Filming The Carrolup Story for a European audience

Ezzard Flowers and Emma Piesse at the wrap-up of filming, Carrolup/Marribank. Photo: John Stanton, 11 February 2023.

In late November, we were approached via our website by Emma Piesse, a Producer at the Franco-German television channel, Arte, which has a focus on arts and cultures of the world. (I was already familiar with Arte, as I watch it regularly when I am with family in France.)

Emma has been commissioned to produce a series of six 15 minute mini-documentary programs for nightly transmission at 6:00pm, on cultural stories about the southern region of Western Australia. She has previously worked on First Nations’ stories in the Top End.

These programs focus on such subjects as ‘The Boomerang’, ‘The Rabbit Proof Fence story’, ‘Kim Scott and his novels’, etc.

For The Carrolup Story, Ezzard Flowers and I teamed up with Emma and her videographer, German-Swiss Charlie Meyer, last Saturday at Marribank, the former ‘Carrolup Native Settlement’.

The irony wasn’t lost on Emma that she shares the surname of Katanning’s founding father, Frederick Henry Piesse, with all that this is associated.

They have no known relationship.

John Stanton and Emma Piesse at the wrap-up of filming, Carrolup / Marribank. Photo: Ezzard Flowers, 11 February 2023.

Ezzard and I had travelled in 2005 with Athol Farmer to Colgate University, Hamilton, in up-state New York, to inspect and evaluate the relocated ‘lost’ collection of works by the child artists of Carrolup, recently ‘discovered’ by Professor Howard Morphy of the Australian National University, Canberra, in an unopened and un-registered box at Colgate University’s Picker Gallery.

At that time, we selected 20 works, almost all in pastel, to have restored and shipped to WA for display in the Koorah Coolinga (Children Long Ago) exhibition at the Katanning Regional Art Gallery, as part of the Perth International Arts Festival, 2006. Sharing that arduous trip, the three of us became firm friends.

Our day filming at Carrolup/Marribank was, then, very busy. We worked for more than nine hours—flat stick the whole time.

Conditions were perfect: blue skies, a few puffy clouds, a very slight breeze but not enough to upset the drone, nor ruffle the microphones! Charlie’s drone piloting was simply amazing. Over the past 38 years of working at this historic site, I had never seen ‘the Mission’ from the sky—as if I was an eagle.

It is beautiful, despite the dilapidated condition of most of the buildings…..

The day’s shooting went off very well, as Ezzard and I have worked together frequently over the years, so we can both speak extensively to the Carrolup Story, each from our own perspective.

Thanks to the hard preparatory work by both Emma, and her ‘fixer’, Dom (Dominique), everything was organised very thoroughly and so professionally.

And we all appreciated Charlie’s exquisite cinematography and outstanding drone piloting! As well as his patience, with all of us.

Filming, from my own experience, is very much about patience, waiting, rehearsing, and doing things again and again until they are perfect.

It was a gem of a day, never to be forgotten—by any of us!

Today, Emma flies back to Paris with her precious video recordings, to start editing it all, next week!

Such exposure will help to bring The Carrolup Story to a much broader, and international, audience.

And it reinforces the fact that our website has become a vital conduit for access to the Story.

The Old Boys’ Dormitory, with the Dining Room to the left, Mission Compound. Photo: John Stanton, 11 February 2023.

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