It’s fair to say that Sir David Attenborough has had a profound impact on nature lovers, conservation and a new generation of natural history filmmakers. His influence is keenly felt by many; not in the least Melbourne based filmmaker Cassie DeColling.  When asked why she chose the path of an adventure filmmaker she responds: I blame Sir David Attenborough for sparking thoughts of exotic places in my imagination as a child. Actually, I knew that I would always work in adventure and natural history films. I was always passionate about the outdoors, and I wanted to see the world and really learn about different cultures and places. Being a filmmaker seemed to be the only way to have the life I dreamed of.”

Equal to her desire to see new places and experience different cultures is her quest to push her own personal boundaries and depth of her creativity.  “When I reflect on my career as a filmmaker and I think about what drives me, it’s the constant possibility to meet new people, learn and explore, it’s the strive to push creative boundaries and the challenge of weaving new perspectives and creativity,” elaborates DeColling.

While diverse in nature, DeColling’s work is characterised by a uniformly stunning aesthetic.  An overriding theme of her work is to allow the beautiful imagery she captures, and skilfully edits, tell the story.  The narration or dialogue are typically sparse and impactful.  Point in case is her film which toured with the 2018 Ocean Film Festival World Tour, shot on Western Australia’s remote Rowley Shoals featuring champion freediver Ai Futaki.  The four minute visual feast is a a testament to DeColling’s skill at capturing the beauty of the natural environment and her subject’s connection to it.

The other overriding  theme to DeColling’s work is her affinity for sharing the stories of women,  “I am personally inspired by women, they are role models for girls – which I had very few of when I was growing up. I think it’s important to create and share as much female-driven content as possible and bring more balance in the future.”

One of the key balancing acts DeColling has encountered making adventure films is the lack of resources versus the endless film ideas, “as an adventure filmmaker, you’re often required to direct, shoot and sometimes edit. This can be because you’re working in a location that already has been really tricky to get you the more people involved the more complicated it becomes. So not only do you need to be able to navigate a storyline you almost always need to know your way around a camera. Often you might not have a place to charge batteries or phone reception, so you’ve always got to be prepared for every scenario. As opposed to commercial filmmaking where there’s often a crew of ten people plus, everyone doing their retrospective role. I enjoy both, the nimble or solo aspect of shooting / directing on the road and the wider collaboration of commercial projects.”

Ever on the move, DeColling currently has a number of projects in the works including a Virtual Reality project with the traditional owners of Kepple Island and their spiritual totem animal the Humpback Whale, a feature documentary with aboriginal artist Queen Regina Pilawuk Wilson who was the first woman to walk off the Catholic church missionary and started the ‘homelands’ movement in Peppimentari and a project in Canada about tree reforestation.

While she may not yet have a knighthood nor the notoriety of Sir David Attenborough, DeColling is firmly on a path to living the life that Attenborough spurred her to dream of.  And who knows, maybe one day her career as an adventurous female filmmaker will be the inspiration for the next generation providing the role-model she never had.

Find out more about Cassie at:

Watch some of her work at:

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