The friends and colleagues of Dennis O’Rourke are deeply saddened by the death of one of the greatest documentary makers of his generation. Dennis died of cancer on 15th June in his home in Cairns surrounded by his partner Tracey Spring and his five children, Bill, Davy, Celia, Xavier and Sophie. His unique cinematic style defied conventional narrative and notions of objective reality in pursuit of larger truths about the human condition. As an artist with exceptional vision, he was passionate, argumentative and courageous and his documentaries were provocative and often controversial. Dennis’s documentaries, including Yumi Yet, Half Life, Yap: How Did You Know We’d Like TV, Shark Callers of Kontu, “Cannibal Tours”, The Good Woman of Bangkok, Cunnamulla, and Landmines: A Love Story are all imbued with exceptional insight, wry humour and a deep love of his subjects. His films, especially The Good Woman of Bangkok and Cunnamulla generated huge discussion and are studied in film courses around the world. For Dennis, making documentary films was an intuitive process of discovery. He encouraged younger filmmakers to follow their own muses and resist pressure from television broadcasters looking for reality TV and other formats that he said had nothing to do with documentary or the pursuit of truth. He was a man of great compassion and a deeply loving father. He will be greatly missed.
From Stefan Moore, Ruth Cullen, Tracey Spring, Martha Ansara