Drama students get a taste of star treatment

In 1947 legendary Australian cinematographer Don McAlpine played a role in Temora Intermediate School's production of The Mikado.

In 2011 Temora High School students have been busy recreating this and other key events for a new documentary on Mr McAlpine's life Show Me the Magic.

Born in Quandialla, NSW, Mr McAlpine went from teaching to working as a cameraman for the ABC, to filming more than 50 movies, including:

  • The Getting of Wisdom
  • Romeo + Juliet
  • Moulin Rouge
  • My Brilliant Career
  • Breaker Morant
  • Patriot Games
  • The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
  • X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

He has won three AFI awards for best cinematography and received the International Award from the American Society of Cinematographers in 2009.

In November 2011 Mr McAlpine received the Raymond Longford Award from the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) - formerly the Australian Film Institute (AFI).

Show Me the Magic traces Mr McAlpine's journey.

According to Temora High School principal Pat Nethery, Mr McAlpine said some of the experiences he had growing up around Temora had a significant influence on his decision to become a cinematographer.

"Virgo Productions [the company making the documentary] wanted to revisit those early influences in Temora and contacted our school to seek our involvement," Mr Nethery said.

"I agreed it would be a wonderful experience for our creative arts students as well as our teachers."

He said creative arts faculty coordinator Sueanne Matthews was integral to ensuring everything came together for the filming in November.

Ms Matthews said it was a learning experience she and the students would never forget.

"Our participation in this type of authentic quality learning experience is evidence of a rural school committed to improving the learning outcomes of students," Ms Matthews said.

Temora High School Year 9 drama student Brayden Kennedy played the part of a young Mr McAlpine.

Brayden said the highlight of working with Mr McAlpine was talking to someone in the industry who had done so much.

"It was good to put the theory and practical side of drama that we learn at school into a real-life industry situation."



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