SalvadorinByronlowrescropMullumbimby based filmmaker Salvador Castro is well known to many in our region for his musical abilities as well as his video production expertise.

Through his business Turtle Films, which he runs with his partner Kim Brisbane and business partner Mauricio Laratro, Salvador has produced videos for a range of local businesses and organisations as well as created music videos, short documentaries for online exhibition and more recently content for NITV.

Turtle Films has a business model where they generate revenue from corporate and television commercial production and invests back into creative production interests.  I caught up with Salvador and Kim at a Screenworks event recently, where they were excitedly pitching their latest creative idea.  I spoke with them about their video production business Turtle Films.


Tell us a bit about how you got involved in the Screen Industry.

I got involved in the Screen Industry almost 11 years ago when I travelled to my home land of El Salvador to cover the 2004 presidential elections, not long after graduating from Fine Arts and Journalism in Photography.

On my return I realised that I had shot more moving image than still images and I decided to put together my first half hour documentary which was selected for the ACMI Latin American Film Festival in Melbourne in 2005.

Following that presentation, in the same year I was inspired to set up an Independent Film Hub called Plugin TV which was set up through the Community television sector, where I was awardedm the ANTENNA Awards for best editing and Best Sound. The program was nominated for Best Television program that year.


What is the most exciting project you have worked on and how did it come about?

Every project that I work on has something very special to offer and teach me, whether it is the message I’m trying to highlight or the people that I get to meet throughout the projects.

If I have to narrow it to one project in particular it would be Unsung Heroes, which was a mini documentary about four Aboriginal Youth in the Lismore area.  They shared their stories of displacement, hardship and struggle, and onscreen they gave tribute and gratitude to a special person that supported and guided them without judgement in some of the hardest times of their lives.

When the time had come for the acknowledging of the Hero in their life, I was quietly filming behind the camera, watching this beautiful moment of gratitude unfold and I was very moved. And still to this day I think about that moment and it reminds me why I do what I do.


How long have you been living and working in the Northern rivers?

I moved from Melbourne in 2009. My first year was very tough – I had to begin my networking from scratch and, thanks to Screenworks, that year I enrolled in the Life’s a Pitch competition where I was recognised as as filmmaker in the area. I won the runner up for that year and since then, work hasn’t stopped coming my way.


What is important to you in running a successful and creative regional business?

Time management is one of the most important aspects to any business so I guess making sure that I fulfil my everyday tasks is very important, that also means trying to attend to as many creative events as I can. The positive side of being regional is that in a small region you can quickly be known as a filmmaker by promoting yourself effectively.

Being regional is not so much an issue for me – if I need to get more work from capital cities, I can. The budgets might be a little smaller on a regional level but that doesn’t mean much to me, as I like to support my local community as much as I can.


filmingonbeachTell us a bit about what you have been working on most recently?

My latest work is called Ocean Music which is our first mini documentary for SBS/NITV series. The documentary was commissioned for the series of Surviving – Our stories, Our Way, Everyday.

It is a documentary about a local Indigenous/ Maori singer/songwriter, Thomas Avery aka ‘Blakboi’, whose traditions are past down from generation to generation like a sacred gift, nurtured as part of the family bloodline.


Anything else you would like to share with us about you and your work?

We are currently working on several other local projects and have just finished making a mini documentary for the Mullum Music Festival 2013.

Turtle Films is growing organically – we are now a trio, with Kim Brisbane and Mauricio Laratro joining the crew and, with acquiring new innovative steady cam systems, we have upgraded our production values. We are currently in development of more local stories as well as seeking development funding from Screen NSW and SBS.


To find out more about Turtle Films or to get in contact with Salvador, visit their website –

Check out Turtle Films most recent project – the Mullum Music Festival mini doc.MullumFestival

Share this story

Subscribe to our newsletter for regular industry updates, local news, access to national and state industry policy, funding rounds, work opportunities, giveaways and more…