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Ron Gilbert

I am now living in the heart of the film industry and have been involved in the film and theates industry for almost 50 years.I started out in New York City which was where the acting scene at the Actors Studio (I am a lifetime member) included Robert DeNiro,Dustin Hoffman ,Al Pacino,Robert Duval and other name actors like Martin Landau ,Rod Steiger,Shelley Winters,Paul Newman,Ben Gazzara and the list goes on. That was then and the picture has changed. A stage play in New York names a name Hollywood actor to make a profit. The independent film scene has also changed. Steven Soderbergh commented on that recently at the San Francisco International Film Festival and major companies have taken over the studios.

I still work as an actor in commercials,TV and mostly independent films. I ahve worked with the major directors like Francis Ford Coppola,Sydney Lumet, and  Bryan Singer whom I met on his first feature and the relationship is same even now.

Currently I can be seen on reruns,commercials,short films and indie films.

We are currently shooting this web series

I have 2 award winning  films on the festival circuit American Bred and Courier X

In addition as a member of the Actors Studio I have taught at Strasberg Institute and Theatre of Arts and created 2 acting academies in Italy and have done workshops in London and other cities.the I have been a judge on many film festivals and worked with Independent Film Projects West as a producer on the feature film program and the Spirit Awards.


Bran Nue Dae Rocks and Rolls

Falling in love with Bran Nue Dae

by Ron Gilbert

Just to be teenager again and with music to make your hearbeat faster. From the opening scene you know that you will be in store for areal treat. Even though I was unfamiliar as to the origins of this film, I couldimmediately see why it was such a big hit as a staged musical.

Bran Nue Dae has a long and influential history in Australia.Set in the summer of 1969

The story was inspired by the teenage experiences of writer/musician Jimmy Chi and the members of his band, Kuckles.Chi grew up in thetropical seaside port of Broomeon Australia’sremote west coast. Like many bright young kids of his generation, he was sentdown to Catholic boarding school in the city for Perthto gain a better education. What he got along with an education in the city farfrom home was social and cultural dislocation. Chi wrote Bran Nue Dae as a wayof coming to terms with the experience of separation and then return to hispeople and of finding a way to combine with Indigenous and Asian cultural rootswith the Catholic faith (that still holds him and many others in the Broome Aboriginalcommunity

 In the 80's Chi andband members of Kuckles began writing and performing many of the songs thatwould later become part of the musical, being songs which struck an instantchord with Indigenous communities around the country. They were funny,political, ironic, and sexy like the voice of their people

By the end of the 80’s Chi began writing a stage musical asa vehicle from the songs.

Bran Nue Dae made its debut at the 1990s Perth Festival andwas immediately embraced by the audience who were drawn to its exhilaratingcombination of energy and madcap humor

Director Rachel Perkins was 21 when she first saw the stageproduction in the early 90’s.”It was just so much fun" says Perkins"the music was great, the Indigenous chorus was sexy and it had thisfantastic vitality”. She immediately wanted to be in the show.

Jump now to 2002 and she learns that producer Graeme Isaachad optioned the film rights, so she called him to tell him that she should bethe one to direct because she had lived the Indigenous experience reflected inthe story and only an Indigenous person should direct it.

Chi’s involvement in the adaptation of the project began withhis approval of Perkins. She admits that she was overwhelmed in meeting withChi whom she had admired so much

Perkins and co-writer Reg Cribb, who was an ex-musician andalso went to Catholic boarding school as a boy, knew that Jimmy Chi had toinvolved because of his distinct original vision and to keep the spirit of thework intact.


 They had to decidewhich of the 26 songs from the stage musical would make it into the

 film. Perkins saysmaking a musical was very ambitious and they wanted to keep the chaos from the stageshow and translating that chaos which would serve the story and just had to bethere, so 12 original songs were chosen. That included the

 title track,” BranNue Dae”and "Nothing I would rather be” which includes the classic line “thereis nothing I would rather be than an Aborigine and watch you take my preciousland away”, which is both political and that beautifully ironic


The ensemble cast for the film is a remarkable mix of youthand experience with

actors,  musicians ,newfaces and original cast members like Ernie Dingo and Ningali Lawford-Wolf wentto the


Director Rachel Perkins took a bold step by casting youngWillie (Rocky McKensie) as the lead in this film, who is a native son of Broomeand has this fresh approach along with innocence in his acting debut. You donot look at him as actor portraying a character because he is that person.  Casting Jessica Mauboy (Rosie) is a perfectfit. In real life she rose to national attention in Australian Idol and is onceagain following her dream as a singer in her acting debut.

Perkins surrounded them with a wonderful cast of veteran actors.Onceyou see Oscar winner Geoffrey Rush (Father Benedictus) who always bringssomething unique and special to any role, He knew that he wanted to be in thisfilm when he first saw the musical in the early nineties and agreedimmediately.

Ernie Dingo (Tadpole) who is listed in Australia’sTop Living Treasures should include worldwide after he is seen in this film. Hecharms you and entertains you in a way that I have not seen in years and I wantmore

The rest of the cast of actors is like a Who’s Who from Australiawith Missy Higgins, Deborah Mailman, Tom Budge, Magda Szubanski, Dan Sultan andStephen Baamba Albert

 The collaboration ofthe production team with the awesomely talented director of photography, AndrewLesnie, choreographer Stephen Page, composer Cezary Skubiszewski, award winningcomposer, songwriter and producer David Bridie, producers Robyn Kershaw andGraeme Isaac, executive producers Christopher Mapp, MatthewStreet and David Whealy have provided us with oneof the best musicals since The Wizard of OZ

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