Behind The Scenes of 'Raising Joey' with Alex Cearns
Alex it is an honor to be screening 'Raising Joey' at S.O.F.A. as a fundraiser for WA Wildlife Inc. You are a highly successful pet/animal photographer who dedicates hours to volunteering at charities photographing animals in need and raising awareness through your social media platforms. Is this your first venture into films and how did the project come about?
The project came about when our producer Jenny approached me about it and applied for a grant from the City Of Vincent. They were offering $5000 grants to three film makers to produce a short film on a resident who lives within the City of Vincent. I’ve been on camera many times before for different projects, but this was something new and different with such a current and emotive story.
When did you first become involved with the charity and how?
I’ve been photographing for Wildlife Care WA since their inception as an organisation. Lyn Manuel from WACWA has been a dear friend for many years and used to bring in her foster joeys for photos. Kangaroos have a cultural and spiritual significance to the Indigenous Australians, what is their personal significance to you?
I grew up in the Australian bush and kangaroos have always been a part of my life. We lived remotely and on farms for many years and when I was a child my mother used to rescue and rehabilitate them. They are remarkable and iconic animals. The destruction from the bush fires to wildlife and the environment obviously touched you deeply, what shocked you the most upon visiting the area?
The desolation of the fire affected area was the most shocking. There were hardly any trees, it was like the surface of another planet, covered in grey ash. We could hear the wind, but little else – no bird song or animal noises. It was an eerie feeling standing there trying to comprehend what had happened.
Tell us a bit about the filming, how big was the crew? How long did it take? Do you have any behind the scenes stories you'd like to share?
We had an amazing core crew of 5 and filming was conducted over several different days, spaced out over about 11 months. Covid came along in the middle of it all and pushed our schedule back a bit but we were still able to complete our film – sadly issues affecting kangaroos are on-going, so the longer time frame didn’t really change anything. Visiting the fire grounds with Lyn and the Wildlife Care WA team was an emotional day. They were setting out food and water for the displaced kangaroos. They are truly amazing women and deserve the full support of the community.
What is your favourite memory of your involvement in the project?
I loved spending time with the Wildlife Care WA volunteers and their precious joeys. It’s always a privilege to photograph the precious charges. Do you have plans for another film in future? How will you continue to promote kangaroo welfare?
Watch this space regarding future films! In the meantime, I will continue to use my photography and the platform I have to share messages about kangaroos in need, the plight these animals face in Australia, and to support the work of Wildlife Care WA. Alex thank you so much for taking time to speak with us. We hope the screenings will help benefit the charity and we look forward to working with you in the future on helping animals in need.
Photographs are copyright to 'Raising Joey' and Alex Cearns