Like many of the female Directors in the Australian film industry Cathy Henkel has carved a determined path and like many she has built a rich and varied career. Starting out as a teacher, then working in live drama, her passions moved to film following her father’s footsteps, and in 2014 she returns to teaching as the Director of the Western Australia Film Academy.
“One day I sat on a rock and thought, you know, I love movies so much! I’d love to tell stories on the big screen. That was 26 years ago, and since then I’ve made about 50 films.” Says Cathy Henkel. “It’s been a life of adventures,” She smiles wryly, “But I have never failed to make a film once I decided to.”
Cathy has a long career in television working on such shows as Heroes of our Time (1988), Walking Through a Minefield (1998), Losing Layla (2000), The Man Who Stole my Mother’s Face (2004) (which won Best Documentary at the IF awards and the Tribeca Film Festival in 2004), and I Told You I Was Ill (2005), about comedian Spike Milligan.
Henkel formed her production company, Virgo Productions in Brisbane, which produced the award-winning documentary The Burning Season (2008), which she also wrote and produced. The Burning Season screened at the Canada International Film Festival and received the Rising Star Award 2010, an IF award in 2008, and was nominated for a Gold Panda and an Emmy Award for Outstanding Documentary on a Business Topic. Her 2011 online documentary Rise of the Eco-Warriors used cutting edge crowdsourcing to fund the project and make it available on the internet.
After a long and esteemed career as a film-maker Cathy is returning to her first love – which is teaching – taking a position mentoring and teaching young film-makers as Director of The Western Australian Film Academy in 2014.
“I love high concept documentaries that really tell a story. Over the 26 years I think I have learned a thing or two, I have something to teach and pass on. I am excited to facilitate the young people in Western Australia telling their stories on film.”
Watch her films