Interview with Filmmakers Harrison & Matt Thane (A COMMUNITY UNDER FIRE)

A COMMUNITY UNDER FIRE was the winner of BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY at the October 2021 DOCUMENTARY Short Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

The fires were all around us, it was apparent to myself that ordinary people were stepping up and doing extra-ordinary things. I felt this needed to be documented, as i was part of the “Mongarlowe Mozzies” i was able to be part of the action as well as film the heroic actions of the women and men who fought the fires. It is their story.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?

The fires raged for over seven weeks in my region of Braidwood NSW Australia, I filmed for that entire time and slightly after. Harrison Thane my amazingly talented son (don’t tell him I said that) (no its ok you can) (prob would make me look good?) then edited it to what you have seen.

3. How would you describe your short film in two words!?

Selfless People

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

I felt that filming people under duress was sometimes intrusive. Gaining trust from my fellow firefighters was something i was worried about but in the end they trusted me to represent them as you see them on screen, normal people helping out.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

It made me quite emotional. The fires and the upheaval they caused, the memories live just under the skin still. The fact that your worldwide audience found the film watchable and liked it is very humbling indeed.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

I started making 8mm films in my early teens , always loved film. Harrison Thane my son is the primary film maker these days, his work is outstanding (I’m his dad, so I can say that.. but it is!)

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

Besides “Napoleon Dynamite” (no seriously I like it) I enjoyed “My Octopus Teacher” and “Val”

8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?

Your doing a great job, please keep doing what your doing. its very much appreciated.

9. What is your favorite meal?


10. What is next for you? A new film?

We are working on a longer version of “A Community Under Fire” as well as twelve 5 minute stories “The Bushfire Chronicles” what we learnt from the devastation and what we can do better in the future when confronted with events such as the bushfires.

Harrison Thane lives and works in Kenya, he also has a number of Humanitarian film projects under way.


By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival

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