The core ethos of our festivals is simply ‘Fusion’- bringing people together from all around the world in an industry we love. We have an old friend joining us from the other side of the world-
Carl Emerton welcome!
“Hi” to the Fusion Community from down here in the Southern Hemisphere.
It has been a few years since we saw you last, the world has been impacted in a huge way, how has life been in Australia?
Yes the world has been crazy recently which has made connecting with like-minded people more difficult. That is why the Green Room concept is such a good initiative. Australia has been impacted significantly by Covid-19 fortunately, people are understanding what needs to be done to control it. The consequence is the shutdown of a lot of activity in all fields. We are marooned on our giant island as there are no outbound flights and even travel within the country is restricted between states, so location selection and film shooting is greatly limited. Restrictions were loosening but the dreaded second wave knocked on the door so numbers of people mixing and functions being held have been tightened up again. Fortunately for me I live on the coast, literally, so there are worse places to self-isolate.
Now I know you are a man that has multiple interests, have you found any new hobbies during lockdown?
Lockdown has actually been fairly busy for me wearing my other hat as an Optometrist as we are considered an essential service so any restriction of activity was considered to be voluntary and when people are stuck at home reading books, watching the TV or hopefully buying and watching our DVD’s their eyes get a hammering so triaging ocular emergencies and prescribing glasses kept me on my toes. Recreationally I’ve been trying improve my guitar playing and even started paddle boarding last week but I’m not sure which is more exhausting, paddle boarding or getting in and out of my wet suit.
You took a step into the filmmaking world alongside being a full time optometrist, what was the catalyst for this?
I have always had a lot of irons in the fire. Although satisfying as a profession Optometry is limited in it’s creative capacity. For some reason I have always had eclectic interests ranging from playing and coaching Rugby, bushwalking and the environment, music and Australian Indigenous culture to name a few. My son is a respected surf photographer and videographer. Seeing some of his work stimulated my interest in Cinema and its potential to not only entertain but also convey a message. The opportunity to be creative presented itself to me.
Love Is Like Water- was the first project I saw from you on the festival circuit. What was the inspiration behind this project and how did you find the process?
Love Is Like Water was actually an excerpt from a larger piece I made called Pingin, Black Celt. Having coached several Aboriginal Rugby players I wanted to make an artistic rather than political statement that would nonetheless raise the awareness of the general population about certain issues, which surround the aboriginal community and also stimulate the asking of questions as to why some of these issues exist. It was my first ever attempt at filmmaking. I am very proud of some aspects of the film and very embarrassed by others. I got to capture the essence of the Australian and also Irish landscapes. In making the film, I felt there were certain voids in the dialogue and narrative when the imagery was strong. In order to cover the sound space I wrote a few songs to drop into the timeline. Consequently, I became a songwriter. It was a long way from polishing eyeballs but much more fun. I found the whole process to be simultaneously intellectually challenging and satisfying. I learned a lot from my mistakes but tapped into the power that is cinema. Another aspect of filmmaking, being a Director, drew strong parallels to my time as a coach. Essentially, you are aiming for a big picture with a process to get that outcome. Telling a flyhalf to pass to centre ,wrap, collect the ball then do an inside ball to the fullback coming through is like getting your actors to capture a scene or feeling by following certain instructions to get that cinematic outcome or experience.
Now I know you have two very creative passions- One is filmmaking as we know and the other is songwriting. If you had choose which one would you like to become famous for?
Hey, who doesn’t want to be famous for at least one thing! Either would keep me happy. Logistically song
writing would be easier as I could sit on my veranda look at the sea and strum to my hearts content but the
adrenaline rush of putting the film together, meeting new and exciting individuals and then observing the
aftermath and ripples through the universe would be extremely satisfying. If you can arrange either option for me I’ll take it!!
I always like to find out about dream projects- if you had an unlimited budget for a Hollywood film tell us- Who would be the leading stars? Where would the film be shot? What would the synopsis be and title?
Due to my other Profession, which incidentally I retired from this week, I haven’t had huge amounts of time to develop big concepts but actually I think my original film , if given the right treatment would offer a lot to Hollywood .I think it is a film where the story does the talking not SFX or CGI. It has the capacity for music, pathos, landscape and humanity. It would be shot on the West Coast of Ireland and Australia. It could have Miranda Tapsell, Kurtley Beale (Wallaby), Sam Neill a young Liam Neeson and a cross between Salma Hayek and Penelope Cruz for the “Black Irish” girl in the film.
Can you tell us a little bit about any other projects that you have in development, any feature projects?
I have kept my hand in the industry by making music videos such as Johnny a song about a WWI love story. It is a ballad with a strong narrative which I think is my fortè when it comes to putting together images. The song and clip has received several nominations and awards. That was for up and coming Australian singer Matt Boylan-Smith.
Just last week I wrote a song based on a line my son said to me after an experience he had on a filming trip to Texas. The images were flowing before the words. It was a nice synergy of creative energy. Hopefully the world enjoys it like I do.
Carl thanks so much for taking the time to join us and being part of The Green Room- we really hope we can see you soon on the festival circuit.
Thanks for having me to all the team at FUSION especially Dan and Steve.