"Corey The Warrior" - SHORT documentary
LOGLINE: Yuin and Bundjalung man, Corey Stewart, shines as he tells the story of his new life as an artist living with a brain injury. Filmed in Narooma, Australia.
SYNOPSIS: At 22 months old Corey Stewart suffers a severe brain injury in a car accident that tragically kills his mother. He has to learn to do everything again - and he learns to paint. Now an artist, Corey’s love of his family, nature, and his totems shape his paintings, which are as enchanting as he is.
Production Type: Short Documentary Film
Lenght: 3 min
Country of Origin: Australia
Country of Filming: Australia
Format: 1920 x 1080, 25fps, 2:35 aspect
Director: Isabel Darling
Cinematographer: Isabel Darling
Made in association with Northern Rivers Screenworks, Screen NSW, the ABC and Torchlight Media
– Q & A –
Can you tell me how you first learned of Corey’s story and how the idea for the film came about?
The film was made as part of the ‘Createability’ grant offered by Northern Rivers Screenworks, Screen NSW & the ABC - which enables regional filmmakers in NSW to produce films about artists living with disability. I learned about Corey through my local Council - and when I spoke with him and heard more details about his life and everything he’s achieved I knew he was perfect for the project. When we met he invited me into his world, showed me his artworks - and I loved the stories behind them, as well as his positive outlook on life.
The cinematography throughout the film is captivating, particularly your close-up shots of Corey’s art and paints, how many hours of footage did you capture and did you have a game plan going into production as to how you wanted the film to look and feel or did your shooting perspective and style sort of evolve on the spot or perhaps even later while in post-production?
There was a huge emphasis on pre-production for this documentary. There were stakeholders involved and lots of hoops to jump through, so I needed to have quite a clear idea of what I was going to create. My idea was that through the film, we are on wide shots of Corey, until we see him with his art - then it becomes more intimate and personal, we are in the space with him. I had a shooting script that helped with the locked off shots - and the painting sequences were a bit more candid. I also wanted the colour blue to be dominant in the film, as Corey lives in a town that’s known for i’s spectacular blue waterways (Narooma, NSW).
We shot the film over 2 separate days, and recorded the interview at the end of it all once Corey was completely relaxed with us.
As a cinematographer, who also happens to be a woman, do you have any advice for other young women out there who might be interested in pursuing careers behind the camera?
It definitely hasn’t been easy to keep up the confidence sometimes - I worked for free on so many shorts when I finished uni in Melbourne, spent a good 10 years trying different things, and was often one of the only females on set. So I think you’ve just got to keep on pushing, don’t give up, and don’t listen to anyone who says you should change careers! Personally it’s the most creatively rewarding job there is!
What were the most challenging and rewarding aspects of making this film for you?
I had never worked with so many stakeholders before - and other people who needed to sign off at every step of the process - so that was difficult, but I feel it all paid off in the end. I truly enjoyed working with Corey on this film, he really was so great to be around. We had long shooting days and Corey was tired but he persisted and worked so hard to make sure we got everything we needed. And always with such a happy way of looking at things. Making this film has definitely encouraged me to steer my work towards more documentary story-telling.
And finally, if there’s one thing you hope the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival audience takes away and remembers about “Corey the Warrior,” what would it be?
I think at the end of the day, it’s a piece on bravery and defying the odds. So I’d like people to admire Corey’s courage, and his amazing attitude towards life.
FILM FESTIVAL SELECTIONS TO DATE –
OFFICIAL SELECTION - "BLUENOSE-ABILITY FILM FESTIVAL" Nova Scotia
OFFICIAL SELECTION - "MELBOURNE DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL" Melbourne, Australia
OFFICIAL SELECTION - "BUCHAREST SHORTCUT CINEFEST" Bucharest, Romania
OFFICIAL SELECTION - "WE CARE FILM FESTIVAL" New Delhi, India
OFFICIAL SELECTION - "FOCUS ON ABILITY FILM FESTIVAL" Sydney, Australia