When The Cameras Stopped Rolling is a documentary which delves into the career of trail blazing filmmaker Lilias Fraser who was born in 1930 and tragically died in 2004. A Coogee local Fraser directed 40 films during her career and was one of the few women directors of those early years to break into a man’s world of filmmaking.
Directed by her daughter Jane Castle the film looks at Lilias’ life, her career and how Jane herself followed in her mother’s footsteps also venturing into the world of filmmaking. Their relationship is explored, the traumas that affected their relationship and their journey towards reconciliation and healing.
“I adored my mother and when I was little, she was a goddess to me. But over time something seemed to happen. We were all trapped in a domestically violent family situation and over time her drinking escalated. So it became very hard to connect with her. Then over the years we began to come together especially towards the end of her life.”
Jane’s father who possibly through jealousy claimed that Lilias was a failure. But when asked whether her mother was indeed a failure, Jane was quick to respond.
“She was by no means a failure, in fact quite the opposite. She was a success in the film industry and broke so many barriers for women. She also became a role model for the next generation of women filmmakers. But I know she did feel like a failure sometimes and it’s so painful to remember.”
Jane is an accomplished filmmaker herself having made films and music videos in Australia and the US. She has worked on music videos with K.D. Lang, Midnight Oil, Prince, Foreigner and Danni Minogue among others. But she said that this documentary is the most important project she has worked on to date.
“It’s the hardest thing I have ever done in my life and the most rewarding both personally and creatively. It’s been in many film festivals in Europe and the US. For reasons of timing, we decided to release it more internationally and then come back to Australia.”
Jane agrees that if it wasn’t for her mother’s influence, she would not have become a filmmaker.
“I swore off films as a kid. It looked like a chaotic mess, and my parents were always having money problems but somehow something got into my psyche from my mother and worked its magic. I keep putting down filmmaking but then I keep picking it up again. It’s a very love/hate relationship.”