Issue 6
Tuesday, 04 August 2020
Charles Darwin University
E-news
Screen and Media student Kobi Turner (left) interviews reptile expert Rex Neindorf under the tutelage of lecturer Mikey Boyce
Screen and Media student Kobi Turner (left) interviews reptile expert Rex Neindorf under the tutelage of lecturer Mikey Boyce

Focus on feral cats in historical context

By Patrick Nelson

An aspiring Alice Springs movie maker is combining his love of cats with his interest in history to make a documentary about the impact of cats on local fauna, but from a different perspective.

Certificate IV in Screen and Media student Kobi Turner has no doubt that feral cats kill a great many native animals each year, but he questions whether the subsequent demonisation of cats may be misguided.

“I’m exploring the idea that feral cats might be a victim of circumstance,” Kobi said. “They did not arrive in central Australia of their own accord.”

Kobi said he understood that today’s Australian cats were possibly descended from 18th Century European settlers' pets, although some might have come from South-east Asian fisher-traders in the 1600s.

"Either way, the feral cats in central Australia are likely a consequence of human behaviour and possibly irresponsible behaviour at that," he said.

As part of the documentary, Kobi has interviewed Alice Springs Reptile Centre Director Rex Neindorf about the history of feral cats in the Red Centre.

“He made an observation that some of the older generation of feral cats in the Red Centre were notably larger than their more modern counterparts,” Kobi said.

“I asked him about the impact they’ve had on reptiles and what has been done to reduce that impact.”

The interview took place in the multimedia studio at Alice Springs campus, where Kobi managed the audio, video, lighting and safety aspects of the interview.

Lecturer Mikey Boyce said the documentary would serve as Kobi’s core assessment piece and that the way Kobi practised the craft of videography would come into consideration.

“He used two high-quality portable soft boxes to illuminate his subject, who he placed in front of a green screen, which will give him the option to play some ‘animal footage’ in the background of the interview, if he chooses to use that technique,” Mr Boyce said

Kobi’s tentative title for the 15-minute featurette is "Red Centre Tabby". 

“We’ll be exploring how we can put the finished product before several audiences,” Mr Boyce said.