Show me the magic : the adventures of Don McAlpine

Henkel, Cathy J. (2012) Show me the magic : the adventures of Don McAlpine. [Film/Video]

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Show Me The Magic takes us on an enthralling and joyful journey into the life and work of the legendary and world-renowned Australian cinematographer, Don McAlpine. A country kid from the small wheat-belt town of Quandialla in isolated south-western New South Wales, Australia, McAlpine was born in 1934 - the year before the first technicolour film was released. There wasn’t even a cinema in Quandialla. Don helped his mother support their family from the age of 14, when his father was stricken by tuberculosis. His part-time job at the Temora chemist as a darkroom photo developer struck a chord in young Don's soul. Soon, a school performance of The Mikado ignited in him the desire to entertain an audience.

His fascination with the magical images emerging from his darkroom set him on the winding path that would eventually lead to the glittering lights of Hollywood, where, in 2009, he received the American Society of Cinematographers’ “International Cinematographer of the Year” Award in front of the foremost luminaries of the American film industry. That same year, Don shot his 50th film, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, a big-budget, effects-driven action movie directed by Oscar-winner Gavin Hood and starring Hugh Jackman. Show Me the Magic takes us on set and behind the scenes of that film. In 2011, Don posted another landmark: Mental, a low budget movie directed by PJ Hogan (Muriel’s Wedding, My Best Friend’s Wedding, Peter Pan). Mental was Don’s first digital film and his first Australian film in 25 years.

As we travel with Don back into his past, and into the Australian outback landscape that he loves so much, we experience the extremes of movie making: embedded alongside him on the contrasting sets of Wolverine and Mental, we peel back the layers of what Don calls ‘the beautiful deception' of cinema to illuminate the world behind the screen.

Joined by celebrated Australian directors Bruce Beresford and Gillian Armstrong, we explore the heritage of the remarkable Australian films that Don photographed, including the iconic Breaker Morant and My Brilliant Career. In Los Angeles, Don reconnects with Paul Mazursky who gave him his big break in Hollywood with Tempest and followed up with Down and Out in Beverly Hills. And two Australians of a later generation - Baz Luhrmann and Catherine Martin - take us behind the scenes on Don’s spectacular creative achievements – Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge!

At once the story of a remarkable man and an exploration of filmmaking at the highest level, Show Me The Magic will engage and entrance anyone who has ever been touched by the magic of movies.

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This film is dedicated to the memory of South African film-maker Peter Henkel, 1924 - 1992.

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ID Code: 64896
Item Type: Creative Work (Film/Video)
Refereed: No
Additional Information: Show me the Magic Awards:
World of Women Film Festival
- Winner: Best Female Cinematographer [Cathy Henkel]
- Winner: Best Composer [Nicolette Boaz]
Australian Directors Guild Award
- Nominated Best Director
Australian Cinematographers Society (ACS) Awards
- Winner: Silver Award, Documentary [Cathy Henkel]
Australian Screen Editors Awards
- Winner: Best Documentary Feature [Scott Walton]
Other Contributors:
Role Contributors
  • Trish Lake & Cathy Henkel
Executive Producers
  • Alan Finney, Alaric McAusland, Jeanette McAlpine
  • Charlie De Salis
  • Nicolette Boaz
Production Manager
  • Rebecca McElroy
Associate Producer
  • Tara Wardrop
Head of Production
  • Kyla Bridge
  • Cathy Henkel
Additional camera
  • Ismail (Ezther) Fahmi Lubis, Erika Addis, Peter Baker, Austin Andrews, Paul Butler, Tim Barnsley, Boris Vymenets, Rebecca McElroy
  • Cathy Henkel, Douglas Ly, Steve McDonald
NZ Sequences Director
  • Sandra Cook
LA Production Manager
  • Dan Lake
  • Naomi J Hall, Tara Wardrop, Brooke Lagana, Robin McAlpine
Post Production Producer
  • Helen Kok
Post Production Supervisor
  • Matthew T. Griffin
  • Jamie Hediger
Assistant Colourist
  • Matthew T. Griffin
Track-lay and Sound Mixer
  • Michael Gissing
  • Andrew Worboys
  • Andrew Worboys Piano; Ben Fink guitars; Tim Oram tenor sax, clarinet, flute; Christian Marsh harmonica; Tina Harris drums, bass, guitar
Music Mixing
  • Bob Scott, Dodgy Sound
Music Engineering
  • Tamlin Tregonning, Blair Greenberg
Offline Post Production
  • Fifty Fifty Films
Edit Assistant
  • Marcus Wilson
Online & Sound Post
  • Efilm Australia
Post Production Services Online Editor
  • Kristian Whitlock
Mix Engineer
  • Sam Hayward
Data Management
  • John Durney, David Orman
DCP Creation
  • Kirstin Cetinich, Ben Tant
Assistant to Producers
  • Felicity Blake, Sam Lara, Tara Beardmore, Brooke Lagana
Production Accountancy
  • Ben McNeill, James Baker
Legal Affairs
  • Jenny Lalor
  • David James, Brooke Lagana, Felicity Blake
Funders: Screen Australia, Deluxe, Screen Queensland, Panavision, Films Transit International, National Film and Sound Archive, Studio
Material: Feature Documentary Film
Measurements or Duration: 72 minutes
Number of Pieces: 1
Publisher: Virgo Productions Pty Ltd, Freshwater Pictures and Screen Queensland Pty Ltd.
Location: From date: To date:
Brisbane International Film Festival (BIFF), Brisbane 2012-11-22 2012-11-22
Chauvel Cinema, Paddington, Sydney 2013-02-13 2013-02-13
Avoca Beach Cinema, Central Coast, New South Wales 2013-02-15 2013-02-15
Australian International Documentary Conference, Mercury Cinema, Adelaide, South Australia 2013-02-27 2013-02-27
Byron Bay Film Festival (BBFF), Byron Bay, New South Wales 2013-03-02 2013-03-02
WOW – World of Women Film Festival, Sydney, New South Wales 2013-03-08 2013-03-08
Screenworks Industry Screening, Murwillumbah, New South Wales 2013-04-14 2013-04-14
National Film and Sound Archive Special screenings, Canberra 2013-04-21 2013-04-21
Noosa Longweekend Film Festival, Noosa Heads, Queensland 2013-06-15 2013-06-15
SMPTE, Sydney, New South Wales 2013-07-24 2013-07-24
Maleny Film Society, Maleny, Queensland 2013-08-03 2013-08-03
The CinéfestOz Film Festival, Margaret River, Busselton, Bunbury, Western Australia 2013-08-22 2013-08-25
Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Melbourne, Victoria 2013-09-21 2013-11-02
BOFA Film Festival, Launceston, Tasmania 2013-11-10 2013-11-10
ABC1 Television, 10:30pm 2014-06-01 2014-06-01
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Don McApline, Feature Documentary Film, Australian Cinematographer, Cathy Henkel
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING (190000) > FILM TELEVISION AND DIGITAL MEDIA (190200)
Divisions: Past > Research Centres > ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Past > Schools > School of Media, Entertainment & Creative Arts
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2012 Virgo Productions Pty Ltd, Freshwater Pictures and Screen Queensland Pty Ltd.
Deposited On: 28 Aug 2014 03:59
Last Modified: 29 Aug 2014 04:31

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