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Beck Cole on motivation and influence

By Sista Girl Productions, 2009 1:50 minutes

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Beck Cole’s interest in documentary filmmaking was inspired by her fascination with people and their lives. She enjoys the intimacy that develops as her documentary subjects learn to trust her. The two people who have most inspired her are her husband, filmmaker Warwick Thornton, and her father, who worked with the Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association (CAAMA).

Collection Blak Wave


Discussion Points

When Beck Cole describes the rewards of forging connections of trust with the documentary subjects who allow her into their lives, she observes that as well as being truthful she is expected to provide an interesting and entertaining representation of the lives she is depicting.

  • Why are these storytelling qualities important to Cole’s subjects?
  • What do these expectations tell you about the relationship between Cole and her subjects and about the kind of documentary films that Cole makes?

Beck Cole considers that her greatest inspiration has come from Warwick Thornton and her father. In the case of Thornton, she has benefited from his knowledge and
experience as a filmmaker and from the confidence he has given her.

In the case of her father, she comments that if he had not worked for CAAMA, she would not have even known that filmmaking was a possible career.

  • How important is it for a novice filmmaker to have mentors?
  • How much more important might this be for an Indigenous woman living in Alice Springs?

Like all filmmaking practices, documentary filmmaking has evolved along with the technology available. When filming her observational documentaries, Cole uses an unobtrusive MiniDV camera in order to maintain the sense of intimacy and personal engagement that is so important to her filmmaking practice.

  • As well as allowing for greater intimacy, what other advantages does small and extremely portable videorecording technology have?
  • Are there any disadvantages, perhaps in terms of people’s privacy or other issues?