• Credits:
    • Directed by: Daniel Jameison    |
    • Produced by: Emma Moroney    |
    • Screenplay by:
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A Sustainable Vision

Monday, 31 December 2012

Daniel Jamieson is riding a wave of his own momentum. The 2011 Tropfest finalist recently won Siemens CityStories project, an international short film competition about sustainability mentored by Davis Guggenheim, the Academy award-winning director of An Inconvenient Truth.

The film, Sustainable Sydney 2030 – A City With Two Voices, is a thought-provoking documentary that pits Sydney mayor, Clover Moore’s vision for a greener Sydney against Alan Jones anti-climate change charged dissent.

It’s a powerful and intelligent piece of filmmaking, one that gives weight and credence to the rationale of Clover Moore’s vision for a sustainable city.

Daniel has always cared about the environment so the prospect of making a film about how our city is becoming sustainable was an exciting one. “As a kid, I was always hiking or riding my bike in the national parks and it always confused me as to why anyone would want to destroy nature when it’s so beautiful.”

What does he love most about filmmaking? “My biggest thing is I love researching stuff. I love immersing myself in reading and researching and finding a story – obviously setting out with an idea of what the subject is – but kind of letting it come to me in a way.”

This was certainly true for Sustainable Sydney 2030 – A City With Two Voices. As Daniel recalls, he had interviewed Clover Moore and shot some beautiful footage of Sydney but when he cut it all together the story lacked something. “It was one-sided, one opinion, one-voice.” On his way home in a cab one day, he happened to hear Alan Jones’ radio show. “He was mouthing off about climate change with no factual evidence and it dawned on me that I needed a voice of opposition.”

Being mentored by Davis Guggenheim was definitely a plus. He encouraged Daniel to step back and trust his instincts and let the magic happen. Having key meetings at pre-production, production, post-production, final cut also fostered a more organic approach to the storytelling. “I had all the time in the world to indulge and found out heaps of stuff I didn’t know about climate change.”

As a storyteller, Daniel has many feathers in his cap. He graduated as an actor from the Nepean Drama School, University of Western Sydney in 2004. A few plays, TV ads and a guest appearance on All Saints followed before he decided to return to study in 2006, completing a Masters in Film and Digital Image at Sydney College of the Arts. “I always had a sense of production – we did a lot of production at school – and it was something I was just innately good at.”  For the past few years, he has focused on the directing aspects of film-making.

Living in Bondi has always proved fertile ground.

“If I’m ever stuck or bored or need inspiration, I go for a swim or a surf and refresh, I’ll walk a street and I’ll bump into somebody and I know we’ll go have a coffee and a talk.”

And whilst to some Bondi is just another Sydney beach, to him, the transient nature of it, it’s culture and creative vibe is very nurturing, “you can just blend in and observe people, observe travellers, observe all the funny and interesting things that happen.”

Does he see himself making more documentaries? “I’d say absolutely. We are such an interesting species. I love learning something from people and to capture the fundamental human story.”  The story he’d like to capture next is one of suicide. Inspired by a mate’s struggle and ultimate death earlier this year, Daniel was left with more questions than answers. “I’d really like to crack that egg open and shed light on it because I know from my personal experience that it was such a traumatic and horrible thing to have to go through.”

I get the sense that for Daniel, making films and telling stories is his way to work things out, not dissimilar to the tale he tells of being three and in trouble from his parents for sticking things into their television set to see how it worked.

Daniel considers this and responds, “Yeah, I’d say absolutely. I think that what makes it interesting is to try and understand the emotional journey, to put the pieces together and tell that story.”

Ultimately, his goal is to direct feature films, both here and in the States. And he has the determination and drive to get there. He explains, ”The momentum you need to be a features director is extraordinary; you have to be constantly creating stuff, putting it online, try to go viral, try to get people to look at you, raise attention.”

For now, Daniel is keeping his momentum going. Next up is a short film for Tropfest, a tongue-in-cheek comedy that he’s making in collaboration with another Bondi local. And after that, who knows? One thing’s for certain, Daniel Jameison is being the good boxer. He’s honing his craft and putting in the hard work for when that moment comes.

To see more of Daniel’s work click here


Words: Belinda Luksic

Photography: Jay Harrison


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