Catch a Fire

Starring Ben Mendelssohn, Victoria Hill and Eloise Oxer. Written and Directed by Alec Morgan
Running Time: 82 minutes.
Rated: Rated M.
Some tales are more fascinating than fiction and none more so than that of Rupert Kathner and Alma Brooks who in 1930's Australia commenced a movie-making spree that took on the Hollywood barons, a Police Commissioner and the cultural cringe, all in their passionate pursuit to make Australian films.

Roguishly charming and resourceful, Kathner and Alma spent their lives evading police, creditors and responsibility with the sole dream of making movies. Combining never before seen archival footage and state of the art digital composite techniques, Hunt Angels is the vibrant true story of two mavericks who made an indelible, but until now, overlooked, impact on Australian cinema.
A docudrama is among the most difficult film genres to right. Hunt Angels is different and quirky, and entirely satisfying. And the style of this film suits the focus of the story. Rupert Kathner was very different and entirely quirky.

Ben Mendelssohn, Victoria Hill, and Eloise Oxer give well-drawn performances, but the success of Hunt Angels rests in large measure with writer/director Alex Morgan. He tells the story at brisk pace, recreates the period with skilful artifice and yet maintains our affections for a very eccentric character.

Without canonizing him, Morgan establishes the debt the Australian film industry owes to Kathner, as well as what a female pioneer Alma Brooks was as a cinematographer.

Hunt Angels won the 2006 Film Critics Circle Awards for Best Feature Documentary. It deserves all the accolades it gets.

Fr Richard Leonard SJ is the director of the Australian Catholic Film Office.

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