July 19, 2007

Aborigine co-directed Ten Canoes

'Ten Canoes' director Rolf de Heer follows Aboriginal rules

Aborigines are heroes and comedians in 'Ten Canoes.'Eventually, says De Heer, "it clicked in my head—not the idea for the film, but how to make the film up there: You would have David [Gulpilil] as the co-director, because working with indigenous people is often quite difficult because of communication and serious alcohol problems. David is no different, but David's community is a dry community, so he [would] be easy to work with."

De Heer says he realized that if the project were going to succeed, the Aboriginal community would have to feel real ownership over the film and over the filmmaking process, "because filmmaking is almost the antithesis of their culture. Filmmaking is very hierarchical and schedule-driven, and their culture is very consensus-based, and time has a different meaning. I understood very quickly the process had to be set with their culture. There was no way they would be able to sustain the effort unless they felt ownership of the film and the process."

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