“Another Country” recounts a 3 week journey from Broome in Western Australia to Darwin in the Northern Territory in a four wheel drive vehicle, traversing two of Australia’s most spectacular outback wilderness areas: the Kimberley and Kakadu.
I grew up in the western suburbs of Sydney and I chose the title of the film because visiting the Kimberley and Kakadu was like visiting another country when compared to my boyhood urban experiences.
The film starts with a series of pre-dawn shots - these are a small homage to the “Dawn of Man” sequence in Stanley Kubrick’s film “2001: A Space Odyssey” - and they signify the enormous length of time that Australian Aboriginals have occupied the continent.
The film ends with expansive views over the Kakadu floodplain. I chose the booming didj music accompanying this sequence because I thought it represented the power of the Wandjina as they forged the landscape. According to Aboriginal mythology, the Wandjina were powerful spirits who, during the Dream Time, created the landscape and its inhabitants. In the film's concluding shot, the Rainbow Serpent merges with the dusk sky.
The film is dedicated to Bill Neidjie who was the last surviving speaker of the Gagudju language, a language spoken by a group of indigenous people that lived in the northern Kakadu region. Bill Neidjie was also instrumental in the formation of the world heritage listed Kakadu National Park - indeed, the park is named after the Gagudju language group.
Each day of the journey is punctuated by a quotation from Bill Neidjie’s book “Gagudju Man”. There was a copy of this book at the Hawk Dreaming camp and I was extremely moved by what Bill had written. I purchased a copy of the book when we arrived in Darwin and I used this as the framework around which the film was structured.
The emphatic message that I get from Bill Neidjie’s thoughtful prose is one of birth, life, death and regeneration.
If you would like to learn more about Bill Neidjie there is a wealth of information about him on the internet. You might like to start here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Bill_Neidjie.
The music is by David Hudson, from his albums “The Art of the Didjeridu” and “Gudju Gudju”, and Robert Rich, from his album “Echo of Small Things”.
Filmed in the Australian outback over a 3 week period in July 2013 using a Sony NEX-FS100. Edited using FCP 7. Color graded using Red Giant's Colorista and Magic Bullet Looks.