For seven years, filmmaker Sophie Raymond, producer Clare Sawyer and I worked on a short, semi-animated documentary called Recorder Queen. The central image emerged from Sophie’s fertile brain, a playful subversion of an historical character.
We wanted to make a film about the experience of a life lived inside sound. And we were keen to use the central character’s story (my own) as a lens through which we revealed broader themes of determination, integrity, and the wild, necessary power of imagination.
It’s a film made by women — director, producers, writers, subject, director of photography, animators. It proudly celebrates Australian stories, locally made, and lovingly crafted. And it’s deeply collaborative, millions of tiny details created by a host of generous, gifted people, all contributing to a bigger idea.
Recorder Queen uses animation, dramatic reconstruction, documentary footage and live performance, transposing normal reality into the altered states of a creative mind. The protagonist defies what might be traditionally expected of a highly acclaimed international concert-hall soloist, veering off the conventional path to give voice to stories of her own time and place.
Recorder Queen premiered on ABC TV in 2020. We hoped that it might fire viewers’ inventiveness and courage, fuelling them to honour their own creativity, and to encourage those around them to do the same. The inspiring feedback we had from audiences far and wide seemed to indicate that it did, which made all those many years of work infinitely worth it.