Dialog Box

Aged | Arts | Community | Environment | Health & Wellbeing
Leunig: A Tale in 16 Parts
With exclusive and intimate access to one of Australia’s National Living Treasures – Michael Leunig - this feature documentary will entertain, engage and enliven audiences everywhere with a revealing portrait of an enigmatic artist who just happens to be a household name. With an anarchic, playful and life affirming heart, the film celebrates self-expression, friendship, life and death, and the power of the imagination to ignite, enrage, heal and inspire.

How does the project meet the aims of a philanthropic foundation?

This film is a celebration of how the arts inform, inspire and enliven us all. The project meets the aims of philanthropic foundations with a mandate to support the production, awareness and celebration of the arts. 

This film aims to enrich Australia’s cultural life and celebrate the connection between the arts, humanities and a healthy community. 

In an age of individualisation and fragmentation, highlighting the importance of citizens’ engagement is urgent. 

As one of Australia’s National Living Treasures - about which there has not been a definitive biographical film made - this exclusive and intimate documentary portrait of Michael Leunig is an important and significant documentary record in itself. 

Michael has been involved with the restoration and re-planting project on Melbourne’s iconinc Merri Creek. He once said, “Anyone who has planted a tree has not acted in vain.” Michael’s focus on and celebration of nature - both in his work and his day to day life, will be central to the film’s themes.The film’s chapters incorporate a focus on finding wisdom and perspective away from the city, in nature.

Because of Leunig’s recent health scare and the film’s reflections on life, mortality and the human condition (as seen through the lens of Michael’s life’s work and philosophy), the film will also help raise awareness about ageing, mental health and social well being.

The role of artists and the arts industry is increasingly relevant in the pursuit of good health and a good society. This intersection of social and cultural engagement is perfectly embodied in this creative documentary film.

Leunig is an iconic Australian artist, political cartoonist and philosopher - and is therefore a kind of short-hand for the nexus of art, political engagement and health.

We are seeking the final balance of $70,000 to complete our production budget, with contributions already confirmed from Screen Australia, Film Victoria and Madman Entertainment. This budget will enable us to produce the film to the highest artistic standard and include a substantial and thorough impact campaign to help raise awareness of Leunig’s life’s work and his philosophies about cultural, social, environmental and political engagement.

Aims & Objectives

What outcomes do you hope to achieve by making this film and how will you measure its impact?

“If this film could be meaningful to a child, ignite their imagination or expand their world view I’d be very pleased” - Michael Leunig

We want to record, interrogate and celebrate the life and work of Michael Leunig. Through the lens of Michael’s life’s work, we hope to inform a broader Australian (and international) audience about the importance of creative endeavour and engagement with society and culture. His popularity - particularly in Victoria and NSW through his role at Fairfax - is an opportunity to reach a very wide audience with a film that goes beyond his daily cartoons. 

We want the film to be partnered with education institutions in a variety of areas - from politics and journalism (with regards to Michael’s cartoon work and social commentary); arts (with regards to his painting and drawing); and health (with regards to his health and philosophy). 

The film’s structure, in ‘parts’ or ‘chapters’, allows us to screen elements individually or together in a gallery context and tailor the film’s screenings to specific areas of interest and impact. By, for example, collating few chapters about health, mortality, and wellbeing - we have opportunities to uniquely place the film’s exhibitions in a variety of forums. 

We hope the film will become a kind of “call to action” for political and cultural engagement in our shared Australian society. The film will be a great fundraising event film - in that it presents, in a creative way, intimate aspects of the little-known life and creative processes of an iconic Australian artist. Fundraisers could be used for specific issues around, for example: the baby-boomer generation and our ageing population; men’s health; health; environment arts; and politics. TThe impacts of the film (& its iterations) can be measured by: audience numbers (box office figures, number of cinema screenings, TV broadcast and online ratings); media interviews and social media responses; number of re-versioned film screenings (at galleries, community events etc); DVD, VOD and educational sales; visits to our website; visits to partners’ websites, referred from the film website; the number of study guides downloaded; and the number of downloads/views of supplementary media produced. 

Overall we hope that the film works as a trigger to greater political engagement and awareness of individuals’ responsibilities to society, as well as a greater acknowledgement of the integral role the arts play in our lives.

Kasimir Burgess
Philippa Campey
Total budget
85 Minutes