Film producer Martine Coucke was imprisoned for nine months in Belgium: “I’m going back to Australia to enjoy life”
Martine Coucke (63) grew up in Westende. She studied at RITCS and became a sound engineer and then a film producer. She has lived in Australia with her Icelandic friend since 1991. On July 15, 2021, she returned to Belgium to visit her gravely ill mother. After a mandatory nine-month quarantine, she was recently able to return to Australia.
Martine Coucke returned to Belgium last year to say goodbye to her gravely ill mother. “Twelve hours later, she died, I arrived just in time, she was waiting for me,” says Martine.
After a mandatory nine-month quarantine, she has now been able to return to Australia. “Australia was in lockdown in 2021 and they were extremely strict not about leaving the country but about coming back. So you couldn’t leave Australia just like that. Because they knew it would take time, I was allowed to leave anyway. I also had a lawyer in Brussels who was working on it,” says Martine.
Now she can finally go home without the mandatory two-week quarantine and associated $4,000 hotel fee.
Martine Coucke (63) grew up in Westende. After her studies at the RITCS (1977-1981), she entered the London International Film School. After her studies, she started as an assistant sound engineer. London was his base for 13 years and in the meantime filming also took place in Iceland and Norway.
Her Icelandic friend Guony Halldoesdottir was the daughter of Nobel Literature Prize laureate Halldor Laxness. Together they filmed some of his books. Martine also worked on the youth series Nonni and Mannic (1988). An accomplished sound engineer, she has worked on commercials in Africa and around the world.
She first traveled to Australia in 1991 to make a Mardi Gras documentary for Channel 4. She also met her partner there and was able to stay in Australia.
“I was a little fed up with London and wanted something different, I didn’t do sound from there,” says Martine. During this period, she made many documentaries as a producer: looking for money to make the film is the hardest part.
the Lord of the Rings
In 2001, Martine Coucke was offered to work on The Lord of the Rings† This was a very exceptional offer and Martine left for Wellington in New Zealand to work there for seven months. The Fellowship of the Ring†
“I was into digital notation, at the time it was completely new. Many shots were digitally manipulated so that this dream was consistently retained. For example, Hobbit green is the color of the grass around the houses It took three months to find the right greenery that Peter Jackson was happy about, crazy about,” says Martine.
She only worked on the first film in the series. Filming was in New Zealand and her life was in Sydney. Martine started working for ‘Film Australia’, one of the three federal agencies that provide grants to documentary filmmakers. In the meantime, she also obtained a master’s degree in legal studies.
“In 2012, I started working for the New South Wales Treasury. I did this job until the restructuring in 2019 where I got the ‘golden handshake’. Now, I’m going back to Australia to enjoy life,” concludes Martine.
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