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DECEMBER 1993 NO. 96


M. '-3 W .






COST. It costs less in Queensland. Interested?

Contact: PACIFIC FILM AND TELEVISION COMMISSION, Robin James, Chief Executive Officer or Richard Stewart, Marketing Manager GPO Box 1436, Brisbane, Queensland 4001 Australia Tel: (+61 -7) 224 4114 Fax: (+61 -7) 229 7538


P f TC








d ir e c t o r , f il m






p ic t u r e p r e v ie w

EDITOR Scott Murray A S S I S T A NT






Raffaele Caputo TECHNICAL





Fred Harden A D M I N IS T R A T I VE




J, Brodle Hanns M TV





.Chris Stewart {Chairm an], .Patricia Amad, Ross Dimsey,




Natalie Miller



Dan Pearce Holding Redlich, Solicitors





Contact Patricia Amad




Raffaele Caputo Fòt * N D I N G




Peter Beilby, Scott Murray, Philippe Mora




Ian Robertson DISK

PR 0 C E S S I N G







. Jenkip Buxton




Network Distribution









AUSTRALIAN FILM COMMISSION AND FILM VICTORIA © COPYRIGHT 1993 MTV PUBLISHING LIMITED A.C.N. 006 258 699 Signed articles represent the views of the authors and not necessarily that of the editor and publisher, while every care is taken with manuscripts and materials supplied to thè magazine, neither the editor



is a Lectuer in Cinema Studies at LaTrobe University, Melbourne; STUART Cu n n i n g h a m is a

Senior Lecturer in Communications at Queensland University of Technology; A N N A DZENIS is a tutor in Cinema Studies at LaTrobe University, Melbourne; RUSSELL EDWARDS is a freelance writer; RICHARD FRANKLIN is the director of •Roadgames1 and ‘Link’ among others; GLENN FRASER runs Streetwise Films;


GILLESPIE is a freelance writer;

LIZ JACKA is the author of several books on Australian film and television; CRISPIN LlTTLEHALES is a freelance writer

nor the publisher can accept liability for any loss or damage which may arise. This magazine may not be reproduced in whole pr part without the express permission of the copyright owners. $binema PaperS’i i published (approximately,) every.two months by

living in San Francisco; CHRIS LONG is a Melbourne film historian;

p e te r m a l o n e

is Editor of 'Compass Theology

Review'; BRIAN McFARLANE is an Associate Professor in the English Department at Monash University; BRUCE MOLLOY is Professor and Head, School of Media and Journalism, Queensland University of Technology; KARL Q U IN N is a freelance writer on film; PETER M. SCHEMBRI is a freelance writer; JOE STEFANOS is a freelance writer; ANDREW L.


is the

MTV Publishing Limited, 43 C))jajrf(es Street Abbotsford, Victoria, Australia 3067 Telephone (03) 429 551%?Fax (03J 427 9255

Australian correspondent for Moving Pictures International; JOHN WOJDYLO s a translator of Polish novels and plays into English; Ra y m o n d

y o u n is

is a lecturer at the University of Sydney and a passionate lover of films.








Cinema Papers apologizes for the accidental omis­ sion of Jàn Epstein’s name from her coverage oj this year’s Cannes Film Festival in Cinema Papers No. 94, August 1993, page 22* -/

Letter Dear Editor

FFC renews Documentary Accord with ABC and SBS

I am somewhat puzzled by aspects of the review

Chief executive of the Australian Film Finance

by Jennings and Hollinsworth (Cinema Papers,

Corporation, John Morris, announced the renewal

New Exemptions will help film production

No. 94, p. 55-7) of Marcia Langton’s Well, I heard

of agreements on the funding of Australian docu­

The Australian Securities Commission has re­

it on the radio and I saw it on the television... (Australian Film Commission, Sydney, 1993).

mentaries pre-purchased by ABC and SBS. The

solved confusion about how cast and crew con­

agreements known in the industry as the Accord

tracts should be structured to avoid contravening

The charge that Langton “seriously overreaches herself” (which implies that she is way out of her

have been in operation for two years with the ABC

the Corporations Law. A new exemption,is in place

and one year with SBS. Since the inception of the

that means producers can now offer.“points” —a

depth) is based in part on “her claim that there is no

Accord, more than 40 hours of television have

share of the net profits - in films to cast and crew

sizeable body of critical literature about represen­

been funded and to date 20 hours have been

without potentially having to follow prospectus and

tation of Aboriginality [which] is manifestly ill-in­

completed and screened, attracting significant audiences and critical acclaim.

prescribed interests provisions of the Corpora­ tions Law.

formed” . This statement is followed by a list of writers whose work has encompassed the repre­ sentation of Aboriginality. This is not what Langton actually states. In her

In a joint statement, ABC managing director

This means producers will have more flexibility

David Hill, SBS chief executive Malcolm Long, and John Morris welcomed the Accord’s renewal and

in packaging productions, while allowing creative personnel such as scriptwriters and directors to share in a film’s success. ,

discussion on the politics of Aboriginal representa­

described it as essential to the maintenance of a

tion she acknowledges the work of particular writ­ ers who have produced critiques of filmic repre­

viable level of Australian documentary production.

The ASC issued a Class Order, which came

“Without the Accord, local documentary pro­

sentations of Aboriginal people. She then com­

duction and its vital role in recording the Australian

into effect on 6 October, that recognizes such arrangements are service contracts which entitle a

ments: “But there is no sizeable body of literature

culture and way of life would be substantially reduced”, said the ABC’s David Hill.

person to a share of revenues or copyright in a film as part of their fee.

which provides an informed, anti-colonial critique of films and videos about Aboriginal people." (p.

The new FFC-ABC Accord renews a commit­

“This ruling effectively recognizes what is a com­

24, my emphasis). In other words, her comments

ment from the FFC to provide funds for up to twenty

mon industry practice”, says FFC chief executive

were far more specific than is implied by her

John Morris. “It‘s a very practical decision that ends

reviewers. Given that the majority of writers cited by Hollinsworth and Jennings have primarily

hours of documentary a year in 1993-94, ’94-95 and ’95-96. Under the new agreement, the ABC will provide cash pre-sales of $62,500 for budgets

can now continue to allow profit participation as part

critiqued textual representations (and here I am

up to $240,000, $67,500 for budgets between

of their negotiations with a minimum of fuss.”

referring to literary texts), it is incorrect to accuse

$240,000 and $280,000, and $72,500 for budgets

Langton of being so ill-informed. The reviewers' remarks read as a patronizing misrepresentation

between $280,000 and $320,000. For projects with budgets between $320,001 and $350,000,

The ASC says it recognizes this form of fee payment also acts as an incentive for creative talent

of Langton’s intent.

the ABC will provide either a pre-sale of $75,000 where the producer can attract a distribution guar­

Further, in Jennings’ Sites of Difference (whose publication by the Australian Film Institute in 1993 was anticipated in the review), the author states: “Despite a burgeoning interest in Aboriginal Stud­ ies in recent years, there have been few general studjes of the representations of Aborigines in Australian films.” (p.18) This concurs with Langton’s original statement. It is apparent that there is some academic posturing in this review which reflects poorly on the reviewers and does little to advance the debate on the issues under consideration. Ian Anderson Karen Jennings replies:

I am surprised that Ian Anderson has placed such emphasis on virtually the only reservation that David Hollinsworth and I expressed about Marcia Langton’s book. It was a decidedly favourable review of a publication which deserves to be widely read. And I’m mystified that a criticism of one aspect can be construed as patronizing. But to set the record straight: all of the writers we cited.have

the confusion surrounding this question. Producers

in the industry and is consistent with royalties being the usual form of reward for literary and other creative work. An exemption has also been made, subject to

antee (payable in twelve months) of $10,000, or

some conditions, if the contract is with a writer for the

the ABC will provide a pre-sale of $80,000. The FFC will provide the balance of funds in all catego­

acquisition of the rights in a script.

ries. SBS’s Malcolm Long said: The SBS-FFC Accord has allowed SBS to con­ tinue to pioneer documentary production in the area of multiculturalism. To date, completed Accord films have contrib­ uted to the strength of SBS programming. The continuation of the Accord will ensure that SBS can continue to work collaboratively with inde­ pendent documentary makers in developing inno­ vative, informative and entertaining television.

private investors. Subject to previous ASC policy statements, a prospectus is still needed for their participation.

Under the new agreement with the FFC, SBS will provide during 1993-94 cash pre-sales equal to 23% of the budget for up to 10 hours of docu­ mentary with budgets up to $190,000. The FFC will provide the balance of the budget. Subject to normal FFC marketing requirements, the FFC will provide the balance of funds required by ABC and SBS Accord projects. Morris said the renewal of the Accord was a

However, the exemption does not apply to

Documentary Conference 2-5 December The theme forThe Third Australian National Docu­ mentary Conference is titled “Reflecting the Fu­ ture” . Two major issues of this theme are the government’s move towards the Asia-Pacific re­ gion, and the impact of interactive multi-media on documentary filmmaking. Opening the Conference is The War Room, which looks at the inner-workings of Bill Clinton’s 1992 Presidential Campaign. The War Room is the latest film by seminal documentary makers D. A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus, who will also be in attendance.

written significantly about cinema and I’ll be happy

clear indication of its success and importance to

to supply Ian with bibliographical details if he

Other guests include major award winners of

the broadcaster, the Australian film industry and

wdüld like them.

the viewing public.

Japan’s Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival: Wu Wenguang {My Time in the Red Guards, China), Anan Patwardhan {In the Name of



God, India), Makasato Sato {Living on the River Agano, Japan) and Grand Prize winners Bob

To celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Cinema Papers in the next issue we will be polling various

Connolly and Robin Anderson tor Black Harvest.

industry figures to list their Top Ten Australian films. As well, Cinema Papers invites all readers

For further information contact Film Australia on (02) 413 8565 or 413 8777.

of the magazine to submit their Top Tens for collation into the Readers’ Top Picks. Any film that can conceivably be called Australian is eligible. The closing date is 7 January 1994.











Film Queensland... Not just a silent partner. Film Queensland is committed to the development and production of quality film and television. We not only provide a comprehensive range of programs for script development, pre-production and marketing, but also ajillhge of innovative schemes to assist with production financing. The Production Investment Fund provides up to :direct-: în^elÉMpït ^hiiéififee Revolving Film Vto $ 1 Million :^iilttlnst presale or distribution aifilm en ts at attractive : : interest rates. Other incentives include wage subsidies and payroll tax rebates and of course, we offer every assistance with loc4il§li surviÿs, permits facilities and crewing, ; \ i.,-r ^ l i ï p r i - - ; v^T goitties co-funding arrangem ents with other sf|gte and federal ag en cies.

You could say... we re more, than just a silent partner. For more information, contact: iij Film.; Q ueensland GPO Sox 1 4 3 6 I r i s b a n i Qid 4 0 0 1 D irector: Richard Stew art Telephone: (07) 2 2 4 5 8 0 9 M arketing and Developm ent M anager: Judith Crombie Téléphoné: (07) 2 2 4 4 5 3 6




96 • 3

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P A P E R S 96


Late last year, the Australian Film Commission reported that in 1991-2 Queensland had replaced Victoria as the second largest producer of film and television drama in Australia.1Queensland’s share of production accounted for 24% of Australian production compared with New South Wales at 37% and Victoria at 20% . Considering that, in 19 88, production in the state had been less than $5 million and the state film agency, the Queensland Film Corpo­ ration, had been disbanded and several of its officers charged with

L A N D fraud, the emergence of a revitalized film industry provides an int­ eresting case study in the development of a regional film industry.2 The chances of the Queensland film industry reaching more than $100 million of production in a calendar year (as it has already in 1993) seemed so remote as recently as 1991 that when I presented a paper, “Hollywood on the Gold Coast? Towards a Regional Film Industry”|at the Australian Communication Conference in Sydney, The Australian sent its media reporter to interview me, expecting it

was a send-up. After I convinced him that it was in fact serious, he recorded a long interview then told me - in the nicest way - that I was deluding myself, and that there would never be a film industry in Queensland. The interview ended on a spike somewhere. What has caused this unexpected development to take place? The short answer is the existence in Queensland of a vision for a film industry among certain key players. This vision has been translated into a strategic plan for drawing the various elements of film industry, business, culture and education together to form an environment which encourages symbiosis.

Bruce Molloy is Professor and Head, School of Media and Journalism, at the Queensland University of Technology. He is a board member of the Brisbane International Film Festival and the Queensland Cinematheque, and a Commis­ sioner o f the Pacific Film and Television Commission.

What’s happening in Queensland?


he key players in the rejuvenated Queensland film industry comprise the state government through its film agency Film Queensland, a government-owned company called the Pacific Film and Television Commission, and Warner Roadshow Studios. Sup­ porting players include such cultural organizations as Brisbane Independent Filmmakers, Women in Film and Television, and the Brisbane International Film Festival, as well as the film and televi­ sion committee of Arts Training Queensland and various educa­ tional institutions. Analysis of the composition of the various film -related com m ittees and w orking parties indicates, unsurprisingly, a cross membership which is instrumental in ensur­ ing that the minor players in this filmic version of alphabet soup are at least aware of the overall strategic vision informing the broad plan, even if they do not always share it. This overview describes the operations of Film Queensland and the Pacific Film and Television Commission, and their place within the broader strategies for a Queensland film industry. Difficulties inherent in applying a strategic plan to the whole of Queensland can be appreciated when you consider that the distance from Melbourne to Brisbane is about the same as the distance from Brisbane to Cairns. When people living north of the Tropic of Capricorn, like the residents of Rockhampton, Townsville, Mt isa and Cairns, talk of “southerners”, the reference is to those living in southern Queensland, not those dwelling south of the Queensland border. Colloquially, the latter are “Mexicans” or “cockroaches”. Paradoxically, problems of distance are offset to some extent by a strong sense of state identity. This parochial desire to overshadow the southern states is a motivation not to be ignored in assessing the drive towards a Queensland film industry. O f course, the notion of a “Queensland film industry” is not unproblematic. Whether providing a location for American films and television series, thus ensuring some degree of continuity of employment for local actors, technicians and creative personnel, constitutes a Queensland film industry, or whether the production of films and television programmes relevant to Queensland is a critical element of such a regional industry, are questions for on­ going debate within local production circles. The foundations of this overall strategy were laid in 1990 and 1991. During this period, the sunset clause in the charter of the Queensland Film Corporation saw it replaced by the Queensland Film Development Office in late 1988. Plans for a multi-media complex adjacent to the Warner Roadshow Studios at Coomera were included in the Queensland bid for the Multi-Function Polis. When this bid, initially successful, was disqualified because the government was unable to guarantee title of the land, Premier Goss decided to pursue the more promising Multi-Function Polis propos­ als anyway. One of these was the Pacific Film and Television Complex. At about the same time, new management had taken over the film studios built at Coomera, some fifty miles south of Brisbane, as a result of a deal between the former National Party government and Dino De Laurentiis. The new owners were Village Roadshow, which then entered into partnership with Seaworld Industries and with the Time Warner organization to form Warner Roadshow 6 • CINEMA




Studios, To recoup the government investment it was essential to convert the studios from white elephant to profitable business. The Pacific Film and Television Complex was to become an important catalyst in this process.

Film Queensland When the discredited Queensland Film Corporation was replaced in 1988 by the Queensland Film Development Office (QFDO), the newly-appointed director, Michael Mitchener, was reported in The Courier Mail as claiming that, “with proper location marketing”, an annual production target of $100 million was possible.3 Despite this prescience, Mitchener decided to return to Victoria in 1990, and the QFDO project officer Richard Stewart took his place. Stewart has presided over the revitalization of the state’s film industry ever since. The QFDO operating budget grew from around $700,000 in 1988 to $3.25 million in 1993. The appropriate if inelegant QFDO title was changed early in 1993 to Film Queensland, and the parallel growth of the Pacific Film and Television Commission (PFTC) allowed a division of responsibility between the two organizations. Film Queensland concentrates on the development of local films and filmmakers, while the PFTC attracts interstate and overseas production. This neat division of duties is complicated by Richard Stewart’s role as marketing manager of PFTC, thus ensuring some government say in its day-to-day operations, while executive direc­ tor of the Queensland government’s Arts Division, Greg Andrews, is a PFTC board member. Many of the initiatives to stimulate film and television produc­ tion in Queensland originate with Film Queensland, but are man­ aged by the PFTC, in conjunction with officers of the Queensland Treasury. One of these is the $10 million revolving fund available for low-interest loans, secured against pre-sales or guarantees. This was announced by Wayne Goss at the opening of the 1992 Brisbane International Film Festival, of which Film Queensland is the major sponsor. At this year’s Festival opening, Goss announced a further $750,000 available for locally-based filmmakers to bridge short­ falls in production funding. There is little doubt that Goss believes a bright future exists for the film and television industry in Queens­ land. Film Queensland offers a range of other incentives in scriptwriting, pre-production and marketing. Stewart states that present Film Queensland policy is to target specific individuals and their projects: “We’re able to identify particular producers, carefully evaluate their projects, and then support them with considerable funding. ” Among producers who have moved (or returned) to Queensland to take advantage of this approach are Ross.Dimsey, Damien Parer, Rosa Colosimo and Jonathan Shiff, whose company, Westbridge, is based in Port Douglas.

When people living north of the Tropic of Capricorn ... talk of "southerners", the reference is to those living in southern Queensland, not those dwelling south of the Queensland border. Colloquially, the latter are "Mexicans or "cockroaches". Paradoxically, problems of distance are offset to some extent by a strong sense of state identity. This parochial desire to overshadow the southern states is a motivation not to be ignored in assessing the drive towards a Queensland film industry.

Stewart looks forward to Film Queensland recording successes sirfiilar to The H eartbreak Kid (Michael Jenkins, 1993) or P r o o f (Jocelyn Moorhouse, 1991). “Our most notable success to date has been involvement in the production of B roken Highway (Laurie Mclnnes, 1993), which was invited for exhibition in Cannes.” He is adamant, however, that Queensland should not be seen as simply a location for Hollywood-replica films. “We’re confident that Film Queensland projects will reach the standard expected of the best Australian films, and our assessors are providing feedback that this is so.” He is heartened by the success of Laurie Mclnnes, and other directors with strong Queensland links such as Tracey Moffatt and Jackie McKimmie. Donald Crombie is currently completing a feature, Rough D iam onds, while the television series O cean Girl, produced by Westbridge, follows in the tradition of children’s television established by Butterfly Island, Animal Park and Skippy. Among Film Queensland’s other responsibilities is the task of stimulating film culture. This includes provision of funding for short films, first-project development programmes and other productionrelated initiatives. It also involves attention to the educational process, with Film Queensland working with the local Australian Film Radio & Television School representative, Queensland Uni­ versity of Technology, Griffith University and the TAFE sector to ensure a continuing supply of trained personnel. This role recently culminated in the appointment of the state’s first training coordina­ tor to facilitate secondments, internships and programmes bridging the transition of graduates into industry. The Film Queensland brief extends to supporting cultural or­ ganizations. Stewart sees a need for these groups to collaborate, a view supported by the Australian Film Commission. “There’s enormous enthusiasm and energy in this area”, says Stewart. “Our goal is to provide a focus and perhaps turn what’s presently somewhat of an unguided missile into a guided one.” Another long term aim is the establishment, with federal support, of a National Centre for the Moving Image in Brisbane. As Stewart says, “It’s almost an accepted part of Queensland mythology, this lack of federal support. I think we have evety right to demand it, and I think we’ll get it.” FILMING MARTIN CAMPBELL'S THE PENAL COLONY IN QUEENSLAND.

Pacific Filiti and Television Com misiiòii Although it started out in 1991 as a subsidiary of the QFDO, the PFTC now has a separate existence as a government-owned com­ pany limited by guarantee, nominally responsible to the DirectorGeneral of the Premier’s Department. The PFTC is controlled by a board of directors and functions as an economic benefits catalyst, designed to attract production to Queensland. From the outset, PFTC board members identified the need for a two-fold approach to the problem of attracting business. First, potential producers should be identified and approached; second, infrastructure would need to be in place. This infrastructure was seen as both “hard” (the technology and plant to support all aspects of the production process), and “soft” (the personnel required to provide creative, business and technical inputs into the industry). The aim was to make possible the full production and postproduction of films and television series in Queensland. Pivotal to these plans was Warner Roadshow Studios, and the objective Was to ensure that it became a “one-stop shop”. Both aspects of thè strategic approach had to proceed simultaneously if the objectives were to be realized. Robin James was appointed chief executive officer in 1991, while Richard Stewart, director of Film Queensland, was appointed marketing manager. During the early days of the PFTC, most business was expected to originate in Japan and South-east Asia, but increasingly the source of business proved to be the U.S. A major attraction for U.S. producers has been the differential between the value of the Australian and U.S. dollars. As James states, the bottom line is always the principal motivation for producers, but the professionalism of the PFTC has given Queensland a competitive edge over other possible production centres with equally weak currencies. This professionalism includes high-quality location surveys and attention to detail on location shoots, access to special­ ist expertise and equipment, and assistance in dealing with authori­ ties at all levels of government. This level of service, described by Gale Anne Hurd, American producer of the $22 million feature, The Penal C olony, as “equal to the best in the world”, is supported by the range and diversity of locations, and by the various incentives managed by the PFTC. These are the $10 million revolving production fund, the $1 million fund for payroll tax rebate on films with budgets that exceed $3.5 million, and the crew subsidy scheme, which returns up to $ 100,000 for productions which use Queensland-based crews. The PFTC is a lean operation with an operational budget of around $500,000. As well as the chief executive, it has a location liaison manager, an investment manager, a coordinator who han­ dles travel, marketing and programme coordination, and a secre­ tary. Projects range from movies of the week for U.S. networks, such as the recent Mercy Mission (with a $3.5 million budget), through tele-features and television series, such as Time Trax II ($21m), to big-budget feature films such Sniper and The Penal Colony. The next major production scheduled for television is the NBC mini­ series Gaijin, based on James Clavell’s novel, while the Australian CINEMA


96 • 7


Film Culture in Queensland


component of the Paul Hogan project, Lightning] ack (total budget $35 million), was shot in Queensland. The supporting infrastructure has expanded greatly since the first series of Mission: Im possible used to beam the footage to Los Angeles for editing. The need for a film processing laboratory was identified early on and satisfied this year by the establishment of the Atlab facility on the Warner Roadshow Studios site. A pre-feasibil­ ity study jointly funded by the Multi-Function Polis and Depart­ ment of Industry Trade and Regional Development is currently assessing the economic viability of developing a state-of-the-art post-production facility on or near the Warner Roadshow Studios complex as part of new techno-park development. James is realistic about the levels of production that might be attracted from the U.S. and Asia: What we can do is provide services particularly to Asia because we have the creative expertise and the experience, and also to the U.S. for low- to medium-budget production. I’d be surprised if we attract much high-budget American production. The PFTC board is aware of the scepticism and criticism directed at the PFTC by those who believe its activities conflict with the need to preserve Australian culture through indigenous production. However, the PFTC board believes that the two types of activities can be reconciled. As James puts it, I see them as complementary. I don’t see why we can’t reflect Australian culture in local film and television production, while simultaneously marketing our services, our expertise and our loca­ tions, all of which are world-class. Policy directions for the PFTC are set by its board, which comprises a cross-section of members representing film and televi­ sion, government, tourism and marketing, finance and education. Such a cross-section brings a breadth of skills and experience, and this pays off particularly in the process of strategic planning. This emphasis on planning has, in James’ terms, distinguished the operations of the PFTC: “Too often the film business in Australia has been the preserve of the gifted amateur rather that the profes­ sional. If the film industry in Australia is to survive, it will be through thorough planning and the application of sound business princi­ ples.” 8 . CINEMA



The various organizations dedicated to advancing film culture in Queensland depend largely on Film Queensland and the Australian Film Commission for a considerable proportion of their funding. As Richard Stewart suggests above, the two government agencies seem to favour some rationalization of these organizations for economic reasons. An analysis of the role and functions of the various organizations, the Coulter-Pacey Report, was undertaken in 1992. Currently Andrew Zielinski, manager of the South Australian Video Centre, has been retained as a consultant to prepare a report on implementation of the Coulter-Pacey recommendations. In Brisbane, the major film cultural organizations include Bris­ bane Independent Filmmakers, Women in Film and Television and Queensland Cinematheque. Brisbane Independent Filmmakers, under the energetic leadership of Jonathon Hardy, has recently expanded its range of activities to include exhibition and seminars. Women in Film and Television continues to serve its members quietly and efficiently. Queensland Cinematheque, after a flurry of activity in 1992, is currently experiencing a minor identity crisis as it endeavours to redefine its aims following the implementation of the National Cinematheque programme. Following the success of the 1990 Queensland Images festival, moves occurred for the establishment of a full-scale international film festival in Brisbane. The first of these festivals was held in 1992, incorporating both considerable popular content and a significant Asian component as a distinctive feature of the Brisbane Film Festival. These Asian films were recommended by Tony Rayns, who, together with David Stratton, is a major programming consultant. The 1992 Festival was an outstanding success in terms of attendance and critical response. The more ambitious 1993 Festival retained the 1992 levels of attendance. Film Queensland is the Festival’s major sponsor, supported by the Australian Film Commission, Warner Roadshow and the stockbroking firm Morgans. One of the most successful screening series in Brisbane is conducted by the State Library of Queensland with annual attend­ ances of around 8000, despite the limited capacity of its theatrette. Also worthy of note are two regionally-based indigenous media groups: Murri Image is located near Gympie, and the Townsville Aboriginal and Islander Media Association (TAIMA) in north Queensland. Both Murri Image and TAIMA are active in produc­ tion, skills development and related cultural activities.

Conclusion In his response to receiving the Chauvel Award for his distinguished contribution to Australian filmmaking at this year’s Brisbane International Film Festival, Paul Cox stated, referring to the energy evident in Queensland film culture, that “There’s a fire burning in this city.” This comment might be applied with some justification to the level of film and television activity of all types occurring in Queensland. Acknowledgement: The assistance of Richard Stewart and Robin James in preparing this article is gratefully credited.1 1

AFC National Survey of Film, Television and Video Production, 1989-92.


The inglorious history of the QFC is described by Helen Yeates in her contribution to Jonathan Dawson and Bruce Molloy (eds), Queensland Images in Film and Television, University of Queensland Press, 1990.


The Courier Mail, 23 November 1988.


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96 . 9

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With Roush Diamonds, director

is at temptin g so mething Donald Crom bie ¡s

deceptively treacherous: a genuinely Australian film with all the innocent charm o f a Disney family movie - and similar box-office success. O ne of the elements that will either make or

and ’s de bu t as a leading man - not as sm ooth-

break this ambition i

faced yo u n g po p star, but as a slightly scruffy cattleman - and single father. Donovan is Mike Tyrell, whose life changes when, in a moment o f inattention, the cattle truck he is driving hits a car parked on the side of the road. The car belongs to Chrissie Bright (Angie Milliken), an ex-singer turned .barrister’s wife on the run from suburban life.'1Roush Diamonds is based on an original script by Crombie and Christopher Lee. The film is produced by Damien Parer, in association with Beyond Films and Southern Star Entertainments, with major financing frofti the Australian Film Finance Corporation and Film Queensland. It was mostly shot on location in Boonah Shire, Queensland. A ndrew L. Urban visited the set during filming at Toongoolaw ha which, Urban notes, "the producers have carefully disguised in the film b y renaming Boongoolawha".



1 /

O zt A



Rough Diamonds

entertainment. The question was how to make it entertaining. The story about a cattleman going broke or battling the banks, even with moderate-level stars, is not going to easily attract money because people assume it will be depressing. So we swung it right around and introduced the music elements and the charm. Was the idea of Mike being a musician added after you considered Jason Donovan for the role? No, it was written into the script during the course of development, some three or four years ago. Mike can sing, but he is not the singer in the story - Chrissie is. She is the one with the experience and a gold record or two in her past. Mike’s just a reasonably good bush dance-hall singer. In theory, we didn’t need to have a singer like Jason as Mike. After all, Angie Milliken is not doing Chrissie’s singing voice. But, obviously, it is an advantage to have someone who is known as a recording star. To what extent does Rough D iam onds get to deal with the issues you discovered in the bush? When you first meet Mike he’s driving a cattle truck. You don’t realize he’s a cattleman; you think he’s a truck driver. And then it evolves that he actually owns this property and he is trying to stay out of the hands of the bank. He’s driving for a living, not because he wants to. Do we learn why he is in debt?

Donald Crombic While possibly best known for Caddie (1976), Cathy’s Child {1979) and Playing Beatie B ow (1986) - a mix of vastly different films Donald Crombie (above) has made six features, co-directed one and made several tele-features and mini-series.1 Five of these features have won awards at either Australian or international festivals.

What was the genesis of the film?

You know he owes money to the bank. We don’t go into it, though. We are not giving a lesson in rural economics. The bank is represented by Arthur [Jeff Truman], who keeps trying to repossess Mike’s prize bull. He is a rather pompous but quite likeable character. He’s somewhat ineffectual and tries des­ perately to be liked. He actually believes that he is doing the right thing by his customers in suggesting that perhaps it’s time they gave up and moved on. I think Arthur’s quite a real character from what I’ve read and heard about rural bank managers. But he’s not a villain; he’s not the archetype. Is there a villain?

It all began when we were filming The Irishman in North Queens­ land back in 1977. We were driving out of town one day and happened to go past a road gang. Whoever was showing us around said, “See that chap over there on the shovel. He owns Rockhampton Downs, 80,000 hectares of prime beef country.” I was fascinated with the thought of a man, who on paper would be a multi­ millionaire, having to work on the roads. I then learnt about rural debt and how people who own large tracts of land are sometimes literally penniless. I thought there was a movie in that, particularly for city dwellers. I then wrote a social drama on commission for Film Australia. It was all very serious and well meaning, but it never got made. But I kept thinking about the idea and over the years it evolved. I realized that if it were ever going to get up, it would have to be an


The other features are The Irishman (19 7 8 ), The Killing o f Angel Street (1981) and Kitty and the Bagman (1983). With Ken Hannam, Crombie directed Robbery U7ider Arms (19 8 5 ), which was made as both a feature and a mini-series.

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No, I don’t suppose there is. Arthur is the nearest thing to one. He’s the threat. In terms of structuring the script, did you had any qualms about the fact that almost all the characters seem to be nice, positive people? No. It was a conscious decision not to create black characters. It is probably easier to write truly bad people, but we were trying to find the right lightness of tone. That was the biggest problem: not making it too slapstick, or too serious; trying to find the right levels of the comedy. The setting suggests a rediscovery of the original Australian style of humour, that laconic, colourful humour best exemplified by Croco­ dile Dundee [Peter Faiman, 1986]. Yes. Almost all the secondary characters have some laconic touch that is based on truth. The doctor in the film, for example, although he doesn’t have any lines, is based on a doctor that I actually saw once. I won’t name the town, but this particular doctor liked to

drink and it was well known that he liked to drink. At a rodeo - and I saw this - one of the buckjumpers came off his horse and was lying inert on the ground. There was a long si­ lence and suddenly this voice said, “Get the doc.” And the doc, who was there at the ring­ side, weaved out and ran to­ wards this fallen cow boy. Somebody then called out, “Look out Jim, the doc’s com­ ing.” With that, the cowboy looked up and ran in the oppo­ site direction ... We put that in the movie. A lot of the film is based on observation. Part of the enjoy­ ment will come from the obser­ vation of characters and the little things they do - like the dog on the property which sleeps in the boot of the car that’s always left open. Of course, this could also be the film’s weakness, too, be­ cause if you don’t notice these things or don’t find them funny, you might not find the film par­ ticularly funny, either. This is also not a film where the dialogue conveys all the humour. There are not many wisecracks. It mightn’t be the greatest dialogue in the world, but it’s real. I was very offended by one of the script assessments which said, “Didn’t like the American influence in the dialogue.” I thought, “Well, bugger me, I don’t know where the American influence is. I have no idea.” Sure, people say “okay”, but that’s been with, us a generation or more now. I think the film is very genuinely Australian, which will either make it or sink it. We took the deep breath and said, “This film’s going to be a genuinely Australian film. We are not going to allow any influences to come in from overseas. We are going to avoid having an American lead.” Actually, a Texan playing Mike was seriously suggested by one of our financiers in the past. We have been through a fairly tortuous trail, but we managed to resist having a story about a Texan who happens to be living in Queensland. Can you put a label on the film? Yes. The label is “romance, music and cattle theft”, which I hope is going to be attached to the title on the film. I think that sums it up really well.

You have a well-recognized career, having made some films of lasting value. Some better than others ... Where does Rough D iamonds fit in that context? Are you enjoying the process more than before? I find the process extremely difficult, maybe because this is a personal project. It was not something I was offered. . These days it’s so hard to make a personal movie, or a film that you have generated yourself with producers and other people, that for it not to work would be a real tragedy. For that reason it is harder. It’s also harder because we don’t have as much money as we should have. I know everybody says that. But when we were facing the reality of how much money we could get to make it, we took a deep breath and said, “We are still going to make the movie and not cut a lot of the scenes or replace the more expensive elements in the script with scenes of people just talking.” In other words, we tried to make it a movie, not a telemovie. And I think we might have succeeded, although it’s really too early to say.

Did you live in the bush for a while to observe all these things?

How did you do that?

No, but I come from a family where previous generations were on the land. Maybe I have some sort of affinity with those $ort of characters. The other thing about this film is that everything is coming out with some sort of truth. There isn’t any moment which I think is false. I hope that makes it work.

Well, it’s fairly scene-intensive. In telemovies and in mini-series, a lot of the drama is conveyed by people sitting in rooms and cars talking. With this film, there are quite a lot of little scenes where people move through. For example, there is a scene where the girls are talking about what the bull is going to mean to them and, instead of finishing all that dialogue and then a new scene, they actually jump CINEMA


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Rough Diamonds

on a vehicle and continue the scene in the travelling vehicle. That is very expensive to do—to split a 45-second sequence into a 35-second sequence and a 10-second sequence done as a travelling shot. That’s the sort of thing that probably separates this movie from a telemovie, more so than the lenses you use. How, then, were the cost savings achieved?

The other thing we discovered is that by using a bull with a hump - our bulls are Brahmins - actors kept getting lost behind the hump. The bull is actually taller than young Haley Toomey [Samantha, Mike’s sister, and the bull’s handler]. You can laugh about it now, but it caused a bit of tension. Our shooting ratio is higher than it should be in a normal drama because we had to get the shots to get the drama right when working with the bull.

By not filming over 8 weeks, and trying to do it in 6. Every day had to be planned meticulously, right down to the number of shots. We can do about 20 set-ups a day, so we plan the coverage to fit that. There isn’t time to say, “That doesn’t work that well. Let’s try and do it another way.” It really has to work the first time. Everything has been planned to the nth degree, and it’s been an extremely efficient production. Apart from the weather problems, nothing really has gone wrong. We haven’t lost time because we hadn’t planned something properly. We did lose time with the animals, however. I think if we’d have known what was ahead of us we might have taken a deeper breath. But we didn’t know. We went into it like virgins, not having done intensive work with bulls before.

We got photographs out of A D ay in the L ife o f Australia and looked at the colours, the sun. We talked about how in scenes on the verandah of the homestead we should see the countryside. We didn’t want to expose just for the verandah and let everything else burn out. We also talked about the lenses. Virtually everything is shot on a 50mm and upwards lens. They give a slightly longer effect and everything is packed in. We don’t use wide-angle lenses very often - only sometimes with the bull. They make the bull look a bit bigger.

What didn’t you expect about the bulls?

Is it a black bull?

The nearest way of equating doing drama around a bull is being at sea. When you work with boats, everything moves all the time, and you can’t control it. Bulls also keep moving. They like shifting their weight. Our main bull weighs 1.3 tonne, so, when it decides it doesn’t want to stand there, no one is going to say, “Please, stay on your marks.” And we had seven bulls in a line when we did the cattle-judging sequence, in very powerful winds!

No, it’s a red and white bull. It knows it’s a champion. It’s better bred than most of the crew! In the script it’s described as a deep thinker. So, when things are happening around it, you cut to the bull and it’s thinking. The scene of the bull being towed through Brisbane is very funny. The bull stands on the back of this open cage. It’s a very regal animal, looking around. To me that is funny.


How did you cast the bull?

When you talked to DOP John Stokes, what were the stylistic things you discussed?

We looked for an animal that created a concept that the audience would feel comfortable with. Some bulls look mean, and an audience wouldn’t feel comfortable seeing a small girl holding a big mean-looking bull. This bull you can cuddle. I don’t mean this in a pejorative sense, and I wouldn’t want it to be taken as such, but there is a whiff of Disney in this. We have a charming, good-looking cast and we tried to make the film as attractive and charming as possible. As far as the marketing of the film goes and its potential for success, I have a feeling that the films which have really worked in Australia have been three-generational films. That is, three genera­ tions can go and see them without their causing offence. A grandpa can take his 13-year-old granddaughter and know that they are not going to be confronted with nudity, sex, violence, etc. We are aiming at the people who don’t go to the pictures a lot, but who will come out for a special Australian film. I remember going to see C rocodile D undee at a suburban cinema, and I was amazed that whole families were at the pictures: mum and dad, the kids and the grandparents. I’d never seen that before. When we were designing this film, we aimed for that market. That probably explains best why there aren’t certain elements in the film. For example, there aren’t torrid sex scenes between Angie Milliken and Jason Donovan. I mean the nearest we get to that is when he takes his shirt off on one or two occasions. When I arrived on set, the first thing I saw was Mike and Chrissie kissing outside the door of a pub. You choreographed them to be turning around as they kissed, like in a slow dance. 14 • C I N E M A

P A P E R S 96

Jason Donovan After small roles in B lo od O ath and a student film in London, and with the frustration of several projects having faltered in preproduction, Jason Donovan finally has his sought-after lead in Rough D iam onds. Donovan had been starring in London in Jo sep h and his A m az­ ing T echnicolor D ream coat, and returned to that after finishing Rough D iam onds. In February, he will begin his new album for Polydor records. What attracted you to what has become your first major role in a theatrical feature?


That’s the end of the movie. There is a song which Chrissie is singing, because she goes on and becomes a singer. The whole story is they keep pulling apart, coming together, pulling apart, and finally at the end of the movie they are together - in the good traditions of this sort of entertainment. What about the music? Is it all original? No, we are using three classics, “Help Me Make it Through the Night”, “Could I Have This Dance?” and the Johnny Farnham hit, “Two Strong Hearts”. The rest are original. I’m not quite sure whether they are Australian original or whether they have been got from a pool. There is only one song that has been written especially for the movie, which is the title song, “Rough Diamonds”. Lee Kernaghan sings that. The music producer is Garth Porter. Jason flew to Sydney and did his vocals with Garth. He sings “Help Me Make it Through the Night” How much singing is there all together? Jason will be singing 6-8 minutes. There is about 10 minutes of singing all together. Are you aiming for about 95 minutes? That would be about tops. The story itself is fairly slight, so we wouldn’t want to try and drag it out any more than that. Of course, if it worked at 100 minutes we wouldn’t say no. But it would have to really convince us all that it was working, because I think 90 minutes of entertainment is about right. Our screen times are up at the moment, so we are not quite sure what we will end up with. But hopefully we can edit it down. How would you like people to walk out of the cinema? With a smile on their faces and telling their friends to come and see the movie. I think it is so important that they actually enjoy it. If they don’t enjoy the film, it has no value because it doesn’t have any deep message to give the world. So if it works, it will work because it is a charming entertainment that you will actually enjoy in the 90 minutes that you spend with it.

I was impressed with the script. It’s a very Australian and commer­ cial piece. It has Australian people and humour, and an Australian cast. That attracted me a lot. It’s not the usual syndrome of trying to put an American or an Englishman in there to sell the product overseas. It stands up to the buyers on its own right. Without saying it wouldn’t be a challenge to me, I felt the part was something that wouldn’t throw me. I wouldn’t be trying to play someone far removed from me as a person. Instead of trying to do something in England, which might have required an English accent, I wanted a soft introduction, as it were. As you know, I have been involved in other productions that have missed out on finance. This one nearly did, too. It did twice, which was like, “Oh God, not the fourth time!” But I had faith in Damien [Parer] and I’d worked with Donald [Crombie] before [on H eroes]. I liked his sense of direction; he leaves a lot up to you. I think it is very important in the casting to get a lot of your acting work done, and Donald had faith in what I could do. I’ve always wanted to do cinema - it’s been high on my agenda - but, after getting out of N eighbours, I wanted to find the right project - and a project with the money to get made! Now that you have been doing it for a few weeks, have you found the creative stretch enjoyable? Oh, absolutely. The romanticism of it I haven’t touched for quite a while. Josep h isn’t exactly a romantic piece. In H eroes, I played a soldier and, in Shadows o f the H eart, I was a sort of drunk crazy type. It’s been challenging to relax in front of the camera enough to let your emotions speak for themselves and to let the story take over your mind. Since coming out of school, where one is more energetic and in peer groups where there is a lot more dominance between people, I’ve probably softened a lot. This guy in Rough D iam onds has a bit of punch to him. The first time I got on the set, they said, “Okay, we’re doing the fight stuff today.” It was like, “Oh, I haven’t done this in a long time. ” It hadn’t even crossed my mind! At school, I was a pretty sort of placid guy. But you do sports and you are a more physical sort of person. Apparently, your childhood was pretty uneventful, without any big family traumas. The biggest hassles you’ve probably had have been dealing with the British press. Can you gain anything from that? (








96 . 15




Richard Stewart is director of the Queensland state government's very active film instrumentality, Film Queensland. Brought in to help assess the wreckage o f the Queensland Film Corporation in 1987, Stewart has helped oversee a remarkable revival in the state’s film production fortunes. Much credit for this is due to Film Queensland, as well as to the spirit of several independent Queensland producers and directors, and, most important, the massive and financially successful presence of Warner Roadshow’s Movie World Studios on the Gold Coast. Stewart is also the marketing manager of the Pacific Film and Television Commission and recently became the first Australian appointed to the Association of Film Commissioners International. He is extremely well placed to give an extensive and forthright view on the state of film production in Queensland.



What does Film Queensland owe in legal structure to the Queens­ land Film Development Office and earlier incarnations? In October 1987, the Queensland Film Corporation was wound up. It had a sunset clause, being only ever-intended to last for ten years. But clearly after the matter of Allan Callaghan1, and the perceived lack of success, it was a conscious government decision not to renew the licence of the Corporation. In early l988, two people came on the scene: myself and Michael Mitchener. Michael’s job was to prepare a report on what had really happened in relation to the Corporation: primarily why it failed and an exploration of future options. It was only a verbal brief from what I can gather - 1 never saw it in writing - and was given to him by the then Director of the Arts, Donna Grieves. I came in from a different perspective, in so far as I’d been working in government for a while. I have some accounting background and a background in film. I was asked to do a reconciliation of all the assets of the Corporation, to look at what films had been made, what their position was in terms of marketing, what recompense may be due, what amounts may be still outstand­ ing to individuals, and so on. As you know, the Corporation was also acting at that time as investors’ representative to a number of films. My job took up most of 1988. It didn’t take long for word to spread in the industry that there were two people sitting in the office there. We received a number of requests. Somebody then decided to call us the Queensland Film Development Office and we started with a very humble budget of $695,000.

The government still had a wait-and-see perspective, with no commitment at all to an ongoing film assistance organization. But we were able to change its mind on that one [laughs] by a demonstration of a number of things. A little bit of luck came into play as well. This was when Mike Ahern was still Premier. About that time, the De Laurentiis Studios on the Gold Coast were in their virtual death throes because of Dino’s bankruptcy overseas. The Studios were absolutely vacant and the only film that had been mooted there, T otal R ecall, had gone elsewhere and eventually ended up in Mexico - but that’s another story. There was a range of opinions to what should happen to the Studios. Fortunately, none of the other alternatives - such as converting it into a aircraft hangar, making an airport for the Gold Coast - happened. Instead, Village Roadshow decided to take over the facility. At the same time, Paramount came in with two television series: M ission: Im possible and D olphin Cove or D olphin Bay. That caused government to rethink the possibilities of a film industry. Here we were sitting in a state with a studio which had been perceived as a white elephant, but with about $30 million worth of production going through. Everybody felt that perhaps it could be turned into the nucleus of a developing Queensland film industry. It was along those lines that we convinced government to start ^reassessing its earlier position in relation to film development. We were then given $1.2 million for the next year. We already had developed a set of programmes of assistance, and participated in Locations Expo in 1989, so we obviously had a clear direction, from within the office and also from government, to market Queensland as a location. We also introduced a range of assistance programmes, encom­ passing script development, pre-production and marketing. We also started to work at a cultural level with the introduction of such things as the Queensland Young Filmmakers Awards. We then had a change of government and Wayne Goss came into power. Things went into a period of review, where we were obliged to look very carefully at our directions. The review lasted a long time - rather too long, actually, because it also led to instability in terms of the office. You see, we still hadn’t really been given an imprimatur from government; our activities were never enshrined in legislation. We were just simply a branch of the Arts Division, as it was called. We could have been told to wind up shop at any time. Was the internal review of the whole Arts Division, or just the film office? O f the entire Arts Division in Queensland, as well as a number of companies that had been funded by the Arts Division. The review was quite successful in terms of our perspective and it affirmed what we had been doing. The general feeling of the review committee was that they were happy with the programmes of assistance and with our policy. In fact, our policy in those days was quite radical for Queensland because we were the only arts body in the state which was funding individuals. All other arts’ grants operated by the Arts Division were provided to organizations for operational expenditure. When we came along and presented our report to the review committee, they were quite taken back. They said that what film had been doing was basically a blueprint for the other art forms. We were funding individuals, using peer group assessment, and these two things were Introduced throughout the arts in Queensland. After the review, it became clear that the Queensland Film

Development Office had a future under the Goss government. That was confirmed on a number of occasions by the Premier. His government made a strong commitment to film and he has contin­ ued to do so. Then, of course, the Queensland Film Development Office changed its name to Film Queensland earlier this year. That was really done to try and achieve a better national focus for film organizations. It seemed that Film Victoria had set the standard here, by its name. There was more to it than that, however. There was an underly­ ing philosophy that Film Queensland had in fact moved from an organization which was strictly a development office to an organi­ zation that could encompass a whole range of film activities. Film production had become very much a reality of Queensland life and the office had a contributing role into an industry which, in dollars and cents terms, had become a significant player for Queensland. As all this was going on, we set about developing a new range of policies. In 1991, we developed the Pacific Film and Television Commission (PFTC), which is a separate international marketing arm of Film Queensland. We also set about' some other initiatives, such as the Brisbane International Film Festival. W e’d had a smaller event called Queensland Images, which was a retrospective festival in 1991. W e’d been pleased with the general success of that event. The Festival was established initially to showcase the work of upand-coming Queensland filmmakers. It also had a strong Asia Pacific focus, again as part of overall government policy. The Queensland government, in its trade and investment sections, has a strong Asia focus. It has secretariats for places like Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Japan. So, we have had a strong Asia focus in our Festival. It still reflects that, particularly with the excellent assist­ ance from Tony Rayns. What is the legal status of Film Queensland today? Film Queensland remains a branch, but now a formal branch, of Arts Queensland. The Pacific Film and Television Commission is a wholly-owned government corporation. Film Queensland is not a statutory authority like the others. Is that a disadvantage or an advantage? When we under the wing of the Premier’s Department, that was a much more difficult question to answer. Being directly involved then in the total infrastructure was quite useful, particularly in terms of matters relating to budget, flexibility and networks. There is obviously quite a lot to be gained by being in the Premier’s office. But now, being part of Justice of Attorney-General’s Depart­ ment, I can answer the question very easily. It is no way as convenient or as useful or as flexible as in the past. We are finding difficulties in that environment. It’s not because there is anything wrong with individuals involved in Justice of Attorney-General’s Department, except that it’s about time we actually become a statutory authority. Do you think that will happen? Sure. It’s just going to take time. Maybe Arts Queensland will become a statutory authority and we will become part of that authority. I guess there are three scenarios: we could become a statutory authority first, Arts Queensland could become a statutory author­ ity, they could both happen at the same time, or we may achieve our goal a little later. CINEMA

P A P E R S 96 - 17

I think it’s fair to say there is little legacy of the Queensland Film Corporation to haunt us, as was suggested when there was talk a few years ago of statutory authority for the Queensland Film Development Office. Now it’s a different scenario altogether. We are close to a statutoryauthority, because it’s now called the Office of Arts and Cultural Development. We have a good relationship with that organization and I see no reason jto rush into a statutory corporation, except when our response times are affected by excessive red tape. Your budget at the moment is $2.7million, plus $750,000 for the Equity Fund. That1s right. We also administer a range of other funds, including about $3.5 million in the Revolving Film Fund (RFF). We also administer another half a million a year or so in other government incentive programmes, such as the payroll tax rebate scheme and Queensland crew subsidy programme. We have a number of other incentives as well to encourage production, not just for foreign but for local productions as well. The sum total would put Film Queensland on a similar financial level, or even higher, than say Film Victoria. Pretty well. The mix is different because we are the only state running a discounting transaction. Our Equity Fund will be run along very similar lines to Film Victoria’s or the AFC’s funds. We are drawing up guidelines for that now. There won’t be too many surprises, except we may use some of the funds to possibly interface with the Revolving Film Fund, so a client coming to us can access RFF money and Film Queensland money. W e’ll work out some rather interesting combinations of both loan and investment. Having access to a loan fund as well as investment funds - the loan fund is much higher in quantum should give us an interesting advantage when it comes to putting deals together. Loan funds are being discussed in principle at the moment by the AFC’s consultant, John Maynard. John is actually a recipient of some RFF funding for his next picture, which is going to be directed by Gerard Lee, who is living up in Queensland now. John has had experience of what this fund is about. I haven’t actually spoken to him about it specifically, :but it wouldn’t surprise me if he was thinking about it, because it works well. And, of course, the American film industry is based on discounting transactions. That is how films are made there: people get a deal and go to a bank. That’s what we are doing here: we are running a bank and it works. How much production do you think Film Queensland can viably generate in a year? I don’t know. I read a report that Peat Marwick has done for Greg Smith at the New South Wales Film and Television Office, and he seems to be using the money wisely and well, [laughs] If one considers that the FFC requirement for pre-sales to be around 30% - the amount obviously varies depending on who is making application and other factors - it seems that an injection of $200,000 straight equity from the government film office can be very useful in that equation. It’s not quite 10% , but it’s closing in on 10% , and that can be hard to get. So, I think the $750,000 Equity Fund could be carefully used to lever up about 3 or 4 productions each year. I see no reason why that couldn’t happen, with a typical investment of about $200,000 for each picture or television show. The RFF, being a little bit larger and offering up to $1 million of investment, but only 20% of the total budget, ought to be able to generate probably about another three or four - possibly more 18 - C I N E M A



projects. Some of those projects could be quite larger properties, and we have loaned up to $ lm on some. Given that mix, and everything else that is happening in the state, I think the slate of productions that we’d see in Queensland in the future might be anything from six to eight in an average year maybe more if we are lucky. We have the potential to do that, but there are limitations as well. There is our small producer base, the availability of crews and studio space, and the limitations of a fairly small office - there are only 7 people at Film Queensland, so it’s not exactly a big office. There is also the fact there is only a small amount of network production in Queensland. We don’t have that large base of ABC and network production that Sydney has. Most of our quasi-network production has to be done on location, even though there is Paradise Beach at the Studios, and some other Nine and Seven programmes happening up here. But they are more magazine and documentary-style. The problem with the Studios is that it is totally booked for the next year and longer. There seems to be at least 14 confirmed productions coming into Queensland in the next year or so, which means that there are limitations as to how much can be done. Still, there is an interesting range of projects coming through, some of which have definite pre-sales arid confirmfed money. Some are still waiting on the FFC, but I see no reason why any of those projects wouldn’t happen. They are all fairly advanced and ought to be made. [See Likely Queensland Production Slate, page 5 8 .| What are the Queensland element requirements for receipt of monies from Film Queensland ? If you are applying for, development money, anybody fror^ around Australia can make application, as long as they stickf'to fpur basic elements and get two of them right. The show has a Queensland

“ ***we do welcome applications from interstate, particularly if there can be some dem onstrated Queensland elem ent to the show* That means more than just sayins, ‘The script has a few palm trees in it* Do you want us to shoot it in Queensland?*” writer, it’s Queensland produced, has a Queensland image - in other words it’s clearly about Queensland - and can be shot on location. You should in theory get two of those. However, I’ve known projects occasionally not to quite get past the two, for reasons such as co-production, etc. Our general policy is to support co-production, specifically of projects which are of demonstrated financial benefit to Queensland. . So, we do welcome applications from interstate, particularly if there can be some demonstrated Queensland element to the show. That means more than just saying, “The script has a few palm trees in it. Do you want us to shoot it in Queensland? ” That’s not of great interest to us, even though, if the project is something we all love, we will try and be as accommodating as possible. At the same time, the emphasis and priority is always given to Queensland. As there is a reasonably well-established producer and writer community in Queensland, that community deserves our support first. And that goes specifically in respect to the new $750,000 Equity Fund. It is available to Queensland producers and directors. We would like to continue to support interstate projects, though perhaps in a more formalized way through those various state agencies, rather than with individuals who, it’j> probably fair to say, have been knocked back in another state-and have come to

Queensland with the project. You can almost see the white-out over the change of “Sydney” to “Brisbane”. I’m anxious to facilitate more co-funding ventures between film agencies in other states and the AFC. I welcome discussions in relation to projects where we can all get together and work collaboratively. What about the RFF fund? RFF is available to anybody. There are certain requirements that relate specifically to how much money has to be expended in the state. Generally speaking we are looking for about 50% of the total below-the-line costs to be expended within Queensland. That I think allows enough flexibility to embrace co-productions, but also demonstrates that we are looking to see some clear financial return to the state in exchange for that loan fund. In theory, the RFF is available to overseas producers as well. However, it’s fair to say as a matter of policy, and also as a matter of slightly limited resources, we have not widely advertised the availability of the Fund overseas. We haven’t really had to anyway, because most of our clients to date, particularly in terms of location shooting, have come from the U.S. and virtually 99.9% of those films are fully funded by the time they reach our shores. You mentioned a strong local producer base. How successful do you consider the relocation of four interstate producers to Queens­ land? Jonathan Shiff has been great. He’s established Westbridge in North Queensland, and he’s produced O cean Girl up there. We’ve seen some of the early shows and like them a lot. ' Then there are Ross Dimsey and Damien Parer. Damien’s finished Rough D iam onds and he has pre-sold a documentary series, Sex and Civilisation, which ought to go into production soon. He’s also likely to produce O ver the Top with Jim in the next year. He has another two features which look very strong. Ross Dimsey has three projects which I think look very healthy. Except for the problem with London Films [which experienced financial problems in England], Ross would have had a show up this year, without a doubt. Rosa Colosimo regrettably has problems with R ed Rain. How­ ever, she has our support and I am sure she will commence production in Queensland next year. So, in terms of our investment in these individuals, I think the scheme is worthy of a second look. However, if you look at our programmes of assistance this year, you won’t see this programme. We haven’t advertised for producer applicants simply because we want to consolidate arid work closely with the existing recipients. It is important to note that this fund has always been available for local producers as well. It was designed to help producers in the same way that Film Victoria has with its fund. That has only been used to help Victorian producers, but in Queensland the fund has also been used to encourage producers to think about Queensland ai an alternative production base. We were able to demonstrate to those individuals that Queensland is a good place to produce. That’s why I tjiink we will continue the fund and it may reappear next financial year, with some modifications. That could mean that the actual quantum of money available may be increased. If that were to happen, it? would probably mean a more tightly-structured package - in other words, with /clear performance indicators and production horizons - than the ones that exist at present. We are taking examples orit of the New Zealand book there, and also a couple of other examples I’ve heard about in other parts of the world. ' I,' i At the same time, we have been lucky because there are some upand-coming Queensland producers.

“♦♦♦we have in the context of the Studios several producers who are bubbling away down there with a whole range of projects« It’s fair to say that the producer base in Brisbane and in Queensland generally is widening dramatically«”

We also have a Producer’s Support Scheme. There were four recipients of funding this year: Phil Bowman, Coral Drouyn, Mark Chapman and Phil Warner. They all have fine projects, some with pre-sales attached, and some in quite advanced stages of develop­ ment. More producers have been moving up into the Studios environ­ ment as well, such as Jock Blair. We have also had two long-term trainees: Brett Chenoweth and Joe Porter. Joe is now the production manager on Paradise B each, and Brett is working with Nick McMahon in an executive producer role. So, we have in the context of the Studios several producers who are bubbling away down there with a whole range of projects. It’s fair to say that the producer base in Brisbane and in Queensland generally is widening dramatically. I don’t know exactly how many people we are talking about, but up to about a dozen or so active, producers are working within the state, which is a lot better than in: 1988 when we had two credited drama producers: Ken Merthold and Mike Williams. Ken produced Contagion and Ja c k s o n ’s Crew. You mentioned co-productions with other government bodies. Film Victoria’s feature production pretty well exists only in cohorts with the AFC. Do you envisage similar arrangements with the AFC, particularly on low-budget films? I hope so. We had a good example of doing something with the AFC this year with B roken H ighw ay, which I think is a good film. That was an example of Film Queensland and the AFC getting together, and we’d like to do more of fhati I’ve sent loud and clear signals to Cathy Robinson [chief executive, AFC] about this and we’d obvi­ ously like to talk to John Maynard as well. The same goes in relation to the state base. Whenever I get a chance, I always talk to Greg Smith about these notions. I have also spoken with Valerie Hardy when she was in Adelaide, but she is now at Network 10. There is obviously a great synergy in terms of the SAFC and Queensland to perhaps shoot on location here, and do the post-producing and studio work down in SA. I see nothing wrong with encouraging that type of activity with any state. Victoria is a good example. It has studio and excellent post-production facilities. We came a little bit close with M uriel’s W edding this year, but it didn’t happen. Next time on. How do you regard balance of monies spent in the federal and the state spheres? They’ve got it all and we want it! The state bodies have always been seen as secondary because they have much less money. But, some would argue that a disparate amount of energy and initiative comes out of the state sphere. Exactly. And it’s fair to say that it has been a popular pastime in Queensland to suggest that we don’t receive enough federal fund­ ing. I don’t want to jog over fairly well-worn turf, except to say I genuinely believe that if agencies like the AFC worked more closely with state bodies, and really made a very positive commitment towards the establishment of small branch offices in the states, then the variety and overall texture of the programmes we see come from the AFC would improve. I consider there is far too narrow a CINEMA


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perspective in relation to AFC funding at the moment. I’d like to see that changed, and it can only be changed by demonstrating to the AFC that there are horizons which haven’t been explored yet. I think we can do that. The AFC has always felt —though decreasingly so, given the recent films it has supported - that it should be reactive, responding only to what applications it receives. Film Queensland, on the other hand, obviously believes in actively help initiate productions and filmmaking teams. What you are saying is absolutely true and I have affection and respect for a number of individuals working within the AFC. However, I think AFC policy needs to look a little more carefully at what really is available in terms of partnerships with the state agencies and what’s possible with individual filmmakers through­ out Australia. John Maynard is starting to identify that and he has only been there a short time. If he can manage to achieve what I believe he is trying to achieve, I think there will be a lot of changes coming through in the AFC and they will all be positive for the entire Australian film industry. Speaking as a “Mexican”, there seems to be two industries in Queensland: the one on the coast, with a large proportion of offshore-funded projects, and the more indigenous Brisbane one. Is that a fair generalization? Yes, and it’s pretty fair to say it has been bad. It is something that worried the hell out of me for a long time. I felt there would never be a synergy between the Brisbane industry and the Gold Coast industry. But fortunately the barriers are breaking down, and I’m actually starting to see real signs that Brisbane individuals, Brisbane filmmakers, are actually starting to enter the Gold Coast Studio. There is a much greater feeling of partnership between the two areas than there ever has been. I think the first good sign was when Donald Crombie, who I think is one of Australia’s best directors, started to work on Time Trax. The Americans thought he was a great director, and they keep ringing him up, asking him to do some more shows! That was a really good sign that there are talented individuals living in Brisbane. And it’s starting to happen more. There is a whole gamut of local people starting to have a real input in the total Studios complex. Another important sign was the transferring this year of the script office of Paradise B each from Sydney to Queensland. Obvi­ ously that had been a weeping sore, particularly with our writing community. Now there is an opportunity for Queenslanders to participate. There will also be a lot more trainee directors and producers coming into the Studios system, most of whom are coming out of Brisbane. If we can get one or two more independent pictures produced at the Studios, that us-and-them mentality we have seen over the past few years will slowly break down. The Studios has been pretty generous in sponsoring things as well, like the Brisbane Interna­ tional Film Festival, the Young Filmmakers Awards and other sponsorship around the town. The Studios is a bloody great rqass sitting out there like a shag on a rock on the Gold Coast highway. It is pretty hard to ignore and it seems to be making a lot of money. That at times causes resentment amongst individuals who may be struggling to find a place. I don’t think anybody should resent success. What are the feelings about foreign productions ? Do they still cause as much controversy? Yes, and I think they always will. But I don’t think there is much point in dwelling on it. Foreign production in the Queensland context is here to stay. And if one listens to what other state agencies 20 • C I N E M A



are saying, and I have looked at the latest SA review, it’s the recommendation for the future. It’s becoming part of the Australian scene, like it or not. And the number of people who travel this highway from Brisbane to the Gold Coast each day to work at the Studios is growing. While the occasional piece of controversy still flairs about this and that relating to the Studios, and there is certainly still an emphasis on foreign production, one can’t deny the infrastructure that is being attracted to the state as a result of that throughput. Throughput is a great thing and, to my mind, it doesn’t matter whether it’s coming from Queensland or wherever. The only way you can sustain laboratories, post-production facilities and conti­ nuity of employment for/individuals is by throughput. What’s happened to the Studios, and what we’ve managed to achieve by attracting those levels of production to Queensland, has been fantastic from the point of view of obtaining the sorts of budgets I have. Could anybody really say that local productions alone in Queensland could justify a film office budget of about $6 million plus? That level of expenditure can only be justified by the fact we have more than $100 million worth of production in Queensland, which is flowing directly back into the state and indirectly back into the state coffers through taxation and so on. The main argument against foreign productions is a cultural one. Should, in fact, government bodies, state or federal, be involved in trying to shape the film culture of a country in some particular way? I agree and it’s one of the reasons why we started the PFTC as well. There has often been confusion about the difference between the PFTC and Film Queensland. Film Queensland, as the Queensland government’s principal film funding body, has in its basic charter the attraction of foreign production, whether it be from the U.S. or Japan, North Asia, Europe or wherever. To make life a little bit easier for all of us, in terms of efficiencies and perceptions and a lot of other things, we started PFTC. It is basically an organization that carries out Film Queensland’s loca­ tion and facilities marketing role. Film Queensland itself doesn’t have any confusion in its own goals. Film Queensland is here to develop the Queensland film industry, including the development of Queensland film and televi­ sion projects, and a whole range of creative and cultural areas that need to exist within the state. And it happens that one of its other programmes is location facilities marketing which is handled by PFTC. The PFTC has a totally separate board of directors, a totally separate business plan, and has funding from other sources. It receives a fair degree of industry support, particularly in kind, and it’s also eligible to receive funding through organizations like Austrade. It is quite arm’s length from Film Queensland, but is still very much in accord with government policy as it relates to the totality of the Queensland film industry. What is Film Queensland’s view on the push for changes to Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) regulations on foreign productions shot in Australia. Yes. We have argued that some limited content be granted for the likes of the M ission: Im possibles of this world. We argued for the ABA to consider the introduction of a broadcasting policy not unlike the Canadian system. So far it hasn’t happened. We believe that in terms of the levels of Australian creativity that exist on shows like Tim e Trax - such as Australian line producers, directors, directors of photography, the amount of money which is expended in the country - that lim ited content should be made available. And till somebody can suddenly convince me otherwise, I’d like to think that the ABA could consider this sometime in the future. CONCLUDES








is two 13-part television

series for children. It tells the story of Neri (Marzena Godecki), a young girl discovered swimming on the Great Barrier Reef with a humpback whale. The director of the first series is Mark DeFriest ( Whose Baby?,

G.P., etc.); the second, Brendan Maher (Dolphin Cove, Halfway Around the Galaxy and Turn Left), Ocean Girl was filmed in and around Port Douglas, including the Daintree rain forest. The underwater sets (the habitat for the whale) were done in Melbourne. The series, shot on 16mm but post-produced on C Pal 1-mch videotape, cost $3.58 million. Production finance came from the Australian Film Finance Corporation, Film Victoria and Westbridge Entertainment. Script development


Mips *6










D irector Nadia Tass and cinema­ tographer David Parker have shot all their hit films out of their Melbourne production offices. From Malcom to The Big Steal and now the television series Stark. “Melbourne offers a unique blend of Australian and European features”, says Nadia. “From its superb Victorian architecture to its rich green parldands, from its extraordinary tradition of music, comedy and art, we are able to draw on a wealth of talent both in front of and behind the camera. The city is steeped in culture - every turn presents another visual delight”.


TELEPHONE 61 3 651 4 0 8 9 FACSIMILE 61 3 651 4 0 9 0

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“Stark locations ranged from the Australian outback to New York Streets, from corporate headquarters to sleepy seaside suburbs - all were available to us in Victoria” adds David. “The light here is stunning - day after day of light cloud cover gives a sophisticated, mellow look with the minimum of fuss. Tramcars weave through streets lined with Victorian houses, beaches stretch for 9 0 miles, untouched turn-of-the-century townships nestle below the rugged mountains of the Australian Alps. With first class crews, laboratories and studios why be based anywhere but Melbourne?”




he Village Roadshow group of companies is unique in Aus­ tralia. It is the only completely-integrated audiovisual enter­ tainment company, having involvement in studio management,

production of both film and television, film distribution and exhibition, television distribution, video distribution and movie theme park management. Its approach to internationalization is also unique in that the main thrust of its strategy is to attract overseas or ‘offshore’ productions to its Warner Roadshow Movie World Studios at Coomera, near the Gold Coast in south-east Queensland. It also has a satellite production company, Roadshow Coote &c Carroll, producers of G.P. and Brides o f Christ, which makes programmes mainly oriented to the local market. But while significant in critical and cultural terms, Roadshow Coote & Carroll is not economically significant in the context of the whole company.

he international strategy of the Village Roadshow group raises particular policy and regulatory issues. The present thrust of the government’s regulatory policy for television, expressed in current Australian content rules for commercial television, does not sit well with Village Roadshow production strategies and it has been active in lobbying the government for a relaxation of the rules to cover the sorts of projects it is involved in. This situation adds fuel to the debate about whether Australian content regulation is intended simply to provide jobs for Australian personnel, whether it is intended to foster an Australian production industry or whether, finally, it has a primarily cultural thrust and what the connection between these elements is. Village Roadshow was founded by Roc Kirby in the mid-1950s as an exhibition organization, beginning with a chain of drive-ins.1 In 1968, current managing director, Graham Burke, and Kirby founded Roadshow Distributors, the key to Village Roadshow’s overall success as a company. In 1970, Roadshow distributors signed an exclusive agreement with Warner Bros, to distribute Warners pictures in Australia, an association that was to prove extremely beneficial to the company’s expansion. The company quickly developed and by the mid-1970s had challenged the tradi­ tional exhibition duopoly of Hoyts and Greater Union (the latter owning one-third of Village Roadshow).


In the early 1970s, Village Roadshow established a production arm with then prominent director-producer, Tim Burstall. The company, Hexagon Films, produced the Alvin Purple films2, Petersen (Burstall, 1974) and A Faithful Narrative o f the Capture, Sufferings and M iraculous Escape o f Eliza Fraser (Burstall, 1976), but went into abeyance in the late 1970s. At this stage, managing director Graham Burke and NSW manager Greg Coote took a chance on a couple of enthusiastic youngsters, George Miller and Byron Kennedy, and part-financed and distributed M ad M ax (George Miller, 1979). Its success led to a sequel, M ad M ax 2 (George Miller, 1981), which under the name The R oad W arrior had enormous success through international release by Warner Bros. A third in the cycle3was fullyfinanced by Warner Bros, and launched the Hollywood career of its star, Mel Gibson. This type of success is pointed to by Village Roadshow as a model of how the Australian industry could develop. As this example reveals, there was a close relationship between Village Roadshow as Australian distributors and Warner Bros, as international distributors. There was also a relationship between producer Matt Carroll and Village Roadshow. The latter had been formed during the 1970s when Carroll was a producer at the South Australian Film Corporation and Village Roadshow had distrib­ uted a successful string of films produced there, including, for example, ‘B reaker’ M orant (Bruce Beresford, 1980). These rela­ tionships were cemented in the early 1980s when Greg Coote became managing director of the TEN network and took it close to being the top-rating network in Australia for a short time. Its strategy was a combination of top-rating Hollywood movies (for example, Superman4) and prestigious mini-series, usually produced by Kennedy Miller, including The Dismissal, Body line and The C ow ra Breakout. After a couple of years at the head of the TEN network, both Coote and Carroll departed, Coote to return to Village Roadshow, but now as Los Angeles representative, and Carroll to head the production company founded by the two in 1984, Roadshow Coote & Carroll. The latter company would be a vehicle for highquality television production; it began to make tele-features such as The Perfectionist (Chris Thomson, 1985) and Archer (Denny Lawrence, 1985) and mini-series like The Challenge (the story of Alan Bond’s America’s Cup challenge) and The First K angaroos, the first official co-production Australia was involved in. CINEMA


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Village Roadshow-Warner Roadshow

Village Roadshow continued to be a successful exhibition and distribution business. In the mid-1970s, it had added television distribution to its stable of activities, supplying mainly movies to the networks. By the mid-1980s, exhibition had recovered from the slump of 1983-4 induced by the introduction of home video to Australia and Village Roadshow had itself developed a highlysuccessful video distribution arm. Like other exhibitors, it had rationalized considerably, closing drive-ins and old-fashioned sub­ urban cinemas and moving into the multiplex business. The mid- to late-1980s was a time of considerable new investment in bricks and mortar but also in streamlined and automated projection systems which cut labour costs. This paid off for Village Roadshow; it has been a profitable business for most of its life. In the late-1980s, the distribution arm of Greater Union amalgamated with Village and today Greater Union and Village Roadshow are joint owners of the distribution and multiplex businesses (in which Warner Bros, also has a stake). In 1986, the American independent producer, Dino De Laurentiis, who specialized in studios in out of the way places (his other one was in South Carolina), persuaded the Queensland government to give him a low-interest loan to build a studio on the Gold Coast. This duly happened and De Laurentiis was set to produce the multi­ million dollar special effects picture, T otal R ecall (to have been directed by Bruce Beresford), when the world-wide stock-market crash occurred. The bottom fell out of De Laurentiis’ distribution business and the studio appeared to be threatened .5Village Roadshow made the decision to buy the studio in a joint venture with Warner Bros. The studio was seen as the heart of a bigger complex which included the Movie World theme park. Faced with the prospect of a white elephant on their hands and an unpaid loan, the Queensland government continued the favourable deal it had extended to De Laurentiis, and the Warner Roadshow complex on the Gold Coast was born. Thus came into existence Australia’s only fully-integrated entertainment company. The parent company, Village Roadshow Ltd, has a 50% stake with Warners in the Gold Coast Studios and the theme park, and has interests in other entertainment centres in the area not themed on ‘movie magic’. Warners, GUFilm Distributors and Village Roadshow each own a third of the multiplex business. In addition, the Nine Network has a 10% share in the parent company and the UK ITV franchise-holder for East Anglia, Anglia Television, has 17% . The latter relationship is a result of the fact that Roadshow Coote & Carroll has presold a number of programmes to Anglia. The Village Roadshow organization has two production arms, Village Roadshow Pictures and Roadshow Coote & Carroll. The former is more important economically, though the latter has a much higher profile in Australia. This is because the huge invest­ ment in the Studios depends totally on the success of Village Roadshow Pictures in attracting production to them. Roadshow Coote & Carroll is a very small organization with very little investment and could continue quite comfortably outside the umbrella of the parent company. The studios were kicked off in 1988-9 by housing two off-shore television productions for the Hollywood studio Paramount. These were D olphin Bay and M ission: Im possible. They were enormously controversial and provoked conflict with the unions *, especially the then Actors Equity and the Writers Guild, and also a minor flurry with the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal (ABT). M ission: Im pos­ sible was brought to the Warner Roadshow studio by the team of Michael Lake and Nick McMahon, who had both worked previ­ ously for Crawfords in Melbourne, and had a long history of sales 24 . C I N E M A



The Village Roadshow organization has two production arms, Village Roadshow Pictures and Roadshow Coote & Carroll. The former is more important economically, though the latter has a much higher profile in Australia. This is because the huge investment in the Studios depends totally on the success of Village Roadshow Pictures in attracting production to them. and production management. They had wanted to buy Crawfords and take it in a more international direction, but had failed and had gone independent. Their idea was to attract overseas production to Australia, taking advantage of Australia’s lower pay rates and lesscomplicated union regulations, its weak dollar, its high-level of expertise and good locations. It was recently estimated that an hour of series drama can be made here at about 30% lower cost than a comparable one made in Hollywood (although there is great variability and volatility in the area of comparative costs of off­ shore international production locations, with several countries including Spain, Portugal, Mexico and South Africa - vying to attract the same productions as Australia). McMahon and Lake had approached Paramount and secured the Mission: Im possible deal, which they then took to the Warner Roadshow Studios. It was based on the programme formula that had been so successful during the 1960s and the new show was entirely conceived in the U.S. It was to use mainly U.S. principal actors, U.S. directors and all the early episodes used U.S. scripts. It was financed by Paramount with a pre-sale in the U.S. to the ABC network and in Australia to the Nine Network. The Australian involvement would be actors in bit parts and as extras and Austral* Michael Lake, who negotiated the deal with the unions, says he recalls no conflict. [Ed.]

ian production crew. The show was post-produced in Hollywood. * In 1988, the Nine Network approached the ABT and asked that Mission: Im possible be approved as Australian drama for the purposes of meeting the requirement that was then in place that each station must broadcast 104 hours of such drama a year. In spite of a great reluctance to approve it, the ABT found itself in a position under the then definition of being unable to exclude it. The then Australian content (TPS 14) definition said an Australian produc­ tion was one “wholly or substantially made in Australia” and the Nine Network made a successful case that the programme met the definition. The Nine Network then was able to use it to fulfil its Australian drama quota in 1989, which meant that 19 hours of Australian-conceived, -financed and -controlled drama didn’t get made that year. This case played a major role in the ABT’s thinking about strengthening the definition of Australian content when it determined a new standard at the end of 1989. This new definition excluded the Nine Network from getting Australian quota points for the second series. Since 1989, the Studios has attracted part or whole production of several feature films, a mixture of Australian and overseas productions, including The Delinquents (Chris Thomson, 1989), B lo o d O ath (Stephen Wallace, 1990), Until the End o f the W orld (Wim Wenders, 1992), The Penal Colony (Martin, Campbell 1993) and Fortress (Stuart Gordon, 1993), and Paul Hogan’s next Holly­ wood film, Lightning Ja c k (Simon Wincer), is being partly produced on the Gold Coast. It has also hosted a number of U.S. series, most of which haven’t been shown here, including Animal P ark, Savage Sea and a new production of Skippy, which also ran into trouble with the ABT when two episodes were refused C drama classifica­ tion by its Children’s Program Committee. The studio’s recent major U.S. series, T im eT rax, unlike Mission: Im possible, used a considerable number of Australian creative personnel, including directors and post-production people, as it is


entirely post-produced here. It is, however, conceived, scripted in and entirely controlled from Hollywood. With 22 episodes in this series, Nick McMahon, managing director, Village Roadshow Pictures (Television), claims that $700,000 per episode will be spent in Australia, a total of more than $15 million. This by itself makes a dint in the balance of audiovisual trade and he argues that with a multiplier effect of at least 5 (a contested figure, with usually half this figure being quoted), it brings a huge benefit to Queensland and to Australia. Various Village Roadshow management argues that not only do such productions have economic benefits, they also have creative and even perhaps cultural ones. They allow Australian creative personnel the opportunity to work with the best of Hollywood and thus increase their skills; it also gives them credits on projects with a high level of recognition in the U.S. market and thus increases their chance of working there. They point to recent examples of actors like Nicole Kidman, directors like Phil Noyce and a number of technical principals, particularly directors of photography, as ex­ amples of a ‘second wave’ of Australians making it in Hollywood. They argue that these benefits ought to be reflected in the recogni­ tion given to such productions by the regulator. In concert with the Queensland government and its key instrumentality, Film Queens­ land, they actively campaign in Canberra and with the Australian Broadcasting Authority (formerly ABT) for the Australian content regulations to be changed to a system, like the Canadian one, where * Michael Lake says the deal was 50% Australian directors and 3 0% Australian crew, with Australian actors in the guest parts.



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Village Roadshow-Warner Roadshow


points are given on a scale according to how many Australians are employed. The present rule disqualifies from full quota points a.production which has both a foreign writer and director even though all the other elements are Australian. They argue that changes are necessary in order to raise the level of the licence fee that the Australia networks are prepared to pay for programmes. Licence fees have fallen drastically since the television industry got into severe financial trouble. In 1989, the typical licence fee for an hour of Australian series drama was $250,000; now it is $150,000 or lower. According to McMahon, three years ago the price paid for an hour of imported drama was $50,000; now it is $20,000, and this is all the networks will pay for programmes which do not qualify for the full Australian drama quota even if they are produced in Australia. Village Roadshow argues that the restrictions mean that Aus­ tralia has lost important and expensive projects to other countries. It instances The Fatal Shore, a $20 million mini-series adaptation of Robert Hughes’ book, which it argues is an Australian story and would have been made in Australia with all Australian cast and crew except writer and director. This is typical, it argues, of what will happen with increasing frequency in the future as other production sites - for example New Zealand, South Africa, Spain and Mexico - offer better incentives, better union arrangements and a more benign regulatory environment for off-shore production. Warner Roadshow Studios has also been largely instrumental in the establishment in 1993 ofExport Film Services Australia (EFSA), an audiovisual export promotion lobby supported by Austrade, the Pacific Film and Television Commission, and the NSW Film and Television Office," and a number of key post-production and 26 • C I N E M A



ancillary services companies. The purpose of EFSA is to create more opportunities for off-shore production in Australia, including Japanese but most significantly U.S. production, by focusing on Australia as a ‘one-stop’ off­ shore services and facilities centre. Apart from these activities of studio and project management and associated services promotion, con­ cerned mainly with attracting off-shore television pro­ ductions, Village Roadshow has also engaged in very big budget film investment, but with problematic results. It is estimated that the Australian Film Finance Corpora­ tion and Village Roadshow may have lost several million each on two projects, O ver the Hill (George Miller, 1992) and Turtle B each (Stephen Wallace, 1992).6 This experience does raise the issue of whether the pursuit of a high-budget feature film strategy, which can only succeed if the elusive major U.S. release is secured and is successful, is a good idea for Australia. Even a cursory examination of the FFC’s recent investment history suggests that it is the modestly-budgeted projects which succeed better, both aesthetically and financially. Within the Village Roadshow organization we see two very different internationalization strategies. (The example of Paradise Beach indicates a third, in that it is an unequivocally Australian programme from a regulatory viewpoint, but is prima­ rily aimed at the U.S. market. Whether this third way is one to be developed further remains to be seen.) One (that of Roadshow Coote & Carroll) emphasises modest budgets and indigenous flavour and recognizes the necessity of overseas financial input while retaining a high level of local control and local specificity. The other strategy is to try to make Australia an attractive location for off-shore production, especially that from the U.S. This recognizes that the whole world is, as it were, a site for international production and industrial, employment, financial and infrastructure benefits will flow from Australia having a competitive edge over other rival off-shore sites. This competitive edge will probably flow mainly from the depth of skill that has been developed in Australia since the beginning of support policies in 1970 and the fact thatihis continues because of the comparatively high volume of production carried out in Australia because of the maturity of the television industry, backed as it has been by Australian content regulation. The latter strategy divides opinion in the Australian film and television community. While most Australian actors oppose it because it creates little work for them, it is favoured by some technical personnel because it does create work for them. With these two groups of workers now belonging td a single union,,the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance, there will have to be some rapprochement over this issue. It is also opposed by some sections of the bureaucracy and the ‘culture lobby’; they argue that history tells us that an ‘off-shore’ strategy is fraught with danger. The growth of productions designed from arid for somewhere else can edge out projects of a genuinely indigenous nature.7 On the other hand, the strategy has the strong support pf the Queensland government for whom it is an important plank in its regional industrial development plans8 and from some sections of the Commonwealth government and the federal bureaucracy, not to mention the Opposition. The answer to the dilemma presented by the Village Roadshow case is, we believe, to not confuse cultural support policies with those of industry, development. Pressure is being applied to the federal government to relax the definition of Australian content for free-to-air and pay TV to allow this type of

production to count for quota, However, as the now defunct ABT was at pains to point out when it promulgated its new standard in 1989, the regulation is not primarily intended to bring about employment or industrial outcomes. Rather its purpose is a cultural one: to encourage the expression of local stories, idioms and concerns. (Having said that, however, it is probably the case that the regulatory thresholds for awarding points are outdated, having been calculated on the high fees licensees were paying for product in the late 198Qs.) Off-shore production of, say, Mission: Im possible in Australia will obviously not do that. On the other hand, it may have industrial benefits and enhance the trade balance. If so, then let governments accord it the same benefits they might give to other deserving industries: exemptions frqm or discounted sales tax, payroll tax, favourable loans, and the kind of government-backed initiative that the EFSA represents, The history and analysis of the experience in countries which have had ‘branch plant’ film industries - for example, Spain, Canada, or the UK - tell us that acting as host to. U.S. productions does little to foster indigenous film and television production.9 Experience both here and overseas seems to indicate that what is needed is a combination of both cultural and industry development policies.

THE TAVIANIS ARE COMING! Ä Magic Bool Entertainment




Italian films never before screened in Australia

Some of the material for this article is drawn from interviews with the following personnel from the Village Roadshow-Warner Roadshow group: Greg Coote, President, Village Roadshow Pictures (U.S.); Nick M cMahon, Managing Director, Village Roadshow Pictures (Television); Michael Lake, General Manager, W arner Roadshow Movie World Studios; Kim Vecera, Business Affairs Manager, Roadshow, Coote & Carroll. We thank them for their time. References Stuart Cunningham, Framing Culture: Criticism and Policy in Australia, Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 1992. Susan Dermody and Elizabeth Jacka, The Screening o f Australia Vol. 1: Anatomy o f a Film Industry, Currency Press, Sydney, 1987. Susan Dermody and Elizabeth Jacka (eds), The Imaginary Industry: Australian Film in the Late Eighties, Australian Film Television & Radio School, North Ryde, 1988. John Giles Consulting, Film Industry Opportunities for the Gold Coast Albert Region: An Econom ic Perspective, Report for the Gold Coast Albert Regional Development Committee and the Department of Business Industry and Re­ gional Development, April 1992. KPMG Management Consulting, A History o f Offshore Production in the UK: A Report for the Australian Film Commission, April 1992.

Notes 1

See, for a brief history of the company, Susan Dermody and Liz Jacka, The Screening o f Australia Vol. 1: Anatomy o f a Film Industry, Currency Press, Sydney, 1987.


Alvin Purple (Tim Burstall, 1973) and Alvin Rides Again (David Bilcock jun. and Robin Copping, 1974).


M ad M ax Beyond Thunderdom e (George Miller and George Ogilvie,


1985). Superman (Richard Dormer, 1978).


Susan Dermody and Elizabeth Jacka (eds), The Imaginary Industry: Aus­ tralian Film in the Late Eighties, Australian Film Television & Radio School, North Ryde, 1988, p. 50.


Graham Burke says the figure lost is far less than usually assumed, as 50% of Over the Hill was pre-sold to Rank, and Turtle Beach was widely pre­ sold around the world. (Ed.)


For further discussion of this highly-contentious issue, see Susan Dermody and Elizabeth Jacka (eds), op cit, pp. 1 1 7 -1 3 0 , and Stuart Cunningham, Framing Culture: Criticism and Policy in Australia, Allen and Unwin,


Sydney, 1992, pp. 37-70. John Giles Consulting, Film Industry Opportunities for the Gold Coast Albert Region: An Econom ic Perspective, Report for the Gold Coast Albert Regional Development Committee and the Department of Business Indus­ try and Regional Development, April 1992.


See, for analysis of the UK example, KPMG Management Consulting, A History o f Offshore Production in the UK: A Report for the Australian Film Commission, April 1992.

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow with special guests: directors Paolo and Vittorio Taviani, Roberto Faenza, Francesco Martinotti and the delegation of Italian filmmakers FIORILE (1993) by Paolo and Vittorio Taviani A family curse pursued over two centuries of Italian history. In competition, Cannes 1993. A MAN TO BE BURNT (1962) by Paolo and Vittorio Taviani Their first film. The story of a Sicilian peasant and his struggle with the Mafia. SAINT MICHAEL HAD A ROOSTER (1971) by Paolo and Vittorio Taviani Set in the 1870's. The tale of a man sentenced to ten years of solitary confinement for staging what he thought was a popular uprising. Based on a story by Leo Tolstoy. LA SCORTA (1993) by Ricky Tognazzi Tension-filled study of four carabinieri assigned as body­ guards for an anti-Mafia judge in Sicily. Starring Enrico Lo Verso (The Stolen Children). Irt competition, Cannes 1993. JONAH WHO LIVED IN THE WHALE (1993) by Roberto Faenza An Italian/French co-production made in English, based on Jona Oberski's best seller about his wartime childhood. 3 David Of Donatello Awards, 1993. ABYSSINIA (1993) by Francesco Martinotti Film-noir styled tale of lethargy gone lethal set in the tourist mecca of Riccione on the Adriatic. Critics Week, Cannes 1993. PERTH CINEMA NOVA from 13 November 1993 SYDNEY MANDOLIN CINEMA from 17 November 1993 MELBOURNE CINEMA NOVA from 18 November 1993 Check newspapers for session details CINEMA


96 . 27

Andrew L* Urban reports Flattered by the attention paid to his project by the Australians at both a federal and state level executive producer Jake Eberts and his team decided to shoot much of the US$20 million action-adventure film The Penal Colony \n Queensland«

Jake Eberts: We were shown all the things we were looking for. I have no idea how much we saved by shooting in Australia, but what we shot here is unique. We’re getting considerable benefits, such as the outstanding crew. We have the pick of the crew. The locations are not expensive and they are not hard to access; and yes, labour is a BIT cheaper. The film is produced by the slightly-built but powerfully-successful Gale Anne Hurd, who made her investors millions with The Term inator (James Cameron, 1984) and Term inator 2: Judgm ent D ay (Cameron, 1991), Aliens (Cameron, 1986) and The Abyss (Cameron, 1989), among others. Hurd: The reasons we came here are basically these: I’d always wanted to come to Australia. It so happens that my lawyers have a connection with Queensland’s Pacific Film and Television Commission, and they said, ‘Oh, you can shoot it in Queensland!’ Then the PFTC proved to us we could in fact do it - they showed us how. (The Pacific Film and Television Commission is a governihentowned cofnpany set up to encourage and asisiSbproduction within the state.)

. C I N E M A P A P E R S 96


Hurd says unlike Mexico and Spain, which only ever offered a cheaper shoot, Australia offers two important additional elements: The language is English, and the crew is world class, which is not the case in Spain or Mexico. You have to import all your people. The talent in some cases is not just equal to but superior to anyone I’ve worked with, and there is a much better esprit de corps. Australians love movie-making, and love making it better. Besides, Spain doesn’t have a rainforest. The production used up a massive 400,000 feet of film stock, which was processed through the new Atlab facility situated within the Warner Roadshow Studios complex at Cade County on the Gold Coast. It was the first feature film to utilize the laboratory’s new arm at the studios, saving the inconvenience of having to get rushes done in Sydney. Atlab’s set-up at the studios (made possible by a Queensland Government grant) has substantially improved the Studios’ appeal to producers. T he Penal Colony pumped some US$14-16 million into the Australian film industry and the economy generally, through the provisions, services and equipment needed, plus the hundreds of cast and crew employed. An estimated 2,000 different people worked on the film, with up to 450 extras on a single day. (Although the bulk of the shoot was on Queensland locations, New South Wales also benefited. The NSW Film and Television Office had met with Hurd in Los Angeles during the 1993 American Film Market, and lured some post-production work to Sydney, as well as suggesting some coastal areas north of Sydney for some pick­ up shooting: Remarks Greg Smith*of the NSWFTO: “I think it led

Gale to a greater understanding of the depth and diversity of the Australian industry; that’s probably why she’s interested in coming back.”) Many of the 150-200 crew are Australian, including senior creative people such as costume designer Norma Moriceau (who worked on the Mad M ax and ‘Crocodile’ Dundee films), sound recordist Ben Osmo, armourer John Bowing, hair and make-up designer Lesley Wanderwalt and art director Ian Gracie. The sheer size of the production made it attractive to Queens­ land’s PFTC, but, as chief executive officer Robin James points out, it was also appealing because of Hurd and Eberts. The fact that filmmakers of their stature in Flollywood are seen to be making bigbudget features in Australia - Queensland in particular - is crucial for the longer term, as it gives others confidence. The Penal Colony was originally set amongst the windy, rugged cliffs of Ireland. But when the PFTC got wind of the project, it set about discouraging Eberts "qnd Hurd from such “hackneyed” locations, and suggested they look instead at re-locating the script in a rainforest setting. Over a full 12-month period, the PFTC lobbied and faxed and phoned; Eberts and Hurcf were still undecided, when another, unrelated, project came up for them to consider, which would have involved some coral reef shooting. With Hurd’s enthusiasm for scuba diving (she has*an interest in dive businesses in Micronesia), she was drawn to think again about Australia and the Great Barrier Reef. As often:happens, that particular project was shelved. C I N E M A P"AP E R S 9 6 • 29


James felt he needed to do something to lock them into a jungle setting, and there is nothing like being there, seeing it, touching it, smelling it. So he invited the filmmakers to visit Queensland, and took them to Canungra in the south of the state, then up to the Warner Roadshow Studios on the Gold Coast, and further still to the North Coast and Cairns. They were sold. The massive movie factory was assembled in readiness to use the dry season of Far North Queensland, in Australia’s winter. Clear blue sunny skies were guaranteed but nature had other plans. The dry season never happened and a new wet season soaked FNQ, with low clouds and persistent rain so bad it delayed the cane harvest, ruining much of the Crop - and pestering the shoot. James says it is extraordinary that under the circumstances the production ended up on time, without the loss of a single day: “It is a credit to the crew. I doubt if there are crews anywhere in the world who could have done that.” The script is an adaptation of Richard Herley’s violent and visceral futuristic book, in which a Marine who kills his command­ ing officer - after repeated escape attempts from gaols - is sent to an island penal colony where the inmates are more or less left to fester in their own chaos. It is a tough place which has split into two armies: the Insiders, who live within a compound in a roughly ordered community, and the Outsiders, who roam and rampage wildly. In the process of fighting for his own cause, the insular killing machine of a man, Robbins (Ray Liotta), rediscovers some sort of humanity and recognizes the need for contact with others. The locals were recruited for the rugged battle scenes, and the only futuristic scenes are at the beginning of the film. The penal colony has a slightly mediaeval look, with industrial waste materials being recycled as clothing, weapons and even furniture. The extras and support roles were filled locally, but all principal roles were cast in the U.S. Despite having a basic agreement on work 30 . C I N E M A

P A P E R S 96

conditions and other industrial relations matters, Gale Anne Hurd found herself in a battle of her own with Actors Equity - a skirmish she found distasteful: It seems Equity is too trigger happy, with instant threats of ‘see you in court’, without trying to sort out any problem calmly. It doesn’t make one want to come back. The problem is not coming from [the cast or crew], but from the union. In the first two weeks of the shoot, they came with a list of allegations, all groundless. Maybe someone who was not hired wanted to cause trouble. They came and accused us of using the army as extras. That is absolute nonsense. We had one shot of them marching —it’s hard to get extras to march like marines - and they knew about that in advance. But that’s it. This clash was the only fly in the ointment as far as the producers were concerned, and PFTC’s James says a meeting of concerned parties (including the PFTC and Equity) after the completion of production agreed to follow a more co-operative approach in future. Director Martin Campbell (Edge o f D arkness) found the making of The Penal Colony an awesome and challenging task, not least because of the weather. But he also admires the crew and believes it is world-class. The film is not only complex in its twisting plot structure, but it calls for dozens of stunts and enormous organiza­ tion. Campbell: By Hollywood standards this was a lot to achieve, which is one reason we were down here. All filmmaking is a battleground, and this is the worst I’ve ever had - and I’ve never done anything on this scale. Then there is always the challenge to make it more interesting - a bit more depth than usual for an action-adventure film. It does have something to say, but it would be pretentious to say it’s-more than a rollicking good yarn.

Australian Film 1 9 7 8 ' 1992 Edited by S C O T T M URRAY


his essential reference book documents and analyses all the theat­


cott Murray - himself a prominent writer on film - has commissioned

rically-released Australian feature

succinct articles on all the films of the

films from 1978-1992. Over 350 stills

past fifteen years from exceptional

illustrate the text, which covers every

w riters such as K eith C on n olly ,

aspect of production, financing, cast­

Philippa Hawker and Adrian Martin.

ing and even the critics’ reactions to

The detail and accuracy of each article

the filins.

is extremely impressive.



ustralian Film 1978-1992 com ­ prehensively and accurately

ustralian Film 1978-1992 has been produced with the assis­

records each film’s technical arid cast

tance of the Australian Film Commis­

Credits. Carrying on the spirit of


Andrew Pike and Ross Cooper’s pio­ neering Australian Film 1900-1977,

Essential reference for all those interested in film

this book will become the essential reference work of this period.

'At Thirty leading film writers exam­

ine more than 300 films 'AtEach film is illustrated by at least

one still image

5 C O T T M URRAY is a film-maker and the editor of Cinema Papers.


o n trib u to rs

in clu d e

K e ith

Connolly - longtime film critic

for the Melbourne Herald, now with the Sunday Age - Geoff Gardner, Paul Harris and Adrian Martin.

Above: Paul Mercurio and Gia Carides in the comedy drama Strictly Ballroom Right: John Ingram (Sam Neill) and his wife Rae (Nicole Kidman) in the suspense thriller Dead Calm

Available November From

OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS Paperback ★ 280 x 210 mm ★ 352 pp 0 19 553584 7 ★ 350 b/w photographs $ 3 9 .9 5 CINEMA


96 . 31




a n d


■ ■

A u s t r a lia ’s F ir s t F ilm s

P a rt Six: S u rp ris in g S u rv iv a ls W hen cinema began, Brisbane was a tiny colonial capital with a population o f about 95,000. None o f its suburbs was more than five miles from its centre and it contained less than a quarter o f Queensland’s inhabitants. It was in the most decentralized o f the mainland states, heavily reliant on mining and agriculture with only a small manufacturing base. Nevertheless, Queensland produced more o f the surviving Australian colonial films than any other state. Their public premiere was delayed for 94 years, until the authors exhibited them at the Queensland

Q u e e n s l a n d F ilm D a t a S o u r c e s There were no Australian film industry magazines until the advent of P atbé’s W eekly (later the Australian K inem atograpb Journal) in 1 9 1 0 .1 Before then, we had few permanent cinemas. The earliest Australian films were made and shown by touring companies, their output being advertised and reviewed in regional newspapers. The Brisbane Courier provides most of that city’s available early film production data. The opportunities for obtaining confirmation or further material from other sources are limited. Queensland’s enormous area and its tropical climate impeded the centralized archiving of its newspapers. Publishers were not legally required to donate copies to Queensland libraries until the late 1940s.2 Brisbane’s evening paper from the 1890s, the Tel­ egraph., survives only in decayed hard copy at the John Oxley Library, and public access to it is forbidden. Both of Townsville’s dailies of that period, the Bulletin and the Star, are entirely lost.3 Consequently, our attempts to assemble a Queensland filmography can only aspire to completeness.

State Library on 15 September 1993. This extraordinary saga has only just emerged from research funded by Griffith University in Brisbane, and is published for the first time in this article.

Q U E B N -S T R B K T , (Two Door« from “ T elegraph’' Bunding«.)



Under the Patronage of His Excellency Lord Lamington, K.C.M.G. 24 PICTURES IN TWO SERIES OP 12 EACH. In which.la Included Vlew3 of THE QUEEN’S JUBILEE PROCESSION IN LONDON. Exhibitions every Half-hour, from 3 to 5 and 7.30 to 10 p.m. ADMISSION, N O T IC E

Queensland production begins: G. Boivin placed this announcement in the B risb a n e C o u rier,

7 September 1 8 9 7 , p. 2.

32 • C I N E M A



Is .;


H alf-price.

E S T R A O R D tM A R T i

On account of the management having decided to. take some views of Queen-street to-day (weather permitting} at 12.30 p.m.. In front of the Telegraph Buildings, there w ill'bo NO MORNING EXHIBITIONS TO­ DAY.

G . B oivin FIR S T Q U E E N S L A N D F IL M M A K E R When the Lumière company’s operator Marius Sestier left Australia in May 1897, one of his cinématographes was bought by a Mr G. Boivin, who put it on show in Brisbane from 3 May to 26 June 1897.4He later re-opened in a converted shop near the Telegraph newspaper building in Brisbane’s Queen Street on 31 August 1897, showing films of Q ueen Victoria’s D iam ond Ju bilee Procession (London).5 On 7 September 1897, Boivin used his Lumière cinématographe to shoot Queensland’s first film, showing Queen Street’s lunchtime traffic from the front of the Telegraph building. Reports suggest that several “local pictures” were taken before Boivin concluded his Brisbane season on 18 September 1897.6 He announced his inten­ tion of returning to Brisbane early in 18 98 to show these efforts7, but no report of their exhibition has been traced. On 30 September 1897, Boivin commenced a three-night season at Rockhampton’s Theatre Royal, including several Australian film titles in his programme.8 Excluding those attributable to Marius Sestier, most were probably Lumière company films from France, re-titled to imply local origin: ORIGINAL LUMIÈRE TITLE


(after Georges Sadoul) (Cat. N o.27) Concours de boules

(from Rockhampton Bulletin) A Game of Bowls in Sydney

(Cat. N o.95) Tigres

Tigers in Adelaide Zoo

(Cat. N o.40) Demolition d’un Mur

Breaking down a Shed in Sydney

(Cat. N o.40) Demolition d’un Mur

Breaking down a Wall in Melbourne

(Cat. No. 13) Balançoires

On the Swings in Melbourne

These misrepresentations, and the absence of the Queen Street film from the Rockhampton programmes, throw doubt on the success of Boivin’s Brisbane productions. Was the film successfully processed and exhibited? Was it only a publicity-stunt? Was there really any film in the camera?


fro m C o lo n ia l Q u e e n s la n d B oivin V a n i s h e s Boivin’s tour has not been traced beyond his final Queensland appearance at Rockhampton on 2 October 1897. An unidentified Lumière cinématographe shown at 182 Pitt Street, Sydney, in December 1897 may have been his.9 Alternatively, Boivin may have sold his machine to Alfred Mason. Oh 23 November 1897, Mason advertised “Lumière’s Improved Cinématographe” (improved, in that it projected both slides and movies) at Rockhampton’s Theatre Royal.10 The show was inexplicably postponed until 15 December 1897, when he exhibited the 1897 VRC D erby and 1897 M elbourne Cup, prob­ ably shot by A. J. Perier of the Sydney photographic supply house Baker & Rouse.11 Mason also advertised a film of Dancing Girls (taken at G overnm ent H ouse, Brisbane), but this was probably another re-titled import. He subsequently moved to Brisbane with shows opening in Queen Street’s Grand Arcade from 22 December 189712, but no further Queensland films were advertised. Until the 1897 issues of the Brisbane Telegraph can be examined, we may never know more about Boivin and Mason,

B oivin F il m o g r a p h y

Professor A. C. Haddon (seated) and Sidney Ray (kneeling) on the Cambridge Torres Strait Expedition, 1898. A. C. Haddon Collection, Cambridge University, courtesy AIATSIS Pictorial Collection, Canberra.

(1) Lunchtime Traffic in Queen Street, Brisbane (shot 12:30 pm, 7 September 1897). Refer Brisbane Courier, 7 September 1897, p. 2 - announces film to be shot from front of “Telegraph” building at 12:30 pm that day. Brisbane Courier, 8 September 1897, p. 4, and 11 September 1897, p. 6, refer to “views” (plural) of Queen Street, and the intention to show them early in 1898. Same paper, 13 September 1897, p. 7, has a long report on Boivin’s show.

(6) The Crowd at the (Melbourne) Cup. Refer Brisbane Courier, 23 December 1897, p. 2.

A lfred M a so n F ilmography

(7) Carriages Returning from the (Melbourne) Cup. Refer Brisbane Courier, 23 December 1897, p. 2.

(1) Dancing Girls (taken at Government House, Brisbane) liefer R ockham pton M orning Bulletin, 14 December 1897, p. 2. Probably a French film, re-titled “with tongue in cheek”!

M e l b o u r n e R acing F ilms sh o w n by A lfred M a so n A. J. Perier, sales manager for Baker & Rouse in Sydney, recalled making films answering this description in The Sydney Morning H erald, 9 June 1922, p. 9. Mark Blow and E. J. Thwaites also covered these events. These may be Sestier’s films of the 1896 Melbourne Cup and VRC Derby, misrepresented as the following year’s races: (1) V.R.C.Derby, Melbourne, 1897. Refer Brisbane Courier, 23 December 1897, p. 2. (2) Start, Finish and Weighing-In of the 1897 Melbourne Cup. Refer Brisbane Courier, 23 December 1897, p. 23; R ockham pton {¿^^lletin, 16 December 1897. (3) dfejgây Brassey Decorating “Gaulus” (1897 Melb. Cup winner), ilèfer Brisbane Courier, 23 December 1897, p. 2.

(4) The Lawn, Flemington. Refer Brisbane Courier, 23 December 1897, p. 2. (5) Arrival of Train at Flemington. Refer Brisbane Courier, 23 December 1897, p. 2.

F ir st A n th ropological F ilms H A D D O N ' s C A M B R ID G E E X P E D IT IO N TO TO R R E S S T R A IT — 1 8 9 8 Sir Walter Baldwin Spencer’s 1901 films of Australian Aborigines are often portrayed as the pioneering effort in the field. His effort was praiseworthy, but Spencer was following a precedent set in 1898 by his colleague Alfred Cort Haddon (1855-1940). Haddon’s films were the first ever taken on a field expedition.13 Two years after graduating from Cambridge University in 18 78, Haddon was appointed Professor of Zoology at the Royal College of Sciences, and Assistant Naturalist to the Science and Art Museum in Dublin. In this capacity, Haddon spent eight months on an expedition investigating the marine zoology of Torres Strait during 1888 and 1889. There, he became fascinated by the rapidly disappearing customs and ceremonies of the Islanders, spending most of his spare time noting details for subsequent publication. Several minor papers were subsequently published, but the research was inadequate to assemble a general ethnographic work on the region.14 CINEMA


96 • 33

Above: Frame enlargements from films made by A. C. Haddon courtesy of Ken Berryman, National Film & Sound Archive, Melbourne Office. Left to right, M a lu-B o m a i C erem o n y a t K iam (c. 6 September 1898); M u rra y Island: Islanders D a n c in g in D a ri H ea d d ress (c. 6 September 1898); M u rra y Isla n d : Islanders D a n c in g in D a ri H ea d d ress (No. 2; c. 6 September 1898); M u rra y Isla n d : F ire M a k in g (5 September 189 8 ); M u rra y Island: A ustralian A b o rigin a ls D a n c in g “S h a k e -A -L eg” on B each (6 September 1898).

Left: 189 7 Newman and Guardia movie camera, as used by Professor Haddon in the Torres Strait in 1 8 9 8 , had a convoluted film path causing films to jam under tropical conditions. Below: Sidney Ray recording Malu songs on Mer Island, Torres Strait, during Haddon’s Cambridge Expedition in 1 8 9 8 . With two phono­ graphs, a movie camera and a colour photo outfit, they were superbly equipped. A. C. Haddon Collection, Cambridge University, courtesy AIATSIS Pictorial Collection, Canberra.

months were spent in the Murray Islands, whose inac­ cessibility and relatively undisturbed culture made them particularly suitable for study. Two visits were made there, the first during May 1898, the latter commencing on 20 July and concluding on 8 September.18

H a d d o n ' s F ilms In March 1898, Haddon purchased a 35mm Newman and Guardia movie outfit in London, including 30 rolls of raw film 75 feet long, intending to reproduce Islander dances, ceremonies and customs.19 The dispatch of the film was apparently delayed by being inadvert­ ently sent to Haddon’s friend, Mr C. Hose, in Sarawak.20As a result, filming did not begin until the last week of their second stay on Murray Island, after 1 September 1898. Another problem was encountered with the Newman and Guardia movie camera, which sustained damage in transit, causing the films to jam in the tropical climate. Only a few films were taken successfully. According to Haddon’s diary21, the films were made by Haddon himself, possibly assisted by Anthony Wilkin:

Haddon therefore assembled a team of scientists, all subsequent leaders in their specialities, to go to Torres Strait in 1898 and make a thorough study of it. They were comprehensively equipped with the very latest scientific recording instruments. Sidney Ray, an authority on the languages of Oceania, the musicologist Dr C. S. Myers and the naturalist Dr C. G. Seligman used two wax-cylinder phonographs to make about one hundred records of Islander speech and song.15These survive in the British Institute of Recorded Sound. Their photographic kit included equipment for taking stills, movies and even experimental colour photographs by the Ives and Joly process. These would have been the earliest colour photographs taken in Australia.16The photography was done by Haddon and by a 2 1 -year-old student with previous experience in Algeria and Egypt, Anthony Wilkin, who died of dysentery in Cairo only three years later.17 The psychologists and medical experts Dr W. H. R. Rivers and Dr W. McDougall completed the party. They reached Thursday Island on 22 April 1898 and spent almost seven months in the Torres Strait and New Guinea. Four

5 September 1898: Tried to take cinematograph photo of fire making by Pasi, Sergeant and Mana [?] in morning. 6 September 1898: Tried to take cinematograph photos of Murray I. Kap in Australia corrobora (beche de mer men on board the lugger C oral Sea belonging Fred Lankester [...] Bom ai-M alu cinematographed [?] at Kiam [...] Haddon’s journal covering the week of 1-8 September 1898, written while the expedition was packing for its departure from Murray Island, indicates that filming had only been a partial success: [...] some rather important things turned up at the last [...] For example some Australian natives came in a beche de mer boat and I wanted to get a cinematograph of their dancing - and it was also only just at the last that we could get part of the Malu ceremony danced with the masks that had been made for me - but the dance was worth waiting for. I tried to cinematograph it but as has often happened the machine jams and the film is spoiled - 1am afraid that this part of my outfit will prove a failure & the colour photography is I fear at present of little practical value-. I have had many disappointments on this expedition, perhaps I was too sanguine.

films to be “copied by the trade” in the manner he suggested:

Thursday 8 September [1898] we left Murray Island [per the “Niue”] at 10 a.m. [...]22 Haddon’s fears about his films were ill-founded. On return to London, he had the few rolls shot on Murray Island processed by Newman and Guardia. Reporting on these on 28 June 1899, J. Guardia told him: With respect to the Kinematograph, we are waiting for you to return the machine for repair, when we will report as to what has gone wrong with it. In the meantime, we beg to enclose a print from a strip of one of your films. We would submit that there is nothing much to complain of with a machine that produces work of this quality practically on the first trial and under admittedly unfavourable circumstances. We tested all the films, and have developed those that promise good results. We still have one or two more to finish.2’ Although limited in both scope and duration, the surviving 4.5 minutes of Haddon’s films continue to surprise modern audiences with their high technical standard. The material surviving matches the descriptions in Haddon’s diary and journal, and there seems to be little missing from the print. Strangely, no screenings of the films by Haddon have been traced. The six volumes of Reports o f the Cam bridge A nthropological Expedition to Torres Straits, published between 1901 and 1935, contain virtually no mention of the films, other than a few frame enlargements (plate 29) in volume six. These show “the movements of the zogo le” (cult priests) from the Bomai-Malu ceremony, stated to have been shot at Kiam in the Eastern Torres Strait.24

Cat. 6250b. Panorama of Thursday Island, the Headquarters of the Pearl Fishing Indus­ try. This little known island is very difficult of access, but from it the great maj ority of the largest and finest pearls are obtained. The view presented in the film embraces the jetty alongside which the sailing craft are moved as they return from the fishing grounds. In the back ground the conformation of the island is distinctly seen, whilst as the camera rotates a number of the pearling cutters are seen lying at anchor in the estuary. Length 75 feet [1 minute 15 seconds]. The film is not known to survive and the inclusion of the “pan” movement described is puzzling, as none of Haddon’s known films show that he could “pan” to follow dancers’ movements. However, Spencer was quick to follow Haddon’s advice. On 1 December 1900, Spencer wrote to Haddon: I am cabling home to the Warwick Co. to send me out the Biograph [sic] instrument. They wrote me by last mail saying that a catalogue was forwarded [...] I was in hopes that you would have given me some advice as to how much film to take with me as I have had no experience in this line and can get no help out here [in Melbourne].26 Spencer’s work with the Warwick Bioscope in Central Australia during 1901 is well known.27 Many popular histories credit him as being the pioneer of these techniques, ignoring the Torres Strait precedent. Haddon reaped more tangible rewards. In 1900, he was appointed University Lecturer in Ethnology at Cambridge Univer­ sity, and in 1901 was elected to a fellowship at Christ’s College.28 Haddon’s films were stored at Cambridge until 1967, when the British Film Institute copied them.29 Prints are now held by the National Film & Sound Archive and AIATSIS in Canberra, and by Ian Dunlop at Film Australia in Lindfield. They are the oldest surviving Queensland films, and the oldest films of Torres Strait Islanders. As a result of the bêche de mer men’s visit to Murray Island on 6 September 1898, they are also the oldest films of Australian Aborigines.

H a d d o n ' s T o r r e s S trait E xpedition F ilmography

In f l u e n c e on B ald w in S pencer

(1) Malu-Bomai Ceremony at Kiam (shot c. 6 September 1898). Three men in forest setting wearing leaf skirts; leading man wears the cardboard mask made for Haddon and last man holds a tailpiece. They dance in procession. Length 50 seconds at 16 f.p.s.

On 23 October 1900, hearing of Spencer and Gillen’s forthcoming expedition to Central Australia, Haddon wrote to Spencer: You really must take a kinematograph - a biograph - or whatever they call it in your part of the world. It is an indispensable piece of anthropological apparatus. Get an ordi­ nary commercial one. If you order from Lon­ don I think I would place myself in the hands of the Warwick Trading Company, 4 War­ wick Court, High Holborn W.C. I have asked them to send you a catalogue and to write to you as well. I have stated what you want it for. I have no doubt that your films will pay for the whole apparatus if you care to let some of them be copied by the trade.25 Examination of the Warwick Trading Com­ pany film catalogue for August 1901 reveals that Haddon may have allowed one of his

Walter Baldwin Spencer (1 8 6 0 -1 9 2 9 ), Professor of Biology at Melbourne University and Director of the National Museum of Victoria, followed Haddon’s instructions in the anthropological usage of motion pictures and sound recording. He took the usage of film on field expeditions much further than Haddon, shooting 3 ,0 0 0 feet of Aboriginal ceremonies and customs in the five weeks following 3 April 1901. Contacts and recommendations on film equipment in London were made for Spencer by Haddon. Photo from L ife (Sydney) 15 October 1904, p. 1055, courtesy

of M r Clive Sowry.

(2 ) Murray Island: Islanders Dancing in Dari Headdress (probably 6 September 1898). Three men in labalabas perform a proces­ sional dance on a beach. Camera jam occurs mid-shot and the dance re-commences. Length 70 seconds. (3 ) Murray Island: Islanders Dancing in Dari Headdress (probably 6 September 1898). Unidentified dance, same camera position as (2) , but with the camera panned slightly to the right. Three men dancing in procession on a beach. Length 21 seconds. CINEMA


96 . 35

Above, left: Frederick Charles Wills, Chief Artist and Photographer, Queensland Depart­ ment of Agriculture, 1 8 9 7 -1 9 0 3 . Photo from Queensland Agricultural Journal, June 1901 (opp. p. 40 0 ). Courtesy Peter Lloyd, Queensland Department of Agriculture. Above, centre: Henry William Mobsby, Assistant Photographer, Queensland Department of Agriculture, 1 8 9 7 -1 9 0 3 , Chief Photographer 1 9 0 4 -1 9 3 0 . Wills’ assistant on the making of the 1899 films. Above, right: Lumière Cinématographe No. 2 9 6 , 1898, used by Wills and Mobsby of the Queensland Agriculture Department to shoot the world’s first governmental films, 1899. Currently held by Queensland Museum, and still in working order. Photo by courtesy of Mark Whitmore, Queensland Museum. Right: Wills’ Lumiere camera opened to show the film gate and lightproof feed magazine with 75 foot film load capacity. There was never any viewfinder on this camera. The glass window behind the film gate (top right) provided a view of the image on the film itself before shooting commenced to indicate the field of view. Photo courtesy of Mark Whitmore, Queensland Museum.

(4) Murray Island: Fire Making (shot 5 September 1898) . Three men - Pasi, Sergeant and Mana - sit cross-legged on the ground, twirling a stick between their palms bearing upon a wood block (drill method). Length 30 seconds. (5) Murray Island: Australian Aboriginals Dancing “ Shake-ALeg” on Beach (shot c. 6 September 1898). Four visiting Australian Aborigines wearing labalabas clap, then dance, then clap again. A fifth man beats rhythm by hitting a long pole with a branch. Film in three sections with cuts separating them. Same locale as items (2) and (3). Length 70 seconds.

Q ueensland G overnment F ilm P r o d u c t i o n : 1899 Immigration to the colony of Queensland was promoted by a touring lecturer in Britain named George Randall, working under the direction of the Queensland Agent-General in London, Sir Horace Tozer.30 In the late 1890s, Randall illustrated his lectures with lantern slides prepared in Queensland by the official photog­ rapher of the Department of Agriculture, Frederick Charles Wills. Wills was young and enthusiastic, actively involved with the Queensland Amateur Photographic Society, and a frequent con­ tributor to Australia’s photographic magazines.31Appointed to the Department of Agriculture as Official Artist and Photographer on 13 March 189732, his innovations were constantly resisted by cons­ ervative co-workers. For instance, in March 1898 the Q ueensland Agricultural Jou rn al’s editor tried to eliminate its pictorial con­ tent.33 Fortunately for Wills, a Ministerial decision overruled this. In October 1898, Wills suggested that Randall’s lectures on immigration would be enhanced by “lantern slides [...] prepared on 36 • C I N E M A



the Lumiere Cinématographe principle”.34 The)|mminence of the prestigious Greater Britain Exhibition at Earl’s Court in 1899 provided an incentive to give this project a trial. Many of Wills’ lantern slides were exhibited there, though the films were not completed in time for it. Queensland’s Chief Secretary’s Department agreed to finance the motion picture venture for a year starting in October 189835, and the world’s first governmental film production project was launched. In December 1898, the Minister for Agriculture instructed Wills to go to Sydney to obtain a Lumière Cinématographe and the expertise to operate it.36 Baker &c Rouse imported the gear, and early in 1899 Wills made about five trial films with it in Sydney.37 Success was reported in the Australasian Photographic Review on 21 March 189938, the Sydney films including scenes of Redfern railway station and various types of ferry transport arriving at Milson’s Point. Few earlier films of Sydney survive today. On his return to Brisbane in March 1899, the Department gave Wills an assistant.39 Henry William Mobsby (1861 - 1933) helped Wills to produce and process many of the 1899 films. After Wills’ resignation in 1903, Mobsby continued to produce Queensland government films sporadically until he retired in August 1930.40 During Wills’ “still” photography excursions around Queens­ land for the Department of Agriculture between March and Octo­ ber 1899, he produced about 30 one-minute films on their Lumière cinématographe. Many of these illustrated agricultural processes in an attempt to attract British farmers to the colony, which was the immigration lecturer George Randall’s primary concern. However, Wills also filmed historical events which can be readily dated. Queensland’s Colonial Governor, Lord Lamington, is seen arriving at the opening of Colonial Parliament in Brisbane on 18 May 1899 - the oldest of Wills’ Queenslancfrfilms which can^bè

dated.41 On the evening of the following day, Wills gave his first film show to the Queensland Amateur Photographic Society, exhibiting “some very good specimens of locally taken cinematograph pic­ tures”.42 These probably included the surviving views of Brisbane’s Roma Street station, Queen Street and Victoria Bridge. Between June and August 1899, the Lumière cinématographe accompanied H. W. Mobsby on the tour of the government motor vessel “White Star” to Torres Strait.43 Queensland’s Home Secre­ tary, Justin Foxton, received reports of problems in the pearling industry, and of abuses of the natives in the Torres Strait. The subsequent expeditionary party included Aboriginal Protector Roth, Foxton, Foxton’s wife, Thursday Island Administrator John Doug­ las, Dr Tilston, Police Chief Parry-Oakden and Mobsby. The two surviving films of the expedition show the Channel Rock Light Ship receding astern off the Townsville Coast, and Foxton receiving a gi ft of bananas from Islanders on either Darnley or Murray Island in the Eastern Torres Strait. Mobsby also attempted to take a film at Weipa when Foxton officially gave it that name, but the attempt was aborted when “an expected corroborée fell through owing to shortness of time”.44 An extensive album of “still” photographs taken by Mobsby on this trip, probably intended for presentation as lantern slides to comple­ ment and supplement the films, survives in the John Oxley library.45 The expedition concluded on 5 August 1899 when the party returned to Townsville. The greater part of Wills’ surviving films were apparently taken in the Spring of 1899, following Mobsby’s return to Brisbane, and illustrate aspects of wheat harvesting on the Darling Downs, sugar harvesting at Nambour, and of stock management. These are easily the earliest Australian industrial documentary films, and are among the earliest films of their type in the world. Many of the 60-second rolls are constructed in sequences of two or three camera set-ups, and the rolls are intended for exhibition in a logical order to construct a narrative of the agricultural processes shown. “When a subject takes more than one film”, Wills casually observed in 1900, “they are joined with the aid of amyl acetate with some of the celluloid dissolved in it. ”46Wills made the earliest surviving Austral­ ian films exhibiting sequential editing techniques. Especially in the wheat harvesting series, the shots are superbly composed, logically sequenced and include a “jump cut” from a N o rth S h o re Steam F erry , P assengers D isem b a rk in g (filmed at Milson’s Point, c.

February 1899). Frame enlargement of one of Fred Wills’ films, shot as a trial while acquiring the Lumière machine from Baker &c Rouse in Sydney. Castellated turrets of Government House can be seen on the opposite shore, with Bennelong Point and Fort Macquarie on the left. Photo courtesy of Meg Labrum, National Film &c Sound Archive, Canberra.

wide view of a wagon bringing stooks to the thresher into a close view of operations at the thresher itself. In the Nambour sugar harvesting series a similar “jump cut” takes us from a wide view of a horse-drawn tramway bringing a load of cane to the mill’s conveyor, cutting close into a scene of trimming operations at the conveyor. The sugar harvesting series is particularly important for its inclusion of “kanaka” labourers at work - cheap Melanesian manpower imported to work under conditions resembling slavery in the Southern states of the U.S. The usage of this labour force ceased with the advent of Australian federation, and Wills’ films are among the few surviving reminders of this shameful chapter in Australia’s history.4^ Wills showed an artist’s care in his methods of composition and working, outlined in a lecture he subsequently gave on film-making: There is artistic taste needed in choice and arrangement of subject as much, and perhaps more, than in ordinary photography. I find it best to rehearse the scene I wish to photograph whatever it might be, that is when persons are to play any part in the picture, as those unaccustomed to photography often do the wrong thing at the wrong time, and possibly cause a film to be wasted, although I have been very fortunate myself, as out of thirty negative and thirty positive films which I have exposed only two negatives and one positive have been spoilt. It behoves one to be careful when each film costs 22/6d.4S O f his “out-takes”, one negative is included in the collection which appears never to have been printed. It shows a close view of railway tracks receding from the rear of a railway carriage in rural Queensland. Wills apparently misjudged the coverage of his camera from the rear of the train, pointing it downwards too far to record any meaningful scenery. Fortunately, two successful travelling shots of this type do survive in the collection, one showing scrub in the vicinity of the railway at Eumundi (near Nambour) and the other showing forests in the Atherton tablelands on the CairnsMareeba line. In 18 99, the concept of a camera with a moving point of view was unprecedented in Australia, and Wills’ “phaptom train rides” attracted favourable comment.49 A constant rule of documentary production is that the sponsor should be kept happy. Wills did well to include his employers, the Queensland government, in a film of them boarding t(he govern­ ment paddle steamer “Lucinda” for a Ministerial banquet. It was shot at a Brisbane River wharf just behind the (then) new Agricul­ ture Department building in William Street. Highgate Hill can be seen across the Brisbane River. The occasion is thought to be their outing in connection with the Queensland Federation League on 14 October 1899.50 Wills’ last and most impressive films recorded the departure celebrations of the First Queensland (Cavalry) Contingent for the Boer War in South Africa at the end of October 1899. The Queensland Mounted Infantry, 14 officers and 250 men under Colonel P. Ricardo, are seen receiving a spirited send-off during their final parade past Post Office Square in Queen Street on 28 October 1899.51 Later sequences show their Review before the Lieutenant-Governor Sir Samuel Griffith on the Brisbane Domain that afternoon52, and the loading of their reluctant horses for South Africa aboard the troopship “Cornwall” at Pinkenbp on 31 Octo­ ber 1899.53 This was the first occasion on which Queensland troops went to war, and it was attended with forcefully jingoistic displays of patriotism, as the film indicates. No other films of Australian Boer War troop departures are known to survive. At the end of October 1899, the Chief Secretary’s financing of the film experiment ceased. The value of this film to Queensland now had to be demonstrated. CONTINUES






9 6 - 37

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38 . C I N E M A

P A P E R S 96





screen’s mise en scène. To retain a sense of the poetry at the same time as making it sound sufficiently conversational, as realistic as the

n the past few years there has been a heart­

settings in which it is spoken, has

ening flow of Shakespeare-derived films, and

not always come easily to film ­

they have been films which seem to have taken

makers and actors. And yet, chal­

notice of the fact that he - Shakespeare - was

lenging as this is, it needs to be


not writing fo rthe academy, but for large, enthu­

remembered that what is at stake

siastic audiences. Kenneth Branagh’s Henry V

is no more than a convention, no

(1990) settled in for a long, comfortable run at

more of an affront to what is “real­

Hoyts complexes and, in the following year,

istic” and acceptable than those

Franco Zeffirelli had his first box-office success

moments in musicals when walk­

in years with Mel Gibson as Hamlet. In 1992,

ing, talking characters suddenly

Gus Van Sant’s My Own Private Idaho, a moving

begin to dance and sing in the

and eloquent re-working of themes from Henry


IV Part I and II, at least courted popularity by

The cinematic task of popular­

casting Keanu Reeves and River Phoenix in the

izing Shakespeare has passed

leads. Now we are in the situation of having

from Laurence O livier through

Branagh’s exuberant Much Ado About Nothing

Zeffirelli to Branagh, with more

opening as a mainstream release at the same

uncompromising sallies from the

time as Orson W elles’ more than forty-year-old

likes of Welles and Derek Jarman

Macbeth (1949) and Othello (1952), in lovingly

( The Tempest, 1979). Olivier, still

restored versions, are both showing in more

working very much within the tra­

limited releases, and preceding, though not by

ditions of British theatre and sur­

too long one hopes, Christine Edzard’s As You

rounding himself with actors from

Like It.

the Old Vic and other theatre col­

If Shakespeare is to be kept alive for the

leagues, scored a great succès

young and for the non-specialist audience, then

d ’estime with his morale-boosting

increasingly the cinema seems the most likely

Henry V (1944), and some con­

medium. The theatre is becoming more and

siderable popularsuccess, though

more a middle-class pleasure, and a restricted

not enough to ward off the Ameri­

one at that, except perhaps for big musicals, or,

can pun pan of “Hank Sank” as a

if we are thinking of Shakespeare, the prestig­

comment on its mainstream re­

ious reaches of Britain’s National Theatre or

ception in the U.S. His Hamlet

Royal Shakespeare Company, where a star

(1948), drawing on contemporary film noir mood


performer like Anthony Hopkins can still pro­

and technique, and Richard III (1955), engross­


duce a sell-out as King Lear. Television, demotic

ing if in a more academic mode, confirmed his

enough in its appeal, goodness knows, has

position as the screen’s most respected and

ensured th efilm ’s huge success. Zeffirelli’s films

adopted generally a rather staidly conventional

successful adaptor to date.

belonged to a more overtly cinematic sensibility

approach to Shakespeare, cleaving more to the

Nevertheless, it was really Zeffirelli who

and practice than Olivier’s. His 1986 Otello is of

traditions of the stage than to the greater free­

achieved what Shakespeare himself would al­

course Verdi not Shakespeare, and it was not

dom offered by filming. The BBC Shakespeare

most certainly have approved of: that is, large

until his 1990 Hamlet that he returned to the

series is a prime example (but by no means the

popular audiences for his Richard Burton-Eliza-

filming of the Bard. When he did, the result was

only one) of this tendency, whereby actors in

beth Taylor version of The Taming o f the Shrew

popular as a star vehicle for Mel Gibson, and

doublet and hose run up and down rostra and

(1967) and, above all, his Romeo and Juliet

was a decent enough piece of work, but seemed

peer around columns, as if inhabiting an all­

(1968) . This latter caught the mood of youthful

to have nothing to say about the play, to have no

rebellion that was in the air and on the campuses

point of view.

purpose Shakespeareland. There are no doubt many challenges to be

in that year, and his handsome, then-unknown

No one could accuse Orson Welles of - or

met in filming Shakespeare, perhaps none of

leads. (Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey), a

praise him for - setting out to be popular. His

them more demanding than that of rendering the

tastefully nude love scene, and a bunch of hot-

version of Macbeth made on a shoestring for

stylization of his blank verse pentameters com­

blooded Veronese youth reacting to the high

Republic, of all the most unlikely studios, met

patible with the intransigent realism of the

bright sun and against their dictatorial elders

with widespread critical derision and public apaCINEMA


96 . 39

thy when it appeared in 1948. Seen today, it


appears as a fascinating, botched assault on a


great tragic drama. Set among craggy, dripping


caverns, against a vast cyclorama, it eschews


the usual paraphernalia of screen realism and


the result is that the drama is focused where it


most properly belongs: in the mind of Macbeth himself. Welles, as director and star, gives us a

Cloutier), and in the opposite direc­

Macbeth who seems cut off from the social and

tion lago (Micheál MacLiammoir) is

political world in which he acts, but this is a

dragged by the neck and placed In

Macbeth who can make us powerfully aware of

a cage which Is then swung aloft,

his fear that his bloody hand might well make

the object of contempt and revile-

“the tumultuous seas incarnadine, making the

ment. All this takes place before the

green one red” . Much of the acting (especially

credits; no dialogue is spoken, but

Jeanette Nolan’s nagging Lady Macbeth) is in­

music and the sound of guns, and

adequate to the point of being amateurish; much

the violent contrasts of imagery,

of the dialogue sounds like neither verse nor

have prepared the way for an in­

conversation - indeed, is sometimes scarcely

tensely cinematic, far-from-conven-

intelligible - and the stylized setting is pitched

tional reading of the play. In spite of

uneasily between stage and screen. However,

the often out-of-sync sound-record­

W elles’ own performance and the vision of the

ing and the scratchy nature of the

play it embodies mean that it is not a negligible

print, even in its restored form, it is

film and should make us grateful for the oppor­

clear from the outset that this is a

tunity to see it again.

major piece of work.

W elles’ Othello, legendarily frustrated by fi­

In swift, visual story-telling mode,

nancial problems and its filming subject to all

the tale of Othello’s courtship of the

manner of delays, is in spite of these vicissi­

Venetian lady, Desdemona, the removal in the

tudes some sort of a masterpiece. As with

cause of war to Cyprus, and the sowing and

Desdemona’s infidelity, lago leading Othello

Macbeth, as with his glorious Chimes at M id­

rapid germination of the seeds of jealousy in

through a labyrinth of passages and stairs, or

“ p roof” of la g o ’s insidious suggestions of

night (1966), arguably the greatest of all Shake­

response to lago’s malign innuendo is accom­

past fishing nets as Othello finally falls into his

spearian films, he has again been obdurately

plished with a fluidity that seems to belie the

trap and says, “ I’ll chop her into messes” : this is

true to his own vision of the play. He does not

film ’s fractured production history. Marvellously

a film full of eloquent compositions, but they are

make it easy fo rtho se unfamiliar with the plays

served by his multiple designers and camera­

always at the service of the narrative and the

as he pursues his-own line on what it is that

men, Welles creates the ascendancy and fall of

drama. Equally, too, one can be moved by the

drives Macbeth or Falstaff or Othello. His search

Shakespeare’s simplest tragic hero in a series of

sudden simplicity of pain that informs the solilo­

for the essential protagonist leads him to weave

finely-judged images.

in and out of the play’s structure until he finds

After a surprisingly low-key introduction to

quy “Farewell the tranquil mind ...” , as Othello, still, and shot from below, surveys the inner

one of his own that can sustain his idiosyncratic,

the vocal Othello in “ Keep up your bright swords,

wreckage of his life. The film ends visually where

wholly cinematic vision.

for the dew will rust them ” , the film suddenly

it began, with the cage, the procession and the

Othello, now being shown in a version re­

offers a clear close-up of Welles that recalls that

parapets, images that now take on a new poign­

stored by W elles’ daughter, Beatrice Welles-

sublime moment in The Third Man (Carol Reed,


Smith, opens daringly on a close-up of the face

1949) when we first see his Harry Lime. Almost

Welles has made Othello a simple man, dig­

of the dead Othello (Welles). The litter on which

wholly In close-up, too, and working quietly and

nified and brave, but fatally short on insight and fatally susceptible to lago’s manipulations. He is

he has been lain is picked Up and,.flanked and

persuasively against the potential bombast of

followed by a retinue of mourners and accompa-

the lines, he recalls the “round unvarnished tale”

a man whose descent into chaos has been

riied by a keening soundtrack, is borne up to the

with which he had wooed and won Desdemona,

swiftly accomplished, and the penultimate scene

parapets of a seashore castle. Another proces­

Whose reactions are recorded in inserted close-

makes clear the basis for our pity for him. It is not

sion carries the body of Desdemona (Suzanne

ups. A little later, they are seen hemmed in by

true that he is “one not easily jealous” : the action

high b u ild in g s , o b ­

of the film gives the lie to, this: he is, though,

served from a balcony

“Perplex’d in the extreme” , and his face, lit in

above by lago and his

close-up, surrounded by darkness, reinforces

dupe Roderigo (Robert

visually the words pf the screenplay.

Coote). By contrast, on

As in Macbeth, though to a much lesser

Othello’s safe arrival in

extent, there are some depressingly inadequate

Cyprus, he and Des­

performances in supporting roles. Loyalty to an

demona are reunited in

early m entor probably led W elles to cast

a low-angled shot that

MacLiammoir as lago, but, despite a very apt

seems to celebrate the

sense early on of a terrier at the heels of a large

security of their love.

dog, he seems too elderly, too lacking in the kind

The film invites one

of imaginative energy that would enable him to

to talk about it in this

seduce Othello to his purposes. Fay Compton, a

way because it so in­

great stage actress, achieves some real a u th o r

s is te n tly m akes its

ity as Emilia in her final confrontation of Othello

m e a n in g s in v is u a l

and lago, but too often seems to be acting in a

terms. A mirror shot in

different, older theatrical tradition. Suzanne

which Othello m afes a

Cloutier is barely interesting as Desdemona,

brief self-appraisal; the

and several of the other? are but ciphers. Oddly,

turmoil of the ocean far

none of this matters very much; it is not only that

below as he demands

W elles’ own p erform an cejivets the attention,




Twelve m em orable images of the most significant wom en film directors spanning the history of Australian cinem a. This high-quality calendar highlights their careers w ifhup-to:dgte filmographies; and includes a special back page listing other feature directors and some newcomers. An ideal Christmas gift - invaluable throughout the year,.


Name Address................. I enclose a cheque / money order for $ ............ fo r ...............calendar(s) payable to: MTV Publishing Limited, 43 Charles Street, Victoria 3067. Please debit my □ Bankcard □ Mastercard □ Visa to the amount of $ ............ Card number


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NUMBER 1 (JANUARY 1974): David Williamson, Ray Harryhausen, Peter Weir, Antony Ginnane, Gillian Armstrong, Ken G. Hall, The Cars that Ate Paris. NUMBER 2 (APRIL 1974): Censorship, Frank Moorhouse, Nicolas Roeg, Sandy Harbutt, Film under Allende, Between The Wars, Alvin Purple NUMBER 3 (JULY 1974): Richard Brennan, John Papadopolous, Willis O’Brien, William Friedkin, The True Story O f Eskimo Nell. NUMBER 10 (SEPT/OCT 1976) Nagisa Oshima, Philippe Mora, Krzysztof Zanussi, Marco Ferreri, Marco Belloochio, gay cinema. NUMBER 11 (JANUARY 1977) Emile De Antonio, Jill Robb, Samuel Z. Arkoff, Roman Polanski, Saul Bass, The Picture Show Man. NUMBER 12 (APRIL 1977) Ken Loach, Tom Haydon, Donald Sutherland, Bert Deling, Piero Tosi, John Dankworth, John Scott, Days O f Hope, The Getting O f Wisdom. NUMBER 13 (JULY 1977) Louis Malle, Paul Cox, John Power, Jeanine Seawell, Peter Sykes, Bernardo Bertolucci, In Search O f Anna. NUMBER 14 (OCTOBER 1977) Phil Noyce, Matt Carroll, Eric Rohmer, Terry Jackman, John Huston, Luke's Kingdom, The Last Wave, Blue Fire Lady. NUMBER 15 (JANUARY 1978) Tom Cowan, Truffaut, John Faulkner, Stephen Wallace, the Taviani brothers, Sri Lankan film, Chant Of Jimmie Black­ smith. NUMBER 16 ( APRIL-JUNE 1978) Gunnel Lindblom, John Duigan, Steven Spielberg, Tom Jeffrey, The Africa Project, Swedish cinema, Dawn!, Patrick. NUMBER 17 (AUG/SEPT 1978) Bill Bain, Isabelle Huppert, Brian May, Polish cinema, Newsfront, The Night The Prowler. NUMBER 18 (OCT/NOV 1978) John Lamond, Sonia Borg, Alain Tanner, Indian cinema, Dimboola, Cathy’s Child. NUMBER 19 (JAN/FEB 1979) Antony Ginnane, Stanley Hawes, Jeremy Thomas, Andrew Sarris, sponsored documentaries, Blue Fin.



NUMBER 20 (MARCH-APRIL 1979) Ken Cameron, Claude Lelouch, Jim Sharman, French film, My Brilliant Career.

NUMBER 41 (DECEMBER 1982) Igor Auzins, Paul Schrader, Peter Tammer, Liliana Cavani, Colin Higgins, The Year O f Living Dangerously.

NUMBER 22 (JULY/AUG 1979) Bruce Petty, Luciana Arrighi, Albie Thoms, Stax, Alison’s Birthday

NUMBER 42 (MARCH 1983) Mel Gibson, John Waters, Ian Pringle, Agnes Varda, copyright, Strikebound, The Man From Snowy River.

NUMBER 24 (DEC/JAN 1980) Brian Trenchard-Smith, Ian Holmes, Arthur Hiller, Jerzy Toeplitz, Brazilian cinema, Harlequin. NUMBER 25 (FEB/MARCH 1980) David Puttnam, Janet Strickland, Everett de Roche, Peter Faiman, Chain Reaction, Stir. NUMBER 26 (APRIL/MAY 1980) Charles H. Joffe, Jerome Heilman, Malcolm Smith, Australian nationalism, Japanese cinema, Peter Weir, Water Under The Bridge. NUMBER 27 (JUNE-JULY 1980) Randal Kleiser, Peter Yeldham, Donald Richie, obituary of Hitchcock, NZ film industry, Grendel Grendel Grendel. NUMBER 28 (AUG/SEPT 1980) Bob Godfrey, Diane Kurys, Tim Burns, John O’Shea, Bruce Beresford, Bad Timing, Roadgames. NUMBER 29 (OCT/NOV 1980) Bob Ellis* Uri Windt, Edward Woodward, Lino Brocka, Stephen Wallace, Philippine cinema, Cruising, The Last Outlaw. NUMBER 36 (FEBRUARY 1982) Kevin Dobson, Brian Kearney, Sonia Hofmann, Michael Rubbo, Blow Out, Breaker Morant, Body Heat, The Man From Snowy River. NUMBER 37 (APRIL 1982) Stephen MacLean, Jacki Weaver, Carlos Saura, Peter Ustinov, women in drama, Monkey Grip. NUMBER 38 (JUNE 1982) Geoff Burrowes, George Miller, James Ivory, Phil Noyce, Joan Fontaine, Tony Williams, law and insurance, Far East. NUMBER 39 (AUGUST 1982) Helen Morse, Richard Mason, Anja Breien, David Millikan, Derek Granger, Norwegian cinema, National Film Archive, We O f The Never Never. NUMBER 40 (OCTOBER 1982) Henri Safran, Michael Ritchie, Pauline Kael, Wendy Hughes, Ray Barrett, My Dinner With Andre, The Return Of Captain Invincible.

NUMBER 43 (MAY/JUNE 1983) Sydney Pollack, Denny Lawrence, Graeme Clifford, The Dismissal, Careful He Might Hear You. NUMBER 44-45 (APRIL 1984) David Stevens, Simon Wincer, Susan Lambert, a personal history of Cinema Papers, Street Kids. NUMBER 46 (JULY 1984) Paul Cox, Russell Mulcahy, Alan J. Pakula, Robert Duvall, Jeremy Irons, Eureka Stockade, Waterfront, The Boy In The Bush,A Woman Suffers, Street Hero. NUMBER 47 (AUGUST 1984) Richard Lowenstein, Wim Wenders, David Bradbury, Sophia Turkiewicz, Hugh Hudson, Robbery Under Arms. NUMBER 48 (OCT/NOV 1984) Ken Cameron, Michael Pattinson, Jan Sardi, Yoram Gross, Bodyline, The Slim Dusty Movie. NUMBER 49 (DECEMBER 1984) Alain Resnais, Brian McKenzie, Angela Punch McGregor, Ennio Morricone, Jane Campion, horror films, Niel Lynne. NUMBER 50 (FEB/MARCH 1985) Stephen Wallace, Ian Pringle, Walerian Borowczyk, Peter Schreck, Bill Conti, Brian May, The Last Bastion, Bliss. NUMBER 51 (MAY 1985) Lino Brocka, Harrison Ford, Noni Hazlehurst, Dusan Makavejev, Emoh Ruo, Winners, The Naked Country, Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, Robbery Under Arms. NUMBER 52 (JULY 1985) John Schlesinger, Gillian Armstrong, Alan Parker, soap operas, TV News, film advertising, Don’t Call Me Girlie, For Love Alone, Double Sculls. NUMBER 53 (SEPTEMBER 1985) Bryan Brown, Nicolas Roeg, Vincent Ward, Hector Crawford, Emir Kusturica, N.Z. film and TV, Return To Eden. NUMBER 54 (NOVEMBER 1985) Graeme Clifford, Bob Weis, John Boorman, Menahem Golan, rock videos, Wills And Burke, The Great Bookie Robbery, The Lancaster Miller Affair.

NUMBER 55 (JANUARY 1986) James Stewart, Debbie Byrne, Brian Thompson, Paul Verhoeven, Derek Meddings, tie-in marketing, The RightHand Man, Birdsville. NUMBER 56 (MARCH 1986) Fred Schepisi, Dennis O’Rourke, Brian Trenchard-Smith, John Hargreaves, Dead-End Drive-In, The More Things Change, Kangaroo, Tracy. NUMBER 58 (JULY 1986) Woody Allen, Reinhard Hauff, Orson Welles, the Cinémathèque Française, The Fringe Dwellers, Great Expectations: The Untold Story , The Last Frontier. NUMBER 59 (SEPTEMBER 1986) Robert Altman, Paul Cox, Lino Brocka, Agnes Varda, The AFI Awards, The Movers. NUMBER 60 (NOVEMBER 1986) Australian Television, Franco Zeffirelli, Nadia Tass, Bill Bennett, Dutch Cinema, Movies By Microchip, Otello. NUMBER 61 (JANUARY 1987) Alex Cox, Roman Polanski, Philippe Mora, Martin Armiger, film in South Australia, Dogs In Space, Howling III. NUMBER 62 (MARCH 1987) Screen Violence, David Lynch, Cary Grant, ASSA conference, production barometer, film finance, The Story Of The Kelly Gang. NUMBER 63 (MAY 1987) Gillian Armstrong, Antony Ginnane, Chris Haywood, Elmore Leonard, Troy Kennedy Martin, The Sacrifice, Land­ slides, Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, Jilted. NUMBER 64 (JULY 1987) Nostalgia, Dennis Hopper, Mel Gibson, Vladimir Osherov, Brian TrenchardSmith, Chartbusters, Insatiable. NUMBER 65 (SEPTEMBER 1987) Angela Carter, Wim Wenders, Jean-Pierre Gorin, Derek Jarman, Gerald L’Ecuyer, Gustav Hasford, AFI Awards, Poor Man’s Orange. NUMBER 66 (NOVEMBER 1987) Australian Screenwriters, Cinema and China, James Bond, James Clayden, Video, De Laurentiis, New World, The Navigator, Who’s That Girl. NUMBER 67 (JANUARY 1988) John Duigan, George Miller, Jim Jarmusch, Soviet cinema- Part I, women in film, shooting in 70mm, filmmaking in Ghana, The Year My Voice Broke, Send A Gorilla.

ALSO AVAILABLE NUMBER 82 (MARCH 1991) Francis Ford Coppola T he G od fath er Part III, Barbet Schroeder R eversal o f Fortune, Bruce Beresford’s B lack R o b e, Ramond Hollis Longford, Backslidifig, Bill Bennetts, Sergio Corbucci obituary.

NUMBER 83 (MAY 1991) Australia at Cannes, Gillian Armstrong: T he L ast D ays at Chez N ou s , Joathan Demme: T he Silence o f the L am bs, Flynn, D ea d T o T he W orld, Marke Joffe’s S potsw ood, Anthony Hopkins


NUMBER 68 (MARCH 1988) Martha Ansara, Channel 4, Soviet Cinema, Jim McBride, Glamour, G hosts O f T he Civil D ead, Feathers, O cean, O cean.

■ ■



LIM ITED N U M BER of the beautifully de­ signed catalogues especially prepared for the 1 9 8 8 season of A ustralian film and television at the U C L A film and television archive

in the U .S. are now available for sale in A ustralia.

James Cameron: T erm uiator 2: Judgm en t D ay, Dennis O'Rourke: T he G o o d W om an o f B an g kok, Susan Dermody: Breathing Under W ater , Cannes report, FFC.

researched articles by several of A u stralia’s leading


w riters on film and television, such as K ate Sands,

Jocelyn-Moorhouse: P roof, Blake Edwards: Switch-, Callie Khouri: T helm a & Lou ise; Independent Exhibition and Distribution in Australia, FFC Part II.


Edited by Scott M u rray , and with extensively

'W o m en o f th e W a v e ; Ross G ibson, F o r m a tiv e L a n d ­ scapes'.; Debi Enker, C ro ss-o v e r a n d C o lla b o ra tio n : K e n n e d y M ille r ; Scott M u rray , G eorge M ille r , Scott

Cannes ’88, film composers, sex, death and family films, Vincent Ward, David Parker, Ian Bradley, Pleasure D om es.

Overview of Australian film: R om per Stam per, T he N ostradam us Kid, G reenkeeping, Eightball; plus Kathryn Bigelow, HDTV and Super 16.


NUMBER 87 (MARCH 1992)

Film Australia, Gillian Armstrong, Fred Schepisi, Wes Craven, John Waters, A1 Clark, Sham e Screenplay Part I.

Multi-Cultural Cinema, Steven Spielberg and H o o k , George Negus filming T he R ed U nknown, Richard Lowenstein Say a Little Prayer, Jewish Cinema.

Adrian M artin , N u r tu r in g th e N e x t W a ve.


trated with m ore than 1 3 0 photograp hs, indexed, and

NUMBER 69 (MAY 1988)

NUMBER 71 (JANUARY 1989) Yahoo Serious, David Cronenberg, 1988 in Retrospect, Film Sound , L ast T em p-tation o f Christ, Philip Brophy

NUMBER 72 (MARCH 1989) Charles Dickens’ Little Dorrit, Australian Sci-Fi movies, Survey: 1988 Mini-Series, Aromarama, Ann Turner’s Celia, Fellini’s L a d olce vita, Women and Westerns

NUMBER 73 (MAY 1989) Cannes ’89, D ea d Calm , Franco Nero, Jane Campion, Ian Pringle’s T he Prisoner o f St. Petersburg, Frank Pierson, Pay TV.

NUMBER 74 (JULY 1989) T he D elinquents, Australians in Hollywood, Chinese Cinema, Philippe Mora, Yuri Sokol, Twins, True Believers, G hosts... o f the Civil D ead, Sham e screenplay.

NUMBER 75 (SEPTEMBER 1989) Sally Bongers, The Teen Movie, A nim ated, Edens L ost, Pet Sem atary, Marrin Scorsese and Paul Schrader, Ed Pressman.

NUMBER 76 (NOVEMBER 1989) Q uigley D oum Under, Kennedy Miller, Terry Hayes, B an g kok H ilton, John Duigan, Flirting, R o m ero, Dennis Hopper and Kiefer Sutherland, Frank Howson, Ron Cobb.

NUMBER 77 (JANUARY 1990) John Farrow profile, B lo o d O ath, Dennis Whitburn, Brian Williams, Don McLennan’s B reakaw ay, “Crocodile” Dundee overseas.

NUMBER 78 (MARCH 1990) T he Crossing, Return H om e, Peter Greenaway and T he C ook...etc, B an g kok H ilton, B arlow an d C ham bers

NUMBER 80 (AUGUST 1990) Cannes, Fred Schepisi interview, Peter Weir and G reencard, Pauline Chan, Gus Van Sant and D rugstore C ow bo y , German Stories.

NUMBER 81 (DECEMBER 1990) Ian Pringle Isabelle E berhardt, Jane Campion An A ngel At My T able, Martin Scorsese G ood fellas, Alan J. Pakula Presum ed Innocent

Cannes ’92, Baz Luhrmann’s Strictly B allroom , Ann Turner’s H am m ers over the Anvil, Kathy Mueller’s D aydream Believer, Wim Wenders’ Until the End o f the W orld, Satyajit Ray.

NUMBER 89 (AUGUST 1992) Full report Cannes ’92 including Australian films, David Lynch Press Conference, Vitali Kanievski interview, Gianni Amelio interview, Christopher Lambert in Fortress, Film-Literature Connections, Teen Movies.

NUMBER 90 (OCTOBER 1992) Gillian Armstrong: T he Lasst Days o f Chez N ous, Ridley Scott: 1492: C onquest o f Paradise, Stephan Elliot: Frauds, Giorgio Mangiamele, Cultural Differences and Ethnicity in Australian Cinema, John Frankenheimer’s Year o f the Gun.

NUMBER 91 (JANUARY 1993) Clint Eastwood and U?iforgiven; Raul Ruiz; George Miller and G ross M isconduct; David Elfick’s L o v e in L im bo , O n T he B each, Australia’s First Films.

NUMBER 92 (APRIL 1993) Yahoo Serious and R eckless Kelly; George Miller and L o re n z o ’s Oil; Megan Simpson and Alex; T he L over, Women in film and television. Australia’s First Films Part 2.

NUMBER 93 (MAY 1993) Australian films at Cannes, Jane Campion and T he Piano, Laurie Mclnnes’ B roken H ighw ay, Tracey Moffat’s Bedevil, Lightworks and Avid debate.

NUMBER 94 (AUGUST 1993) Cannes report, Steve Buscemi and Reservoir D ogs, Paul Cox interview, Michael Jenkins’ T he H eartbreak K id, Coming of Age films

NUMBER 95 (OCTOBER 1993) Lynn-Maree Milbum’s M em ories & D ream s, The Science of Previews, John Dingwall and T he Custodian, Documentary Supplement including M an Bites D og, Tom Zubrycki, John Hughes.

M u rray, T e rry H a y e s ; G raem e T u rn er, M ix i n g F a c t

a n d F ic tio n ; M ichael Leigh, C u r io u s e r a n d C u rio u ser;

T h e B a c k o f B e y o n d C atalogue is lavishly illus­

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but that he has conceived the whole film in such

vivified by two of nearly that age who perfectly

tion have also retained the moving sense the

visually persuasive, dramatically coherentterms

understand the requirements of the rôles. They

play offers of Shakespeare’s respect for and

that a few wooden performances seem no more

can (like the cast at large) speak the verse as if

belief in the powers and perceptions of an intel­

than blemishes on what is still recognizably a

they had just thought of it; they clearly relish the

ligent woman.


cut and thrust of vituperation which character­

For all that Branagh has described the play

The mantle of p o p u la riz e r-a te rm used here

izes their early dealings with each other; and

as a fairy tale with a darker undercurrent, he has not hesitated to invoke the screen’s effortless

with absolutely no pejorative resonance - never

they can move us with the sudden access of real

fitted Welles and has fallen to Branagh. Still in

feeling that enables them to recognize their love

naturalism in this version of it. The formal dignity

his early thirties, he has the triumphs of Henry V

for each other and their contempt for what they

of Leonato’s villa and the slumbrous, summery

and now of Much Ado About Nothing already

see as Claudio’s dishonourable behaviour.

Tuscan countryside in which it is set provide

under his belt, as well as a string of other

The Çlaudio-Hero sub-plot, in which Claudio

exactly the correlatives for the drama of cold

achievem ents in various media. Branagh’s

(Robert Sean Leonard) imagines he sees evi­

purpose and sensuousness that constitutes the

avowed objective is “an absolute clarity that will

dence of Hero’s (Kate Beckinsale) sexual infi­

plot, and could make one dissatisfied forever with pillars and rostra.

enable a modern audience to respond to Shake­

delity, is not in itself very interesting or even

speare on film in the same way that they respond

convincing. Its real importance is in the way it

The casting, too, works remarkably well. Apart

to any other movie” , and the evidence of his first

provides the occasion for the deepening of the

from those already mentioned, there are such

two adaptations is that he has achieved his goal.

relationship between the mature lovers-to-be,

Branagh regulars as Richard Briers (Bardolph in

In narrative terms, the action is wholly clear, as

Beatrice and Benedick. The play’s most chilling

Henry V, a dignified Leonato here), Brian Blessed

it was in Henry V, as are the characters and their

moment is when Beatrice tests the strength of

(Exeter in Henry V, here a bluff Antonio), the

relationships. As before, he has not hesitated to

Benedick’s newly pronounced love with the two

wonderful Phyllida Law and Imelda Staunton

shear away what is likely to be obfuscating to

words, “Kill Claudio” . In Branagh’s film, this

(both in Peter’s Friends, here respectively the

modern ears not particularly attuned to Shake­

scene, set in a small chapel, has been very

wise Ursula and the duped Margaret). As well as

spearian diction and rhythms. His casting, a

sharply directed and edited through a series of

these, all a ttheir considerable bests, there is the

mixture of his own repertory family and of some

rapidly alternating close-ups of the two, culmi­

American contingent; Denzel Washington (a

of the most potent young American actors of the

nating in Beatrice’s full-face command. Very

striking leader of the returning soldiery, as Don

play, reinforces his belief that Shakespeare

movingly, the whole tone of the drama is deep­

Pedro); Michael Keaton, seconded by Ben Elton’s

should be accessible to everyone, not the pre­

ened as it should be, and gives weight to the ensuing scene in which Benedick, with new

Verges, doing all that could possibly be asked of the tiresome Dogberry, Constable of the Watch,

seriousness of purpose, attacks his old com­

one of Shakespeare’s most Intractably unfunny

rade, Claudio.

lowlifers; Leonard’s forthright Claudio; and Keanu

serve of an élite theatre tradition. The film opens on a black screen, across which in white script the words of the song “Sigh

As always in Much Ado, it is very difficult to

Reeves’ intense study of the malignant Don

as they are sung off-screen by a voice which

retain any sympathy for the gullible Claudio or

John, the serpent in this hillside Eden. It is the

proves to belong to Beatrice (Emma Thompson).

any real interest in the blameless Hero. How­

sort of cast that cries out to be listed one by one.

The camera eventually finds her seated in a

ever, they are played here with enough youthful

The use of name actors in small roles pays off in

tree, reading to a group of alfresco lunchers on

ardour and good looks by Robert Sean Leonard

sharpness and clarity, by giving an individuality

no more, men were deceivers e v e r...” are trailed

a Tuscan hillside. The sensuous gaiety of the

(star of Peter Weir’s Dead Poets Society, 1989)

not always found in the play. Further, the daring

scene is then interrupted by the approach of

and newcomer Kate Beckinsale to more than

use of actors from different backgrounds does

returning soldiers, first in an overhead long-

answer the demands the narrative makes on

not jar here, butunderlines the sense that this is

shot, then of horses’ hooves in close-up. In an

them. (If Branagh has Romeo and Jufiet \n mind,

not a production aimed at embalming a classic text in a classic tradition, but one intended to

exhilarating alternation of the women’s frantic

here are his stars.) Above all, they throw into

dressing and of the men arriving, bathing and

relief the greater wit and maturity of the Beatrice-

reach and attract as wide and varied an audi­

changing, the ;scene is set for the opening ex­

Benedick partnership, in the rendering of which

ence as possible.

ch an ge b etw een B e a trice and B e n e d ick

Branagh and Thompson suggest that they could

The British Government has been notori­

be the heirs to the high-comedy laurels once

ously stingy in offering financial succour to its

won and worn by William Powell and Myma Loy,

ailing film industry in the past decade or more.






I wonder that you will still be talking, Signior Benedick: nobody marks you. What! my dear Lady Disdain, are you yet living?

and by Tracy and Hepburn, and by virtually no

Probably the best it could do would be to stake

one for decades now. Certainly, Shakespeare’s

Branagh to film his way through the Shake­

bickering lovers may be seen as the ancestors

spearian canon; it would be, in doing so, per­

The strength of the play is of course in the

of, say, Nick and Nora Charles: that is, of lovers

forming a cultural service in the interests of

relationship between these two mature, corro­

with minds that they are not prepared to check in

literature and film both. On the evidence to date,

sively witty and oddly vulnerable people, cre­

at the desk as they register for marriage.

it seems as if nothing is beyond our Ken.

ated by Shakespeare in his mid-thirties and here

Thompson’s performance and Branagh’s direc­

Sue M a n g e r Casting with


Specialist Casting

Ring Scott or Tracejf Telephone 07 899 0339 Facsimile 07 899 1514 PD Box 411 Bulimba Bid 4171 Brisbane Australia C I N E M A PAPERS

96 • 41





“ ^ ^ i e s Irae” was the title for a retrospective selection of films screened at the Venice Film Festival. It means “Day of Wrath” , a biblical term for a time of suffering and judgement. It is also the title of Carl T. Dreyer’s austere 1943 film, which was included in the retrospective. The reason for this was that 1993 marks the 50th anniversary of the Mostra Cinematografica (cinema showcase) and a fitting way to mark the occasion was the screening of films which were released in those days of wrath of World War If. Continental directors represented were Jacques Becker, Claude Autant-Lara, Helmut Kautner, Gustaf Molander, Luchino Visconti, D reyerand Nikolai Avdeenko and Julia Solntseva (Bitva za nashu Sovietskuyu Ukrainu ( The Fight for Our Soviet Ukraine)). The British choice was Millions Like Us (Frank Launder), The Man in Grey (Leslie Arliss) and The Gentle Sex (Leslie f

Howard). The U.S. selection was more diverse: H itler’s Children (Edward Dmytryk), Cabin in the Sky (Vincente Minnelli), Watch on the Rhine (Herman Shumlin) and This Land is Mine (Jean Renoir). The Festival programme consisted of six sections: the films in Competition (18) and five others which were given as much attention but which were screened “out of Competition”. The latter were mainly American films, Jurassic Park (Steven Spielberg), The Age o f Innocence (Mar­ tin S corsese), M anhattan M urde r M ystery (Woody Allen), A Bronx Tale (Robert De Niro) and ErmannoOlmi’s IISegretodelBosco Vecchio (Secret o f the Old Forest). There was the “Panorama Italiano” , seven features and five shorts by younger Italian film ­ makers. “Finestra Sulle Immagine” (Window on

The daily “Press Conferences” usually had

Images) included features, documentaries and

representatives from the main films screened,

shorts, mainstream; and experimental, and pro­

but attention was focused on the celebrities.

grammes filmed on video (including Brownlow

There were 2,500 journalists accredited to the

and G ill’s series on D. W. Griffith and Robert

Festival and swarms of photographers. As they


Altm an’s Black and Blue). “Special Screenings”

rushed Robert De Niro for yet another session,

included Johnny Guitar (Nicholas R ay,1954),

chair Gideon Bachman remarked, “The Invasion

and moving; Maria Luisa Bemberg’s De eso no

Pursued (fla o il Walsh, 1947) and small-budget

of the Body Snatchers” . They were excessively

se habla (Argentina), with Marcello Mastroianni

.films like The Hollow Men (Joseph Kay and John

in evidence at the awards evening staged at the

making his love for a fifteen-year-old dwarf ab­

Yorick) and Joe Com erford’s High Boot Benny

Palazzo Ducale, which, from an audience point

solutely believable; Dove Siete? lo Sono Qui

froth Ireland. For those who enjoy the mainstream, there was the “Venetian Nights” , m a in lf U.S. films: In

Sandrine Blaricke that made the events credible

of view, was little better than a ‘scratch concert’

(Where are You? I am Here, Italy), a surprisingly

- presenters confused, talking over voice-overs

mainstream film from Liliana Cavani about the

- but a cheerful evening nonetheless!

hearing-impaired, a film of great feeling.

jth e Line o f Fire (Wolfgang Petersen), § J ie fu g i­

In watching the films in Competition, one was

tive (Andrew Davis), Dave (Ivan Reitm an),

struck by their emphasis on individuals and

Rolf de Heer’s Bad Boy Bubby, with a powerful

Kalifornia (Dominic Sena), Posse (¡¡¡Irio V fn

groups who were ¡marginalized. Many of them

performance by Nick Hope as a middle-aged

Perhaps the big surprise of the Festival was

Peebles), Boxing Helena (Jenjnifer: Chambers

v ^ re f intense: Aline Isserman’s fine Ombre de

baby-man, kept locked away from people, who

Lynch) apd What’s Love Gotitg:DoljWith It (iria n

^ u t e (France), tacpling incest in a French mid-

eventually gets out, mirrors the society he en­

dle-liassffam ily with a performance by the young

counters and em erges from hiis mental and

g | H o | ).



emotional captivity an Idiot-figure. This does not

Isabelle Huppert, protested the invasion of Ameri­

The majority of the presenters of papers as

do justice to the film with its powerful ugliness,

can films at the expense of local productions.

well as of the participants were from continental

language and anger. It is a gut-level, confronting

This kind of feeling was obvious at Venice and

Europe; several came from the U.S., but only

film. And it made its impact, winning the Festival

featured in many articles about the Festival.

three from Africa, two from Asia and one from

Jury Award, the CIAK (Italian C inem a-goers’

Festival director Gillo Pontecorvo chided the

the Pacific. Discussion tended to focus on Euro­

Association) Jury Award, sharing (with Short

press for its bias in this regard, highlighting

pean film s with frequent genuflections to Andrei

Cuts) the International C ritics’ award, winning

clash, and pointed out the necessity of keeping

Tarkovsky and Kieslowski. The Venice award

an award from a large group of Italian high-

comm unications open with Hollywood. This was

seemed to set the seal on Kieslowski as the

school students who were attending the Festi­

evident in the number of American films screened

successor to Luis Bunuel, Ingmar Bergman and

val, and m eeting and d iscussing w ith the

and the number of celebrities attending.

filmm akers, and the Bronze Plaque from OCIC

However, Pontecorvo convened a meeting

(International Catholic Organisation for Cinema).

of cinema ‘authors’, principally directors. A large

Federico Fellini as the great directors whose work could be deemed, in the broadest sense, religious.

(It was as a member of this jury that I attended

contingent from the continent and from North

Yet in looking at the films in Competition in

the Festival.)

America attended, the discussion ranging from

Venice, one noted the frequency of explicit reli­

The Leone d’Oro was shared by Krzysztof

marketing to copyright protection and the rights

gious icons, of ceremonies, of language about

Kieslowski’s first in a trilogy, Trois Couleurs:

of ‘authors’. An international committee was

God. This tended to pervade the continental

Bleu, and Robert Altm an’s Short Cuts. In fact,

elected, published resolutions and have com ­

film s in a way that does not happen in the

these two film s won most of the awards: Trois

missioned a charter of rights to be drafted.

American cinema - yet it was there in the films of Ferrara and De Niro, and in Bad Boy Bubby.

Couleurs: Bleu tor CIAK, Italian Catholic Media,

Pontecorvo expressed disappointm ent that the

OCIC and for Juliet Binoche as Best Actress;

media gave scant attention to this ground-break­

Short Cuts the International C ritics’ Award and a

ing meeting of minds.

European thinkers (and Latin Americans) are also concerned about ‘post-m odernism ’ in a way

special jury award for the cast ensemble of 22.

The meeting was well attended by directors

that those from America, Asia, Africa and Aus­

The Silver Lion was given (one presumes in

from all over the world, taking advantage of

tralia are not. If the certainties of the classical

s o lid a r ity )

(B a k h tia r

those present at the Festival (including Peter

world-views of the Enlightened 18th Century

Khudoinazarov) from Turjikistan and the Presi­

Weir, who was President of the Festival Jury,

and of the faith-in-progress of the I9th and 20th

dent of the Senate’s Award to the Chinese film

and Chen Kaige, a member of the Jury).

Centuries and the organizations and structures


K o sh


K o sh

Za Z u i Z i (An Innocent Babbler, Liu Miamomiao).

Festivals are obviously significant for Euro­

O therdirectors with films in Competition were

peans, as showcases for films and for promo­

built on these can no longer hold, then we are in an age of post-m odernist search.

Abel Ferrara with Snake Eyes, Jean-Luc Godard

tion, as occasions for awards (sixteen groups

It was suggested that, in the early 1980s, this

with Hélas, Pour M oi (more of his private reli­

beside the official Jury made awards at Venice)

led to an exultant trampling on the institutions

gious poetry, a critic remarked), Gus Van Sant

and as a key opportunity for quite wide media

and the certainties. In the early ’90s, it has been

with Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, Carlos Saura

coverage, intense newspaper and television re­

a less arrogant self-confidence, more of a search

with Dispara, Bertrand B lierw ith Un, deux, trois


and an acknowledgem ent of the latent spiritual­

soleil and Clara Law with You Seng. This might

Europeans also like to discuss cinema and

ity. Jean-Luc Godard’s career is Interpreted in

give an impression of a varied programme. How­

the philosophies behind cinema. This became

this light, his 1993 Hélas, Pour M oi combining

ever, there were no entries from Germany, Scan­

clear to me with the discussions about Krzysztof

word and image, peripheral narrative, but using

dinavia, Belgium, Holland, Britain, Canada,

Kieslowski’s Trois Couleurs: Bleu. Kieslowski’s

Leopardi’s poetry as a meditation on life and

Japan and India, and none from the whole of

moral dilemmas (so popular from his Dekalog,

faith through awareness of the seeming ab­

Africa. The Bemberg film was the only entry from

then La Double Vie de Véronique) dramatize the

sence of God. For European thinkers, there is a

Latin America.

anxieties of contemporary Europe, the self­

delight in the aesthetics of abstraction.

Australia, on the other hand was well repre­

centredness of the West and the grappling with

Commentators from English-speaking coun­

sented: Bad Boy Bubbyin Competition, Hercules

recession and its consequences, the collapse of

tries tend to be far more utilitarian in their ap­

Returns in the section ‘Window on Images’ (with

structures in Eastern Europe and the quest for a

proach, and stronger on narrative and the

several press releases from David Parker and a

European Community. Trois Couleurs: Bleu cul­

conventions of story-telling. Harrison Ford and

letter, one presumes tongue-in-cheek, from the

minates in a concerto for a United Europe that

Robert De Niro both made this the core of their

director Giorgio Capitani to Parker wishing him

touched the jury e m o tio n s -w ith a further culm i­

answers to questions at their press conferences.

well but saying he was unable to come to Venice

nation in awards.

This still may be post-m odernist, but the empha­ sis is on story and the aesthetic satisfaction in

to see and hear what they had done to his epic),

My journey to Venice also took me to Rome

Lynn-Maree M ilburn’s Memories & Dreams and

for an international conference on “Cinema and

responding to a well-told story. And so, the

two shorts, Dennis T upicoff’s Darra Dogs and

Theology” , a firs tfo r Catholic professionals, and

Venice Golden Lion was shared with Robert

Monica Pellizzari’s Just Desserts, winner of the

sponsored by the Jesuit-run Gregorian Univer­

Altm an’s intertwining of Californian stories (de­

award for Best Short Film.

sity, OCIC, the International Catholic Organisa­

rived from Raymond Carver), Short Cuts.

The sharing of the Golden Lion (or dividing

tion for Cinema and the Center for the Study of

However, the Europeans like their stories, their Hollywood stories. Clint Eastwood is a

the prize depending on your perspective) be­

Communication and Culture (St Louis). The title

tween Altman and Kieslowski was sym bolic of a

of the conference was “The New Image of Reli­

European hero. But they also tend to see the

mood in Europe and at the Festival. During

gious Film”. “ Religious film ” was not confined to

post-modern dim ensions of popular culture.

September, it was not only the French farm ers

explicitly religious films. In fact, as the confer­

David Lynch fulfils these expectations. Twin

who demonstrated in the streets about the GATT

ence progressed, it was clear that the focus was

Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992) becomes a

Talks, but French filmm akers, including such

on film s and values, the latent spirituality in their

frequently-cited classic, as does Ferrara’s Bad

names as Claude Berri, Gérard Depardieu and

text and texture.

Lieutenant (1992). The m ulti-media dimensions CINEMA


96 - 43

also appeal - the books, diaries and music all

feel which dominates and is embraced by this

hobby is chopping up blonde women in white

part of Twin Peaks, and the concerts, perform ­


dresses. Jones reveals their secrets early on,

ances, music videos, records, movie appear­

Many films, like Claude Lelouch’s Tout Ç a ...

preferring to build suspense around their mutual

ances of Madonna. The conference might have

P o ur Ç a! (A ll T h a t...F o r This!), K rzyszto f

mistrust as the boarder convinces Carter to write

been titled “Madonna meets Tarkovsky” .

Kieslowski’s Trois Couleurs: Bleu (which is the

his memoirs. Chris Jones’ debut feature is shot

Bad Boy Bubby made an appearance with

first in his trilogy based on the qualities and

in a straightforward manner, but the complexity

the question of the confrontational, even repel­

colours of the French flag) and Jane Birkin’s first

of the script prevents any chance of tedium

lent, film s and their latent spirituality. The edify­

feature as director, Oh Pardon! Tu Dormais...


ing films may have their place but, as was said,

(Sorry, Were You Asleep?), seemed to be cel­

Alongside other English films featured, such

if Marx declared “ religion was the opium of the

ebrated merely because of their use of French

as Mike Sam e’s indifferently awaited third film

people” , then explicitly religious films were an

language. Not to be fooled, however, the Com­

(following Joanna, 1968, and Myra Breckinridge,

overdose. Bad Boy Bubby and the films of Ferrara

petition Jury gave the Best Film prize to

1970), The Punk, and the lame comedy Leon the

were seen as “De Profundis” films (from the

Margarethe Von T rotta’s Italian language film II

PigFarm er(V adim Jean and Gary Sinyor), White

Psalm of deep depression and longing, “Out of

Lungo Silenzio (The Long Silence), while the

Angel seemed more a companion piece to low-

the Depths...”). With their graphic images of the

FIPRESCI jury awarded their prize to the Brad

budget American thrillers rather than a special

victimized, suffering human condition and the

Pitt and Juliette Lewis vehicle, Kalifornia (Dominic

presentation of English drama.

search for hope, they are the ‘religious’ films of


There were two such selections in thè

ourtim e. They are ‘question-parables’. Bubby is

The most impressive French language film of

a latterday ‘Idiot’, a holy fool who confronts the

the Festival came from a European émigré who

Edition” in which director Howard Libov skilfully

contradictions of life (and one rem em bers

had settled in France. Costa-Gavras’ new film,

synthesized the structure of Billy W ilder’s The

Montréal Festival. First, the exciting “Midnight

Chance, the gardener, of Being There (Hal

La Petite Apocalypse (The M inor Apocalypse),

Big Carnival (aka Ace in the Hole, 1951) with the

Ashby, 1979); Jobbe in The Lawnmower Man

was unheralded, yet this satire on veterans of

story of Gary Gilmore. The other low-budget

(Brett Leonard, 1992); and IILeggenda del Santo

the May ’68 riots was dead on target. The story

American stand-out was Public Access, which

Bevitore ( The Legend o f the H oly D rinker

describes how a handful of once-radicalized

had won the Grand Jury prize at Sundance

(Ermanno Olmi, 1988).

yuppies regain their political consciousness when

earlier this year.

One took heart from the fact that the OCIC

they discover (mistakenly as it turns out) a Polish

Public Access is a gripping tale about a

plaques at Venice went to Bleu and to Bad Boy

poet willing to take the risks that they, under the

stranger coming to ‘small-town, USA’ called

Bubby, in line with the awards from the Festival

doona of capitalism, are no longer willing to take

Brewster, to cause trouble. But rather than gun

Jury and other groups. The conversation be­

themselves. Political comedies which are funny

play, W hiley Pritcher (Ron Marquette) simply

tween religion and cinema culture is not as far

are rare enough, but a political film this hilarious

asks a provocative question on a public access

apart as might at first be thought.

should be considered a milestone.

cable television programme: “W hat’s wrong with

One of the difficulties for Venice this year

In addition to the continental cinema, Montréal

our town?” From there, the tow n’s self-hatred

was that the Italian Government was limited in

ran a special selection of British cinema. Films

and fear takes over letting the populace feed off

its funding of the Festival. The exuberance of the

which will receive ample coverage elsewhere

itself. Unfortunately, Public Access suffered the

event and the seriousness of the discussions

are Mike Leigh’s Nakedand Stephen Poliakoff’s

fate of many elaborate thrillers and eventually

makes one hope that the economic recovery is

Century, they were the headliners and the re­

became confused. The first hour, however, en­

well on the way.

sponse was predictably favourable (deservedly

sures that Bryan J. Singer is a writer-director to

so in the case of the Mike Leigh film), though


they are not traditional British fare (i.e., period pieces or kitchen-sink drama).

The indisputable highlight of the Montréal Festival was the Taviani brothers’ film, Fiorile.


relatives in the work of Peter Greenaway and

wife and two children through the Italian coun­


Ken Russell, but was executed with a restraint

tryside to Tuscany. As Luigi Benedetti (Lino


that marked an advance on either of those direc­

Capolicchio) drives he tells the epic drama of his


tors. Shot in exacting black-and-white, Anchoress

family and the greed that has cursed their an­

looks like the Middle Ages would have if Ansell



Adams had been there to photograph it. The

The first tale reveals how the curse is set in

story revolves around a young girl who has

motion when a young man robs a soldier of the



Chris Newby’s Anchoress has its closest

The film begins as an affluent man drives his

experienced visions of the Virgin Mary. Unable

gold meant to finance the Napoleonic campaign.

very September the Montréal and Toronto

to mould her spiritual convictions to the current

The wealth of the Benedettis is assured but so is

Film Festivals act as a splendid double-

Christian dogma, the local priest has the girl

the dishonour he brings on the family. Three


header for the over-indulgent film buff. Despite

bricked into the wall of the church. This ensures

more stories (one taking place in the 1870s, one

their proximity in both time and location (the two

she can be supervised by the clergy and visited

during World War II, and the last using, the

cities are only four hours apart by car), however,

by the parishioners in search of salvation. The

present-day framing device) make up this exqui­

both Festivals have distinctive personalities. This

priest, however, is horrified that his Anchoress is

site film, but every :subsequent story/has its

is probably best expressed by each Festival’s

passing on pearls of wisdom more befitting of

roots in thé, o.rigina|;flashback. The transitional

choice for opening night.

her pagan origins than the Christianity he would

sequences from the present day to the past are

have her promote.

beautifully executed. ?

The Montréal World Film Festival commenced this year with a Quebeçois feature, Le Sexe des

The other surprising British film was also a

; Like the Melbourne and Sydney Festivals,

Etoiles (The Sex o f the Stars, Paule Baillargeon).

first-tim e feature by Chris Jones, White Angel.

the proximity,of the Montréal and Toronto Film

Given the powerful nature of previous Quebeçois

Opening with a woman ramming her husband,

Festivals means an Overlap in the product shown.

product (Jean-Claude Lauzon’s Léolo or Denys

against the garage wall with a car, Chris Jones

Hence, catching Fiorile, Howard Davies’ The

Arcand’s Jésus de Montréal, for example), this

is clearly bored by slow build-ups. Ellen Carter

Secret Rapture, Alain Tanner’s Le Journal de

film was disappointing. Essentially a ‘rites of

(Harriet Robinson) is a crime writer who suffers

Lady M., 'Emir Kusturica’s Arizona Dream, Dusan

passage’ story about a teenage girl coming to

writers block as her husband’s death is investi­

Makavejev’s Gorilla Bathes at Noon, Ken Loach’s

terms with her father’s identity as a tran ssexu a l,

gated. When the body cannot be found the

Raining Stones and Hans Gunther Pflaum’s

Le Sexe des Etoiles is an adequate melodrama

charges are dropped, but her writers block re­

documentary about Fassbinder, Ich Will Night

which, manages to avoid the excesses of soap

mains. Unable to pay her mortgage, Carter takes

Nur, Dass Ihr Mich Liebt (JJDon’t Just Want You

opera. What this film does have is the European

in a boarder, Leslie Steckler (Peter Firth), whose

to Love Me), saved a lot o fstioe leather when the

44 • C I N E M A

P A P E R S 96

T oro nto Festival opened three days a fter

the filmmakers said they were heavily influ­

such a big festival, and partly because it is a

M ontréal’s close. But with 222 features to be

enced by films like Seconds (John


mere domestic flight away. (It is amazing at

seen In 10 days (it’s not for nothing that Toronto

enheimer, 1966), Sisters (Brian de Palma, 1973)

press conferences the number of Hollywood

calls itself The Festival of Festivals), there was

and Spellbound (Alfred Hitchcock, 1945), which,

personnel who speak as if they are still in the

little chance Montréal would leave one short of

like this debut, also feature elements of amne­

U.S.) Jeremy Irons, Matt Dillon (Fort o f Saint

films to see at Toronto.

sia, twins and plastic surgery.

Washington), Lorraine Braceo (Even Cowgirls Get the Blues) and Dennis Hopper (Red Rock

Like Montréal, Toronto opened with a Cana­

The FIPRESCI Prize went to actor Forest

dian product, sort of. There are many who ques­

W hitaker’s feature, Strapped, about the urban

West) all flew in and out for press conferences

tion that anything from David Cronenberg can

tragedy and reality of gun-running to street kids

giving the Festival its desired hit of glitz. The big

reflect the Canadian experience anymore, and

in New York. W hitaker’s direction is ambitious

fuss was inevitably over Robert De Niro coming

his version of David Henry Hwang’s play M.

and sometimes his reach exceeds his grasp, but

to town. It’s a pity that his first directorial effort

Butterfly further fuelled the argument. In fact,

there is no disputing his talent for directing.

was of insufficient mettle to justify the fuss.

due to the departure from what is regarded as

A Bronx Tale was expanded from a mono­

Outside of the First Cinema selection, my

typical Cronenberg territory (i.e., blood and gore),

overall favourite was Thirty-Two Short Films

logue by Chazz Palminteri and has become a

some wondered whether M. Butterfly could be

A bout Glenn Gould. Bypassing the hazards that

two-hour parable about a boy’s soul being con­

described as a Cronenberg film at all. Starring

caught the recent deluge of mediocre bio-pics,

tested by the forces of good (the boy’s honest

Jeremy Irons as Rene Gallimard and John Lone

Francois Girard found an original angle with his

bus-driving father as played by De Niro) and the

in the title rôle of Song Liling, the film is stylish

filmed biography of the Canadian concert pian­

forces of evil (the corner gangster played by

and solidly made; but the critical crossfire from

ist. Just as the title describes, the film is a series

Palminteri, who also wrote the script).

devotees of the play and over-zealous auteurists

of thirty-two fragments compiled to create a

The most hyped-up film had to be Jane

meant that the film didn’t and probably w on’t

loving portrait of a complex and often unreason­

Campion’s The Piano. It was predicted that like

receive a fair chance.

ably dogmatic eccentric. Actor Colm Feore in­

Strictly Ballroom (Baz Luhrmann) the year be­

Among the First Cinema programme there

habits the title role perfectly. Not only does he

fore, The Piano would win the People’s Choice

were two film s a cut-above-the-rest. Suture, a

look like Gould, but I have never seen an actor

award, and unlike its antipodean predecessor

film co-directed by first-tim ers David Siegel and

look more comfortable in a role. As Gould was a

would win the Critics’ Prize. The people and the

Scott McGehee, was clearly not the work of

Torontonian, it was no surprise the film gener­

critics had other ideas. The critics chose Mike

talented beginners fumbling their way. Rather,

ated strong interest. But since the film had just

Leigh’s Naked, while the public placed Campion’s

with its sleek, black-and-white Panavision look,

received a standing ovation at the Venice Festi­

movie second to Stephen Frears’ The Snapper,

devious script and seamless direction, it was

val the week before, Glenn Gould really was

which is based on a novel by Roddy Doyle. At

difficult to accept this film as the work of two like-

riding the crest of a wave.

Toronto the distributors and the publicists might

minded individuals instead of one gifted person.

Toronto is regarded as a good place for the

Respectfully acknowledging their predecessors,

studios to launch their films. Partly because it is

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P A P E R S 9 6 • 45





Queensland imbue their tales comes across clearly. Moffatt is of Koori background. “Mr. Chuck” is a deliberately drab piece which begins in interview style. A housewife (Diana Davidson) tells of an incident with an Aboriginal boy (Ben Kennedy) many years before, when she was living near a swamp in North Queens­ land. The fixed camera emphasizes suburban mundaneness. Interspersed within her recollec­ tion is an interview with an Aboriginal man (Jack Charles) in gaol who tells of an experience he had when young of a ghost. It turns out, though the film hands it to us and evokes no surprise, that the housewife knew the man: he was the boy of her recollection. The wom an’s eyes con­ vey longing while the man’s childhood delin­ quency is portrayed charmingly: the two of them look out from their mundane existence and re­ call a past bathed in the light of nostalgia; the wom an’s is warm, the man’s somewhat cold. W ithout making a meal of it - contrary to what seems typical in Australian artistry these days Moffatt suggests the housewife is a prisoner, too: the woman looks out from the glass door of her home as the camera rises above the subur­ ban ordinariness. Mr. Chuck turns out to be the nickname, perhaps invented by the boy, of a U.S. soldier who supposedly drowned in the swamp, on which a cinema is built. M offatt’s film is built overthe memory of the U.S. culture of the ABOVE: MINNIE (PATRICIA HANDY)





racey M offatt’s debut Australian feature,

“Choo Choo Choo Choo” is deliberately more

BeDeviP, is comprised of three self-con­

high-key, the first of the two “interviews” , this

tained stories: “ Mr. Chuck” , “Choo Choo Choo

time realized using a hand-held Super 8 cam­

Choo” and “Lovin’ the Spin I’m In” . The vision

era. A party of Aboriginal women is heading out


combines intense visual and narrative stylistic

on a picnic; one of them, Ruby (Auriel Andrews)

innovation with that old American cinema in

- the character of Moffatt’s mother (according to

which characters strive to look outward and be

an interview with Moffatt in Cinema Papers2) -

part of life’s cabaret.

tells of the time she lived with her mother and

In a general sense, the triptych progresses

P A P E R S 96

progresses, the ghost seems to rise from the swamp and fill the film with the old Hollywood spirit.


46 . C I N E M A

1960s, the years of her childhood. As the film

father, a railway ganger, in a remote, isolated,

like a contemplation: a childhood bathed in me­

ramshackle house beside a rail-line. Moffatt

diocrity; an adolescence spent with mother; and

herself plays the Ruby of the recollection. Every

emergence as a young adult with an optimistic

now and then the family hears the sound of a

outlook on life. The main characters strive to

ghost train. The fantastic set (designed by

connect with others - with people in their past,

Stephen Curtis) and style of photography (Moffatt

their current friends, or future lovers - resulting

is also a leading Australian photographer) lend

in moods of “lost chance” , “contentment with

intensity to M offatt’s memories of her mother.

life” and “hope for the future”, respectively. Heat,

Interspersed within the wom an’s recollect

mundaneness, isolation and nostalgia, charac­

tions is an “interview” with a delightfully eccen­

teristics of the Australian outback, are evoked

tric man of Chinese origin (Cecil Parkee) who

throughout. The mix of Aboriginal, multicultural

introduces the interview erto his shop in a sleepy

and “true blue” gives the triptych a look culturally

outback town. The interviewer notes that the

specific to Australia. The deep sense of ro­

man repeats an odd gesture which townsfolk

mance with which Aborigines in tropical North

also made to him while he was driving along the

tow n’s main street. The simple link between the

with Dimitri near the beginning, so the focus of

tow nsfolk sym bolizes ordinary attachm ents;

the miniature becomes the street they are living

assert the specialness of its style. In Bedevil, we are left inside the director’s

moreover, the gesture seems to be saying, “Open

on. One is reminded of the film ’s social aspect.

aesthetic structure but our feelings - which are

your eyes - mundaneness does not have to be

The last scene shows the crooks haven’t a

called upon - do not fill it and seem to have, at

banal!” The man has called the interviewer into

chance of “bedevilment” - they just keep going

best, an extraneous connection with what we

the shop so he can mention to him the existence

around in circles with their folly.

see. The eagerness of the characters to convey

of a ghost - of a blind girl (Karen Saunders)

BeDevil is a difficult film to watch because of

something personal and the obvious mystery

killed by a train. Characters living in widely

the continuous conflict between naturalism and

evoked by the fantastic set wash past each other

different circumstances, a great distance apart,

anti-naturalism. On the one hand, we are pre­

despite M offatt’s efforts to splice them together.

are linked by a similar kind of memory, as if by a

sented with the illusion that the characters are

The other problem faced by aesthetically-


free, and, on the other, we are constantly re­

bound narrative films is characterization. By the

Meanwhile, the Aboriginal wom en’s barbe­

minded of technology - the director’s will -

end of the second miniature, one has a sense

cue picnic is proceeding vociferously. In a hu­

through M offatt’s obsessive preoccupation with

that, although we have seen extensive machina­

morous scene, Ruby energetically argues with

style. It is like watching two films screened over

tions of the director’s imagination, we have

another woman over the aesthetics of yabbie

the top of each other. The hyperactive stylistic

learned little about the characters whose recol­

cuisine, the position on the plate and pattern of

intervention strips away narrative feeling by in­

lections are supposed to comprise the film. Since

the sauce. The women are suitably decked out

voking formal connections (which often seem to

conflict is only notional, opposing components

in designer shades; and the portrait photogra­

lead nowhere), while the narrative feeling keeps

are unconvincingly drawn out from the happy

phy is first-rate.

trying to rise above the din. Putting it another

surfaces: the characters could be the same

The interview style is abandoned in the third

way, the director seems to be half-way between

person with masks. (I mean “conflict” as a colli­

miniature, “Lovin’ the Spin I’m In” , as two ghosts

thinking that all representation is a pernicious

sion of ideas, not necessarily represented by violent acts.)

enter the land of the living with a flourish of

fiction and abandoning materialism altogether in

spontaneity: a dancer spins across the stage in

flowing naturalism. Sometimes it feels as if the

The film is very much the author’s space: one

pursuit of her lover. The ideal is set and the

director has intervened at length to safeguard

wonders what the film tells us about anybody but

miniature proceeds to sketch several characters

the telling of the stories; paradoxically, her ap­

Tracey Moffatt. The triptych is a series of self-

meeting a psychological threshold between op­

proach turns out to be extremely conservative,

portraits a la Frida Kahlo. What insights does it

timism and pessimism for the future. A merchant

conveying few, if any, genuine insights.

have to give to other people besides the image

of Greek extraction, Dimitri (Lex Marinos), meets

Moffatt does not seem to have given serious

of its creator? The stories are simple sketches -

with misfortune at the hands of high-class thugs

thought to the artistic problem of friction be­

or even less. Nothing is ventured and nothing is

in front of a dilapidated warehouse he owns; he

tween showing characters naturally “as they

gained. Ultimately, the unhappiness from self­

supports a wife (Dina Panozzo) and son Roxy

are” and her painter’s vision which is bound by

obsession which the Kahlo look-alike thought

(Midia Daniels) while operating an enterprise of

aesthetics. Even a flourish of spontaneity is not

he’d left behind by placing a candle at the altar

dubious integrity, so the path in life he has

enough to loosen the shackles of style which

of life is merely brushed over with a happy face.

chosen continually teeters between optimism

emanate from every gesture, word and piece of

Moffatt has failed to set herself free.

and pessimism, and seems unfulfilled. The con­

set around it: one almost gets the feeling thatthe

flict is benign, notional as in staged dance. The

dancers, too, are the director’s puppets.

The question of whether Moffatt’s creation is a “moving painting” or a film is beside the point.

The final dance scene in the warehouse is

As a product of human hands that aspires to art

time-frame of conflict increases dramatically as

played on an empty set, emphasizing the pure

and not technology, it should be judged by the

the psychological states of the characters are

energy of the lovers, but it seems merely a

impression it leaves. The impression I am left with, long after seeing it, is that Bedevil is a

density of visual information within the short

brought out through their relative location, posi­

filmed dance sequence which has somehow

tion of hands, gestures and so forth, as well as

found its way into the film. /Esthetically-bound

simplistic record of typical feelings of the Aus­

through what they say. The viewing experience

films with too much naturalism necessarily seem

tralian outback, and is an extremely intricate, but

is like watching several mime artists working

to require a sojourn into purity during which they

not complex, way of saying “Don’t worry, be

simultaneously, who talk over an ever-present

lose their film character, resulting in conflict of


mood evoked by a deserted maritime quay. The

purpose. There cannot be a breaking of all levels

conflict causes Roxy to dream of a better life (the

of technology to bring the film alive: one is

narrative link was that he witnessed the fight).

always reminded of material. This is why Pier

1. On screen, the title is beDevil.

Having gone to sleep still wearing his rollerblades

Paolo Pasolini believed that cinema has to be

2. “ BeD evil: Tracey M offatt interviewed by John

after wasting yet another day waiting for some­

“naturalistic” .

thing to happen in his life, as artists are prone to,

The Georgian filmmaker Sergei Paradzhanov,


Conomos and Raffaele Caputo” , Cinema Papers, No. 93, May 1993, p28.

he wakes up one night thinking he is hearing

who also exhibited as a primitivist painter, solved

Further Reading

something from the empty warehouse across

the problem of conflict between naturalism and

“BeDevil: Tracey Moffatt interviewed by John Conomos

the road. He goes over to investigate and sees

anti-naturalism in aesthetically-bound, narrative

and Raffaele Caputo”, Cinema Papers, No. 93, May

the dancing ghosts: he is imbued with their

cinema by opting fortotal control in films such as

1993, pp. 26-32.

joyous spirit. He is “bedevilled” by love. Once

Ashik Kerib (1988) and Legends o Suramskoj

“Tracey Moffatt” , interviewed by Scott Murray, Cin­

again, the photography (Geoffrey Burton) and

Kreposti ( The Legend o f the Suram Fortress,

set make even mundane occurrences such as

1985) in the sense that every element in the film

the rollerblader seem visually fresh.

seems to have been painted by his hand (evok­

ema Papers, No. 79, May 1990, pp. 19-22. BEDEVIL Directed by Tracey Moffatt. Producers: Anthony Buckley, Carol Hughes. Scriptwriter: Tracey

Another thread within the miniature is its

ing immediate control). Characters appear, dis­

Moffatt. Director of photography: Geoff Burton. Pro­

occasional focus on a man (Luke Roberts) gaz­

appear (spliced out) and re-appear in different

duction designer: Stephen Curtis. Art director: Martin

ing out from the window of a room in Dimitri’s

costumes in the space of seconds: the films feel

Brown. Sound recordist: David Lee. Editor: Wayne Le

warehouse he has occupied without paying rent;

coherent despite the extreme stylization and

Clos. Composer: Carl Vine. Cast: Diana Davidson

he is trying to come to terms with the delusion

manage to tell beautiful folk stories of the Cau­

(Shelley), Jack Charles (Rick), Tracey Moffatt (Ruby

that he is Trotsky’s lover, Frida Kahlo. The

casus region. (Legend o f Suram Fortress only

Morphet), Banula (David) Marika (Stompie Morphet),

morbid self-obsession is making him unhappy.

has one character, an unseen narrator who

Eventually, he opts to look with hope towards

translates the Russian spoken on screen into

making a life. There is no obvious narrative

Georgian with ironic humour; the otherfaces are

Southern Star presentation of an Anthony Buckley

connection between this man and the rest of the

only sketches of characters.) They have a qual­

production. Australian distributor: Ronin. 35mm. 90

characters, apart from a few remarks exchanged

ity of humility, while M offatt’s film still wants to

mins. Australia. 1993.

P a u lin e . M cLeod (Jack), A uriel Andrew s (Ruby), Mawuyul Yanthalawun (Maudie), Lex Marinos (Dimitri), Dina Panozzo (Voula), Riccardo Natoli (Spiro). A



96 . 47


and makes clear its position that there is no

option for Dougie, and, by implication, for youhg

alternative by having Floyd offer up his own (way

Aborigines in general: complete disdain for the

of) life so that Dougie and his girlfriend, Polly

ougie Dooligan (John Moore) is a 19-year-

white man’s law combined with an equally com ­

(Jaylene Riley), may have a shot at something

old Aborigine about to be released from a

plete ignorance of tribal lore. Floyd is a cheeky


Perth prison, where he has done time for the

character, attractive in his immersion in the

Despite the clear moral dimension and di­

stabbing of a white man in a brawl. Dougie

“now” of his existence, and in his refusal to view

dactic nature of its resolution, Blackfellas is a

blames his cousin, “Pretty Boy” Floyd (David

his position as one of disadvantage. His behav­

film which appears to be best understood as a

Ngoombujarra), for his being there - it was Floyd

io u r-s e x u a l, criminal, s o c ia l-is , in many ways,

significant and accomplished piece of social

who started the fight - and bitterly resents the

affirmative. But it is also heavily contingent upon

realism. Yet there remains an element of reser­

fact that he hasn’t been to see him once in his

not being caught, and as such bears the heavy

vation in this response. The film is aesthetically

18-month incarceration. As Dougie is being led

weight of inevitable closure.




a metaphorical focus, too. Floyd represents an


a bit rough, and some of the performances

towards the front gate, he sees another, older,

During his time in prison, Dougie decides to

occasionally waver, but that is not where the

black man being brought in. It is his father, a

reject Floyd’s way of life. He has no desires to

problem lies - at least, not directly. The rough

regular participant in the prison system. Dougie

end up like his father, which is where he sees

edges are easy enough to forgive, and to explain

becomes emotional, but, after a scuffle with the

Floyd’s recklessness leading. But he doesn’t

away in terms of the film ’s “veracity” , its “authen­

police escorting him to the gate, is freed.

want to live the life his white mother (Julie

ticity” . And that is where the problem lies. How

Outside the prison walls, Dougie finds him­

Hudspeth) has mapped out for him either, work­

do I, a white Australian with fairly limited expo­

self alone. As he begins the long walk into town,

ing as a mechanic, and avoiding his black “peo­

sure to Aboriginal culture - urban or otherw ise-

Floyd and some friends pull up alongside and

ple” in preference for his white ones. Instead,

come to be in a position to pronounce upon the

offer him a ride. Torn between his anger at

Dougie dreams of buying back Yetticup, the

film ’s veracity? I do not ask this in order to open

Floyd, his distress at seeing his father being

clapped-out country property - and a part of his

up the can of worms of critical legitimacy, but to

locked up again, fear that the car is stolen and

people’s D re a m in g -h is father once owned, and

ask how do any of us (whites) know the “truth” of

the realization that he’s got nothing else to do

re-establishing it as a viable horse stud.

Aboriginal culture? The answer, it seems to me,

anyway, Dougie accepts a ride with Floyd and

This ambition is a highly suggestive one in so

company, and soon finds himself at a bedrag­

far as it navigates a course midway between the

The director of Blackfellas, James Ricketson,

gled Aboriginal encampment bn the edge of the

traditional Aboriginal culture from which Dougie,

comes from a background in television docu­

city, where his release is celebrated in grand

Floyd and all the other urban Nyoongahs (Perth-

mentary, and has made programmes dealing

style with football, grog and song.

area Aborigines) in the film have become alien­

with Aboriginal culture and issues in that format.

is through white media, television in particular.

So opens Blackfellas (aka Day o f the Dog), a

a te d , and th e c o m m e rc ia l, la n d -o w n in g

He would seem to be ideally placed to make a

study of the temptations and traps, the pres­

imperatives of the white culture which would in

feature film about that culture and those issues,

sures and prejudices, which confront contempo­

all probability reject them even should they em­

and to employ some of the production tech­

rary urban Aborigines. Decidedly and refreshingly

brace it. Dougie’s dream would seem to have the

niques of the television documentary in the name

unromantic in its portrait of Aboriginal culture,

function of offering black audiences a way out of

of realism (significantly, ABC TV was a produc­

the film is also largely resistant to the easy point­

what the filmmakers, presumably rightly, see

tion partner). In that sense, Blackfellas might be

scoring of painting all whites as racist villains

as a malaise. In re-forging a link with the land,

seen as an extension of the documentary into a

(though the police come in for some understand­

even if not on the basis of a fully understood set

marginally more popular format: the limited-

able criticism, with John Hargreaves hamming it

of traditional beliefs and values, young Aborigi­

release feature film. But it also means that the

up in the role of a racist sergeant). Although

nes will be taking control of their own lives in a

points against which the m ovie’s veracity can be

fairly loosely structured around a sense of immi­

way they never can while allowing them to be

checked have been produced by exactly the

nent and inescapable tragedy, ratherthan a tight

defined by a relationship to white systems of law

same system - well-meaning white filmmakers

plot, Blackfellas also succeeds as drama.

and patronage (either living off handouts or

observing a culture which is not their own - as the movie itself.

Doug’s relationship to Floyd remains through­

running the gamut of the authorities). The film

out the focal point of that drama, and serves as

strikes a sound blow for Aboriginal self-reliance,

This is hot necessarily intended as a criti­ cism, merely as a caveat to the implicit criteria which many will bring to bear when commenting upon the “worthiness” or the “accuracy” of the film. It seems to me that the film is, indeed, both worthy and accurate; but I have only the accu­ mulated evidence of (predominantly) w hite-pro­ duced and -directed television documentaries to back up that assessment. There is no way for a white audience to break free of that circularity, short of putting the power of critical appraisal in the hands and mouths of those who know best whether such things are accurate - the Aborigi­ nes who are the subject of the film(s). I am not trying to suggest that “truth” can only come from the mouths of the subjects of a film or other artefact, just that they might well produce a very different sort of truth if given the opportunity. To be fair, Blackfellas is aware of and goes some way towards addressing this issue. While its principal creatives are white, the film carries the imprimatur of being able to lay claim to the input of Aborigines on multiple levels. Archie VALERIE (LISA KINCHELA), “PRETTY BOY” FLOYD (DAVID NGOOMBUJARRA) AN D DOUGIE~(-JOHN MOORE). JAMES RICKETSON'S BLACKFELLAS.


W eller’s novel, The Day o f the Dog, is its source, and W eller consulted on the screenplay. Many Nyoongahs were reportedly involved in crewing on the film, and Ricketson and producer David Rapsey have commented upon what they con­ sidered to be the importance of leaving behind “a legacy of experience and knowledge in the Aboriginal community so that they will be able to produce and direct their own film s” . They are to be applauded for that. There can be no denying that, in front of the camera, many of those in the predominantly black cast show considerable promise; John Moore gives a performance streets ahead of the one for which he garnered some praise in Deadly (Esben Storm, 1992), and David Ngoombujarra is always compelling, whether Floyd is stealing cars, playing football or squeezing out his last words in a pool of blood. W hether future rôles will exist for them and the others to fulfil that promise is another matter. The best guarantee that they do is to place the right to speak and make films about the subjects that matter to them in the hands of Aboriginal people. Further Reading Archie Weller, “Films in Colour: or, Black and White Perspectives of Screenplay?” (re Day of the Dog [Blackfellas]), Cinema Papers, No. 87, March-April 1992, pp.44-5. “James Ricketson’s Day of the Docf’, op. cit., pp 46-7. John Harding, “Canons in the Camera”, op. cit., pp.42-3. BLACKFELLAS Directed by James Ricketson. Pro­ ducer: David Rapsey. Executive producers: Paul D. B arro n, P enny C h apm an. S c rip tw rite r: Jam es

is receiving emergency treatment.


Pitched against Lane’s calm is chaos which now fills the mind of Christina, whose career has

crash, when deprived of voice, leg and hand

been destroyed by Lane’s provocative behav­

control. Then the young girl finds her intimacy

iour. The cross-cutting reinforces the ambigu­

with her father is crushed as he becomes more

ous relationship between them: Are they lovers

and more smitten by Lane. In the meantime,

or casual strangers? On one level, Lane’s bath­

Lane, like a parasite, feeds off each person,

Archie W eller. Director of photography: Jeff Malouf.

ing, watching plump drops of water escape the

growing colder and dismissing them as whim

Production designer: Bob Ricketson. Costume de­

faucet, is symbolic of her washing away her

strikes her.

signer: Ron Gidgup. Editor: Christopher Cordeaux.

crime. In the interim, Christina, bathed in blood,

Red is used as a sexual symbol in the film, a

Composer: David Milroy. Cast: John Moore (Doug

wrestles with her life, spilt blood releasing a

power colour that Lane wears like a badge. In

Dooligan), David Ngoombujarra (“Pretty Boy” Floyd

primal reaction, demonstrated by Christina’s

her tight skirt, racy leggings, leather jacket,

Ricketson. Based on the book Day of the Dog by

Davey), Jaylene Riley (Polly), Lisa Kinchela (Valerie), Julie Hudspeth (Mrs Dooligan), John Hargreaves (De­ tective Maxwell), Trevor Parfitt (Tiny), Attila Ozsdolay (Silver), Judith Margaret W ilkes (Nanna), Ernie Dingo (Percy). Barron Films. Australian distributor: Barron Films. 35mm. 98 mins. Australia. 1993.



revenge during the film ’s second half. Despite

beret and bright-red hooker lipstick, Lane is a

Lane’s attempts to wash away the past, sym boli­

garish, incongruous sight, wandering through

cally she will forever carry the bloodstains.

the landscape with no purpose and no under­

Their relationship is sexually ambiguous. In

standing. Thefilm looks at heralienation and her

the scenes leading up to the crash, there is a

ability to alienate; ironically, despite her girlie

sense of tension and rivalry between the two

clothes, she is more of avenus flytrap, using her

women: Lane is the aggressor, who causes the

sex to tantalize and tempt but being indiscrim i­

accident by playfully fighting off Christina who

nate and ruthless in her seduction.

wants to stop her reading her diary. The scene

Lane tries to woo the daughter by giving her

JL woman without remorse or conscience, her

highlights Lane’s need for control: Christina is

a red “seduction” dress. It hangs uncomfortably

embittered, crippled companion, a young

on her way to interview a famous author, Colin

on the young girl’s undeveloped body. Spurred

girl and her emasculated father are the luckless

(William Zappa); Lane resents her friend’s suc­

on by Lane’s charisma, she wears the dress

characters in Alison Maclean’s pseudo-feminist

cess and sabotages it by fronting up to the

around the house, causing her father to look at

schlock-thriller, Crush.

author’s home after the crash and makes a

her in a more sexual way. Later, forced to rival

While tension in the first half of the film is well

sexual play for him.

Lane for her father’s attention, she shows her

sustained by Marcia Gay Harden’s performance

Sexual power games are the only way Lane

anger by refusing to wear the dress. The red

as the calculating, misanthropic and charismatic

can maintain control. At first she achieves this

dress on one level showed her equality with

Lane, the plot dissolves into a B-grade melo­

by wooing the author’s daughter, Angela (Caitlin

Lane, but later shows the daughter’s loss of

drama during the second half, with a predictable

Bossley), feminizing her boyish looks by giving

power - she now irritates her father whose

and unconvincing dénouement.

her a red dress and taking her out on the town.

growing fascinations for Lane threatens his pa­

Lane is an enigma; like aferal cat she lives on

The young girl initially submits to this make­

ternal relationship. A red dress is a power state­

her wits, ruled by a hedonistic agenda. Stranded

over, fascinated by Lane’s strength and devil-

ment for C hristina who dons it during the

in an alien country after surviving a car crash,

may-care antics, but soon sours when Lane

dénouement, symbolizing the shift in the bal­ ance of power between herself and Lane.

her first reaction is to steal her com panion’s

moves on to her father, a sex-starved writer

diary and leave her to die in the wreckage. What

whose sexual juices flow just as his artistic

follows is rem iniscent of the cross-cutting in

juices dry up.

The stagey ending, C hristina’s revenge, poses som e u n co m fo rta b le q u e stio n s. Is

Nicolas Roeg’s Bad Timing: in a series of quick

The title of the film is a word play on Lane’s

Maclean saying women are predatory and mer­

mid-shots and close-ups, Lane soaks in a bath

ability to crush all she encounters. First it is her

cenary, and deep down cannot trust or like their

while her companion, Christina (Donogh Rees),

companion, whose career is cut short after the

own sex? Throughout the film, the wom en’s CINEMA


96 • 49

relationships are fraught with tension and mis­

goes). Flashing back and

trust. Their one common link - the man - is a

forth between Ken at a

weak-willed, insipid character who is emotion­

S ëventh Day A d v e n tis t

ally castrated by Lane’s machismo. It is difficult

camp in the Blue Moun­

not to see parallels between Lane as the mis­

tains in i 956, and Ken as a

tress, Christina as the wife and Angela as the

nineteen year-old at Syd­

go-between in this weird love triangle.

ney University in thé early

While the first half of the film deals With primal

1960s, The Nostradamus

lust and hedonism, the second is a morality tale

Kid aims both to be highly

about repressed anger and its consequences.

personal, and to ëxtrapo-

However, the latter is unconvincing as Lane

late from

returns to the man like a drunk floozy suffering

s p e c ia l

an attack of remorse. Her attempts to assimilate

something like a universal,

K e n ’s ra th e r

e x p e rie n c e


into New Zealand life are thwarted by Christina

nostalgic appeal based on

and the daughtér. Christina confronts the Coüple

the shared tribulations of

by dropping by unannounced; her red dress

growing Up.

symbolizes that she now has the emotional

A t th e ca m p ,

E lkin

upperhand while Lane feels powerless - to es­

spends most of his time

cape ordeal with Christina’s fury. In the end, one

w ith

feels sorry for Lane despite knowing that, like a

Mitsak), convinced that the

parasite, she will continue to feed off her sources

end of the world is nigh, but

if not killed.

uncertain about exactly

The film ’s awkward direction and editing is

W a y ia n d

(E ric k

how and when it will hap­

showcased during the dénouement, a walk in

pen. Just across the road

the bush in which Christina decides to take

from the Adventists’ retreat,

justice into her own hands. Too much time is

a dissenter calling himself

spent building up to the moment of Lane’s death.

The Shepherd’s Rod (Pe­

The psychological tension Maclean has built up

ter Gwyhne) hàs set up à

throughout thé film is prematurely dissipated

rival camp and cult, boldly

during the ending; what started out as a promis­

predicting the exact date

ing exploration of the female sexual psyche runs

and time of the long-awaited apocalypse. He is

but of steam.

called a heretic, and his claims are branded


ridiculous by Pastor Anderson (Arthur Dignam);

they seem particularly to like each other, their

CRUSH Directed by Alison Maclean. Producer: Bridget

but the more impatient amongst the Adventist

only apparent bond being an obsession With

Ikin. Associate producer: Trevor Haysom. Scriptwriters:

young are attracted by the certainty - and pre­

words, women and wine.

Alison Maclean, Anne Kennedy. Director of photogra­ phy: Dion Beebe. Production designer: Meryl Cronin. Costume designer: Ngila Dickson. Sound recordist: Robert Allan. Editor: John Gilbert. Composer: JPS

sumably the promise of the rest of life free from

The woman most in the eye of Elkin is Jennie

the imminence of world destruction should he

O’Brien (Miranda Otto), daughter of a newspa­

prove ill-informed - of a deadline.

per proprietor and earmarked for marriage to

Experince, with additional music by Anthony Partos.

Elkin is amongst them. So too is Meryl (Loene

Kerry Packer! For some unknown reason, she

Cast: Marcia Gay Harden (Lane), Donogh Rees

Carmen), a strong-headed and slightly wayward

takes to Elkin and stays with him - off and on -

(Christina), Caitlin Bossley (Angela), W illiam Zappa

parishioner. Pastor Anderson’s teenage daugh­

despite his infidelity, complete absence of social

(Colin). Hibiscus Films. Australian distributor: Foot­

ters, Esther (Alice Garner) and Sarai (Lucy Bell),

graces, voyeurism, attempted rape and passing

remain as unmoved by the rival dogma as they

on of a dose of venereal disease. Not surpris­

are by the ribald intentions of Ken and Wayiand,

ingly, Jennie’s father is aghast at the match. But

print. 35rhm. 100 mins. New Zealand. 1993.



would-be suitors and, on the eve of destruction,

it’s not until Ken drags her off to the Blue Moun­

potential rapists ^ .it occurring to the boys that

tains to escape the imminent destruction of

they’re hardly likely to suffer terribly as a result

Sydney at the height of the Cuban Missile crisis

f such a thing can exist, The Nostradamus Kid

of their actions if there isn’t going to be anyone

of 1962 that Jennie finally decides enough is

is an adult-oriêntéd teen pic. Built on a com-

around to punish them (in their testosterone-

enough. She later marries McAlister.


ing-of-age premise, and full of outrageous be­

and fear-induced madness the possibility of di­

That, more or less, is the narrative of The

haviour, scatological and sexual humour, it ap­

vine retribution doesn’t seem to cross their

Nostradamus Kid, apart from a few scenes in

peals on a very broad - almost exclusively

minds). In the end, though, they relent and make

which the fates of Elkin’s fellow campers are

masculine - level. But above it all presides the

a mess of the toilet blocks instead, less out of a

revealed. Throughout, the mystery of Elkin’s

narratorial voice of Bob Ellis, an established and

néw-found respect fo r the tem ples of the

sexual attraction remains explainable only as a

recognizable figure on the Australian cinema­

Anderson sisters’ bodies than a well-founded

combined figment of Ellis’ memory and imagina­

literary landscape. By decrying the behaviour he

desire to hedge their bets.

tion (Ellis himself attributed it, in an interview

has had such obvious fun delineating on screen,

By the time Elkin is at Sydney University, the

he makes it palatable for a more mature - and,

religious fervour has become a distant, though

not wash after the act of sexual intercourse

hopefully, inclusively female - audience. It’s a

still influential, memory. The Anderson sisters

women can smell it on you, and it excites them

sleight of voice that is reasonably successful,

are long gone, as is Wayiand. The most constant

and you therefore achieve the next”). Depend­

though the laddishness of the film is so essential

companion of the boy genius (for so we are

ing on your viewpoint, Ellis’ scenario and dia­

to its being that Ellis’ laconic mea culpas seem

meant to think him) is a rough-hewn country poet

lo g u e

grossly inadequate to winning back those many

named McAlister (Jack Campbell), with whom

sophisticated sexual comedy, or pure and fanci­

likely to be offended by the escapades of his

he shares floor-space of a night at the offices of

ful conceit.


the student newspaper which Elkin now edits.

Ellis’ major directorial conceit is to move

In this “fictionalized autobiography” , Ellis the

Just why these bright young things should be

back and forth between the film ’s two time-

younger becomes Ken Elkin (Noah Taylor), a

homeless at a time when the word would hardly

frames, with only slim expository need to do so.

tumbling, fearful, fairly repulsive youth on the

have had a meaning in the Australian lexicon is

These two interlocking strands each follow a

vergé of the great liberalization of Australian

never made terribly clear, though admittedly

straight temporal line, gaining little from the

Society that was the 1960s (or so the story

neither ever seems to have much money. Nordo

disjunction which Ellis has effected. The film

50 . C I N E M A P A P E R S


with this author, to body odour: “ I think if you do

is e ith e r th e s tu ff of re a s o n a b ly

doesn’t really gain either; the suspicion arises

the position of chief accuser of his own sexually

that its function is merely to make the film appear

not-very-correct past (his present, of course,

more complex than it actually is.

remains on trial). Rather, he seems as bemused

Much the same could be said of Ellis’ voice­ over narration, which captures perfectly the

and amused by the fact that he apparently got away with it as any audience is likely to be.



■ ^ e n tis tr y , it seems, is second only to psychiatry as far as nervous breakdowns and

world-weary tone of one for whom every day

Lest anyone gain the impression that The

suicides are concerned - and, one presumes,

since the deferred end of the world has been a

Nostradamus Kid is so uniquely about Ellis that

this also applies to the patients! If this is indeed

disappointment. It seems intended to cast a

it could not possibly hold any appeal to any bar

so, why, one must ask, would any person in his

condescending but fond eye upon the misde­

the most avid Bob-watchers, be assured that it

or her right mind, whatever that may be, choose

meanours of Elkin/Ellis as a youth, as if to say,

will go down in Australian cinematic history as

to become a dentist? Well, this is one of the

“He/I was a prat, but an entertaining one, don’t

som ething of a hybrid between the David

questions that is answered in the film. In any

you think?” There is in both the voice-over and

W illiam son-style exposé of our culture through

case, the phenomenon of dentistry and, espe­

the structure a suggestion of something like

our sexual mores and appetites, and the John

cially, the abject horror and extreme panic which

discomfort at having to turn material so intensely

Duigan school of politically-aware yet highly

it engenders even in the most fearless individu­

personal nostalgia (the Duigan similarity, it should

als, is a worthy subject indeed for a film script.

personal into something so public. If that embarrassment in fact exists, it may be

be noted, transcends the mere casting parallel

Evelyn Waugh claimed in an interview that for

a product of the distance between Ellis the

of Noah Taylor and Loene Carmen). The result

pleasure of the physical kind, he preferred to

scriptwriter and Ellis the director - a distance of

is extremely entertaining and highly uncomfort­

visit his local dentist - a perverse sentiment that

some thirteen years (Ellis reportedly wrote the

able; but whether this blend signals a way for­

this film captures nicely. And S.J. Perelman’s

script at the suggestion of David Puttnam who,

ward for Australian cinema or a mere stop-gap is

words are appropriate too: “For years I have let

having heard Ellis tell the story of his youth as a

open to question.

dentists ride roughshod over my teeth; I have

Seventh Day Adventist, pronounced that it would


Ellis is not credited as the scriptw riter of Newsfront

been sawed, hacked, chopped, whittled, be­

make a very good film and gave him an advance

(only Noyce is), though there is an end-credit

witched, bewildered, tattoed, and signed on

to write a screenplay; Puttnam gets a special

acknowledgment for “Based on a screenplay by

again; but this is cuspid’s last stand!” (Crazy

“thank you” in the final credits, although his role

Bob Ellis” . Man o f Flowers was scripted by Paul

Like a Fox)

as producer ended long ago) and, according to

Cox; Ellis is credited with “dialogue” . Goodbye

This film also explores the life of a man who

Ellis, the screenplay which was filmed was virtu­

Paradise was co-written with Denny Lawrence.

takes up sawing, hacking, chopping, whittling

ally unchanged from the original. It seems strange that he should have made this film now; it is his third outing as director, and his undeniably im­ pressive writing credits date from the late 1960s, which include Newsfront (Phil Noyce, 1978),

(Ref. Australian Film 1978-1992: A Survey of The­ atrical Features.) Further Reading Andrew L. Urban, “Bob Ellis’ The Nostradamus K id ’, including interview with Ellis, Cinema Papers, No. 86, January 1992, pp. 12-7.

Nostradamus Kid is in subject matter and tone rather like a writer-director debut.

Pickhaver) - a clever, punning, ironic and notso-ironic name - who leaves the dust of Wagga Wagga to study at Sydney University. He initially chooses Australian history and poetry. Clearly,

Man o f Flowers (Paul Cox, 1983) and Goodbye P a ra d is e (C arl S ch u ltz, 1 9 8 3 )1, ye t The

and so on, but, mercifully, not on these shores. This Is the story of “Dr.” Fairweather (Greig

THE NOSTRADAMUS KID Directed by Bob Ellis. Producer: Terry Jennings. Executive producers: Roger Simpson, Roger Le Mesurier. Scriptwriter: Bob Ellis. Director of photography: Geoff Burton. Production

this is no ordinary young man. Nor is he a genius. A five-year dentistry course stretches over ten, and Fairweather, somewhat clouded

This is not to say that the film should not have

designer: Roger Ford. Sound recordist: David Lee.

over, is sent off to an asylum and, once out,

been made. The tone of embarrassment which I

Editor: Henry Dangar. Composer: Chris Neal. Cast:

decides to practise as a dentist. He establishes

detect (of course, it could be a projection of my

Noah T aylor (Ken Elkin), M iranda Otto (Jennie

himself in Portsmouth, England, and armed with

own embarrassment, in recoil from certain sim i­

O ’Brien), Jack Campbell (McAlister), Erick Mitsak

the Oxford Handbook o f Clinical Dentistry be­

larities of behaviour and attitude between my

(W ayland), Loene Carmen (Meryl), Alice Garner

gins whittling, drilling and pulling away on the

remembered self and Ellis’ remembered Elkin) actually helps the film, deflating the sexual braggadocio that might otherwise have seemed

(Esther A nderson), Lucy Bell (Sarai Anderson), Jeanette Cronin (Christy), Arthur Dignam (Pastor Anderson), Colin Friels (American Preacher). Beyond Films presentation of a Simpson/Le Mesurier produc­

molars of the oblivious Poms. Soon, the authori­ ties become rather suspicious since he is seeing more than 100 patients a day, and insists on

to validate some of Elkin’s more odious behav­

tion. Australian distributor: Ronin. 35mm. 120 mins.

taking x-rays of everyone, even those who no

iour. Not that Ellis has gone so far as to take up

Australia. 1993.

longer have teeth! The inquiry into his practice proceeds, even as his bank account swells enormously. This point is made with economy and humour: he arrives in the town with a bicycle, buys a moped, then a Rover, before he pays cash, first, for a Jaguar and then a Rolls Royce. Even the man­ ager of the local bank enjoys special treatment because Fairweather has no knowledge of term deposits and leaves his money in low interestbearing accounts. Fairweather falls in love, is found out as a charlatan, and flees to Hong Kong, where he is captured by a loud Australian detective and his sidekick. The film begins here. The story is a relatively straightforward one but it is told in an Interesting and fragmented manner. The use of a non-chronologica! narra­ tive technique is used skilfully to convey the life of a man whose existence is itself a series of abrupt beginnings and ends. It soon becomes clear in the film that his competence is question­ able, to say the least, despite the fact that his LEFT: RILEY (DENNIS MILLER) AND GORDON FAIRWEATHER (GREIG PICKHAVER). CHRIS KENNEDY’S THIS W O N 'T HURT A BIT!.



96 . 51

patients make a point of returning to him, and,

especially from Jacqueline McKenzie as the

Chinese and Western values collide to the merry

moreover, of singing his praises. In this respect,

wife-to-be, Vanessa, Patrick Blackwell (her rav­

orchestration of a Latin American tango sound­

their testimonies are contrasted with those of

aged father) and Maggie King (the rather boor­


the dentistry teacher, the owner of an Indian

ish and imperious mother). The film is also an

In The Player (Robert Altman, 1992), they

restaurant, a young woman and a chap from

attractive plea for happiness and liberty, particu­

might have pitched this as Guess Who’s Coming

Wagga Wagga, among others. This is one of the

larly in relation to two more or less odd charac­

to D inner (Stanley Kramer, 1967) meets La

film ’s strengths: it soon emerges that we cannot

ters who find the courses of their lives converging

Cage Aux Folles (Edouard Molinaro, 1978) by way of B etsy’s Wedding (Alan Alda, 1990). It

really rely on most if not all of these people. The

in spite of the considerable forces that are intent

film, it seems, is not just an exploration of a

on preventing the union. The optimism that the

sounds like a cinematic disaster as well as a

peculiar man - who is perhaps insane - his

film offers with regard to a so-called lunatic, and

social one, and about as appetizing as the beef

peculiar profession and peculiar patients, but

a daughter who is subject to a domineering

stewed in liquorice I was served once in Beijing.

also of the perils and pretensions of certain

elder, is both welcome and admirable.

But the beef turned out to be pretty tasty, Wai-

types of documentary filmmaking.

Tung somehow does manage to satisfy every­

For example, we are told, supposedly by a

THIS W ON’T HURT A BIT! Directed by Chris Kennedy.

one in the end, and The Wedding Banquet

dispassionate observer, that Fairweather is a

Producer: Patrick Fitzgerald. Co-producer: Chris

succeeds against all the odds. Admittedly, there

character who prefers to fade into the back­

Kennedy. Scriptwriter: Chris Kennedy. Director of

ground, but subsequent events, such as the

p h o to g ra p h y : M arc S p ic e r. A rt d ire c to r:

progression from bicycle to Rolls, do not rein­ force this view. We are told, for example, by


Muggleston. Wardrobe: Ruth Bracegirdle. Sound re­ cordist: David Glasser. Editor: Peter Butt. Composer:

are a host of small problems that might disturb the politically-correct thought police. B u tthefilm nimbly negotiates the fine line between farce

M ario G rigoriv. Cast: G reig P ickhaver (G ordon

and sentiment to create a dish that is easy to

F a irw e a th e r), J a c q u e lin e

M cK e n zie (V a n e ssa

swallow but leaves an interesting aftertaste. No

owner, that the dentist is a reasonable fellow,

Prescott), Dennis Miller (Riley), Maggie King (Mrs

wonder it has been a hit across Europe and the

but the dentist’s rather liberal approach to cavi­

Prescott), Patrick Blackwell (Mr Prescott), Gordon

U.S. as well as in Taiwan.

ties, bridges and dentures, not to mention the x-

Chater (Professor), Alwyn Kurts (Psychiatrist), Col­

rays, wild stories about “O rr-stralia” and the

leen Clifford (Lady Smith), Peter Brown (Railway

Fairweather’s neighbour, the affable restaurant

manic look that sometimes appears on his face, tend somewhat to undercutthis claim. The young

Friend), Fiona Press (Old Girlfriend). Oilrag Produc­ tions. Australian distributor: Dendy Films. 35mm. 83 mins. Australia. 1993.

woman who describes him as a man with greasy hair and a big nose is also difficult to believe. Even Fairweather does much to contribute to the reader’s puzzlement: if we believe him, or, to be more precise, the accounts of what he says to one of his patients, then “O rr-stralia” is a country that is constantly ravaged by disasters that are no less serious than the ravages that are going

Director Ang Lee manages to get the right balance of sweet and sour with the help of a secret ingredient: the old Chinese melodrama of the 1940s. The Taiwanese New Wave directors of the 1980s like Edward Yang (A Brighter Sum­


m e r D ay) and Hou H siao -H sien (B e iq in g


Venice winner, Xim eng Resheng ( The Pupp-

Chengshi (A City o f Sadness) and this year’s BERRY

he Wedding Banquet won the Golden Bear

etmaster)) drew on the art film to make their

at Berlin this year, but nothing I heard about

mark. But Ang Lee returns to an older Chinese

this cross-cultural gay farce before seeing it

tradition to give us another face of Taiwanese


piqued my appetite. Taiw anese W ai-Tung

cinema. The result may be less cinematically

on within the dentist’s surgery! “O rr-stralia”

(Winston Chao) lives in New York with his Am eri­

flashy and even appear mainstream, but one

emerges as a country which is in turn overcome

can boyfriend, Simon (Mitchell Lichtenstein).

should not ignore the subtle depths of the script

by drought, fire and then the crown starfish. (The

His parents don’t know he is gay and keep

and the hidden implications of the actors unspo­

land, fo re s ts and ree fs, no d ou bt, o ffe r

pressuring him to marry. In an effort to satisfy

ken glances that underlie the frothy surface.

correlatives of the teeth which are system ati­

everybody, he gets hitched to Wei-Wei (May

Chinese melodramas from the 1940s like A

Chin), a mainland Chinese woman who needs a

Spring River Flows East, Myriads o f Lights and

cally attacked ...) The film is also a somewhat philosophic ex­

green card. When his elderly and infirm parents

ploration of the motives that drive such a dentist.

decide to attend the wedding, the fun begins as


One interesting theory, which is neither affirmed nor negated explicitly by Fairweather, is that dentistry is one way of getting back at the Poms for leading his ancestors to their deaths during the Great Wars. It is striking that many of his patients are older patients. This, though, is clearly not meant to be taken seriously. Fairweather, decent fellow that he is, theorizes that it is the loneliness that brings these patients back - and this theory does sound convincing when one sees the types of people who return. If this theory is intended to endear the dentist to the viewer, it succeeds. This is a clever, witty film in which many of the pleasures are small but notable. There are puns on words and accents, eccentric characters and memorable situations. One might complain that the film is not really funny enough for a comedy - a n d judging by the audience at one screening, the pleasures were somewhat too few and some­ what too small for most - and that the pacing is not quite right. But the strengths are numerous: the script has more than enough strange char­ acters, puns, jokes and turns to keep the viewer interested; the playing is uneven, but there are some convincing (and very funny) performances, from Adam Stone as the bank manager, and

52 . C I N E M A











Girgus, however, does not investi­

even further elevated. It allows him to argue, as

gate the entire oeuvre. Rather, his study

he does, that Allen is “on the cutting edge of

traces what he describes as the evolu­

contemporary critical and cultural conscious­

tion of a maturing artist whose work

ness” . This is “theory as theory” rather than a

evidences ever-increasing complexity.

tool or product of critical analysis. One should

The cycle of films from Play it Again,

always be suspicious when a work of art is

Sam through Annie Hall, Manhattan,

judged to be worthy solely because it can be

Purple Rose of Cairo, Hannah and Her

neatly slotted into something as provisional as a

Sisters to Crimes and Misdemeanours

theory. Theory itself is constantly changing as it

easily supports this case for the artist

tries to accommodate our changing responses,

growing from strength to strength. But

attitudes, observations or comprehension.

this neat, overly-simple summation ig­

It would probably come as no surprise to

nores the more quirky, partial, uneven,

discover that Girgus’ background is in literature.

eclectic journey through a diverse out­

There’s little evidence of a visual grasp or under­

put that gives perhaps an artistically

standing of the cinematic canon. There are nu­

more interesting, more truthful, sense

merous comparisons made to writers such as

of the work and career of Woody Allen.

Philip Roth, E. L. Doctorow and Mark Twain.

Girgus’ pre-determined, simplistic vi­

Also Ike’s story and actions in Manhattan are

sion of the complexities of artistic crea­

frequently compared with Jay Gatsby in F. Scott

tion cannot accommodate this. Girgus’ method of analysis submits

Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. The filmmakers whom Girgus cites as having been influenced in

the films to what William Rothman calls

m ajorways by Allen and hisfilm s are Rob Reiner

“a reading of the sequence, moment by

and Spike Lee - an odd couple to say the least.

moment” . It’s his stated intention to

Added to this, what constitutes “visual inven­

also apply contemporary critical theory,

tiveness” for Girgus are those moments which can

specifically psychoanalysis, feminism

be interpreted symbolically. In Annie Hall, “evil is

and semiotics, to the reading. The theo­

the lobsters crawling around the floor and behind

retical net is cast wide. Sigmund Freud,

the refrigerator”. These tend not to be those sub­


Julia Kristeva, Jean-Louis Baudry, Jacques

lime images or poetic sequences in Allen’s films

Sam B. Girgus, Cambridge University Press,

Lacan, Teresa De Lauretis, Roland Barthes and

that are “purely cinematic”. Instead, Girgus is par­

New York, 1993, 146 pp., rrp $25(pb), $80(hb)

Mikhail Bakhtin all getaguernsey. Thetrouble is

ticularly engaged by the appearance of Marshall

the result rarely transcends eitherthe opportun­

McLuhan when Alvy and Annie stand in a movie



istic or the circumstantial. There is no sustained

line - a memorable sight gag but not a moment of

The Films o f Woody Allen by Sam Girgus is one

analysis. It remains descriptive, metaphorical,

great “visual inventiveness”.

of the Cambridge Film Classics series. The films


of Woody Allen may be classics, but this book certainly is not.

While I recognize that it is part of the struggle

Here are some examples. The opening se­

of the writer to find the right word, the most

quence of Play it Again, Sam is described as a

evocative metaphor, I did not find it particularly

Girgus explains in his preface that the study

moment of “split subjectivity” - “a semiotic,

illuminating to read that the Cinemascope screen

was finished and in page proofs when the stories

presymbolic phase of development” . Alan Felix’s

of Manhattan had come to be called the “D-

and publicity about Allen’s personal relation­

experience in the theatre is described as an

screen” because “it decenters, displaces, dislo­

ships and domestic turmoil broke. Not being one

“almost perfect dramatisation of Jean-Louis

cates and distorts.” It also seems overly reductive

to miss an opportunity, however, Girgus sug­

Baudry’s poststructuralist theory of the psycho­

and simplistic to interpret the sensuous, pano­

gests that ail of the sensationalist, media-driven

analytic dimension of cinema” . Manhattan is

ramic Manhattan images in the following way:

publicity surrounding the “breaking story” in fact

described as Bakhtinian: “Bakhtin’s emphasis

“Tops of heads disappear, obviously indicating

dramatized how important Allen and his films

on utterance and the social context of voice that

mindlessness, and legs are fractured, suggest­

have become to our critical and cultural con­

imbues a complexity of meanings to speech and

ing a group of truncated grotesques.” They are

sciousness; hence by implication, how impor­

words relates to Allen’s penchant as a director

films of far greater artistic subtlety and innova­

tant and necessary is this book. Exactly how this

for voiceovers and the separation of bodies from

tion than this analysis suggests.

personal and public tragedy might have influ­

speech, as well as his own dialogic technique of

Girgus’ aspiration to a “textual erotics” is clearly not to be found in his analysis of the

enced the writing of this book, which purports to

overlapping speech and words together.” For

study the films of an artist, is fortunately left to

Girgus, Allen also “typifies Bakhtin’s concept of

images. There are, however, moments when

our imagination.

the ‘carnivalistic’, which concerns the annihila­

this study does come alive, and that is when

tion of rigid boundaries in communication and

attention is paid to the characters and their

human relationships” .

conversation - t o Annie and Alvy, Ike and Tracy,

At the heart of it, Girgus comes across as a classical auteurist. In the opening pages he insists Allen’s work should be studied with the

This is all a kind of a gesturing towards

Hannah and her sisters. Girgus quotes dialogue

same close attention given to other serious

‘theory’. It is theory as a “value added” commod­

and conversation quite extensively and It is this,

artists and writers. He suggests that few de­

ity, a criterion of value, or glib evidence of

finally, the fabric and texture of quotation, that I

tailed studies of the “artistry” of the “individual

cultural worth. Because Girgus interprets and

found most significant and engaging, retracing

film s” have appeared, and it is his intention to

evaluates Allen’s films through such theoretical

the paths through my memories of the films. And

redress this situation.

posturing, Allen’s status and worth is seen to be

so you read, and discover: CINEMA


96 . 53

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54 . C I N E M A



271r-272 Lane Cove Road [Entrance 34 Waterloo Road] PQ Box 345, North Ryde, NSW 2113 —«... Telephone [02] 335 4444 Facsimile [02] 335"4655

"... I ... I ... I just met a wonderful new man.

it into an opportunity to showcase a variety of

ture/Film Quarterly and wished the articles were

He’s fictional, but you can’t have everything.”

Australian writing and scholarship to good ef­

longer. I am also happy that Literature/Film

(Purple Rose o f Cairo)


Quarterly continues to set its type tightly; so many film journals these days assume their

or Hannah asks, “Could you have ruined

Literature/Film Quarterly is a middle-of-the-

yourself somehow? As a result, for example, of

road academic journal, not much interested in

excessive m asturbation?” Mickey responds,

the cutting edge of what’s-happening-now theory

“Hey, you gonna start knocking my hobbies?

(until it has become part of the curriculum), nor


Jesus.” (Hannah and Her Sisters)

in that vein of American film commentators who

Martin Gottfried, Harry N. Abrams, Inc., New

or “Well my book is about decaying values.

choose not to present their expertise in aca--

York, 1993, 193pp., hb, $89.95

It’s a b o u t... see, the thing is, years ago, I wrote

demic essay format (J. Hoberman, Jonathan

a short story about my mother called T h e Cas­

Rosenbaum, etc.). Giventhat, McFarlane seems

trating Zionist’. And, urn, I wanna expand it into

to address the collection to American readers rather than Australian specialists; little here will

a novel.” (Manhattan). or “The heart is a very resilient muscle ... It

surprise in-country followers of our film culture,

readers need a larger-print edition.

SO N D H EIM & CO Craig Zadan, Nick Hern Books, London, 1990, 2nd Edition, Updated, 454 pp., pb, rrp $34.95


really is.” (Hannah and H er Sisters) and so on.

but it is a lively declaration of our mainstream


Despite these bright passages, in the end I’m

activity. (The next step might be the guest-

Joanne Gordon, Da Capo Press, New York,

left not being sure who this book is really written

editorship of a Northern Hemisphere journal

1992, 2nd Edition, 364 pp., pb, rrp $29.95

for. It’s not a gossipy exposé, full of tantalizing

featuring a range of our harder-to-characterize


hypotheses and innuendoes, nor is it a serious,

thinker-stylists, not necessarily writing about

consistently developed theoretical study. It is,

Australian film.)

however, full of wonderful funny old gags.

Choices must be made: the issue deals with Australian film after 1946, and the films dealt with are theatrical fiction films of feature length. As might be expected, many of the pieces in this


THE AUSTRALIAN CINEMA Edited by Brian Md'ariaae ABstrafian Literary Adaption,Trohlems of tìenrf/W<«nan*s Vefee & Autobiography/ Horfeoits tut CoramoRÌty/Austraiiao Features l9#-iYM/€rossT/«HuntI Reception Studies St CmewBfc Dundee!A Hard-Boiled World: Gmtdbyc Paradise and The Empi) Bmdi


collection deal with the adaptation of films from literary sources.


I feel I should justify the review here of three books about musical theatre and (to quote the satirical review Forbidden Broadway) its “dem i­ god” Stephen Sondheim. First, let me say that as someone who grew up in the era of the Arthur Freed-MGM musical (my first film was Lili), film and musical theatre have for me always been inextricably linked.

The sequence of articles works well. The

And the dearth of modern film musicals is no­

first, Bruce Molloy’s survey of Australian feature

where more lamentable than with ground-break­

film 1946-74, fills out details of production prior

ing works like Sondheim’s Company, Follies,

to the explosion of activity generally associated

Sweeney Todd and Into the W o o d s -all of which

with the rise of nationalism and the Whitlam

would certainly have been filmed in another era.

Government’s sponsorship - a critical mass

Second, by way of establishing Sondheim’s

waiting to transform. Next is McFarlane’s over­

screen credentials, let me give a brief (reverse)

view of literary adaptation as the major form of


production from the mid-1970s; he makes dis­

a) He and William Goldman have just com­

tinctions about the sort of literary works Austalian

pleted the screenplay for Rob Reiner of an

cinema chose to adapt in the period and sug­

original screen musical entitled Singing Out Loud,

gests that these choices may have limited for­

about the making of a film.

mal innovation. Graeme Turner’s “The Genres

b) He won the Best Original Song Oscar in

are American: Australian narrative, Australian

1991 for the Madonna song “Sooner or Later”, a

film, and the Problems of Genre” expands the

pastiche of the Arlen-Gershwin-Judy Garland

discussion beyond individual works to consider

Oscar winner “The man that got away” (and I

Australian relations with American genres in

suspect a wry comment on Warren Beatty’s

terms not only of industrial, but also of cultural,


survival. Geoff Mayer looks at Goodbye Para­

c) He wrote the scores for W arren Beatty’s

dise and The Empty Beach in terms of the

(VOLUME 2 1 , NO. 2, 1 993)

Reds and Alain Resnais’ Stavisky, and the song

American hard-boiled writers Raymond Chan­

Edited by Brian McFarlane, Salisbury State

“I Never, do Anything Twice” for Herbert Ross’

dler and Dashiell Hammett; the piece helps me

University, 1993, 169 pp., pb, rrp $12

The Seven Percent Solution.

understand why I prefer Goodbye to Empty.



d) He and Anthony Perkins wrote the screen­

Rose Lucas reads Dead Calm well as psy­

play for Herbert Ross’ earlier The Last o f Sheila,

The current issue of the American publication

choanalytic fam ily romance. Ina B ertrand’s

based on a murder mystery party held in Man­

Literature/Film Quarterly (Vol. 21, No. 2) is an

‘“ Woman’s Voice’: the autobiographical form in

hattan by Sondheim and Perkins, which was

A ustralian cinem a special edited by Brian

three Australian filmed novels” is an elegant

also the basis of Anthony Shaeffer’s play and

McFarlane. Dr. McFarlane is well-known in these

condensation of narrative and psycho-narrative

film Sleuth (originally titled Who’s Afraid o f

pages and teaches film and English literature at

arguments about voice(s) sliding from print to

Stephen Sondheim.)

Monash University. Literature/Film Quarterly may


e) His shows West Side Story, Gypsy, A

be less known to Cinema Papers readers: it has

Lorraine Mortimer’s study of ‘Breaker’Morant,

Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

been publishing for 21 years; its base of readers

Sunday Too Far Away, the Mad M ax films and

and A Little Night Music have all been filmed -

and contributors are those who work in English

the idea of community operates via a tough-

but all are poor facsimiles of the originals (even

Lit departments and are interested in film as

minded resistance to received ideas about how

the Academy Award-winning adaptation of the

well; its bread-and-butter format over the years

we read films and how we conceive nationality.

first mentioned is not to Sondheim’s liking).

has been the comparison of films to the literary

Her piece, most dramatically, expresses the

works (most often novels) upon which they have

view running through the collection that cultural,

Todd, Sunday in the Park With George and Into

been based.

social and political approaches to a national

the Woods which are somewhat more faithful

Only twice before have issues been guest

cinema are not, and cannot be, simple. Finally,

representations of Sondheim’s art. He also did

f) There are television versions of Sweeney

edited - kudos to Brian McFarlane. Even more

Stephen Crofts continues his research into

an original television musical in 1966, entitled

to the point, while the existence of the issue

Crocodile Dundee, in this instance looking at

Evening Primrose.

affirms a continuing serious interest in AustraL

cultural differences in the film ’s reception abroad.

g) Before his Broadway debut as lyricist for

ian cinema in the U.S., McFarlane has parlayed

For the first time, I’ve read an issue of Litera­

West Side Story at 26, Sondheim the enfant CINEMA

P A P E R S 9 6 • 55

pendix that includes cut songs, num­

Gottfried’s Sondheim is again of the coffee-

bers of perform ances, ,etc., Zadan

table variety and its colour stills alone would

chronicles the blow-by-blow evolution

make it worth the purchase price to any fan of

of each of Sondheim’s shows. Whether

musical theatre. But its text also qualifies it as

or not you know the shows, this book is

the best book to date on Sondheim.

to Broadway what Frank Capra’s auto­

Proceeding chronologically show by show, it

biography is to Hollywood - definitive.

is both a behind-the-scenes account and a criti­

Particularly fascinating is the chapter

cal analysis of each. The fact that it is therefore

about the fraught last Sondheim-Harold

less detailed on either front than the other two

Prince collaboration on the reverse

books is, I feel, more than compensated for by

chronology M errily We Roll Along which

the overview offered in its introductory chapters

Zadan entitles enigmatically “ It’s Still

(on which Sondheim has clearly collaborated).

Backwards” .

Sunday ■■ ■ Into the Woods in the Park ; with George . M A R T IN G O T T F R IE D

A ssassins

terrible wrote ten episodes of the Toppertelevision series. h)

Sondheim is a considerable film buff: A

In “ Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man” , we

The title of Joanne Gordon’s A rt

glimpse for the first time fragments of six com­

Isn ’t Easy comes from the Sondheim

plete Sondheim shows which pre-date the

lyric “Putting it Together” from Sunday

unproduced Saturday Night (a backers’ audition

in the P ark With George. Barbra

of which prompted Bernstein to employ him on

Streisand sang this song (with Sydney

West Side Story). The evocation of the summer

Pollack and David Geffen) as the title to

of 1950 at the Westport Connecticut County

her mega-hit “Broadway Album” and

Playhouse, as apprentice stage-hand Mary

also at the 1986 Academy Awards to

Rodgers listens with a teenage crush on 20-

introduce the Best Director award. So

year-old “Steve” , as he plays his score for Mary

it’s not much of a stretch to apply it to the movie business:

Hammerstein’s only student wrote for her fa ­

Art isn ’t easy,

ther’s partner - is truly spellbinding.

P oppins, the th ird of fo u r show s O sca r

Even when yo u ’re hot,

The chapter “The Crafts of Lyrics and Music” ,

Advancing art is easy,

perhaps inevitably for a written text, tends to

Financing it is not,

favour the former “craft” or “elegant puzzle” as

Little Night Music \s an adaptation of Bergman’s

A visio n ’s just a vision,

Sondheim characterizes the art of the “lyrist” (he

Smiles o f a Summer Night and he is currently

if it’s only in your head,

once said the word has too many syllables). But

turning Ettore Scola’s Passion D ’Amore into a musical.

If no-one gets to see it,

on this subject, it rivals even Hammerstein’s text

it’s as good as dead,

(Lyrics, Oscar Hammerstein II, 1949, revised

It has to come to light!

1985, with introduction by Sondheim , Hal

update over and over) a book about Sondheim,

The song goes on to argue that the politics of

Leonard Books, Milwaukee).

movie executive Craig Zadan said that the term

cocktail parties are not only necessary, but a

I am not alone in considering Sondheim one

“genius” is so bandied about in Hollywood that it

part of the artistic process, which would suggest

of the two or three most important people cur­

was refreshing to write about “the only true

another behind-the-scenes book. But Gordon’s

rently writing for the theatre (musical or other­

is a critical work - the first such analysis of

wise). Nor in observing that he has taken the

When asked why he wanted to write (and

genius I’ve ever met” . In my travels, I’ve encountered three (the

Sondheim’s shows.

musical so far that the downside of acquiring the

other two being Orson Welles and Jerry Gold­

It reads like a Master’s Thesis (though its

taste for his work is that it becomes increasingly

smith). Tony Perkins introduced me to Sondheim

liberal peppering with Sondheim lyrics makes it

difficult to sit through the shows of others (past

during the making of Psycho //and, after attend­

anything but dry). First published in 1990, it has

or present).

ing a preview, he responded in kind by inviting

already been revised (1992) to include his most

But to anyone with even a passing interest in

me to a workshop of Sunday in the Park With

recent work, Assassins. While the analysis else­

theatre, art or the creative process, I cannot

George (which went on to win him the Pulitzer

where is adequate, I feel it regrettable that the

commend one or all of these books (or one or all

Prize). I have been fortunate enough to corre­

discussion of this, Sondheim’s latest and brav­

of Sondheim’s shows) too highly.

spond with him and follow the evolution of all of

est show, all but misses the point. Perhaps

his shows since.

no one who lives in the USA, save

Sondheim & Co is the equivalent of a “back-

Sondheim, can face the brutal reality that

stage” musical. First published in 1974 as a sort

their “rights” and “dream” have been pur­

of companion piece to the so-called “Scrabble

sued equally by the mad and the damned.

Album” (S o n d h e im -A M usical Tribute, a collec­

But the best book on Sondheim is the

to r’s piece for years and now available on RCA

newest. Martin Gottfried, author of a mon­

CD), Zadan had co-produced the 1973 benefit

strous coffee-table epic entitled Broadway

from which it derived (which also inspired Side


and its slimmer sequel More

by Side by Sondheim, the first of a slew of review

Broadway Musicals (for the same pub­

shows of Sondheim ’s work).

lisher), has paid more than fleeting hom­

Zadan attempts little critical analysis, but with

age to Sondheim before. Both books

liberal quotes from Sondheim and a Who’s Who of

contain chapters on Sondheim - th e former

collaborators (the “& Co” of the title), he follows a

c o n ta in s a p ric e le s s fiv e d ra fts in

career that spans the history of modern musical

Sondheim’s hand of the lyric of “Send in

theatre. And Sondheim’s credentials are impecca­

the Clowns” and concludes that the fate of

ble - from his tutelage by surrogate father Oscar

the musical is entirely in his hands (the late

Hammerstein (he was living with the great librettist,

Alan Jay Lerner in The M usical Theater

his Australian wife and family while he was writing

saw more of an apocalyptic battle between

the watershed Oklahoma) to his appointment in

art and commerce as represented by two

1990 as the first Professor of Contemporary Drama

men who ironically share the same birth­

at Oxford.

day -

With amazing attention to detail and an Ap­

56 . C I N E M A



Sondheim and A ndrew Lloyd



briiiml'diMCt'tifft »tory of thv making of Stephen

SmimiEdit«»«. L.'pffete<l






T h am es a n d H u d so n 11 Central Boulevard, Port Melbourne Vic 3207 Phone (03) 646 7788 Fax (03) 646 8790

Jason D onovan




I don’t think I’ve had “hassles”. The public perceives them as hassles, but they are not hassles in the slightest. “Obstacles” is probably a better word. But do such experiences make one stronger? Absolutely! And, to a certain degree, this business makes you that way, regardless. When you have to stand out in the middle of the street and kiss someone, as we did today, that requires a lot of going into yourself. You have to forget the rest of those people and just concentrate on what you have to do. Y ou can’t really extend yourself when you are being constantly watched, when you’re watching yourself as you go out at night. It builds up an immune system, I don’t know whether that is good or bad, but it thickens your skin. It makes me feel like I’m a lot older person than I actually am. In terms of disciplines on yourself? Actually, it is probably the opposite. It makes me want to go out there and ... To a certain extent, I’m a different person to how I am perceived by an audience. I’m probably just a bit looser, and more relaxed. I’m not an overtly crazy person by any means. I do enjoy a sort of private rebelliousness, but not in public. I’m not one of these people who comes and throws off the dust and says, “I’ve got to have this, this and that.” I think the star system is really overrated and my taste has actually pushed me further the other way. You also get pushed back a lot in this business. A lot of people only see success; they don’t realize it hasn’t all been uphill every step of the way. I mean; Mel Gibson’s made some pretty crappy films, but you don’t remember those; you remember the hits. And nobody knows about the films that didn’t get up. Exactly. And, to be honest with you, those projects had great artistic strengths. But it’s the old story: it’s hard to find money for taking that extra step. Investors want returns and, when someone dies at the end of the film, it’s not a great pitch to the punter* is it? Do you have plans beyond your return to Jo se p h after filming? No. But now I’ve had a taste of this, I know this is what I want to do more of. I feel very relaxed behind the camera. You mean in front of the camera! Yes. [Laughs.] I feel a lot more at ease than I probably anticipated, which is a good thing. I think theatre has given me that expression. I’m not an extroverted person in my personal life. I don’t run outside and try to attract attention. I’m terrible at telling jokes. I’m not the centre of attention at a party. Acting has always taken me out of that shell. Jo sep h has been a good thing, too, in the sense that it made me extroverted for the two hours that I needed to be. And now with film, I have also had to learn how to pull that theatre training back a little bit. I’m finding that a nice balance.

R ichard S tew a rt

Would you like to switch that to more dramatic parts? Yes. I did a short film for the Royal College of Art last year in London. That was basically a voluntary film. That was great because I played a character totally opposite to what people see me as. I really enjoyed it. It was something to do without pressure, without-money, without criticism. I could go as far as I wanted to and not be too worried about whether I was making the right or wrong career move. That was good for me, definitely.

58 • C I N E M A P A P E R S



Stuart Cunningham and Liz Jacka mention in a companion article ah April 1992 Peat Marwick Mitchell report which concluded that foreign produc­ tions in England had at best minimal benefit for the local film industry. Is that something you are familiar with? I haven’t read the report, but I’m interested in reading it. I try to read everything I can on the subject, because it’s a damn controversial subject. We have taken a particular stance, and there are times when a stance has to be questioned, either to re-affirm your own line, or bring it into question. It doesn’t pay to move out of touch with realities of the world. When it comes to broadcasting policy, you have to look globally, because Australia is a trading nation. There are issues that relate specifically to what we can and can’t do in relation to protection, because what we are really talking about here is protection. It’s the same issue that relates to the Media Alliances’ insistence of American Screen Actors Guild rates of pay for Australian actors. That’s another area where we are on public record as objecting to. We think it’s discriminatory. This “Better Rates” policy is just bizarre. It has no moral justification that I cart see, whatsoever. In a GATT environment, we really need to re-assess a lot of traditions of our industry. Given what you are saying, Film Queensland differs from the other state bodies in taking vocal positions on various issues. Other bodies may well have positions on issues without actively promoting them. Do you see such forthrightness as necessary to being an active stimulus to the film industry? I do. If an organization is interested in being recognized as an organization in its totality, then it needs to have views and policies on a whole range of film matters. I don’t consider that we ought to stop short at just having a policy in relation to script development or something else that film offices have traditionally had a policy on. They probably do, even if one doesn’t know what they are. Exactly, and it’s better that they are known, so it’s clear to all. The fact of the matter is that we have never resiled from making our position quite clear on a whole range of issues. And I think that’s good.

Likely Queensland production slate (with comments by Richard Stewart) • •

• • •

G o o d N igh t Iren e (Gerard Lee). Package of four feature films being done back-to-back by Ian Coughlan and Jim Dale. Ian is a Cairns-based writer who wrote all four projects and will direct some of them. Jim Dale is the producer and rurts a Sydney-based company, Media Cast. O ver the T o p with Jim , which has received an ABC pre-sale and is based on the Hugh Lunn story. Beyond will produce a television series up here. There are two feature films that we have developed in a package: W hite Eyes and D o u b le N egative, which will be with Portman.

• Rosa Colosimo’s picture about that. • •

Would you again like to act and sing in the same film? Not necessarily. I’ve always sworn to myself that I’d never combine acting and singing together, and here I am. But I think there is a market out there for films and productions that involve these two things. You don’t see that as much as you did 20 or 30 years ago. It’s not that this film is a musical. It just has music in it. I got into the business because I enjoyed that. The success I’ve had, or what’s happened to me as a result, has just been an added bonus, really.


I’m going down to a conference in relation to that in Melbourne towards the end of the month, where those issues will be once again re-examined. In terms of the global view of Australia, and in terms of federal government policy as it relates to trade, I don’t think we are too far off the beam in suggesting that a change of policy wouldn’t be out of touch with broader trade issues relating to Australia at the moment.

What sort of roles would you now be interested in? It’s hard to say what particular things. I’m just interested in things that extend myself. Obviously, I’m associated with a sort of romantic type of image.


R ed Rain

will restart. I feel very confident

Jonathan Shiff will continue O cean Girl, and he has told me he is doing another series up in Port Douglas. The Studios will start on the second series of Paradise Beach and will do at least another one or two Village Roadshow projects, such as Fortress 2. Jenny Hooks [of Film Victoria] was mixed up when said it was an American project in a recent SPAA newsletter, the copyright is owned by Village Roadshow.

• There is also another mini-series which I think will be done here by Village Roadshow. •

There is another television series soon to go into production, Phil Bowman’s T ro p p o L o co . It is a great little series that was sold to Network 10. Beyond has foreign distribution.1


Allan Callaghan, former chief executive of the Queensland Film Corporation, was charged and found guilty on matters concerning financial improprieties.

A u stralia's First Films

f r o m

p a g e


Films Consigned to Oblivion Wills’ only complete showing of his films was a private one, given in the boardroom of the Agricultural Department in William Street, Brisbane, on the evening of 17 November 189 9 .54 Press reviews generously praised the films, expecting great value to accrue from their exhibition. Brisbane Courier suggested that “the Department would do well to give the general public some wider opportunity of seeing the pictures before they are sent away [to Britain]”.55 Wills’ outstanding productions never received a public showing in Australia, and had only the briefest usage in England. They were partly the victim of technological progress, partly passed over owing to bureaucratic bungling. After some delays, Wills’ films were dispatched to Britain through Sydney via the steamship “Orizaba” on 3 February 1 9 0 0 .56 In London, extreme difficulty was found in locating a firm willing to hire out Lumière cinématographes57, which were being super­ seded by projectors with longer film capacity. The Queensland films had Lumière perforations which would not fit the newer machines. Even when a Lumière projector was located, George Randall avoided using it. He had not been consulted regarding the need for the films, and evidence suggests that they were foisted on him.58 They are not mentioned in his voluminous papers at the Fryer Library in the University of Queensland. Only when Queensland film advertising was revived for London’s Franco-British Exhibi­ tion in 1908 did Randall reveal his opposition to these schemes. He considered that showing the films in English market towns would attract immigrants who were “the flotsam and jetsam of the cities”59. In his opinion, farm workers were the only justifiable migrant group for Queensland:

Queensland State Library’s video projector to give Wills’ films their long-awaited public premiere on 15 September 1993 - almost a century after their production! Posthumously, at least, Wills can now reap the long-deferred credit deserved by his pioneering effort, allowing colonial Australia to live again on the screen.

W ills- M o b s b y F ilm o g raph y, Q u e e n s l a n d 1899 This list is in rough chronological order of production. Titles are taken from a Queensland Museum listing. Running times are obtained from the video copy, effectively transferred from film at 12 pictures per second by double-framing. Even at that speed, some films run slightly faster than optimum. A : T R IA L FILM S M A D E IN S Y D N E Y B Y FR ED W ILLS c. FE B R U A R Y 18 9 9

(1) North Shore Steam Ferry Passengers Disembarking Taken overlooking Milson’s Point ferry wharf, with Bennelong Point, Fort Macquarie and Government House in the distance. Ferry with “Sydney” destination board and “Penny Ferry” sign up pulls in to the floating pontoon wharf. Length 19 seconds. (2) North Shore Horse Ferry At Milson’s Point terminal looking East towards Kirribilli. Horsedrawn vehicles disembark from ferry, passing under a wooden gantry at the terminal stage. Length unknown (not yet on video). (3) Redfern Station N o. 1 Before Central Station was built in 1906, this was the city terminal station of the Parramatta Railway. View looks South along the line from No. 5 platform, with passing trains. Length unknown (not yet on video).

[...] the good men from the villages; that is to say the men who are in work, not the men who are out [...] Farmers, when they visit the market towns, do so on business [...] They are too busy to listen to an immigration agent; [This film scheme] has been tried, not only by Canadian immigration agents, but by myself, when working for Queensland [before 1902], with most unsatisfactory results [...]60

(4) Redfern Station No. 2 (? - probable attribution) Presumably a reverse-angle shot to the previous. Looking North towards Sydney city along the line, with a tall castellated tower at the rear. Length unknown (not yet on video).

Wills’ film production never resumed. He gave one last compre­ hensive lecture on the subject to the Queensland Amateur Photo­ graphic Society on 15 June 1900, which the Australian Photographic Journal later serialized.61 Following other disagreements within his Department, he resigned from government employment in 1903 and his later work is unknown.62

(5) Petersham Railway Station and Ride from Newtown Static view from platform of commuters moving towards an incoming train, followed by a travelling shot taken from the rear of the train entering the same station. Advertising hoardings and a road bridge over a cutting are seen. Length 41 seconds (the station shot is divided into two reels).

O b sc u r it y and R etrieval Wills’ films appear to have returned to Australia in 1904 after only brief experimental usage in Britain63, and were stored away at the Queensland Department of Agriculture until 1955. They were then sent to the Queensland Museum with Wills’ cinématographe, photographic equipment and reference books including Hopwood’s Living Pictures (London, 1 8 9 9 ).64 In 1 9 8 2 , the films were sent to the National Library’s Film Archive in Canberra.65 By that time all knowledge of their provenance had been lost.66 The subsequent separation of the Film Archive from the National Library halted preservation work. In the move to the present National Film & Sound Archive (NFSA), collection components became separated and the confusion resulted in some items being located and pre­ served faster than others. Finally, the NFSA negotiated with the French Archives to copy Wills’ films onto modern 35m m film, at great expense, during 1 9 8 9 -9 2 . A few of Wills’ Sydney test films have stilLnot yet been copied. Anne Demy-Geroe and the A/V staff of the State Library of Queensland worked with the authors to publicly present the WillsMobsby films for the first time. Melbourne NFSA office manager Ken Berryman supplied a video copy, which was used with the


c. M A R C H -O C T O B E R 1 8 9 9

(6) Opening of Queensland Parliament, 1 8 9 9 Arrival of Lord Lamington, Governor of Queensland, in his coach at Parliament House, Brisbane. Guard of Honour, consisting of Queensland’s Permanent Artillery under Lieutenant Black, receives him. Taken either 18 M ay 1899 or 18 September 189 9 - there were two openings that year. The former is the more likely subject of the film, as it matches photos in the Queenslander. Length 61 seconds. (7) Queen Street and Victoria Bridge View of Treasury, Victoria Bridge and electric trams in Queen Street, followed by reverse angle shot down Queen Street. Bridge and trams were both less than two years old at the time. Length 53 seconds. (8) Roma Street Station Passengers disembarking from train and passing close to camera up the exit rarrip. Length 49 seconds. (9) Government Picnic Party, S.S. “Lucinda” Queensland Parliamentarians boarding the government paddle CINEMA


96 . 59

steamer “ Lucinda ” at the wharf behind the Agriculture Department building in William Street, Brisbane. In three shots: boarding, casting off, and steamer moving down the Brisbane River. Probably 14 October 1 8 9 9 . Length 51 seconds.

stack behind. Same scene appears onp. 35 of Peter Lloyd’s Guiding Queensland Agriculture (Department of Primary Industry, Bris­ bane, 1988). Length 16 seconds. F: S U G A R H A R V E S T IN G A T N A M B O U R , S P R IN G 1899

(10) S.S. Katoomba Unloading Probably shot at Pinkenba. Unloading timber spars at an active wharf. Length 51 seconds. (11) Building Construction Demolition workers, some black, overtoppling and demolishing a wall. M ay have been demolition activity in William Street, clearing the site of the then new Agriculture Department building. Length 3 8 seconds.

(23) Cutting Cane Kanaka labourers cutting sugar cane under the watchful eye of an overseer. Cane is stacked onto wagon at rear of shot. Length 54 seconds. (24) Sugar Mills, Nambour Shot one: horse-drawn tramway load of cane arrives at conveyor belt in wide-shot. Shot two: close view of trimming operations at conveyor carrying cane into mill for crushing. Length 61 seconds.

C : F O X T O N 'S T O R R E S S T R A IT T O U R , J U L Y 1899 G : S T O C K M A N A G E M E N T , 1899

(F IL M S B Y M O B S B Y )

(12) Channel Rock Light Ship, North Queensland View from deck of M .V. “White Star” of light ship receding astern off the Townsville coast. Length 50 seconds. (13) Natives, Darnley Island, Hon. J. F. G. Foxton Taken late July 1 8 99. Photo album APA50 at John Oxley Library shows a still photo of this scene, labelled Murray Island. Home Secretary Foxton and his wife receive a gift of bananas from islanders passing him in single file. Thursday Island Government Resident J. Douglas also appears. Length 56 seconds. D : Q U E E N S L A N D R U R A L R A IL W A Y V IE W S

(14) Scrub from Back of Train, Eumundi Travelling shot of hilly scenery receding from rear of train. Some cuttings and built-up railway formations. Length 56 seconds. (15) Cairns Railway Travelling view of tropical undergrowth from rear of train. Could have been taken during Northern tour of Agriculture Minister Chataway, as scrub abutting this railway had just been acquired by the Department for conversion into experimental farming plots, m id-1899. Length 39 seconds. (16) Barron Falls, near Cairns Static shot of falls, approached via Cairns railway. Length 56 seconds.

(25) Sheep Dip Head-on view of sheep being dipped in arsenic pondage. M an with forked pole ensures total immersion of each beast. Length 3 7 seconds. (26) Sheep Running Through Gate M an opens gate, shorn sheep run through. Taken in arid countrypossibly Jimbour or Talgai. Length 4 7 seconds. (27) Agricultural College Cattle, Gatton Long-horned cattle (Ayrshires?) herded by drover on horseback. Post-and-rail fence at rear. Length 4 5 seconds. H: D E P A R T U R E O F F IR S T Q U E E N S L A N D C O N T IN G E N T T O BO ER W A R , O C T O B E R 1899

(28) Transvaal Contingent, Queen Street First Boer W ar Contingent, Queensland Mounted Infantry under Colonel P. Ricardo, giving their final Brisbane march-past near Post-Office Place on 28 October 1 8 99. Length 41 seconds. (29) Queensland Contingent for South Africa in Domain Review of First Boer W ar Contingent before Lieut-Governor Sir Samuel Griffith on afternoon of 28 October 18 9 9 . In three shots: cavalry lines approaching, close shot of passing cavalry, supply wagons and rear of parade with children following up behind. Length 58 seconds.

(17) “Out-take” View from Rear of Train

(30) Loading Horses, S.S. “Cornwall”

Probably a rejected view, showing only the rails receding from camera mounted at the back of a train. Surrounding scenery is outside the bounds of the picture. Length 62 seconds.

Loading of refractory remounts aboard troopship Cornwall for South Africa, 31 October 1899. Length 19 seconds.

E: W H E A T H A R V E S T IN G O N T H E D A R L IN G D O W N S , S P R IN G 1899

(18) Reaper and Binder, Harvesting at Jimbour (near Dalby) “Buckeye” reaper and binder moves away from camera in wheat field with mountains in distance. Labourers stook the sheaves from the reaper. Length 5 7 seconds. (19) Carting W heat (at Jimbour?) Same countryside as previous shot. Sheaves are tossed up onto wagon for conveyance to the thresher. Length 34 seconds. (20) Threshing at Allora N o. 1 Wide view of thresher at work with steam stationary engine and furphy water cart. A ten-horse team pulls a huge wagon laden with wheat sheaves passing on its way to the thresher. Length 65 seconds. (21) Threshing at Allora N o. 2 Close view of same thresher shown in previous shot, with details of activity tossing sheaves in, bagging wheat and stacking chaff. Length 4 7 seconds. (22) Mechanical Hay Stacker at Hermitage State Farm near Warwick Horse pushes hay onto cantilevered fork. Fork lifts the load onto the 60 . C I N E M A



(31) Horses Being Unharnessed Content unknown, but may be related to Boer W ar departures. Length unknown - not yet on video. I: U N ID E N T IF IE D F ILM S , 1899

(32) Feeding Pigeons Possibly a test film featuring H. W . Mobsby, mentioned in Wills’ 1900 QAPS lecture. Length unknown - not yet on video. (33) Country Show Mentioned in Brisbane Courier report of Wills’ private film show, 18 November 1 899, p. 5. N o print known. Length unknown.

N E X T IS S U E So far, we have examined the work of Australian pioneer film producers working on their own. Our first corporate film producer made more than 300 films between 1 8 9 7 and 1 9 09. Yet only one of its productions is remembered. For too long we have hyped the myth of “Soldiers of the Cross” while turning a blind eye to the other 2 9 9 films that they did produce. N ext issue: the Salvation Army Limelight Department.

S IN C E R E T H A N K S First and foremost our thanks go to the Division of Humanities at Griffith University for funding the project and providing the research support of our colleague Sue Ward. Thanks are equally extended to: National Film and Sound Archive: Ken Berryman, Helen Tully, Meg Labrum, Ann Baylis, Szuszi Szucs, Helen Ludellen, Marilyn Dooley. State Library of Queensland: Colin Sheehan, Anne Demy-Geroe, Brian Gilbert, Mrs Lawrie and the staff of the newspaper desk and A/V section. Queensland Department of Primary Industry: Peter L. Lloyd. Queensland Museum: Mark Whitmore, Brian Crozier.

2 7 Ross Lansell and Peter Beilby, The Docum entary Film in Australia, Cinema Papers, in association with Film Victoria, Melbourne, 1982, p. 23. 28 A. C. Haddon Australian and Pacific Papers Index, National Library, Canberra, 1 9 9 1 , p. i. 2 9 British Film Institute catalogue card, “Torres Strait” (film), Haddon. 2 7 2 feet, 35m m , from Cambridge Ethnographical Society, 1967. 30

13 volumes of Randall’s manuscript notes are held at the Fryer Library, University of Queensland. FR YER mss. 58/1 to 58/13.

31 Australian Photographic Journal, M arch 1899, pp. 10-11; “How to Ventilate a Darkroom ” by F. C. Wills is a typical example. 32 Blue Book o f Queensland, 1 8 9 7 , Appendix One: list of Officers under the Secretary for Agriculture, including F. C. Wills. 33 A. J. Boyd to Under Secretary for Agriculture, 28 M arch 1898: AG S/N341,

University of Queensland: Richard Fotheringham, J. O’Hagan. Queensland State Archives: L. McGregor, Judy McKay. Film Australia: Ian Dunlop, Judy Adamson.

34 Chief Secretary’s Under Secretary to Department of Agriculture Under

Australian Joint Copying Project, Cambridge: Sara E. Joynes, Frances Calvert.

35 Ibid.

AIATSIS Canberra: Carol Cooper. Also thanks to Clive Sowry (New Zealand), Phil Grace (Melbourne), Ron West (Pomona), Dr Mary Laughren (Brisbane).

No. 1 9 3 6 , Queensland State Archives (QSA). Secretary, 2 4 October 1 898: Premier’s Department Letterbook, PRE/G 2, p. 3 9 2 , QSA. 36 Queensland Agricultural Journal, 1 December 1898, p. 4 7 0 . Also, “As An Aid to Immigration”, Australasian Photographic Review, December 1898, p. 29. 3 7 Australian Photographic Journal, 20 September 1900, p. 2 0 0 , quotes Wills as saying that he then only had “the first [films] I took when in Sydney

Prudence Speed survived Chris Long’s several extended absences in Queensland to become Mrs Long on 7 November!*1

procuring information on the subject” . Same journal, 20 November 1900, p. 2 4 4 , states that there were five of these Sydney films.

N 1

otes Pathe’s Weekly commenced publication around the start of December

38 Australasian Photographic Review, 21 M arch 1899, p. 21. 39 Richard Fotheringham: Personal correspondence 10 November 1989 to Chris Long. Mobsby was appointed Assistant Artist and Photographer on 1 March

1910, but no copies are apparently held by an Australian library. The State Library of South Australia holds the magazine from the time it changed its name to Australian Kinematograph Journal in m id-1912. 2

Information from Colin Sheehan, State Library of Queensland.


Newspapers in Australian Libraries: A Union List. Part 2. Australian


Brisbane Courier, 3 May 1 8 9 7 , p. 2 ; 2 6 June 1 8 9 7 , p. 2.

Newspapers, National Library of Australia, Canberra, 1985.

1899, and was promoted to Artist and Photographer on 1 July 1904. 4 0 Reviews of Mobsby’s own films may be found in Everyones (Sydney), 11 June 1 9 2 4 , p. 5; 25 February 1 9 2 5 , p.14. Mobsby papers and photographs are held at the Fryer Library at the University of Queensland. 41

Brisbane Courier, 18 May 1899, p. 6. The Queenslander, 2 7 M ay 1899, p. 9 7 7 , has photos of the event.

4 2 Australian Photographic Journal, 20 June 1899, p. 141. Brisbane Courier,


Ibid, 31 August 1 8 9 7 , p. 2.


Ibid, 7 September 1897, p. 2 ; 8 September 1 8 9 7 , p. 4.


Ibid, 11 September 1 8 9 7 , p. 6.


M orning Bulletin (Rockhampton), 30 September 1897, p. 2 ; 1 October 18 9 7 , p. 2; 2 October 18 9 7 , p. 2.

4 4 Brisbane Evening Observer, 21 July 1 8 99, p. 3.


The Sydney M orning Herald, 4 December 1 8 9 7 , p. 2 ; 7 December 1897, p.

45 John Oxley Library, photo album APA50: “Foxton Album” .

2; 11 December 1 8 9 7 , p. 2.

2 2 May 1 8 9 9 , p. 4. 43

Torres Straits Pilot, 15 July 1 8 9 9 ,2 2 July 1899. North Queensland Herald (Townsville), 17 July 1 8 9 9 , pp. 6, 10; 14 August 1899, p. 6; 14 August 1 8 9 9 , p. 9.

4 6 Australian Photographic Journal, 20 November 19 0 0 , p. 24 4 .

10 M orning Bulletin, 18 November 1 8 9 7 , p. 2 ; 23 November 1 8 9 7 , p. 2.

4 7 Gavin Souter, Lion and Kangaroo, Fontana, Brisbane 1976, pp. 84-5.

11 Ibid, 14 December 1 8 9 7 , p. 2 ; 16 December 1897. Brisbane Courier, 23 December 18 9 7 , p. 2.

48 Australian Photographic Journal, 20 November 1900, p. 24 3 .

12 Brisbane Courier, 23 December 1 8 9 7 , p. 7. 13 Ian Dunlop, “Ethnographic Film-Making in Australia - The First Seventy Years” , in Aboriginal History 1 9 7 9 , 3:2. 14 Torres Straits Pilot, 19 March 1 8 9 8 , pp. 2-3. A. C. H addon Australian and Pacific Papers Index, National Library of Australia, 1 9 9 1 , p. i. 15 Alan W ard, “The Frazer Collection of W ax Cylinders: An Introduction”, in R ecorded Sound 85, Journal of the British Library National Sound Archive, January 1984, p. 1. See also A. C. Haddon Papers, Cambridge University Library, envelope 1 0 4 9 . The two phonographs were an Edison “H om e” and a Columbia “Bijou” . 16 Earliest Australian colour photos were previously assumed to have been taken by Mark Blow in 1899. Refer Alan Davies, The Mechanical Eye in Australia, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1 9 8 5 , p. 104. 17 A. C. Haddon, Headhunters: Black, White and Brown, Methuen, London, 1901. 18 Ibid. 19 A. C. H addon Papers, Cambridge University Library, envelope 1049. Microfilm copy held at National Library of Australia, Canberra. 20 Information from Frances Calvert, Berlin. 21 A. C. H addon Papers, envelope 1055: Diary 10 M arch 1 8 9 8 -2 5 March 1899. 2 2 A. C. Haddon Papers, envelope 1 0 3 0 : Haddon’s 1898 Journal. 23 A. C. H addon Papers, envelope 1 0 4 9 : J. Guardia to A. C. Haddon, 28 June 1899. 2 4 Reports o f the Cambridge Anthropological Expedition to Torres Straits, Vol. 6, pp. 3 0 6 -3 0 7 . 25

49 Brisbane Courier, 18 November 1 8 9 9 , p. 5. Evening Observer (Brisbane), 18 November 1 899, p. 2. 50 Brisbane Courier, 14 October 1899. 51 Ibid, 30 October 1 8 9 9 , pp. 5-6. 52 Ibid. 53 Ibid, 1 November 1899. 54 See note 49. 55 Ibid. 5 6 Chief Secretary’s Under Secretary to Department of Agriculture Under Secretary, 2 February 1 900: Premier’s Department Letterbook, PRE/G 11, p. 827, QSA. 5 7 Chief Secretary’s Under Secretary to the Queensland Agent-General’s Secretary in London, 3 August 1 900: Premier’s Department Letterbook of dispatches to the Agent General, PRE/N 3, p. 5 5 4 , QSA. 58 There are scant records of Randall using slides, and none relating to his usage of Wills’ films. None of the correspondence relating to the film project came from Randall in Britain. 59 BrisbaneSun, 9 August 1 9 0 8 , “Attracting Immigrants” (clipping in Randall papers, Fryer Library, University of Queensland). 60 Ibid. 61 Australian Photographic Journal, 2 0 September 1 9 0 0 , pp. 2 0 0 -2 0 1 ; 20 October 1900, pp. 2 1 9 -2 0 ; 20 November 1 9 0 0 , pp. 2 4 3 -4 : “Paper on Cinematography” by F. C. Wills (serialized). 62 Information from Peter L. Lloyd, Department of Primary Industry, Bris­ bane, 1989. 63 Index for final correspondence on Wills’ films is dated 31 May 1904, but the letter itself does not survive.

W. B. Spencer Papers, Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford University: Haddon to

64 Information from Brian Crozier, Queensland Museum, 1993.

Spencer, 23 October 1900 . Copy held by Ian Dunlop.

65 Refer note 27.

2 6 A. C. H addon Papers, Box 1 envelope 3: Spencer to Haddon, 1 December

66 Collection is listed in NFSA catalogues as “ Queensland Lumiere Films” .

1900. CINEMA


96 • 61

EE IE. I Er F Lv C O N T I N U E D




Australian Films in Spain The month of October saw an Australian film cycle

Cinema Studies Masters Graduate Diploma by Coursework

in both Madrid and Barcelona. The cycle was an

The Department of Cinema Studies at LaTrobe

initiative of the Australian embassy in Madrid and

University offers a Graduate Diploma and a Mas­

was organized in conjunction with Filmoteca, the

ters by Coursework degree exclusively in the aca­

Spanish state film archives and institute set up to

demic and critical study of film. Graduates from all disciplines are welcome to apply. A selection of



promote film viewing and increase in cinema in this country.

fourth and fifth year subjects includes Surrealism

The programme consisted of seven features

in the Cinema; Introduction to Video Practice;

which had never been viewed in Spain, as well as Australian Film Television & Radio School. The

Ethnographic Film; Beyond Heterosexuality: Film and Sexual Politics; Film and Interpretation; NonWestern Cinema and the Encounter with the Other;

features Proof, The Last Days of Chez Nous, A

Single Film Research; A History of Film Culture

Woman’s Tale, Romper Stomper, Holidays on the River Yarra, Return Home and Prisoner of St

1895-1960 and Principles of Film Criticism.

Petersburg, and the shorts, got a good response

discipline, you may be eligible. The course offers subjects in theory, history, criticism, gender stud­

seven shorts by present or former students of the

and often attracted large audiences. On the sec­ ond Madrid showing of Proof (each feature and short was-shown twice over a period of two weeks), a crowd of would-be viewers was turned away from the box-office as the tickets had sold out half an hour 'before thé session was due to start. One of the co-ordinators of Filmoteca-Madrid,

If you are interested and have a BA in any

ies and cultural studies. Graduate Diploma applications close Novem­ ber 30. Masters by Coursework applications closed December 10. Late applications may be consid­ ered. For more information and a detailed bro­ chure write to: The Postgraduate Co-ordinator.

Efrain Sarria, said Spanish audiences have been

Department of Cinema Studies, La Trobe Univer­

interested in Australian filmmaking since the 1970s,

sity, Bundoora, 3083. Tel: (03) 479 1111. Fax: (03) 479 1700.

when what he calls “beautiful films” such as Picnic at Hanging Rock and Sunday Too Far Away were produced. From a professional point of view, Sarria


claims that Spain has an interest in Australian film production because it, like its Spanish counter­ part, is a small industry which mostly survives on

In August 1993, Lindemans Classic Dry White undertook the sponsorship of the Australian Film

a good deal of state assistance.

Institute’s 1993 Australian Film Festival which high­

The concept behind the cycle was to show contemporary Australian filmmaking as well as

lighted the series of Ealing Studio films made in Australia during the 1950s and ’60s.

present a multi-faceted image of Australian life today. As is the case in many European countries,

initiated a nationwide retail promotion offering con­

Spanish people tend to stereotype Australia as a country where kangaroos cross the passer-by’s

sumers the chance to win a trip to the Cannes Film Festival, plus one of 250 AFI memberships.

Coinciding with this sponsorship, Lindemans

line of vision every five minutes and people live in

The competition is still current, but time is

houses on stilts in the midst of an exotic wilder­

running out! Consumers can enter by purchasing

ness. Some of the films set in urban contexts should dispel that clichéd view.

Lindemans Classic Dry White or the Classic Brut

The other feature which many have found inter­ esting is the degree of racial as well as cultural mix

Cuvée before 31 December 1993. The competition is being promoted via necktags and point of sale material in liquor outlets throughout Australia.

Best Performances: Alan Rickman (Close My Eyes); Susan Sarandon (Lorenzo’s Oil)

Best Com poser: Patrick Doyle (Indochineand Much Ado About Nothing)

B e st P h o to g ra p h y : F ra n çois C atonne (Indochine)

Festival Awards At the Mostra del Cinema di Venezia, Australian Rolf de Heer’s Bad Boy Bubby won five awards, including the Festival Jury Award, the CIAK Jury Award and the Bronze Plaque from OCIC, as well as sharing (with Robert Altman’s Short Cuts) the International Critics’ Award. At the Montréal World Film Festival, Michael Jenkins and Richard Barrett scored with Best Screenplay for The Heartbreak Kid.

VENEZIA Golden Lion: Short Cuts (Robert Altman; U.S.); Trois Couleurs: Bleu (Krzysztof Kieslowski, France)

Silver Lion: Kosh ba Kosh (Bakhtiar Khudoinazarov, Turjikistan). Jury Prize: Bad Boy Bubby (Rolf de Heer, Australia): Volpi Cup fpr Best Actor: Fabrizio Bentivoglio (A Soul Torn in Two, Italy). Volpi Cup for Best Actress: Juliette Binoche ( Trois Couleurs: Bleu): Volpi Cup for Supporting Actor: Marcello Mastroianni (Un, Deux, Trois: Soleil, France). Volpi Cup for Supporting A c­ tress: Anna Bonaiuto (Dove Siete? lo Sono Qui, Italy). Volpi Gup for Ensemble Cast: Short Cuts MONTRÉAL Grand Prix of the Am ericas: Trahir (Radu Mihaileanu, Romania). Prix de Montréal for Best First Feature: Trahir. Special Grand Jury Prize: And the Band Played On (Roger Spottiswoode, U.S.). Best Artistic Contribution: Kalifornia (Dominic Sena, U.S.). Best Directors: Claude Lelouch (Tout Ça ... Pour Ça, France); Juanma Bajo Ulloa (La Madre Muerta, Spain). Best Act­

ress: Carla G ravina (Il Lungo Silenzïo.; Best A ctorJohan Leysen (Trahir); Denis Mercier (Le Sexe des Etoiles). Best Screenplay: Michael Jenkins and Richard Barrett (The Heartbreak Kid).

present in Australian culture. Although most peo­ ple know that Australia has many migrants there was an element of surprise at films such as Geoffrey

An Editor’s pick

1993 AFI Awards

Wright’s Romper Stomper, or the shorts by Monica Pellizzari, Rabbit on the Moon and Just Desserts.

These choices are selected from films seen this year, not those released in Australia in 1993. If the


The social as well as personal conflicts caused by multi-culturalism which these films portray are, to

latter were the case, included below would be several previous winners: La Double Vie de

European minds, associated primarily with life in

Véronique (Best Film in 1991 ), II Ladro di Bambini

the U.S. The film cycle was received enthusiastically by

(Stolen Children (Runnerrup, 1992), Zbigniew

the audiences and praised by the local press which regarded it as a well chosen group of films for its diversity as well as quality. All in all, it was a success, especially for a society where approxi­ mately 90% of film distribution is based on com­ mercial North American film, as is reflected in its cinema attendance statistics.

P A P E R S 96

The Piano, Jan Chapman (producer)

Newvision Film Distributors Award for Best Achievement in Direction

Preisner (Best Score, 1991), Tout les Matins du Monde (Best Film, 1992) and Yves: Angelo (Best

Jane Campion, The Piano

Photography, 1992).

Jane Campion, The Piano

Best Film: Lorenzo’s Oil (George Miller). Run­ ners-up: Radio Flyer (Richard Donner, 1992);

Best Screenplay Adapted from Another Source

ComoAgua Para Chocolate (Like Water for Choco­

James Ricketson, Blackfellas

late, Alfonso Arau); Unforgiven (Clint Eastwood)

AGFA Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

Best Australian: Memories & Dreams (LynnMaree Milburn)

62 . C I N E M A

Best Film

Cinesure Award for Best Original Screenplay

Holly Hunter, The Piano



f r o m

p a g e


Crows and Sparrows are often regarded as

Hoyts Group Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Rôle Harvey Keitel, The Piano

AGFA Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Rôle Judy Davis, On My Own

Telecom Mobilenet Award for Best Performance by an Actor in_9 Supporting Rôle David Ngoombujarra, Blackfellas

Young Actor's Award Robert Joamje, Map of the Human Heart

Samuelson Award for Best Achievement in Cinematography

drama tradition. He avoids favouring the per­

They also depended on finely-tuned ensemble

spective of any individual character but rather

playing to achieve their effect. Like them, The

uses a third-person point-of-view in which char­

Wedding Banquet is about groups and the price

acters are always presented in relation to each

their members have to pay to maintain their

other. This isn’t just W ai-Tung’s story or even


Wai-Tung and Simon’s story but rather it is the

For example, Wai-Tung has to negotiate his

story of the whole group of main players. Even in

way through the tensions created by his different

the opening shots, when Wai-Tung is working

group memberships. On the one hand, he is the

out alone at the gym, he is listening to an

only son of a Taiwanese general, entrusted with

audiotaped letter his mother has sent him on his

managing a building the family has bought in


New York and expected to marry and produce

By avoiding broad comedy and enabling the

grandsons to carry on the line. On the other

audience to understand everyone’s point of view,

hand, he is part of what could be called a chosen

the film also gains pathos. Beyond the humour,

family of New York yuppies, including his lover

there is pain and suffering. This surfaces as an

Simon, who finds it hard to understand why Wai-

aftertaste because it is rarely spoken directly in

Tung cannot just tell his father he is gay and get

the film. In the Alan Alda wedding farce, Betsy’s

it over with.

Stuart DrybUrgh, The Piano

Best Original Music Score

with another element from the Chinese melo­

constituting the golden agè o f Chinese cinema.

Wedding, every grudge had to be aired by the

These two different groups meet when Wai-

end of the film. This American honesty might,be

Tung’s parents try to fix up a marriage for him.

healthier for those involved, but, for the audi­

Michael Nyman, The Piano

They enrol him in a singles club. Rather than

ence, it was about: as much fun a$ witnessing

Spectrum Films Award for Best Achievement in Editing

hurting them by telling the truth, he strategizes

your neighbours’ domestics.

by demanding a bride with two PhDs (one in

In contrast to this, what The Wedding Ban­

Veronika Jenet, The Piano

Physics) who speaks five languages, is an op­

quet points up is the amount of well-meaning

Soundfirm Award for Best Achievement in Sound

era singer and at least five foot nine inches tall.

silence, deception and plain lying that Chinese

Inevitably, because The Wedding Banquet is a

people are prepared to invest in maintaining a

Lee Smith, Tony Johnson,

farce, his parents and theolub locate Wai-Tung’s

surface of calm and harmony. Not only does

Gethin Creagh, Peter Townsend,

ideal woman, although she is only five foot eight.

Wai-Tung refuse to tell his parents he is.gay for

Annabelle Sheehan, The Piano

But, fortunately for Wai-Tung, it turns out her

fear of dashing their hopes, but his own mother

Best Achievement in Production Design

mother enrolled her in the club, too; she has a

hasn’t told him his father

white boyfriend but doesn’t dare tell her parents.

because she doesn’t want to worry him. As the

The speed and intensity of the farce steps up

film makes clear, a traditional Chinese wedding

Andrew McAlpine, The Piano

Best Achievement in Costume Design


had .a stroke

Janet Patterson, The Piano

once Wei-Wei moves in with Wai-Tung and

banquet resembles a Japanese game-show

Members’ Award for Best Foreign Film

Simon to satisfy the immigration authorities and

endurance test more than a pleasurable cel­

The Crying Game

then his parents turn up and join the household.

ebration. Nonetheless, Wai-Tung, Wei-Wei and

Everybody is deceiving everyone and nobody


but the audience knows the whole story as the

Simon go through with it to keep his parents happy.

Best Short Fiction Mr Electric, Stuart McDonald

Best Animation The Darra Dogs, Dennis Tupicoff

Best Documentary Exile and the Kingdom, Frank Rijavec; For All the World to See, Pat Fiske

Best Screenplay in a Short Film Just Dessertst Monica Pellizzari

Best Achievement in Cinematography in a Non-Feature Film Kangaroos - Faces in the Mob, Glen Carruthers

Best Achievement in Sound in a Non-Feature Fijm

characters creep up and down the stairs whis­

By the end of the film, however, everyone’s

pering asides to each other, and almost sturrj-

well-meaning and self-sacrificing deceptions

bling upon the lovers sneaking:& kiss.

work out for the good, or at least they appear to.

What prevents the film from lapsing into the

It is here that the politically-correct thought po­

worst kind of broad comedy is that all this hu­

lice might have problems with The Wedding

mour is not achieved at the expense of any of the

Banquet. Without wishing to give the plot away,

characters. There are no toe-curling homophobic

if you miss the subtleties of the unspoken price

portrayals of screaming queens as in La Cage

that everyone is. paying for this impression of

Aux Folles-, the father is not a bigoted despot,

family togetherness, the film could seem all too

northe m otheradom ineering haridan; and Wei-

easily like a cheap fantasy that sacrifices the full

Wei is not a victim tricked into marrying a clos­

import of the irreconcilable differences and

eted gay man. Rather, although foibles are

irresolvable problems it raises to achieve an

pointed up, each of the characters is trying to do

easy viewing experience. However, if you look

what they believe is best and each of them is

beyond the smiles in the happy family picture,

presented sympathetically.

you’ll realize that Ang Lee’s film may be more

In the Chinese melodrama tradition, it is not

Exile and the Kingdom, Noelene Harrison, Lawrie Silverstrin, Kim Lord

ambivalent about families and maintaining har­

individuals who are at fault but rather the situa­

mony than might at first be apparent.

Best Achievement in Editing in a Non-Feature Film

tion that causes the problems. In the case of The

THE WEDDING BANQUET Directed by Ang Lee. Pro­

Wedding Banquet, what accentuates the usual

ducers: Ted Hope, James Schamus, Ang Lee. Screen­

Everest - Sea to Summit, Michael Balson

problems between the generations is not only

play: Ang Lee, Neil Peng, James Schamus. Director of

Open Craft Award

W ai-Tung’s sexuality, but the cultural gap be­

photography: Jong Lin. Editor: Tim Squyres. Production

Memories & Dreams, Lynn-Maree Milburn (for innovation in form)

tween the older, more traditional parents and

designer: Steve Rosenzweig. Costume designer: Michael

Byron Kennedy Award

can values. Interestingly, W ai-Tung’s sexuality

Matt Butler, Evanne Chesson, Adrian Martin, Gary Warner

of his own age, and he only hides it from those

Production. Australian distributor: Palace. 102 mins. 35

Raymond Longford Award

who know his parents.

mm. Taiwan-U.S. 1993.

Sue Milliken

their children who have adopted liberal, Am eri­ is not a problem for many of his Chinese friends


Clancy. Music: Mader. Cast: Winston Chao (Wai-Tung), May Chin (Wei-Wei), Mitchell Lichtenstein (Simon), Sihung Lung (Mr Gao), Ah-Leh Gua (Mrs Gao). A Central Motion Picture Corporation (Taipei) and Good Machine

Ang Lee complements this even-handedness CINEMA

P A P E R S 9 6 . 63





N O TE : Production Survey forms now adhere to

Prod, secretary

a revised format. Cinema Papers regrets it can­

Location manager

not accept information received in a different

Unit manager

format, as it does not have the staff to re­

Unit runner Production runner

process the information.

A D JU D G E D A S O F 5/11/93



Greg Ellis

Lab liaison

Clive Duncan

Leigh Ammitzboll Cameron Stewart

Steeves Lumley Film Finances Mobile Prod. Facilities

Camera Crew


Focus puller


Generation Films

Principal Credits

Cast: [No details supplied.] Synopsis: [No details supplied.]

Harry Glynatsis

Prod, company Budget





Robbie Young


Roy Pritchett



On-set Crew


Bob Weis Judi Lewin

1st asst director 2nd asst director

Ben Lewin


Victoria Sullivan


Kirsten Veysey

Dialogue coach

Gary Wilkins


Cheryl Williams

Production Crew

Peta Lawson

Art Department

Scriptwriter DOP

Vince Monton

Sound recordist Prod, designer Costume designer

Anna Borghesi

Art director


Peter Carrodus

Art dept admin.


Paul Grabowsky

Planning and Development

Set dresser Props buyer



Liz Mullinar Casting

Production Crew

Rob Visser

Victoria Hobday Simone Semen Darryl Mills Darryl Mills

Lesley Parker


Rachel Garnsey

Sound transfers by

Producer’s asst

Sarah Norris

Director’s asst

Ben Holgate

Craig Godfrey

Location manager

Patricia Blunt

Craig Godfrey Mark Tomlinson

Production runner

Martin Williams

Mixed at

Rachel Nott

Tony Francis

Camera Crew

Planning and Development

Camera operator

ARTHUR BOYD: TESTAMENT OF A PAINTER (1 TV hour) Don Bennetts Films. Executive producer: Jan McGuinness. Producer: Don Bennetts. Director: Don Bennetts. Scriptwriters: Don Bennetts, Arthur Boyd. A

FEATURES LUCKY BREAK (90 mins) Generation Films. Producer: Bob Weis. Co-producer: Judi Lewin. Director: Ben Lewin. Scriptwriter: Ben Lewin. Romantic comedy about a passionate virgin with a handicap and a fertile fantasy life.

profile of Australian artist Arthur Boyd filmed to coincide with the his retrospective at the Art Gallery of NSW.




(1 T V hour) Aboriginal Nations. Producer: Keith Salvat. Director: Paul Fenech. Scriptwriter: Paul Fenech. Examines tradi­ tional beliefs about the Dreaming in Aborigi­ nal communities. We learn about the creation myths and their place in modern Australia.

(52 mins) Glen Joseph Productions. Execu­ tive producer: Bill Childs. Producer: Glen Joseph. Director: Glen Joseph. Scriptwriter: Peter Engebretsen. Examines the dilemma of how to protect the fragile eco-system of

Since the last Board meeting the FFC has

Australia’s desert regions while continuing to allow public access.

also entered into contract negotiations with the producers of the following project:


ERNIE DINGO’S KIMBERLEY (55 mins) Documentary. Australia-UK co­ production. InCA Independent Communica­

Scott Goodman

2nd asst director

Tony Mahood John Martin

Prod, secretary

Janis Lee Leonie Godfrey

3rd asst director

Karen Mahood

1st asst director

Unit manager Insurer Legal services

Page Seager

Camera operators

Mark Tomlinson

Focus puller Camera type

Art dept runner

Standby props

Robert Moxham


Peter Cass Brett Carter

Film gauge


Government Agency Investment

Santo Fontana

On-set Crew Jo Howie Liz Goulding

Special fx make-up

Jane Murphy Glen W. Johnson

SP Betacam


Christina Norman Peter Forbes

Set dressers

Scott Goodman


Film Victoria


Film Victoria


Liz Goulding



Craig Godfrey

Safety officer

Dorothy Godfrey

Tech, adviser

Ken Godfrey

Still photography Catering

Inti, sales agent Publicity

CiBy Sales Village Roadshow

Cast: Toni Collette (Muriel), Bill Hunter (Bill). Synopsis: Sometimes your better half is you.

Ken Mellors Drunken Admiral Restaurant

Art Department THAT EYE THE SKY

Art directors

Jo Howie Craig Godfrey Cast: Lorraine Merritt, Jon Sidney, Bill Pearson, Ian Lang, Kerry Laws, Tim Aris, David Noonan,

Prod, company Dist company

Entertainment Media Beyond Films

Vick Hawkins, Jacqueline Kelly, Pam John,

Pre-production Production

25/10/93 ...

Gareth John.


20/12/93 ...

Synopsis: Upset by an unfaithful fiance, Cassie

Principal Credits

Kinsella retreats to a deserted beach town. It is


winter. Only an eccentric anthropologist and incestuous couple share the seclusion. Many

Producer Co-producer

murders later Cassie is the target of a madman. Only a mental asylum can save her, maybe. -i "v vV i • 'Ü

John Ruane Peter Beilby Grainne Marmion Fred Schepisi Robert LeTet Tim Bevan



16/8/93 ...

Exec, producers



John Ruane Jim Barton

Based on the novel

That Eye the Sky

JHI Written by

Tim Winton Ellery Ryan




Prod, designer

Ken Sallows Chris Kennedy

Costume designer

Vicki Friedman

Prod, company Dist. company Pre-production Production

House & Moorhouse Films Village Roadshow 23/8/93 ... 18/10/93 ...

Principal Credits Director Producers

Lloyd Carrick


Planning and Development Script editor Casting

John Flaus Maura Fay & Associates

Production Crew Paul J. Hogan Lynda House Jocelyn Moorhouse


Hugh Bateup

Art dept co-ord

Assoc, producers


Art director

Sound recordist

Shearman. Presenter Ernie Dingo journeys through the Kimberley where he finds a multi­

64 • C I N E M A

Daphne Paris

Art Department



unwilling woman visitor from another planet and an earthman.

love of the land.


See previous issue for details on LIGHTNING JACK

Shearman. Scriptwriters: Ernie Dingo, Nick

cultural mix of people drawn together by their

David Williamson

Prod, manager


(90 mins) Rolf de Heer. Producers: Rolf de Heer, Domenico Procacci. Director: Rolf de Heer. An intergalactic love story about an

tions Associates. Producers: Will Davies (Aus­ tralia), Alan Bookbinder (UK). Director: Nick

Roth Warren

On-set Crew



Film Finances

Lorraine Merritt

Special fx


Steeves Lumley

Legal services




Ron McCullouch

Key grip Gaffer


Jill Steele

Completion guarantor

Craig Godfrey Soundfirm Soundfirm

Sharon Gerussi

Moneypenny Services

George Goers


Rowena Talacko

Prod, accountant

Camera Crew

Standby wardrobe

Prod, supervisor Prod, co-ordinator

Sound recordist Editor

Catherine “Tatts” Bishop

Prod, co-ordinator Prod, secretary

Mark Tomlinson

Ben Lewin


Prod, manager

Feb - Jun 1994

Craig Godfrey


Brendan Campbell

Alison Barrett

Production Crew


John Goldney Scott Brocate

3rd electrics


Aug - Nov 1993


Terry Ryan

Planning and Development


Pre-production Production

Patrick Reardon

Costume designer

Pocket Money Productions

Principal Credits

Camera equipment Key grip

David Lee Jill Bilcock

Prod, designer

Tibor Hegedis Samuelsons


Martin McGrath

Sound recordist Editor


Juanita Parker

Insurer Completion guarantor Travel/Freight

Michael D. Aglion DOP

Cameron Stewart

Prod, accountant IN F O R M A TIO N IS CORRECT A N D

Jacinta Lomas


Tony Mahood

Prod, manager Prod, co-ordinator''"-;' Prod, secretary Location manager

Tony Leach Susie Wright Robin Astley Maurice Burns

Unit manager

Michael Batchelor

Prod, accountant Insurer


Al Clark Michael Hamlyn

Kevin Plummer Jardines

Exec, producer

Completion guarantor

Assoc, producer

Legal services

Scriptwriter DOP

First Australian Completion Bond Company Holding Redlich

Camera Crew

Sound recordist Editor

Camera operator Key grip

Mandy Walker Barry Hansen

Prod, designer


Ted Nordsvan

Costume designers

On-set Crew Tst asst director

Phil Jones Annie Beresford

Continuity Make-up

Amanda Rowbottom

Make-up asst

Zjelka Stanin

Special fx supervisor

Michael Bladon

Art Department Art director

Brian Dusting Sharon Young

Art dept co-ordinator

Post-production Asst editor Laboratory

Maria Kaltenhaler Cinevex

Marketing Inti, sales agent Publicity

Beyond Films

Composer Prod, manager

Cast: [No details supplied.] Synopsis: A young boy struggles to free his

Camera Crew

father from a coma following a car accident.

Focus puller Clapper-loader Gaffer

Wintertime Films


5/10/93-7/11/93 8/11/93-17/12/93


Principal Credits Director

Margot Nash

Producer Scriptwriter

John Winter Margot Nash


Dion Beebe Faith Martin Kathy Kum-sing

Aboriginal consult. Prod, manager Prod, co-ordinator Location manager Unit manager

Caroline Bonham Fiona King Robin Clifton Rick Komaat

Production runner

Daniel Heather

Prod, accountant Completion guarantor Legal services Camera operator Continuity

Di Brown Film Finances Nina Stevenson Dion Beebe Lynn-Maree Dansey

Government Agency Investment Development Production


Synopsis: A comedy musical about three drag

Legal services

Owen Paterson

queens crossing the Australian outback in a bus.

Lizzy Gardiner Tim Chappel

Sue Seeary Grant Lee Tim Parry

Jamie Platt John May Jardine Tolley Film Finances Martin Cooper Brian Breheny Adrien Seffrin Anna Townsend Matt Inglis

On-set Crew 1st asst director

Stuart Freeman

2nd asst director

Emma Schofield

Continuity Boom operator Make-up Make-up assts

Kate Dennis Fiona McBain Cassie Hanlon Angela Conte Strykermeyer


Cassie Hanlon Angela Conte

Hair assts

Strykermeyer Choreographer Stunts co-ord. Safety officer Mechanic

John O ’Connell Bernie Ledger Bernie Ledger Mark McKinley Mark McKinley

Bus driver Still photography Unit publicist Catering

Elise Lockwood Catherine Lavelle Marike Janavicius

Art Department

Costume supervisor

Post-prod, supervisor

Specific Films Post-prodcution

13/9/93 - 28/10/93 28/10/93 ...

Principal Credits Director

Post-prod, liaison Asst editor Sound supervisor Sound editor Laboratory

Emily Seresin

Tony Lynch Tony Lynch Andy Yuncken Steve Erskine Steve Erskine Atlab

Lab liaison

Ian Russell

Film gauge

35mm Anamorphic 1:2.35 Apocalypse

Screen ratio Video transfer by

investment Finance

Stephan Elliott

2nd camera asst.

David Dunkley

Production Post-production

6/7/93 - 1/8/93 2/8/93 - 30/2/94


Principal Credits Director

Murray Fahey Murray Fahey



Gary Burdett Tim Jones

Best boy Electricians

Murray Fahey

Generator operator


Murray Fahey Peter Borosh

On-set Crew

DOP Sound recordist Editor Art director

Bruce Young

Key grip

Original screenplay by

Martin Perrott John Prentice Phil Mulligan Bob Woods

David Glasser

1st asst director 2nd asst director

Michael Faranda Warren Parsonson

Brian Kavanagh

3rd asst director

Francesca Belli

Robyn Monkhouse

Continuity Boom operators

George Kightly Sue Kerr

Frank Strangio

Production Crew Prod, manager

Bernard Purcell Gina Twyble

Prod, co-ordinator Prod, secretary

Carla Buscemi Winfalz Inti.

Completion guarantor Camera operator Key grip 1st asst director Asst director

Bernard Purcell Serena Hunt

Post-production Post-prod, supervisor Sound editors

Brian Kavanagh Craig Carter Livia Rutic Peter Frost Atlab


Grant Shepherd Garry Siutz


Kerry Jury Make-up assistant

T racey Garner

Special fx co-ord’s

Peter Leggett John Neal

Stunts co-ord’s

Glen Boswell Richard Boue George Mannix

Safety officer Unit nurse

Julie Deakins Gary Johnston Johnny Faithful

Stills photography Catering Runner

Rob Browri

Art Department Art director

Jon Rohde

Art dept co-ord Set dressers

Lee Bulgin Richard Kennett

Cast: [No details supplied.] Synopsis: A suspense thriller about a woman

Props buyer

Tal Oswin Susan Glavich

haunted by her past.



Wardrobe co-ord

POLICE RESCUE - THE MOVIE Southern Star Xanadu

Pre-prodcution Production

2/8/93 ... 30/8/93 - 1/10/93 4/10/93 - 19/1.1/93

Martine Summons

Construction Dept Staging assts

Matt Bartley Damian Leonard



Michael Carson


Sandra Levy John Edwards Errol Sullivan

Exec, producers Assoc, producer Scriptwriter

Wendy Falconer Olivia Schmid

Wardrobe assts

Prod, company

ABC, Frenehs Forest

Post-production Asst editors

Nicole La Macchia Martin Hiscox

Sound editors

Fabian Sanjuro (dial.) Peter Hall (fx)

Penny Chapman Wayne Barry

DOP Sound recordist Editor Prod, designer

lqn Neilson (foleys)

Debra Oswald

Sound asst

Russell Bacon

Sound audio op. Mixer

Peter Grace Chris Spurr Murray Pickett

John Hemming Erik Briggs Peter Purcell Brian Jamison

Neg matching Laboratory


Planning and Development

Lab iiaison


Government Agency Investment

Ann Robinson Liz Mullinar Casting

Production Crew Prod, manager Prod, co-ordinator Producer’s assts

Polygram Filmed Entertainment FFC

Peter Borosh Adam Good

On-set Crew

Tim Parry

Adam Dalli



Vehicle co-ord.

Designer’s asst.

Latent Image

Brett Joyce


Principal Credits


Prod, companies

Russell Bacon Sean McClory

Focus puller 2nd unit cam. op.

Yann Vignes Kerry Brown

Roz Hinde


Camera Crew

Coventry Films Winfalz Inti.

Art dept runner Props buyer

Costume co-ord.


Film Finances David Heidtman

Prod, company Dist. company


riiust be' met in the present. Tessa had not gambled on that.



Colin Gibson



H. W. Wood Australia

Camera operator

Art director

Cast: Pamela Rabe, Linden Wilkinson. Synopsiis: When the past refuses to be buried it


Marianne Flynn

Camera Crew

Other Credits Casting

Sue Blainey

Paul Booth

Best boy

Rob Brown

Completion guarantor


Camera operator

Peter Branch

Prod, runner

Pearce, Bill Hunter.

Rick Komaat Russell Fewtrell

Completion guarantor

Manifesto Film Sales Catherine Lavelle

Cast: Terence Stamp, Hugo Weaving, Guy

Guntis Sics

Rick Komaat

Prod, accountant Insurer

Unit asst

Inti, sales agent

Brian Breheny

Location manager

Production runner

Trish Rothkrans “A.M.” Simon-Mayer

Unit manager

Prod, accountant Insurer

Esther Rodewald

Unit manager Unit asst


Location manager


Prod, co-ordinator Producer’s asst Transport manager


Stephan Elliott

Guy Gross

Legal services

Prod, company

Sue Seeary

Production Crew

Palace Publicity


Rebel Penfold-Russell

NSW Film & Television Office

Prod, secretary




Marketing Jo Rooney Andrea Chittenden Amanda Higgs Rosa Del Ponte Lis Gilroy

Inti, sales agent Inti, distributors

Southern Star Film Sales

UIP Southern Star Inti. Publicity Victoria Buchan Cast: Gary Sweet (Mickey), Zoe Carides (Lofrie),

Creativity, Judgement & Trust Essential ingredients to sound film investment Complete the picture... witfiPeriiianent Trustee F For an initial discussion contact David Hepworth (02) 232 4400






96 • 65

Steve Bastoni (Angel), Sonia Todd (Georgia), Tammy Macintosh (Kathy), Jeremy Callaghan (Brian), John Clayton (Adams), Belinda Cotterill (Sharyn).

Synopsis: A feature adaptation of the television series of the same name. THE ROLY POLY MAN Prod, company

Rough Nut Productions

Dist. company

Total Film & Television REP



Principal Credits Director

Bill Young Peter Green

Producer Line producer

Press kit

Standby props

George Zammit

Sound recordist

Simon Pressman

Action vehicle co-ord.

Peter Cashman


Karryn de Cinque

(Sandra), Les Foxcroft (Mickey), Zoe Bertram


(Laurel), Frank Whitten (Henderson), Rowan Woods (Professor Wauchop), Peter Braunstein

Standby wardrobe

Barbra Zussino

Costume designer

Kym Goldsworthy Brian Deheny Guntis Sics

Sound recordist Editor

Neil Thumpston Robert “Moxy" Thompson

Prod, designer Costume designer Composer

Construct, manager

or something, or perhaps a combination of both is making people’s heads explode all over town and Dirk is determined to find out why. That is his first mistake.


Julia Walker

Production Crew Prod, manager

Caroline Bonham

Prod, co-ordinator Location manager

Fiona King Rick Kornaat

Unit assistant Runner

Russell Fewtrell Daniel Heather

Prod, accountant Insurer Completion guarantor Focus puller Clapper-loader

Kate Dennis Anna Townsend

Key grip

Pat Nash


Peter DeHann Michael Gaffney

Asst grip Gaffer

Paul Booth Matt Inglis Michael Gaffney

Best boy 3rd electrics

On-set Crew 1st asst director 2nd asst director Continuity Boom operators

Hairdresser Model maker Asst model maker Safety officer Still photography Catering

Cast: Jason Donovan (Mike), Hayley Toomey

John Stokes

Synopsis: Mike Tyrell's life changes when in a

Camera type

Wayne Le Clos

moment of inattention the cattle truck he is driving hits a car parked on the side of the road that belongs to Chrissie Bright, an ex-singer turned barrister's wife, on the run from suburbia..

Key grip

Leigh Sandow

Asst grip Gaffer

Torstein Dyrting

Best boys

Torstein Dyrting

Donald Crombie

Planning and Development

Extras casting

Maizels & Assoc.


Unit assistant Prod, assistant Prod, accountant

Robert Colby

Lyn Askew Nick Breslin Audio Loc Sound Design

Focus puller Clapper-loader 2nd unit director 2nd unit DOP Camera equipment Key grip Asst grip Asst gaffer Generator operator

John Dennison

3rd asst director

John Patterson Ross Brewer

Continuity Boom operator

John Dennison


Chris Rowell Productions

Film gauge

Super 16 Kodak 7293, 7248

Screen ratio


Hairdresser Asst, hairdresser Stunts co-ord. Unit nurse Chaperone Tutor Stills photography

Government Agency Investment

Unit publicist


NSW Film & Television Office



NSW Film & Television Office

Art Department Art director

Marketing Total Film & Television REP


Melaini Lewis Australian Rent-A-Car

Vivid Pictures 9/93 ... 10/93... Nov - Dec 93


Prinicipal Credits Director

Lawrence Johnston Susan MacKinnon

Producer Scriptwriter DOP

Tracy Kublar Tony Politis Nathan Harvey

Art dept runner

Dion Beebe Paul Finlay


Annette Davey Liam Egan

Other Credits Researcher Prod, manager

Lawrence Johnston

Producer’s attach.

Helen Panckhurst Kathy Shelper John Russell



Camera assistant Key grip

Sion Michel Jo Juhanson

Brad Shields Brad Shields

Asst grip Gaffer

Paul Smith Michael Woods

Bill Ross

Best boy

David Holmes Kylie Naylor

Gary Shearsmith

Make-up Safety officers

George Mannix Claude Lambert Liz Hughes

John Dolan Ken Moffatt Murray Head John Cavanagh Mick O ’Brien

Still photography Catering Asst editor

Angela McPherson Carolina Haggstrom Paul Jones Margaret Archman Carolyn Nott Margaret Archer

Jackie Munro Atlab Andrea Anderson


Government Agency Investment Production

AFC NSW Film & Television Office Cast: Les Foxcroft (Arthur Stace).

Synopsis: For forty years Arthur Stace walked the streets of Sydney and wrote on them one word - eternity. t

Melissa Hasluck Rose Ferrell Michael Bennett

Special fx make-up Wig stylist Special fx supervisor Special fx Stunts co-ord. Stunts asst Safety officer Still photography

Lionel Midford Bronwen Feachie Catering Julianne White Jamie Howe

Set dresser

Rebecca Cohen

Props buyer

Kristin Reuter

Rachel Stevenson Rob Greenough Rob Greenough Rob Greenough Samantha Chalker Rob Greenough Simon Frost


Lois Portelli

Art Department Art director Art dept runners

Juliet John Michael O ’Rourke Michael Bennett

Set dresser Draftsman Propsperson Props buyers

Juliet John Bill Gibson Designs & Dimensions Juliet John Juliet John Melissa Hasluck

Wardrobe Seamstress

Vaughan Richardson

Construction Dept Construct, supervisor Construct, manager

Bill Gibson Bill Gibson

Leading hand Carpenter

Andy Bill Gibson

Set finishers

Bill Gibson Juliet John


Jodi Patterson Sarah Brill Fremantle Prison

Post-production Editing advisor Editing asst Sound transfers by Sound editor

Jolie Chandler Ari O ’Connell Creating Waves Karryn de Cinque

Musical director

Phil Bailey

Music performed by

Phil Bailey Parinita

Recording studio

Sound Mine Studios Don Connolly Dave Upson Creating Waves

Annie O ’Halloran

Karl Fehr

Rachel Stevenson Rachel Stevenson

Stacey Cross James Stockwell

Danny Baldwin

Rob Bailey

Jo Mercurio

1st asst director

Foley Mixer


Carolyn Nott

Louise Forster

Arriflex SRI I


Sarah Walker

Lab liaison Vicki Sugars Adam Spencer

Peter Baker Stacey Cross Andrew Bremner

On-set Crew

Lawrence Johnston

Prod, accountant

On-set Crew

Tony Vaccher


Rebecca Johnson Phillips Fox Solicitors

Samuelsons Film Service

1st asst director 2nd asst director

John Dennison

Antonia Barnard Film Finances

Camera Crew

2nd electrics


Australian dist.

Pre-production Production

Eric Sankey

Completion guarantor

Gaffer Lyn Askew

Tony Vaccher

Inti, sales agent

Kerry Mulgrew Christopher Strewe

Damien Rossi

Accounts asst.

Tony Vaccher

Shooting stock

Tony De Pasquale

Prod, company

Dave Suttor Stuart Lynch

Dry Shand Dobson

Sarah Brill


Jennifer Cornwell

Location manager Unit manager

Camera operator

Camera assistant


Julie Forster

Prod, co-ordinator Prod, co-ord. attach. Prod, secretary

Car hire



Prod, manager


Camera operator

Boom operators

Tony Campbell


Neg matching

Susie Maizels Maizels & Assoc. Peta Einberg


Camera Crew

Clive Rippon

See previous issues for details on: THE SEVENTH FLOOR; SIRENS SPEED; TALK; TRAPS

Tony Campbell

Wardrobe buyer Standby wardrobe


Chris Feld Peter Martin

Costume designer


Sound design

Kim Sandeman

Sound designer Art director

Mario Varricchio


Sound editors

Georgina Greenhill


Murray Gosson

Art dept. asst.

Sound transfers



Michael O'Rourke Michael Bennett

John Schiefelbein


Legal services

Kent Hughes Production runners

(Sam), Jocelyn Rosen (Lisa), Angie Milliken (Chrissie), Kit Taylor (Les Finnigan), Lee James (Macka McKeegan), Jeffrey Hardy (Douglas McFarlane), Roger Ward (Merv Drysdale), Maurice Hughes (Jimmy Rawlins), Tim Gaffney (Doc).

Damien Parer Jonathan Shteinman

Prod, designer Costume designers

Jeremy Coggin Sarah Brill

Donald Crombie Damien Parer


Elise Lockwood

Prod, assistants

Jody Patterson


Marta McElroy Marta McElroy

Props buyer

Greg Doherty

Grant Shepherd

Tracey Moxham

Standby props

Asst editor

Lab liaisons

Sound recordist

Art Department Art dept co-ord. Decorator

Justine Smith Samantha Chalker

Douglas Heck & Burrell Neil McEwin

Greg Stuart Linda Young

Unit nurse

Producer’s asst Prod, secretary


Sound recordist Editor

Niobe Syme Melissa Hasluck

. Atlab

Ann McFarlane Russell Brown

Jason Gilbert

Prod, co-ordinator

Bright Sparks Songs


Dave Young Chris Wauchop

Prod, manager

Michael O ’Rourke


Nikki Gooley

Special fx co-ord.

John McDonald

Chris Webb Geoffrey Guiffre Sophie Fabbri-Jackson Fiona McBain Nikki Gooley


Wayne Hayes


Production Crew

Camera Crew

Production Crew

Post-prod, supervisor Music supervisor

Principal Credits

Di Brown Hammond & Jewell Film Finances


Niobe Syme Karryn de Cinque

Mark Green

Robyn Bersten

Unit manager

Casting Michael Ashton

Film stock

Christopher Lee Greg Apps

Extras casting

Construction Dept

Tony Shilton

Director Exec, producers

Cole Porter

Planning and Development

Forest Home Films

Planning and Development Casting

Mark Gainford

Gary Kier Prod, company

Vaughan Richardson


Synopsis: Dirk Trent, a chain smoking, hard

Margot Wilson Dave Skinner

Animals Animal wrangler

drinking, low rent private investigator is thrown headlong into a murder investigation. Someone

Juliette John

Prod, designer

(Det. McKenzie), Deborah Kennedy (Chantal), John Batchelor (Axel), Roy Billing (Sidebottom).

John Winter

Scriptwriter DOP

Paul Lepetit

Cast: Paul Chubb (Dirk Trent), Susan Lyons

Music mixer

MICHELLE’S THIRD NOVEL Prod, campany Budget

Creating Waves

Lab liaison

Ian Anderson Warrick Driscoll

Principal Credits Director Producer Scriptwriter Based on Written by DOP

Phil Bailey

ShortshockFilms Mixed at Laboratory $25,000 Karryn de Cinque

Neg matching

NiobeSymeGauge Screen ratio Michael Bennett Shooting stock Michelle's Third Novel Michael Bennett

Video transfers by

PeterBakerOff-line facilities__^


16mm 1.33:1 Standard Kodak 7293 CFM Anne Kyle

Government Agency Investment

Camera type

WA Film Council’s Short Drama Fund

ARRI BUM Kevin May

Kep grip

Cast: Marguerite Lingard (Michelle Burnett). Synopsis: Michelle's Third Novel is a highly-


charged comedy/drama about a wired writer on

Boom operator

the verge of blowing a fuse, who discovers an entirely new way to plug into her volts of inspira­ tion. Batteries not included.


Kathy Courtney


Kathy Courtney


Budget Pre-production

$70,000 Aug - Sept 1993


Sept 1993 Oct - Nov 1993

Principal Credits

Still photography

Chris Sheedy

Barry Mitchell


Barry Mitchell


Barry Mitchell

Majestic Plates



Lab Liaison Grader

Kelvin Crumplin



Screen ratio


5296 Cast: Mary Ann Jolley (Rosie), Reg Cribb (David), Sandie Lillingston (Lenore), Jeremy Callaghan


John Gray

Other Credits Storyboard artist Prod, manager

Hugh Freytag

Camera type


Key grip

Exec, producer Scriptwriter

Marcus Bosisto

DOP Scott Venner Sound recordist MarkStanforth Prod, designer

Gaffer 1st asst director Continuity

Kath McIntyre


Helen Evans

Safety officer

Zev Eleftheriou

Still photography

Simon Cardwell

Costume designer Composer

Other Credits

Prod, manager DavidDalla-Molle Prod, assistant SAFC Camera assts

Animal trainer Sound transfers by Sound editor


Music performed by



Tony Young

Key grip HendonStudios Asst grip

Mixed at Laboratory Lab liaison

Digital Film Laboratries Gaffer MarkFreeman Asst gaffers



Shooting stock

A G FA Pan 250/XT100

Government Agency Investment Production

1st asst director AFC

Cast: Susie Fraser (Susan), David Grybowski

Continuity Boom operator


Still photography

Synopsis: Brian and Susan are locked in an


empty car park one night. Or is it empty?

Asst art director Sign design Rushes editor

ROSIE’S RETURN Pre-production Production Post-production

6/9/93 - 8/10/93 9/10/93-10/10/93 11/10/93 ...

Principal Credits Director Producer

Michael Condran Michael Condran

Co-producer Scriptwriter

Michael Condran

DOP Sound recordist Art director Composers


Mixer Neg matching Laboratory Shooting stock Gauge

Douglas Brook Hugh Barton

Chris Taylor Lara Conner

Principal Credits

Ziyin Wang Chen Zhen SharonConnolly Ron Saunders Ziyin Wang JohnWhitteron Paul Finlay Stewart Young Stuart Greenbaum

Synopsis: Shot in Australia and China, Dream


Trevor Graham House follows the lives of Tom and Ding, two of Trevor Graham the 40,000 Chinese who have come to Australia SharonConnolly to study in the last five years. Dream House CristinaPozzan follows their surprising personal journeys. JanWositzky

Producer Exec, producer Co-producer Scriptwriter


Sound recordist


BrowynMurphy Prod, company DeniseHaslem Dist. company


Synopsis: Inspired by the sole survivor of a U.S.


Film Australia Film Australia 2/8/92-6/11/92

Pre-production Production



Jan 93 - Nov 93

Principal Credits Director

Tony Stevens

Producer Exec, producers

Sharon Connolly Sharon Connolly

Assoc, producer

Ron Saunders Ziyin Wang

Based on the book Flowers and the Wide Sea Written by FilmAustralia Scriptwriters FilmAustralia

Eric Rolls Tony Stevens Sue Castrique John Whitteron BronwynMurphy

Prod, company

COMEDY (Working title)

HenryFrancis Prod, company NadiaCossich Peter Frost David Corke Cinevex 7293 16mm

her Dolly Parton fantasy while Matt retreats to

Focus puller Clapper-loader

Production Post-production


Synopsis: To avoid reality Libby escapes into

Shane Allen

Director Co-directors

DOP FrankHeimans Sound recordist Producer FrankHeimans Greg Wilson Editor Tony Stevens Exec, producer SharonConnolly GlenArrowsmith Composer MartinArmiger DOPs Paul Ree Chantelle Carlin Synopsis: Based on the celebrated book of the Simon Smith Kalimna Brock same title, Flowers and the Wide Sea examines Sound recordists Tim Parratt Andrew Shaw the fascinating and previously hidden history of Graham Wise Andrew Porter one of Australia’s oldest immigrant communi­ Editor FrankHeimans Steven King ties, the Chinese. Synopsis: A continuing series of thirty-minute Trevor Graham portraits of prominent Australians. Jill Brock THE FORGOTTEN FORCE

James Cahill

John Biggins


Sophie Benkemoun WarwickLawrence AUSTRALIAN Prod, company Joanne Donahoe Dist. company Jeff Bird Principal Credits David Cassar Director Neil Stanyer

his night shift. A prostitute, her client and a hens’ night finally force them to face the day.

Other Credits Unit manager

Prod, company Dist. company

airforce bombercrash on their land during WWII, the Yanyuwa people created the 'Aeroplane StephenJoyceDance'. However peformances of the dance are becoming increasingly rare, as Yanyuwa culture now fights its own battle for survival. KateMadden

Ainsley Crabbe Bill Keir

Camera operator

May 93 - Nov 93

Exec, producer FilmAustralia Scriptwriter FilmAustralia DOP 8/3/93 - 25/6/93 Sound recordist 28/6/93 - 19/7/93 Editor 31/1/94-30/5/94 Composer

Michael McKenna

Andrew McClymont

Brian Birkfeld


Phaedra Vance Murray

Length 23 mins Cast: Craig Goddard (Matt), Natasha Herbert (Libby), Michael Carman (Oscar), Tabitha (Belinda).

Mary Ann Julley


Principal Credits

Wang Jing Ming

Cast: Tamblyn Lord (Gaston), Russell Fletcher JenniferSabine (Speltz), Simon Wilton (Grimes), Sean Ladham Douglas Brook (Dyer), William Mclnnes (Crossan). Kattina Bowell Lloyd Carrick

FilmAustralia FilmAustralia



Principal Credits

Director GeoffreyMcMahon Producer

Prod, assistant Camera assistant

SEETHING NIGHT Prod, company

Michael Kumnick Julia De Roeper


Martin Hoyle

Art director


Prod, company Dist. company

See previous issue for details on: CONVICTS (working title)

Maria Thompson

(Karl), Shane McNarama (The Truckdriver). GeraldThompson Synopsis: Relaxed from an overseas holiday, JoanneLee Rosie is ready to tackle the future, blissfully un­ DavidBanbury aware that friends have taken care of it for her. Ian Jobson

DOP Sound recordist



The Cisco Kidneys

Shooting stock


ing the last 20 years.


Janice Tong

Music performed by Titles

Prod, company


Kevin May


Synopsis: A frank and irreverent look at the development of live and television comedy dur­



Dist. company Pre-production Production Post-production

Principal Credits Director


Dist. company FilmAustralia


Principal Credits

FilmAustralia Director 2/8/93 - 27/8/93 Producer 30/8/93 - 17/9/93 Exec, producer 4/10/93 - 21/1/94 Scriptwriter Trevor Graham

Ray Quint Adrienne Parr Chris Oliver Julian Leatherdale

DOP Sound recordist

Peter De Vries GrantRoberts

Producer Exec, producer

Cristina Pozzan Other Credits SharonConnolly Prod, manager Tracey Taylor Scriptwriter Richard Harris Prod, accountant Dare Skinner DOP Jenni Meaney Inti, distributor FilmAustralia Sound recordist MarkTarpey Publicity LesnaThomas Editor Tony Stevens Synopsis: In August 1945, two atomic bombs Prod, designer NeilAngwin obliterated the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Costume designer LaurelFrank Within weeks Australia committed over 35,000 Composer Phil Judd military personnel to the British Commonwealth Cast: Rachel Berger, Wendy Harmer, Mark Lit­ force where they were assigned the most dan­ tle, Rod Quantock, Richard Stubbs, Magda gerous area of Japan - Hiroshima prefecture. Szubanski.

Creativity, Judgement & Trust Essential ingredients to sound fill ipvesftheht Complete the picture... vwfflfc Permanent Ihistee For an initial discussion contact David Hepworth (02)






96 . 67

THE GADFLY Prod, company


Principal Credits Director

Lewis Fitz-Gerald


Bill Bennett

Exec, producer

FilmAustralia Director

Dist. company

FilmAustralia Producer

Principal Credits Directors

Corrie Soeterboek


Lewis Fitz-Gerald


Geoff Burton



Dany Cooper

Prod, manager

Prod, designer

Daniel Burns

Prod, co-ordinator Prod, secretary

Prod, manager

Corrie Soeterboek

Prod, accountant

Prod, co-ordinator

Glenda Carpenter


Julie Cottrell-Dormer Bentley Dean Leesa Curtis Dare Skinner

Jung-Ae Ro

Bentley Dean

Wally Logue

Prod, accountant

Dare Skinner Dale Ivanovic

Andrew Szabo Kay Lovett

Film Australia

Amanda Thompson

Prod, co-ordinator


Camera operator Marketing consultant

Kathryn Millis Dale Ivanovic


Inti, distributor

Film Australia

Synopsis: With a combination of stop-motion animation and documentary style interviews, this film looks at the dinosaurs who inhabited Australia one hundred million years ago.

Prod, companies

Film Australia 18/1/93-12/3/93

Synopsis: A 55 minute dramatized documen­

Pre-production Production

China for three years in 1969 as a spy, James’ release was finally secured with the help of his

Principal Credits

Post-production Directors

13/4/93 - 3/12/93 Anna Grieve James Manché


Dist. company

FilmAustralia DOP

Director Producer

Prod, company Dist. company

Sound recordist

James Manché Sharon Connolly

Ian Spruce Margaret Antoniak

Camera charts

Yoram Gross Film Studios Beyond Distribution EM-Entertainment (Europe)

Principal Credits Director

Cam Ford

Sandra Gross Tim Brooke-Hunt G. Y. Jerzy Kouichi Kashiwa

Background artists

Background assts Layout supervisor Layout artists

Kathleen Bourke Therese MacLaine Janusz Antoniak Jan Wieczorek

Assistant editor

Marzena Domaradzka

Sound mixer

Simon Leadley

Sound editors

Tim Ryan

Animation servicesColorland Animation Produc­ tions Laboratory Atlab

Audio post-prod.

Trackdown Studios

Henry Neville

Lab liaison

Ray Nowland Gerard Piper

Completion guarantor

Robert Smit Sue Beak Athol Henry

Background design

Exec, producer's assts

Susan Beak

Harry Rasmussan

FilmAustralia Character design Oregon Public Broadcasting Corp.

Alice Borkert

Ian Spruce

John Burge


Lea Rosie

Producer’s asst

Guy Gross

Steve Lumley

Prod, companies

Prod, manager

Studio management

Yoram Gross

Exec, producers

Editors James Manché

Julia Gelhard

Kate McCarthy



Mimi Intal

Prod, supervisor


Anne Grieve



Yoram Gross

Rey Carlson Pat Fiske

SharonConnolly lectual, creative and political life of the decade. This film tells the story of the ‘Pram’ ^ brash and sloganeering, it saw alternative theatre as a step Synopsis: G orgeous follows modern girl towards an alternative society. Hermoineon a journey of discovery, self-hatred,

Gorgeous asks why girls and women feel inad­ equate, and shows what they try to do about it.

Katrinka Beerens Rebecca Newbry

List test operator


Kaz Cooke Catflap Animation

self-doubt and heavy chocolate biscuit abuse.

Asst colour stylists

Paul McAdam

Exec, producer

Scriptwriter Animation company

Gail Hall Belinda Price

Track reading


MartinArmiger Composer Synopsis: In the 1970s Melbourne was home to Other Credits Kaz Cooke an experiment in living theatre, the Pram Factory Storyboard artists SharonConnolly collective. It became the focal point for the intel­

Principal Credits

David Witt

Michelle Price


Anna Grieve

Prod, company


Stella Wakil Additional dialogue Colour styling

15/3/93 - 8/4/93

Exec, producer FilmAustralia Scriptwriter

Oct 93 - Apr 94

See previous issue for details on: ESCAPE FROM JUPITER

Thermal Falls

tary about one of Australia’s most intriguing post-war figures, Francis James. Imprisoned in


Synopsis: Documentary which tracesthe illegal exporting of flora and fauna from Australia.

Film Australia

Dist. company


Elizabeth Urbanczyk


Klein (Francis James as schoolboy), Lewis Fitz­ Gerald (The Intelligence Archivist).

Sept 93 ...

Philip Peters

Lesna Thomas

Lesna Thomas

(Interrogator), Catherine Hauser (Translator), Ji


Greg Ingram

Dale Ivanovic


Adam Rapson

Julie Cottrell-Dormer

Prod, manager

Film Australia


Stan Walker Michael Dunn


John Booth

Inti, distributor

old school friend, Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam.

Evgeni Linkov

Cynthia Leech

Other Credits

Marketing consultant

Ming (Guard), K. C. Lee (Guard), Cheuk-Fai Chan (Guard), Danny Tang (Guard), James

Keith Saggers Philip Bull

John Russell

Cast: John Derum (Francis James), Kee Chan

Bun Heang Ung

John Booth

Prod, accountant

Lesna Thomas

Chris Oliver Al Austin


Marketing consultant Inti, distributor


Maria Szemenyei

DavidRoberts DOPs Chris Oliver Steve Newman

Other Credits

Other Credits

Athol Henry

Susan Lambert

Norman Yeend Producer Exec, producer

Sid Butterworth

Sound recordist

Andrew Szemenyel Aviva Ziegler

Exec, producer Graham Binding

Chris Oliver

Assoc, producer

Principal Credits

Prod, company

Denise Wolfson Film Finances

Governement Agency Investment Development

NSW Film & Television



Cast: Keith Scott, Robin Moore (Character Voices).

Cynthia Leech Ray Nowland

Synopsis: The plot of the television series takes

Robert Smit Robert Qiu

nited again after the destruction of their village, have chosen a site for their new home and are cautiously settling in. It is also about how these animals re-establish themselves as a commu­ nity. It is about how they pick up the threads of old

Paul Cheng Amber Ellis Richard Zaloudek Ga Hee Lim

up where the film leaves off. The animals, reu­

Miroslav Kucera

relationships and how they get involved again in the world around them.

Bob Fosbery Junko Aoyama

See previous issue for details on: THE BATTLERS (mini-series)

Steve Lumley Sue Beak

Prod, company Dist. company

Gerard Piper

Pre-production Production

Michael Dunn Darek Polkowski Paul Fitzgerald Robert Qiu


Principal Credits Directors

Riccardo Pellizzeri

Susan Beak

Steve Mann Producer

Jock Blair


Graham Burke

Darek Polkowski

Greg Coote

Patrick Burns

Nick McMahon

Junko Aoyama Robert Malherb Susan Beak Paul Maron

Michael Lake Assoc, producer

Editors Art director

Patrick Burns

Music supplied by

Gerry Grabner

|an Grant Graeme Hicks Suzarihe Flanery Andrew MacNeil Tony Read Rondor Music

Planning and Development Script editors

Michaela Stefanova Nicholas Harding

Various Mark Wareham

Sound recordists

Dang Phuong Darek Polkowski

Jo Porter

Scriptwriters DOP

Jill Bell


4/1/93 - 14/3/93 15/3/93-17/9/93 15/4/93-4/10/93

Kay Lovett Fiona Quigley

Maria Szemenyei

68 • C I N E M A P A P E R S

New World Entertainment

Andrew Friedman Chris Langman

Andrew Szemenyei Athol Henry Senior animators

Paradise Beach Productions

Glen Lovett

Ray Van Steenwyk Animation directors


Paul Moran Patrick Burns

Rick Maier Alexa Wyatt


Maura Fay & Assoc.

Dialogue coach Budgeted by

John Dommett Michael Lake

Production Crew Prod, supervisor Prod, manager Prod, co-ordinator Producer’s asst Prod, secretary

Michael Lake David Watts Barbara Lucas Liza McLean Lara Griffin

Location manager

Ron Stigwood

Unit manager Production runner

Graham Ellery

Prod, accountant Accounts asst Paymaster Insurer

Margie Beattie Pat Passlow Payola Rhonda Fortescue Payola

Legal services

Hammond Jewell Phillips Fox


Phillip Harris


Phillip Harris Sabina Harris

Jenifer Sharp

Phillip Harris Marco Zeilinger

Charles Boyle David Phillips

Sound recordist Editor

Tom Robson

Denise Morgan

Phillip Harris

Prod, designer Composer

Sabina Harris

Alison Niselle Ian Coughlan


Script editor

Sabina Harris

Prod, manager

Sabina Harris

Prod, assistant Base-office liaison

Sabina Harris

Camera Crew

Michael Healey

Camera assistant Camera type

Asst grip Gaffer

Paul Howard

Key grip Gaffer

David Elmes

On-set Crew

Bede Haines Grant Nielson Jacon Parry John Bryden-Brown Michael Baker


Lara Robson

JV C Nigel Pugh Laurence Clark

2nd asst directors

Playback operator Boom operator

Peter Nathan

Wardrobe asst

Vera Biffone Karen Mansfield Jenni Fraser


Boom operators

Lyn Aronson Geoff Fairweather


Sydney McDonald Lynne O ’Brien

Make-up asst Still photography Unit publicists

Egon Dahm Maree McDonald Jason Boland Double PR Photography Marina Glass Anne Maree Moon

Government Agency Investment Production

Revolving Film Fund, Qld Government

Marketing Inti, sales agent Inti, distributor Publicity

New World Entertainment New World Entertainment

Synopsis: Paradise Beach, where the perfect white sand stretches for miles: the music is hot and the party just goes on.

See previous issue for details on SHIP TO SHORE (series) SKYTRACKERS (series) STARS (series pilot) Production

Garry McDonald

Planning and Development Peter Hepworth

Script editors

Michael Joshua Jenifer Sharp

Melinda Kay

Production Crew

Lucy Ackers

Prod, co-ordinator

Lennox Productions

Animals Animal handler

Karen Wheeler


Jo Rippon

Sound transfers by Sound editor Music performed by Gauge

Phillip Harris Sabina Harris Rand Productions John Bishop Ken Goederee Shoot S-VHS PRO Edit 1”C

Shooting stock

FUJI H471S Off-line facilities Lennox Productions Cast: Simon Hastings (Paul), Nigel Pugh (John), Kate McManus (Sheena), Elizabeth EllisonJones (Joanne), Robert Ringleben (Graham), Sophie Hastings (Sandra). Synopsis: Paul is a “would-be” if he “could-be” rock star trying to make it big. With his band on a backing tape and two girl singers, Joanne and Sheena, they play in pizza shops and milk bars.

Producer’s asst. Prod, secretary

20/7/93 - 3/10/93

Eddie McShortall

Safety officer Still photography

Greg Noakes Steve Brennan Debbie Withers

Unit publicist

Darren Lewtas


Henry Ellison


Art Department Adele Flere Jill Eden

Art directors

Adele Flere

Props buyers

Rolland Pike Brian Alexander Rolland Pike Phil Chambers

Location dresser Standby props

Chris James

Wardrobe Standby wardrobe Wardrobe driver


Gina Black


Emma Honey Belinda Leigh Tara Ferrier

Trainee prod. Location manager Unit manager

Michael McLean Shane Warren Robert Bailey Kerry Baumgartner

Chaperone Financial controller

Jennifer Clevers

Prod, accountant Insurer

Kay Ben M’Rad Mandy Robertson

Completion guarantor

Hammond Jewell Film Finances Inc.

Karina Eagle

Construct, manager


15/1/93 ... 7/6/93 ...

Frank Mangano Crawfords Studios


Post-production Post-prod, supervisor

Philip Watts

Asst editor

Anne Carter Andrew Scott

Post-prod, assts

Carter Lewis Visual effects

Dale Duguid Photon Stockman Chris Berry

Post house

Ant Bohun


Apocalypse Steve Taysom

Camera Crew

Deidre McLeland Michael Vann Sarah Pumazelle

Film stock

Camera operator

Craig Barden

Focus puller Clapper-loader

Angelo Sartore Trish Keating

Camera assistant 2nd unit DOPs

Jeff Fleck Ross Issacs Ron Hagen Gary Bottomley Ross Issacs

Key grip Grip Gaffer



7/6/93 - 25/2/94

1st asst directors

Chris Page (eps 1-7) Ray Hennessy (eps 8-13)

Mark Defriest (eps 1-7) Brendan Maher (eps 8-13)

2nd asst director 3rd asst director

Rachael Evans

Jonathan Mark Shiff

4th asst director

Henry Ellison

Michael Garcia Paul Kiely Ray Phillips

Cinevex Ian Anderson Lui Keramidas

Government Agency Investment

Samuelsons Craig Dusting T ravis Walker

On-set Crew

Lyn Molloy Filmlink

Laboratory Lab liaisons


Daryl Pearson Adam Williams

Continuity Boom operator

Kodak Freight & rushes

Ron Hagan Paul Jackson

Dick Tummel

Best boy 3rd electrix

Principal Credits

Gina Black

Mark Elliot

Green room

Barry Browse

OCEAN GIRL (series)

$3.58 million

Darcy Smith Andrew Thompson

Mobile phones

Film equipment

Budget Pre-production Production

Driver Runner

Michael McLean

Barker Gosling Paula de Romanis Jet Aviation


Westbridge Productions Tele Images Beyond Distribution

Alby Farrawell Frank Mangano

Legal services Travel co-ord.

Underwater DOPs

Prod, company Dist. companies

Chris Anderson New Generation Stunts

Amanda Garland Jennifer Clevers

Jo Warren

2nd unit asst.



Stunts co-ordinator

Construction Dept


Post-prod, supervisor Asst editor

Line producer

Photon Stockman

Construct foreman Sabina Harris Tina Hastings Lara Robson

Dale Duguid

Special fx supervisor

Set dressers

Story editor

Budgeted by

Wardrobe buyer


Maggie Kolev Doug Glanville

Hairdresser asst.

Jane Hyland

Marina Glass

(Lisa Whitman), Andrew McKaige (Nick Barsby), Jon Bennett (Kirk Barsby), Kimberley Joseph (Cassie Barsby), Megan Connolly (Tori Hayden), Ingo Rademacher (Sean Hayden), Raelee Hill (LorettaTaylor), John Holding (Roy McDermott), Tony Hayes (Grommet Ritchie).

Doug Glanville

Laurie Stone

Helen Leonard Clive Carter

Wardrobe supervisor

Cast: Robert Coleby (Tom Barsby), Tiffany Lamb

Prod, company

Tracy Watt

Prod, designer Costume designer

Casting Casting asst.



Andrew Scott

John Bishop Andrew Gibbard

Stunts co-ordinator Still photography

Arnie Custo Colin Phillips Clinton White Wade Savage

Philip Watts Anne Carter

Neil Luxmore

On-set Crew 1st asst directors

John Wilkinson


Composers Marco Zeilinger Kate McManus

Maggie Kolev

Make-up Make-up asst. Hairdresser

Craig Barden

DOP Sound recordist

Production Crew

Camera operator

Camera assistant Key grip

Ken Goederee

Planning and Development

Show Travel

Focus puller

Neil Luxmoore


Show Freight

Brent Cox

Peter Hepworth



Freight co-ordinator Camera operators

Jonathan Mark Shiff

Exec, producers

Jennifer Clevers


Travel co-ordinator

Camera Crew

1/11/93 ...

Principal Credits

Qld Film Development Office Film Victoria FFC

Inti, distributors

Tele Image

Beyond Distribution Cast: [No details provided.]

Synopsis: The story of Neri, a mysterious young girl from the ocean, and her discovery by the young inhabitants of an underwater research colony. Set in the tropical rainforests and spec­ tacular coral reefs of far north Queensland.

See previous issue for details on: THE FEDS (tele-feature) SNOWY (mini-series)

Creativity, Judgement & Trust Essential ingredients to sound film investment Complete the picture... with Permanent Trustee FILM TRUSTEESHIP For an initial discussion contact David Hepworth (02) 232 4 400

" ' " " ‘ "¿'."V .Y ‘„‘.T ,} " l"


P A P E R S 96 - 69


Full Effects here Is a d e cid e d e ffe cts s la n t to th is “T e c h n ic a litie s ” w ith tw o a rticle s th a t sh o w how digital m a n ip u la tio n of film im ages (at film re so lu tio n ) is d e fin ite ly part of the S FX to o lkit. It is also

Effect(i\ Steve Courtney’s ILLUSIONS FX is another of the small companies that have positioned them­ selves around the Warner Roadshow Studios and held on through the quiet times. Courtney came from an engineering back­

ch a n g in g the w a y e ffe cts are done, w ith a lot of the cla ssical re q u ire ­

ground and started in the film industry by build­

m e n ts of m otion control and blue screen being u n n e ce ssa ry w hen the

ing the “hero” car for director John Clarke’s

c o m p u te r can m atch m otion paths and pull m attes fro m an yth ing . In the

into doing special effects, at first for commer­

M aking o f Jurassic Par/cvideo, S teven S p ie lb e rg ta lk s a b ou t how m odel

cials, and then recommended him for effects on

a n im a to r Phil T ip p e tt (of G o M otion fa m e ) sw ung o ve r to 3D c o m p u te r

the Mission: Impossible series and decided to

im a ge s d u rin g th e p ro d u ctio n w ith th e sta te m e n t th a t “ M otion C ontrol is

stay. He declined work interstate so that he

Running On Empty. It was John that pushed him

Butterfly Island. Steve moved to Queensland for

d e a d ” . (O f co u rse the c o m p u te r control of ca m e ra m o ve m e n t is alive and h e althy, but in th e lim ited a re a of h ig h -b u d g e t m odel a n im a tio n h e ’s

would stay available for local production and has now established what he feels is the Queens­ land engineering-based effects facility. Working from a script, he was commissioned

p ro b a b ly right.)

to design and construct the effects for the Police

It all com es, as usual, dow n to m o n ey and tim e. T h e re is an old rule w hich says th e re are th re e w ays the jo b can be done - GOOD, FAST and CHEAP - but you can o n ly ch o ose tw o. W h a t you can a cco m p lish on a 6 6 m H z 486 PC w ith P h o to sh op o r H iR es Q F X is a m a zin g ly good and

Academ y live show at the Movie World theme park. This has led him into pyrotechnics for live shows, and the company has built a range of stunt equipment, such as kick rams, a small plate that, when stood on, kicks open to throw the stuntman to heights of up to 45 feet (14m). A

v e ry ch e ap but at film re s o lu tio n s it’s oh so slow . T o get the job done, you

similar device was made to flip someone out of

need to sp e nd m o n e y on h a rdw a re and so ftw a re , and, of co u rse, you

the water as if tossed by a dolphin. In the lean times, he has made a range of

have to ch a rg e enou g h to earn th a t back. T h a t m akes the ch o ice in how you Invest th a t m o n ey ve ry im p o r­ ta n t. S yste m s su ch as M A T A D O R , running on S ilicon G ra p h ics, lo o k to m e like an a ffo rd a b le e n try point, e s p e c ia lly fo r th e c o s t-s e n s itiv e A u stra lia n industry. Th e re are a fe w o f th e U K -ba se d P a ra lla x M a ta d o r in sta lla tio n s here, m o stly w o rkin g on vid eo . O ne th a t I’m e sp e cia lly kee pin g an eye on in Q u e e n sla n d , at B risb a n e P o st-P ro d u ctio n S e rv ­ ices, se e m s to be w e ll-p o s itio n e d . W e have a lso held up o u r “T e c h ­ n ic a litie s ” end of th is Q u e e n sla n d issue w ith so m e c ra ft s to rie s th a t se e m e d to fit. 70 • C I N E M A



tools such as cobweb guns and gas-powered

e) Engineering fog machines, and recently camera rockers and

flying foxes, including one of 600 feet (180m)

lightweight geared heads.

between two cranes, providing technical assist­

The first geared head was made on order for

ance and equipment.

Dale Duguid, a Queensland art director who is

On The Penal Colony, where he worked with

now doing visual-effects design. The head was

the American crew for three months, Bob was

fora Mitchell camera, and Duguid wanted some­

introduced to a lot of the extra equipment he now

thing that was smaller and lighter than the con­ ventional heads. Steve, working with his design

has. This includes special dynometersthat allow him to test load a rig so that people know it will

associate John Harris, came up with an elegant

be safe, even testing the wire swaging (the

solution (see photo) that he is now keen to

process of adding “thimbles” or eyelets to the

market. The original head has been converted

loop ends of wire rope). The swaging device will

from handwheels to stepper motors for a mo­

work with diameters up to ten mm on location

tion-control rig.

and tests out at 95 to 100% of the strength of the

The camera rocker request came from a grip


who wanted a low rocker that would allow cam­

One particular stunt Bob’s proud of on that

era movement. The current design sets the

series involved the 300-foot (90m) wide Barrum

camera 65mm from the ground and has manual

Falls gorge, and dropping a stunt man 210 feet

pan and tilt.

(60m) into four feet (1.2m) of water. Bob:

Steve is moving the effects facility to a larger space as we go to press, so for information and prices on the above gear or “anything you can’t get off the shelf” call ILLUSIONS FX on (075) 732 226.

Playing S a fe The qualifications and experience listed on the front page of Bob Wenger’s resumé could barely have been accomplished by someone with his 23 years in the industry as long as they hadn’t worked on any films! It is W enger’s four years in the RAAF Training Corps and 13 years Police Force background that add depth to his modest current self-description as “providing special­ ized rigging for stunt and special effects” . Bob: I give technical assistance and provide special­ ized testing equipment to test rigs for acceptable safe working loads. I also run a mobile wire-rope swaging service. I’m a rope specialist and Class 1 Rigger and Dogman. This lets Bob provide a service that he feels

We had to run cables across the gorge, anchor them down, and make a flying fox to travel the stuntman and the cameraman out the same distance and then drop them. The cameraman, with a hand-held camera, stopped short of the water and the stunt guy entered it. We were using special descenders from the States that Kenny Bates from Stunts Unlimited brought in. I did the wire work and got the crew down to the bottom and safely back up. I have my own Rescue stretcher, Oxy-Viva equipment and more roping and climbing equip­ ment than anyone in the industry at the moment. After the injury recently in NSW where the guy fell because of a wire swage, saying that there is a ‘trend’ to increased safety makes it sound trivial. But I’m taking the guesswork out of it.


the Gale Anne Hurd’s feature The Penal Colony, the Damien Parer feature Rough Diamonds and the tail end of Lightning Jack, whose interior sequences were shot at the Warner Studio 5. With another “Movie of the Week” shot in No­ vember and a string of features slated for next year, the lab is well on its feet. Gary feels that the local market is very sup­ portive of the laboratory because of the service and the quality. One of the main reasons for work being sent to Sydney is the lack of a telecine handling the studio’s NTSC require­ ments. Gary says that this will change when the local Videolab facility installs an NTSC telecine at the end of the year.

Bob Wenger doesn’t intend to stop there.

It is pretty much a full post laboratory at Atlab

When I spoke to him, he’d just completed the

Queensland, with only the optical sound negs

qualifications in first aid to the level required now

and titles being sent to Sydney. The lab is

for a Safety Officer in the Queensland industry.

capable of doing bulk release prints. Gary adds:

Bob can be contacted on (075) 307 547. Mobile:

Ninety-eight percent of our chemicals are re­ plenished and recycled. The system was de­ signed by the Atlab and the Filmlab technicians, and, because it’s all a new set-up, I’d have to say that we are probably more of a ‘green’ lab than Hotham Parade.

(018) 539 440.

is new and needed. Most of the American crews have a provision for riggers. In Australia we

Local S ty le

don’t specialize; the job is usually left to the

Like most businesses moving north, Atlab took


a chance when it opened the Queensland labo­

Along with his move from Victoria, Bob feels

ratory facility in February this year. With no

Gary also cites a very different atmosphere in

he has moved into his new area of effects with

guarantees of production, and a local commer­

Queensland as compared to Hotham Parade, or

his rope work on The Penal Colony, where he

cials industry that manager Gary Keir describes

the Sydney industry in general:

did rigging, rope safety and cliff rescue work.

as “quiet” , all eyes were turned to “the Studios” .

Previous to this, he worked with Chris Anderson

Atlab’s first major job was one of the “Movie

on the stunts for Time Trax and did a lot of large

of the Week” series, Mercy Mission, followed by

At Hotham Parade, the footage comes in there at the end of the day and you see it go out in the morning. Here it’s more shared. We get asked to CINEMA


96 . 71


go out to the set and talk to the DOP about his instructions for rushes. There’s been a totally different learning experience for us all. Being on the doorstep can be trying and interesting, be­ cause we are usually with them screening rushes, which is a very different atmosphere.

Pushing the Envelope G le n n Fraser re p o rts o n Ju rassic P a rk a n d th e C h a n g in g P o litic s o f M o tio n -P ic tu r e T e c h n o lo g y

ture production, working in sales, assisting Pe­

Seminars on filmmaking can be as boring as they are titillating. Filmmakers can walk away from them inspired, or dejected. Seasoned speakers can impress on their audiences a feeling of being out of one’s depth, or they can reassert the importance of “telling the story”. Sydney filmmaker, GLENN FRASER, bit the bullet and landed in Hawaii for a four-day seminar on the post-production techniques of Jurassic Park, and found the behind-the-scenes politics of the film promised that the future of effects pictures could be as interesting as the stories they tell.

Spielberg. He is a filmm aker whose vision ex­

ter Willard for a few years, and production

By the time of this writing, most filmmakers

tends past the final cut of the film and well into

manager of Atlab Sydney for three years before

would be familiar with the somewhat numbing

the incredibly profitable merchandising arena.

he was offered the Brisbane position. He is very

feeling engendered by Jurassic Park. Banish

One of the few directors who can bring large-

Rushes screenings take place at the main theatre in the studio, which is a full double-head .J theatre wiih changeover, or at the sm aller lab theatre, which! is a mute facility. The Damien Parer feature Gary mentioned, Rough Diamonds, which stars Jason Donovan, is significant because it is being cut on film in Queensland. The editors are working out of a room in the Videolab building (which is also almost part of the Warner lot). Gary has been with Atlab for almost 18 years, heading at various stages commercials and fea­

of celluloid only 35mm wide. Jurassic Park is more than simply an exer­ cise in celluloid. It is an astute combination of marketing, merchandising and technology. From whichever direction we examine the wonder of modern filmmaking, it is still the pull of econom­ ics and politics that drive the cinema forward. In some cases, those same forces drag the cinema in its wake, often after having cut a bloody swathe through the artistic desire of the film ­ maker. Few filmmakers can work with such de­ mands as well as Jurassic Parks director Steven

happy with the move and has obviously enjoyed

any thoughts of plot contrivances, unfinished

budget cinema vehicles in on time, and on budget,

the experience of being part of the local excite­

story development and trite characters; if you’re

Spielberg has opened his arms to a cost-saving


noticingthis, then you’ve lo s ta tru e love fo rfilm .

appreciation of product-endorsement, fully-fo­

Gary’s staff aré the people who were brought

You’re forgetting why the cinema exists in the

cused merchandising and to the newest ground­

from Sydney to start the lab, but as time goes on,

first place. Jurassic Park tells a story in the

breaking technology. This co m bination of.

and the lab and production builds in Queens­

greatest Barnum & Bailey tradition. It replaces

marketing goals is becoming a much s o u g h t-

land, he feels they will probably start looking at

the magnificence of the elephants and trapeze

after talent in Hollywood’s filmmakers, whose

getting some keen young locál people in.

w ith the th rillin g s a v a g e ry of a pack of

upper-end projects are becoming increasingly;

velociraptors. There’s no denying there’s magic

top-heavy. All of these tools are part of the new^

Pacific Highway at the Warners Roadshow Stu­

still left in our lives when we Can still be as­

edge in getting audiences into cinemas. The

dios, Oxehford. Ph: (075) 736 500

tounded by images projected from a single piece

youth of today demand to be a part of a film

ATLAB QUEENSLAND is situated on the



; -K;

W e ’ve got to w here we are by providing the same high standard o f quality and service demanded by Australian cinematographers year after year. Atlab has been consistently achieving the results they look fo r when it comes to film processing. W e ’ve been able to project an image that’s a faithful reproduction o f what they see through the viewfinder, shot after shot. Cinematographers are getting the quality, service and perform ance fro m a film processing la b o ra to ry committed to excellence.

47 Hotham Parade, PO Box 766, Artarmon, NSW 2064, Australia. Phone; (02) 9060100. Fax: (02) 906 7048. Henderson Partners ATL005

72 • C I N E M A

P A P E R S 96


through the matching products they can buy.

things for Hollywood.

They also have an insatiable appetite for the

Only there do the over­

cutting-edge technologies that are leading a

flows from the design

small, but significant revolution in Hollywood.

systems of the Ameri­

In an art form that is becoming increasingly

can military machine fil­

aware of the hard facts of audience attendance,

ter down through to the

and the realization that new technologies are


putting more power in the hands of the inde­

th e n ce to c o m p u te r

b u s in e s s ,


pendent filmmakers, we need to examine the

games - to give Am eri­

value of cinema as a medium. Is it what the

cans a leading edge in

cinema produces, or how (or indeed if) it is

entertainment technol­

displayed? Jurassic Park has allowed us to see behind the scenes of some of the changes

ogy. In July of 1993, invi­

rippling through the effects industries of Holly­

tations were sent out to

wood, and, ultimately, these ripples will reach

film societies and indi­

across the Pacific and strike our shores in some

viduals the world over

form. W hether it be in the shape of films, compu­

to visit the islands of

ter software or virtual reality, the old guard is

Hawaii and hear some

having to shift its bulk as a new breed of vora­


cious computer designers makes its impres­

scenes s to rie s from

sions in an expanding workplace.

th e

b e h in d -th e -

Jurassic Park. A panel

Jurassic Park saw the first part of a shift from

of noted creative and

effects technology into computer-generated ef­

effects personnel from

fects technology. It is part of a new ethic that has

H o lly w o o d ’s dom ain

an audience believe what it sees, rather than

promised to offer an in­

believe what it is obliged to believe. Today,

sight into some of the

technology creates the belief in what we see. It

most innovative tech­

is no longer a wilful suspension of disbelief, but

niques used in modern

is a virtual threat by the filmmakers to astound

cinema. Through lack of

and astonish. Seeing behind the scenes of a

interest or communica­

filmic myth doesn’t dispel the magic - it capital­

tion, only five Austral­

izes on it. A little knowledge of the process is just

ians showed theirfaces

enough to encourage an audience to foster the

at a convention number­

myth - and to aggrandize the magic.

ing around 200 seminar

The myth of belief is alive and well, and made

guests. Dedicated and

all the more worthy in a growing age of cynicism

mortgage-laden Inter­

and hype. In Australia, we had three or four

national filmmakers introduced themselves at

'months of preparatory hype to contend with

an informal launch, and proceeded to explain

was a goodly list of pames tb represent the best of what this style of filmTiad to offer.

before the release of Jurassic Park. Some crit­

away the reasons why they had offered to risk so

The sessions began with a re-showing of the

ics, knives honed to a keen and ready edge,

much money in what could possibly be nothing

original film. This of course didn’t apply to any

awaited the opening so they could be first to run

more than a groupie-laden and disappointing

Australians present. For us it was the premiere

in and take a slash at this sacrificial dinosaur.


- the film was due to open in Australia the

fVndThen the howls of surprise as the dinosaurs

The event was congenial, and the enthusi­

following week. So whilst many of the seminar

got their own back. Many critics fell back in

asm of the guests seemed to match the experi­

attendees were already discussing their opin­

abject horror as they began to (sic) “enjoy the

ence of the panellists. Hollywood’s effects people

ions of the effects, my partner and I had merely

picture” , and find in it “a great sense of fun” . Or

are a gentle, reclusive breed for whom the light

to nod knowingly and expect all to become clear over the next few days.

perhaps, for a moment, they were taken back to

of day must seem a rare privilege. Kauai is one

those first few flickering images that so im­

of the more beautiful of Hawaii’s islands, and to

We were not disappointed. The film stood out

pressed their child’s eyes. Their grimaces re­

see in person the grandeur and size of a beau­

above any other effects film we’d seen, and the

ceded to smiles, and the critics were quietened.

tiful landscape, which is so often created artifi­

following four days of seminar talks proved as

cially, is enough to humble anyone.

enlightening as the film was entertaining. The

Such is the lure of the cinema. For many of us, Spielberg has re-invented the magic. Though

The platform for the conference was infor­

cohesion of talent in a traditionally fickle industry

having lost his path for a time, catering to a softer

mal, and the excess of Hawaiian shirts was as

was surprising. The mood was supportive of all

a iif less critical audience with his odes to Peter

clichéd as one could imagine. The speakers

concerned, and the praise for Spielberg stems

Pan and extraterrestrial pathos, the man who

ranged from live-action dinosaur creator Stan

not so much from the matter of his being a

taught us how to fear nature, to understand the

Winston, visual effects co-ordfnator Dennis

premier director of b/gfilm s, but from his overall

wonder of outer space, and to believe again in

Muren, dinosaur supervisor Phil Tippett, pro­

vision for a project and the simple good manners

traditional heroes, has returned to his genre. For

ducers Jerry Molen and Lata Ryan, marketing

he employs to achieve it.

Jurassic Park, Spielberg; has in tow the most

consultant Marvin Levy, director of photography

Perhaps the most impressive feat accom­

accomplished set of technicians and artists work­

Dean Cundey, special dinosaur effects creator

plished by the designers of Jurassic Park was in

ing in the effects medium today. If we are to

Michael Lantieri and sound designer Gary

the area of risk investment. This also served to

believe the extent of the changes that are pro-

Rydstrom. Co-screenwriter and author of the

generate some of the more delicate politics

f|o s e |j within the cinematic medium, then history

original novel, Michael Crichton, had to pull out

during, and since, its completion. At the helm of

j f s H e n made with th;e advent of this film. T ip

of the seminar at the last m o m e n t-a disappoint­

the project of dinosaur design and supervision

much-touted cbnpputerization of effects is reach­

ing turn for those wishing to grasp an insider’s

was an artist with a strong pedigree in Holly­

ing fuil circle at an incredible fete. It means big

view of Hollywood’s treatm ent of writers. In all, it

wood. Phil Tippett was the natural successor to CINEMA


96 . 7 3

T echnicalities


the W illis O’Brien/Ray Harryhausen school of

ages) had been fanned, and its potential was

and Harriet operations, began to come to grips

specials effects. He’d pioneered his own form of

seen by some filmmakers, including Spielberg,

with their subjects, dinosaurs began to walk the

stop-motion photography, Go Motion, through

as awesome. During those initial stages of de­

earth again.

the Star Wars trilogy, and has since been a

sign and planning, Spielberg threw a wad of

With no little diplomacy, Spielberg tore the

much sought-after talent. Tippett had collabo­

money at Industrial Light & Magic’s Dennis Muren

carpet from beneath Tippett’s design team and

rated with most of Hollywood’s big-name effects

and asked him to take a closer look. As Tippett’s

directed most of it towards Industrial Light &

producers, but Jurassic Park was to prove a

dinosaurs began to come to life in the form of his

Magic. Tippett, left floundering for a moment,

watershed in his career.

electronic storyboards (an incorporation of stop-

still had a valuable part to play in operations. He

m o tio n

p h o to g ra p h e d

was still more fam iliar with the individual dino­

storyboards), Muren’s team began to investi­

saurs than any of the other artists. He had

On the project since early 1991, Tippett Was to oversee the design and implementation of the

d in o s a u rs


film ’s dinosaurs. At that stage, Go Motion and

gate the possibilities of living, breathing compu­

immersed himself in their history. His advisers

live-action robotics were seen to be the answer

ter-anim ated dinosaurs. Plate-photographed

were palaeontologists and his was the choicé to

for the effects. It was a proven ground in the

against modern-day backgrounds, Muren’s liz­

wade through an ever-widening polemic of opin­

industry and there was already a stock of sea­

ards began to take shape. Tyrannosaurus, re­

ion as to the origin of the dinosaurs, their reptil­

soned artists in town with a working knowledge

splendent in verdant, striped colouration is shown

ian o r a v ia n s im ila r itie s , w arm

of the medium. One of Tippett’s co-workers on

in the early production bible tests as taking a

bloodedness, and even to the extent of surmizing

the project, Lucasfilm ’s Industrial Light & Magic

Sunday stroll along a fully-lit country road.

as to which stage of evolution they would be

was experimenting with a new type of effect that

Though initially the lizard stepped with more

now. Phil’s role was one of mentor to the artists.

was, in essence, computer-designed. Devel­

grace than an oversized ballerina (defined ideas

He translated the scientific garble of the rock

oped in the early 1980s oh Barry Levinson’s

of the creature’s movement and size had yet to

hounds into almost anthropomorphic terms, in

Young Sherlock Holmes, it was still on shaky

be settled), the results were astounding. Clearly,

effect giving each of the dinosaurs their pérson-

ground, but director James Cameron’s enthusi­

a rethink of the effects budget was in order.

o r co ld

ality. Yet still, as far as the seminar was com

asm for new technology, and his faith in.the

Desperate attempts at producing movement

cerned, there was some degree of bitterness in

medium, spurred the workshop onward. The

blur on Tippett’s stop-motion animals were ac­

his features as questions from the audience continued to address the issue of CGI.

computer illustrating effects (such as morphing)

complished, and the effect became noticeably

from films like Terminator 2: Judgment Day and

mòre realistic. But even the computer-aided Go

By the end of the convention, the majority of

The Abyss have since gone down as just an­

Motion was no match fo rthe moving illustrations

the seminar audience had woken u p to th e e ffe c t

other tool for thè filrfifnaker. Some of thèsè

produced by a growing number of employees

that this hew technology was to have on Holly­

effects are now fam iliar to cinemagders arid

over at Industrial Light & Magic. It was slow,

wood. The further the post-production person­

advertising pèòplé alike.

painstaking work, but as the artists, recruited

nel went, the more adventurous they became. In

from as wide afield as graphic design and Harry

effects-producer Jánet Healy’s words:

The spark of CGI (computer-generated im­


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seen a dinosaur before. The de­ sign team could “get away” with errors that would never work if they were trying to illustrate a person’s myriad facial tics in close-up. Phil Tippett: Just because we invented the e lec­ tric stove, it do esn’t mean we disreg a rd


f o u r- th o u s a n d - y e a r

relationship with fire. The essen­ tials are ju st as relevant today. A film m a ker is still a storyteller, and these advances will sim ply begin to bring to many more individuals the access to produce the ir own film s.

We all know filmmaking to be an intensely collaborative proc­ ess. Such a medium is also hid­ The first of the effects-shots to be m anipulated

it with that of ah actor, this technique signals a

eously expensive, and that cost is just the sort of

were the full-da ylig ht brachiosaurs - and, with

growing área of discussion in the politics of

a barrier that prohibits perhaps the most tal­

them , one can still pick up a few of the inconsist­

modern cinema. As one of the seminar guests

ented of our filmmakers from ever seeing their

encies. But as the production sm oothed out, we

proposed, “Are we then threatened with the

dreams brought to life. Just as day-to-day sur­

sought out fresh challenges. The final scenes

prospect of a sequel to The Wizard of Oz, with

vival prevented those without a sponsor from

between the raptors and the T-R ex looked like

the original cast members?”

they were a nightm are to orchestrate. T hey were tim e consum ing, but, after finishing them, it looked like nothing was beyond our reach.

The Diet Coke commercials of a year ago

creating art with brush and canvas four hundred years ago, it doesn’t mean that these tools aren’t

and Rob Reiner’s Dead Men D on’t Wear Plaid

available today. We must believe that these

already showed us how clever we could be in the

changes in the face of cinema will serve to bring its creation to a wider market. Ultimately, the

Yet for all the attention paid to the dinosaurs,

incorporation of old film into new footage, but

one effect within the film was to signal perhaps

CGI promises a fa r more novel concept. To take

means of survival for these filmmakers come in

the greatest threat to the Hollywood system.

pictures of long-dead actors, turn them into

thè m arketthattheirw orkisseen, and not simply

A few years ago, Hollywood’s legends came

graphic images to be manipulated at will, and

in the manner in which it is produced. The

out of retirement to protest the colourization of

gifting them with the voice of a talented mimic

relationship of a film to its audience is the impor­

the classics. Interference with the original art­

seems like a marketing valhalla for Hollywood’s

tant linkthat gives worth to the medium. Whether

work was the closest thing to “original sin” any­

dream machine. There is no longer the problem

that film shows the grandeur of dinosaurs, the

one in Hollywood could imagine. The war was

of productions halting because of the untimely

computer-realized face of a long-dead actor, or

fought, and lost, by the purists. Money had its

death of an actor - five years hence would

the trace of shape and form that does without the

way, and soon everything from the Marx Broth­

perhaps have seen Brandon Lee’s Raven make

interaction of a performer, what use will it be if its

ers to Buster Keaton found a new audience

it to the screens - actor intact - through the

market is closed off from view?

whose sense of appreciation ran to anything that

genius of CGI. So confident are the big players

In the future, the marketing of merchandising

wasn’t old and cheap - that is, black-and-white.

that these techniques will take over from tradi­

and special effects will take on an ever-greater

The issue died away, and the finance machines

tional motion-control effects work that the likes

rôle in the production of big-budget films. It may

began to crank onward.

of Cámeron’s new effects unit, Digital Domain,

produce a polarity in filmmaking that suffers the

Now the issue of CGI replacement appears

has restrained from the purchasing of any mo­

survival of the block-buster, and thé intensely

to set a few passions aflame. Well into produc­

tion control stages. Scott Ross, co-founder of

personal home-made video product, and pre­

tion of Jurassic Park, the artists became so

Digital Domain, ex-industrial Light & Magic and

cious little in between. W hateverthe turnaround,

confident of their CGI techniques that the direc­

Go Motion, argues, “In three years, my crystal

it’s going to be a demanding generation in all

tor took the liberty of enhancing some of the

ball says we probably won’t be doing things that

sectors of the film community, and, if we’re

stimt work with its wonders. The sequence show­

way any more. Where we’re going to make our

lucky, it may even contain a few surprises.

ing the main characters being pursued through

investment is in computer technology.” Like the

In ten years time, the most important film in

the air-conditioning system of the main complex

promises of virtual reality, however, there is

the history of cinema will be created on an

entails one of the raptors trying to jump through

probably a lot of hype. But should we start taking

outback property two hundred miles west of

the ceiling to grab the young girl. The animal

out copyright on our images just yet?

Coober Pedy. Totally computer-generated, the

misses its chance, but the girl threatens to fall

While in the U.S. legal personnel are already

filmmaker will have never left her house to write,

back into its snapping jaws. As the girl hangs on

on the trail of this potential minefield, the artists

direct or edit it. It will be a visionary masterpiece

for dear life, she flashes a look towards her

and technicians at the coalface are calling for

of truly independent filmmaking.

rescuers before being lifted to safety. In reality,

commonsense. Just as computers have swal­

the body belonged to a stunt woman - the face,

lowed jobs in many fields, they have also cre­

ever see it.

to the actress.

ated many new positions. The animated film did


Take a moment to introduce yourself to the

not replace live-action cinema, it simply split and

“High Technology Filmmaking: Behind the Scenes of

future of effects in film. Not all the bluster and

formed its own particular medium. The members

Jurassic Park’, American Film Institute Conference,

hype of dinosaurs or aliens orterm inators, but in

of the Jurassic Park team promote CGI as noth­

Kauai, August, 1993

Ifhe humble replacement of actors with charac­

ing more than a new tool for the filmmaker -

J. Duncan, “The Beauty in the Beasts”, Cinefex, 55,1993

ter-generated images. Already used to great

innovative, yes - but no more soul-destroying

effect in Wolfgang Petersen’s In the Line o f Fire

than the invention of the steadicam. Muren states

to remove the face of a real President to replace

that they had the luxury of no one ever having

And apart from the filmmaker, no one will

J. Ferguson and Peter Galvin, “Big”, Filmnews, voi 23, no. 7, September 1993 D. Shay, “In the Digital Domain”, Cinefex, 55, 1993



96 • 75


first truly robust 2D paint solu­ tion for Silicon Graphics plat­ forms. Two SIGGRAPHs later, you couldn’t miss Parallax. The company’s double-decker booth occupied a prominent location adjacent to Silicon G raphics’ highly successful Discovery Park exhibit. Nes­ tled between Softimage and Alias Research, Inc., Parallax had taken its place in the fir­ mament, and with good rea­ son. In the two years since its debut, MATADOR has be­ come something of a stand­ ard, particularly for2D painting and rotoscoping, in post-pro­ duction and digital-effects op­ erations throughout California. In fact, there are more than 400 MATADOR licences cur­ rently in use, with the most recent orders coming from Digital Domain, The Post Group, Pacific Data

M atador

Images and Pacific Title Digital. Established users include Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), R/ Greenberg Associates Los Angeles (R/GALA), Sony Pictures Imageworks, Composite Image

I’ve been hoping for an Australian film applica­

Systems, Video Image and Cinemotion, all of

tion story on the use of Parallax Software Inc.’s MATADOR. Perhaps it’s just that the industry is

which used MATADOR to create effects for nearly every major film released this summer.

quiet, or that we’re just not making effects pic­

One reason for MATADOR’S acceptance

tures. You realize that it’s more than that when

among the cognoscenti is the way the system

you read a piece such as the following article

has evolved. Parallax’s development team is

that will appear in the latest Silicon Graphics

made up exclusively of people with experience

Users magazine. Somehow the local producers

in television production, film production, anima­

don’t understand how sophisticated digital film

tion or graphic arts. After seeing MATADOR 1.0

effects have become, how they can save money

at SIGGRAPH in 1991, ILM roadtested the sys­

and where to get them. Allow something for the

tem for three months and discovered a number

self-promotional tone, here are some of the

of areas where it felt performance could be

highlights from a longer piece that has examples

enhanced. ILM’s suggestions were incorporated

of work done on Jurassic Park, Coneheads and

into MATADOR 2.0 .

creative uses such as in the Clint Eastwood example. Our thanks go to the local distributor, Computer Effects, for permission to reprint the following examples and for the full story contact them at the address below. (F.H.)

Last A c tio n H e ro



At SIGGRAPH ’91, you had to scour the show floor just to find Parallax Graphics Systems Ltd, the small British company that had just released its first product for the U.S. motion-picture and video industries. Called MATADOR, the new system offered users of Silicon Graphics sys­ tems a breadth of animation and special-effects capabilities far beyond those previously avail­ able on a single workstation. In addition to tools for modelling, rendering, animation, compositing and special effects, MATADOR provided the 76 • C I N E M A


etary and off-the-shelf software. MATADOR was employed to produce a range of effects, from fairly straightforward wire and rig removal to very complex rotoscoping and retouching. One shot in particular posed some interest­ ing challenges, Robertson remembers: Near the end of the film there is a sequence where the character of Death from Bergman’s Seventh Seal swings its scythe straight out of the movie into the theatre. We used the perspec­ tive tool in MATADOR to create that distortion since the scythe had been shot flat in the first place, We had to distort it in true perspective to make the movement look real. I thought we were going to have to get into some kind of fairly involved 3D mapping or some kind of odd morph work to fit it in. I was pleased to see how effectively the perspective tool worked and also to learn that we could write a macro to batch process the whole length of the shot. The automation capabilities built into MATA­ DOR enabled Robertson and his team to com­ plete multiple-frame shots In less time and with less repetitive effort. For example, the key to the plot of the movie is revealed in a scene early on when Danny, a young fan of Jack Slater (Arnold Schwarzenegger), “passes through” the screen his hero. Throughout the balance of the film, we follow Danny, Slater and some nasty villains as

Ten different effects companies worked on Last

they leap back and forth through the silverthresh-

Action Hero concurrently, each bringing its own

old between fantasy and reality. Robertson ex­

signature to the segm ent it produced. R/


Greenberg Associates Los Angeles (R/GALA) performed a dual role on the project. In addition


R/GALA’s own work was done primarily on Silicon Graphics systems using a mix of propri­

of a Manhattan cinema into the fantasy world of

The Fugitive. The significant things to look for are the shift away from blue screen and the

we saved on shooting and stage costs by avoid­ ing the need for blue screens. We were dealing with a five-month schedule but Columbia Pictures’ visual effects supervisor, John Sullivan, and his team shot footage through­ out that time, and with Miller Drake [the visual effects editor on the project] made sure the sequences were finalized and sent as fast as possible to the various post-production houses. There were a lot of experienced people who knew exactly what needed to happen and how to make it work. The visual effects producers at Columbia, Alison Savitch and Chuck Comisky, made a heroic effort to keep the momentum going.

to producing roughly 40 of the special-effects shots, R/GALA served as the film ’s visual-ef­ fects consultant, responsible for making the final production look as cohesive as possible. R/GALA’s Stuart Robertson, the Digital Ef­ fects Supervisor on the project, isn’t likely to forget the challenge of straddling the two as­ signments anytime soon. He recalls: The logistics of assembling the show were quite amazing. We were gratified that all the vendors came through on time and produced great work. There were close to 150 effects shots and the budget was quite modest - probably less than it would have been in an optical situation because

To capture these transitions, a film crew shot the background scene with a hole in a solid wall or a neoprene sheet. The actor then would put a hand, an arm, or his whole body through the hole. Since the actor was supposed to be reach­ ing into a theatre, light streaked through the hole and illuminated him. Then the wall or sheet was replaced with a beauty wall and shot in correct perspective as an empty plate. The next step was to blend the two shots. R/ GALA used MATADOR to rotoscope the charac­ ter, eliminate the neoprene sheet or set wall, and add the beauty wall. Then they animated the edge where the hand or body was passing through, creating the contour between the solid wall and the character. R/GALA’s animators and

As of Monday 4th October, we’re moving in to 176 Bank Street, South Melbourne - right in the heart of Melbourne’s film industry. This means a more user friendly face to face service right on your doorstep. A t our new Bank Street address we will be

moving up, up on to the first level of purpose built accommodation. (If you can recall our old location you will agree this is indeed a real move up!) And of course, we are moving along, along with the times. Apart from our excellent colour, black & white and sound services, we are able to offer overnight video rushes, Osc/r tape to film interface, Hi Res Kines, Digital frame store colour grading and a brand new 30 seat theatrette. So when you’re on the move, drop in and see the new boys on the block.

D iL Digital Film Laboratories / 76 Bank Street South Melbourne Victoria 3205 Telephone 03) 696 5533 Facsimile 03) 696 9300

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96 . 77

rotoscope artists produced a matte for every other frame and used MATADOR’S sequencing c a p a b ility to c o m p u te th e in -b e tw e e n s . Robertson:

that matched the set piece and the imaginary stories and atrium. Then we generated a digital rain element, and animated searchlights pass­ ing through the rain. We matched the position and angle per frame of those searchlights. That element really helped to put the whole shot together.

John DesJardin then began work on combin­ ing our computer graphics Willy with a shot of the breakwater and the young boy who was urging Willy to escape. Next, he animated the orca and Combined the animation with the background

Rather than cutting a hard-edge type of matte, we used digital airbrush tools to create a matte with a lot of motion blur. Then we used MATA­ DOR to go back in and retouch certain areas. We’d put that together and send a semi-compos­ ite back to our New York operation where the animation for the light streak and a little blue magic effect were computed. Sony Pictures Imageworks contributed 46

dent during his re-election campaign. There is a

back Into the ocean on the other side of the

shots to Last Action Hero, including a wonderful

critical moment in the film where the antagonist,

breakwater. That part was created by a practical

d ep ictio n of D anny’s im agined version of

John M alkovich , rem inds the hero, C lin t

shot of a full-sized whale model being panned as

Laurence O livier’s classic interpretation of Ham­

Eastwood, that he was present at Jack Kennedy’s

water was being splashed. The whole sequence

let. Schwarzenegger replaces Olivier as the

assassination and that he could have saved the

consisted of a computer-generated shot fo l­

action explodes on the screen. Tim McGovern,

President had he responded better to the crisis.

lowed by a full live-action one combined with yet

visual effects supervisor for Sony Pictures

To establish this defining moment, John Nelson,

a n o th e r c o m p u te r-g e n e ra te d

Imageworks, remarks:

the visual effects supervisor on the film, and the

seamlessly blended together.

We used MATADOR throughout that sequence. We had to deal with a combination of black-andwhite scenes and colourscenes. We desaturated and enhanced the colour footage to look blackand-white, and then we added colour elements to the black-and-white to make it fit with a kid’s imagination. At one point, Arnold/Hamlet lights a cigar, picks up Claudius, and throws him through a stained-glass window. As the window breaks, colour spreads into the shattered glass. Since the stained glass was originally shot in blackand-white, the effects team painted and tracked it through a non-motion controlled camera move, and performed an animated wipe starting from the point where the glass is broken. In the final stages of the segment, Arnold/Hamlet lights another cigar and sets off an explosion. Accord­

In t h e Line o f Fire In the Line o f Fire involves a c iA agent who is

When W illy reaches the height of his leap,

looking to atone for an embittering defeat by

there is a cut to the young boy’s point-of-view as

working with fellow agents to protect the Presi­

he watches the whale soar over him and plunge

One of the most difficult effects created for

Eastwood back in time by taking footage of him from D irty Harry (circa 1971) and giving him a

Speaking of the sequence where the newly-

digital haircut, lapel trimming, and tie thinning so

liberated Willy is reunited with his pod, Wash

as to make him look like a secret service agent


in 1963. The team then placed the 1960s version of Eastwood behind JFK’s shoulder in newsreel footage of that fated visit to Dallas. McGovern: We wrote code to take the motion out of the plate in which Eastwood originally appeared. Although there were a lot of tricky things we had to write ourselves, such as grade enhancers, we used MATADOR to dp much of the paint work, includ­ ing the mattes. When you see the shot, it really does seem to place Eastwood at the scene and it fits in well with the way the motion works. And he really does look much younger.

Free W illy

we had to desaturate Arnold and the castle, while enhancing the explosion.”

know that an orca couldn’t possibly leap over a

MATADOR’S ability to automate repetitive

massive breakwater in a single bound. How­

operations allowed Sony to achieve the desired

ever, the special-effects team at Video Image

colour effect without wasting time. For instance,

did such a convincing job on this dramatic shot

in one scene Sony was asked to colourize Arnold/

that it’s hard to believe otherwise. John Wash,

Hamlet’s eyes and skin tone to make the original

Video Image’s art director and the on-set visual

b la c k -a n d -w h ite fo otag e look like an old

effects supervisor for the film, explains how they

Technicolor movie or an overzealous Ted Turner

got Willy to take the plunge:

to set up a macro in MATADOR to process all the frames automatically once the rotoscoping had been done. Also by relying on MATADOR’S greater than 24-bit colour depth, Sony was able to produce an intricate matte for the backdrop of a scene in which Jack Slater swings from a Times Square rooftop to save Danny dangling from a rainslicked gargoyle 11 stories above street level. McGovern recalls how Sony crafted the Illu­ sion of imminent peril out of a relatively harm­ less sound stage shot: Jack and Danny were supposed to look like they were 11 stories above the ground with people moving below. They actually were a story and a half above the stage floor. We added the extra 10 stories as well as an atrium, and shot footage to place the unsuspecting pedestrians beneath them. From that, we produced a matte painting 78 • C I N E M A



the film was not included on the original shot list.

Most people who go to see Free Willy probably

some complex mattes, the animators were able

shot -

team at Sony Pictures Imageworks rotoscoped

ing to McGovern, “That was colour footage, so

colourization. By establishing lookup tables and

image, from which he had already removed the fibreglass model. There also was a matte paint­ ing and some other splash elements that were added at that point to enhance the effect.

First, we shot a rough model of the whale and Richard Helmer, who was responsible for the physical effects, created a hydraulic rig to thrust the model through the surface. We scanned that footage and began the process of constructing a whale database from a model we had sculpted. A member of our computer graphics team, Andy Kopra, created a numbered grid corresponding to that model of the whale. Using that informa­ tion, I was able to create a texture with charac­ teristic markings for Willy’s skin. That was then mapped onto the computer graphics model of Willy. I used MATADOR to paint itasastretchedout image almost as if we had literally skinned Willy and laid his surface out on a flat plane. Once the texture was roughed in, we mapped it onto the whale and I made adjustments until the fit was perfect - altogether it was a very quick procedure that required only a day or so. We also used Renderman effects in addition to the texture map to give the skin a glistening, natural look.

Wq wanted to identify Willy by his bent dorsal fin - a condition that is common to orcas in captiv­ ity. Compositing a computer-generated bent fin onto one of the orcas filmed by natural wildlife photographer Bob Talbot involved a pretty so­ phisticated process. Usually, when we do ef­ fects photography, we plan to do our live-action shooting in a very controlled situation. In this case, though, the footage we were given had been taken by Talbot from a moving boat using a hand-held camera. There was no control, the camera just fol­ lowed the action. We had to place the new fin on the whale while matching the fin to the motion of the whale and while taking the motion of the camera into account. First, we removed the original fin by tracking different areas of water and compositing them over the original whale’s fin. Then Andy Kopra modelled a bent fin using Renderman to light and shade it so it matched the overall scene. He rotoscoped the fin frame by frame to match the position of the whale’s body. And we used MATADOR to blend the fin and smooth out the image in several instances, as well as to clean up some of the edges and artefacts left by the compositing process. It was quite a tough piece of work. Originally, we thought we could simply modify the fin, but then we decided we needed to rebuild it com­ pletely. But getting the new fin in and out of the water and making sure that all the artefacts had been removed ... well, that’s an art.

R eal o r S y n th e tic The net effect is that even the most incredible things can be made to appear real. One effects supervisor, in fact, says he’s always disappointed when someone complements him on a particu­ lar effect: “On the whole, w e’d just as soon you didn’t notice.” Note: Crispin Littlehales is a freelance writer living in San Francisco. During intermissions, she can be found standing in line for popcorn. Computer Effects: 109 Union Road, Surrey Hills, 3127. Ph: (03) 899 1993. Fax: (03) 899 1995.

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96 . 79

















FILM TITLE D ire c to r






BAD LIEUTENANT A b e l F e rre ra












BEDEVIL T ra c e y M o f f a t t











4 .5

BLACKFELLAS Jam es R ic k e ts o n












BOXING HELENA J e n n ife r C h a m b e rs L y n c h












CONEHEADS Steve B a rro n











3 .4

CRUSH A lis o n M a c le a n












DAVE Iv a n R e itm a n












DESPERATE REMEDIES S te w a rt M a i n an d P ete r "Wells












ETHAN FROME J o h n M a d d e n












HERCULES RETURNS D a v id P a rk e r











4 .5

HOMELANDS T o m Z y b r y c k i












IN THE LINE OF FIRE W o lfg a n g Petersen












J’EMBRASSE PAS A n d ré T é c h in é











4 .7

KING OF THE HILL Steven Soderbergh












MAN W ITHOUT A FACE M e l G ib s o n












M UCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING K e n n e th B ra n a g h



































POETIC JUSTICE Jo h n S in g le to n











4 .2

PRELUDE TO A KISS N o r m a n R e ne












THE PUBLIC EYE H o w a r d F r a n k lin











5 .7

RED ROCKS WEST Jo h n D a h l












RISING SUN P h ilip K a u fm a n












SILVER BRUM BY Jo h n T a to u lis











5 .7

THE STORY OF QUI JOU Z h a n g Y m o u








7 .7

WATERLAND Step h en G y lle n h a a l









OTHELLO O rs o n W e lle s

80 • C I N E M A







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Cinema Papers No.96 December 1993  

Cinema Papers No.96 December 1993  

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