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The role of director is often likened to that of orchestra conductor. Although film and television production is a highly collaborative process, the director must have a vision of the way the film or television program will look when it has been completed. While other people involved in the production process focus on a specific task, the director coordinates all the different aspects of the film’s production.

The director has the ultimate responsibility for the finished work. He or she is sometimes regarded as the ‘author’ (or ‘auteur’) of the production. Many directors have a signature style, so their films are distinctive and can be said to form a recognisable body of work. Nevertheless, a director is reliant on the skills of others and often builds strong relationships of trust with particular specialists.

Rolf de Heer on working with an Indigenous community

Rolf de Heer visited the Yolngu people in north-eastern Arnhem Land to find out the stories they wanted to tell about themselves and their culture.

Rolf de Heer on Ten Canoes and Peter Djigirr

Rolf de Heer talks about the opportunities that come with a low budget, both in terms of subject matter and creative freedom. He reflects on the invaluable contribution of co-director and Yolngu man Peter Djigirr to the making of the film.

Rachel Perkins on Bran Nue Dae

Rachel Perkins’ film Bran Nue Dae is adapted from the musical written for the theatre by Jimmy Chi. Perkins describes this work as a life-affirming combination of music, joy and humour.

Warwick Thornton on Samson and Delilah

Warwick Thornton dismisses the idea that the success of a film is measured by its awards. Rather, he thinks that a film’s success can be determined by how much it changes the world, creates understanding and affects policy.

Warwick Thornton on contributing to a living culture

Warwick Thornton considers that Australian filmmakers have gained a better understanding of Indigenous identity as a result of the evolving Indigenous screen practice.

Ivan Sen on the art of filmmaking

Ivan Sen has early memories of imagining video images while listening to music. He studied photography in Queensland but became frustrated by its limited possibilities for storytelling and moved to filmmaking.

Ivan Sen on being an artist

Sen suggests that developing as an artist involves deepening one’s sensitivity to the world and that this can become an end in itself.

Ivan Sen on film and creative autonomy

Ivan Sen claims that the collaborative nature of filmmaking can be a hindrance to the filmmaker’s creativity.

Ivan Sen on Dreamland

Rather than shot-listing his films, Ivan Sen takes many photographs. Before making Dreamland, Sen spent time in Nevada taking photographs and drawing inspiration for the film from the location.