What's up Power Nation! Every Sunday we hope to shine a light on an independent artist's career in a feature we like to call Sunday Spotlight. This week we are speaking to Ewan Cutler, the Director of Cairns based production company Hudson Films and cinematographer for Mau Power's upcoming music videos.
Firstly, how did you get into filmmaking?
I started doing it by making stuff in high school. I always had an interest in movies and stuff like that. I started really enjoying doing the film and TV classes, and when I finished high school I started volunteering at a local church doing video stuff, and then started doing work experience for different companies and it just went from there.
What was the first film you remember making?
I’ve made so many little things like LEGO stop motion stuff, but none of them were a completed thing. First thing I probably completed was a music video task for high school using some music from an obscure, free indie game in 2005 that I can't even remember the name of. It was about a guy who is in love with his boombox, and he goes out with it and he accidentally breaks it and that’s how it ends. I think that’s how it happens, I can’t remember, it was super weird and rough and shot on mini DV.
Was there a moment in your career when you became certain that this is what you want to pursue?
I would say there wasn't a particular moment that made me really want to pursue it as much as it was just, like, work I was really enjoying. I was really enjoying some form of creative work and it opened a lot of other oppoprtunities, whether it was volunteering at church or doing projects for live events. I felt there were opportunities to get amongst that creative world, and once I started there was that feeling of really enjoying it so I kept doing it.
How long have you been working in Cairns?
Pretty much my entire career. I never really lived anywhere else and have been in Cairns since finishing high school.
What was the last movie you saw and what did you think of it?
Mission Impossible Fallout which I just saw on a flight. It was very good. I never really used to like Mission Impossible films but with Fallout I couldnt get over how good the pacing was. It looked fantastic, the set pieces were awesome, watching it was like a lesson on ‘how to make an action movie' with really great visual storytelling throughout. I feel it has the over the topness of James Bond but with a whole different group of characters to care about, and its not trying to be uber serious at the same. It was pretty damn well directed, like it didn’t have shaky cam or a billion cuts. It felt similar to Mad Max where it was frantic and frenetic but you could follow what was going on, and everytime they ramped up the stakes it got more interesting instead of more confusing. Plus there’s a couple of scenes where they transition from anamorphic cinemascope to IMAX that blew my mind. There’s a bit where Tom Cruise walks to edge of a plane that he's going to jump out of, and the letterbox bars slowly expand to fill the screen and I was like ‘what what what’, and there's a few sequences done like that that were freaking rad. It was really surprising and I was really impressed with it.
What was the last live music act you saw and what did you think of it?
Courtney Barnett. She was great. There were so many bits where it sounded so dirty, I loved it. Only disappointing thing was the crowd sucked. The place was flooding, there was water everywhere, but the place was so tame and I was hoping there'd be a mosh. It was a pretty mixed crowd because she’s an artist with pretty big songs, but I feel like, I wrote her off based on some songs I heard but then I heard her dirty, grungey stuff that was unreal and thought it was gonna go off.
How did it feel seeing Eternal on the big screen in Cairns?
Weird. The first time I saw it on big screen was at FlickerFest in Sydney. I feel like I don’t enjoy stuff that I’m really invested in while there's lots of people hanging around. I’d rather leave the room then come back and see what everyone thought of it. It’s kinda weird sitting through it. It’s kind of like there’s definitely parts where I hope people laugh here, or I hope people in the audience do this there. The cool thing about the Cairns crowd was that the banter between the kids landed more than in Sydney. Some bits landed in Sydney, like the line about 'how many stars are there?' 'As many as the kids your dad has', but the general banter landed more in Cairns. It was very deliberately this representation of authentic people, so we didn’t try to script any stuff with the kids so local dialects would come through. Like up in the north everyone says ‘gammin’ but down south no one really knows what that means unless they’re indigenous or Torres Strait Islander. Little words like that were used and it made me smile seeing those kids interact, so it was cool to hear and see them bits land.
Lastly, are you currently working on any upcoming projects?
There’s always stuff in the works but nothing developed enough where I can say ‘hey, we’re doing this thing!’ Other than that, I’m busy developing things with the Cairns based production company Hudson Films.
Big thanks to Ewan for taking the time to share his experiences with us here! If you are looking for a fantastic, locally owned production company to help film your commercial idea, corporate event or special occasion, please visit the Hudson Films website. And if you'd like to read more about the FlickerFest finalist short film Eternal that Ewan and Hudson Films worked on, please click here.
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