Debra Beattie: recreating Brisbane's past with virtual cinematography

Filmmaker Dr Debra Beattie has taken another step towards completing a documentary film on Brisbane sculptor Daphne Mayo. Earlier this year, GCCAR awarded Debra a $6,600 research grant to “refine the techniques and stages required for a production design to enable a virtual cinematography shoot that satisfies the need for an authentic recreation of Brisbane in 1929. The result will be a ‘proof of concept’ in the form of a few minutes of footage…”

Debra and her team are currently refining this technique which will help to reduce costs for a docudrama set in the past, a project currently seen as cost prohibitive if relying on traditional re-enactment cinematographic techniques.

The Museum of Brisbane have accepted a proposal from Debra to enter into a research partnership to stage an exhibition at the Museum in 2019, tentatively titled The Art Lovers. The partnership will begin next year with a period of research that will utilise the Fryer Library (University of Queensland) and the National Film and Sound Archives, as well as interviews with family members of the artists. This research will inform the creation of Virtual Cinematography sequences that will recreate Brisbane scenes from 1929 and relate to the featured artists on exhibition.

Since 2006 Dr Beattie has been delivering documentary projects in public places such as galleries, museums and libraries. Most recently she turned her attention to films on artists, researching and writing Fairweather Man for ABC TV (2008); and collaborating with Moreton Bay Council to produce the permanent Fairweather exhibit Away From It All at the Seaside Museum on Bribie Island. Debra is now writing and developing The Daphne Mayo Project. As with Fairweather Man, this will be a time-based creative arts research project delivered across a range of platforms, in both virtual and physical public places, and involve a network of stakeholders.

This exhibition will continue a fruitful partnership between the Museum of Brisbane and Queensland College of Art which realised two significant exhibitions in 2015: Trish FitzSimons’ Navigating Norman Creek and the display of maquettes for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Dedicated Memorial Queensland.