As I get older and more experienced as a storyteller, life doesn't get simpler or easier - but becomes more subtle and multi-layered.
Documentary making is a very humbling profession because it embraces so many different skills. I feel as if I am always reaching beyond my grasp... doing my best, while always knowing there is another way, just beyond the limits of my capacities and imagination. It seems to me for a creative person, this constant quest for excellence makes working in media so thrilling!
I started out in the days of celluloid and sprocket-holes - when shots were glued together. You had to really think about story, because film cost $500 for ten minutes of processed and work-printed rushes. Digital media has been SO liberating. It means I could come and live in Byron. But it also meant becoming a Jack-of-all trades, as I can now complete an international broadcast documentary on my tabletop computer. Write, direct, shoot, edit, record narration, sound mix... only the music score, title sequences and final colour grade are handed to specialists. It can get very lonely in my head, so finding a network of friends and colleagues to co-create with is very precious. Don't you just LOVE Screenworks?
SEE PRODUCTION CREDITS
CV - MICHAEL BALSON - FILM MAKER 1966-2014
2014- Directed, shot and edited 2x15 min mini-docs for NITV with Christine Williams. Directing and editing two mini docs for Plankton Productions – on Ocean Ark Alliance and Professor Charlie Veron.
2012-13 CO-WRITING & EDITING 3 HR TV SERIES THE CORAL TRIANGLE – With Director Richard Dennison, for Wild Fury Productions, ZDF Germany & ARTE France.
2013. Re-editing 5 part Series AUSTRALIA’S WILD PLACES with Wild Fury Productions for ZDF Germany.
2012- WRITING & EDITING 2012- WRITING & EDITING CAULDRON OF LIFE with David Hannan & Plankton Productions, A 2 hour feature–documentary about The Coral Triangle.
2012 – CO-DIRECTING & EDITING 6X1 HOUR DVD SERIES on QIGONG for Byron Bay Martial Arts
2010-11 DIRECTING and EDITING THE TRAIL OF GHENGIS KHAN, Dick Dennisson, Malcolm Macdonald, Tim Cope, 6xhalf hour series for ABC
2009- DIRECTING and EDITING ON THE TRAIL OF GHENGIS KHAN, 4X1 HOURS & 6XHALF HOURS for Dick Dennison, Malcolm Macdonald, Tim Cope, series for ZDF/ARTE
2007 – EDITING – Award winning RAINFOREST – THE SECRET OF LIFE with Producer, David Warth, for ABC TV.
And A HARD RAIN with David Bradbury. 2 HOURS
2006 – EDITING – ELVIS LIVES IN PARKES, a half-documentary for SBS about a town in central NSW which has found new life, celebrating Elvis Presley. For Big Island Pictures.
2006 – EDITING – WEARABLE ARTS, A one-hour DVD for INSIRE=ED, and promo for COSMIC NAVIGATORS with Producer Jane Hanckel.
2005 – EDITING & SCRIPT EDITING. PIONEERS OF LOVE 2x50 mins for SBS. The saga
of a Russian-Aboriginal family, running the gauntlet of Australian racism and paternalism,
and triumphing over the past century. For Orana Films and Big Island Pictures.
2003 REEF REBORN - PRODUCER/DIRECTOR/CAMERA/WRITER/EDITOR. 52 min. The efforts to restore a coral reef in Bali. For NHNZ
2001 OFF THE RAILS - EDITOR. A 52 min and 26 min Cycling Adventure across Russia, Siberia and Mongolia to Beijing. ORANA FILMS FOR ABC and BEYOND INT.
2001 SPIRIT, SEX, LOVE. 82 MINS EDITOR. The amazing work of relationship Therapist David Deida. For Plexus USA.
2000 RUSSIAN BRIDES- CAUGHT IN THE NET- 2 x 1 hour EDITOR & CO-WRITER. The story of a disillusioned Australian man finding love on the internet, in the frozen wastes of Siberia. ORANA FILMS for 7 Network.
1998-99 TARKINE-THE FORGOTTEN WILDERNESS -1 hour. EDITOR , NARRATOR &
CO-WRITER. A beautiful documentary filmed in the Tasmanian wilderness. WARTH NOMINEES FOR ABC
1998 JOURNEY BETWEEN WORLDS - 2 hours DIRECTOR, CAMERAMAN, EDITOR & CO-WRITER. A sea journey through the intricate world of Arnhemland People.
PRIMAL VISION for7 NETWORK
1997 BENEATH THE BLUE - 1 hour. RESTRUCTURE, EDIT & WRITE
A beautiful film of the Marine life of Sydney Harbour. CORAL SEA PRODUCTIONS for TELCAST GERMANY
1997 AMAZON -THE INVISIBLE PEOPLE - 1 hour POST DIRECTOR, WRITER & NARRATOR - Oil strike in the land of the last wild people. WOLLUMBIN PRODUCTIONS for SBS INDEPENDENT
1996 AFRICA HIGH & WILD -3 x 1hour DIRECTOR, SOUND, CO-WRITER
Adventures through the highest and wildest mountains of Africa.
BEYOND PRODUCTIONS for THE LEARNING CHANNEL (DISCOVERY)
1996 GOING TRIBAL -1 hour DIRECTOR, CAMERA, EDITOR.
An intimate look at the tribal communities of northern NSW. LIGHT SOURCE FILMS for SBS
1995 CHASING THE MIDNIGHT SUN -1 hour DIRECTOR, WRITER, EDITOR
An incredible journey across Greenland, re-enacting a 1931 crossing. ABC, OUTDOOR LIFE CHANNEL & AMERICAN ADVENTURE. Winner- Silver Medallion, Australian Geographic Awards
1994 BLUE, WET & WILD - 1 hour DIRECTOR, CAMERA, WRITER, EDITOR & NARRATOR. The anatomy of a yacht race, sailing to victory from Brisbane to Osaka. ORANA FILMS /SBS
1993 FLIGHT OF THE RHINO - 1 hour EDITOR & CO-WRITER
The extraordinary efforts to save the last of Africa’s Black Rhinos.
SKY VISUALS for CHANNEL 9 and NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC.
1993 BASECLIMB -1 hour EDITOR & CO-WRITER
A BASE jumper and mountain climber leap from the world’s highest cliff.
ICARUS/FETERIS PROD. for ABC & NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC
Winner of 29 international adventure film awards.
1992 SHARK SHOCKER- 1 hour EDITOR & CO-WRITER
Ron and Valerie Taylor test electric shark deterrent on white sharks.
ORANA FILMS for CHANNEL 4
1992 NURSERY OF THE GIANTS- 1 hour DIRECTOR, EDITOR, CO-WRITER
The story of the Southern Right Whale, breeding back from near extinction.
THE BLUE WILDERNESS SERIES- ORANA FILMS for ABC & NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC.
1992 EVEREST SEA TO SUMMIT- 1 hour EDITOR & CO-WRITER
Tim McCartney-Snape’s epic climb from Bay of Bengal to the summit of Everest. MICHAEL DILLON for ABC & NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Winner - Grande Prix at Trento, JIFAS & Telluride
1991 FIRE ON THE WIND- 1 hour DIRECTOR, EDITOR, CO-WRITER
The first hot air balloon flight over Everest, crash landing in Tibet.
ORANA FILMS for NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC. Winner- special prize at JIFAS
1991 KULA-RING OF POWER - 1 hour ASSOCIATE PRODUCER, DIRECTOR, EDITOR, CO-WRITER.
The ritual & magic of a traditional trading voyage in the Trobriand Islands.
SKY VISUALS for NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, ZDF.
1990 LEGION OF THE DAMNED- 1 hour EDITOR & CO-WRITER
A fascinating look inside the workings of a mercenary army. ORANA FILMS for NAT GEOGRAPHIC.
1990 BRUMBY- HORSE RUN WILD- 1 hour EDITOR, CO-WRITER
The definitive story of the wild horse in Australia. SKY VISUALS for ABC &
THE DISCOVERY CHANNEL Finalist in editing - ACE AWARDS USA
1990 KAKADU MAN- 1 hour DIRECTOR, EDITOR, CO-WRITER
The story of Bill Neidjie’s Kakadu and Aboriginal relationships with the Land.
FILM AUSTRALIA for ABC Winner of ATOM AWARD for best children’s film.
1989 PASSAGE out of PARADISE-1 hour DIRECTOR, EDITOR, CO-WRITER.
An international team share an outrigger canoe journey from Bali to Darwin.
ORANA FILMS for NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC. Winner - Prix du Film Sports Nautiques.
1989 A FARE TO REMEMBER - 72 minutes EDITOR & CO-WRITER
An Irishman and Welshman share an hilarious taxi ride from London to Sydney.
MICHAEL DILLON for 7 NETWORK & NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC
1988 THE GREAT CAMEL RACE- 2 hours EDITOR, CO-WRITER
3,OOO k. camel race from Uluru to the Gold Coast- an outback adventure.
ORANA FILMS for ABC & NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC
1988 MUM, HOW DO YOU SPELL GORBATROF? -1 hour EDITOR
A ten-year-olds passion for peace takes him to Moscow. FILM AUSTRALIA
for ABC. Winner of numerous awards, incl. UN PEACE PRIZE
1987 FIRST FLEET - RITE OF PASSAGE- 2 hours DIRECTOR, CO-WRITER.
The BI-centennial tall ship re-enactment voyage from London to Sydney.
Winner of best Bi-centennial media event.
1986 ECHO OF A DISTANT DRUM -3x 1 hour DIRECTOR, EDITOR, CO-WRITER.
A television trilogy about the saga of the Irish in Australia. ORANA FILMS for ABC & RTE IRELAND
1985 AUSTRALIA’S IMPROBABLE ANIMALS-1 hour EDITOR
About the European discovery of Australia’s animals. SKY VISUALS for ABC & DISCOVERY CHANNEL
1985 FLIGHT of the WINDHORSE-1 hour DIRECTOR, EDITOR, CO-WRITER.
A hot air balloon flight into the Himalayas. ORANA FILMS for GOLDCREST UK & NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Winner- AFI Award best Documentary, editing & soundtrack
1984 THE REALM OF THE SHARK-1 hour EDITOR, CO-WRITER
A profile of Ron and Valerie Taylor and their life with sharks.
ORANA FILMS for GOLDCREST UK & NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC
1984 ON A WING AND A PRAYER-1 hour DIRECTOR, EDITOR, CO-WRITER.
An ultralite adventure from Townsville to the top of Cape York.
ORANA FILMS for GOLDCREST UK & NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC
1983 STRANDED, DROUGHT & WATERBABIES-3x 1 hours EDITOR, CO-WRITER. Three beautiful documentaries made with Tristram Miall & Robert Loader, on the mystery of whale strandings, the impact of Australia’s drought and a fascinating theory of human evolution. GOLDEN DOLPHIN FILMS for DISCOVERY & NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Winner of numerous awards and sold all over the world.
1982 SANDS OF TIME, A VOICE FOR THE WILDERNESS - 2x 1 hour EDITOR & CO-DIRECTOR. Two films on the story of Frazer Island and the fight to save a Rainforest. YOWIE FILMS for THE DISCOVERY CHANNEL
Winner of William McKell Award for best environmental film.
1981 MUTINY ON THE WESTERN FRONT – 1 hour EDITOR. The story of the AIF in the killing fields of Flanders in WW1, told by the old men themselves. Winner of Logi Award for editing and best documentary.
This is only a selection of the many documentaries I have worked on since I began film making in the ABC in 1966. Other awards include AFI Award for best editing in the feature film Mad Max 2.
Michael also won 3 consecutive ATOM awards for Directing & Editing the best children’s dramas –
A puppet Pudding, Rubbish and Kakaduman for Film Australia, in the 1980’s.
Age 65-74 years old
Membership Type Professional