The Crew: pelican trainer

Title:
The Crew: pelican trainer
NFSA ID:
5140
Year:
1976
Courtesy:
South Australian Film Corporation, Australian Film Television and Radio School
Category:
Access fees

An excerpt from the AFTRS documentary The Crew showing director Henri Safran giving direction to Greg Rowe and pelican trainer Gordon Noble on the set of Storm Boy (1976).

This short excerpt, skillfully weaving documentary footage of the shoot and excerpts from the final film, shows what a collective effort filmmaking is.

Footage of the pelican trainer working with his whistle and bucket of fish is an example of the kind of the essential, but often invisible, jobs that exist on film sets. 

Sandwich, Carpenter and Dum Dum - the three pelicans who played Mr Proud, Mr Ponder and Mr Percival in Storm Boy - were raised from chicks by Noble, who was originally a dolphin trainer. They couldn't hire a pelican trainer because there were none; pelicans had never been trained for a film before.

The first pelicans they tried to train flew away, so they had to start over again. Noble lived with the pelicans for nine months in the lead-up to the shoot and taught them them tricks (such as catching a ball) which they repeated for fishy rewards. 

Learn more about Storm Boy in the curated collection and online exhibition.