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Filmmaker Martine Coucke was jailed in Belgium for nine months: “I’m going back to Australia to enjoy life”

Martin Cooke (63) grew up in Westende. He studied at RITCS and became a sound engineer and later a filmmaker. She has been living in Australia with her Icelandic friend since 1991. On July 15, 2021, he returned to Belgium to visit his mother, who was seriously ill. After nine months of forced isolation, he was recently able to return to Australia.

Martin Cook returned to Belgium last year to say goodbye to his mother, who was seriously ill. “Twelve hours later she was dead. I got there just in time. She was waiting for me,” Martin says.

After nine months of forced isolation, he is now able to return to Australia. “Australia was locked up in 2021 and they were so desperate to get back out of the country. So you can not leave Australia. They knew it would take a while, so I was allowed to leave anyway. I had a lawyer in Brussels and he worked on it,” Martin said. .

Now she can return without two weeks of mandatory isolation and the associated $ 4,000 hotel expenses.

Martin Cooke (63) grew up in Westende. After studying at RITCS (1977-1981) he attended the London International Film School. After graduation he started as an assistant sound engineer. London has been his operating base for 13 years, meanwhile filming in Iceland and Norway.

Her Icelandic friend Guony Halldoesdottir is the daughter of Halldor Laxness, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature. The two filmed some of his books together. Martin also worked on the youth series Noni and Mannick (1988). An accomplished sound engineer, he has worked on advertising films in Africa and around the world.

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Icelandic girlfriend

He first traveled to Australia in 1991 to film the Mardi Gras documentary for Channel 4. There he met his partner and was able to stay in Australia.

“I was a little tired in London, wanted something different, and then I made no noise,” says Martin. During that time he made several documentaries as a producer: the most difficult part was finding the money to make the film.

Lord of the Rings

In 2001, Martin Cook was offered a job Head of rings† This is a very exceptional offer and Martin left for Wellington, New Zealand to work for seven months. Fellowship of the Ring

“I was in digital grading, and at the time it was completely new. Many scenes were handled digitally, so that dream was constantly sustained. For example, hobbit green was the color of the grass around the houses. It took Peter Jackson three months to find the perfect greenery he was happy with,” says Martin.

He only worked on the first film of the series. Filming was in New Zealand and his life was in Sydney. Martin began working for Film Australia, one of the three federal agencies that subsidize documentary filmmakers. Meanwhile, he also received a master’s degree in law.

“In 2012, I started working at the New South Wales Treasury. I did this work until the restoration of the ‘Golden Handshake’ in 2019. Now I’m going back to Australia to enjoy life,” Martin concludes.