From an episode of Banksia∙Presented by Vanessa Morris
Banksia: Dylan River talks about directing new series Mystery Road: Origin
Kaytetye director Dylan River of new six-part television series Mystery Road : Origin joins Banksia to discuss making the prequel of much-loved crime drama, Mystery Road.
“Mystery Road has become a bit of a cult Australian narrative following the story of Jay Swan, an Aboriginal detective and [..] there’s been two films [..] the film Mystery Road and Gold Stone and there’s been two TV series for ABC.”
“And so this is a third TV series and this one we decided to go back in time to 1999 and looks at the origins of Jay Swan and where he came from and how he became the detective that Australians now know.”
Dylan had been involved in the previous series which led to directing Mystery Road : Origin and explains, “the first series was directed by Rachel Perkins and the second was directed by Wayne Blair and my father, Warwick Thornton, so I was on set, I was doing second unit directing… I filmed a lot of stunts and drone footage..”
“Through the process of doing that, I think the producers thought I might be able to tackle the whole series myself and I’m very privileged and feel very humbled that I was asked to do it.”
Having grown up with family in film and media spaces, including grandmother Freda Glynn, who co-founded the Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association (CAAMA), and director, screenwriter and cinematographer father Warwick Thornton, Dylan explains how it was a natural to also work in film:
“It’s really all I know.. our family dinners and barbecues, we talk about film and we talk about stories, and you know, it started with my grandmother.”
“She grew up in [..] a home for Aboriginal kids and she wasn’t able to speak her language and growing up in Alice Springs and being what she would call a town black fella, really had an impact on her and not knowing her ceremony and language, and so she started CAAMA of a reflection of that.”
The pair also discuss a film clip Dylan had created for Kaytetye electronic artist and producer RONA’s debut single Closure (feat. Helena) and 2019 series Robbie Hood.
Listen to the full interview below.