Oral History: Directors

Three filmmakers discuss their careers
 Bronwyn Murphy

Part Four: Directors

The Oral History program provides personal recollections of careers in film, TV, radio or recorded sound. This week we’re featuring recent Oral History interviews with actors, musicians, journalists and film crew. Today we’re looking at directors.

Read an outline of the interviews below, and listen to excerpts or the full interviews embedded from SoundCloud.

Mark Joffe

Mark Joffe is a film and television director who has been working in the industry since 1981.

In Part 1 of the interview, Mark talks about his early years in filmmaking, learning his craft at Crawford Productions, and working on shows like Carson’s Law, Special Squad and Neighbours. His first major directing work was on the mini-series The Great Bookie Robbery (1986), for which he won an AFI Award.

In this excerpt, Mark talks about rehearsing on set, incorporating input from actors and the importance of being objective:

Mark Joffe interviewed by Alec Morgan (2014), Oral History. NFSA title: 1220815

In Part 2 of the interview, he talks about making Spotswood (1992), working with Louis Nowra on Cosi (1996), and his last feature film, The Man Who Sued God (2001). His more recent TV work includes Wild Boys (2011) and A Place to Call Home (2014).

Alec Morgan interviewed Mark Joffe in November 2013 and April 2014 and you can listen to the full interview on SoundCloud:

Mark Joffe in the NFSA collection »


Kim Mordaunt

Kim Mordaunt is a filmmaker whose work includes the documentary Bomb Harvest (2007) and the dramatic feature The Rocket (2013), both filmed in Laos.

Kim speaks about growing up in northern NSW and his early career as actor and documentary maker for Bulgarian television. He discusses his work on the Lonely Planet series and early films such as Speed City (2001) and Jammin’ in the Middle E (2005). He reflects on living in Hanoi for a year and researching Bomb Harvest.

In this excerpt, he talks about the research process and living with the subjects of his films. He also explains the complex set-up needed to film bombs exploding in close-up in Bomb Harvest:

Kim Mordaunt interviewed by Alec Morgan (2014), Oral History. NFSA title: 1184815


The latter part of the interview is taken up with discussion of his scripting and production processes for The Rocket, which won major awards at the Berlinale and Tribeca Film Festival in 2013.

Alec Morgan interviewed Kim Mordaunt in January 2014 and you can listen to the full interview on SoundCloud:

Peter Butt

Peter Butt is a film producer, director and writer working in documentary.

In the interview he talks about his early career as sound facilitator and editor, before starting his directing career with No Such Place (1981). He discusses the documentaries he made for the ABC’s A Big Country series and his start at Film Australia with My Father, My Country (1988). Peter wrote, directed and edited three documentary series with Rob McAuley – The Liners (1996), The Battleships (2000) and The Airships (2005).

Peter’s first investigative film was Lies, Spies and Olympics (1999). He also talks about his Logie-winning documentary Who Killed Dr Bogle and Mrs Chandler? (2006). In this excerpt he describes how he pitched the story to Film Australia and then came up with a possible solution to the mystery:

Peter Butt interviewed by Alec Morgan (2013), Oral History. NFSA title: 1163936


Peter also discusses his films The Prime Minister is Missing (2008) and I, Spry (2010), as well as his developmental approach to research and scriptwriting.

Alec Morgan interviewed Peter Butt in November 2013 and you can listen to the full, three-part interview on SoundCloud: