David Perry

            David was then commissioned by the Australian Bicentennial Authority to produce and edit a compilation video of all the arts events which occurred during 1988 under the auspices of the ABA. The finished production, Celebrating the Arts, was screened on television and distributed to all Australian embassies and many national libraries overseas.

In 1990 David travelled to China to shoot a film of the Shanghai Acrobatic Troupe and Wei Wei, their performing giant panda. The film was screened on national television shows such as the Ray Martin Show, Good Morning Australia and Live At Five as well as children’s shows across Australia. Also that year David directed and shot a corporate series for Kentucky Fried Chicken which involved locations on the east coast of Australia and in New Zealand.

Later in 1990 David was offered a contract with the NSW Film and Television Office’s Government Documentary Division as executive producer. In this role he supervised the production of films and videos for government departments and statutory authorities, selected and briefed writers for various projects and liaised with production companies from initial scripting through production and post production to marketing.

       Later that year he was director of photography on Safe Seniors, a series of road safety programs for elderly people. Using such well-known actors as Queenie Ashton, Johnny Lockwood and Ron Shand, among others, the fully-dramatised programs, which have been subtitled in ten languages, are designed to be shown throughout the State to groups of senior citizens in order to increase their awareness of road safety and to encourage them in the use of what amounts to survival tactics on the roads and footpaths.

        In 1991 David produced, photographed and edited Living With the Odds, a dramatised program about AIDS and intravenous drug users, made for the Centre for Education and Information on Drugs and Alcohol and which has been widely used in schools and welfare groups.

        Following that, David again accepted a contract with the NSW Film & Television Office, this time adding in-house cinematographer and editor to his role as executive producer. He also continued shooting and editing the Australia Council’s Archival Film Program as well as developing his own projects.

At a uranium mine in the Northern Territory for a documentary for West German television

      In 1994 David left the Film and Television Office to continue freelancing and to develop several documentary ideas as well as producing several corporate videos. He also directed and shot a series of interviews with the founders of Australia’s Music Camp movement for Youth Music Australia to commemorate their fiftieth year.

      During 1995, ’96 and ’97 he was head cinematographer in Australia on Steven Spielberg’s Survivors of the Shoah visual history project. He shot over 400 interviews, ranging in length from one to five hours, of those whose lives were under threat during World War II because of their religious beliefs or racial background. He also produced and shot several corporate productions for service provider Access 24 and shot and edited a further series of Archival Films for the Australia Council. In 1997 he shot a promotional video for SBS Television, a corporate video for the GIO Building Society and Out in the Bush, a documentary investigating the high suicide rate of rural youth. He also began developing Behind the Movie, a series on pioneer Australian film makers and their films, as well as shooting corporate work and a dramatised educational series for TAFE.

      In recent years he has shot a series of documentaries on Parramatta Park and other aspects of Sydney’s cultural heritage, shot and edited several more Archival Films for the Australia Council, shot corporate productions for KPMG, Vitascope, Clean Up Australia, Coles-Meyer, EM-Mactec and co-produced and/or shot the short dramas Monty, Swat, Fixxed, Jump, False Alarm, Revenge, Liberty Street, Obsessions, Something Blue, Social Skills, O Me Miserum and Life Goes On, which screened at various short film festivals in Australia and overseas. Swat won Best Screenplay and Best Film at Brekfest and Jump won First Prize at the Penrith Valley Film Festival. One of a series of promotional videos for Stowe Australia won the 2000 NECA Award of Excellence.

       David also made several documentary profiles on artists for the National Portrait Gallery, music clips Mr Big Car for Stella One Eleven, Live It for Anna Rizzo and Machine for Mayhem, and began work on several one-off documentaries destined for various outlets.



On top of Mount Kinabalu in Sabah at dawn. Yes, it was very cold and quite a climb, hence the small and light wind-up Bolex camera


In 2003 David began work on a long-term project to document significant Australian photographers and their work. Series One of Words on Light includes Jeff Carter, David Moore, Wolfgang Sievers, Robyn Stacey and Robert Walker. In these films the photographers step out from behind the camera to explain their motivation, their working methods and their ambitions with a depth and frankness that has not been seen before. Although the series has had a limited release it is destined for a re-launch later in 2010.

Robert Walker was a renowned theatre photographer and as a result of this connection David was commissioned by the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) to catalogue and scan his theatrical negatives for their archives, all 19 000 of them.

After photographers came sculptors, and the Shapes of Mind project is currently in production, with Bert Flugelman and May Barrie the first two to be filmed. Prior to the documentary going into full production, David was asked to shoot the stills for a book on Bert Flugelman’s work. Bert Flugelman - On Further Reflection is currently in release through Watermark Press.   

One of the stars of the Super Dogs shoot in Turkey, a young wolf cub
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