Film producer Martin Cook imprisoned in Belgium for nine months: ‘I’m going back to Australia to enjoy life’

Film producer Martin Cook imprisoned in Belgium for nine months: 'I'm going back to Australia to enjoy life'

Martine Coucke (63 years old) grew up in Westende. She studied at RITCS and became a sound engineer and later a film producer. She has been living in Australia with her Icelandic friend since 1991. On July 15, 2021, she returns to Belgium to visit her seriously ill mother. After nine months of mandatory quarantine, she was recently able to return to Australia.

Martine Cook returned to Belgium last year to say goodbye to her seriously ill mother. “She died twelve hours later, got there in time, she was waiting for me,” Martin says.

After nine months of mandatory quarantine, she is now able to return to Australia. Australia was on lockdown in 2021 and they were very strict, not to leave the country but to come back. So you cannot leave Australia this way. Because they knew it would take some time, I was allowed to leave anyway. I also had a lawyer in Brussels working on it,” says Martine.

Now she can finally return without the mandatory two-week quarantine and associated hotel costs of $4,000.

Martine Coucke (63 years old) grew up in Westende. After her studies at RITCS (1977-1981) she went to the International Film School in London. After her education she started as an assistant sound engineer. London was their base of operations for 13 years, in the meantime there was also filming in Iceland and Norway.

Her Icelandic friend Guony Halldoesdottir was the daughter of Nobel laureate in literature Halldor Laxness. Together they filmed some of his books. Martine has also worked in the youth series Noni and Manic (1988). An accomplished sound engineer, she has worked in advertising films in Africa and around the world.

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Icelandic girlfriend

She first went to Australia in 1991 to make a Mardi Gras documentary for Channel 4 and also met her partner there and was able to stay in Australia.

“I was a little tired of London and wanted something different, I haven’t made a sound since then,” Martin says. During that time I made many documentaries as a producer: looking for money to make the movie and that was the hardest part.

Lord of the rings

In 2001, Martin Cook had the opportunity to work on it the Lord of the Rings† This was a very exceptional show and Martin left for Wellington, New Zealand to work on it for seven months Fellowship of the Ring

“I was in digital grading, at the time this was completely new. Many of the shots were digitally manipulated so that this dreamer is constantly kept. For example, Hobbit green is the color of the grass around the houses. It took three months to find the spaces,” says Martin. The right green that Peter Jackson was happy with,” he said.

She only worked on the first movie in the series. Filmed 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 graduated with a master’s degree in Legal Studies.

“In 2012, I started working for the NSW Treasury. I did this job until the restructuring in 2019 where I got my ‘golden handshake. Now I’m going back to Australia to enjoy life,’” Martin concludes.

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