Film & TV

OUR DETECTIVE IS MISSING: IMPROVISATIONS IN TJUNTJUNTJARA

April 08, 2013

March 2012 marked the official production start for a fully-fledged Yarnangu Detective series, yet from the beginning the journey was fraught with obstacles to overcome. Travelling back to Cosmo Newberry again, heavy rains threatened to end production before it began, and we just limped into Cosmo late at night through driving rain and churned mud. The next day our detective was nowhere to be found, and we picked up Nigel Mervin (Camera/Spirit Man) with the understanding that Gibson Swayne would meet us in Tjuntjuntjara. There was a back road to Tjuntjun that we would take, but none of us had travelled on it before. Chris, Michael and Nigel, along with IT trainer Rongomai, radio presenter Safia Desai, and Broadcast Operations Ananth Siluvaimichael, decided to take it anyway, guided by a hand-drawn map that Cosmo local Rhys Winter had provided us. After hours and hours of driving, day turned to night, and no-one had any idea where we were. We examined that map under car headlights, with no other option than to keep pushing forward. Eventually, we came across Ikulka Roadhouse (3 hours out of Tjuntjuntjara), and a relieved team hunkered down for the night.

When we finally got to Tjuntjuntjara to begin shooting, Gibson Swayne was nowhere to be seen. Improvisations had to be entertained. Decisions had to be made. And thus, the birth of the Spirit Man was written. We filmed heavily over the next two days, using the burnt out landscape around Tjuntjun to tell the origin story of the Spirit Man, who was once a man dying of thirst, lost in the Desert. The episode revolves around his beginnings and the search for the Yarnangu Detective, and we involved the majority of the community in this second shoot, where he ventures all over town looking for the chosen one.  Locals Marlene Hogan, Glen Davies and Chris Bennell worked on the sound and vision during this episode.

This episode is yet to air, with an expected release sometime in the middle of the season.