Back to News


Eddie Martin, A Tale of Two Titles

05 August 2022

Archive still featured in We Were Once Kids (2021)

Director Eddie Martin is a familiar name in the Aus documentary landscape, with multiple films gathering festival success and cultural notoriety. Who could forget his 2014 documentary, JISOE?

Umbrella Entertainment are excited to be supporting not one, but two of Eddies upcoming titles FIRE FRONT and WE WERE ONCE KIDS. Eddie chatted to Umbrella about his latest films and his favourite MIFF memories ahead of 2022 festival screenings.

Umbrella: In the process of making the two films, what did you find to be the major parallels and differences between Fire Front and We Were Once Kids?

Eddie Martin: These are two very different films in story, approach and process. But both deal with traumatic experiences.
WE WERE ONCE KIDS power lies within a human experience unfolding over two decades. It’s driven by our subjects/heroes directly sharing/telling their story.
FIRE FRONT is direct and immediate in nature. It takes place over a relentless eight month period. The story is driven by the event (Black Summer bushfires) itself. It’s a much broader story with a wide lens on Australia. 
In a sense they’re both cautionary tales with archival utilised in the storytelling.

Still from Fire Front (2022)

Fire Front feels quite different in comparison to your usual subject-driven style, could you talk us through your decision to exclusively use archival footage in this one?

It started within the development stage. Not only was I moved by the powerful and visual nature of the archival material, I found the sheer volume of coverage remarkable. I’d dare to say it was unprecedented for any past event and I simply put this down to time and space. Firstly we have the every-person video technologies available in the 2019-20 period (e.g. phone cameras, GoPro’s), alongside the vast number of individuals confronted by this fire season over such a long period and wide expanse. Plus we also had traditional news coverage (from around the world) to draw from. 
With further writing and researching I grew confident I could build a solid narrative built purely from all the material. I felt this would be a unique, meaningful approach and I was excited by its prospects. The power of being in the moment would make for a visceral film I was inspired to tackle the challenge and do something different. It’s an important document before the archival/memory of this significant event dissipates over time.

Still from When We Were Once Kids (2021)

Fire Front and We Were once Kids both explore a human response to extreme environments. Would you be able to discuss this theme and what draws you to it as a filmmaker? 

As a filmmaker it’s always natural to be drawn to meaningful stories with dramatic elements. This is always at the forefront for me when looking for projects to explore. 

What sentiment/thoughts/feelings would you like audiences to be left with at the end of both films?

Reflection, compassion and ultimately some form of shared emotion. I prefer and believe individual audience members have their own unique experience. This is usually driven by (and directly relates) to ones own experiences in life.

Still from Fire Front (2022)

What are you most excited about at MIFF this year?

Seeing friends and colleagues. Many with films playing. It’s great to catch up and celebrate everyones hard work.

Do you have any fun or fancy MIFF memories you’d like to share with us?

That’s easy… Great dinners put on by MIFF! Usually with a bunch of interesting filmmakers/individuals (both local and international). Always a highlight of the festival and have provided many great memories for me. 

Eddie Martin at MIFF 2022


WE WERE ONCE KIDS chronicles life after the hit coming-of-age drama Kids propelled the American independent film scene in a daring new direction. Through archival footage and interviews this film reveals just what happened to those other ‘kids’ from Clark’s film, including Justin Pierce and Harold Hunter, who died young and in tragic circumstances.


Through first-hand footage from those on the ground, FIRE FRONT documents our nation as it was enravaged by bushfires after record breaking heat. A uniquely powerful insight into a disaster that captivated the world