5 MINUTES WITH … CATHERINE MEYBURGH
My name is Catherine Meyburgh and I am currently working on an impact campaign on our documentary Dying For Gold.
1. Tell us about yourself – who are you and what do you do?
I have worked in the film industry, opera and theatre for over 30 years. I work as a director and editor in film and a projection designer in performances, art installations, theatre and opera.
2. What are you currently up to? Are there any exciting projects ongoing?
Our impact campaign for Dying For Gold is starting to take off. We plan an ambitious impact to involve miners and their families and communities as well as civil society in a massive campaign to ensure that they get compensated for the diseases TB and silicosis that were contracted on the gold mines. The estimated number of miners affected is over 500 000! I am also working on ongoing performances of collaborative work with William Kentridge on the performance piece “The Head & the Load” which premiered at the Tate Modern in London last year and at the Armory in New York. This performance highlights the neglected history of African involvement in the first World War. We hope to bring it to Johannesburg early next year.
3. What’s your best project/work to date?
I think the current work I am doing feels like my best work. The documentary DYING FOR GOLD and The Head & the Load collaboration.
4. Who or what inspires you?
Every filmmaker who gets up there and makes a film… I am also very inspired by the younger generation who are exposing much of what has been neglected in the past both artistically, historically and politically.
5. When you’re not working, what do you like to do?
Be with my family especially my grand children and grow vegetables.
6. Finally, what tips or advice could you give to other documentary creatives, just starting out or to the more experienced creatives needing a bit of encouragement?
Once you decide to become a film maker know that this is not a job, it is a calling. Expect to work harder than you have ever worked before, work for nothing, expect change as a prerequisite. But if you are passionate and love this thing called filmmaking, you will be rewarded when you are sitting in that audience and feel how the film has moved them. Starting out as a young filmmaker don’t allow yourself to be abused, try and get mentored, network with people who you like and admire who will help you. Don’t be shy to ask help or clarification when you are not sure. If you make a mistake, share it immediately, in my experience, mistakes in filmmaking are almost always more of a problem if you don’t immediately attend to them and let them lie hoping they will not be seen.