She slapped me. She slapped me before I left. "You're gonna win."
MP: Now, it's a love story, which you said-
WT: A romantic comedy.
MP: In Adelaide that it could be about any down-and-out couple. But it couldn't be, it is intrinsically indigenous, this film.
WT: Yeah, totally. But, you know, a different version of it is, you know, two white kids on the corner of Federation Square, you know what I mean, with some blankets around them. You know what I mean, it's a different story. It's a different collective, you know what I mean, it's a different community, but you, you know, it's kind of.
MP: But you've imbued it with, I mean, you look at this life in this community and the nothingness of Samson's life, you know, being woken by that music.
WT: Cycles. Yeah. You know, it's pretty simple, just cycles, just cycles.
MP: Yeah. But I mean, there's nothing there for him.
WT: Just trying to find that one crack where you can just hit it and it gets bigger and bigger like a windscreen, and then you can get out, you know what I mean? And there's no crack, it's just, you're in this bowl or cycle.
MP: And, you know, I mean the duty of care that Delilah has for her grandmother. I mean, there's a lovely texture to the film about the nothingness of his life and the duty of care of hers. I always wondered where the parents were?
WT: Yeah. So do I.
MP: Did you have that in your head?
WT: Yeah. Well, I did wonder where they were and my quick answer was, they were drinking. There could have been a scene, actually, there should have been a f**king scene where, actually, them two are walking through town and then they see like either Samson or Delilah sees their parents walking and they just pass, you know what I mean? And it's sort of like just a recognition and then they just keep, you know what I mean? That could have been quite tragic. But that's hindsight. But, you know...
MP: Well, it was pretty perfect film the way it was.
WT: Dad could be in jail, mum could be in hospital. You know what I mean? It's not all necessarily about drinking. You know what I mean, it could be, you know, but there could have been something amazing about that. But, I would've had to set them up, the parents earlier in this, sorry, this is the writer in me and the structure, have to have set up the parents because an audience wouldn't understand who they were if it was just like two ships in the night. There had to be a whole more sequences at the beginning and they how they might have to come back at the end or, yeah, I dunno. Too hard.
MP: I mean, don't shy away from the ugly side either, glue sniffing and the petrol sniffing.
WT: But, you know, and it's kind of one of those films that I had to get off my chest. I had to, oh, actually don't know, it was, you know, if you wanna get noticed go and make "Samson and f**king Delilah", you know what I mean? It's something that I know, it's inherent in me through doing "Green Bush" and all that sort of stuff. And you know, even my family we, way before we spent, well my sister Erica spent her life, what's that when you look after little kids who, you know, from family?
WT: Foster. Every Aboriginal family in Alice Springs is a foster family. You know what I mean? We just don't get paid for it, you know what I mean? It's just like a bigger community. Not even related, you're looking after kids who are not even related, you know what I mean? It's, sort of, that's just a natural progression of what happens. And so you just grow up that way. So if you're gonna, you know, I don't think I'd be successful in making a "Star Wars" 'cause I don't really care and I don't really have a connection, whereas, you know, as your first film. Hey, I'll do a "Star Wars" right now. I need a new swimming pool. You know what I mean? But, you know, what I mean? You need, when you make your first feature, you really do need to understand that you have a truth. Most people, you know, your first film, your first novel, it's about your mother, you know what I mean? You write that, 'cause you have that connection and you can write. And Samson and Delilah is sort of like my mum in a way, so I have total pure connection to it, I understood it so well that I could do it. And I think if I tried to do something completely fictitious, that was completely out of my realm or the world that I actually grew up in, I think, I would've failed quite well. You know what I mean?
MP: Yeah. Well, I mean, there is one, I mean, it's a film of images, really, there's not a lot of dialogue in it, and there is one scene that I think is completely sublime, and I know that a lot of people think it is too. But can we see this? And I will talk about it a little bit later. Can we have a look at the, I don't know how many of you have seen "Samson and Delilah", but you have to see it before you die. It's one of those.
*Fade to black*
MP: Warwick, it is so sublime that scene.
WT: It's funny that scene wasn't written in the original script. We were, I was having trouble with that one little spark. Well, why the f**k would this beautiful woman have any inkling of him being something special or sexy or, you know, that one little spark that goes, "There's something special about him." And that was, so I wrote that while we were actually shooting that scene.
MP: Whose idea was it that transition of the music though? Because I mean, that-
WT: That was me.
MP: That was you.
WT: I'm not stealing, no one's stealing that sh*t from me.
MP: Because it, I mean, I'm sort of, I'm tearing up watching the bloody thing, you know, and I just, I mean, it's just unbelievably-
WT: It's like gentleness, you know, that's an Anna Gabriela song, which is, and she's singing in Mexican. I have no idea what the words are and I don't care because I think it's just amazing. It's obviously about love, you know. And you're listening to these languages, you know, Aranda and Pintupi, actually you're not listening to Pintupi, and the language, and so suddenly you hear a Mexican and it's kind of like, it's, you don't need subtitles to understand what, you know, 'cause you're feeling it and I think that was really special for me. There was a pressure to get the Anna Gabrielle Mexican subtitled, and it's like, "No, we really need them."
MP: You don't need them. It's not , it's sort of like, the music's there.
WT: Yeah. The fear of the unknown, you know what I mean? Would have been sort of like, listening to Aboriginal language is like, can be the fear of unknown, but when you hear it and it's beautiful, whether it's Mexican or Aboriginal, you don't need subtitles and you don't need to understand, you know, when someone's pissed off and you know when someone's really happy without subtitles.
MP: Now once again, I mean, you are the cinematographer and you're the director. What were the-
WT: Oh, the cinematographer won every ward in the world for that one. The poor old director and writer had slave theirs assess off. That's the beginning of the journey of the crushing of the director and the writer to make the cinematographer becomes almighty and awesome.
MP: What were you, was that considered?
WT: No, I'm just talking, I'm talking sh*t. I'm talking sh*t.
MP: I was gonna say.
WT: But it's kind of, you know, was it 35 years later I've realised that this egotistical cinematographer has completely crushed these two to make the movies that he wants to make in a strange way.
MP: How, I mean, it is a film of very little dialogue, I think Samson says one word in the whole film.
WT: Yeah. No, he kind of goes .
MP: Oh, well he-
WT: And she goes "Samson." Yeah.
MP: He says, "Samson".
WT: No, she says Samson, I think, and he goes, .
MP: He says, "Samson."
WT: Does he?
WT: Oh, okay. Thank you.
MP: Well there, but very disjointedly, you know.
MP: What are the challenges for you making a film like that, a lot riding on it, your first feature as director, so you've got your director hat on there and your cinematographer's eye through that lens. Talk about it.
WT: Well, it was all, it was all given to the cinematographer. I had the best Panavision, Pana Gold Super 35 mil, you know, the best image capture around with these beautiful vintage lenses. And that was all given to, but I've forsaken that any grips or gaffers, so I didn't have anybody to help light it or anybody to help make the camera move anywhere. So it was kind of, you know, a lot of the money of that film was actually spent on the image, the camera to capture the image. 'Cause I knew that what was going to be in front of the camera not necessarily was expensive, but I knew I was going to get that, you know?
WT: So I didn't need money to have that mountain range or those two incredible actors. And to have that story.
MP: 'Well, they're just beautiful those two.
WT: But I needed a ridiculous amounts of money for that camera, you know. So the cinematographer won again.
MP: So you spent a lot of money on the camera .
WT: Yeah. And the process afterwards.
MP: Well you've got to go where your heart is.
WT: Yeah. Sadly. I wanna win that AFI. I have to win that AFI.
MP: No, but, you know, I thought it was interesting. You were talking about winning the Camera d'Or. Well, I was talking about you winning the Camera d'Or, and there was this talk about the fact that it shouldn't actually have been in competition in Cannes.
WT: Yeah. And it would've won they reckon, what a lot of people said if it was in competition in Cannes I would've won the Palme d'Or and they were complaining about why it wasn't, and the amazing, two amazing directors of Cannes said, that Warwick wouldn't have been able to handle the competition. You know what I mean? The pressure of the competition. It's like . Boring.
MP: A lot of other people haven't been able to, I mean, really you put your films in competition in Cannes and the whole, you know, it's an enormous stage on which to, you know, screen your film.
WT: Yeah, yeah.
MP: It's pressure really.
WT: Yeah. And it doesn't balance very well. You know what I mean? There's a certain amount that just go. "Sh*t." There's certain amount that just go "Genius."
WT: And there's no gray in between when you get into competition in Cannes. It's either a pile of sh*t or it's the best thing ever made in the history of cinema. So you've got to look good on your first film.
MP: I mean, Samson and Delilah, all your films are films of images really, but Samson and Delilah particularly so, I think. It's told through images. And the thing is, it's such a rough journey, this film, it is really tough and you let us off at the end with something truly beautiful. And I want that scene if we can see that scene. I don't know whether you've seen it, but it's, sort of, like, it's really lovely.
*Fade to Black*
MP: That smile on Delilah's face at the end just broke me up. I just think it's one-
WT: And you know, it's important because it could have, quite easily been complete tragedy. But when you think about these two kids and the crap that I've put them through by writing that story, how dare I make it a tragedy? You know what I mean?
MP: Yeah. Well, you let everybody off the hook actually, audience as well.
WT: Yeah, them, they need to be off the hook. There's something, you know what I mean? They fought so hard to survive, how dare some auteur wanker turn their lives into a tragedy. You know what I mean? They're allowed to survive and they're allowed to have grandchildren. Yeah.
MP: I'm very grateful to you actually for that one.
WT: Yeah. No, I don't watch that anymore, it's too horrific for me.
MP: It's too what?
WT: Well, you know, it hurts every time I see that film.
MP: It hurts everybody.
MP: It's not easy.
WT: No, it's not, no. So I, kind of, don't watch it much. Well, I haven't watched it for probably 10 Years.
MP: Right. Well, it's beautiful. And I've watched it recently and I just want, yeah.
WT: I'll introduce it tomorrow, is it tomorrow or the next day?
WT: It's Sunday. Thank you.
MP:You've got a chance to see it here. Good.
WT: No, I'll introduce it, but I won't watch it.
MP: No, but everybody else has a chance to watch it.
WT: Yeah, yeah, yeah, Everyone will watch it.
MP: And what I'm doing, is say don't miss it, it's tough but it's beautiful.
WT: Well, all those masochists out there who've seen it about four or five times or so.
MP: Oh, I've seen it a number of times and I don't consider myself a masochist. Maybe I do, but the next film, "Sweet Country".
MP: Now, where did that come from?
WT: True story. About a old man named Willaberta Jack no David Tranter family's, David Tranter who sound recorded, basically, every single film, Aboriginal work, Alyawarre, that's his tribe his language about his great-great-grandfather. And he's a sound recorder, so he's always kind of on all of my films, it's like, "Oh brother, I've got a really good story there. "Yeah. Real good one." And I'm like, "Here we go." I go, "Oh, go on then David, you should write it." He's like, "Hey, true, I can't write." He's sitting waiting for me to write his f**king film. You know what I mean? He's like, "Nah, go on, you can do it." And he's like, "Hey." And so he did. So he did write a script and it was terrible, but he wrote it because he pulled his finger out of his ass, and he thought that his grandparents' story was more important than his lack of knowledge of scripts or spelling or whatever. You know what I mean? So empowering, so important. And then from there it's like, but the heart was there. You know what I mean? The nuances of a script, you know what I mean, la, La, la, la, you know what I mean, there's people who tell you can write a film in 28 days, all that kind of stuff, and they can teach you all that crap. So we paired him up with Steve McGregor, who's amazing indigenous writer, and they write this film. And actually this is kind of, I was a bit of a hired gun for this in a way, it was developed on the ether of where I am and what I do, you know what I mean? And then when I read the script that David and Steven had created, "I wanna shoot that. "I wanna shoot that. "I wanna direct that. "Let me shoot it." And, yeah, that's how it happened. And that's how that film happened.
MP: One of the things that, you know, I've noticed is this magical quality of indigenous people on screen, how Gulpilil had it in spades. I mean, there is not an appearance he makes on screen that isn't, you know, absolutely eye-drawing. But there are so many of them and, you know, there's this wonderful performance from Hamilton Morris, in this film as the hunted man.
WT: Before that, I wanted to go to a scene from the film, but, well, I think it's really central to what the film is about.
*Fade to Black*
WT: Beautiful writing from David, hey, special.
MP: Well, I sort of thought it encapsulated a lot of what this film's about. And it's about also about what you are about as a filmmaker.
WT: You reckon?
MP: Yeah, I do. There was one thing, you know, I sort of read quite a lot about what you'd said and stuff, and it's almost like your people know this country like no one else does. And, in fact, what I feel you wanna to do is share that knowledge.
WT: Yeah. That's pretty, yeah. It's pretty, yeah, totally. But that's all indigenous people in a way, you know what I mean? If you've got knowledge, you share what you're allowed to share and you obviously keep secret and sacred when you're not allowed to because that's just as powerful, you know what I mean? And you just, you know, you could write the Oxford dictionary on indigenous everything, and it kind of would water down who we are. You know what I mean? So there's a balance through all of that sort of stuff that you need to do: the secret and the sacred has to be balanced with the power of giving people knowledge and telling people, we do have knowledge and power. You know what I mean? It's a really weird, but I don't know what I'm saying, but it's kind of-
MP: Yeah, no-
WT: Everything's a balance, you know, as we were saying before, I get in trouble with my community all the time, but I'm the person who probably, I'm not fearless 'cause I'm scared sh*tless of my community, but I'm strong enough to go, "Oh, f**k this, "this is all wrong. "What we're doing here is just so wrong." You know what I mean? And get angry with my people just as much as I get angry with external things that help simmer the problems in our communities. You know what I mean? External poisons and internal poisons, and it's sort of like, you know, you need to talk about both of those.
MP: I just think that things have changed, and I think that certainly white people in this country are now realising how much they have to learn from indigenous culture. And that's been, you know, it was nothing to begin with and now it is, I think it's significant. And I think that's what's changed.
WT: I think we were very fortunate when in the '80s and that when we've really started, there was a bigger push into cinema through shorts and new directors and older directors that people started realising that what they read in the history books, whether it was primary school or high school, slightly little bit less in university, but we were, these movies were actually writing, they were history books, rather, they were doing those kind of, you know. It's like the idea that you get a radio station, but actually you needed a community center and you need a health clinic more than you need a f**king radio station. You know what I mean? You need a primary school more than you need a radio station. But, hey, let's give them all radio stations, not the proper, real foundations of community that, you know, they were lacking in a strange way, but, you know, it's kind of like, well for a wider audience in Australia they were lacking the history books to tell the right stories, and then suddenly you're using cinema of write bloody history books, you know what I mean, to try and realign history until our point of view and our version, rather than it being a book that's taught in primary school or in high school, it's this bloody movie that, you know, that's starting to do the same job. And it's kind of really interesting dynamic using something, we all wanna be entertained, but I'll never tell you that I'm educating you at the same time. You know what I mean? It's like, Hey, bells and whistles, it's all gonna be fun and games. You know what I mean? But actually there's a deep core foundation of education, and that's what, you know, that's what you wanna make "Star Wars", but you have to make "Samson and Delilah" You know what I mean? 'Cause that's more important.
MP: You don't wanna make "Star Wars" don't give me that.
WT: No, I need swimming pool. No, you know what I mean? That's why I say, "I wanna make "Star Wars", "but actually I have to make "Samson and Delilah" because it's much more f**king important, you know, because it's much more, it's more about education and history and entertainment than just pure popcorn.
MP: We were going to look at another clip from "Sweet Country", which is Hamilton Morris talking about indigenous performance on screen, you know, and I mean, I don't know what it is, there's a naturalness about so many indigenous performers in film that, you know, I mean out, fairly generally out does a lot of the white performances.
WT: I don't know, it's just, you know. I don't know, I think there's, you know, Hamilton and Rowan or Marissa have a connection purely to that, you know what I mean? They're not playing a queen, you know, covered in white paint in 1762 as an actor, they're playing the role of what they actually did for the rest of their f**king whole life. You know what I mean? They've actually, their NIDA version of this is just living, you know what I mean, to actually play that role. So there's kind of this real, there is a connection to a really interesting connection that's actually through, actually just being Aboriginal that can play these kind of roles.
MP: Can we have a look at the next clip from "Sweet Country" with Hamilton Morris and he's the hunted man, and this is him at his trial. I think Matt Day doesn't give a bad performance.
WT: Matt Day rocks.
*Fade to Black*
MP: It's really, it's a lovely performance from him.
WT: He was pretty amazing on that whole film.
MP: Look, I've gotta move on, but, but I just wanna, before we go to something else, the importance of landscape in your films.
WT: It's interesting with that one there, you know, like "Samson and Delilah" was shot on Super 35, that was the first digital feature I'd ever shot using these ARRI Alexa, proper anamorphic lenses and that sort of stuff. But it was the first digital. And, you know, I was such a, I spent my life trying to get away in the '80s, running away from video to shoot film, to be the ego DP, rockstar, you know, "I shoot film" You know what I mean? And spend my life fighting to shoot on film, fighting to shoot on film, and then suddenly film's dead, you know, long lived film. And then I made this here and I just found that, you know, I could have detested digital and I found it's so refreshingly relieving to shoot, you know, digital again. Well, you know, I came from pneumatic, Betacam, Super 16, Super 35, and then going back to, you know, zero one, digital data.
MP: It's a bit different from Betacam.
WT: Yeah, yeah, yeah. And I just found it so refreshing. I felt that I could play again. Just shooting something in Alice Springs would take probably around about a 10-day turnaround to see rushes, to get a, you know, a tick of approval, a neg report saying, you know, color: okay; focus: okay: scratches: none. You know what I mean, that kind of basic, this dreaded piece of paper that you'd get from the lab would take 10 days. So you'd always have to have everything completely on standby to, you might need to re-shoot it again, it might have a huge scratch through the whole thing. So shooting digital became, it was like, and then I felt really bad for me as a cinematographer that I actually liked this stuff because it was, you know, it was like, "Oh, you're cheating now." You know what I mean? It's become easy again. And it has its complications and it has a very different way to think cinematically. Composition's the same, but just the process of how zeroes and ones work compared to, you know, chemicals. And I really enjoyed it. And then I felt like a fraud going back to, you know. It's easy, this sh*t-
MP: But, I mean, the technology is so different.
WT: This sh*t's easy. It is it's pretty easy. Especially when you find, Trish Cahill is a colorist who has done all of my films. She's a genius. You know what I mean? I completely hide behind her and she saves my ass every single shot. And it's kind of, you know, and with this stuff, it's just become so much easier and exciting 'cause I can play. I think I can play a little bit more it's less technical. So I could become much more creative in a way. Anyway. There's that little bit of cinematography we can talk about.
MP: Well, it's in the genes because Dylan, your son, Dylan River worked on this as well, didn't he?
WT: Yeah. That little bastard.
MP: 'Cause he said to me at one stage, all the really beautiful shots in the film are his.
WT: Yeah, I kinda I'm lying, but I... No, no, no, no. All the re-shoots are his. I had to re-shoot everything he shot. No I didn't, but he's stealing my jobs so he's stealing my money, and he's starting to steal all of my awards. So it's like, you know-
MP: He's very talented.
WT: I wiped your ass for three years and now you're taking-
MP: Well, I think we've gotta get to audience questions, but before we do that, we're going to go to a just a smidge of a clip from God knows, what is it, 1988, 1998?
WT: 1998, or six-
MP: So like nearly a quarter of a century ago when Warwick and I were very much younger and I shot an interview with him when he was shooting "Radiance". And this is the younger white at what 26?
WT: Teeth. Everything.
MP: How has it been? I mean, has it been a rewarding experience with Rachel?
WT: Absolutely. Yeah. I've learned so much, you know what I mean? Especially all sorts of strange things: health, health in general, looking after yourself on a feature film, it's, you know, it's bloody hard work, you know, just, and mentally and physically and, you know, having Rachel there this incredibly strong woman, you know, it's been really good. She sorts me out occasionally, we starting to form the pieces.
MP: Well, I suppose it is a physically demanding thing of you that, you know, six weeks of very intense work. What do you do to look after you? Do you just got to, what do you do?
WT: Eat well, sleep well, sleeping is just the most important thing in the world, when you're doing 10, 12 hours, you know, and you're doing on location, you're doing six day weeks. So you know, you just, that's it. And mentally, you know, preparing yourself every day, reading the script at night and just all sorts of things. Keeping in the good books with everybody, you know, first time DoPing, having grips and gaffers, you know, Paul and Greg have done everything from "Resistance" to, you know, "Death in Brunswick", you know. Having them there, they sort of look after you as well. "You're our mate, we'll look after you," which is really good.
WT: Still wearing a, still wearing a bloody polo. That's a little bit of cinematography, isn't it, a polo?
MP: Did you get a hard time from the grips or were they-
WT: Greg Molineaux, Greg Molineaux, he's one of the last pirates in cinema. There's two different kinds of grips. There's a gentleman grip of today and then there're pirates of the past. And he was a classic pirate. His truck was painted black, the whole thing, you know what I mean?
MP: Skull and crossbones on the side.
WT: And we had a, we all went to, we were in 1770, the town Agnes Waters up in the Queenslandy kind of thing. We all landed and all the crew were there, I went to the pub, you know, to one-pub town, five horses, one pub. And I walked up to him and go, "Hi, I'm Warwick, you know, "I'm the DP." And he's like, "F**k off mate, I'm drinking." I was like "Okay." That's the kind of hardcore , Well, it's the industry.
MP: They are tough guys.
WT: The industry, it was rape and pillage, You know what I mean? And the trucks would rock up and they'd destroy a town and, you know, and then keep moving on. It's, you know, sort of a "Mad Max" era of film, of everybody -
MP: Of that era.
WT: Yeah, yeah.
MP: Yeah. Would you, any of you like to ask Warwick a question? Oh yes.
Audience: Is there a pet project or film you haven't made yet?
WT: Okay, I'm gonna go through the whole gamut, I'm gonna make one movie of every single genre bar romantic comedies or musicals. I reckon, you know, I don't think I'd be able to make a musical and I don't think I'd be able to make a romantic comedy. But there's a film that I'm about to do in South Australia with an amazing actor called Cate Blanchett. I wrote that before "Samson and Delilah". And so that's literally a 21 -year process. The script was sh*t when I first wrote it. So, you know, there's a reason why it's taken this long, but it is a pet project, it's called "New Boy". It's about a young Aboriginal boy who's sort of plucked out of the desert and taken to an orphanage in sort of the Wheatbelt, South Australia run by a rock star crazy nun, and you know who that obviously will be. You know what I mean? So, yeah, it is pet project. It's taken a very, very long time to get up. Originally it was about a priest and this boy, but I know that if you walk to a cinema and you've seen a poster of a priest and a little Aboriginal boy, and film by Warwick Thornton, I don't think you'd f**king go and watch that. You know what I mean? You know, and it's not about that creepy sh*t, it's actually, it's about awesome people. you know what I mean, who do amazing things and dunno why they're doing it. Anyway. But yeah, there's a pet project that actually has come to tuition (sic) and sure it should be out March next year. But I've got a science fiction film, I wanna make some, you know what I mean? That's not "Star Wars", it's called the "Seventh Sister", which is a very exciting one. Lots, you know, you have, when you write you have a film that you can make for 50 bucks and you have a film that you can make for 50 million. You know what I mean? And you kind of like, they like Aces up your sleeve and it's like, when it's the right time and you kind of go, "Here's what I prepared earlier." You know what I mean? You know, that sort of stuff. So, yeah, it's a couple of scripts, but the "New Boy" one is a really, really special one that I'm really excited about.
MP: Yeah. You're at the front. I'm sorry, I should repeat the question.
WT: Hey Marcia, how you go?
Marcia Langton: How are you?
WT: Very well, Marcia.
ML: In retrospect, how do you feel about "The Beach" and the impact of it.
MP: The question was, "Well, how does he feel about "The Beach" "and the impact of it?"
WT: Yeah. Oh, you know, "The Beach" was made on a three page outline and NITV read three pages and it ended with, I kind of know what I'm doing, but I dunno what I'm doing. You know what I mean? We'll just put me in this situation and see what happens. And they have the foresight of going, "Yeah, totally." And that was really special to be backed by, you know, blackfellas in that way. And then really pushed SBS to get money and really pushed Screen Australia to get some money and that sort of stuff. And I was pretty burned out, that's the whole reason of it. It's like, you know, go and sit down and chillax and re-get my mind together. And I got my son, Dylan, to shoot it, and actually it became incredibly stressful preparing for it because it's like, "Why the f**k do you wanna stand in front of a camera?" You know what I mean? It's just the most worst place to ever be, that kind of pressure, you know. I think actors are incredibly weird. They're a very special alien. Every single actor once stood and looked in the mirror and said, "Yeah, I'm gonna stand in front of that camera." I just don't understand that. Anyway, d*ckhead here decided to do the same thing, and I'm not an actor. And so there was so much pressure at the beginning and the actual shooting, 'cause my son directed it. No, I directed it, he shot it. I think there was this kind of, we had this symbiotic kind of, you know. So all the stories I was kind of telling the camera, but I was actually telling my son about me being a d*ckhead and doing stupid things, and the fear and cutting myself, and, you know, wanting to stab people and all those wonderful things that we do in life, but we never do, or maybe we do. That kind of, I was kind of talking to my son 'cause he was there with the camera and I felt that was more healing. The shoot was really healing. And then 'cause I directed it, it started again, the ego started again. So, you know, sort of, "Oh, don't use that shot, look at your gut. You know what I mean? And sort of the vanity, the massive amount of vanity that came into the edit, you know what I mean, about what I wanted people to look visually, look at me. You know what I mean? I think that the stories I was telling were really important. They were strong 'cause I was telling them to my son, but then suddenly when we started editing my vanity and what I look like and no teeth and f**king beer belly and hair like that, and a beard like that there, it sort of, I started dictating and then I had to leave the edit and let Andrea, the editor, who's incredibly amazing take over because my vanity was taking over the whole story. And I was wrecking my own movie with my ego.
MP: Why do you think I never shot me an interviews?
WT: Exactly, the reversal. Yeah, the classic. Yeah, absolutely.
MP: There's a question, and might be the last one, unfortunately.
WT: Sorry, we can fit it. Hey, let's just, can we get some wine and give everybody a glass of wine? We can stay for another hour or two.
MP: It's three minutes to go, settle.
Audience: When you write a scene or read someone else's scene, are you filming it in your head?
WT: Yeah. There's different, it depends because I find, 'cause I can't write, I can't spell, and I use just pen and paper 'cause computers are like, that's just science fiction. You know what I mean? I have to, so when I write, I'm literally thinking of a film for about a year before I'll even actually put, "In the beginning." You know what I mean? Before that I've got literally the whole arc of the main character, beginning, middle and end, you know, in my head. And all the nuances aren't there, but it's just: this happens, this happens, this happens this. So then I'll just write, I'll sit and write: "Scene one: "Blackfella walks into a bar." You know what I mean? "His name is so and so," and that's all I write. It's literally one line, you know, like the, you know, you get the A4 and you got all the little blue lines going on the sheet, "Scene One" and then only use that one line to say what that scene is. And then "Scene two" and then only use that one line, and then just go right through the whole script. And I have to do that because I just find it so painful. You know what I mean? And I'm not sort of like, "I don't have an idea. "I'm just gonna start writing right now." It's no way, everything is structurally completed in my head. So I've gone through a year's to visualizing every shot and every scene and the location and whether it's summer, winter, spring or autumn, everything about it has been completely visualized in my head and just writing is, and it's just like a process. So I can write a feature in a week. You know what I mean? 10 pages a day, seven days, it's 70 pages: it's done. And then from there, it'll open up because it's pretty sh*t, it's a pretty sh*t script, but then I can open it up and get the nuances and the beauty and the subtleties and rebuilding dialogue and that sort of stuff. I'm not big on dialogue, you know what I mean? I sort of, I'd rather play Charley Pride song than get the actors to talk. You know what I mean? And then when I'm reading other people's stuff, it's kind of, oh, I don't know. I'm hard on myself and I give other people who've written stuff much bigger chances and you know what I mean, to try and get, understand what they're trying to, you know what I mean? I don't necessarily have to be hooked in the first five pages. You know what I mean? 'Cause I believe that our lives aren't sound bites, you know what I mean? Well, that's the beautiful thing about cinema. When you choose to buy a ticket and you go into the cinema and you watch the first 20, you go, "Oh, my God, this is sh*t." But you will stay. You won't leave. One, it cost you 25 bucks, but two, it's a comfortable place and you're safe. You know what I mean? Whereas, you know, streaming, it's sort of, like, you know, 30 seconds in, "Oh, this is sh*t." You know what I mean? It's like the buffet, you know what I mean? It's like, "Why on my plate have I got some Chinese, "some roast potatoes and some, you know, baked lamb "with some sushi?" You know what I mean? It's like that really weird buffet idea of streaming, and that's why you're so, you've got to walk into, you know, I spend more time trying to find something to watch on streamer than I do, you know. Whereas I will prepare personally to go to the movies, and I'll prepare, I will hear about this movie, and I'll think about that movie, and I'll check the times and then I will invest my money, and then I will invest my time, and I will let the film and the the writer and the director, and lo and behold that wanker the cinematographer, let me go on that journey. You know what I mean? And I'll stay, and I will give my respect to the filmmakers and the story, and the characters, you know, it's a really weird thing. And that's the beauty of cinema is that we love it so much that we respected it, and we will stay even if the first 20 minutes are sh*t because they're long players and characters need time. You know what I mean? They need time to develop in your mind and on that screen, and they need to be rejected or embraced through the arc of storytelling. And that's the sad thing about streaming at the moment, the buffet. We, you know, binge drinking is really bad, and binge eating is really bad, so why the f**k is binge screening good for you? You know what I mean? What's all bad about? "Hey yeah, I binge 27 hours of "Game of Thrones". It's like, "Do you remember the last 18 hours of that?" You know what I mean? No, you didn't. It's just, you know, so it's bad for you. And that's why I still love cinema. And that's why I love storytelling. And that's why when I read something, that's sorry, long f**king story, isn't it? That's why, if someone else has written something, I really have to invest. I know what I've done, I know what I've written because I've invested a year in it of thinking about it, so I'm happy to do that. But when I read something from someone else I have to invest really, really strongly. And you know, it's not like you pick a book up and you read a couple pages and then you put it down and you go to sleep, and then on the train, you reading five pages. No way, I literally have to put a day away for someone's script. And it's sort of like, no TV, everyone f**k off, you know what I mean? I'm just, there's their script, I need to invest and get right to the end, and focus as closely as possible. And then I can say, "Oh my God, they're geniuses," or I can say, "No, that's a sh*t script, "I'm not gonna go anywhere near it." Yeah Anna. There's Anna.
MP: We're over time. This has gotta be the last questions.
WT: No, yeah, Anna. Anna's gonna have the best question in the world, you wait.
MP: All right.
Anna Schwartz: No pressure. Well, you've worked in photography and you've worked in video, which are very different forms of cinema. And what's your relationship to the different forms and their content and possibilities?
MP: So the question was, you've worked in photography, video and-
MP: Cinema, what's your attitude towards the different forms?
WT: I have three. I have three of the greatest ideas for a movie every single day. You know what I mean? It's the best, you know, we're gonna win every single award, make zillion dollars and just, you know, be the greatest filmmaker in the history of everything. What a load of sh*t, you know what I mean? But I do have those three ideas, which are every day. And you have to understand that this film I'm about to do is 20 years in the making. Now, if you bottle that up and you didn't make a movie for 20 years, and this is the only thing you're ever gonna go. You'll got mad. You know what I mean? You'll be out there, you know, running naked in the street and, you know, robbing 7/11 by the end of the first three years. So you need creatively to have multiple outlets. And I found myself really early after, sort of, Samson and Delilah and the, you know, the Cannes win and all that sort of stuff becoming so blinkered about f**king cinema and filmmaking and how important it is and how important I am, and it's like, you need to have multiple creative outlets. So photography is incredibly important to me. It's instant, I can have an idea. I can have an idea and I can, and I need to think, "Well, do I wanna go down a 10-year process with that idea? "It's fleeting, I just had it on the corner of the street." And it's like, "Do you really wanna go down 10 years "for an idea you just had 30 seconds ago "and you had three of them a day." You know what I mean? But that idea doesn't have to be a movie, it could be a stills photograph. It could be a country and western song, grab a piece of paper and write a country in western song. You know what I mean? "She won't buy me beers so the flies are drinking my tears." You know what I mean? So many great outlets that are not necessarily this sort of auteur cinema wanker f**king process, you know what I mean? And they all deserve to be told just, so I go through a great process of every idea of what is it? Is it a, you know, is it a newly designed sprinkler? Is it a country in Western song? Is it a photograph? Is it a meal? Is it a, you know, is it a, you know, Italian, Japanese fusion, you know. They're all creative. And so you need, I need multiple ones just to burn energy and ideas. So photography and a video, video art, is it called video art, is that a word?
MP: Yeah it is.
WT: Yeah. Video art. Yeah. Hi, . Just as many outlets as possible. And what's the most awesome thing is when you go, "Oh my God, this isn't a movie, "it's a country and Western song. "F**k, I don't know any chords." What a beautiful journey, it's a new journey. Okay. I'm gonna, you can either Google it or, you know what I mean. "Sh*t, I need to buy a guitar "if I wanna be a country and western singer." There's the beginning. You know what I mean? It's kind of, that's, it's, you know, 40, 52, 42? Wish, 52 years of age, I'm learning some country and western cords because, hey, if this cinema sh*t doesn't work, I'm gonna torture you all with the greatest country western songs ever.
MP: Well, I think we can look forward to that.
WT: Yeah, all right, thank you.
MP: Warwick , honestly, you've been so generous and gorgeous talking about everything that means stuff to you.
WT: Wasn't much light in cinematography in that was there a, you know, but yeah.
MP: Well, thank God, you're a cinematographer because you've given us some most beautiful images over the years.
WT: Thank God you're country boy
MP: Thank God you've gone into directing.
WT: I think that one's already been written.
MP: 'Cause you've given us some bloody good films too.
WT: Thank you. Have a nice day.
MP: Thank you very much for coming. Thank you, Warwick. That was terrific.
WT: Thank you.