James Cameron In Town For The Australian International Design Awards
The director was in Sydney recently to accept an innovative award - and explain why the 3D divide among Hollywood filmmakers is good for cinema.
Alongside the usual mix of endorsers, designers and journalists, a particularly special guest attended the Australian International Design Awards this year: Hollywood filmmaker James Cameron.
Unparalleled as a director, at least in terms of commercial success (Cameron has helmed the top two highest grossing films of all time), his short stopover in Sydney came courtesy of the Deepsea Challenger Research Submersible taking home the top prize at the 2012 awards.
Designed and manufactured in part by Cameron and four other local companies, the submersible is the first vehicle of its kind capable of safely transporting a human to the bottom of the ocean, some eleven kilometres below the earth's surface.
Cameron's involvement in the project should not come as a surprise, given his track record of infusing a love of deep sea diving with his primary passion of making movies. In 2005, he directed the acclaimed documentary Aliens of the Deep, produced the US-Australian thriller Sanctum last year and has expressed a desire to explore the elusive marine life of Pandora in the upcoming sequel to his 2009 hyper-hit, Avatar.
Indeed, Cameron's intrigue of the deep unknown is expressed in his words, not just his actions. "When you're diving deep, it's almost like you're diving into the subconscious of the world," he says poetically. "[Space] is not really the last frontier. Our last frontier is right here on Earth."
The Canadian-born director spoke just as highly of his team.
Applauding the meticulous approach and "can-do spirit" of Australian designers, he enthused, "I'm so proud of my team. With this award, [the Australian International Design Awards are] able to do something I can't. I can praise them all day long, but?" he trailed, obviously referring to the satisfaction of winning the award itself.
But in a room full of technology and consumer product journalists, FilmInk had to swing the conversation into more cinematic territory. Given his perceived status as the godfather of 3D filmmaking, we asked Cameron's opinion on the contemporary division among top directors over how effective filming in the third dimension really is. On the one hand lie himself and Martin Scorsese, who used the technique to great effect in Hugo, while Christopher Nolan, a man who's latest film is also expected to haul in a couple of dollars, remains cold on the concept.
"I think that's great," Cameron replied. "It proves that cinema is still an art form. It's not just a bunch of suits in an office figuring out what is art and what isn't. Nolan's decision to shoot in IMAX and to go for resolution versus spatial depth is a highly defensible position as an artist. And god bless that kind of diversity, but it's also not his position to dictate what other people should do or where the industry should go."
Despite not yet having seen The Dark Knight Rises, Cameron spoke very highly of the power films like that have; something he would have been familiar with during Avatar's global takeover. "I love it when the film community celebrates a phenomenon like that and gets excited. I don't mean just the moneymaking possibilities; I'm talking about the power movies have to get an entire global culture excited. That's pretty cool."