Last Fisherman was produced by Leo Kaserer, and co-produced and directed by James Stier. The film was a labour of love, created over a three to four year period. In that time James moved to Cornwall to live and work with Malcolm, shooting blocks of footage around a schedule controlled by the seasons, the weather and the availability of characters and crew.
The Filmmakers by James Stier
Leo and I decided to make this film out of our affection for the Rame Peninsula, the tradition of fishing and the idea of passing on skills to the next generation.
Leo lived and worked with Malcolm in Cawsand for six years after moving to England from Austria, he is a youth and social worker by trade. Malcolm's world was, at first very closed. Slowly Leo began to establish a relationship, then build a friendship which slowly led to access for a crew to shoot the documentary.
Leo continues to visit the village frequently despite moving back to Austria for work and family; he is still a skilled fisherman, and taught me a lot. Not only about rowing and fishing, but working with young people.
I experienced Malcolm's way of life through the first Rückenwind (tailwind) youth project, pioneered by Leo and continued by the Austrian organisation AK Tirol. I shot a short film about the project that involved five youngsters who were a little lost, in need of a tailwind to get them back on track. With Malcolm, the group repaired a 100-year-old wooden fishing boat called The Two Sisters, at the same time experiencing an honest, straightforward way of life full of hard work.
Because of this incredible experience, I decided to commit to shooting a larger project and worked for a further three years alongside Malcolm. This included many cold mornings out at sea on Shiralee and plenty of rowing practise in the bay; with each new callus that formed, so did a connection to the community and a simpler way of life.
I began filming many of Malcolm's daily actives, then, when possible I brought in a larger crew to shoot the key sequences of the film. Despite a few hiccups along the way we spent four years in total researching, shooting and cutting the doc.
Speaking for Leo, which usually he does for me, I know we are both very humbled and honoured by the experience we have had producing this piece of work - learning from each other, from Malcolm, the youngsters and the community.
It was, and still is a brilliant adventure, one to retell over a pint of Legend in the Halfway in years to come.