|One Night the Moon|
|Directed by||Rachel Perkins|
|Produced by||Kevin Lucas|
|Written by|| John Romeril |
|Music by||Paul Kelly|
|Edited by||Karen Johnson|
|Distributed by||Dendy Films|
One Night the Moon is a 2001 Australian musical non-feature film starring husband and wife team Paul Kelly, a singer-songwriter, and Kaarin Fairfax, a film and television actress, along with their daughter Memphis Kelly.Directed by Rachel Perkins and written by Perkins with John Romeril, it was filmed on Andyamathanha land in the Flinders Ranges, South Australia for six weeks in early 2000. Kelton Pell portrayed an Aboriginal tracker, Albert Yang with Ruby Hunter playing his wife, who searches for the missing child. Musical score was by Kelly, Kev Carmody and Mairead Hannan, and with other artists they also contributed to the soundtrack. The film won ten awards, including two Australian Film Institute (AFI) Awards.
One Night the Moon was inspired by the story of indigenous tracker, Alexander Riley as depicted in Black Tracker (1997), a documentary directed by Riley's grandson, Michael Riley.Alexander Riley had worked for the New South Wales police in Dubbo in the early 1900s, finding wanted criminals, missing persons and hidden caches. Composer/singer Mairead Hannan saw the documentary and formed a project with her sister Deirdre Hannan, Kelly, Carmody, Alice Garner, Romeril and Perkins. Aside from the search for a missing child, the film deals with the racist attitude depicted by the father's refusal to use an indigenous tracker. The film was Paul Kelly's cinematic debut, while his then wife, Fairfax had a lead role in two related TV mini-series Harp in the South and Poor Man's Orange in 1987, and roles in films Belinda (1988) and Young Einstein (1989). Fairfax had her film debut with a minor role in 1982's Starstruck which had Paul Kelly and the Dots supplying a song for the soundtrack.
Set in the 1930s Australian Outback, starring singer Paul Kelly as a farmer, Jim Ryan, newly settled in the area. He is the father of a girl, Emily (Memphis Kelly, his real life daughter), who climbs out the window of their farmhouse one night and follows the moon into the hills. Rose Ryan (Kelly's then wife Kaarin Fairfax and mother of Memphis) comes to check on her daughter only to find that Emily is missing.
The Ryans get the local police, led by a sergeant (Chris Haywood), to search for her, but when their Aboriginal tracker, Albert Yang (Kelton Pell) arrives, the father says he does not want any blacks on his land. Jim Ryan and the white police go searching for Emily, destroying evidence Albert could have used to find the girl. The white men cannot find her, eventually Rose goes to Albert's hut and together they go looking for Emily, they find her dead in the hills and bring her body back home. Jim blames himself for not finding Emily and commits suicide. Albert's wife (Ruby Hunter) sings the funeral song for the lost child.
A 1997 documentary, Black Tracker on Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) TV, concerned an indigenous tracker called Alexander Riley from Dubbo, New South Wales.Singer-songwriter Mairead Hannan saw Black Tracker, she liked the story about a young boy who disappeared near Dubbo in 1932 and was tracked by Riley. Hannan wanted to tell the story as a musical for a project sponsored by ABC TV's Arts and Entertainment department. Mairead enlisted her sister and fellow composer Deirdre Hannan, then other composers/performers Paul Kelly, Kev Carmody and Alice Garner to help with the project. Screenwriter John Romeril and director Rachel Perkins were approached and together wrote the screenplay. Garner was due to take the part of Rose Ryan, the mother, but became pregnant so Kaarin Fairfax (Kelly's wife) undertook the role. Aside from the search for a missing child, the film deals with the racist attitude depicted by the father's refusal to use the indigenous tracker. The original story was about the tracker seeking a young boy who had gone missing, but Perkins decided a missing girl would have greater impact and also shifted the focus to the despairing mother. Fairfax and Kelly volunteered their seven-year-old daughter, Memphis Kelly, for the part of the lost child. Location filming occurred on Adnyamathanha land in the Flinders Ranges and other sites in South Australia for six weeks early in 2000. Kelton Pell portrayed the indigenous tracker, Albert with Ruby Hunter playing his wife. Musical score was by Kelly, Kev Carmody and Mairead Hannan, and with other artists they also contributed to the soundtrack.
Awards and nominations received by One Night the Moon.
|Year||Nominee / work||Award||Result|
|2002||Kim Batterham — Cinematography||Australian Cinematographers Society |
Award of Distinction
Telefeatures, TV Drama & Mini Series
|2001||Kim Batterham — Cinematography|| Australian Film Institute (AFI) Awards |
Best Achievement in Cinematography in a Non-Feature Film
|Mairead Hannan, Kev Carmody, Paul Kelly — Score||AFI Open Craft Award |
Non-Feature Film Original Score
|2001||John Romeril, Rachel Perkins — Scriptwriters|| Australian Writers' Guild (AWG) |
Television — Television Original
|Romeril, Perkins — Scriptwriters||AWG |
|2001||Hannan, Carmody, Kelly — Score|| Film Critics Circle of Australia (FCCA) |
Best Music Score
|Perkins — Unique achievement in the combination of sound, image and music.||FCCA |
Special Achievement Award
|2001||Perkins — Director|| Inside Film Awards |
|Karen Johnson — Editing||IF Awards |
|2001||Perkins — Director||New York International Independent Film and Video Festival (NYIIFVF) |
Best Feature Film – Musical
|Batterham — Cinematography||NYIIFVF |
|2002||Paul Kelly, Mairead Hannan, Kev Carmody, John Romeril, Deirdre Hannan and Alice Garner – Soundtrack contribution|| Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) Awards/Australian Guild of Screen Composers (AGSC) Awards |
Screen Music Award
Best Soundtrack Album
Songwriters according to Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA), with performers listed after track times.
One Night the Moon grossed $276,270 at the box office in Australia.
John Romeril subsequently adapted One Night the Moon as a music theatre work. The stage adaptation was first performed by Melbourne's Malthouse Theatre, opening 16 September 2009, directed by Wesley Enoch and with Mairead Hannan as musical director. The cast included Natalie O'Donnell, Kirk Page, Mark Seymour and Ursula Yovich.
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