By Michael Eaton. In the early years of the twentieth century, the man generally credited with being the founding father of the new science of anthropology was James George Frazer, author of 'The Golden Bough'. Whereas Frazer rarely left his Cambridge study, it was Alfred Cort Haddon who led the first anthropological field-work expeditions, and in 1898 Haddon became the first anthropologist to film a re-enactment of an initiation rite on Mer, an island in the Torres Strait. Nearly twenty years later he signed up to work as a YMCA volunteer just a few miles from the trenches on the Western Front, and it was there that he re-met one of the members of his Mer team, now working on a study of the psychological impact of modern warfare on soldiers - 'shell shock'.
Writer and director Michael Eaton studied anthropology at Cambridge and in 2010 made a film 'The Masks of Mer' about the unique film shot in the Torres Straits by Alfred Haddon in 1898 lasting for less than a minute and the world's first example of anthropological cinema. 'The Masks of Mer' tells the extraordinary story of this experiment and traces the masks worn in the sacred initiation ceremony Haddon filmed. As a writer he is best known for his investigatory dramas for television, which include 'Shipman' and 'Shoot to Kill'.
Film and Television
Heartbeat (ITV); New Street Law (Red/BBC); Shipman (ITV); Nightshift (Maverick/C4); Flowers of the Forest (BBC Scotland); Signs and Wonders (BBC); Shoot to Kill (YTV); Why Lockerbie (aka The Tragedy of Flight 103) (Granada/HBO); Fellow Traveller (HBO/BBC/BFI); Border Crossing (C4); In Suspicious Circumstances (Granada); Darkest England (C4); Frozen Music (BFI); Visions (C4)
The Families of Lockerbie (Nottingham Playhouse), Charlie Peace, His Amazing Life and Astounding Legend (Nottingham Playhouse and Belgrade Theatre, Coventry).
Waves Breaking on a Shore (with Neil Brand)(Promenade/BBC); The Conflict is Over (Promenade/BBC); Felix Holt (Promenade/BBC); Pickwick Papers (Promenade/BBC); Bride's Chamber (Promenade/BBC);Cave of Harmony (BBC); George Silverman's Explanation (Promenade/BBC); Dickens in London (BBC).