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V isit your n earest b ran ch o r call







Brent Lewis











Michael Koller Andrew L. Urban

Report by Barrie Pattison











Ken Berryman, Brian McFarlane


Interview by Scott Murray Philip Dutchak

Interview by Scott Murray

Interview by Andrew L. Urban







Philip Dutchak Scott Murray

Part 11 of a continuing historical feature by Chris Long





Body Melt Raffaele Caputo; Eat Drink Man Woman Margaret Smith and Carolyn Ueda;

Forrest Gump Monica Zetlin; Muriel’s Wedding David Vallence; My Country Marcus Breen; Spider & Rose Lani Hannah



Hammer and Beyond: The British Hammer Film Reviewed by Jonathan Roper;

Brando: Songs My Mother Taught Me Reviewed by Scott Murray










Report by Peter Malone

Lloyd Hart including Film Finance Corporation funding

Ten critics’ best and worst

KEN BERRYMAN is manager of the Melbourne office of the National Film & Sound Archive; MARCUS BREEN is a freelance writer on film and music; RHILIF DUTCHAK is a freelance writer specializing in new technologies; LANI HANNAH is a camera assistant to Geoffrey Burton; LLOYD HART js; a principal of the law firm Hart & Spira and has for more than 13 years acted for Film Finances Inc.; MICHAEL KOLLER is a dentist who also programmes the Melbourne Cinematheque; BRENT LEWIS is a New Zealand writer on film; CHRIS LONG is a Melbourne film historian; BRIAN MclFARLANE is an Associate Professor in the English Department of Monash University, and most recently the editor of Sixty Voices: Celebrities Recall the Golden Age of British Cinema; PETER MALONE is editor of Compass Theology Review; BARRIE PATTISON is a film producer and writer, with a particular interest in Asian cinema; JONATHAN ROPER is a freelance writer; MARGARET SMITH is a freelance wrier on the arts; CAROLYN UEDA is a Sydney-based freelance writer; ANDREW L. URBAN is the Australian representative for Moving Pictures International; DAVID VALLENCE co-hosts the film show on 3CR; MONICA ZETLIN co-hosts the film show on 3CR.


Editor: Scott Murray. Assistant Editor: Raffaele Caputo. Technical Editor: Dominic Case. Advertising: Barry Telfer. Subscriptions: Raffaele Caputo. Accounts: Tory Taouk. Office Assistance: Mina Carattoli. Legal Adviser: Dan Pearce (Holding Redlich, Solicitors). MTV Board of Directors: Chris Stewart (Chairman), Patricia Amad, Ross Dimsey, Diana Gribble, Natalie Miller. Founding Publishers: Peter Beilby, Scott Murray, Philippe Mora. Design: Ian Robertson. Film output: Witchtype. Printing: Jenkin Buxton. Distribution: Network Distribution © Copyright 1994 MTV Publishing Ltd. 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 the magazine, neither the editor nor the publisher can accept liability for any loss or damage which may arise. This magazine may not be reproduced in whole or part without the express permission of the copyright owners. Cinema Papers is published (approximately) every two months by MTV Publishing Limited, 43 Charles Street, Abbotsford, Victoria, Australia 3067. Tel (03) 429 5511 Fax (03) 427 9255. Cinema Papers is published with financial assistance from the Australian Film Commission and Film Victoria

BRIEFLY Film Finance Corporation to revive Feature Film Fund

Australian Writers’ Guild Mentorship Programme

Writers’ Guild and an accredited producer.

John Morris, Chief Executive of the Australian

Marilyn Loveless, a Masters by Course work stu­

early December, followed by a pre-Christmas work­

Film Finance Corporation (FFC), announced in

dent in Cinema Studies, School of Arts and Media,

shop. Final selection will be early in the New Year.

The first round of selection will be completed by

September that the FFC would hold a film fund for

Faculty of Humanities, LaTrobe University, has

the financing of up to three feature films. The

won the New South Wales Film & Television Office-

closing date for applications is 31 March 1995.

Australian Writers’ Guild Mentorship competition

Creative Nation

for first screenplays. Her screenplay, “Anne’s Di­

In October 1994, Prime Minister Paul Keating

Morris said that the decision of the FFC Board to revive the Film Fund was in response to discus­ sions with the industry. He said that in the structur­ ing of the Fund the FFC had also taken into account

ary”, involves Anne Shakespeare. Loveless’ entry was one of four winners nation­

announced the launch of his government’s “Crea­ tive Nation” policy.

wide selected from 300 finalists. Loveless has re­

Of particular interest to the film and television

ess. The Board had decided to drop the precondi­

ceived a cash award, and will receive another at a later stage in script development. She has been

industry was the announcement of a $60m fund to stimulate television production, $13m to SBS for

tion for an Australian distributor and the involve­

team ed up with a m entor, a pro fessio na l

drama and investment in CD-ROM technology.

ment of sales agents in selecting the projects.

screenwriter, who will provide advice and guid­

Coupled with the launch was news of Rupert

Acknowledging the important rôle of Australianbased sales agents in the industry, Morris said the

ance in developing the project toward production.

Murdoch’s 20th Century Fox planning to develop

Her mentor is Steve J. Spears, whose 13 plays

an international-standard studio complex at the

FFC would expect the producer to appoint an

include The Elocution of Benjamin Franklin; his

Sydney showgrounds. This provoked great de­

screenplays include Those Dear Departed] and he

bate, not only among NSW politcians (see below)

has done many scripts fortelevision, most recently episodes of Heartbreak High.

and conservationists, but in Victoria, where Pre­

views of the industry regarding the selection proc­

Australian sales agent of his or her choice. Through the Fund, the FFC is to fully finance up to three feature films with budgets between $1.5 and $2.5 million. Morris said the Fund was tar­ geted at relatively-inexperienced directors. Direc­

mier Jeff Kennett vowed to try and convince Murdoch to relocate to Melbourne. Further devel­

Loveless teaches English and Drama at Tintern Anglican Girls’ Grammar.

opments will be covered in Cinema Papers.

New WA Screenwriters’ Scheme

Movie Studio at Sydney Showgrounds

tors would have to have some drama or documen­ tary experience, but not more than two feature film directing credits. Morris said that more experi­ enced directors might be considered in excep­ tional circumstances.

Screen West, the Western Australian Film and

Proposals to establish a movie studio at the Syd­

Morris said that filmmakers in general are en­

Television Office, advised that it would award up

ney Showground have been extensively devel­

titled to apply to the fund, but the FFC reserves the

to six bursaries each worth $4,000 to new Western

oped by the New South Wales state government,

right to require an experienced producer to be

Australian screenwriters in 1994-95. Chief Execu­

according to the M inisterforthe Arts, Peter Collins.

appointed to the project.

tive, Debra Allanson, said: The aim of the Scheme is to discover and support

for the past 18 months, in close consultation with

promising writers who are new to the screen and

writer, a director and a producer - who would

display the potential to develop scripts, particu­

the film industry. This preparation had included a comprehensive feasibility study, prepared by the

short-list all applications, interview short-listed applicants and make recommendations to the

larly in the area of low-budget features, telemovies and mini-series.

Kinhill Group for the NSW Ministry for the Arts and the NSW Film & Television Office, which covered

FFC Board for its final decision. The membership of the panel has not yet been determined. Morris

Sustained support on a one-to-one basis will be provided from established screenwriters or script

said he would be approaching appropriate indus­ try representatives shortly.

editors to help successful applicants bring their

issues such as potential market demand and the economic impacts and benefits of the proposal.

The FFC expects decisions on projects to be

Buying time is only part of what’s necessary for

I welcome the Prime Minister’s comments [18 October] regarding the possible establishment of a studio at the Showground, following his

made by 30 June 1995. Only an unexpectedly high

a new screenwriter. Being able to learn or benefit

discussions with News Corporation.

number of applications will alter this timetable.

from experienced professionals, such as ac­

projects to completion. Allanson believes that,

The Prime Minister rightly points out that this

Morris emphasized that the rôle of the Fund

credited screenwriters, is just as important. That’s

is a matter for discussion with the NSW govern­

was to fill in the gap between the low-budget

ment, which owns the Showground site.

feature films financed by the Australian Film Com­

why the bursaries will provide successful appli­ cants with top-notch script editing and a pro­

mission and higher-budgeted films financed un­

gramme of script workshops, in addition to a fee.

ment initiative with the Prime Minister and, in

der the FFC’s normal funding guidelines. Morris

The Scheme, which closed for applications at the end of October, was open to writers who have

particular, the level of federal funding that might

no previous feature film or television drama writ­

‘assist with site preparation and development’.

indicated that projects would be judged on the scripts submitted and that the FFC would not be proposing any further script development.

ing credits but who could show evidence of imagi­ native ideas and substantial writing skills.




Writers who have previously been funded for script development, but whose projects are as yet

I would be happy to discuss this state govern­

be committed to this project beyond his offer to Collins said setting up a multi-million studio at the Showground site would be a major bonus for the film industry in NSW: I am delighted that Twentieth Century Fox is

unproduced, could apply. However, if successful,

showing a keen interest in the site. It is planned

Due to a combination of poor printing and

they will only qualify to attend the intensive work­

that following Cabinet approval, the government

technical misjudgments, the printed qual­

shop following the first round of the selection

would call for expressions of interest for the site.

ity of the previous issue of Cinema Papers was somewhat short of the standard its publishers (and no doubt readers) expect. Cinema Papers takes this opportunity to sincerely apologize to all its readers, assure them the problems are being re­ solved and offer a (hopefully higher qual­ ity) replacement copy to anyone who wishes

process. They will not be eligible for the fee and script-editing components of the scheme. Allanson explained that, “New screenwriters funded in the past have often lacked the opportunity to attend

On p. 86 of the article “Stephan Elliott: The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the

Applications will be assessed by a special panel

Hughes’ name was misspelt. Cinema Pa­

will include at least one member of the Australian • CINEMA


1 02


workshops and this offers a chance to gain the benefits of at least this segment of the Scheme.” appointed by the Screen West Board. This panel

to contact us.


Collins said he had been working on the plan

Morris said the FFC Board had decided to appoint a panel of three industry experts - a

Deserf’, Cinema Papers No. 101, Catriona pers apologizes to Hughes for this error.


We would welcome a bid by Twentieth Cen­ tury Fox as part of that process, though we would envisage the site will possibly accommodate nu­ merous film tenants.

Backsides and basket cases

the time, were the ones most associated with that

The following letter (labelled “Post card from the

kind of optimism. Second, it’s much easier (even if

far side”) came as printed below, with the ‘provoca­

still very difficult) to get people to talk publicly and

tive’ declaration: “Print this if you dare!”

honestly about their successes than their failures. A book full of people blaming each otherfor particu­

Dear [Editor]

St Kilda Film Festival Call for Entries

In my sincere personal opinion, both your article, and your reviewer (Sum of Us August ’94) are

Entries are now being accepted for the 12th St Kilda Film Festival to be held March-April 1995. Audition tapes must be submitted on VHS and promotional stills should be included with entries. Other publicity material can be submitted when notified of pre-selection. Audtion Tape deadlines Films completed prior to 30 November: 12 December 1994. Films com­ pleted after 30 November: 6 February 1995. All entry forms must be received by December 12, 1994. VHS, U-matic (high- and low-band), 16mm and 35mm formats will be screened at the Festival. There are no entry requirements regard­ ing genre or style, but all entries must be under 60 minutes in length. This year there is a special category for films suitable for a Family and Chil­ dren’s Screening. Entries received in previous years will be con­ sidered provided they have been entered only once before and haven’t been screened at the St Kilda Film Festival. There are no entry fees. For further inform ation and entry forms: Michelle Truckenbrodt, Director.

Tel: (03) 536

1397; Fax: (03) 534 9105.

Warner Roadshow Studios promotes Michael Lake to Managing Director

unfortunately, perfect examples of a trend that if continued will keep the Australian cinema industry a ‘quirky’ basket case within an insignificant cot­ tage industry. “Two blokes sit down, crack a couple of tinnies, talk about a footy team and then ... they kiss.” It goes on “A grandma tosses a footy with her grand­ son in the backyard while a lady observes them from the verandah.” Later! “The grandma and the lady lie in bed, holding each other in their sleep.” The reviewer “Loving a film one has just seen is one thing, feeling grateful to the filmmakers for making it is quite another.” Get real. One thing the vast majority of film patrons does do very expertly with their backsides is decide commercial suc­ cess of productions. Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, “featuring the escapades of two drag queens and a transexual [sic] who journey in a bus affectionately dubbed Priscilla from Sydney to central Australia to stage a drag show extravaganza.” Broken Highway, so bad even the critics couldn’t understand it. Who are these people Mr. Murray? This is bizarre, they couldn’t be more out of touch with reality if they tried, it begs the question “Why is an industry that is so heavily funded, so richly gifted, continually churning out dead product?” Yours most sincerely Frederick Graeme Taylor Mermaid Beach, Queensland

Greg Coote, President of Warner Roadshow Movie World Studios on the Gold Coast, announced in

The Editor replies: Mr Taylor’s attacks on The

Octoberthe promotion of Michael Lake from General Manager to Managing Director of the Studios.

Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and The Sum of Us need no comment, other than to

Warner Roadshow Movie World Studios is the largest studio complex in the Southern Hemi­

say his talents as a predictor of box-office disaster

sphere and is currently expanding its operations

at Muriel’s Wedding as well, he could have had a notable trifecta of strike-outs.

with the construction of a sixth stage at the com­ plex which is scheduled to open on 1 April 1995. In announcing the appointment, Coote said:

are rather underwhelming. If he had only had a go

People have voted with their backsides, Mr Taylor, and not as you would have wished.

Mike is responsible for the vital on-the-ground function of making a foreign production not only feel at home, but to go back home with a fine

Long Shots

piece of finished product and extolling the virtues of shooting in Australia. In hisfouryears here, we

Dear [Editor]

have filled it to the point where we have to expand it, hence the sixth stage and Mike’s Managing Director status.

written a different book about Australian cinema than Long Shots to Favourites: Australian Cinema

Lake said:

Raffaele Caputo wishes Mary Anne Reid had

Successes in the 90’s - more about other Austral­ ian films that were not as successful as the three

lar “failures” (or denying the “failure” altogether) seemed less likely to be constructive. Further, although these films are commonly perceived as successes, some elements of their performance were disappointing. Proof and Romper Stomper received some harsh overseas reviews and the box office of Proof and Strictly Ballroom in overseas territories did not always meet the high expectations generated by their Cannes screen­ ings. Their relative lack of success by some meas­ ures forces the reader to interrogate notions of success, rather than valorize, unproblematically, these alleged case studies of it. To my mind, Reid is actually far more open about her methodologies for assessing success, and the need to contest them, than most reviewers of film texts. Caputo feels there is so much financial informa­ tion in the book that “the only conclusion the reader can reach is that the bottom line is indeed the ring of the box-office register”. The reason there may seem to be a lot of financial information in the book is probably because it is so unusual to find writing with this level of detail about the making and mar­ keting of films. This point was made by Marcus Breen at a recent conference about research into Australia’s cultural industries. He said “If you want to know how the industry works [...] read this book - it achieves this better than any other piece of research in the last few years.” Caputo finds the conclusions “problematic”, tending “to come across as a formula for success”. We spent a lot of time deciding whether to leave the three case studies stand on their own, stress­ ing the individuality of their achievements, or to have a conclusion which drew together the com­ mon elements. We decided to have a conclusion but include a proviso, at the beginning of the book, that “(The Book) does not attempt to come up with ten tips on how to make a successful film” . Nor does the book purport to say much about “the type of cinema Australia is producing” . For my part, I think there is no shortage of people prepared to talk about how the Great Big Project of Australian National Cinema is going. This book is an attempt to do something else, it looks at a handful of key titles and asks how they happened and how they played. It is remarkable that, despite the number of words written about film in Australia overthe last 20 years, its analysis of performance has no real published precedent. Hopefully, filmmakers and others might find some useful lessons in it, and other similar analyses might be attempted.

Over the past two years, we have seen enormous

films Proof, Romper Stomper and Strictly Ball­

Finally, Caputo notes that the concluding re­

growth, and not only in the level of production facility

room which are the book’s subject, less about

marks in the book “seem to miss [...] the role of

companies which have based their operations on

their financial performance and more about “the type of cinema Australia is producing”. In doing so, I think he greatly undersells a very valuable

Cannes as well as the role of the Australian media

the Studios lot. We are truly now Australia’s onestop shop when it comes to film and television production. I look forward to the new challenges this position brings in building the Studios’ position in the international production community.

book about the business of film in Australia. The decision to commission a book about “suc­

at Cannes”. While the concluding remarks do not make much of Cannes (perhaps an oversight we should have picked up in the editing), the body of the book does - two pages in relation to Proof and

cesses” rather than failures was taken for two reasons. First, there had been a lot of talk about an

a whole section in relation to Strictly Ballroom.

Australian film “renaissance”. These three films, at

______ LETTERS c o n c l u d e o n p a g e 83



1 0 2 - 3

Commission, which worried that the images of a spectral, rain-soaked

glossy brochures. Imagine their delight, then, at the opening shot ol


»Zealand release of Jane Campion’s T h e P ia n o came from the Tourist 1 landscape might cut across the fables so carefully constructed in its f Lee Tamahori’s O n c e W e r e W a r r io r s which features a panorama of the Southern Alps - a picture of scenic land at its most rhapsodic.

Their delight lasted just seconds, however, for the camera pulls away and exposes the pristine view as merely a billboard ironically planted amid a charnel house of urban dereliction and billowing clouds of noxious fumes. Given that the film deals with lacerating brutality within a dysfunctional family, O nce W ere W arriors was always going to be a contentious film; its source, the most debated novel in New Zealand literary history, suggested as much- Written by Alan Duff, a provocateur par excellence who’s never happier than when spelling out unpalatable truths, the book’s success (50,000 copies) occurred despite its unremitting darkness and stream-ofconsciousness style. Some books are best left unfilmed, as Alan Pakula and Brian de Palma have ruefully observed in the wake of S o p h ie’s C hoice (1982) and T he B on fire o f the Vanities (1990). If Lee Tamahori ever had such thoughts in tackling such an ambi­ tious subject for his first film, he didn’hlet it show. “You have to test yourself against new challenges”, he insists. “I prefer to work out how to beat the obstacles rather than settle for making a z-grade slasher movie.” At 44, Tamahori is far from a cinematic novice. Director of innumerable commer­ cials (he’s unsure of the exact number, but guesses it ’s between 2 0 0 and 3 0 0 ), Tamahori, along with Geoff Dixon, is regarded as the most dexterous practi­ tioner of the form in New Zealand, as is evident from the numerous Australasian Television Film Awards that grace the MAIN PIC: LEFT TO RIGHT, NIG HERE (JULIAN ARAHANGA) WITH TOA GANG MEMBER (JASON KERAPA) AND GANG LEADER (CALVIN TUTEAO). LEE TAMAHORI’S ONCE WERE WARRIORS. LEFT: LEE TAMAHORI.

Once Were W a rrio rs

offices at Flying Fish, the company Tamahori started in 1986. “Everyone else was giving their companies movie-related titles, but that was too trite. I wanted a name that would give us a good logo and that people would remember.” Commercials are always vying with their rivals for popular recognition and Tamahori has an uncanny knack in making his stand out. The range of subject matter is matched by a diversity of treatment. There’s the elaborate set-piece which celebrates the 1990 Commonwealth Games by evoking, in black and white, the Anzac camaraderie of World War I, then cuts, in colour, to the jubilation of athletes massed together; a homage to Vincent W ard’s Vigil (1984); the Anchor series which casts an amiable eye at modern relationships and the commercials which cel­ ebrated 150 years of New Zealand-Aotearoa by capturing the shared enjoyment of two youngsters, one Maori and one Pakeha (European). Then there is the series that became part of Kiwi consciousness and made television part of the fabric of shared experiences. Tamahori: Television One gave me a brief which I thought was terrible, so I said, ‘Let’s do The Incredible Journey about a dog who finds his way home.’ We shot it throughout the length of New Zealand and put Louis Armstrong’s ‘It’s a Wonderful World’ on the soundtrack. People loved it. At times, Tamahori’s commercials seem that in name only. Never crass enough to hard-sell a product, they are, he says, character sketches. A good example is the masterly vignette of two friends in mellow mood as they talk along a rural back road. The end title says “Trustbank”, otherwise you’d never know. Tamahori feels making commercials is the best training ground of all, and certainly better than going to film school. There’s no point in theorizing how to build a house; you have to get a hammer and nails and build one. Commercials are microcosmic stories; they teach you incred­ ibly succinct storytelling skills. Commercials directors are always pigeonholed: you’re good at cars, style or models. I’ve been lucky to be slotted into perform­ ance-driven commercials, which is the best apprenticeship if you’re thinking of directing a feature some day. Tamahori dates his directorial aspirations back to 1984: Around then the tax shelter possibilities were running out and everyone was running around getting as many films as they could made. A lot of films that were made shouldn’t have been. Then there were some that weren’t that should have been. I guess you’d include mine in the latter category. Tamahori grins. “Actually, I had the dream but not the project. I started making commercials around then and honed my skills.” Tam ahori’s reputation was such that if you asked anyone in the industry which directors-in-waiting deserved to make the big one, they invariably replied, “Lee Tam ahori”.

ONCE WERE W ARRIORS Tamahori didn’t read O nce W ere W arriors with that muchdelayed feature in mind, but to join in the national debate. W arriors had the nation divided over its contention that a people who once were warriors had become a purposeless underclass thanks to welfare dependency. Alan Duff conveyed the omni6 • CINEMA


1 02

present alcoholism and violence of that half-world in language just as combative: So the parties raged, all over Pine Block they raged, man. And people, every man and woman jack ofem, they were thinking this must be life because it is life, you know ...? But yet something not quite equating. Ah, but who gives a fuck? Drink up and be happy. And if you wanna fight go to it, bro. Might even join you it looks good.1 Pages of such atavistic outpourings left Tamahori, himself a M aori, feeling “incredibly depressed”. He abandoned the book, then had a second shot and made it through. When producer Robin Scholes approached Tamahori to make it as a movie, he knew that, if the book’s bleakness remained intact on screen, it would empty cinemas quicker than you could say Ishtar. An initial script by Duff suggested the writer was too close to his novel to be objective about it. Tamahori felt the answer lay in giving it to a woman writer to shift the focus from the out-of­ control Jake Heke to Beth, the unconquerable survivor, and thus alleviate the macho swagger of the book. It needed a woman at the centre. Beth’s story is truly heroic. She stands up to Jake, and the beatings he gives her, because she wants to create a life for her children. I knew that audiences who were repelled by the world in Warriors would be moved by that. Tamahori credits M aori playwright Riwia Brown, who wrote the screenplay, with bringing optimism to a story of otherwise unremitting gloom. The moments where the children discover their culture aren’t in the novel, yet they suggest hope for a generation that would otherwise seem doomed to reduplicate the nihilism that entraps their elders.

T a m a h o r i : “ It needed a wom an at the centre. Beth’s story is tru ly heroic. She stands up to Jake, and the beatings he gives her, because she wants to create a life for her children. I knew that audiences w ho w ere repelled by the w orld in Warriors would be moved by that.”


The velocity which propels the film is also suggestive of some­ thing made on the run - “on the gallop”, quips Stuart Dry burgh, whose haunting cinematography also graced T he Piano. Rather than a burden, the film’s tight $N Z2 million budget and rapid six-week shoot were a spurt to Tamahori, who brought it in under budget. “I hate wasting film stock, so I follow John Ford’s technique of pre-shooting a sequence in my head.” Tam ahori’s initial apprehension that his commercials back­ ground might disqualify him from feature filmmaking was quickly disproved: Because you tune up performances so tight on commercials, I was genuinely worried that, if I did that on a film set, I’d find myself burnt out with a story of only 45 minutes. My fears turned out to be ground­ less. I discovered that doing com­ mercials all the time keeps your craft level very sharp and ready for a cin­ ematic assault course like Warriors. Strangely, too, there was a feeling of luxury in not having to tell a story in shorthand. The experience hasn’t spoilt

Tamahori, who has made more than 15 commercials in the months since finishing the film. Given his pantheon of heroes - Sam Peckinpah, Don Siegel, Sergio Leone, de Palma, Martin Scorsese and even Quentin Tarantino - it is no surprise to hear Tamahori likes violence on screen, “because that’s where it belongs”. One can almost hear Tarantino laughing in agreement. With such goremasters as his inspiration, one might have envisaged O nce W ere W arriors emerging as a sanguinary bit of showmanship. Yet, while there’s no attempt to camouflage the violence, it isn’t exploitative. The reason partly lies with another of Tam ahori’s heroes: Ken Loach: “Throughout the filming, I kept asking: How would Loach want the violence to demean the victims? I didn’t want it to have a perversely gratuitous tw ist.” Tamahori exercised his judgment when deciding how to depict the rape of a terrified teenage girl by a man she knows as her uncle. Here the rape has something insidious to it because it’s a close family friend whispering terms of endearment while he violates her. I thought a long time about how to convey that horror and I decided to stay with the camera on their faces in extreme close-up. Other directors might have wanted to cut away, but I decided to go the whole distance. It was an approach Tamahori uses throughout the movie, reasoning anything so remorseless couldn’t possibly appeal to the cheap-thrills brigade. Jake Heke’s truly frightening metamorphosis into a fighting beast totally committed to annihilation is, Tamahori insists, not fictional contrivance; he knows because he has seen such people in their natural habitat. In the 1970s, I was hanging out with a drinking, drug-taking fraternity which lived in the seediest and lowest hotels of what­ ever towns we were in. There were always fights breaking out when strangers came in. There’s no trigger in those fights other than people didn’t like you. If that happens, you’re history. At the beginning of the movie, the king hitter who knocks over three guys picks a fight for no reason. In the book, you’ll find that Jake loves violence; you couldn’t put that in the movie and I didn’t really want to. If his rough early days provided one reference point for the brawls that are spiced through the movie, then the New Zealand film industry in the person of the ferocious man mountain called Anzac Wallace (best known for portraying the sanguinary maver­ ick Te Wheke in Geoff Murphy’s Utu, 1983) provided the other. In the film, I modelled a lot of Jake’s behaviour on Zac. On Utu, he beat up one of the carpenters and his behaviour was just as vicious on The Silent One [Yvonne Mackay, 1984]. When Zac fights - if you can call it fighting - he hits the other guy with as many blows as possible until he’s unconscious. I have seen him demolish people for absolutely no reason. Did he apologize later? That’ll be the day! Zac comes from the hardest background; he spent eight years in maximum security. I like Zac; he’s a really good actor; and, if he had been ten years younger, I may well have used him for Jake. There’s no doubt how well he’d have understood him. CINEMA


1 0 2 - 7

Once Were W a rrio rs

anecdotal evidence, it’s clear that just seeing it has helped a lot of people.


Jake has no redeeming qualities: he beats his wife when she’s not sufficiently servile to the Lord and Master; has no conception of what it means to be a father; and likes surrounding himself with mates who share his love of alcohol and fights. Yet Tamahori always knew there was a risk Jake would be seen as a positive rôle model by those destined to tread the same path. I’ve been in audiences who cheer when he punches his missus, but what can you do about guys like that? If they fail to see the inherent message in this film, then they’ll fail to see anything. Yet I know that some of those guys are cheering with a kind of false bravado because they are profoundly disturbed by what they see: a mirror image of themselves. Of course, no one else will ever know that as they have a tough macho image they’re never going to let drop, and that’s a real tragedy. Yet, the mate or wife sitting alongside them watching the film doesn’t feel the same way and that’s some sort of victory.

Although the arguments thrown up at the time Duff’s book was published suggested the film would leave its mark, Tamahori “never expected it would become a sociological document”. Nor did he anticipate it vying with Steven Spielberg’s Ju rassic P ark as New Zealand’s highest-grossing movie ever. Abroad, the reaction has been equally remarkable. Fears that such an uncompromising depiction of social malaise would alienate audiences have been disproved by the reaction at a succession of film festivals. Lauded at Cannes, cited at Durban and Montréal, it has turned out to be a landmark film for a New Zealand film industry anxious to capitalize on T he P iano, but determined not to homogenize its product. For Tamahori, the unqualified success of O nce W ere W arriors has led him to consider his next project. The more ambitious (and expensive) project “I Shall Not D ie” is based on the extraordi­ nary life of the 19th-Century M aori chief, Titikowaru, who was alternatively a pacifist and military strategist, an advocate of civil disobedience and the leader of an impoverished army that fought with the strategic skill of Napoleon. Tamahori believes that financing will rule out “this Birth o f a N a tio n ”, so in the interim he plans to make an as-yet-untitled interracial love story. Tamahori’s enthusiasm for movie-making still has within it something of the ten-year-old boy who saw The Guns o fN a v aro n e (J. Lee Thompson, 1961) and decided that, if a filmmaker could get men to scale up cliffs and blow up guns, then that had to be the ideal job. In twenty years, he’s sure he’ll reach the same conclusion. • 1. Alan Duff, O nce Were W arriors, Tandem, Auckland, 1990, p. 82.

Tamahori is proud to have made a film that penetrates the dark side of the human soul, yet is free of ambiguity. “I would hate to be guilty of creating a scene that was pretentious or confusing to people.” Tamahori’s proud, too, to have made a film that in New Zealand has eclipsed its movie status and become a cause célèbre. To Dr M ax Abbott, immediate past President of the World Federation of Mental Health and for nine years Director of the New Zealand Mental Health Foundation, Once Were Warriors has not only reopened the debate on the seemingly intractable problem of domestic violence, but it’s enabled ordinary people to face this problem in their lives. From




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gions of the lost, forgotten, ated and neglected Australian films MI CHAEL



W aterfall is a true film -m au dit: an Australian film in an art form dominated by “entertainment” films from America or “serious” works from Europe; a short film in a culture which evaluates and discusses mainly feature films; a serious, formal, experimental work at a time when structural works are in disrepute. Humorous, linear, narrative, easy-to-digest (the word “enter­ taining” is relevant) experimental films are more likely to be given credibility, to be written about, as if accessibility were a virtue. This can be seen as a reaction against the structuralist and semiological works of the recent past which were often unfathom­ able and overly long. However, the Cantrills’ works should not be confused with these films as theirs are formal rather than struc­ tural. They may require a different frame of reference to main­ stream cinema, but this is what makes the films experimental. Ross Gibson states in issue no. 100 of Cinem a Papers, “Square B ashing is particularly difficult to describe in words. ” This is the problem which exists for works of an experimental nature: they are difficult to analyze. M ost of the analysis of experimental works consists of either straight descriptions of what is seen on the screen, or an explanation of the technological process in­ volved in the filmmaking. It is often difficult to explain the complex emotional or intellectual reaction one has to the works. If the films are abstract, there are no themes which can be analyzed. The best experimental (and other) films are works which need to be experienced. Cinema is, as Sam Fuller said, “Em otion.” W aterfall is ten-years old. Scan film publications and the majority of the articles are about new films. Film culture is about an appraisal of the latest; it is rampant consumerism. There seems to be an unwillingness to discuss older works and audiences seem to be unwilling to re-assess these films as well. Retrospective programmes are less and less able to attract audiences. This can be illustrated by the relatively poor attendances at the BFI-Piper Heideseck Restorations at the Melbourne International Film Festival. To compound this problem, W aterfall is made by filmmakers with a substantial body of work dating back to the early 1960s. In an era where only the latest technologies and the newest filmmakers are considered of value, old is old hat. As Sight an d Sound notes in the August 1994 issue, “The phrase ‘young filmmakers’ carries a certain mystique. Not so ‘old film-makers’, although there are obviously more of them around.” Yet the Cantrills continue to survive as filmmakers and continue to publish the extraordinary Cantrills Film notes. They are the veterans and it is due to their vision, their tenacity and 10



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their love of film that they continue to survive and thrive in an area of filmmaking where few people do survive. Very few Australian filmmakers of any era have a body of work compara­ ble to theirs and this is what makes W aterfall worthy of serious discussion. It draws attention to the art of the Cantrills, and illustrates their concerns and working practices. W aterfall is an 18-minute sound film made by Arthur and Corinne Cantrill in 1984. It is a three-colour separation study of MacKenzie Falls in the Grampians, Victoria. The red, green and blue separations were shot on 16mm black and white negative, and were printed with colour filtration onto Eastmancolor print stock. Due to the time differences between the filming of the three pieces of superimposed film, there are slight changes in move­ ment between the three exposures. The colour appears to flare around the edges of the leaves on the trees, the grass, the waves and the splashes of water. In their early three-colour separation work ( W aterfall is their fourteenth colour-separation study), the Cantrills were careful to have as little movement in the frame as possible, fearing the technical artefacts. But by 1979 they began incorporating more and more movement to further develop the time-colour relation­ ship. W aterfall is the most dynamic of their three-colour separa­ tion series. One of the most extreme examples of the lack of registration of the separations occurs towards the end of the film, when tourists, viewed in the distance, who are visiting the MacKenzie Falls, appear as three sets of ghostly figures. This illustrates the ephemeral nature of human activity and the irrelevance of humans to much of the Cantrills’ work. If humans are present, they are usually shapes with no life of their own beyond the temporal and spatial limits of the film. It is the inanimate objects, the rocks, which are bold and full colour. These have a perma­ nent quality. As Arthur Cantrill states in issue 45/46 of Cantrills F ilm n otes, a slow shutter speed was a feature of 19th-Century still photog­ raphy. This caused a blurring of any images in which movement occurred, and especially of waterfalls in which each image was not a representation of individual drops (or falls) of water so much as a representation of the volume of water which had fallen before the camera during the period of the exposure. With their three-colour separations, the Cantrills have recreated this effect, and the blurred rush of the water can be seen as a metaphor for the vertical movement of film through a film projector. As an extension of the above, W aterfall can also be seen as a homage to the early developments of colour motion-picture film. In 1974, the Cantrills visited the Eastman House Museum of Photography at Rochester, U.S. They were impressed by the display of early work in colour photography and film, and, in 1976, with T hree C olou r S eparation Studies - L an d scap es, they began exploring the first three-colour system to be used in still photography.

The principles of photographic reproduction of colours were perceive them in ways which can reveal texture, shapes, light and first described by Clerk Maxwell in 1855. He showed that if three movement and elucidate new meanings. negatives are taken through red, blue and green filters, the The Cantrills display a love of film which sees them regularly negatives yield positives which, if projected through their appro­ attending a wide variety of film screenings. They are aware of the priate red, blue and green filters and superimposed on a screen, expressive power of the components of film, something which will give a picture of natural colours. There are methods by which the great mainstream filmmakers are also aware of. As Corinne this can be achieved in the movies. One is an additive process, the has stated, “We want to create a new awareness of visual and other is subtractive. The first three-colour (and two-colour) films aural beauty.” were made with the additive process and consisted of recording But beyond being filmmakers interested in the history and and projecting three (or two) consecutive images. processes of the cinema, the Cantrills are also great poets of the Initially, these images were recorded on separate frames of Australian landscape. Their films feature many of the landscape film, but eventually a process was developed which allowed three icons of Australia: the Grampians, Uluru, Stradbroke Island, (or two) small images to occupy a single frame area. All of these Coober Pedy, Katatjuta (The Olgas), Eltham, and Point Look­ processes suffered from de­ out. Much of this work was fects such as colour fringing, made in the mid-period of due to a lack of registration of their career. These films turn the component images pro­ away from the découpage jected through multiple lenses approach of the earlier works (creating an effect similar to to a more mature mise-enth a t w hich the C an trills scène type approach to film, achieve in W a terfa ll), and a more sombre, austere and poor definition. reflective attitude towards In earlier two-colour proc­ filmmaking. esses, where the camera was The three-colour studies run at 32 frames per second can be seen as a dissection of (double the normal silent film the elements of film images. speed - another intersection This is a process of discover­ with W aterfall), and alterna­ ing images. A repetition of tive frames were projected sound and image in these through a rotating filter disc, films creates an accumula­ the two successive images tion of the emotional impact ARTHUR AND CORINNE CANTRILL’S WATERFALL. were merged by the persist­ of the work. It is simple in ence of vision. But fringing occurred on moving images due to the appearance yet its ramifications are complex. The visual concept slight difference between consecutive images. behind a film constitutes its entire content. The Cantrills’ deep knowledge of the history of the early It is impossible to understand W aterfall without seeing it in its cinema reinforces and reflects their desire to rediscover the entirety. The meaning of the film is intimately bound to the visual nature of the recorded image. This film’s allusion to tinting is elements of each image and cannot be adequately verbalized. The another example of this. Before colour film, the hand colouring landscape images gathered in the film have subtle differences and of images, known as tinting, was used, and the imprecise hand the structure of the film makes us aware of the differences. The application of colour to still images - either photographs or camera animates the rocks, the leaves and the water, and assem­ movie frames - caused a bleeding around images reminiscent of bles them so that the viewer can experience the colour, beauty the fringing of the colour in W aterfall. and power of nature. A portion of W aterfall was filmed in slow motion at 12 fps The Cantrills found that, by using a three-colour separation (half normal sound speed) and down to as slow as 1/2 to 1 fps process, they achieved startlingly realistic colour, superior to using the time-exposure facility on their spring-wound 16mm ordinary tri-pack film stocks, with unreal displacements of Bolex camera and a greatly-reduced f-stop. When these images colour occurring where there was movement in the frame. are projected, the image of the water is speeded up. During these These observations can only be made on film, and with a moments of the film, the camera is in close to medium shot, and relatively pristine print. M ost of the emotional power and the sound of the waterfall is very loud, obscuring any other strength of the film would be lost by viewing W aterfall on video ambient noises. or on a heavily-scratched or faded print. Television would alter The sound with the film tends to follow a relatively traditional the colour of the film and would destroy the impact of the texture notion of the function of a soundtrack. The sound is a ‘real time’ of the film. One could speculate on the connection between this mix of the noise at the waterfall, depending on the closeness or and the well-known dislike by the Cantrills for television and distance from the waterfall. At a distance, other bush noises are video. It should also be reiterated that this work is a three-colour discernible. Up close, the deafening rush of the water obliterates separation. Television/video uses a three-colour addition process all other sounds. Perhaps the conventional use of the soundtrack and is the only major form of this process. All of the other major acts as a hook for audiences in search of a more traditional film colour processes are three-colour subtractive processes. form, thereby allowing them to appreciate the unique nature of the Cantrills’ approach to filmmaking. Author’s note: Two major articles were consulted in writing this piece: Arthur W hat the Cantrills have achieved throughout their careers as Cantrill’s “W aterfall” in issue 45/46 of Cantrills Filmnotes, and Andrew Pike’s filmmakers, through persistently questioning and exploring the substantial essay, “The Cantrills - The Art of Seeing”, in M ainstream: A Survey medium of film, is a pursuit of the essence of the filmic experi­ Exhibition o f the Film w ork by Arthur arid Corinne Cantrill, 1963-1979. ence. They have identified film as a mutable art form, one in Editor’s Note: Due to deadline, space and author-commitment issues, this is a which nothing has to be what it seems. They manipulate light and reduced instalment of “Films We Love”. Next issue’s will be larger than usual transform film stock so that they can look at familiar objects and to compensate. CINEMA



• 11

Paul Mercuric) is Tom, a man out of place and tim e, haunted by an event in the past, who lives at an isolated petrol station in the outback. Travellers pass by; some stay in a tense situation none can break free fro m . There is Connor (Colin Friels), the bad guy; his offsider, Nick (John Poison); and the “young, desirable w o m a n ”, Charlie (Dee S m art).

B ack OF BEYONDis the third feature (after The Best o f Friends, 1982, and Going Sane, 1987) of Michael Robertson, a highly-successful director of television commercials. Robertson first got into filmmaking as a writer of sponsored documentaries, and graduated through that to working at Film Australia. From there he went into the advertising and public relations world. It wasn’t “that big a step” to start producing television commercials at one of the major agencies in Australia, now called Young and Rubicam. 12




“Outback Australia: an ancient land filled with infinite beauty and eternal mystery; the magical place where a young man’s searching for spiritual fulfilment becomes an emotional awakening of the heart and soul. It is a journey to back of beyond.”

Robertson: I learnt very early on that I could work with 35mm and large budgets, that I could manipulate - to a point - filmmaking styles and that I could be paid for it. That can only happen in commercials. Some of my contemporaries said ‘Robbo has sold out’, because we were all there in the mid-1960s making student and street films. I’m referring to people like Phillip Noyce and Peter Weir, who were all contemporaries of mine at Film Australia. I was the first one to decide it was going to be too hard to hoe the road they chose, though they have been very successful, and good luck to them. I moved into another field, and it’s taken longer for me. This is only my third feature. I’d never given up the idea of getting back into it; it was just a matter of picking the right moment and the right project. Robertson had developed a reputation in commercials for doing a lot of comedy work and, in 1980, the then New South Wales Film Corporation ran a comedy competition. Donald Macdonald and Robertson submitted a script called “The Best of Friends”, which ended up


winning first prize. CINEMA



. 13

There was almost a commitment that the NSWh'C make the award-winning script, which it did. Robertson shot it in 1981 and it had an Australian release with Hoyts a year later. Robertson: I can recall it did about six weeks in Sydney and was quite successful. It sold overseas, particularly in Europe. I thought I would probably move onto another project, but it took me four years to get the next one going. The reason was my involvement in the advertising world. In 1986, Robertson was asked by the NSWFC, and an executive producer called John Sandford, whether he would direct a picture called G oing Sane. It was very heavily autobiographical, relating very closely to John’s life. It was a mid-life comedy, a story of a man who tosses in his corporate career and goes off looking for another life. That picture was distributed by Greater Union. Unfortunately, it was very poorly handled at the marketing end, but I won’t go into that now. Robertson considers B ack o f B ey on d a big departure, being almost eight years to the day since he did his previous feature. It’s a picture I think has far more chances of commercial success, simply because of three ingredients: the quality of the script, the quality of the cast, and the method and production values that we were achieving. Robertson came up with the idea of a love story set in the outback while living in Los Angeles, continuing his television commercials career and seeing whether he “could get a film idea up and running in what is supposed to be the centre of the film industry in the English-speaking world”. Robertson put together a treatment, and then invited (at various stages) Paul Leadon, Rick J. Sawyer and Anne Brooksbank to write the script. I don’t call myself a screenwriter. There was also a time factor involved, given my heavy workload. It would have been very difficult to cut myself right away and concentrate, which one has to do when writing. 14




Robertson also found the three writers brought new and different qualities to the concept. “All those elements are very valuable and are still in the film. Judging from a read of the screenplay, B a ck o f B ey o n d has three strong elements: a love story, a spiritual and mystical element, and a kind of a thriller edge. These potentially disparate elements come together first of all in a geographical sense: at a desolate petrol station. The love interest is between the lead character, Tom, and Charlie; the thriller aspect is brought about by the introduction of a bad guy, Connor; and the mystical element which pervades the whole thing - the outback, the Aborigines - comes through the location. Robertson doesn’t see the film as being of a particular genre, but adds that “the strongest thing running through it is the love story.” Given Robertson seeded the film in Los Angeles, it is tempting to speculate that the film represents an idealized, romantic view of the Australian outback. It’s a combination of things, of which that is one. Another would be my looking to do films that people want to see. The subjects inherent in the story are very much key drawcards for the project. Everyone enjoys the love story. The thriller element is there, and then wrapped around is this mystical quality that the Australian outback brings. Describing it like that it sounds as if Robertson had a recipe, went into the cupboard, took out the elements and then mixed them together. He disagrees: It didn’t happen that way. The industry is littered with stories of projects that are packaged with a particular thing in mind, and as many are successes as failures. This picture is a commercial project. There is no strong art involved in it. It’s a picture that drawsupon all the talents that we can put to it, such as Paul Mercurio. He is undoubtedly a major drawcard, both here and on the international scene. We have very strong performances. Colin Friels is probably one of the best male actors in Australia today - if not the best. And between Colin and Paul we have this stunning woman [Dee


Smart]^ whom I am tipping won’t be with us much longer. She will be taken by someone overseas. One of the most intriguing aspects of the script is the way that Tom is portrayed as a kind of mystical figure. Robertson also uses his motorcycle as a metaphor for the horse of the Western: “Yes, that’s a true analogy of where we are.” In fact, Robertson has been quoted as saying the film will have the power of Unforgiven (Clint Eastwood, 1992) and the mysti­ cism of G host (Jerry Zucker, 1990).



Well, I’m a great admirer of Clint Eastwood and his Westerns. This film has the dangerous edge that he brings to his pictures, that element of the mystical and strange. His characters are often out of touch with time. Certainly the Mercurio character is out of time and out of place. That’s one of the reasons I drew the analogy. The second is Ghost. Well, that’s something I stand by, though you’ll have to see the film to realize what I’m talking about. There is a twist in the story which we have gone at pains to hide. It’s very reminiscent of the twist in The Crying Game [Neil Jordan, 1992] which they managed to keep quiet, though it’s not a sexual reference. In the opening sequence, Tom ’s little sister is killed in a motorcycle accident. The guilt Tom feels is a maj or driver for the rest of what-happens to him. Robertson sees a parallel in the need to resolve that guilt with Unforgiven. Tom has to resolve that guilt and the manner that he does it is through the travellers who come along the road, past the garage, not at his beckoning, but just arrive. I suppose you could call the film The Fixer, but being a “fixer” has the wrong connotation in the United States.


Another picture that has strong connotations for Robertson is Key L argo (John Huston, 1948). You have characters drawn to a central spot, not entirely of their own volition, and there they have to stay. In Back o f Beyond, four key characters are thrown together and none of them can escape. They have to remain under the roof of this one place.

One of the key characters is Connor, the baddy. Connor is a man who is a couple of years out of date, as you can see from his wardrobe and physical appearance. He is a man who would have come up from the wrong side of the tracks, and he’s always just missed on the big deal. The deal in this film is the biggest he’s had in his life, and he is so close to pulling it off. He knows that; we all know it. When you get to the end of the story, you feel quite sorry for him. At the same time, he is a character who allows Tom to move closer to the woman. It’s a little difficult for me to talk about this, because the moment you start talking about the characters, you start talking of the plot, and I don’t want to give away the twist. The inevitable question is: How is this deliberate obfuscating going to affect the way the filmmakers market or image position the film? There is a word that is used a lot in Australia at the moment: quirky. One could say it’s a quirky outback romance with a twist, but I’munot having a lot of impact in that area. The^one area that we all seem to be in agreement is to try and hold back on some of the plot, so that it has a chance to get its head above water in the market. Robertson feels he brings many qualities to feature filmmaking from his background in television commercials: If you are going to successfully make television commercials, one of the first things you must have is an ‘eye’. You must have an ability to compose pictures in a frame. This particular project has a fairly claustrophobic story, in so far as two-thirds of it takes place in one location: the diner at the gas station. The film had to be opened up, but you can only go so far with exteriors of a desert landscape. We had to also create a style that would have a sustaining appeal to the eye. Now, television commercials give you this training. Week after week, one is faced with different situations and problems that have to be solved, whether it be for soap powder, pet food or airlines. We looked at various film styles and one that had always CINEMA



• 15

Back of Beyond

To get top performances, Robertson believes he needs accurate casting. It’s a very simple process: you just have to get the best people available for the job at the time. And to do that, you must have the assistance of quality casting. I have been fortunate to have worked for many years, both in my commercial career and on my previous films, with a lady called Faith Martin. She is a Sydney casting agent whom I think is excep­ tional. She has the ability to sort of cut through the chaff of the wood and get right to the bone of the matter. On this film, we were looking for something like 10 people in all and I don’t think I saw more than 60 people. Every part was short-listed long before we got to the situation of seeing actors. We didn’t see droves of people, which is often a problem. People stood out and selected themselves for the roles. From observing some filming on lo­ cation in Alice Springs, it is clear that Robertson’s favoured directing style is particularly relaxed and stress-free.


interested me is the camera’s being constantly on the move. We are not into static frames; they are only used to break up the moving pictures. Along with that, we have used long lenses to shoot dialogue and I’m talking lenses that are 150mm to 200mm plus. There is one particular lens which is a great favourite of mine: the Canon 150-600mm zoom. It’s not being used from a tele­ photo point of view, but as a portrait lens. This is, I think, something rather new for Australian drama. Like all telephoto lens, it foreshortens everything and throws the backgrounds out of focus. But because this lens is a zoom, the backgrounds don’t break up as much. You get the feeling of being right in there with the subject matter. You only have to look at a picture like Tony Scott’s True Rom ance [1994]. That is the style of filming we have attempted to emulate in our project. We are able to run scenes from top to tail, without a lot of breaking up of the dialogue pieces, which is the more conventional way of covering a scene. Robertson believes the overall effect will be much more fluid as far as the audience is concerned: Characters are moving around the stage, or the set, and you get a feeling of flow. It has much more of a theatrical quality for the actors, although it’s certainly not theatre when you look at it. Because the camera is not close to the actors physically, it is almost like playing to a theatre audience out there. In fact, when I first cast the film, this was one of the things that I spoke to the actors about. And the quickest way to explain this was to show them examples of this filmmaking style. All of them without exception have just endorsed it and wanted to know why they haven’t been working this way before. 16



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I’m certainly not directing my first film, so I think this is a combination of my many years of experience and the first-class team that has been assembled around me. Actually, I think the glamour, the hype and the frenetic qualities that one associates with filmmaking are a bit of a myth. One just has to plan properly and create an environment for the actors to work in. I really feel for the performers and one of the things I’ve learnt in my short drama career, and it’s certainly very short, is that you must look after the actors. They have to feel very relaxed. If there is stress around them, you won’t get the result. I am very impressed by the strong performances I’m getting. Performances that are so important to me. In fact, it’s the performances that let down a lot of Australian pictures. At the same time, one of the things I don’t believe I can do is tell an actor how to say a line. When I’ve cast people of this calibre, I expect them to bring a quality to the part, to make the character live. That is one of the most difficult things for an actor, particularly for smaller roles. So, I spend a lot of time with them prior to the shoot, talking about character. We worked quite heavily in the couple of weeks prior to shooting with a dialogue director/drama coach, and we dissected the story. If character X appears on page 3 of the script, what was he doing prior to that? What is his life? Where did he come from? We tried to get a critical path working with each of the characters. At one stage, we even divided the story into a diagram to see the collision courses of certain characters as they meet one another and then split off again. It’s very important that the actors understand who they are supposed to be. Then I let them bring as much as they can to the role. Apart from setting up the shot and making sure that we’ve

Ro b e r ts o n : “ I’m very into style. I’d like to think I can carry it into m y w ork, because audiences are so sophisticated from a visual point of view... One of m y m ajor criticisms of Australian feature film m aking is the lack of style.”

blocked through their action from top to tail, the most important thing is to go in and remind them of where the scene plays. The script is not precious in that we make changes even at that late stage. The main thing is to keep the actors focused. Every scene has a key moment and it is usually attached to one of the actors. That then becomes that actor’s scene and he or she must make sure it’s not taken over by something or someone else. Robertson shoots most scenes all the way through without a break, two or three times from different angles and with different levels of close-up. Almost invariably, the camera is on the move - on a dolly, or hand-held. We use long lenses even for the master shot, so that you get that feeling of being right in there with people. Then we change the lens for the same dolly track to alter the perspective. It’s conceivable that, if a scene is running with three different lens, you get three different perspectives. But those three different perspectives really become an arithmetic progression: it could mean nine or 27 times the number of cuts. Then, if we have the chance and the time, we do what I’d call a wander shot. It does not reproduce exactly the same move; we might just go for motions and movement. It might be a person’s wink, or a person’s clenching their fist; it might be starting on a car number plate and watching a white body cross it, which will cut into the action again. But that only happens if the clock is on my side. Robertson’s primary intention has been to make the film visually riveting. I’m so influenced by certain directors and their cameramen that I can’t help but say that the look is a maj or ingredient of my work, and will remain so. It’s something that I’ve been struggling with for some years. If you look at my previous two films, my first was very much a beginner’s film. The second, as I said, had an unfortunate marketing path and didn’t get the right audience. But it’s a heavily stylized film. In fact, Going Sane was the last picture Dean Semler shot in Australia before going to America. He left his mark very heavily on it with the use of lenses. One of the key elements of that film was that two-thirds of it was shot on one lens, a 14mm Panavision wide-angle. It was a look that was way ahead of its time. I was very heavily influenced by Terry Gilliam and Brazil [1985]. I’m very into style. I’d like to think I can carry it into my work, because audi­ ences are so sophisticated from a visual point of view. One of my major criticisms of Aus­ tralian feature filmmaking is the lack of style. I think Strictly Ballroom [Baz Luhrmann, 1992] had a wonderful style: it was so fresh and good. I haven’t seen it yet, but I understand The Adventures o f Priscilla, Queen o f the Desert [Stephan Elliott, 1994] has that style.

ROSS MAJOR P ro d u c tio n D e s ig n e r With the countryside being so powerful, I didn’t want to overwhelm the set. I used strong colours, but aged them down: the red and yellow of the earth, and the blue of the sky. We didn’t want a clichéd, outback Australian look that stems from a period, the cute Victorian look with wrap-around verandahs. I wanted more a 1950s milk bar/café look, with dressing from the ’60s and ’70s. We wanted something a bit incongruous; it’s an old cottage with this front whacked onto it. You see it a lot in the country. It has to look like it belongs. This is the third film I have done in the region [The L a st F ro n tier and Q uigley], so I’ve learnt what to expect - like having to put in access roads and prepar­ ing the site properly, pounding down the dust, and so on. We pre-built the set in Adelaide and assembled it here. The hardest part is the logistics of it all. What I’m really doing is setting up a series of staging exercises. T h at’s the way we work in this country. A central props storage facility would be a help, so you don’t go and buy a prop for a shoot, then when you’ve finished you sell it - and six months later you need the same thing again.





. 17

Back of Beyond

Now both of the boys who directed these pictures do not have a long tradition of training in filmmaking, yet they were able to introduce a style which is exciting. Too many of our people with long traditions of filmmaking can’t break from a style. The length of the shoot was twenty-seven days, which is quite short. Very short! That is another reason I’m using this technique. It gives me coverage, which is very important, and speed of page count per day, which is imperative in a production such as this. The length of shoot is related to the budget. It’s a good budget, but it’s certainly not an extravagant one. Coming so far away from the capital cities is expensive. Just the airfare component for the production alone is some hundreds of thousands of dollars. But we wanted to get the look, and you have to pay for it! W hat is the kick for someone like Robertson when he directs films ? Anybody who directs films has to have an ego. People who say they don’t aren’t being truthful. If you are going to be in this business, you have to blow a trumpet of some sort, and invariably it’s your own. I’ve led a fairly low-key filmmaking existence, despite the achievements. To me the work is everything. I don’t subscribe to filmmaking as great art. Some months ago, I took a press ad in one of the advertising trade journals and the headline of the ad - it was for a commercial that I’d shot earlier this year - was a quote by Richard Attenborough made after finishing Sbadowlands [1993]: “Film directing is 99% energy and 1% talent.” I’ve long subscribed to that sort of commonsense attitude to the business. One has to have enormous stamina, and stamina equates to perseverance to get things through. The fact that I’ve been out of the business for the period that I have, and out of what I’d call the Cinema Papers filmmaking world, is testimony to the fact that this is what you must have. I’m drawn to this young fellow, Stephan Elliott. He was a production runner a few years ago, and all credit to him. He stuck to his guns and he has delivered a picture that people want to look at. Whether it’s critically successful or not is irrelevant; he has made a successful commercial picture which is going to help others make their pictures. As long as we are getting a few hits and breakthroughs, it’s going to work for us. At the same time, Robertson clearly relies on the creativities of production designer Ross M ajor, director of photography Steven Dobson, the actors and so on, as well as his own. Despite the background that I have, I also have a fairly formal filmmaking background. I was very fortunate to go to film school in the United States in the mid-1970s, where I studied non-fiction

films and looked at the great filmmakers of the century’s work. I was under the guidance of some of the best teachers. Of course filmmaking is art. It’s just that I don’t believe the sort of films I make are great art. I certainly couldn’t make a Map o f the Human H eart [Vincent Ward, 1993]. That’s a very clever and intelligent film, but I’m interested in films that entertain, and entertain on a broad spectrum.

A LOCATI ON AND A DESIGN The principal location for B a ck o f B ey o n d is the petrol station, set at the base of a dramatically-shaped escarpment. Robertson: I was very fortunate to have on board as production designer, Ross Major. Ross has a lot of experience in what I’d call Australian outback films. He was involved in Quigley [Simon Wincer, 1992], which was shot within 10 km of where we are. He did a lot of location scouting for that picture. When he came on board, we talked about needing a dramatic mountain range at the other end of the camera. I said I didn’t want the “Broken Hill look”; I wanted something with a little more drama attached to it. Ross and I discussed Alice Springs, and he said he knew a place called the Sphinx. What appeals to me is that it is an Australian location, but it has a different quality to it. It has a lunar landscape appearance when you get up high above it. It also has, dare I say, an international flavour. The rocks remind me very strongly of the United States and parts of Monument Valley. It certainly isn’t a Monument Valley, but it has that dramatic quality that Monu­ ment Valley brings to films. W hat was the brief Robertson gave production designer Ross M ajor regarding the look of the petrol station? My brief to Ross was to steer clear of a dwelling that you would find in the Australian outback. I wanted this film to come from nowhere. We have drawn very heavily of what I expect you could best call a New Mexico diner. It has an Art Deco appearance, with the curved wall porthole windows that you would expect to find on an old P&O ship. The colours are very Sante Fe, and yet the service bay attached to it is galvanized iron, which couldn’t be more Australian. So, it’s a building at odds with itself. I didn’t want to see a fibroroofed outback shack. I wanted to stylize, romanticize. Given Robertson’s comments, one wonders to what degree his motivation wasn’t in part to give the film accessibility for American audiences. To me, the Australian outback is really not that much different to the American outback. You have Red Indians there; we have Aborigines here. You have lost souls on roads, and this is a road film. ■



ON ( 0 3 ) 429 5511




1 02


Cecil Holmes ------------ ( 1 9 2 1 - 9 4 )-----------KEN


D ocum en tary H istory, edited by Ina Bertrand, it was a unani­ nlike others who have written warm tributes to Cecil Holmes mous choice by Richard Barnden and I to kick off our section. In - Graham Shirley, Bob Raymond, Jack ie McKim mie it, Holmes presents an irresistible case for an Australian film among them - 1 was never fortunate enough to meet the man. But I felt I knew his story, or at least that part of it which related to industry in terms of overseas trade, local employment opportu­ nities and national pride. The illusion conjured up by Holmes, his on-again, off-again filmmaking exploits in this country. My impression of Cecil Holmes had always been of a sort of fanciful at the time, has all but come to pass. antipodean Orson Welles: someone working almost outside ‘the Of his film work, T he L o a d o f W ood, the centrepiece of Holmes’ 1957 portmanteau feature, T hree in O ne, remains for system’, producing their best work at a (relatively) young age, denied opportunities to turn out another master work, somehow me his p ièce de résistance. Along with M ike an d Stefani (Ron Maslyn Williams, 1952) and T he B ack o f B ey on d (John Heyer, never able to maximize their potential, and leaving us with a 1954), I consider it one of the three truly memorable works to clutch of fascinating but incomplete projects. Such an impression emerge from a decade when, notionally, little of lasting signifi­ doesn’t bear too much scrutiny: nothing Holmes directed is in cance was produced in this country. When asked why he sought quite the same league as Citizen K ane (1941) and, despite a to adapt the Frank Hardy somewhat turbulent rela­ story to film after the chas­ tionship with the bureauc­ tening experience of C ap­ racy, he still managed to tain T hu n derbolt (1953), turn out over many years Holmes said simply that almost thirty sponsored it was worth “one more films and television pro­ try [...] You never give grammes for a range of up.” It’s as well he didn’t. government departments A simple, but atmos­ and private companies, in­ pheric ‘Robin Hood’ yarn cluding an impressive body in a bush setting during of work for the (then) Aus­ the Great Depression, The tralian Institute of Abo­ L o a d o f W o od has strong riginal Studies. claims to be seen as the With this piece in mind, definitive, or least selfthen, I thought it oppor­ conscious, study of Aus­ tune to view the ‘Film pio­ tra lia n m atesh ip yet n e e r’ in terview w ith filmed. Again, Holmes Holmes - conducted by CECIL HOLMES, LEFT, DIRECTS CAPTAIN THUNDERBOLT (1953). CHARLES TINGWELL IS AT RIGHT. played down his achieve­ Graham Shirley and pro­ ment: T hree in O ne was “just a humanistic sort of film [...] not duced by the AFTS in January 1980 - in order to replace my longa heavy message film at all”. Nor did he continue to decry the lack held impression with something more tangible. I was surprised by of theatrical opportunities for the film, though its failure to what I saw. This was no Australian pinko version of Kane secure a local release must have been enormously disappointing thumping the lectern, demanding social justice for all; neither a for the director, the cast, crew and backers at the time. bitter shell of a man, haunted by ghosts of demons past. If anything, When asked by Graham Shirley to name the most personally the Holmes I thought I detected in this interview seemed almost a satisfying aspects of his career, Holmes referred, in part-answer, shy man, self-deprecating in relation to his own work, reluctant to to the legacy of his work: criticize others working in the same field, seemingly no longer bitter about the lack of local distribution and/or excising of his You know that you leave behind in negative form in vaults (only) two narrative features. Only rarely here is there an edge to somewhere or other some material which may be of use and value his comments: Holmes could never forgive, for example, the to people who come afterwards, whether they use it in integrating into their own films or viewing it for reference purposes or overseas distribution/exhibition interests in Australia for taking so something like that [...] In other words, there is a continuity of much money out of the country and putting back so little. your work long after you’ve gone. So what do we make of this man and his contribution to our


film culture? Holmes, of course, was never just a filmmaker, as his autobiographical work, O ne M an ’s Way (1986), clearly illustrates. One looks to both his writing and his films for clues - and finds much to admire in both. One of my favourite pieces of writing on Australian film is Holmes’ “Unmade Australian Films”, first published in O ver­ lan d in April 1957. In selecting documents to illustrate the period 1957-75 for the NSW Press publication, Cinem a in A ustralia: A

Jackie McKimmie has spoken of the almost shameful neglect of our older filmmakers and writers: “It is all very well to eulogise them when they are gone, but why do we fail to recognise them while they are still alive?” Her point is a valid one but, in the light of Holmes’ comment, it would be a pleasant irony if at the very least a new 35mm print of T hree in O ne could be struck for local festival touring, or seasonal exhibition as part of our impending Centenary celebrations. I conjure up an illusion ...



1 0 2 - 1 9


Lindsay Anderson ------------------------ ( 1 9 2 3 - 9 4 ) -------------------------

markets. This was sponsored by the Ford M otor Company, whose only request was that he avoid close-ups of the trucks of “A great spirit gone ...” rival carriers. BRIAN McFARLANE Anderson and his friends Reisz and Tony Richardson, through Reisz’s position as programme manager of the National Film Theatre, set up a season of their short films there in 1956, giving ome of the words one most often heard applied to British film it the name of Free Cinema, which was seen and praised by critics and theatre director Lindsay Anderson, who died suddenly in as a breath of new life. Free Cinema was never really a “move­ September 1994, were “irascible”, “trenchant”, “iconoclastic”, ment” - a fact confirmed by Karel Reisz - but a pragmatic “difficult”, when not indeed “impossible”. Up to a point, they attempt to attract the attention they needed. They were all were all true at one time or other. However, they are not the documentaries, but in Lindsay’s case there was always a sort of whole truth and I’d like to say a brief word about an impressive p o etic realism, rather than the didactic form of the 1930s body of work - and about a man who was also able to inspire documentary movement of John Grierson and his followers. He affections and maintain friendships. wanted not merely to inform but also to move and to anger. Born on 17 April 1923, in Bangalore, India, into an upperKarel Reisz had made a great success of his first feature film, class military family (father was a Scottish major-general), he Saturday N ight an d Sunday M orning (1960), and was then was educated at Cheltenham College and, after war service, offered This Sporting L ife (1963), based on David Storey’s novel. graduated from Oxford. The background was the only conven­ Reisz, knowing of Anderson’s interest in the project, agreed to tionally upper-class thing about him. He was already rebellious produce it only if Lindsay were taken on as director. It belongs at Cheltenham (where, ironically, he later filmed his triumphant with that group of realist films beginning with R o o m at the T op anti-Establishment satire If...., 1968) and at Oxford he initiated (1958) and including Saturday N ight and A K ind o f L ov in g (John an influential journal of radical film criticism called S equ en ce, Schlesinger, 1962), but it is different in quality from them. It is whose contributors included Karel Reisz, Gavin Lambert and realistic in its surface treatment of the life of an inarticulate Penelope Houston, and who all went on to be famous in their professional footballer (Richard Harris’ best performance), but various fields. They also persuaded the likes of John Huston, its real power is in its depiction of frustrated emotions, in the Satyajit Ray and Douglas Slocombe to write for them. relationship so movingly played out between Harris and Rachel Sequence lasted for 14 stimulating issues (all collectors’ items Roberts. Today, it looks very much like a masterpiece - a now), achieving a remarkable coherence of vision. Though the Lawrentian epic of the inner life, very powerful in its quality of journal claimed that it would be happy to receive articles from suppressed feeling. “anyone, on any aspect of the cinema, written from any point of However, it is his next British film (after a filmmaking spell in view” (No. 3, p. 36), Anderson told me they received very few, Poland), If...., which was his greatest popular success, a clarion partly because they never paid anyone and “because we were call to youthful rebellion which only interested in publishing what makes it still a cult favourite. He we agreed with” . In fact, some of uses the public school as a meta­ the articles are attributed to ficti­ phor for a divided Britain, and, life­ tio u s nam es (e .g ., “ A lb erta long, he detested the class system M arlow ”, named for the character he saw as the source of Britain’s played by Mary Astor in John social ailments. Whenever we talked Huston’s A cross the Pacific, 1942), about British cinema, and we al­ in order to make the contributors ways did when we met over the past look more eclectic than was actu­ decade, he invariably began by ally the case. As far back as that, he draw ing my a tte n tio n to the was indulging the luxury of “say­ endemically debilitating effects of ing exactly what [he] liked”, and class. “This is a clapped-out coun­ he went on doing just this for the try, you know Brian”, he said of­ next forty-odd years. This made ten, marvelling that I should be him a formidable enemy - and an happy to visit it, and blaming class irresistible friend. for the inadequacies of British life Anderson was savage in his at­ and cinema alike. Shortly before tacks on the shoddiness and social his death, he and David Sherwin irrelevance, as he saw it, of much had completed a screenplay for If.... 1940s and ’50s British filmmaking. 2, but he said in my last meeting “I think one of the worst things with him that he had no expecta­ was the restriction in terms of class” LINDSAY ANDERSON DURING THE FILMING OF IF.... (1968). tion that Paramount, which had is his opening sentence in my most commissioned the script, would actually make it. recent interview with him (July 1994). When he began making None of his subsequent films - and there were not nearly as films in the mid-’50s, they were documentaries about ordinary many as there should have been - was ever such a commercial lives, of which the most famous are the Oscar-winning short success, but they are all notable. There is no junk. If you think of T hu rsday’s Children (1953), about deaf children, and Every D ay other notable British directors, he had, unlike Michael Powell, no E x cep t Christm as [\95 7 ) , about the life of the old Covent Garden






Ill M et By M oon light (1957) or H on ey m o o n (1959) to be ashamed of, or anything as excruciating as David Lean’s R y an ’s D au ghter (1970) to make his admirers wince. There’s not enough, but what there is is choice - and in their tough-minded way they keep the iconoclastic faith by which he lived. O L u cky M an! (1973) follows the career of M ick Travis, the young rebel from If...., played again by Malcolm McDowell, and is an abrasive, Brechtian satire on opportunism and hypocrisies of various kinds. By now, M ick Travis has become a kind of Candide of the business world. But if O L u cky M an! is abrasive, it seems downright gentle compared with the Swiftian ferocity of his 1982 film Britannia H ospital. In this, the run-down hospital preparing for a royal visit is presented as an image of a nation in terminal decline - and its commercial failure had almost the same effect on Anderson’s career. It was during his vain attempt to promote this film in Australia in 1982 that I first met him, and was at once struck by the vigour and wide-ranging perception of his approach to questions of British - and other - cinema. Two other films stand to one side of these. There is the intensely moving In C elebration (1974), a film version of his old friend David Storey’s play, for the usually dire American Film Theatre series. The film is set almost wholly in the house where three sons go North to visit their ageing parents on their 40th wedding anniversary, but it is not stiff and stagey and has a beautiful performance as the miner father from Bill Owen, one of Anderson’s favourite actors. The other film is the poignantly elegiac T he W hales o f August (1987), made in America, and starring Lillian Gish and Bette Davis, in roles which do honour to two of the greatest actresses of their several film generations. He hinted at “destructive” behaviour from Davis, but, in what must sometimes have been a battle of the Titans, happily for the film’s sake Anderson seems to have won. As well, there were numerous influential stage productions, notably at the Royal Court in the 1960s and early ’70s (including T he L o n g an d the Short an d the Tall, Sergeant M usgrave’s D an ce, and T he C on tractor by his now regular collaborator Storey), along with classic productions of Chekhov; the brilliant television mini-series G lory, G lory, satirizing television evange­ lism; a telling performance as an acidulous don in C hariots o f Fire (Hugh Hudson, 1981); a touching three-part tribute to his great hero John Ford; and fittingly, last of all, Is T hat All T here Is f, a day-in-the-life-of himself, one of a series of such programmes commissioned for British television. It begins with Lindsay in his bath and ends with the scattering of the ashes of his actor friends,

Jill Bennett and Rachel Roberts. The Melbourne and Sydney film festivals ought to seek it out. It is over-all an œuvre as impressive as anyone has achieved in British cinema, and I predict time will teach us how to value it properly. Too outspoken for popular taste, too uncompromising for the box-office, he gained a reputation that made it difficult for him to find work in recent years. It is nonetheless clear that he also inspired devotion in a great many people: Sir John Gielgud attributed his induction to the modern theatre to Lindsay’s direction of him in H o m e ; and, in an interview Lindsay arranged for me with Gielgud, the great actor spoke with warm affection for his unlikely friend. I am sure it was only loyalty to Lindsay that had led him to grant me the interview. Others like actors McDowell, Roberts, Alan Bates, production designer Jocelyn Herbert, writers David Sherwin and Storey, and music director Alan Price worked for him again and again, and he had just been to Prague to meet again with the director of photography Miroslav Ondricek, who had shot three of his early films, including If..... He had a capacity for keeping friends; during the last ten years, I felt greatly privileged to be one, and he was helpful to me in my work in many ways. He facilitated several valuable interviews for me and even conducted one for me when the actor in question was out of England during my time there. He could be, and very often was, generous, courteous and stimulating. Trenchant, too, of course: “Have you no discrimination of any kind?”, he once asked me as I expressed enthusiasm for some ancient British film melodrama. One day when I was at lunch at his house in London, he asked me what I’d thought of Bernard M iles’ mildly socialist film, C hance o f a L ifetim e (1950), which I’d just seen in the Archive. I ventured that it was “not uninteresting”. “Not unin­ teresting! Brian’s an academic”, he translated for the assembled company; no compliment was implied. I was very fond of him and I shall miss him very much. Going to England won’t be the same without his being there to correct my callow enthusiasms. At the end of that final interview, I asked whether producers thought of him as primarily a stage director who did some films or a film director with a notable stage record. He said, “I don’t think people think of me at all.” About this, I think he was absolutely wrong. Producers may have been wary of him, but they could not have been unaware of him. Editor’s note: an earlier and much-abbreviated version of this article first appeared in T he Age.

WALK OUT OF ILAA WITH A SHOWREEL D irection, C in e m a to g ra p h y ,1st A.D., S ound Recording, S c re e n w ritin g , Camera O peration, Still P hotograph y, C on tinuity, Editing, Video P roduction and Video Editing. A n y or all o f these can be on y o u r s ho w ree l w ith in the D iplom a o f Screen A rts p ro g ra m m e at ILAA. T ypically our students d ire ct at least one film (16m m Synch) and c re w on fo u r or five others in key roles. LECTURERS p ra c tis in g p ro fe s s io n a ls AFTRS q u a lifie d APPLI CATI ONS in v ite d fo r 1995 intake


The viable alternative

PO B O X 177 K A L O R A M A V I C 3 7 6 6 T E L E P H O N E 7 2 8 1 150



1 0 2 • 21


BARRIE PATTISON REPORTS V________________________________


t is 16 years since the Asia Pacific

the light, and incredibly lush tobacco fields

Film Festival last set up its tent in

stretch to the horizon.


longer-established events. As for the films, the Australian material will

Australia. That spans a generation which has

The concept of re-incarnation showed up

draw comment elsewhere in this publication,

grown up without a National Film Theatre, some­

often enough to jolt our assumptions, but the

and several other titles had already played

thing which makes this glance into the inacces­

biggest culture shock came from the promi­

here, one way or another, which w asju st as well

sible world of the Asian parochial film even

nence food is given: the poor clown stealing the

with 35 features in 24 slots.

more surprising and valuable than the films

buffet spiced liver for his child; durian as the

The shorts were a miserable selection of

taken at face value.

preference of the Northern Vietnamese; Sofia

cultural pieces and Australian-funded efforts,

Film production breaks up into mainstream

Jane Hisham urinating on the rice of her mean

but, even with these subtractions, there was

(mainly Hollywood) film, art-house items and

husband; and, of course, the amiable Ang Lee’s

still a rush to get through the card. I didn’t see

local consumption product, which is supposed

Eat Drink Man Woman, the event’s best-at­

any feature I felt w asn’t worth the effort.

to be crude, quaint and naive. It has been

tended film which should be in Australian re­

A b a n g 9 2 (Rahim Razali, Malaysia) features

obvious foryears that we were losing out on this

lease by now. The Jury gave it Best Film in an

a young playboy who gives up kung fu and

division. The Hong Kong action movie, well-

Awards list where the English-language ele-

discos to save the fam ily business for his sib­

represented by The New Legend of Shaolin,

m entfigured more prominently than it deserved.

lings before succumbing to leukaemia, which

The Treasure, The Bride With White H air and

Attendances usually ran about 30 a screen­

Crime Story, should have escaped the pigeon­

ing, dipping to a dozen fo ra New Zealand piece,

holing years back.

with only the work of celebrity filmm akers draw­

seems to be at plague proportions among Asian weepies. The Broken Journeywas a project for the late

While a lot of the material shown in this event

ing well. Delegates were noticeably absent,

Satyajit Ray, made by his son Sandip, and fea­

(we have no way of knowing how representative

though the Malaysians did get with the pro­

turing an authoritative performance by Soumitra

it is) was overly long and aimed at audiences

gramme, making a lively video about the show­

Chatterji as a prosperous doctor who notices a

nostalgic for the days when trams ran the streets

ing of one of their films.

villager ganja victim, lying by the road. The

of Hanoi, it is a body of work with an appeal which

Presentation started well with an operator

doctor finds himself saving the man from the

alert enough to switch to the full aperture when

local exorcist, with his painted skulls and iron

The high standard of Asian laboratory work

The Seventh Horse o f the Sun came up cropped,

fork, and becoming involved with the fate of the

was immediately striking. The imagery could be

but the 16mm machine which had given the

family. Transposing The Citadel to India works

arresting: vampires wing from the roof of a run­

large bright image went out on the second day

better than it might, and the film ’s compassion,

down cinema unnoticed behind the action, street

and the level of supervision fell off sharply. Film

its attractive glimpses of the village and the

lamps throw giant Wayang shadows on the wall

festivals appear to be plagued by an indiffer­

public-health propaganda blend effectively.

goes beyond simple-minded exoticism.

of a building site, the roadside Chinese Opera

ence to preparation and a lack of vigilance in

C ’est la Vie Mon Cheri (Derek Yee Tung

troupe breaks out in a rendition of “In the

handling a full range of material, with Village’s

Sing) is a current Hong Kong hit spun off a 1961

Groove” , a hovering ghost is switched off with

lot dropping back to the standards fam iliar from

Lin Dai vehicle and showcasing the new talent




1 02


The Return (Nhat Ming Dang) is a colour film

raven tresses as a whip and, after entwining with

from Vietnam, that last hold-out of monochrome.

Leslie Cheung (Chinese Ghost Story, Farewell,

Another spirited heroine falls victim of insensi­

My Concubine), water beading on his manly

of Anita Yuen as a spirited (is there any other

tive lovers as she progresses from her village to

locks, she suffers all manner of indignities to pair

kind?) young woman who pairs with a dejected

the southern, modernizing cities. Not an easy

with him. The critics, commenting on its deriva­

com poser before succum bing to leukaemia.

film to comprehend, like The Story o f Two

tion from Chinese legend, must have amused

There are some nice scenes of street life.

Women (Lee Jeeong Gook, Korea), which fo l­

now-local resident Leung Yu-sang, who wrote

Crime Story, also from Hong Kong, is the

lows a fam ily where the husband, desiring an

the original novel and took a dim view of Yu’s

newest Jackie Chan adventure, this one directed

heir, takes a second wife, impoverishing them

piece of invention, a pair of villainous Siamese

by Kirk Wong, whose influence fades as the film

with a wedding debt which he dies at sea trying

twins. The shot of Leslie penetrating theirdecep-

piles up its succession of spectacular and ingen­

to recover. The son grows up truculent with the

tion by spotting the quilted jacket (by Kurosawa’s

ious action set-pieces, with the now middle-aged

perceived shame of having two mothers.

70-year-old designer) is one of the great mo­


Jackie, like Charley’s aunt, still running.

Sam urai Kids (Nobuhiko Obayashi, Japan)

ments in the movies.

Clowns o f the City (Ucik Supra, Indonesia)

is a lively children’s film made by Fuji and Toho

Nearly as good is The New Legends ofShaolin

follows the rise from poverty of a street enter­

in a video-to-film process giving better results

(Wong Jing, Hong Kong), borrowing from the

tainer, with the support of a rich patron, whom

than w e’ve seen before. The child finds a six-

Babycart series, with the betrayed spearman

everyone unnecessarily warns about the cor­

inch ancient Samurai who bands with the be­

wandering with his infant son, who forms an

rupting influence of sudden wealth. There are

nign house cat and the stroppy crow he teaches

alliance with the child gymnasts who have the

nice moments, like the final parade of clowns to

respect. T he irfirst dash to the rescue is so good

treasure map tattooed in sections on their backs.

the new tract house.

that it’s an anti-clim ax when he does it again

More splendidly-preposterous action.

Green, Green Leaves o f Home (Yeng-Tzy

riding a 7-Up can down the drains.

M adadayo{Not Yet), the new Kurosawa, was

Chou, Taiwan) is a handsomely-photographed

Treasure Hunt (Jeff Lau, Hong Kong) fields

the event’s most-awaited film and provoked as

weeper with the student finding the teenage girl

the all-but-retired superstar Chow Yun-fat on a

much frustration as pleasure - no Samurai here.

he wanted to marry is doomed - by leukaemia.

mission to the present-day Shaolin Temple,

Opening with the final day of a teacher’s profes­

Hwim ori (Il-Mok Lee, Korea) is less approach­

where he meets a girl psychic. Her making

sional life, it follows his last years attended by his

able, with its implausibly-teenage heroine mas­

flowers grow out of his head is marvellous,

devoted students. World War II is some gaily-

before we get down to the

painted rubble and a couple of MPs. The set-

intrigue, action and produc­

piece is a drinking party where they sing

tion values. It is popular film

burlesque radio jingles while one character seems

at its best.

to be speaking aimlessly until we realize it is the

Wife, Woman and Whore (U-Wei Bin Haji, Malaysia)

student roll. Perverse but likeable, it is a mas­ ter’s way of saying he is “not yet” silent.

follows a runaway bride, re­

Another master provided the event’s stand­

covered and apprenticed at

out film. Shyam Benegal’s Seventh Horse o f the

a brothel for six months be­

Sun centres on a railway worker from Allahabad

fore being brought back to

at the time of Independence. He entertains his

the village, where she cre­

friends with stories which they interpret in the

ates havoc among the rub-

terms of their newly-acquired education. One day, he describes the apparentlyhappy arranged marriage of a neigh­ bour girl, whom he used to meet while feeding a chaparti to her cow, to meet

tering traditional Pansori country music by sing­

his mother’s vow. At the end of the

ing with a boulder on her stomach and suffering

day, we hear of the grotesque mutila­

through two generations.

tion of her childhood sweetheart. We feel that we have seen a striking and

Jack Be Nimble (Garth Maxwell, New Zea­ land) is a glum horror piece playing its gore and

revealing story, but, while groping un­

psychic phenomena against realistic rural set­

der the seat for the shopping, we dis­

tings. Bruno Lawrence does his best and the

cover the film has another hour to go

vengeful schoolgirl quartet is a nice idea. M oon­

and, in the stories of the second day,

ligh t Boy (Weiyen Yu, Taiwan) isn’t all that far

the minor characters become the fo­

away in mood, but is hard to follow. There are

cus and the narrator becomes central

some striking moments and it has a comic Eric

in what is finally a study of “unlove” , of

Tsang (and cartoon version of himself) as a

India, modernization, the caste sys­

spirit fearful of the after life. One could add to

tem and the flow of life.

that No Surrender, No M atter What (Udom

One of the most complex films of

Udomroj, Thailand), the pick of the batch, an

recent memory, it is never difficult, its

urban vampire piece drawing on A fter Dark.

intercut past and present separated by

I enjoyed Once Upon a Time ... (Bhandit

ber workers. The sex police make another raid

the warm and cool tones of the image, its grim or

Rittakol, Thailand), where the 12-year-old hero­

sensing “close proxim ity” . This one is supposed

surreal moments balanced by affectionate ones

ine has a great innings performing her dad’s

to have pushed the censor to the limits.

and the strange comedy. It was one of the few

shadow play for the street gang and burning

Along with these titles which we are unlikely

films in the event which did not over-run the

down the whore house. Orphan Arm y {Yen Ping

to see again, there was a selection of films with

audience attention span, even at its 130 minutes.

Chu, Taiwan) had an interesting subject: Na­

potential for wider circulation.

Films like these are as good or better than

The Bride With White Hair (aka Jiang-Hu:

those we get from traditional sources. They are

after the war, and courted by Thai drug grow­

Between Love and Glory), Ronny Yu’s sumptu­

a message from the void beyond the festival

ers, while wives and children mix in with the

ous adventure, has played the U.S., opening the

circuit, SBS and the art houses, a reminder of

u s u a l e x p lo s io n s

way for his new Keifer Sutherland project. The

the loss we suffer, being in a country without

durable Lin Chin-hsia has a nice line in using her

enthusiast screenings.

tionalist units still persecuted by the Maoists

and s h o o t-o u ts . S p o t

Rozamund Kwan as a Burmese spy.




• 23

he AFC, a federal statutory authority, was formed in 1975. Its key aims are: • to provide development and prod­ uction funding for film and television projects; • to promote and facilitate international co-productions; • to assist in the cultivation of new and critical audiences for film; • to support the marketing, distribution and exhibition of Australian programmes; • to provide a central information resource for the film and television industry and monitor industry developments; and • to provide advice to the federal government on film matters. In 1 9 9 2 -9 3 , the AFC’s total funds were $ 2 0 .3m, comprising $ 17.1m in parliamentary appropriations and $3.2m in revenue. At 30 June 1993, 44 people were full-time members of staff, and 4 part-time. (Ref.: Annual R eport 1 9 9 2 -1 9 9 3 .) ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE

The AFC is overseen by a Board of Commissioners. The present make-up is: Sue Milliken (Chair), Christopher Stewart (Part-time deputy chair), Cathy Robinson (Chief Executive), Chris Noonan, John Sexton, Laura Jones, Robert Campbell, Liz Mullinar and Stuart Cunningham. Internally, the ALC is divided into six key areas: Executive branch, which oversees Policy. The Chief Executive is Cathy Robinson (see interview starting p. 26). Marketing, which assists in the international marketing of Australian programmes and programme-makers, with an indirect domestic input. Director, Marketing is Sue Murray (p. 40). Film Development oversees the script development and production funding of features, shorts, documentaries and new media. The Director is Tim Read (p. 36). New Media is overseen by Project Co-ordinator Michael Hill (see article on New Technologies, which includes com­ ments from Hill, p. 32). Industry and Cultural Development manages the fund­ ing of the cultural infrastructure (and bodies such as Open Channel, the AFI and Cinem a Papers), as well as one-off special activity funding. The position of Director is pres­ ently vacant, but was previously held by Cathy Robinson, who discusses aspects of its activities in her interview, particularly the recent ICD Review. Indigenous branch concerns itself with Aboriginal and Torres Strait issues in film and television. The recentlyformed branch is headed by Wal Saunders (p. 44) Finally, there is Corporate Operations.

low-budget features. Shorts: The AFC is the largest supporter of short films in this country, and its interest and investment in new filmmakers is a crucial catalyst in their getting a career start. The AFC’s success rate in funding short films can be seen by the disproportionately high number of Australian films which win prizes around the world. It is hard to recall a month recently where Australian films didn’t score somewhere or other. A second measure of success is the high number of short filmmakers who have gone on to features. That some eperimental filmmakers go no further, or that their films disappear with little trace, is hardly surprising or concern­ ing, given that the AFC works in the area of greatest risk-taking. It must be prepared to fail if it is going to find the filmmakers who will stand out in the international arena, who have something unique to say and the creative skills to impart it. Low-budget Features: The AFC is not the sole player or controller of destinies in the area of low-budget features - there is


Blackfellas j a m e s Body Melt p h il ip

The AFC supports film development (features, shorts, television, documentary and new media) through the funding of scripts and some aspects of pre-production. It also funds the production of shorts, documentaries and 24










m c in n e s



g ib s o n




Breathing Under Water s u s a n Broken Highway l a u r ie Dead to the World r o s s




Golden Braid p a u l cox Good Woman o f Bangkok, The d e n n i s Greenkeeping d a v i d



r ic k e t s o n

o ’r o u r k e


Holidays on the River Yarra l e o

Be r k e l e y










Awaiting release

Life o f Harry Dare, The a l e k s i v e l l is


Awaiting release

Nirvana Street Murder a l e k s i












Awaiting release

Jindalee Lady b r i a n



v e l l is


Romper Stomper G e o f f r e y

w r ig h t

Stan and George’s New Life b r i a n Sweethearts c o l i n Talk SUSAN

talbo t


Traps Pa u l in e

What 1Have Written)o h n

M c K e n z ie



Vacant Possession m a r g o t FI LM D E V E L O P M E N T A N D P R O D U C T I O N






Awaiting release



Also listed as a feature is The Castanet Club (at $690,000), but that is usually considered a documentary.

also the FFC through its occasional Film Funds. Some people question whether one needs both the AFC and FFC operating here, but, given the funding limitations of each, overlap is arguably necessary to ensure sufficient filmmakers are given a chance. As well, both bodies have different modus operandi. The AFC funds only first features (with some exceptions). The Film Funds, while primarily interested in newish directors, has funded some experienced filmmakers, such as Gillian Armstrong {The L ast D ays a t C hez N ous). It is also able to fund higher-budget films than the AFC, with its limit of around $1.5m . At the same time, there is good interchange between the AFC and FFC, as seen with Tracey M offatt’s BeD evil. That feature was up for consideration by the AFC, but its budget was too high for the AFC to fund. Rather than curtail the film’s ambitions, the AFC passed it on to the FFC when approached about possible projects for Trust Fund consideration. M offatt was thus able to make the film at the budget her producer felt she needed. If there has been one area of real controversy, it has been the AFC’s definition of ‘first-time’ feature directors. (See interview with Tim Read.) Budget Costs: Another difficult issue is the cost of AFC features, shorts and documentaries. Given the limits on corporate funds, some are arguing that perhaps more films (especially features) could be made on smaller budgets to more widely spread around the money. However, there is no point in being demo­ cratic to the point where no one has adequate funds to properly realize a project. As a guide to costs, the table at left shows a list of AFC-funded features taken from the AFC’s Annual Reports (from 1990 to 1 9 9 3 -4 ), with a recent decision added. New media: The AFC has been pioneering the development of, and an interest in, new technologies. As Philip Dutchak discusses in his piece, these efforts have not always been embraced, given the deep-seated disinterest by much of the film and television industry. The Prime Minister’s “Creative N ation” speech showed how important government feels new media is (and the odd carping in the print media showed how little some mainstream journalists comprehended the issue). Dutchak’s article, in discussing these and other matters, goes far beyond just looking at the AFC (and thus outside strict guidelines of what this supplement might cover), but the matters are clearly important and the AFC’s role is pivotal. MARKETING

Marketing is an area that is well understood by all those Austral­ ians who have attended foreign film festivals and markets, but less so by those at home. The Marketing branch’s brief is to focus on the overseas promotion of Australian film and filmmakers (in the broadest sense), and to assist in the domestic market only in an indirect way (otherwise, the AFC may be seen to be competing against private distributors and exhibitors).

Just as other branches of the AFC have a nurturing rôle, so does Marketing, with its handling and development of the young and inexperienced in arenas such as Cannes. The odd newcomer may still arrive a little timidly, but the Marketing staff of the AFC, and the older and wiser industry veterans, are there to guide. M ost striking is how a great number of Australian producers, distributors, directors, even actors, have learnt to work Cannes (and MIFED, M IPCOM , et al). Contacts are quickly made, projects well pitched, and deals struck with the requisite measure of enthusiasm and hard-headed caution. I N T E R N A L ISSUES

Another issue of particular concern to those within the AFC is the perceived ethic of hiding the corporate light under a bushel. In the recent Cinem a Papers supplements on the state film bodies (Film Queensland, the New South Wales Film & Televi­ sion Office and Film Victoria, so far), a common thread has been the desire on the part of the minority funding parties to maximize their rôle in successes. Likewise, the AFC’s achievements should be triumphed, even if only for the simple reason that they are demonstrable proof of taxpayers’ money being effectively spent. Australia has achieved far more in two decades of film renaissance than anyone could have imagined, and it represents a return on investment in cultural terms second to none. But, despite the Prime Minister’s “Creative N ation” policy, there are still arguably far too many people, in government and the community, who under-appreciate the striking achievements of the Australian film and television industry. ICD REVIEW

Another internal AFC issue has been the Industry and Cultural Development (ICD) Review. According to the AFC, the ICD branch found itself unable to fund new initiatives because most of its annual budget was already locked into the funding of on-going organizations. The Review sought to assess the value of all ICD activities, determine whether some organizations could become less cash dependent, and analyze on what new areas of activity freed-up funds might be expended. Understandably, the ICD Review caused trepidation within some funded organizations, many of which formed an association in an attempt to counter proposed cutbacks. The year-long Review is now finished, but the gains and losses are hard to ascertain. (See interview with Cathy Robinson. ) Some organizations have less (the Melbourne Film Festival, Open Channel), some have had more, while others await the future. Robinson says tough decisions may need to be made. Time will show what they will be.




. 25


/ l i f t e r s tu d y in g jo u rn a lis m and a rts, C athy R o b in so n becam e C o -o rd in a to r o f th e S outh A u s tra lia n M edia R esource C e n tre in A d e la id e . In 1 9 8 6 , she jo in e d th e A u s tra lia n Film C o m m is s io n as D ire c to r, C u ltu ra l A c tiv itie s (n o w In d u s try & C u ltu ra l D e v e lo p m e n t). In th is ro le , R o b in so n had re s p o n s ib ility f o r m a n ag in g AFC re la tio n s h ip s w ith th e 15 film c u ltu re o rg a n iz a tio n s re c e iv in g its fin a n c ia l assista nce . A fte r Kim W illia m s le ft as C h ie f Executive o f th e AFC in 1 9 8 8 , he was fo llo w e d (ra th e r b rie fly ) by D aniel R ow land. Then, in M arch 1 9 8 9 , th e A FC ’ s B oard o f C o m m is s io n e rs a p p o in te d R o binso n as C h ie f E xecutive. R o binso n has been an A u s tra lia n Film In s titu te A w a rd s ju d g e and a m e m b e r o f th e A FI’ s fo r m e r N a tio n a l E ducation C o m m itte e , a m o n g a w id e range o f film in d u s try and c o m m u n ity in v o lv e m e n ts in b o th S outh A u s tra lia and New S o uth W ales.


INTERVIEWED by S C O T T M U R R A Y What was your view of the AFC at the time you became Chief Executive, and what have been the major changes over the past five years? When I took over the AFC, I had a very short-term view, simply because my first job was to find a future for the organization and to restructure it. It was reasonably clear that the kind of place it had been during 10BA was not the kind of organization it could continue to be in the presence of the Film Finance Corporation [FFC]. What the AFC might do in a positive sense was a much more problematic question. We looked at what the AFC had done, and tried to work out what to keep, what was of real value to the industry - an industry that was in decline, simply because the amount of money available under 10BA was no longer available. Clearly, Marketing was important, both from the point of view of selling films and the kind of cultural focus that had been emerging from that branch. It was a combination of the business and cultural aspects of the industry, which gave rise to pro­ grammes like Cinema Australia. It was also clear that we needed to continue spending money in the Cultural Development area. So the two big areas which required a lot of thought were Policy and Film Development. In Film Development, it was obvious that we needed to continue to support scriptwriting. We had the biggest pot of money available around the country, and there was demonstra­ ble evidence that the money for writing scripts was not going to come from anywhere other than a government agency. That 26




perceived need then had to be measured against whatever else we might want to do in Film Development. We soon decided that it was vitally important to have some production capacity, including feature films. The AFC, of course, had already been supporting low-budget features, seeking out projects by first-time feature-film directors ... or “newish” direc­ tors ... that didn’t cost a lot of money. In the face of the FFC’s commercial remit, we felt there was a need for us to do feature-film work that was about development and the provision of opportunity. There was a role for us as a kind of development engine for the industry, in terms of projects and people. That also gave us an opportunity to be involved at the beginning and at the end of the filmmaking process. We could become a quite important and valuable resource - not only to people in Australia, but also to those people overseas interested in our industry and where it was going. We could develop a perspective on the development of projects and people that was, if not unique, then at least rare in Australia. The other question we faced, especially in the wake of the establishment of the FFC, is what to do with Policy. If an aim of the FFC is to increase private investment in the film industry, one of the things we could do to help that was the collection, analysis and publication of information. That way, a much more precise picture of the size and performance of the

collect, what uses it could be put to, and who would have access to manipulating that information. I guess all that’s the long way of saying that the AFC was on the brink of needing to change quite significantly if it was going to remain useful to the industry. Was this need for change something felt just within the AFC and by yourself, or was it an industry perception as well? Indeed, was govern­ ment also interested in restructuring its industry support?

I f*f »*


■** * * „* * « \ '+•*****

It was a combination of all three. It was reasonably clear that there was a possi­ bility that, if we couldn’t come up with some sensible and productive rôle for ourselves, then Canberra would look to do something else with its $17m , or however much our appropriation was. In fact, we thought long and hard about whether or not there was a rôle for the AFC before we made any final judgements. It was clear from the industry that it was looking for an organization that was a resource, not only in terms of money but also in terms of intelligence. The question was how could we best combine the two to suit the needs of the industry. There was a very strong feeling within the AFC, both at commissioner and staff level, about the need for change. A lot of people within the AFC felt it had become “ W HEN I T O O K OVER THE AFC, [... IT] rudderless. A disproportion­ ate amount of the intellectual W AS REASONABLY CLEAR THAT THE and human resources of the place had been devoted to­ KIN D OF PLACE IT HAD BEEN DUR wards making sure that the ING 1 OBA W AS N O T THE KIN D OF FFC was got as right as possi­ ble, and a bit of a vacuum O R G A N IZA TIO N IT COULD CON resulted. There was a need to TINUE TO BE IN THE PRESENCE OF think about how to fill that and, indeed, whether to fill it.

industry, at home and over­ seas, could emerge. That would be not only useful for people who were interested in investing in the industry, but also for those working in it. They could get a sense of the shape of the beast and THE FILM FINANCE where they might best place themselves. There was a very strong feeling around at that time, particularly in the AFC, that there was just not enough concrete information and analysis. So, we have concentrated very much over the past four or five years on that which is reflected in our establishing a Research and Information section. We collect information about performance, individual films, cast and crew lists, release dates, and so on. It has become a huge and very valuable resource. We very carefully managed the introduction of computer systems, so that we had a technological resource which would enable us to quickly and effectively establish these data bases. Indeed, one of the issues that faced us was how to cope with the data bases that were breeding around us like rabbits. We had to develop clear policy about what sort of information we wanted to


Relationship with federal film bodies Was there any discussion in government about amalgamating the AFC with the FFC, or with any other federal film body? It’s an issue that’s been around for a while. There has been a lot of concern off and on in Canberra about the number and efficiency of federal film agencies. If you include the AFC, Film Australia, the Australian Film Television & Radio School, the National Film and Sound Archive, the FFC and the Australian Children’s Television Foundation [ACTF], you have six agen­ cies. It’s a legitimate question to ask whether or not it’s valuable or effective to have all of those agencies operating separately. Can economies of scale be achieved by one management struc­ ture for a range of functions, as was the case when the AFC was the only game in town? CINEMA


1 0 2 • 27

C athy Robinson

So, yes, that question was asked. It was asked by us, by people about who is doing what and why; a bit more care about not in the industry, and by government. It was also certainly asked by stepping on each other’s toes. the opposition, at that stage. I suspect our relationship with Film Australia is not as good as We felt quite strongly that there was a synergy between the it could be, and, to a certain extent, that has to do with the fact work that the different branches did which made it sensible for that Film Australia’s rôle in the Commonwealth is rather differ­ the AFC to stay as a self-contained organization. In fact, when the ent to others. It is not a film assistance agency in the same sense Special Production Fund was financing pictures under 10BA, as we are, but we do talk, and those conversations are valuable. there had been some internal philosophical tension between the We talk with the ACTF, as well. demands of the mainstream industry and the work of the Crea­ We do meet irregularly as a group, more often than not when tive Development Branch, with the script unit the piggy in the issues demand. For example, the recent proposed restructure of middle. The Cultural Development area of the organization, if the Department of Communications and the Arts caused some of not physically but at least intellectually, was out to one side. us some concerns, so we got together and prepared a joint I believe there was an enor­ response. mous sigh of relief at the pros­ One other possible overlap is pect of being able to be involved in publications, because the “IF AN AIM OF THE FFC IS TO INCREASE in development of all aspects A FTRS does work in that area of our work. Even though we PRIVATE INVESTMENT IN THE FILM INDUSTRY, as well. were determined that M arket­ ONE OF THE THINGS WE COULD DO TO HELP T hat’s true, although we try ing was going to be there to and keep reasonably clean on serve the entire industry, there THAT WAS THE COLLECTION, ANALYSIS AND that score. We did the P ro­ were real benefits in having PUBLICATION OF INFORMATION. THAT WAY, duction M anual together, and those resources available to us on other projects we have in the development of people A MUCH MORE PRECISE PICTURE OF THE SIZE done work on preparing the or projects. That combination AND PERFORMANCE OF THE INDUSTRY, AT manuscript while the Film has been really important in HOME AND OVERSEAS, COULD EMERGE.” School has taken on the rôle terms of the capacity of the of publisher. organization to help launch a number of important directors’ There is quite a bit of traf­ careers over the past few years. fic between Research and In­ formation and Policy at the AFC and the Film School in relation The question of amalgamating agencies still arises, not so much to these sorts of questions. There is a lot less overlap, and a much about whether things work best in the current arrangements, but more useful exchange of information, than there might be. In from the point of view of, “Gee, is it possible to save any money?” fact, our Research and Information people are very good at I think that the film assistance arrangements are actually keeping in contact with not only the other federal, but also the working as well now as they have ever done. There is a reason­ state, film agencies. ably clear articulation of the responsibilities of the organizations, and the complementarity between them. There is some overlap, State bodies and some industry and organizational concern about the extent to which the FFC and the AFC work in the area of low-budget How do you see the AFC’s relationship with the various state feature filmmaking. There is also perhaps a bit of tension around bodies, singularly or as a group? the question of where training leaves off and the work that we do The relationship fluctuates. Sometimes it’s robust and good, and starts. There is an inevitability about those issues, and maybe it’s sometimes it’s incredibly unclear. This will happen with each of desirable that there is. Sometimes a few jagged edges are prefer­ the agencies. There is no one agency with which we enjoy more, able to square boxes. or less, difficult relations than all of the others. It’s inevitable that In a set of circumstances where money is not exactly falling off there will be tensions where our imperatives clash, or when we or trees, you do what needs to be done. You try and keep to the they don’t deliver in a way that is expected, if not articulated. central focuses of your organization, but there is a sense in which In a country which is a federation, the state agencies will we are all here to make sure films get made, and seen. So, you do inevitably position themselves as representatives of particular what needs to be done. points of view at particular times. That will cause tensions with How much liaison is there between the six federal film bodies the Commonwealth. And, as a country, we are not very good at about which areas to specialize in? Is that something that is negotiating those tensions, although we have become better at it. discussed as a group or individually? There is an enormous amount of room for much more effective It’s a discussion that doesn’t happen as much as it ought, but it’s collaboration, and for a better understanding of where particular certainly a discussion that happens. people and organizations are coming from. We need to respect The AFC and the FFC have regular contact through formal the judgments other organizations make about how they want to spend their money. monthly meetings and at project co-ordinator and investment manager level, as well as in the marketing area. Too often, a difference of position or disagreement about a We also have been developing much better connections with project or a person becomes fraught with anxiety. Different the Film School [AFTRS] over the past few years. W e’ve done a imperatives and different tastes will always have the potential to few joint projects, and there is a bit more talking between us deliver different outcomes. That is no bad thing, because, regard28




less of how clear and objective our guidelines are, a lot of what It is an issue for a number of reasons. One is an extent to which we do is about opinion. It’s actually better for the industry if there its existence is a mark of the economic health of the industry. is a range of opinions, rather than just one. It would be terrible We are a small country, with a small feature film production if the combination of the AFC and the state agencies meant that industry. People need to work in other ways and other places to there was effectively a closed funding shop. earn a living. If they are not doing a feature film, there has to be There have been some real differences of opinion between the other opportunities to practise their craft or technique. Infra­ AFC and the state bodies in the area of film culture. With the structure which requires constant work in order to turn over the possible exception of Film Victoria, the AFC has always had a cash flow for the companies that own it is important in that sense. much stronger commitment to film culture, both in intellectual and Infrastructure is also important from the point of view of the financial terms. There have been periods where the state agencies capacity to do things in Australia. It would be a sad day, for haven’t pulled their weight, and it’s been left to the AFC to struggle economic and cultural reasons, if we had to send stuff offshore. with the really difficult questions of how to help the development Indeed, that happens now, because we don’t have the capacity in of that culture. At the same Australia. time, we have been roundly There is a sense in which criticized by everybody, in­ the presence of infrastructure “IT WAS CLEAR FROM THE INDUSTRY cluding the state agencies, for also underpins a notion of not doing it well enough. creative control. It provides THAT IT WAS LOOKING FOR AN ORGANIZATION T here is an enorm ous the capacity for overseas peo­ THAT WAS A RESOURCE, NOT ONLY IN TERMS OF amount of competition be­ ple to come here and make tween the state agencies them­ films. The intermingling be­ MONEY BUT ALSO IN TERMS OF INTELLIGENCE. selves, and also between the tween Australians and for­ THE QUESTION WAS HOW COULD WE BEST states and the C om m on­ eigners on these films can be wealth. At a time where is­ a good thing from the point COMBINE THE TWO TO SUIT [...] THE INDUSTRY. sues of productivity and of view of developing skill THERE WAS A VERY STRONG FEELING WITHIN performance are important and technique, experience to those governments pro­ THE AFC [...] ABOUT THE NEED FOR CHANGE. and flexibility. viding financial assistance to The com p arative e ffi­ these organizations, the com­ ciency of the Australian in­ petition for profile has inten­ dustry is also a source of pride sified. There is a view that the AFC has suffered as a result. We for a lot of the people involved in it. That is a direct result of the have perhaps been too modest about our achievements, in that infrastructure. we have, in standing behind the filmmakers, rather than with Inevitably, the states will have a perspective about infrastruc­ them or indeed in front of them, allowed ourselves to lose out in ture which is about attracting business to their state. There will be the race for copy about who has done what best. competitive aspects to that. I don’t actually think that it’s sensible to assume that you can have sophisticated infrastructure in each If there is anything in common among the interviews C in em a state in Australia. Some states simply don’t have the economy or P apers has done recently with the state film body executives, it the population size to sustain it. If one has a particular aspect of is the desire to maximize credit for films in which the states were infrastructure that other people don’t, then that’s terrific. But there only minority investors. In a way, the state bodies seem to resent is an extent to which the expectations about the kind of industry being junior financing partners to the AFC. structure which can be replicated around the country is ultimately That is one of those things that is not worth worrying about. We detrimental to the entire industry. are here to help make films happen. We are here to help them There does seem to be an increasing sense of the states’ sorting reach audiences and help audiences grow. We are here to help out their strengths. For example, Film Victoria doesn’t wish to critical debate. It’s important not to lose sight of that. pursue offshore production in the way, or to the degree, that Film However, the question of profile is a difficult and important Queensland does. one, especially given that state agencies are selling a regionallyspecific product. They are naturally going to want to make as much of their achievements as they can. I don’t have any difficulty with that. The only thing I do have some difficulty with is the failure to acknowledge the participation of other parties. In my view, it doesn’t do anybody any good to pretend that one is the only source of finance in a particular endeavour if one is not. I think we’d all be a lot happier if this business about claiming sole responsibility just disappeared, and we were more sensible and collaborative in our acknowledgment about the roles other people have played, not only in funding films but also in working together on events, publications ... the works. The other issue common to the state corporation interviews is the great concern about infrastructure, particularly within a state. How much is infrastructure a concern of the AFC’s?

I think that is right. And that sorting out is something that has happened in the past three or four years. People have made some quite sensible judgements about what they are good at, and what they shouldn’t be doing. The South Australians and the Western Australians have recently been grappling with these kinds of questions, and coming to quite realistic views about what they can best do to support their industry. There is much more effective talk about these issues between the agencies than in the past. This has led to less confusion internation­ ally about what it means to come to Australia, which is a good thing. The formation of Export Film Services Australia has been a useful exercise in helping some of these issues become clearer, and dealt with more sensibly and effectively. CINEMA


1 0 2 . 29

C athy Robinson

The rush to claim sole responsibility for successes, discussed It’s very hard to have that discussion because it’s a big earlier, seems to be very much a part of Australian culture. It is philosophical issue and you don’t often get the required time to evidenced by the fact that, in twenty years of publishing filmmak­ have that. W hat you do is develop a kind of shorthand which is ers’ views in C in em a P apers, the number of people who have about saying, “Well, look at this. These are the achievements.” thanked the AFC for its support is probably in single digits. More often than not, the reason box office gets privileged is because it’s easier. It’s up there and straightforward. It is very curious, and for all sorts of reasons. One is that the public acknowledgment by recipients of the source of those funds There is also a sense in which the industry itself fails to is a real indication to government that there is value in spending celebrate things other than box-office success and critical ac­ the money. It’s a very straightforward issue. claim. In that absence, it often looks like the film agencies are just People are getting better at it in recent times, though, to celebrating themselves out of self-interest, when in fact they’re immediately contradict myself, we are finding people who don’t not. But for the industry and the culture, we wouldn’t be here. know what it’s like to live in Australia without a film industry. There is no job for us otherwise. They don’t know what it’s I’ve thought for quite some like to live without an arts time that we need to find a industry and culture of the different and more sophisti­ kind that has been fostered cated form of debate that not “I’VE THOUGHT FOR QUITE SOME TIME and supported by organiza­ only incorporates the stand­ THAT WE NEED TO FIND A DIFFERENT AND tions like the AFC, the FFC out box office and trends, but and the Australia Council. In MORE SOPHISTICATED FORM OF DEBATE THAT also tries to capture the mean­ having grown up in an envi­ ing and the emotion that is I NOT ONLY INCORPORATES THE STAND-OUT BOX ronment where this assistance part of telling our own sto­ OFFICE AND TRENDS, BUT ALSO TRIES TO is available, people take it for rie s, d ream ing our own granted. It’s just not some­ dreams. This is the kind of CAPTURE THE MEANING AND THE EMOTION thing they feel there is any thing that first convinced gov­ I THAT IS PART OF TELLING OUR OWN STORIES, need to acknowledge. ernments to get involved in This is a peculiarly Aus­ supporting a film industry. DREAMING OUR OWN DREAMS.” tralian thing. It’s not a view The combination of the two that I’ve encountered in other has the potential to be enor­ parts of the world. In the mously powerful. United States and the UK, there is enormous envy about the In the 1990s, there seems to have emerged a much greater interest arrangements here, and bewilderment at Australians who com­ in diversity. In the late 1970s and ’80s, many people pontificated plain about there not being enough resources available to them. about “We should be doing this” or “We shouldn’t be doing Ironically, governments have become increasingly concerned that.” Today, people are happily going off in their own direc­ about the way in which their money is spent, and the outcomes tions. of that commitment. One of the best ways to keep the money That not only reflects a change in the industry, but perhaps also coming is pointing to those outcomes and having the producers a change in Australia. As a culture, we are putting more value on publicly recognize the sources of finance. the diversity of people, styles and cultures that make up the As well, it is dangerous to rely on box-office success in convincing country. The public rhetoric is not so much about containment, governments of the value of their support. In the 1990s, we have as it used to be in the past, but rather about seeking to enforce a been fortunate to have had at least one major success every year, recognition that there is an enormous diversity of thought going but we could equally have three years in a row where nothing is on here and that we need to value that. particularly commercial. If one privileges box office, one plays a One of the ways you can value it is by ensuring your cultural dangerous game. products come from different kinds of places. I am not only talking about ethnic diversity; I’m talking about ways of think­ You do, and that’s a real issue for an organization like the AFC, ing, ways of viewing the world. because a lot of what we do is invisible unless somebody else acknowledges it. Our marketing work is often invisible in Australia, because we do it internationally. It’s really only the people who go overseas who fully appreciate it. Indeed, it is the international community which acknowledges it most. The concern for us is: How do we sell that work as valuable to government, and indeed to the opposition, when they can’t see it, when it’s not immediately tangible? The other area that is troublesome is the cultural. It isn’t easy to point to organizations, books or magazines and say to govern­ ment, “Look, this is our achievement”, and have it understood as valuable. It is precisely because of the “success equals box office” attitude that we are asked, “Why are you spending money doing that? Why aren’t you just making more films?” 30



1 02

One certainly no longer hears directors talking about how we must only make films in Australia with Australians for Austral­ ians. The phrase “culturally pure” hasn’t had much usage in the past five years. Certainly not to the extent that it was before, though I think the notion is still around. It is the other views and other voices which have grown louder. But there hasn’t been any criticism, say, of Terence Stamp’s being in P riscilla, whereas in the ’80s it would have created a storm. The debate seems to me to have changed. Yes. There is also a different kind of intelligence involved in putting Terence Stamp in Priscilla than say putting Charlie Schlatter in T he D elinquents. We have become cleverer about the

way in which we use the Terence Stamps and the Charlie Schlatters of the world. There is a confidence in the way Terence Stamp was used compared to the complete lack of confidence that saw Charlie Schlatter in T he D elinquents. We were merely Australians and we needed somebody from another place to lend authority to our stories, to our performances and to our ways of seeing.

In d u stry and C u ltura l Developm ent Cultural Development has been through a Review. W hat was the process of the Review, and what have been the outcomes? The Review came about because the cultural area’s budget is locked in. We have a number of organizations and initiatives that we fund on an annual basis, and we had reached the point a little while ago where it was increasingly difficult to fund anything new, be it of a one-shot nature or support of a new organization. We wanted to look at ways in which it might be possible to release some of those funds. We didn’t get the outcomes from the Review that we sought, although there have been several outcomes, some of which were unintended. One of the things that we are heading towards is a more sensible arrangement in South Australia. Instead of funding both Co Media and the Media Resource Centre, there will be only one organization in South Australia, which is more practicable given the size of the place. We didn’t come anywhere close to getting a solution to how to be more effective with our support in Queensland. That remains an outstanding and ongoing issue. W hat is that support in Queensland? It’s small and provided primarily to the Brisbane Independent Filmmakers, which is a filmmaker-based organization, Queens­ land Cinematheque, and the Brisbane International Film Festi­

val, with a little bit of money to Women in Film and TV and some on a one-off basis to Murray Image, an indigenous film organi­ zation just outside of Brisbane. The Queenslanders are very much of the opinion that they want more of our money, and they want to spend it as they see fit. We feel the approach in Queensland is fragmented. We have spent time and money on a couple of reports trying to get a more coherent, unified approach to developing a film culture in Queensland, which lags way behind the rest of Australia. W e’ve been working with Film Queensland on this. There has been good collaboration, and we are probably at one in our views about what the problems are and what we’d like to do to solve them. The problem for the AFC is that we don’t have a vast store of new money. We are also wary of throwing money at problems and expecting them to be solved. There is a combination of solutions we need to get to, and I expect that, once there is a new Director of Film Queensland, the whole thing will get back on track. One of the things we are left with as a result of the Review is that we still have budget lock-in. We don’t have a capacity to be flexible, and that hasn’t been aided by the fact that we’ve had to bail Film new s out recently. The issue we are faced with now is whether or not we are going to spend more money in the cultural area. In the current circum­ stances, that means taking it away from one of the other areas. There are, of course, a whole series of competing priorities for any internal re-allocation, as you might imagine, not the least being the need for the Indigenous Branch to have something of a budget of its own. The question is whether we will seek an increase from government for that area, or whether we have to make some really tough decisions about simply not providing recurrent funds to some organizations to free up some money. It’s a rock-and-a-hard-place time. ______________________ C O N C L U D E S ON PAGE 8 4______________________

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"This is a story you will tell your children and, they in turn, will tell their children and they ... Okay, maybe not. But when the government via its cultural statement pledges $ 8 4 million to multimedia, the subject is worth more than a cursory glance.



On 18 October at the National Gallery, Prime Minister P. J. Keating unveiled his frequently-delayed cultural statement called “Creative N ation”. Out of total .of $252 million, multimedia initiatives and programmes are going to make up a third of this package. In his speech launching the statement, the PM said that there was a need to build “a critical pool of talent with multi-media skills” to get in on creating “a dynamic Australian multi-media industry producing Australian content for Australian and inter­ national consumers”. Because of these goals, the government is committing itself to a series of five initiatives over a four-year period totalling $84 million. The “Creative N ation” paper breaks down this figure into five initiatives. The establishment of a one-off government-funded company called Australian Multi-media Enterprise (AME). AME is to manage the funds along the lines of a development capital enter­ prise and be responsible to the Minister for Communications and the Arts. It will assess and oversee multimedia projects from conception to commercialization and distribution. It will also seek to engage private sector investment in projects, particularly those companies who are in the Partnerships for Development (PfD) programme and encourage international investment. The focus for the AME is to be CD-Rom titles and on-line services. The AME is to be given a once-off start up of $45 million. In other words, the AME is to be the Australian Film Commission (AFC) of multimedia. It is no secret that people are already network­ ing and positioning themselves for the AME. It is also a poorly-kept secret that internally the Department for Industry, Science & Technology (DIST) wanted responsibility for AME and was not too pleased when it was given to Communications and the Arts. 32




The reason for this running around, both outside and inside government, is money. The multimedia industry is expected to mean big dollars - quickly. According to market research ob­ tained by David Court, editor of Business Entertainm ent R eview , multimedia is expected to grow from $US2.3 billion in 1993 to $US24 billion in 1997. At the recent Australasian Interactive Multimedia Industry Association’s (AIMIA) conference in Syd­ ney, guest speaker Richard Garriott, founder of U.S. computer game company Origin Systems, says he was looking at budgeting around $US10 million for the film portion alone of a new computer game. The government is to fund a series of national multimedia forums to be jointly administered by the Department of Industry, Science and Technology and the Department of Communica­ tions and the Arts in a move to have an on-going dialogue between software companies and creative people. Areas of discussion are to include copyright, intellectual property, inter­ face design and development of multimedia titles. Funding is to be $3.9 million over four years. Multimedia doesn’t fit into one neat category or government portfolio, or is centred in one industry; just try to get people agreeing on a definition for the multimedia is to sense the range of the medium. The DIST-funded “Commerce in Content” report quoted two definitions for multimedia: “Digital Media Creative works which employ computer technology to enable the production, distribution, and sharing of ideas” (David Cox) and “It’s the way we deal with information in all its forms: film, television, books, communications” (Russell Yardley). The popu­ lar press is calling it the incorporation of text, sound and images on to a CD-Rom (Compact Disk Read-Only-Memory). Choose for yourself. Definitions aside, anything that gets computer people talking with communications people who then talk to creative people, who talk to lawyers, overseas trade officials or representatives of, say, the games industry is on the right track. The other point here is that multimedia and the technology of multimedia are creating products and issues which are currently outstripping the law and the market - a point that holds true for most countries along with Australia.



The government plans to fund the creation and production of 10 CD-Rom titles “which focus on national and cultural institu­ tions with an emphasis on the development of collaborative projects”. The government has set this up as a two-year pro­ gramme with spending pegged at $3.68 million for 1994-95 and another $3.68 million in 1995-96. Under the title “New Media Program”, the government is to help traditional content providers move into the new technology. $5.25 million is to be given directly to the AFC for investing in multimedia titles over four years. This money is also to extend the AFC’s New Image Research Program and encourage private sector investment. The Australian Film Television &c Radio School is to receive $950,000 and the Australian Children’s Television Foun­ dation will receive $700,000, both over a four-year period. Michael Hill, Project Co-ordinator Film Development at the AFC and National Co-ordinator for New Image Research (NIR), says the NIR programme is for “first-applicants to the AFC who are proposing a project which is experimental or critical in attitude to the formation of images”. Multimedia projects have been funded through the Film Development fund because the $ 20,000 ceiling for the NIR programme is too low. AFC multimedia projects include Bill Seaman’s T he E xquisite M echanism o f Shivers and Frontiers o f U topia by Jill Scott. A project in development is Chris Caines’

R ain sh ad ow , which will be delivered to people dialling into the internet using modems. Even though the AFC has been funding multimedia projects for three years, the AFC received just 30 applications last year. Hill is unsure why this is so. “I’m constantly attending forums explaining what the AFC is doing in this area and people are both positive and surprised. ” A related venture by the AFC has been the release of the “International guide for electronic media art distribution” by Peter Callas. Also, in February 1995, the AFC will hold its second Multimedia and Filmmaker Conference in Melbourne. Cathy Robinson, chief executive of the AFC, says that the New Image Research fund is under review as is the whole of the AFC’s approach to multimedia in light of the government’s cultural statement. “W e’ve commissioned Fred Harden and Dominic Case to do research for us in trying to get a handle on the size and work in multimedia, what facilities are available.” Robinson says that the AFC wants to have its multimedia review finished by November and is unsure whether the AFC will be receiving any of the New Media Program funds this year. Yet the AFC’s and Film Australia’s involvement with multime­ dia has failed to move the film industry towards multimedia. It is generally acknowledged that the film industry has not had a big part in the multimedia drive. “They don’t have a clue” is the way an observer described the situation. This is a little surprising CINEMA


1 0 2 . 33

Multimedia and the Cultural Statement

considering that both multimedia and film share the need for scripts, storyboards, producers, researchers, video and film im­ ages or that representatives from various film bodies have been involved in a number of studies and seminars on multimedia. The last multimedia programme announced was for the government with public and private organizations to set up six Co-operative Multimedia Centres to promote education and training, provide services and develop multimedia titles for local and export markets. Funding is to amount to a total of $56.5 million for nine years with the programme administered by the Department of Employment, Education and Training. Education and training in multimedia is high on everyone’s list if Australians are to be players in this industry. Educators and educational institutions have been very much on to multimedia, not only as a new medium but as an exciting educational tool. Their work, support, papers and network have been and are important for the development of multimedia both in Australia and as an export commodity. This extends to the matter of on-line services which is seen as critical in Australia being able to distribute multimedia titles worldwide. A little-heard-of study called “Network N ation” by the Australian Science and Technology Council (ASTEC) has recommended to the government that it initiate the establishment of a not-for-profit consortium, involv­ ing governments, telecommunications carriers, industry and the research and higher education communities to provide a national information network for the research and higher education communities and the wider community. Professor Ann Henderson-Sellers, who chaired the working party on research data networks for the ASTEC paper “The Networked N ation”, states that “connectivity is not only for academics and students doing research but it means access to users, all users in the community”. At present, it is the Australian Academic and Research Network (AArnet) with its connection to 650 organizations across the country and its link into the Internet which is acting as the de facto “information highway”. Noric Dilanchian, intellectual property lawyer for Carroll &c O ’Dea Solicitors, finds the planned co-operative multimedia centres the most appealing of all the government’s initiatives: I have a fear that generally government reports and programs, no matter how well-meaning, don’t make it through to the grass­ roots, and multimedia is about young multimedia developers working in garages. If the government’s program are not flat in hierarchy there could be a problem in the government tapping into these people. Chris Vonwiller, director interactive multimedia services for Telstra, said that through alliances and “selective investments” Telstra wanted “to develop a significant stake in the multimedia content and service provision business” and that Telstra wanted “to play a key part in fostering an expanding range of local and international content and service providers to successfully mar­ ket their products to these same customers”. Vonwiller also called for establishment of a multimedia devel­ opment centre: There may be need for more than one. But we see an urgent need for a facility where ideas and content are translated, using state of the art software tools, into appropriate interactive format. It would be a laboratory environment. It is rumoured that R M IT in Melbourne is a prime contender for the government’s Victorian multimedia centre. 34

• CI N E M A



Apart from these five specific initiatives, the “Creative N a­ tion” statement also noted the matter of copyright by citing the work of the government’s Copyright Convergence Group to address copyright in converging technologies; the importance of copyright collecting agencies by promising to establish a collect­ ing society for the visual arts with financial support; and the issue of moral copyright for audiovisual works. It was the big announcement that had been rumoured about for some weeks, but it clearly caught a large part of the Australian media as they sought to play catch-up in trying to explain to their audiences where this statement and programmes had come from. In fact, the government has been working towards this state­ ment for well over a year and a half. There have been a multitude of reports, studies, discussion and issues papers all commissioned by various federal government departments in a lead-up to Crea­ tive Nation. The list reads like a who’s whom in high-technology subjects. It also shows that government was well prepared in making the statement and it was not, the Murdoch film studio announcement aside, cobbled together at the last minute. The Department of Justice has sponsored the Copyright Convergence Group, M oral Rights in Copyright issues paper and the Copyright Collecting Agencies study. All of these have been aimed at trying to sort out the complexity of copyright law in regards of how to keep track of your words, images and sounds as the fields of computers, broadcasting and telecommunications converge in the global information age. The Department of Industry, Science and Technology (DIST) has staked a major claim on promoting multimedia. DIST set up its Audiovisual Task Force in September 1993 “to strengthen the audiovisual industries and increase their involvement with Asia ”. The Task Force produced a discussion paper called “Media Developments in Asia” in M arch 1994 which led them to increasingly focus on multimedia. In September 1994, they released their “Commerce in Content” report on “building Australia’s international future in interactive multimedia mar­ kets”. This report has quickly gained wide currency in govern­ ment circles and is now considered as the blueprint for Australia’s multimedia drive. Assistant Secretary for the Audiovisual Task Force Graeme Taylor says, The major interest is in Australia becoming a significant region and global centre for content production. To advance this our department will be working closely with the Department of Communications and the Arts and the Department of Employ­ ment, Education and Training on whole, repeat whole, of a government agenda to develop multimedia industries. The Task Force has also provided the funds for the appoint­ ment of a full-time executive to the Australian Interactive M ul­ timedia Industry Association (AIMIA). AIMIA held its annual conference 22-25 September in Sydney. Opening the conference, the Minister for DIST, Senator Peter Cook, said that multimedia had the potential to create a “domes­ tic interactive multimedia market worth $2 to $3 billion by the end of the decade”. He then pledged government money to fund a CD-Rom title promoting Australian multimedia companies overseas; research in understanding investment patterns of major multinationals into multimedia; and providing through Austrade Australian companies an exhibition stand at the next interna­ tional multimedia MILIA trade fair in France. In another keynote address, Brian Johns, chairman Austral­ ian Broadcasting Authority and head of the broadband services

expert group, emphasized the importance of content both in multimedia and for Australian culture. Later speakers would re­ define that as “producing quality content or programs not simply content for content’s sake” . International speakers included vice president and general manager of Apple Computer New Media Division Satjiv Chahil, Dr Michael Allen president of Allen Interactions and founder of Authorware, and Richard Garriott co-founder of Origin Systems. Executive officer for AIMIA Stephen Schwalger described the conference as a “watershed” and estimated that 260 people had attended:

ices Expert Group was very public in declaring the importance of “content” - be it film, television or multimedia - over technology for the information superhighways. The computer games industry, while not specifically ad­ dressed, has been consulted widely by the government in its multimedia drive. David Cox, from Australia’s biggest computer game publisher Beam Software in Melbourne, is very high on the “Creative N ation” paper. Cox, who comes from a film back­ ground and whose credits include the award-winning film P u p p en h ead , plus writing on multimedia for T he A ge, also sounds a number of warnings:

We took a long time in choosing the conference speakers, both from Australia and overseas, in trying to cover areas of copyright, industry developments in hardware and software, the games industry, education, advertising and telecommunications.

You have the baby-boomers with the purse-strings but it is the under-30s with the innovations in multimedia, so it is going to be interesting to see if the generations can get it together on multimedia. Plus multimedia is so new. In terms of making a multime­ dia title, we are still figuring out what the equivalent of the multimedia close-up or long shot is.

In a round-table discussion on the final day of the conference, speakers saw the most important issue facing multimedia as: partnerships, having a vision, using the pool of Australian talent, the need to get together with multinationals, the obvious world­ wide demand for multimedia, the importance of networking, and the need for quality products. However, the biggest player in all this is the Minister respon­ sible for Communications and the Arts, Michael Lee. Touted as a future Prime Minister, it was Lee who took the podium, almost as the warm-up act before the Prime Minister gave the Creative Nation announcement. Lee’s Department presently has any number of reviews under way on broadband networking and new technologies. Lee’s high profile after the statement under­ scores his Department’s getting responsibility for a number of the government’s new multimedia programmes. In the lead-up to the “Creative N ation” launch, his own appointed Broadband Serv­

Not only is multimedia new but there is a general agreement for the need for haste also. Pacific Advanced Media Studios (PAMS), which specializes in interactive music CDs, circulated the paper, “Core Characteristics of a Viable Multimedia Indus­ try”, in June of this year “to provide a multimedia forum to bring multimedia producers and ideas together”. In it PAMS stated:


Australia has a once off window of opportunity in the next twelve months to foster the creation of a viable digital media industry which should then remain viable for the next twenty years. Should it not take this opportunity then it will be effectively locked out of this industry and will be relegated again to a patchy bit player as it is in PC software. Obviously, the government has agreed.

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1 0 2 • 35


Read spent a to ta l o f seven years at Film A u stra lia ,

both as a p ro d u c e r and its head o f p ro d u c tio n , w o rk in g w ith a “ te rrific a lly tale nte d team o f p ro d u ce rs, w rite rs and d ire c to rs ” . He le ft in 1981 to set up a b o u tiq u e “ o r suitca se” p ro d u c tio n co m p a n y called P olygon P ictures w ith A d rie n n e Read, and had a “ successful to m o d e ra te ly s u c­ cessful 1 9 8 0 s ” . He w o rk e d w ith John Edwards on The Empty Beach [C hris T hom son, 1 9 8 5 ], / Own the Racecourse [Stephen Ramsey, 1 9 8 5 ] and Cyclone Tracy [m in i-se rie s], as w e ll as m aking a n u m b e r o f do cu m e n ta rie s. Read spent 1991 and ’ 92 at the A u stra lia n Film Television & Radio School (AFTRS), b e fo re leaving to w o rk as a co n su lta n t fo r a year. He jo in e d the A u s t­ ralian Film C o m m ission as a p ro je c t c o -o rd in a to r in late F ebruary 1 9 9 4 .


TIM READ INTERVIEWED by S C O T T M U R R A Y READ: At the time I joined the Film Commission, I had no idea that Lynn Gailey, whose work I much admired, would leave as Director, Film Development at the end of June 1 9 9 4 .1 applied for her job, and was fortunate enough to get it. If I have a creative contribution to make to the industry, I believe it’s probably best made through other people’s careers, in assisting them. I’m the sort of person who likes working in teams, and for enabling organizations such as the AFC and Film Australia. The trick is to surround yourself with highly-intelligent people, try your hardest to recognize talent when it comes along, and then let it have its head, which is exactly what we enjoy doing here. Did you have any opinions about the AFC’s production and development activities before you joined it? I’ve always had a very clear idea of the AFC’s rôle, particularly the Film Development branch’s. I was around at the time the AFC was formed, and I was at Film Australia when it was incorpo­ rated into the AFC. And, on leaving Film Australia, I was quite often a successful applicant for funding from the branch. So, I was familiar with the cultural and development purposes of the organization. I didn’t know all the particulars of what it was doing, but I could track, in a general sense, the way the branch had changed as different financing mechanisms moved across the film and television production landscape. I think I know where we sit at the moment. How would you define that? As being at the front end - the pathfinding end - of the process. The success of the Film Finance Corporation has in many ways made the rôle of the Film Development branch a lot clearer, and 36




in some ways a lot easier. It gives us the capacity to get on with our core business, which is the discovery of a diversity of new filmmakers, stories, practices and content. Let me say, we are not only interested in new filmmakers for the sake of being new, but experienced filmmakers who want to take risks with subject matter they may not have previously dealt with in their careers. More so than ever, we should be very, very responsive to any idea which is intrinsically exciting, and to any filmmaker who has a clear view of why that will be exciting to an audience. I wouldn’t use the word “marketability” about things we’re interested in, I’d rather say “films will create new audiences, or find them, by the strength of their ideas”. How do you see what you are doing in feature production as compared to the FFC ’s activities via its normal production financing and its occasional Film Funds. I’m actually quite glad the FFC is seeing if it can effectively use a variation of its Film Fund mechanism again. More doors than one are always good, especially as the Film Commission’s capac­ ity to do low-budget films is constrained by budget. There are good ideas out there, and they can’t all come to the AFC. If there is a home for them at the FFC with its slightly different criteria, and the new Fund is complementary to what we do, then so much the better. Of course, the AFC will still be the natural home for feature filmmakers who realize we have a special capacity to recognize risk, original conviction and strong vision. Our challenge is to find ways of giving expression to more of that than we have been

I’m very optimistic that SPAA, ASDA, the W riters’ Guild and the Alliance understand the Commission’s very special role in the industry. As long as they are brought into consultation, there is always a way of finding a meeting point. But I wouldn’t do it without consultation. That would be bad management and very counter-productive. I also suspect the issue of minimum rates might not be the only question to be answered. For example, there has been a discern­ ible trend over the past couple of years for the short films we fund to cost between $150,000 and $190,000. They are good ideas rushing around with lots of production-value technology on their backs. Let’s give that a shake, and see whether the filmmaking community would actually prefer to get their ideas out in a way that didn’t necessarily cost $150,000. Isn’t the AFTRS in part responsible for that mentality? I want to squib that question, Scott... and you can print that. We live in a complementary agency situation, and I’m damned if I’m going to make comments on other people’s policy and practice. We are frankly too busy here trying to get our own house in order. I’ll discuss that one with John O ’Hara and Paul Thompson [of the AFTRS]. At the same time, last year we were by far the majority funder of O nly th e B ra v e [Ana K okkinos], which had a budget of about $380,000. It’s had terrific success and IF I HAVE A CREATIVE C O N TR IB we are all very pleased by U TIO N TO M AKE TO THE INDU STR Y that. But we could have given more people the chance to I BELIEVE IT ’ S PR O BABLY BEST M A D E handle 50-minute narratives THRO UG H OTHER PEOPLE’ S CAREERS able to in the past. We are if we had not spent between budget-locked presently at $300,000 and $600,000 in IN A S S IS T IN G THEM . I’ M THE SORT OF two, or possibly three, lowone year on 50-59 minute budget features a year. films - if we looked at lower PERSON W H O LIKES W O R K IN G IN What we are presently dis­ budgets. TEAM S, A N D FOR EN A B LIN G O R G AN cussing in the branch is If you bundle all the drama whether we should invite money up, we have some­ IZ A T IO N S SUCH AS THE AFC filmmakers to consider a slid­ where between $3.5 and $4m A N D FILM A U S TR A LIA ing scale of budget down to to spend. What would hap­ $ 700,000. Why focus every­ pen if we decided to give ten thing at $1.3m or $1.4m , as filmmaking teams - writers, we have been? What might producers, directors, actors be happening is that $1.8m ideas are trying to be crammed into - $ lm of that money, and said the challenge is come up with $1.5m caps. Maybe the Film Development branch should con­ scripts which are dialogue and performance intensive? We could sider different levels of budget, gauges and technologies. We need then try and get an accord with a broadcaster. That way, we to encourage different filmmakers into the Commission. could give ten teams a go instead of jackpotting out on one or With [AFC project co-ordinators] Claire Dobbin, Carole two. Idea for discussion. Sklan and Karin Altmann, I recently met a group of filmmakers Same with features: $3m buys only two at $1.5m . It can buy in Melbourne who were very, very interested in the sub-$lm rather more with lower budgets. Question for discussion. What area. But they were labouring under the notion that the Commis­ does the filmmaking community want? sion wouldn’t be interested in that. We are interested, and we are If one goes back to the m id-1970s, when short films flourished, discussing it at the moment. a typical budget on a 15 minuter was $500, while a 50 minuter Is, in fact, the AFC’s ability to fund low-budget films circumscribed by demands of the Media Alliance and other interested bodies? Is, for example, the AFC prepared to fund non-union films?

cost between $10,000 and $20,000. The increase in budgets since has massively outstripped inflation. There is a completely different approach to short filmmaking.

The AFC might be prepared to fund a non-union film, but only under very special circumstances and only after extensive con­ sultation with the three main associations and the Alliance.

Yes, it’s almost as if short filmmaking has become a professional practice in its own right. Short filmmaking is a vital part of the spectrum of filmmaking, CINEMA


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Ti m Read

let’s be clear about that, but it’s not in a professional career practice. It has very often been used to break new ground or to introduce new careers, and the 1970s model that you are talking about is a very valid one, which is why we should be discussing the idea of reducing the budgets. We did an exercise here the other day on a film that we’d funded. We pretty quickly knocked $ 60,000 out of it. But it would require a different mind set from filmmakers to accept that. I’m not suggesting that the mind set isn’t there, it just needs to be re-orchestrated. I and [project co-ordinators] Sonja Armstrong and Philippa Bateman went to an ASDA meeting recently in Sydney, and it was quite clear that people felt the Commission was only inter­ ested in fully-funding documen­ taries with cinema production values. Suddenly, they were all costing $300,000 to $400,000. What concerns me is the notion that we are only inter­ ested in one category of any­ thing. In fact, $ 3 0 0 ,0 0 0 or $400,000 per doco means that we can only support two or three a year. W hat about an idea from a filmmaker for a longitudinal documentary that requires $ 6 0 ,0 0 0 for four years? Let's discuss that. If you get locked into unnecessarily high-budget postures, you reduce your capacity to be innovative, to allow for different filmmakers to experiment in the ways that they want. We must live up to our rhetoric of innovation and diversity. Organizations don't deliberately ossify themselves, but they all need to reinvent the ways in which they do things on a regular basis. I’m sure that happened when Lynn Gailey was here; now it's our turn. The fact that a Search Conference has just been completed lends a good philosophical backdrop to what is nowbeing discussed in the branch. Given this ‘‘rhetoric of innovation”, is there a place for people who want to be mainstream, commercial filmmakers within the AFC? Absolutely, in the development programme. We are not elitist about genre or middle-of-the-road films, or commercial films not elitist in the slightest. We only add one proviso: we see a lot of these projects and have to make decisions about which we think are the best. We would also hope those filmmakers who want to be in the comfortable middle of the road, doing things that will please a lot of people out there in cinemas or in television, see the Commis­ sion's role as adding value to what they do. As well as that, you have the competitive situation, which is not one of our making, but reflects the number of applications we receive. Last year, we handled 758 applications of all kinds; this year, the rate is running at 920. Of last year’s 758 applications, 532 were for development and we funded 145 of them; 226 were production applications and we funded 49. The average of what we decide to fund varies between 21% and 2 7 % . What percentage of films funded in development end up in production? 38




We haven’t done that exercise, though I’m thinking about it very carefully, and so is Cathy. We spend a lot of money on script development, and there is a need for “performance indicators”, if I can use that jargon. At the same time, we have national responsibilities and are mandated to take greater risks with new talent than anybody else. We willingly walk into first-draft funding relationships on a more risky basis than perhaps our colleague organizations do. Consequently, if one did an oversimplified strike rate, one might end up with a statistic which doesn’t relate to our corpo­ rate objectives. It could also be easily misinterpreted by anyone who wanted to misinterpret it. It is much better to agree with the federal government and the filmmaking community about what sort of performance in­ dicators are relevant to this organization, and then sub­ mit to that scrutiny. I know Film Victoria was interested in having a com ­ parative strike rate across the agencies. I recommended to Cathy Robinson that we pos­ sibly not go into it, because the objectives of this organi­ zation don’t correspond to those of any other. A significant amount of what the AFC and the state bodies do is simply not quantifiable. How can one meaningfully assess the importance of a Jane Campion through a statistical analysis of her shorts, an only mildly-rating and -applauded tele-feature, and a first feature that has still not broken even? Statistics, when used to assess culture, can be quite misleading. Yes, they can be damaging, which is not to doubt the veracity of anyone else’s statistics or strike rates. But they are meaningless unless associated with performance measures which have been set in relation to the objectives of the organization and agreed to by, in this case, the filmmaking community. The filmmaking community that the Film Commission an­ swers to, in my view, does not expect us only to make develop­ ment choices on the basis of whether or not, in every single case, we think the project will go into production. We happen to believe the filmmaking community is where the genius and the wisdom lie. We are not a studio. We have to make subjective decisions in the end, and we better do them as well as we can, but we must not sit here like some only begetter. We are here to give, within reason, as many people as possible the opportunity to get their voice heard and, if necessary, their projects funded in different parts of the marketplace. We spend a lot of money, and it may be very important for us to stop spending as much as we do in some areas so that we can spend more in other. This year, for example, we will spend about $950,000 in feature script development. What I and this branch have to ask is, “Are the results matching up to expectation, or should we shift some of that money into new media, for instance?” This Commission is very interested in that bundle of things which is variously called new technology, multimedia and new media. We have a terrific history of funding new-media projects. In Gary

Warner, who was here, and Michael Hill, who is now, we have had people who really understand the whole area, who are interested in investing in the development of content and intellectual capital. The Filmmaker and M ulti-M edia Conference that we held last year was a great success, and the one that we are holding in early 1995 is, I’m sure, going to set the debating agenda as well. It will be about content and narrative issues, including how multimedia interrupts and varies narrative. Money isn’t easy to come by from government at any time, but I’m sure we’ll be wanting to make a bid for a bit of new money for what is obviously a new initiative in the media.

Five at the moment: Claire Dobbin and Carole Sklan in M el­ bourne; Sonja Armstrong, Michael Hill and Philippa Bateman in Sydney. We have also had Karin Altmann in Melbourne, on a less-than-full-week basis. As well, Cathy has just approved the appointment of Jane Oehr as a sixth project co-ordinator. We now have in the Film Development branch a very flat management structure. The position which was formerly held by Victoria Treole, which used to advise the Director of the branch on decisions and participate in them, has been traded off for that sixth project co-ordinator. All the project co-ordinators report directly to me. There is no­ thing between them, and me. We work as a collegiate team and reach When you talk about industry expectation, how do you assess our decisions as much as possi­ that? ble by that process. The primary way is by meet­ It’s a very interesting time ing with groups of filmmak­ “ IF YOU GET LOCKED IN TO for the Commission at the ers, both severally and moment. W e’ve just been UNNECESSARILY HIG H -BU D G ET P O S T­ individually. The project co­ through a Search Conference ordinators are always having URES, YOU REDUCE YOUR C APA C ITY and the whole organization individual meetings, and there took that chance to examine TO BE IN N O V A T IV E , TO A L LO W [...] are group meetings of the sort its preferred future. And later I attended in Melbourne with FILM M AKERS TO EXPERIMENT IN THE this year, or in early 1995, we low-budget producers. I con­ will disseminate some new stantly meet with the execu­ W AYS TH AT THEY W A N T . WE M UST guidelines. I think it’s useful to tive officers of ASDA, the reinvent yourself every so of­ LIVE UP TO OUR RHETORIC OF Writers’ Guild and SPAA ... ten, to keep yourself relevant though I have to pick my game IN N O V A T IO N A N D D IVER SITY.” and in tune with what your up a bit with SPAA. filmmakers need and want. I also actively use E n core and A FC N ew s as a vehicle Assessment procedures have for discussion. It’s not a desire on our part to be publicity hounds; changed many times over the years. What are they now and how it’s much more to do with trying to get ideas out. We are very might they be heading in the future? much concerned to have a debate and to listen. At the moment, an application for any form of development or Presumably the project co-ordinators feed back considerable information, as well. Yes. Project co-ordinators, as far as I am concerned, are the front line of this branch’s activities. It’s their judgements and their perceptions, and the way they mix with the filmmaking and multimedia communities, which is the most important thing. This branch, and the whole Commission, belongs to the community of filmmakers in the broadest sense, not the other way around. It is important to have as many project co-ordinators as possible to get that accessibility going. I have absolutely no doubt about the film and multimedia literacy of the project co-ordinators, and their responsiveness to the people they talk with. They are very much setting the agenda of discussion in the branch, and it’s terrific. The problem we have to solve is the sheer overload of work. With the AFC-SBS comedy initiative, for example, we had approximately 700 different applications. We are also running the Distinctly Australian initiatives. The first of those, the Pro­ ducer Fellowships, closes in a week’s time. I’m sure the applica­ tions will run into the hundreds. I’m not crying poor, but this is all coming out of the workload of a very hard-working branch. It’s not just the project co­ ordinators, it’s the hub of support around them. We have to find ways of making ourselves more efficient, spending less time on the things which are clearly unfundable and more time on the quality issues, ideas and filmmakers.

How many project co-ordinators do you have?

production funding is received by one of the six production co­ ordinators. That co-ordinator looks at the project and comes to a view about which of our external assessors would be most capable of giving the proposal a sympathetic hearing. Of course, that assessor might end up saying, having understood what the project is about, that it is “not quite ready”, or whatever phrase might be used. The external-assessment procedure is designed to bring a degree of peer-group perspective into the process. A project co-ordinator will take on that opinion, but the assessor will not make up the Commission’s mind on it. It will merely inform the Commission. The project co-ordinator has a number of options at this stage. If the project has reached a certain stage of development, say second-draft or post-production funding, then in 99 cases out of 100 there will be consultation with the Marketing branch. This consultation is really valued by this branch; really valued. A project co-ordinator has the capacity to spend $100,000 a year off her or his delegation, and can do so in amounts of up to $20,000 per project. On the other hand, the project co-ordinator can come to me and say, “Here is a recommendation for funding. What do you think?” I will have a look at the project, talk to the project co­ ordinator, and try to ensure the due process has been gone through. I read a goodly percentage of all the recommendations that come to me. In the great majority of the cases, the project co­ ordinator’s recommendation is agreed to by me. T h at’s a very important reflection of the fact that the project co-ordinator’s convictions, matched with those of the filmmaker’s, are the main agenda item in our funding decisions. C O N C L U D E S ON PAGE 84 CINEMA



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^ ^ a ^ k e t i n g is the ‘ h id d e n ’ branch o f the A u stra lia n Film C o m m issio n, its in te rn a tio n a lly -o rie n ta te d a ctivitie s best kno w n by tho se A u stra lia n s w h o have seen its branch sta ff in actio n at one o f m any fe stiva ls o r tra d e p ro m o tio n s a ro u n d th e w o rld . The D ire c to r, M a rk e tin g is Sue M u rra y, w h o jo in e d the AFC in 1981 fro m the A u s ­ tra lia n Film In stitu te , w h e re she ran its Film A w ards, am ong o th e r duties. For a tim e , M u rra y was based in London, ru n n in g the M a rke tin g b ra n c h ’s o ffic e th e re and h e lp in g fa m ilia riz e A u stra lia n film m a k e rs w ith the in trica cie s o f European sales and fin a n c in g . N ow based in Sydney, M u rra y co n tin u e s her ta sk o f assisting film m a k e rs (o f all kinds) get th e ir w o rk s and tale nts recognized and s u p p o rte d a ro un d the w o rld .


SUE MURRAY INTERVIEWED by A N D R E W L. U R B A N W hat are the primary goals of the Marketing branch? We are interested in getting international exposure for the widest range of Australian programmes, promoting Australian talent and services, and supporting filmmakers to finance and market their work. We have a strong cultural objective and, at the same time, seek to increase the marketing expertise within the filmmaking community. The resources that Marketing has - about $1.5m - are by and large directed to activities outside of Australia. About $250 ,0 0 0 is spent on marketing loans and travel grants for directors and actors to attend festivals; $ 4 0 0 ,0 0 0 on market presence, includ­ ing Cannes; while the rest is allocated to festivals, special events, research and promotional materials. A good bulk of the money that goes towards festivals is used to support films that are actually selected for the top-of-the-range competitive festivals. What costs does this expenditure cover? In the festivals area, basically we meet the costs of sending off material for preview to some of the festivals. We buy prints so they can be used in focuses on Australian cinema around the world. And we cover the cost of promotional materials. For a short film that gets selected at a prestigious festival, there is actually no way it is going to recoup the cost of the subtitled print and publicity material. The AFC will pay the costs in some cases for those films. It is all a matter of circumstances, the quality of the festival, what reward or return can be achieved for the filmmaker and the film, and so on. Does this budget of $ 1.5m include Marketing branch staff costs? No, it’s just external costs. It’s the money we spend on behalf of the industry. It doesn’t seem a large amount of money with which to provide global marketing support for what is a budding industry. Well, it certainly isn’t in the context of what is spent by the French or the Canadians or even, in a pro rata sense, by the New 40



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Zealanders. But it’s the money that we have available within the allocation of resources. We work from the point of view of determining what we will do against a set of quite extensive objectives, depending on how much money we have available at any one time, and what the priorities might be. Obviously, if we had more money, we could do more special events. We could move into exploring not only new countries, but new markets, such as the market for new technology. Some of our international special events, for example, have been priorities because they coincide with the federal government’s international trade promotions. We have participated in promo­ tions in South Korea and in Indonesia. Next year, we shall do a touring season in Germany. We recognize that the film component of these promotional events is very important, and we are doing our best to complement other government initiatives. Flowever, as we don’t receive any additional support for putting on events that fit the federal agenda, it does put a squeeze on our resources. Is it possible to look at this expenditure as an investment and see areas where that has already provided a tangible return? We would love to have a real sense of what the financial spin-offs might be, but it’s incredibly difficult. As an example, take the Back of Beyond programme that we did in 1988 with UCLA in California. That was a programme which addressed Australian television and film. From our point of view, the attendances at the screenings and the debate generated in the press was terrific. But how much that event drew attention to the people who work at Kennedy Miller, the documentary filmmakers, indigenous pro­ grammes, our feature film directors and so on is hard to tell. There are many people since 1988 who are working in Holly­ wood, many whose reputations have become much more inter­ nationally and domestically known. But it is very hard to say, “We spent this and we got that dollar return.”

Was that tied to an Australian season? Y es. We were able to negotiate the sale of four feature films to KBS Television, which were programmed as an Australian season in prime time on four consecu­ tive Sunday nights. They actually bought six films, but four of them made the programme. Was that a package negotiated by the AFC or did the sales happen and then the AFC came in?

You are currently working on a project in Asia, targeting a number of markets for some basic awareness lifting.

No, we went to see a range of broadcasters in South Korea. We asked them if they were interested in having an Australian programme, and, if so, what they might be looking for. It boiled down to one broadcaster, which said it was interested in a package of feature films. We then provided a lot of information as to the feature films that would be available and fit their criteria. They previewed those and decided which six films to buy. We then put them in touch with the films’ sales agents. What we did was collect the available materials from a range of different sales agents, put a pro­ gramme to the broadcasters, and then let the sales agents negotiate their own fees direct. We did the up-front work and made it easier for them. The pay-off was that the films could be programmed in a cohesive “WE ARE INTERESTED IN GETTING INTER­ season. NATIONAL EXPOSURE FOR THE WIDEST RANGE That, then, is an example of OF AUSTRALIAN PROGRAMMES, PROMOTING a tangible marketing push which no one single sales AUSTRALIAN TALENT AND SERVICES, AND agent would be able to un­ dertake. SUPPORTING FILMMAKERS TO FINANCE AND

Exactly. In terms of the initiatives If one looks at what obstacles CULTURAL OBJECTIVE AND, AT THE SAME TIME, in Asia, we talked to the there may be to the greater sales agents first about the distribution of Australian pro­ SEEK TO INCREASE THE MARKETING EXPERTISE difficulties they were expe­ grammes in countries in the riencing in selling into those Asia-Pacific region, including W ITHIN THE FILMMAKING C O M M U N ITY .” markets, and what would countries like India, what one be helpful for them. In the tends to come across is the beginning, it was a greater fact that distributors are nerv­ need for information. So we commissioned a report from KPMG ous about acquiring the programmes. The actors, the filmmakers on the television markets in those countries and the regulatory and Australian cinema as such do not have a very high profile. environment. We also heard from the acquisitions people that They are risky programmes for them to purchase and to promote. what would help them would be to have some of the material In looking at that, one says, “Okay, what can we do on behalf filtered for them. We were able to say, “Okay, we can help you by of the industry which starts to address that issue ?” We concluded playing a brokerage role.” that if we can create a greater awareness among the consumers, What has happened in the Asia-Pacific in the past couple of it will encourage distributors to take a bigger chance. And the years is that the Australian-based sales agents have spent an way to get to the consumer is through the mass media: television, enormous amount of time developing excellent relationships with profiles in magazines that draw a young and diverse and inter­ people in some of the countries in the region. They are selling a lot ested audience, film festivals which give people access to our of programming there. programmes, and so on. I’m not saying the AFC did this on behalf of the agents, I’m In Seoul, for example, we negotiated a supplement in simply saying that it has emerged that the interests that we R o a d s h o w , the film, television, video and rock music magazine identified on behalf of the industry were the ones picked up by the in South Korea. That supplement covered a whole range of industry itself. That leaves us free to do other things. That programmes from Australia, and reached a targeted audience for particularly relates to television programming. very small expenditure on our part. MARKET THEIR WORK. WE HAVE A STRONG



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Sue M u r r a y

The theatrical arena is incredibly difficult and we wish to undertake programmes and activities that will address the theat­ rical market.

Those filmmakers who go to the markets have the ability to sit down at the AFC stand and have meetings with people in a professional environment. They have the facilities to preview their programmes, to display their materials. They have the One of the major visible functions of the AFC is its supporting access to marketing staff who can give them advice about whom Australian producers at festivals and markets like Cannes. Can to see and how to approach them. They have the possibility of you outline that function, because it’s something that most being introduced to the people we have met. people here don’t see? That is particularly evident at Cannes, where there is a film festival and a market running concurrently. What we do at The AFC attends three television markets a year and three feature-film markets. Cannes is actually something that we don’t necessarily do any­ where else. N ot only, for example, do we assist in having all the For people who don’t know much about the television markets films previewed as widely as possible by the various sections of - in particular, MIPTV, M IPCOM in Cannes in April and Octo­ ber, and the new MIP Asia, Cannes, so that the whole which will be in Hong Kong in range of Australian films has December - we provide a big an opportunity to be consid­ W | H g | | y“SOME OF OUR INTERNATIONAL | ¡¡¡j g j ? j convention space under the ered, but when short films in AFC banner. Film Australia, particular are accepted, we In S P E C IA L EVENTS J HAVE BEEN PRIORITIES k ipiy ig|p I I §j is * * | f j the A ustralian C hild ren’s look after the marketing, en­ b EGAUSE T H p f COINCIDE WITH THE FEDERAL Television Foundation, One gaging a publicist on behalf of World Films and, at different the filmmakers to provide dayf X : GOVERNMENT’S INTERNATIONAL TRADE pi'L' l,t i m ¡S 'W¡pi P M ¡¡111 i times, Beyond Films, Beyond to-day support. I H PROMOTIONS. WE HAVE PARTICIPATED IN j Distribution, Total Film and In terms of other features Television, SBS, and so on, use selected in the o ffic ia l p v PROMOTIONS IN SOUTH KOREA AND IN H * i p c m jj S m j X mSg 1 I 1 x ' , ' 1 it as a one-stop shopping place. Compétition, depending oh I ; INDONESIA. NEXT YEAR, WE SHALL DO W : j As the companies get bigger, the agent and what the status of course, they move off our of the film is, we provide back­ I TOURING SEASON IN GERMANY.” . f stand and set up their own up support. We are there in­ separate profiles. troducing people to each At those markets, we pro­ other, including producers vide information for buyers such as catalogues and checklists, and who are there with their projects looking for finance. we have extensive listings of where programmes are sold. Our data There is some criticism of spending money on receptions, but bases provide an incredible array of information that addresses at the Cannes Film Festival the AFC is able, by holding a those requirements. reception, to introduce the 150 Australians who go each year to We also answer a lot of questions about co-productions, about the people who buy Australian programmes, to potential finan­ partnering with Australians, about location shooting, about the ciers, festival directors, the media and film critics. We are offering financing mechanisms, etc. We are an information resource. all the expertise and contacts we have to the Australians at At the feature-film markets, what we are able to provide is a Cannes. And it is amazing how productive that exchange is. list of all the Australian film screenings, as well as all of our I would have thought that would have to be the most costmaterials. We can sit down and talk to people about their needs, effective dollar spent by the AFC. about what programming they are looking for, so that we can Well, it is in my view. It provides the opportunity for Australians then take that information back to the filmmakers and say, to work at establishing business relationships. And I must say the “Company X is really looking for $2m thrillers. Why don’t you Australians have become effective at that. They come to the send your project to them .” party; they use it. In other words, you are providing market expertise to Australian The Australian directors, actors and producers at Cannes are producers for markets around the world. very supportive of the AFC’s activities. Nobody says, “I’m too big to go to the Australian parties” and that’s great, because we Yes. It comes through regular contact with buyers, monitoring can introduce the diversity of our industry to overseas people. sales, liaison with agents, and research, either through the


London office or commissioned. We have excellent feedback about our printed materials. The international sales agents, and especially the Australian compa­ nies, have incredibly good relationships with their clients and their product is usually known about. But for a filmmaker who can’t afford to travel, doesn’t have an agent but has made a documentary which might just be of interest in Austria, Ger­ many, or wherever, the checklists provide access to a spectrum of international buyers. At these festivals and markets, you also provide a physical space where ad hoc meetings take place, which in turn spark projects and create their own dynamics. 42



1 02


What, if any, rôle does the AFC have in marketing Australian films domestically? Essentially, the domestic marketing rôle is one that falls in the hands of the domestic distributors and broadcasters. Filmmakers negotiate with those distributors and broadcasters for the exhi­ bition and broadcast of their programmes. The AFC’s relationship to the filmmakers is to provide them with marketing advice and, in some cases, marketing-loan sup­ port in order that they can release the films effectively through these various distributors. W hat we do in our Industry and Cultural Development branch, for example, is provide infrastructure support for or­

ganizations throughout Australia engaged in critical and cultural debate about Australian cinema, the exhibition of diverse pro­ grammes of films, and the distribution of Australian programmes, in particular shorts, documentaries and experimental work. We are trying to support the debate about Australian culture to get people interested in cinema and to stimulate an audience awareness. Essentially, all the work that we do in Australia in a marketing sense is one step more removed from the actual consumer. The work that we do in our Research and Information section also feeds into the industry’s ability to market, promote and assess the performance of Australian programmes. Would you like a more direct rôle in marketing and what would that be? T h at’s an interesting question, because there are differences between what one wishes to do in the home market and one wishes to do overseas. We are already further down the track in Australia, where audiences are very familiar with Australian television programmes and respond to them extremely well. They are among the top­ rating programmes on Australian television. Australian content requirements on television have helped quality programming to a receptive audience. In the feature film and theatrical market, there is a lot of skill in promoting Australian films amongst the distributors. Certainly in the short film, electronic media arts and docu­ mentary areas, we would hope to see greater opportunities for this sort of programming, on television and in cinemas, museums and cinematheques. Obviously, there is a policy rôle there in terms of negotiating and discussing these issues with the industry, which the AFC can and does undertake. W hat specific plans do you have for the next 12 months? We are very keen on the touring programme we are going to be doing in Germany next year. Not only is it to celebrate 100 years of Australian cinema, but Germany is a country that has not necessar­ ily been easy for us to sell our films into in a theatrical context. Is this a cultural barrier? It’s partly a business thing: the cost of releasing films and the risk­ taking element. It is also about particular preferences. Each country has its preferences for programmes and these preferences are often cultural. Presumably if Australian stars and directors were better known, it would become easier. Indeed. So, what we are doing there is a one-week programme which will tour six cities in Germany. It is a retrospective programme. It is incredibly hard in fact to choose seven evenings, or seven programmes, to represent the diversity of the Australian industry, but we have pulled together a programme and negoti­ ated it with a cinema in each of the six cities. We will publish a catalogue that will be in German. T h at’s another thing people don’t realize. The catalogues attached to these events are often the only thing written in that language about Australian cinema, such as L e Ciném a Australien for the Australian Retrospective at the Pompidou Centre in Paris. The German season will take some time. We will have to buy the prints and sub-title them in German. We will have to cover the

cost of promotions and so on. W hat about the advertising? Will the cinemas pay for their own? The relationship with the cinemas is a proper commercial rela­ tionship. They will be contributing their advertising expenditure. It’s a big co-ordination job. It’s something that we have instant support for. Germany is a country with a great interest in indigenous programmes, and Aboriginal seasons have done very well there before. We have knowledge of that market and how to do that. In that market, for example, will this season have the co­ operation and tangible assistance from the Australian govern­ ment representatives there, consuls and commercial attachments? We have been working closely with the Counsellor, Public Affairs in Bonn. There is an Australian Trade Promotion happen­ ing at that time. We can’t dovetail in with all of their require­ ments and, unfortunately, there isn’t adequate money to provide any assistance to us. But we are seeking sponsorship for it, as we did this year with our Foster’s event in the UK. We are also looking to do another Foster’s event next year. W hat else does the Marketing branch do that you consider particularly valuable? I’d say what we call Services Support. We provide terrific festivals advice for filmmakers: which festivals are best or most suitable for them to attend, depending on their needs. This is unique. We provide good introductory materials on subjects such as how to find an agent and how to sell the programmes, and targeted advice on where to look for finance for projects in development. We also provide market assessments and market­ ing information to our Film Development branch colleagues, to help in their decision-making processes. I would also like to stress the importance of the London office. Although it is small in staff, it is’ integral to the provision of marketing advice, festivals services and market support. It is also a base for Australian producers who can walk in and receive strategic marketing advice. Our initiatives with actors, such as the recent workshops on publicity and personal promotion, are very important and I think the expertise, enthusiasm and commitment of the staff constitute a valuable contribution to the industry. £

A U S T R A L IA N T O U R IN G FILM FESTIVAL GERMANY 1995 Tour begins 6 March, with one week in each venue: Berlin (two venues), Leipzig, Munich, Frankfurt, Cologne, Flamburg. The programme will include: The Story o f the Kelly G ang (^Charles Tait, 1906) 12 minute fragment; The Sent­ im ental B lo k e (Raymond Longford, 1919); The B ack o f B eyon d (John Heyer, documentary, 1954); Jed d a (Charles Chauvel, 1955) fully-restored 35 mm print; It D roppeth as the G entle Rain (Albie Thoms and Bruce Beresford, short, 1963); The Adventures o f Barry M cKenzie (Bruce Beresford, 1972); N ice C olou red Girls (Tracey M offatt, short, 1987); Union Street (Wendy Chandler, short, 1989); N ight Cries: A Rural Tragedy (Tracey Moffatt, short, 1990); N o W or­ ries (David Elfick, 1993); The D ay o f the D og (aka B lackfellas, James Ricketson, 1993)




. 43

W A L SAUNDERS MANAGER IN D IG E N O U S BRANCH REPORT by PHILIP D U T C H A K getting the AFC to re-define Aboriginal film as more than just a film with Aboriginal content, and rates the ABC’s series H ea rt­ land as a success because the good response to the series showed that Aboriginal stories do appeal to a wider audience. Saunders: But the real issue for us is about access and control. About 10,000 hours of Aboriginal film have been produced over the years. Historically, Aborigines haven’t had any say in that. With present production that’s slowly changing, but still more needs to happen. Filmmaker Ned Lander agrees that even with the rhetoric (the Second Annual Documentary Conference in Canberra three years ago passed a recommenda­ tion for non-Aboriginal filmmak­ ers to employ Aboriginal filmmakers IF SOMEHOW I OR ABORIGINAL FILMMAKERS as consultants or trainees on re­ COULD GET A DOLLAR FOR EVERY TIME THAT AN lated films), sometimes filmmakers ABORIGINAL SYMBOL, ICON, SOUND [...] APPEARED aren’t always prepared to do the work in training or collaborating ON SCREEN, IN PRINT OR ON THE RADIO, with Aborigines: “I’m talking about MY JOB WOULD BE SO, SO MUCH EASIER.” engagement and the terms of that engagement which should probably be defined by Aborigines them­ It is a good point and an old point that Aboriginal symbols are selves.” Lander says this cuts both ways: either with nonwidely used to both evoke or market Australian product and Aborigines working on Aboriginal films or Aborigines being part Australia. It is also a known point that when Aboriginal issues of someone’s project. He points to his involvement on B lo o d have been reported, the media has usually concentrated on the B rothers with Rachel Perkins: “Sure it was sometimes madden­ negative stories rather than the positive ones. ing but it was also wonderful and for Rachel. She is now wellWal Saunders wants everything to go a bit further: positioned to work in Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal film .” In another instance, Ernie Dingo was once on set and asked to We [Aborigines] are being portrayed in confrontational images. It sing “something in language”. When Ernie asked what he was is becoming almost a stereotype. There are contemporary Aborigi­ supposed to sing, things came to a stop because the script and nal images that are not fossilized in the past which have humour, director had no specific reference to what was required. So they and grace. Our stories are human interest stories. But I’m not seeing much variety here because our stories, our images, are not getting stayed stopped until Ernie had figured out what he was going to out there. We want to have a say in those images, either by creating say. Even with the inconvenience of losing a day of filming the them ourselves or having a say in the creation of them. production, to its credit, had brought him into the process. Another matter is the format for Aboriginal film. Saunders This was one of the reasons for the formation of the AFC’s says he wants Aborigines to have the same chance as anyone in Indigenous Branch in August of 1993. Saunders says his brief is both large- and small-budget films. When it is mentioned that really “everything to do with Aboriginal film ”. At this stage, that backers would always seek to protect their investment by requir­ includes script assessment, cultural workshops to explain Abo­ ing an experienced production crew for a director regardless of riginal issues to filmmakers, training, statistics, marketing and colour, who was doing a large budget project for the first time, acting as the go-between for Aboriginal filmmakers in preparing Saunders agrees: “It is not that Aborigines don’t want to sur­ submissions. round themselves with experienced people, it is just that, if it is According to Saunders, his tenure didn’t include having money their project, they want a say in who is coming on-board the to fund specific Aboriginal films “but, to the AFC’s credit, they film .” Lander thinks that Aboriginal access to training is more can see a need and they are looking into it”. Cathy Robinson, important then discussions about what format is appropriate: Chief Executive of AFC, echoes this: “It would be terrific to “Until more Aborigines have more access to training, then this allocate more funds for indigenous film projects and that is our whole notion about what format is viable is secondary.” intention. We recognize that there are special circumstances here A year on, the Indigenous Branch can point to an increasing that need particular attention.” awareness among Aborigines to film and among the state and In the larger scheme of things, Saunders says a lot of his job is regional film bodies. It also has been assisting Aboriginal comgetting people to see Aborigines as more than cardboard cutouts that are slotted onto a film project. He credits himself with 44




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W H A T ' S


NUMBER 4 6 (JULY 1984)

Paul Cox, Russell Mulcahv, Alan J. Pakula, Robert Duvall, Jeremy Irons, Eureka Stockade, Waterfront, The Boy In The Bush,A Woman Suffers, Street Hero.

Bruce Petty, Luciana Arrighi, Albie Thoms, Stax, Alison’s Birthday 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)

David Williamson, Ray Harryhausen, Peter Weir, Antony Ginnane, Gillian Armstrong, Ken G. Hall, The Cars that Ate Paris.

Charles H. Joffe, Jerome Heilman, Malcolm Smith, Australian nationalism, Japanese cinema, Peter Weir, Water Under The Bridge. NUMBER 2 7 (JUNE-JULY 1980)

Randal Kleiser, Peter Yeldham, Donald Richie, obituary of Hitchcock, NZ film industry, Grendel Grendel Grendel.

NUMBER 2 (APRIL 1974):

Censorship, Frank Moorhouse, Nicolas Roeg, Sandy Harbutt, Film under Allende, Between The Wars, Alvin Purple


Bob Godfrey, Diane Kurys, Tim Burns, John O’Shea, Bruce Beresford, Bad Timing, Roadgames.

NUMBER 3 (JULY 1974):

Richard Brennan, John Papadopolous, Willis O’Brien, William Friedkin, The True Story O f Eskimo Nell.

NUMBER 29 (OCT/NOV 1980)

Bob Ellis, Uri Windt, Edward Woodward, Lino Brocka, Stephen Wallace, Philippine cinema, Cruising, The Last Outlaw.


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 Of 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 O f 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. 46



1 02


Ken Cameron, Claude Lelouch, Jim Sharman, French film, My Brilliant Career. NUMBER 22 (JULY/AUG 1979)




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 3 9 (AUGUST 1982)

Helen Morse, Richard Mason, Anja Breien, David Millikan, Derek Granger, Norwegian cinema, National Film Archive, We Of 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 4 7 (AUGUST 1984)

Richard Lowenstein, Wim Wenders, David Bradbury, Sophia Turkiewicz, Hugh Hudson, Robbery Under Arms. NUMBER 48 (OCT/NO V 1984)

Ken Cameron, Michael Pattinson, Jan Sardi, Yoram Gross, Bodyline, The Slim Dusty Movie. NUMBER 4 9 (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.



Igor Auzins, Paul Schrader, Peter Tammer, Liliana Cavani, Colin Higgins, The Year O f Living Dangerously.

Robert Altman, Paul Cox, Lino Brocka, Agnes Varda, The AFI Awards, The Movers.

NUMBER 42 (MARCH 1983)

Mel Gibson, John Waters, Ian Pringle, Agnes Varda, copyright, Strikebound, The Man From Snowy River. NUMBER 43 (MAY/JUNE 1983)

Sydney Pollack, Denny Lawrence, Graeme Clifford, The Dismissal, Careful He Might Hear You.


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 44 -4 5 (APRIL 1984)

NUMBER 62 (MARCH 1987)

David Stevens, Simon Wincer, Susan Lambert, a personal history of Cinema Papers, Street Kids.

Screen Violence, David Lynch, Cary Grant, ASSA conference, production barometer, film finance, The Story O f 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 6 4 (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 6 7 (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. NUMBER 68 (MARCH 1988)

Martha Ansara, Channel 4, Soviet Cinema, Jim McBride, Glamour, Ghosts O f The Civil Dead, Feathers, Ocean, Ocean. NUMBER 6 9 (MAY 1988)

Cannes ’88, film composers, sex, death and family films, Vincent Ward, David Parker, Ian Bradley, Pleasure Domes. NUMBER 70 (NOVEMBER 1988)

Film Australia, Gillian Armstrong, Fred Schepisi, Wes Craven, John Waters, A1 Clark, Shame Screenplay Part I. NUMBER 71 (JANUARY 1989)

Yahoo Serious, David Cronenberg, 1988 in Retrospect, Film Sound , Last Temp­ 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 La dolce vita, Women and Westerns NUMBER 73 (MAY 1989)

Cannes ’89, Dead Calm, Franco Nero, Jane Campion, Ian Pringle’s The Prisoner o f St. Petersburg, Frank Pierson, Pay TV. NUMBER 74 (JULY 1989)

The Delinquents, Australians in Hollywood, Chinese Cinema, Philippe Mora, Yuri Sokol, Twins, Ghosts... o f the Civil Dead, Shame screenplay.






Sally Bongers, The Teen Movie, Animated, Edens Lost, Mary Lamberr and Pet Sematary, Martin Scorsese and Paul Schrader, Ed Pressman.

LIMITED NUMBER of the beautifully designed catalogues especially prepared for the 19 8 8


Simon Wincer, Quigley Down Under, Kennedy Miller, Terry Hayes, Bangkok Hilton, John Duigan, Flirting, Romero, Dennis Hopper and Kiefer Sutherland, Frank Howson, Ron Cobb.

season of Australian film and television at the U C LA film and television archive in the U .S. are now available for sale in Australia. Edited by Scott


Special John Farrow profile, Blood Oath, Dennis Whitburn and Brian Williams, Don McLennan and Breakaway, “Crocodile” Dundee overseas.

M urray, and with extensively researched articles by several of A ustralia’s leading writers on film and televi­ sion, such as Kate Sands, Women of the Wave; Ross

NUMBER 78 (MARCH 1990)

George Ogilvie’s The Crossing, Ray Argali’s Return Home, Peter Greenaway and The Cook...etc, Michel Ciment, Bangkok Hilton and Barlow and Chambers NUMBER 80 (AUGUST 1990)

Cannes report, Fred Schepisi career interview, Peter Weir and Greencard, Pauline Chan, Gus Van Sant and Drugstore Cowboy, German Stories. NUMBER 81 (DECEMBER 1990)

Ian Pringle Isabelle Eberhardt, Jane Campion An Angel At My Table, Martin Scorsese Goodfellas, Alan J. Pakula Presumed Innocent NUMBER 82 (MARCH 1991)

Francis Ford Coppola The Godfather Part III, Barbet Schroeder Reversal o f Fortune, Bruce Beresford’s Black Robe, Ramond Hollis Longford, Backsliding, Bill Bennetts, Sergio Corbucci obituary. NUMBER 83 (MAY 1991)

Australia at Cannes, Gillian Armstrong: The Last Days at Chez Nous, Jonathan Demme: The Silence o f the Lambs, Flynn, Dead To The World, Marke Joffe’s Spotswood, Anthony Hopkins NUMBER 84 (AUGUST 1991)

James Cameron: Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Dennis O’Rourke: Good Woman o f Bangkok, Susan Dermody: Breathing Under Water, Cannes report, FFC. NUMBER 85 (NOVEMBER 1991)

Jocelyn Moorhouse: Proof, Blake Edwards: Switch-, Callie Khouri: Thelma & Louise; Independent Exhibition and Distribution in Australia, FFC Part II. NUMBER 86 (JANUARY 1992)

Overview of Australian film: Romper Stomper, The Nostradamus Kid, Greenkeeping, Eightball; plus Kathryn Bigelow, HDTV and Super 16. NUMBER 8 7 (MARCH 1992)

Multi-Cultural Cinema, Steven Spielberg and Hook, George Negus filming The Red Unknown, Richard Lowenstein Say a Little Prayer, Jewish Cinema. NUMBER 88 (MAY-JUNE 1992)

Cannes ’92, Strictly Ballroom, Hammers over the Anvil, Daydream Believer, Wim Wenders’ Until the End o f the World, Satyajit Ray. NUMBER 89 (AUGUST 1992)

Cannes ’92, David Lynch, Vitali Kanievski, Gianni Amelio interview, Christopher Lambert in Fortress, FilmLiterature Connections, Teen Movies.

G ibson, Formative Landscapes; D ebi Enker, Cross-over NUMBER 90 (OCTOBER 1992)

The Last Days o f Chez Nous, Ridley Scott: 1492, Stephan Elliot: Frauds, Giorgio Mangiamele, Cultural Differences and Ethnicity in Australian Cinema, John Frankenheimer’s Year o f the Gun.

and Collaboration: Kennedy Miller, Scott Murray,


Curiouser and Curiouser; Adrian M artin, Nurturing

Clint Eastwood and Unforgiven; Raul Ruiz; George Miller and Gross Miscon­ duct; David Elfick’s Love in Limbo, On The Beach, Australia’s First Films.

George Miller, Scott M urray, Terry Hayes; Graem e Turner, Mixing Fact and Fiction; M ichael Leigh,

the Next Wave. T h e Back of Beyond Catalogue is lavishly illustrated

NUMBER 92 (APRIL 1993)

Reckless Kelly; George Miller and Lorenzo’s Oil; Megan Simpson and Alex; Jean-Jacques’s The Lover, Women in film and television. Australia’s First Films. NUMBER 93 (MAY 1993)

Cannes, Jane Campion and The Piano, Laurie Mclnnes’ Broken Highway, Tracey Moffat’s Bedevil, Lightworks and Avid

with more than 130 photographs, indexed, and has full credit listings for some 80 films. PRICE: S24.95, including postage and packaging.

NUMBER 9 4 (AUGUST 1993)

Cannes Report, Steve Buscemi and Reservoir Dogs, Paul Cox interview, Michael Jenkin’s The Heartbreak Kid, ‘Coming of Age’ films. NUMBER 95 (OCTOBER 1993)

Lynn-Maree Milburn’s Memories & Dreams, The Science of Previews, John Dingwall and The Custodian, Documen­ tary Supplement including Man Bites Dog, Tom Zubrycki, John Hughes. NUMBER 96 (DECEMBER 1993)

Queensland issue: An overview of film in Queensland, Early Queensland cinema, Jason Donovan and Donald Crombie: Rough Diamonds, The Penal Colony. NUMBER 9 7 /9 8 (APRIL 1994)

20th Anniversay double issue with New Zealand supplement, Simon Wincer’s Lightning Jack, Richard Franklin, The Salvation Army. NUMBER 99 (JUNE 1994)

Australian films at Cannes ’94, Krzysztof Kieslowski, Ken G. Hall Tribute, special Cinematography supplement, Geoffrey Burton, Pauline Chan’s Traps. NUMBER 100 (AUGUST 1994)

Cannes ’94, New South Wales supple­ ment, Bernardo Bertolucci’s Little Buddha, Films We Love, The Sum o f Us, Spider & Rose, Film & the Digital World. NUMBER 101 (OCTOBER 1994)

Priscilla, Queen o f the Desert, Victorian supplement, P.J. Hogan’s Muriel’s Wedding, Ben Lewin’s Lucky Break. CINEMA



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M u r r a y

Miramax and Australia - A distinct and bold vision TO N Y SAFFORD AND VICTORIA TREOLE

he American company M iram ax is one of the success stories of independent distribution. Founded in the m id-1970s by Harvey and Bob Weinstein, the company cleverly found a niche at the edges of mainstream cinema, having m ajor success in the U.S. with quality English-language and foreign films from all around the world. Notable examples include N u ov o C inem a P aradiso (Giuseppe Tornatore, Italy, 1988), P elle E robreren (Pelle the C o n q u ero r, Bille August, Denmark, 1988), Sex, Lies, an d V ideotape (Steven Soderbergh, U.S., 1989), T he Crying G am e (Neil Jordan, Ire­ land, 1992) and C om o Agua p ara C h o c o la te (L ik e W ater fo r C h o c o la te , Alfonso Arau, M exico, 1992). M iram ax has a strong Australian connection, too, having picked up for U.S. release (during production or on completion) TONY SAFFORD AND VICTORIA TREOLE (PHOTO: G , encore) several of the m ajor Australian films of the past decade, including Strictly B a llro o m (Baz Luhrmann, 1992), S p o tsw o o d (Mark In Variety’s wrap-up on the deal (3 May), Claudia Eller and Joffe, 1992), T he P iano (Jane Campion, 1993), Sirens (John John Evan Hook concluded: Duigan, 1994) and M uriel’s W edding (P. J. Hogan, 1994). The move marks the latest swell of sea change in Hollywood, as That Australian connection is to grow even stronger with the studios and independents increasingly align to battle booming recent appointment of Victoria Treole as Acquisitions Consult­ marketing and production costs, capture fragmented audiences ant for Australia and New Zealand. Treole was formally Execu­ and scramble for bigger market shares. [...] tive, Cultural Affairs at the Australian Film Commission, and In acquiring Miramax, Disney automatically enters into the prior to that its Manager, International M arket Development. business of high-quality, lower-budgeted independent movies - a T reole’s appointment was announced by Tony Safford, world dominated by the likes of Irish director Neil Jordan and M iram ax’s Executive Vice President of Acquisitions, West Coast New Zealand filmmaker Jane Campion, as opposed to Goofy and Production during his August trip to Australia. Mickey. Though M iram ax has its head office in New York, Safford is Safford agrees: based in Los Angeles. “The staff in New York tends to look more towards Europe”, says Safford. “I’ve been able to look more It’s been a remarkably well-structured acquisition. We don’t towards, amongst other places, Australia, which is an area which understand particularly well what Disney does; they don’t under­ stand particularly well what we do. We have very different I personally like quite a b it.” businesses and we stay out of each other’s hair. Safford first came to Australia in 1985 when he was working But the deal has given us tremendous financial resources to be at Sundance Institute, as Director of its internationally-regarded involved earlier in projects we have wanted to be involved with. Festival. He organized a programme of Australian films, which helped introduce the various sides of local filmmaking to the Safford feels the hasty obituaries for independent cinema American industry. Sundance is well known as a key spotting penned in the lead-up to the acquisition were the ground for emerging talents. sour grapes of companies that, for whatever reasons, didn’t Two of the people Safford met on that first trip were Victoria survive the fallout in the 1980s and the early ’90s. Independent Treole and filmmaker Dennis O ’Rourke. cinema on both the filmmaking and marketing-and-distribution sides strikes me as very, very healthy. You are actually seeing the A LITTLE PRE HISTORY: MIRAMAX AN D DISNEY expansion of U.S. specialized distributors, with the studios taking M iram ax hit the headlines last year when it was sold to Disney an interest in that sector. Disney acquired Miramax, Turner on 30 April 1993. Few could see how a Hollywood studio’s acquired New Line, Fox struck a speciality division. What they “swallowing up” of a tireless independent could mean anything are acknowledging is the value of that marketplace. They are not but a further hammering of the final nail in the coffin of directly entering it themselves, but acquiring companies that have independent distribution. Safford admits to having had concerns thrived in it. That’s the point: it’s a viable business to be in for himself at the time: those who survived, or figured out how to survive.



I won’t kid anybody that, as the acquisition of the company was rumoured and discussed in informal ways internally, this wasn’t a concern of the staff. But Harvey and Bob Weinstein are two of the most crazy, unique, driven, dedicated executives and person­ alities that exist on the planet.

eorge courtesy

AC Q U IR IN G OZ P R O D U C T As a company, M iram ax has shown a steady hand in its selection of product, and its staff a commitment to finding the best way to market a film. M iram ax used to handle 10 to 15 pictures a year, CINEMA



■ 49

M ira m a x

but that figure is expanding. Safford sees M iram ax fully financ­ ing up to six features a year, pre-buying another eight and acquiring on completion a further ten. When Safford moved to M iram ax in 1991, the company had already had some success with Australian films: I’ve always had an interest in Australian cinema and Miramax had a commercial interest in Australian cinema, going back to its involvement in films like Map o f the Human H eart [Vincent Ward, 1993] and Spotsw ood. More recent acquisitions include Country Life [Michael Blakemore, 1994], Muriel’s ’Wedding, The Piano, Strictly Ballroom and Sirens. The point at which M iram ax buys Australian films varies. M iram ax became involved in Sirens, M ap o f the H um an H eart and Country L ife during production, whereas Strictly B a llro om , T he P iano, S p o tsw o o d and M uriel’s W edding were all bought finished. Safford: Part of it is a competitive reaction. At what point do we have to be involved? Do we want to wait and see a film finished, or are we confident enough to jump in at an earlier stage? That is an evaluation we make all the time, all over the world. When asked whether it is becoming more competitive and, therefore, one has to jump earlier, Safford replies: Yes, of course. It’s a function of money. The independent compa­ nies which have survived have survived with the right instincts and the right resources. They all can jump in earlier if they want to. M iram ax principally acquires for North American distribu­ tion, but it can also obtain worldwide rights or distribution rights for specific territories, including Australia. For example, Miramax distributed Sirens and T he P iano in Australia. Recently, it also acquired the Australian rights for Atom Egoyan’s new film, E x otica. Safford: This is a new development for Miramax and an unexpected spin­ off of the Disney acquisition of the company about 18 months ago. We can now self-distribute through Disney’s apparatus in foreign territories. In Australia, Disney has a relationship with Roadshow, so we can go through their system. They have similar situations in UK and, oddly enough, in Scandinavia and Germany. We can do it wherever it makes sense financially. While M iram ax buys from around the world, there is a preference for English-language films. Safford: Quantitatively it is weighted towards English-language cinema, that being from the UK, Australia and New Zealand. But we have also been a leader in foreign-language cinema for an American audience, most recently Kieslowski’s Trois Couleurs trilogy, a Cuban film called Strawberry and C hocolate and the Mexican movie L ike Water for C hocolate, which is the highest-grossing foreign-language film in the U.S. ever. So, it varies. No company has a perfect record in selecting films, and it is well-known that M iram ax turned both The Piano and The Crying G am e down at script stage. Wisely, it picked both up on completion: T he Crying G am e took $60 million in the U.S., and T he Piano $60 million.

THE A P P O I N T M E N T OF TREOLE While M iram ax, and people like Safford in particular, have had an interest in Australian cinema, and done good business here, there had been no specific structure for dealing with Antipodean cinema. That has changed with the appointment of Victoria Treole. Safford: 50




By virtue of being (a) far away and (b) a very productive and important industry for us, we made a decision to bring Victoria on board as someone to be our acquisition consultant here. She will be our eyes and ears on the ground, to track projects, to be in touch with filmmakers, sales agents and producers, to see work. When we are involved in production scenarios here, Victoria will function as our executive in charge of production. We expect the majority of Australian projects to be funnelled through Victoria as an important point of judgment on those projects, and to advocate those projects we should be involved with. Her advocacy will be very important. I strongly believe that projects get made at companies because somebody advocates them, and we expect Victoria to do that with projects out of this region. Treole adds: Obviously it’s exciting for me to be connected with a company that is involved, in my view, with not only the most interesting elements of cinema out of Australia, but also internationally. It gives the possibility for a range of work to be presented to Miramax that otherwise may not be. In one sense, it grows directly out of the work I did at the AFC for a long time. There is a point of connection between having an understanding of the international marketplace and a reasonably intimate level of involvement with Australian cinema, particu­ larly through its creative development, of both filmmakers and projects. Working with Miramax enables me to draw on my previous experience in a commercial environment. So yes, for me, it’s fun.

E V A L U A T IN G A U S T R A L IA N C lN M E A Given Safford’s long-term interest in Australian cinema, what is it that he likes about Australian films? Well, it’s hard to characterize a national cinema in any way that makes sense, but there is a distinct quality to it and that can occur in diverse genres, whether it be Strictly Ballroom or The Piano, which are radically different but both extremely well-directed films. They have a strong ‘individual vision’ behind each of them, and that is a quality of cinema we respond to very much. If there is a common strand amongst filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino, Robert Altman, Peter Jackson, Jane Campion andBaz Luhrmann it is that they have very distinct and bold visions. In the 1970s, there were some commercial negatives associ­ ated with Australian films. One was an accent Americans had trouble understanding (which is why a film like George M iller’s 1979 M ad M ax was dubbed for U.S. release). Safford believes such problems belong to the past. Off the top of my head I don’t see any problems. In fact, you have a kind of curious advantage in that you are not marginalized economically in the way foreign-language cinema is. You have a degree of accessibility in the U.S. that other countries don’t, and yet you have a degree of distinctness, if that’s a word, that foreignlanguage cinema also has. So, you immediately have break-out potential by virtue of being distinct and by virtue of being in the English language. It’s a very tricky line to walk, but you can hit it more often than not. The success of Australian cinema, not just at Miramax but broadly speaking in the U.S., bears that out. Whereas some Australian filmmakers view their work as marginalized by being at the low-budget end of production, Safford disagrees: I don’t think it’s a function of budgets. On one hand, we are all dealing in some broad notion of independent cinema and, yes, that’s to some extent a budget issue, a financial issue, but the hope is you overcome that with a sense of Cinema, a sense of distinct­ ness that is frequently lacking in the studio films.

In some senses, independent cinema is marginalized, but the best of Australian cinema and the best of UK cinema can capital­ ize on that distinct quality within that marginality and move beyond it. At the end of the 1970s and during the ’80s, one often had to force oneself to get enthusiastic about Australian cinema. H ow ­ ever, in the ’90s things changed, with many new people and approaches to cinema emerging. Treole agrees: I actually think that what has happened over the past five years is that the Australian industry has reached a moment of maturity. That has flowed from a very intelligent structure of government assistance to film that sees the importance of the relationship between training, the development of new talent, the develop­ ment and underpinning of the established industry, and produc­ tion finance for both areas. 10BA did, despite the scorn of abuse that has been heaped on it, give the opportunity for a few people to make first features. Dennis O ’Rourke made his first 35mm theatrical documentaries through 10BA, Bill Bennett made his first films that way, and you made your first. It wasn’t all bad. But the capricious nature of a tax-driven investment system was never going to build a kind of secure base from which one could finance movies. So, the establishment of the FFC in 1988 was a very intelligent response to that situation. The industry was extremely fortunate to have a visionary like Kim Williams [Chief Executive, AFC, 1983-88], who could identify the long-term needs of the industry and figure out the best way of providing for them. It was equally fortunate to have a federal government which was receptive to the structures proposed. Since then, there has been a tremendous development in the level of sophistication of that organization’s understanding of the industry, its level of connection with the international industry, and its ability to provide a level of assistance in terms of putting projects together in collaboration with filmmakers, producers, directors and writers. There is also the Film Fund, which helps first-time filmmakers with budgets over $1.3m. I hate the reference to it as the “chook raffle” because I do think there is a bit more to it than a totally random process. Again, as the organization has matured, what you’ve seen is a consistency of access to finance for first-time projects that doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world. I also think that we are in a situation which allows for continual regeneration, for the fact that people will come up through the ranks, make their first movie, and establish a reputa­ tion sufficient to attract significant amounts of international finance for their next project. Once these people get off the ground, they don’t necessarily need the structure that exists in Australia. But some would rather use forms of assistance available here in order to retain complete creative freedom over their work. As well, you have the AFC still providing finance for short projects and documentaries that are more adventurous than the domestic broadcasters are interested in being involved with. Plus, it can do one or two low-budget first features each year. Safford adds: What you are seeing, in fact, is another wave beyond this, and that is the entry into this market of international companies - Miramax, Polygram, Pandora - that consciously or not is a reflection of the quality, and the international viability, of the work that is developing. That’s a sign to those from foreign shores that the existing structures seem to be working very well. Treole: You are always hearing “Australian cinema is in crisis. Look at all this trash that is being produced.” But the reality is is that each year now there are at least a handful of projects that get made which actually work. Importantly, they work with our audiences.

We have a higher level of Australian features being released theatrically in Australia than practically ever before. Those films are also working for foreign audiences. They communicate.

A C RIT IC AL CULTURE While Australia has developed a film industry, what of the critical culture that surrounds it? Safford has concerns in this area: Thinking about The Piano's winning the Palme d’Or last year, I was struck by the fact that the confirmation of the value of Australian cinema has had to be generated abroad. It wasn’t generated internally. That surprised me. Treole: I think that might be a bit harsh, in the sense that Cannes represented the first time The Piano was seen. As an executive in a smart marketing company, you would realize the value of that promotion for the release of the film. Maybe so, but how well would have T he P iano done here without that tremendous advance fanfare. Even a film like Sirens was only released here after it opened strongly, and to much publicity, in America. Treole: I’m not saying there is no truth in what Tony is saying. But it’s always been a smart thing to do in terms of marketing Australian movies domestically to get the stamp of approval, critical or commercial, overseas first. Safford: But why should that be? Why should you have to go offshore for that stamp of approval? Treole: I could actually make a comment about the pitiful critical climate of cinema in Australia, but I don’t think that that is necessarily a smart idea. Outside of Cinema Papers, there is no critical ap­ praisal worth much in Australia.1 I do think, however, that people now are a little generous in their assessments: that is, they are not expecting every single movie to be The Piano or Sweetie or R om per Stomper or whatever. I think there is a bit of breath there, a bit more openness. Safford: A part of that is a question of marketing and publicity, but there is a question of critical consciousness. Maybe there are larger issues there vis a vis Australian national identity. It’s up to AFC to restimulate. The BFI has taken on a bold political agenda. The AFC should be dying for Cinema Papers for what it is doing to stimulate the critical film culture here. Treole adds: More than that, Cinema Papers is now the one film publication. In my experience, it is widely read, here and internationally, and is the only thing that people can look to for a critical view. One of the things that Cinema Papers has done consciously is actually seek out, and provide a forum for, new, younger critics. Some of the most interesting people writing about films in Australia have actually come up through the ranks of Cinema Papers, because they have been encouraged to do reviews and so on. So, without this kind of publication, there is no forum for people to develop their skills and hone their critical instincts about cinema. f 1 Editor’s note: This and the following comments on Cinem a Papers, as can be seen, were not prompted by any question. Their presence, however, caused some editorial concern, in as much as their inclusion may be viewed as self-promotion. However, as it was felt by all involved that similar comments about any other film magazine would not have given rise to any editorial unease, these remarks were left as spoken.



1 0 2 • 51


Australia’s First Films

• •


P art Eleven: A b o rig in e s and oon after January 1 9 0 1 ’s Federation celebrations were recorded on Australia’s first feature length film1, increas­ ingly facile production gear permitted new local applica­ tions of the art. During that Autumn, Baldwin Spencer shot the first major coverage of Australian Aboriginal life, and Clement Mason produced the first story films featuring stars of the Australian stage. These contrasting efforts were both achieved with Warwick Bioscope cameras, which finally rendered the Lumière Cinématographe obsolete.


N ew C e n t u r y , N ew T e c h n o lo g y Before Federation, most movie cameras also served as projectors, and had a film capacity of 100 feet (90 seconds) or less.2 Longer films had to be broken into parts or “tableaux” with pauses for re-loading.3 This impeded the shooting and presentation of complex narratives. Producers tended to construct visual stories with only one camera set-up in each minute-long film roll. A few expensive projectors like the Edison provided 1,000 foot (15 min) capacity for unbroken programme presentation. Comparable camera loads were available in Britain after 1898, when A. J. Prestwich introduced his “No. 4 ” camera with 500 foot magazines.4 However, no evidence of this camera’s usage in pre-Federation Australia has been found. In Australia, the first extended-load camera to be advertised and sold in quantity was the Warwick Bioscope, first imported by its local agents, Baker & Rouse, early in 1901LM anufactured by Alfred Darling and sold in London by Charles Urban’s Warwick Trading Company6, its ability to film lengthy ceremonies and performances gave it unprecedented potential for serious record­ ing and creative story-telling. The Warwick Bioscope camera was available in two models: the “A ”, with externally-fitted 1,500-foot (25 mins) magazines, mainly intended for studio use; and the “B ”, with internallyfitted 150-foot (2.5 mins) magazines.7 Lenses of various focal lengths were available for use with them, and the film transport was smoother and more durable than its Lumière predecessor. An idiosyncratic feature was W arwick’s “view finder”, consist­ ing of a bung-hole beside the lens to let the operator look at the film in the gate.8 One could then focus the image onto the film and check the limit of the field of view, but the image was upsidedown, reversed and skewed obliquely. It took time to master its usage.

S pen c er a n d G illen

W . Baldwin Spencer (1860-1929) and Frank J. Gillen (1855-1912): producers of Central Australian ethnographic films, 1901. Photos by courtesy of Clive Sowry, Wellington, N ew Zealand.


• CI N E M A



When Baldwin Spencer first filmed Australian Aborigines in 1901, he had no preparation for the task and only the scantiest of instructions were supplied. He had been drawn to the work purely by chance. Walter Baldwin Spencer ( 1860-1929) was the son of a wealthy Manchester industrialist with a typically conservative mid-Vic­ torian background. At 10, Spencer’s artistic aptitude had him



Above, left: W arw ick Bioscope Camera, model “ B ” , intended for field usage with 150-foot internal film magazines, as used by Baldwin Spencer in 1901. This particular camera was used to produce the Corrick Family Entertainers’ films c.1907, including T h e B a s h fu l M r . B r o w n . Photo by courtesy of John Corrick, Launceston, Tasmania. CentrerWarwick Bioscope model “ B ” - diagramme from A u s t r a l a s ia n P h o t o g r a p h i c R e v ie w , 22 M ay 1901, p. 24. Courtesy of Meg Labrum, N F S A , Canberra.

Right: Th e W arw ick Bioscope’s unusual “ view finder” consisted of a bung-hole beside the lens, allowing the cameraperson to look at the front of the film in the gate. Th e image seen was inverted, reversed and skewed. Another port, on the back of the camera, gave a view of the back of the film, but this means of viewing the image was so dim that it couldn’t be used outside of a static environment. Photo courtesy of John Corrick, Launceston.

briefly considering a career in that direction, training at the Manchester School of Arts.9 However, he decided to pursue medicine and won a scholarship to Oxford in 1 8 8 1 .10 There, he was largely educated at the University Museum in the age of Darwinian debate and the rise of the science of anthropology. A keen amateur photographer from 1 8 8 4 11, his skill and his artistic training were to prove a boon in recording his later ethnographic expeditions. Influenced to travel by his mentor Henry Moseley, naturalist on the Challenger expedition which circumnavigated the world in 1 8 7 2 -6 12, the 27-year-old Spencer became the first Professor of Biology at the University of Melbourne, a chair which he held for 32 years.13 His new zoological and botanical surroundings gave him territory to explore, describe and classify. There were exploratory field trips to King Island (1887), to Queensland’s Burnett River in search of lungfish (1891), and he almost joined a planned expedition to the Antarctic.14 In 1894, Spencer was appointed as biologist and photogra­ pher on an expedition to Central Australia financed by the philanthropist W. A. Horn. Travelling fourteen weeks by camel up the Overland Telegraph line from the railhead at Oodnadatta, Spencer exhibited a talent for making fast and copious field records.15 He was the first scientist to visit Ayers Rock, taking an

extensive photographic record of the regions inhabited by the Arrente peoples.16 At a tiny telegraph station called Charlotte Waters, eight days north of the railhead, Spencer did his most active biological work and encouraged the resident telegraphist, P. M. Byrne, to prepare a paper on Aboriginal customs.17 It was on the Horn Expedition that Spencer met his future collaborator, Frank Gillen (1855-1912), at Alice Springs. Genial, jovial Gillen, the son of an Irishman, former telegraphist and postmaster of Alice Springs, stimulated Spencer’s interest in Aboriginal life. Their subsequent friendship and joint field trips led to their publication of The N ative Tribes o f C entral Australia (Macmillan, London, 1899), a seminal work in Australian an­ thropology. In 1899, Spencer became the Director of the National M u­ seum of Victoria.18 With the dual institutional base of the University and the Museum, Spencer was now in a position to get support for an extensive Central Australian Expedition with Gillen. Gillen, also an amateur photographer, was well placed to facilitate the mission. As the senior South Australian public servant in the region between Oodnadatta and Darwin, SubProtector of Aborigines and local Magistrate, he was a popular public figure.19 Financed by a group including David Syme (proprietor of Melbourne’s The Age and L e a d e r ), Spencer’s wealthy father and the South Australian Government20, the expedition reached the practical planning stage late in 1900.

F il m a n d P h o n o g r a p h Spencer’s incomplete surviving correspondence makes it difficult to say exactly what inspired him to make motion pictures of Aboriginal life. On 16 September 1900, replying to a letter from Spencer, now lost, Gillen said: “Cinematograph idea is good if the funds will run it, but I think phonographic records of corroborees are even more important.”21 CINEMA


1 0 2 • 53

W arw ick Bioscope camera (1901): interior view (above) and threading diagram (right) from A u s t r a l a s ia n P h o t o g r a p h ic R e v ie w , 22 M ay 1901, p. 25. Typica l of the British cameras of the following 20 years, it was a considerable departure from the combined projector-camera devices which preceded it. Courtesy John Corrick (above) and Meg Labrum , N F S A (right).

Both of these field recording techniques were pioneered by Spencer’s colleague, A. C. Haddon, on a Torres Strait expedition in 1 8 9 8 .22 Haddon’s films included the first shots ever taken of Australian Aborigines23, but their brevity placed them in the experimental category. Haddon wrote to Spencer on 23 October 1900, urging him to explore the medium’s potential more fully: You really must take a kinematograph - or biograph - or whatever they call it in your part of the world. It is an indispen­ sable piece of anthropological apparatus. Get an ordinary com­ mercial one. If you order from London I think I would place myself in the hands of the Warwick Trading Coy., 4 Warwick Court, High Holborn W. C. I have asked them to send you a catalogue & 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.24 A cryptic comment in a letter from Gillen to Spencer on 11 December 1900 implies that Haddon supplied them with their movie camera: If Haddon intents himself on the purchase of the cin. we should get the latest improved instrument. Have you had any experience in working the machine & if not where are you going to gain it?2:1 It was a prescient question. Spencer had already written to Haddon saying: I was in hopes that you would have given me some idea as to how much film to take with me as I have had no experience in this line & can get no help out here.26 A Bioscope camera was nevertheless ordered from Warwick, and film came through the Melbourne agency of Baker & Rouse. James Angas Johnson of Adelaide donated a superb Edison “ Concert” phonograph to the expedition to allow them to record Aboriginal speech and song2/, complementing a field recording outfit the equal of anything available in 1901. With this bulky equipment, Spencer and Gillen set off north­ wards from the Oodnadatta railhead on 19 M arch 1901. They were accompanied by South Australian Trooper Harry Chance (1856-1911)as driver, cook and handyman, and two Aborigines, Puranda and Erlikiliaka from Charlotte Waters, to handle their twenty horses. The film and audio gear was only a tiny part of their outfit. They took a year’s provisions, partly in their two large wagons and partly cached in supply bases en route. Three days out, at Stevenson’s Creek, they initially put the phonograph to work28, recording Aborigines who were “very much excited and interested” to hear their own voices. 54




F ir s t F il m s : C h a r l o tt e W a ter s Filming commenced on 3 April 1901 at Charlotte Waters in Arrente tribal territory, the site of Spencer’s Horn Expedition work. Spencer later admitted his complete ignorance of cinema­ tography: It was a Warwick [camera ...] A diagram showed how to fix the film in the machine, so as to make it run round, but no instructions had been sent out as to what rate to turn the handle, so I had to make a guess at this. The focussing glass was, of necessity, small and you could only get a sideways and not a direct view of it, but, after a little practice with a blank spool, I felt equal to a first attempt in real life [...] We had no idea of what the [...] ceremony was going to be like, so that all I could do was to stand the machine on one side of the ceremonial ground, which was simply an open space in the scrub, focus for about the centre of it and hope for the best. The lens allowed for a fair depth of focus, but the field of action covered by the natives was large and I had not, as in more recent machines a [pan head ...] making it possible to follow up the actors if they moved about very much from side to side of the ceremonial ground. When the performers came on to the ground I was ready for them, and started grinding away as steadily as I could at the handle, though, at first, the temptation was great to vary the rate of turning to suit the rapid or slow movements of the performers. To be a successful cinematographer [...] you had to suppress your feelings, and rise or fall to the mentality of an experienced barrellorgan grinder, who, I then realised, must train him or herself to become utterly oblivious of what, I think, is called tempo, if he or she is to be a success.

Edison “ Concert” phonograph, as used in 1901 by Baldwin Spencer and Frank Gillen to record Aboriginal speech and song in Central Australia. It was the “ Rolls Royce” of phonographs, using extra-large wax cylinders 5 inches in diameter to provide extra volume and clarity.

The chief difficulty was that the performers every now and then ran off the ground into the surrounding scrub, returning at uncertain intervals of time, so that now and again, in the expec­ tation of their suddenly reappearing, and fearful of missing anything of importance, I ground on and on, securing a record of a good deal of monotonous scenery but very little ceremony.29 The mobility of the performers was the least of their worries. They underestimated the length and complexity of the ceremo­ nies to be recorded, as Spencer confided in his diary: The ceremonies last usually about 10 minutes &C as my film only runs 3 minutes I have to keep stopping when they get to a monotonous part which means that every now and then there will be a kind of blur on the screen - that is if the films by good luck develop at all well.30 Filming conditions were uncomfortable: Y ou will observe [a sketch of] what I am like [filming] under these conditions with a native holding an umbrella so as to keep off the light and a little bit of heat & with flies innumerable worrying me all the time. It is not all enjoyment.31 The ceremonies filmed were mostly of a sacred secret nature. Gillen was able to view these as he was an initiate of the Arrente tribe, and Spencer was introduced as Gillen’s “younger brother” ,32 Both researchers had privileged access to Arrente ceremonial life:

Baldwin Spencer filming at Charlotte Waters, 6 April 1901. A self-portrait sketch by Spencer, based on one in his journal, with an Aboriginal assistant holding an umbrella sunshade. Th e sketch confirms that Spencer was using the W arwick model “ B ” , with internal 150-foot magazines.

Our freedom of access to the tribes at all times was simply due to the fact that we were regarded as initiated members. Word was passed on from one tribe to another, and we were always made welcome. Otherwise, our mission would have been hopeless, for only initiated members are allowed to be present, and an outsider would never know that the ceremonies - sometimes extending for months on end - were going on.33 After making each film, careful notes were taken: When it is over, Gillen and I get one or two of the oldest men & sit down with them to tell us what it all means. This often takes a good deal of time because the old men hold lengthy & very solemn discussions about things. Then I write it all down in our journal & get all the photo apparatus ready for the next perform­ ance.34 The detail recorded photographically and verbally was obvi­ ously privileged information. Any analysis of its content must therefore remain beyond the brief of this article, which is con­ cerned only with Spencer’s filmmaking methods. No attempt was made to shoot film with synchronous sound, although songs from some filmed corroborées were separately recorded. The phonograph and its thirty records were returned to Adelaide from Charlotte Waters the day after filming began35, to avoid further risk of breakage to the fragile wax cylinders. They survive in the British Institute of Recorded Sound.36 A few duplicates are held by the University of Adelaide’s Barr Smith Library, and by the Museum of Victoria.37 The film equipment, while not being so fragile, was untested. Gillen and Spencer only had field processing facilities for “still” photographs. After filming at Charlotte Waters concluded, the exposed footage was sealed in tins and sewn into calico bags for dispatch to Melbourne on 8 April 1 9 0 1 .38 There, Baker & Rouse acted as agents for the processing work, which was done by the Salvation Army Limelight Department39 - their first contractual work since filming T he Inauguration o f the Australian C om m on ­ w ealth in Sydney three months earlier.40 Spencer and Gillen had to wait anxiously for news of their results, which eventually reached them via the Overland Telegraph. Right: Route of the Spencer-Gillen expedition of 1901. Th e anthropologists travelled north from the Oodnadatta railhead along the Overland Telegraph line, branching off into the scrub north of Powell Creek and reaching the G ulf of Carpentaria in November 1901. From L i f e (Melbourne), 15 October 1904, p. 107. By courtesy of Clive Sowry. CINEMA



• 55

F in a l F il m s a t A lic e S p r in g s Leaving Charlotte Waters telegraph station on 10 April 1901, Spencer and Gillen travelled north along the Overland Telegraph line, reaching Alice Springs on 22 April. Three days later, they found that the film camera’s wooden magazines had warped: The heat was so great and so dry that, after the camera had been exposed and used for some time, the wood began to shrink and slight cracks made their appearance. It needed constant watching, and stuffing the cracks up with black worsted and porcupine-grass resin, to keep the machine light proof. I decided that it would be wiser to use up the films, of which we had 3,000 feet, be­ fore leaving the Macdonnell Ranges, from which they could easily be sent down to Melbourne to be developed and kept safe.41

Right: Unintha women’s corroboree, filmed by Spencer at Charlotte Waters on 6 April 1901. A n audience of Aboriginal men seated left foreground in the matching cine shot has been excluded from the “ still” , which was published in the Melbourne L e a d e r . This was the only public ceremony shot in Charlotte Waters, and is the only

Charlotte Waters film remaining in the unrestricted viewing print. Below: Tjitjingalla corroboree, filmed by Spencer at Alice Springs late in A p ril 1901. Th is still from Spencer’s W a n d e r i n g s in W i l d A u s t r a l i a (1928) almost matches a film of the same scene. Th e ceremony was not secret, and so remains in the publiclyaccessible viewing print.

Another reason to use up the films in Alice Springs was that it would only involve “the Arunta [Arrente] tribe, who knew us well”42. The Alice Springs shoot began on 27 April 1901 with the public Tjitjingalla corroboree. Gillen recorded their first loss of raw stock: One of the kine films unfortunately slipped out of its holder [magazine] and was utterly spoilt which means a loss to us of 50/- worth of film. Each film is 150 feet in length and costs us in Lon­ don 4d. per foot. The kine is much affected by this dry atmosphere and we are in constant fear of light getting at the films.43 On 30 April news came up the telegraph line that their Charlotte Waters films had reached Baker & Rouse in M el­ bourne. Gillen’s concern persisted: We are anxiously awaiting telegraphic news of their develop­ ment. Should they turn out well we shall feel quite happy, if on the other hand they are fogged then there is little hope of the remaining films being of much account.44 Spencer continued to film ceremonies at Alice Springs un­ daunted by these fears. He was plagued by dust and heat, and on 2 May another problem arose: I ran a hundred feet of film through the cinematograph, but, to my disgust, found, on opening the box in the [field] darkroom, that the greater part of it had somehow slipped off the cogs and had simply wound itself up inside the camera, out of which it sprang and spread in long coils on the floor as soon as the lid was opened. Fortunately I had stuffed up all chinks in the room with red turkey twill, excepting small ones in the roof that could not be got at and only admitted a very dim light. After more than an hour’s tedious work I unravelled the coils and rewound the film which, luckily, was not much the worse for the mishap. Spencer’s faith in motion pictures was not shared by Gillen, who on 5 May recorded another problem in filming sacred ceremonies: [...] the confounded performers, two in number, instead of performing within the field covered by the Bioscope, made a wide semicircular sweep which took them out of the field and practi­ cally wasted a film. I used language, Spencer smiled grimly and in provokingly calm tones said philosophically ‘it’s no use getting excited.’46 The expedition’s shoot concluded at Alice Springs on 11 May 1 9 0 1 ,47 More than 40 minutes of film had been taken - more film than had been devoted to any single subject in Australia up to that 56




time. It recorded Arrente life so close to the time of its first contact with white culture that its value is inestimable. Spencer and Gillen were aware of the cultural value of this footage as they waited for news of the success of its processing. On 15 May 1901, Gillen was elated when telegraphic news of their Charlotte Waters coverage arrived from Melbourne: Baker and Rouse report films exposed fairly correct [...] but machine too far away from object taken [...] Extreme care required in handling films, those received finger marked from damp or perspir­ ing hands [..] We have every reason to be satisfied with Baker & Rouse’s report ‘fairly correct’ is an excellent result considering the conditions under which the films were exposed [...]48 The camera and the final films were sent to Melbourne four days before the expedition left Alice Springs on 24 May 1 9 0 1 .49 Spencer and Gillen went north, eventually crossing the continent to Borroloola on the Gulf of Carpentaria in November.50 Only written notes and “still” photographs were used to record their later ethnographic data. By the time of their return to Melbourne on 17 M arch 1902M, they’d been away for just over a year.

S p e n c e r ’ s F il m E x h ib it io n s At Melbourne’s Town Hall on 7 July 1902, Spencer gave the world’s first maj or public screening of ethnographic film.52 2,000 feet (30 mins) of film were apparently prepared for the lecture at a cost of £ 8 4 53, with a further 100 slides printed from the expedition’s negatives by J. W. Lindt.54 Selections from their field recordings on wax cylinders were also played. Although high admission prices of one and two shillings were charged, capacity crowds turned out and received the lecture enthusiastically.55 It traced the life of the Aborigine from birth to death: physical appearance, environment, material technology, social systems and finally ceremonial life. Sacred secret material was screened without thought or hesitation, and Spencer later confirmed that he had typically racist attitudes of the period in his introduction to the book he wrote with Gillen in 1904, T he N orthern T ribes

1 9 0 1 S p e n c e r - G illen F il m o g r a p h y


A Filmed at Charlotte Waters (now abandoned), Northern Territory 3 April 1901

4 April 1901 5 April 1901 6 April 1901

Reel Reel Reel Reel Reel Reel

(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6)

Kurnmara rain ceremony Blind man ceremony Okilchia snake ceremony Kangaroo ceremony Rain ceremony Unintha women’s corroboree

B Filmed Around Alice Springs, Northern Territory 27 April 1901 28 April 1901 30 April 1901 1 May 1901 2 May 1901 3 May 1901 4 May 1901 5 May 1901 8 May 1901 10 May 1901 11 May 1901

Reels (7) (8) and (9) Tjitjingalla corroboree One of the three reels was spoiled Reels (10), (11) and (12) Tjitjingalla corroboree Reel (13) Tjitjingalla corroboree Reel (14) Eaglehawk ceremony Reel (15) Eaglehawk ceremony Film partly spoiled Reel (16) Kurekatye sacred ceremony Reel (17) Udnirringita witchetty grub ceremony Reel (18) Unjeamba (Sun?) ceremony Reel (19) Echunpa or big lizard ceremony Reel (20a) Sacred ceremony of the great lizard of Ariala Reel (20b) War (Atninga?) dance (remaining 50 feet of last reel)

o f C entral Australia. The filmed ceremonies were, Spencer said: [...] without doubt elaborate, but at the same time [they were] eminently crude and savage in all essential points. It must be remembered that these ceremonies were performed by naked, howling savages [...T6 Shifting community attitudes now transcend Spencer’s ethnocentricity to permit re-assessment of the evidence in his field notes and photographic records. Spencer’s unique “entertainment” was delivered about 50 times in Melbourne and in provincial centres.57 It improved Melbourne University’s public standing, and its finances, when both were at a low ebb. An accountant had embezzled £ 2 4,000 from University funds in 1 9 0 1 .58 More than £200 was raised by Spencer’s first two lectures alone.59 Gillen gave similar lectures in Adelaide, starting on 24 July 19 0 2 60, but his glory days were transient. His last decade was spent with progressive paralysis of muscular function.61 Spencer pro­ duced Northern Territory films after Gillen’s death in 1912, but this was partly shot by the Commonwealth Government’s camera­ man J. P. Campbell62, and it lacks the pioneering creativity of the earlier footage.

3,000 feet (50 mins) of raw film was taken into Central Australia in 20 rolls, each 150 feet (2 min 30 secs approx.) long. 2 ,5 4 7 feet (42 min 20 secs) purportedly survives63, so that three rolls of 150 feet have been lost. Two were spoilt in the field, so per­ haps only one or two were lost after­ wards in processing or in nitrate decomposition. According to Ian Dunlop, the films were in two tin trunks at the Museum of Victoria in the 1960s, one holding negatives and the other holding prints. All of the expedition’s film was taken in Arrente country (spelt “Arunta” by Spencer), and it wholly portrayed Arrente ceremo­ nies. All but the Unintha women’s corroboree and the Tjitjingalla corroboree are sacred secret ceremonies, currently unavailable for viewing. Some parts of the Tjitjingalla are inexplicably missing from the viewing print. M ost of the film cannot be viewed by uninitiated men, or by women. Earlier accounts state that most of the 150 foot reels contain more than one shot, and many contain more than one camera set­ up.64 The restricted 16mm compilation reel is only roughly in chronological order65, without any identifying titles and with some parts out of their correct sequence. Doubt persists about the number of rolls shot at each ceremony, but, without being able to view them, we can only rely on the rough detail provided by the diaries of Gillen and Spencer (see table at left). CONT I NUED ON PAGE 80


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Please allow me... i^ ^ fte r three editions as Technical Editor

but such is the speed of technological

of Cinema Papers, I suppose it ’s about tim e to publish

change that it’s hard for a bi-monthly maga­

a “hello!” note, together with my thoughts on how the

zine to keep up with the more “newsy” bits of

“Technicalities” section of the magazine should work.

industry development. I’m looking forward to

So this is it.

N o one ever knows where to classify film.

hearing from people with ideas, topics or even the slightly longer-term news stories. I want to avoid the film-versus-video conflict. I can’t deny being a “film person”,

This magazine may turn up at the newsagent next to the photography mags or with the

but I don’t think it’s important whether a

teenage~pop and video mags. Colleges run film courses in their Media departments, in their English and Linguistics schools, in

There’s a tendency for stories about elec­

Sociology, under Fine Arts, or with Electrical

same thing; it’s what the manufacturer has decided you want to do), whereas film

Engineering. Cinema is first cousin to televi­

particular technique uses silver, rust or sand. tronic systems to be more hardware-oriented (or software-oriented, which amounts to the

try, conjuring and commerce all running

systems give you more basic building blocks. So, the stories have to be about the

through its veins. There’s something for

way the tools are used. Every digital effects


artist - and three-quarters of the rest of the

sion, and to literature, with drops of chemis­

If Cinema Papers has an obvious viewpoint in the midst of this eclecticism, it is to focus on the craft aspects of cinema. And my purpose in “Technicalities” will be to focus on the

industry - will rush to disagree, and of course they’re right. But the bells and whis­ tles are so dazzling, it’s sometimes hard to get past them.

and the technology that’s used to convey them

This edition’s “Technicalities” only loosely fits the bill. Flame is typical of the new

- most specifically from the technology side.

dazzling digital applications that are setting

In other words, instead of concentrating on the

the creative pace these days. Perhaps the

rows of buttons on a new gizmo, I’d like to

most interesting aspect is that, like so much

discuss how the operator uses them, and what

filmmaking technology, the system started its

good they are to anybody other than the

life in Australia, but needed foreign support

operator. Can the director tell the story differ­

to get finished and to reach a world market.

ently? Does the audience see a different

Meanwhile, the shorter stories - on a

picture? And does the cast - or the crew -

filmmaking museum in Riverstone, and a

have a different job to do because of the

gadget bag manufacturer in Camperdown -


emphasize the enormous range of disci­

relationship between the creative messages

Of course, we’ll still review new (and not-

plines to be found in this industry. - Dominic Case

so-new) bits of hardware from time tq time, CINEMA



. 59

Flame at Complete Post Three years ago, Peter Webb left Melbourne for Hollywood, on a short trip to work on the feature Super Mario Bros (Rocky Morton, 1993). His job was to set up the Australian-originated Flame digital-effects system, and train the American effects team in its use. Now he’s back home, to bring the latest Flame system to Complete Post in Melbourne. I spoke with him and with Chris Schwarze, owner and manager of Complete Post.

dimensional planes of images. We bring som e­ thing in. We can apply 3D animation functions to it. We can light it. We can apply surface texture. We can distort it in a range of different ways. But w e’re never dealing in true 3D. Experimentally, there’s a version of Flame that will handle 3D models, but com m ercially it’s not really operating yet. So you w ouldn’t attempt something like Jurassic Park [Steven Spielberg, 1993], for example, which is full 3D models. But I’ve done work on four feature

What is Flame?





films with a broad range of tasks, and amongst

WEBB: It’s a digital work station, which does

those some of it was creating environments

resolution-independent compositing and visual

fro m s c ra tc h . On o th e r jo b s , I’ve been

effects. That m eans, being a com puter, it

compositing elements that were shot in differ­

doesn’t really care w hether you’re running in

ent places and putting them together to look

PAL or NTSC, film resolution or whatever. It’s

seam lessly-integrated.

just a matter of configuring the system.

SCHWARZE: If you have a 3D model coming in —

How is it different from other packages that are around?

render that away from Flame, and then bring it

WEBB: In Flame, we do work in a 3D environ­

in fully rendered in 3D, and incorporate that

ment, but at present w e’re working with tw o­

model into the film or the video. It does use

like a 3D dinosaur, for example - you can


external inputs like 3D modelling. You can inte­

an executive of a distribution company involved

ing people away from the storyline, and that’s

grate all sorts of things. For example, if som e­

with the movie came out of a test screening and

not the point of the job.

one has done some claym ation, and they want

said, “There aren’t many effects shots in that

I got a lot of satisfaction. We did one shot

to integrate that into a film, they might shoot that

movie, are there?” There are; he just couldn’t

where they had to have a Cadillac falling out of

on green screen or blue screen. You might use

see them.

the back of a plane at 23,000 feet. When we put

a range of models, some com puter 3D anim a­

What are the most fun effects to do? Are they

the shot together, there was a visiting Austral­

tion, and then use Flame to integrate ail of that

the fantasy-land ones, where it’s something

ian director, whose name I actually don’t re­

together into the finished product.

totally unreal, or are they the ones where

member, who happened to see it among the

Peter, w hat are some of the features you’ve

you’re trying to be totally invisible?

dailies. He came over to the effects director

worked on?

WEBB: Both, really. On Super Mario Bros, we did

afterwards and said, “ Boy, you just can’t beat

WEBB: On Super Mario Bros, which was a cou­

a shot where Mario is tumbling through a big

those practical shots, can you?” I got such a buzz out of that. It was really exciting.

ple of years ago, we had a team of about 12

crystal cave, and the entire environment was all

operators working on Flame systems. We did

created within Flame. It’s a multi-plane three-

Peter, you were working in Australia before.

more than 150 shots for the movie. We did

dimensional scene happening, which looked

What’s your story?

quite a bit of the main title sequence, and a lot

almost photographic, and yet very much a fan­

WEBB: Well, I’d done a lot of business theatre

of blue screen work. Actors were shot against

tasy piece. I really enjoyed doing that.

w o rk -s lid e s h o w s , carlaunches, touring shows

a blue-screen stage, and then combined with

On Terminal Velocity, we had some shots

and that sort of thing. Then I got involved with

live-action footage.

where the director’s specific instruction was,

the guy who wrote the software for Flame, Gary

You say you can w o rk in film resolution. How

“We don’t want the audience’s attention to be

Tregaskis, about three years ago. He also comes

about getting in and out of that - getting back to film?

drawn away from the story. We want this to run through w ithout them even questioning it.”

WEBB: Well, it’s actually kind of interesting,

They’re not going to promote T erm inal Velocity

because the software for Flame was written in

as an effects movie, because that’s really draw­


Melbourne. It was then picked up by a Cana­ dian company, which is developing and distrib­ uting it. The film in-film out process, which is called film -to-film - it comes from film and goes out on film, and what happens in the middle is all digital - we put through at Kodak’s Cinesite, which was also developed in Melbourne. We get around the world now! You have to go a long way to use these ideas, though. WEBB: T hat’s right, but it’s now available in Melbourne. We supply the negative to Kodak, which scans the specific number of frames that we specify. We get that back in digital form on Exabyte data tape. Then we do our work, get it put out on Exabyte tape, then it goes back to Kodak. They then use high-resolution film re­ corders to get it back to film again. So Flame is something that fits into that whole Cineon process. WEBB Yes. Cineon isn’t the only people that do it, but that was the one that we chose for that particular movie. What sort of resolution are we talking about? WEBB: W orldwide, people use 2000 lines, which is roughly 1900 x 1500 pixels. It really depends on the aspect ratio of the particular picture that you’re working on. That’s very much adequate. If you look at the film I’ve just finished, Terminal Velocity, it was different to the other ones, because it w asn’t really a fantasy movie. It’s a sort of spy drama action in the air, with people jum ping out of planes. We shot a lot of blue -screen footage, and composited shots on a blue-screen stage into helmet-cam footage. There’d be a few shots of straight helmet-cam stuff, then a couple of effects shots, and then beyond that there’d be a few shots of liveaction stuff. Nobody can pick the difference. In that genre, that’s the ideal thing. In fact,



1 02

• 61


throw information away in order to do that. Keeping it in the higher resolution as long as possible allows you to do so much more with it.

That puts it a step ahead of what other people are using, or is 4-4-4 pretty widespread now? SCHWARZE: No, it’s a definite step ahead. Most

VTRs currently work in 4-2-2, so everyone is working on 4-2-2. You need something like the Ursa Gold to get the 4-4-4 out to start with. So, it’s the next step forward, as far as the resolution and the quality of the images you can get.

Is the final output, in whatever format it comes out, 4-4-4? Schwarze: Well, you’d normally finish in 42-2, but the point is that you’ve done all the matting - all the work - in 4-4-4. It’s the same in the telecine. You’d often record off telecine in 4-2-2, but you’ve still had the advantage, as Peter says, of the colour grading in 4-4-4. So, you keep in 4-4-4 as long as possible. For film resolution, in order to output for theatre re­ lease, 4-4-4 isn’t adequate. You have to output a step higher again. You need always to output at the best resolution that you can.


There’s one thing in Flame that has been promoted a lot, which is very important, and from an audio-visual b a c k g ro u n d -w e ’d worked

in terms of what I see?

th at’s the stabilizing feature. You can get a

together before - and he wrote this wonderful

SCHWARZE: Well, in 4-2-2, the 4 stands for the

wobbly shot or a slightly floating shot, and lock

piece of software. I was working on the inter­

black and white component of the image, and

it steady, which has a wide range of applica­

face, and we put some jobs through it here in

then the 2 and 2 stand for the colour resolution.

tions with matting. There’s a huge range of

Melbourne. I wrote the original manual for it.

So, to make an image 4-2-2, you actually have

uses for that. At the same time, you can lock

The first m ajor feature to pick the software

to throw away some of the colour information.

another object onto any part of the picture, so

up was Super Mario Bros, and they sent me

Whereas, if you’re working 4-4-4, you keep the

you can get some detail of the picture and lock

over to train the people in Hollywood. That was

full colour resolution of the picture. The new

another thing onto that, which has a huge

tw o-and-a-half years ago - and I just didn’t

Ursa Gold is 4-4-4 throughout, and I’ve been

range of applications.

come back. There’s so much work over there.

very careful to make sure that all the peripheral

Is one possible application when you have something unsteady, and you can’t Steadigate it for some reason, or the camera itself was unsteady? I can imagine a lot of important uses for that.

I’m back here for a couple of months, working

equipment is 4-4-4 as well, so that I can feed

with Chris, setting up his facility. That’s what

straight into the Flame system. What that means

I’ve been doing.

is that in a matting situation - blue screen and

How did Flame become a Canadian product from an Australian development, or is there a long political story?

green screen and so on - there’s so much more

WEBB: Well kind of. As I understand it, the

Flame has an excellent

money ran out here. The Canadian company

matting programme for

picked it up, and put a lot of money and people

blue and green screen

into developing it as a marketable product,

matting, so now with 4-

in fo rm a tio n




which it now is. It’s got a wide base of installa­

4-4 th at’ll be improved

tions across Europe and the U.S., and now

even more. It’ll just take


it so much furtherthan is

Chris, is Complete Post the first company to pick up Flame here?

currently available.

WEBB: Y e s,

if y o u ’ re

p u ttin g im age A over


background B. Even if


th e y ’ re lo c k e d o ff, if


th e r e ’s th e

s lig h te s t

amount of float between


them, it com pletely blows


the illusion. Flame stabi­


resolution of the image.

WEBB: But that will also

lizes them to beyond the It’s to a hundredth of a

SCHWARZE: Well, Flame is the software pack­

extend across colour grading and everything.

age, and you can run on a variety of computer

The more inform ation you have to start with,

up and down, side to side, rotation, track and

platforms. It’s the first in Australia running on

the less degradation when you start to m anipu­

scaling as well. If you composite something into

pixel. It’s incredibly accurate. We can remove

the Onyx supercomputer, and that gives you

late it.

a zoom, for instance, you can have it follow all

real-time video in and out, which is really im­

the possible idiosyncratic movements of the

I should add that Flame is starting to get

With 4-2-2, have we been seeing a sort of compromise - something that is less than ideal?

involved with post-production houses overseas.

SCHWARZE: Yes. 4-2-2 is a standard that they

What’s going on at Complete Post at the moment? Are you using it?

Rushes and The Mill have picked it up in Lon­

came up with. When you start off with a televi­

SCHWARZE: Yes! The jobs are really starting to

don, as have some m ajor post-production

sion signal, there’s so much information that

come in now.

portant for television work.

background image.

houses in Los Angeles and New York.

it’s very difficult to record it on tape, and they’re

There’s a shot where someone has to come

Can you explain the 4-4-4 business to me? It handles 4-4-4 digital, which is in line with your Ursa telecine. What’s the improvement

always trying to push the barriers back, and get

and look at a dead horse. It’s difficult to get

better quality and so forth. 4-2-2 is currently the

actors to work with dead horses! So what they

standard to record onto tape, but they have to

have to do is get a horse and lie it down, and we






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• 63


make it look dead - freeze it. That will involve

Flame. There’s one module in Flame where you

don’t notice them, there is lensflare, and motioi

stabilizing shots and so on.

can distort an image, just by grabbing the cor­

blur, and the depth of field things and, if yo_ don’t see them, you begin to get suspicious

We also need to put some traffic lights into

ners of it, twisting it and cranking it around.

an o utb ack scene. T h a t’s a fa irly sim ple

They have a flat label and distorted it by tw ist­

about a shot. There’s such a broad range of

compositing job, but then we found the film was

ing it around to a curve. We have animatable

tools that you can create more convincing com ­

damaged in the shoot, so we have to fix the film

light sources, so they could match the lighting

posites than ever before.

because there’s a scratch on it. But for most of

that was in the actual scene.

these shots, no one’s going to say, “Wow! How

a vital part of the brand name ...

There’s an increasing blur between produc­ tion and post-production, isn’t there? These sort of things are really bringing production into the post environment, doing things that otherwise you’d have to go back and reshoot.

That’s an interesting way of looking at it: you introduce the flaws that we’re used to. It’s an interesting reversal, because people have been trying so hard to make things better and better that you can make them superior to the rest of the film.

did they do that?” It’s just another shot. There’s anothershot where someone is hold­ ing a can of drink, and his fingers are covering

He’ll never work in this town again!

SCHWARZE: Yes, it’s becoming more and more

WEBB: Yes. If you have a locked-off camera

SCHWARZE: Well, we can’t reshoot it. It was shot

important to plan these effects with the artist

sitting in a blue screen studio and you’re shoot­

overseas, and the talent is now in another part

who’ll be working with Flame. There’s obviously

ing s o m e o n e -e v e n if they’re moving around on

of the world.

a lot of discussion about how it should be shot.

a rig - it’s going to be way too sharp up against

WEBB: We have all the tools. With the label

You need to get involved at a much earlier stage.

something on helmet-cam. We can even re­

replacement on the drink, he actually shakes

WEBB: You’re blurring the distinction back outto

move grain from both plates, composite them,

the drink to mix it up. It would be difficult for me

pre-production as well. Something I’ve found

then re-introduce film grain across the whole

to do that, except that Flame has tracking tools

we’re doing here which happens in Hollywood

lot. So, even if you’re not conscious of it, be­

to follow the motion.

is that we can sit down with the guy w ho’s very

cause your eye is seeing consistent film grain

Flame has motion blurring, where it’ll follow

adept at doing blue screen work or whatever,

across the whole lot, you don’t suspect any of

the path of something that you have tracked. If

and we can save them thousands of dollars in

the edges. You just believe it.

it senses that there would have been motion

post-production just by getting them to prepare

while the shutter is open, then it’ll blur it with the

the elements correctly for our technology.

background, it really looks like a film flaw - like

Anything else?

Coming from a film background, I’m happy that you’re still trying to make things look like film.

the motion blur you get on film.

SCHWARZE: Flame is being used in a lot of current

WEBB: W e’ve done a lot of work re-introducing

SCHWARZE: People are now starting to script

features. In Speed [Jan de Bont, 1993], for exam­

motion jitter, where perhaps the film transport was

jobs for Flame tools and w e’re quoting a lot of

ple, there’s a hole in the freeway which the bus

a little worn out. We can analyze the film move­


jumps over. It’s a most unrealistic jump, but the

ment, take it out, and then put it back in again at

I was at a conference in London last year where they were talking about a “Pan-Euro­ pean” television commercial, where the same product in some countries was called Coke Light and in other countries Diet Coke, it’s the same ad, but a different can with a differ­ ent label on it. 1don’t know what system was used for that, but it’s not as simple as just replacing a static pack shot.

hole was created in Flame.

the end. That makes a big difference, too.

WEBB: Flame has a lot of tools that introduce the

hope to see a lot of that happening in Australia,

WEBB: I did see a sim ilar shot in New York using

flaws that one is trained to see. Even though we

and Melbourne especially.

In True Lies [James Cameron, 1994], there’s movie. As Peter says, you can intercut Flame

It’s good to hear about some of these applica­ tions. That’s what I’m interested in following up for Cinema Papers.

work with original film, and it stands up per­

WEBB: It’s exciting. People like Fred Schepisi

fectly. All the feature films that have been pro­

and others like him who choose to do post­

duced are using the sort of resolution that Flame works in.

production back here would probably love to

a lot of Flame work. That’s quite an amazing

use Flame if they knew it was available. I really #

Rocket Launch IL L U S TR A TIO N : DAVID McKAY

It’s not often that the arcane world of grips and

full colour photos of every product - yes, even

camera assistants gets a mention in the pages

the sandbags - plus a couple of full page paint­

of Cinema Papers , but this column, dedicated

ings to nail up on the wall. And the goods live up

to spanning all aspects of the craft of filmmaking,

to the pitch. The on-set bag and the bucket bags

is ready with a story.

have more pockets than the Artful Dodger picked

Grant Atkinson and Devina Maxwell - aka

in a lifetime. The bags are all heavy duty Cordura

Rocket Films - have brought quality and flair to

with polyesterstitching. If they were any tougher

the world of gadget bags, scrims and apple

they’d rust, but they w on’t, because all the

boxes. I missed their recent launch party, but

chrome metal is double dipped. Anyone who

dropped in later to see their crowded premises

wears out this stuff is working much too hard.

in downtown Camperdown, from which they

Since the catalogue launch, Maxwell tells

manufacture an astonishing range of excellent

me that orders are coming in from overseas.

bits and pieces. There are tool bags, bucket

Word is spreading.

bags and make-up bags, with pouches of every

According to its catalogue, Rocket Films

conceivable size and shape. They have flags

hope one day to rise and become a huge m ulti­

and cutters with frames made to last not to rust.

national organization and eventually take over

They have sand bags and shot bags filled with

the world. They will. Where our directors and

top quality stainless steel shot.

cinem atographers went first, the camera as­

And the flair? A magnificent catalogue, illus­

sistants will surely follow. Watch: where there’s

trated by Mambo artist David McKay. This isn’t

a grip, there’s a Rocket. You read it here first.

just a rate card. It’s on good glossy paper, with 64




Movie Making Museum I found it unsettling to visit a

ers, including an early Ampex 2-inch quad ma­

museum and find so much equip­

chine and a Philips 2000 system cassette player.

ment that is still in use, but the

Bushby has had discussions with the National

benefit is that much of the collec­

Film & Sound Archive in the hope of including

tion is still in working order, and

some of the Wetzel collection in his display, and

visitors can watch old cinema

is always happy to hear from people with old

com m ercials and other shows

equipment that deserves a public home.

clattering through a Moviola. The

At present, the Movie Making Museum, in

display is more than a row of

Garfield Road East, Riverstone, opens on the

machines - it feels like a film

first Sunday of each month, or at other times by

cutting room, with old contact

appointment with Paul Bushby, who can be

phone lists from Artransa and

contacted after hours on (02) 627-3493.

despatch notes from Cinefilm


stuck on notice boards, film post­ The stampede towards non-linear editing has

ers on the wall, and piles of cans covering every

left a lot of editing rooms full of m uch-loved but

available surface. Among the visitors have been

now hardly-used flatbed editing machines. Some

more than 700 schoolchildren: Bushby reports

of them have found their way to Riverstone, in

that the children were all fascinated to watch

Sydney’s north-west, where film editor-turned-

projected images - an increasingly rare change

telecine operator Paul Bushby has opened a

from video images. And it’s hard to imagine, in

Movie Making Museum.

the future, visiting a museum of computer and

The museum shares its p re m is e s -th e origi­


electronic equipment that will have such a com­

nal schoolhouse in Riverstone - with the local

pulsive air to it. There is something about

historical society, and is a part of the Blacktown

sprocketed film equipment that will have to be

City Bicentennial Museum. After months of ne­

ranked alongside steam engines and grandfa­ ther clocks.

gotiating, Bushby got approval to move in just


before Heritage Week, earlier this year. At that

Since the Hans Wetzel museum at Buderim,

time, the core of the exhibit was just four editing

Queensland, closed, there hasn’t been a display

machines. By now, than-ks to donations from

like this. Although the Blacktown collection is

all over New South Wales, the museum in­

strongly biased towards film editing, there is the

cludes an example of every make of film editing

beginnings of a camera collection - so far 16mm,

machine used in Australia: Mov-iola, Acmade,

8mm and even 9.5mm, together with a number of

Steenbeck, Intercine, and so on.

16mm projectors and various format tape play­

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■ 65



Body Melt; Eat Drink Man Woman; Muriel’s Wedding; My Country; Spider & Rose


ody M elt is comprised of a

sections of the horror movie: the

number of sub-plots, one

backwater psychosis plot; super­

of which has the characters Sal

natural-occult plot; conspiracy-


Ciccone (Nick Polites) and Gino

parasite-contamination plot; and

Argento (M aurie Annese), a

so on. The film is a part-typology

couple of Italian kids with loads

of horror plots, but Body M elt does

of sperm backed all the way up

not go about its work as a simple

into their brain. They start off

typology, for, while the represen­

on a journey to Vim uville, a

tation of suburbia is not a stranger

health farm -cum -leisure resort,

to horror, Homesville is not any

where th e y ’re anticipating a

suburban estate. It is the suburbia

saucy weekend. They never

of Australian television land. What

m ake it; instead, when the

is not lost on the audience is that

Monaro’s windscreen is dam ­

most of the film ’s characters are

aged, Sal and Gino are forced

very fam iliar sorts - they stem

to seek aid from a homicidal

from the box in the corner and run

backwater fam ily th at’s headed

the gam ut of te le v is io n from

by Pud (Vincent Gil), who runs

soapies like Neighbours, through

a kind of roadside service.

cop shows like Division 4 or Cop

Before they encounter their

Shop, on to commercials foryoung

grisly demise, however, the boys

home buyers, fitness freaks, FM

are half-affected (-infected) by

radio, you name it!

the reckless antics of this fam ­

Again, it is a question of recon­

ily. In one telling moment, Sal

stituting the representation of Aus­

and Gino look on with both ex­

tralian suburbia as a nightmare.

citement and disbelief as two of

And it is the body, of course, which

the fam ily’s screwiest members

is the focal point of reconstitution.

fell one of Australia’s sacred

In other words, it is not insignifi­ cant that most of the characters

emblems (a kangaroo) with an expertly-flung rock, then cut out


end up becoming the very fears

its andrenal gland and swallow it to the tune of

Cinema Papers, Brophy’s earlier 60-minute

they try to stave off, or the desires they wish to

tantalizing moans.

featurette, Salt, Saliva, Sperm and Sweat, is a

fulfil (“death by hyperreal causes”). For exam ­

Any sense of cultural and moral indignation

good example. The film is composed of four

ple, an over-sexed bodybuilder at Vim uville

(which amounts to the same thing in this case)

segments, each segment telling the same m ini­

grows an unnaturally big erection to the point

over this scene is intentional. Yet, this is not

mal story, yet each story constituted in four

that it explodes; the health and fitness fanatic,

indignation for its own sake. For while Body

different ways - through food, sex, swearing

Thompson Noble (Adrian Wright), becomes a

M elt knows itself to be something of an illegiti­

and violence.

blubber of snot; Vim uville’s beautiful and youth­

mate child of this thing called Australian film, it

Similarly, Body M elt involves the occupants

is also like a child looking to adopt (or create) its

of four sickly-pristine suburban homes located

up into an old hag and then becomes a mass of

own family. The kangaroo scene is one of the

in Pebbles Court, Homesville - an newly-estab­

flesh tissue.

sharpest emphases for the film ’s place on the

lished, A.V. Jennings-like estate. This time,

Another aspect not lost on the audience is

cultural landscape - the Australian outback is

however, the stories are interwoven by the thread

that Body M elt definitely loves its backwater

one to be reconstituted as Texas Chainsaw

of the Vimuville organization which has chosen

family, whereas most everybody and every­


the unsuspecting occupants of Pebbles Court

thing else in the film is ready for a lampooning

Director Philip Brophy is not one to avoid the

ful hostess, Shaan (Regina Gaigalas), shrivels

for experimentation of a new body-enhance­

(both a literal and abstract lam pooning.) The

reconstitution of all sorts of cultural icons, ob­

ment drug. But the drug is defective, and their

cause of the mayhem is, after all, as a result of

jects, shapes and form s as a formal practice. It

bodies become prone to uncontrollable fits of

Pud’s sneaking off with an essential ingredient

has informed his work across a range of media

ripping apart, throwing up and melting down.

to the body-enhancem ent drug some tw enty-

- music, performance, television, video, publi­

It becomes fairly clear that what happens to

odd years ago. This is im portant because, if the

cations and, of course, film. For the readers of

each set of occupants corresponds to cross­

film is a part-typology of horror, then it’s also





dealing with the (difficult) question of origin.

talked about in an interview:

father hours to prepare. Yet, with every dinner,

When Sal and Gino chance upon Pud and his

I was brought up by my Taiwanese parents in a

the daughters have grown tired and critical of

clan, again it is not insignificant that a good

serious way [but] I want to treat complex family

their father’s cooking. Moreover, with their pro­

deal of the dialogue is devoted to talk about

issues in a humorous way. Every family exists

gressive ways, they have come to expect open­

where people come from. At one point, Pud

because of sex, but that’s precisely the topic

ness and directness, and are frustrated in their

asks Gino where he is from; at another, one of

families usually have the most trouble discussing.

attempts to communicate with their old-fash­

Speaking specifically of the character of Mr

ioned, taciturn father.

Pud’s offspring (?) asks Sal. But, more im por­ tant as a reflection of where Body M elt is

Chu, Lee has said:

Chu’s attitude towards them intensifies the

coming from, is a response Gino gets to the

The father doesn’t know how to talk to his daugh­

problem. He is the keeper of tradition and

question of whether Pud is the clan’s father:

ters, all he knows is how to satisfy one of their

refuses to let his daughters cook, or follow in

“Ah, I dunno. W e’re all kind of m ixed.”

basic needs - food. He prepares the most elabo­

his footsteps. The middle daughter, who wanted

rate, complex dinners.

to be a chef, is sent instead to university to become a business executive and enter a world

To sum up, the practice of reconstitution in Body M elt is in part a dynamic response to the

In Eat Drink Man Woman, Lee uses food as

phenomenon of the Australian film industry

the metaphor of what is happening to the fam ­

(which could do with a little reconstitution):

ily, where the old rituals are slowly and inevita­

But sex is stronger than the family ritual, and

“W e’re talking fuckin’ ’90s, man! Cognition en­

bly breaking down. Chu is a chef in a famous

slowly one by one the daughters leave the home

hancers designed to take you into new intra-

restaurant and Lee films these sections in the

to pursue their own private erotic lives. Lee

phenomenological dimensions ... whoosh!”

Chu knows nothing about.

Grand Hotel where an actual elaborate wed­

treats these love affaires as absurdly comic, with

The other essential part of reconstitution is

ding banquet is being prepared. These scenes

the men in the daughters’ lives shown to be just

that it makes for a helluva laugh; what other

are shot on steadicam and are fast-and-furious

as complex and vulnerable as the women. Jen’s

Australian film could get away with a line like,

with a documentary feel, as the camera uses

unlikely fling with the very cute sports coach

“You fuckin’ Bob Geldof of the gym -set!”?

the location and people to maximum and often

finally brings her true love; Kien’s open relation­

BODY MELT Directed by Philip Brophy. Producers: Rod Bishop, Daniel Scharf. Associate producer: Lars Michalak. Scriptwriters: Philip Brophy, Rod Bishop. Director of photography: Ray Argali. Production de­ signer: Maria Kozic. Costume designer: Anna Borghesi. Sound recordist: Gary Wilkins. Editor: Bill Murphy. Composer: Philip Brophy. Cast: Gerard Kennedy (Det. Sam Phillips), Andrew Daddo (Johnno), Ian Smith (Dr. Carrera), Vince Gil (Pud), Regina Gaigalas (Shaan), Maurie Annese (Gino), Nick Polites (Sal), William Mclnnes (Paul Matthews), Brett Climo (Brian Rand), Adrian Wright (Thompson Noble), Lisa McCune (Cheryl Rand), Suzi Dougherty (Kate), Jillian Murray (Angelica Noble). A Dumb Films presentation of a Body Melt Production. Australian distributor: Dumb Films. 35mm. 84 mins. Australia. 1994.

humorous effect.




he critical and box-office success of The Wedding Banquet introduced the cinema

Lee also uses the streets of Taipei for mon­ tage sequences which reveal startling contrasts

steals herfriend’s boyfriend and finds herself the

in the characters’ daily lives. We see a busy

soulmate of his philosophical outpourings.

traffic intersection filled with hundreds of motor

The father’s own fantasies are also put to

scooters and cars, followed by interior shots of

the test when an overbearing widow, Madame

the traditional family home. Chu’s three daugh­

Liang (Ah-Leh Gua), moves in next door, and

ters are shown out in the workforce: the eldest,

sets out to seduce him. But Chu has his own

Jen (Kuei-Mei Yang), teaching all-male stu­

secret plans, which he reveals to his shocked

dents at a technical college; the second, Kien

family in a scene that is hilarious in its depiction

(Chien-Lien Wu), giving a presentation in an

of outdated family mores. Like in The Wedding

airline company boardroom; and the youngest,

Banquet, Lee films these scenes as satire, with

Ning (Yu-Weng Wang), working in a fast-food

a sting in the tail. Finally, the past is gone

outlet, whilst at home Chu kills a chicken for

forever, though the family members discover

dinner. Then there’s the image of the young

that there is still familial love and affection in

schoolgirl who gulps down her breakfast at the

this harsh brave new world.

bus stop juxtaposed by the vista of a temple high in the mountains enveloped by mist. The

new state. Symbolically, Chu’s old key doesn’t fit the new lock on the house he has sold. There

for the family drama to unfold.

is no turning back and little time for reflection.

The banquet that awaits Chu’s three daugh­

turned to his native Taiwan to make his third

ters each evening is a feast which has taken the

There his camera encounters the new in­ dustrial Asia and an era of social upheaval. Lee sees the long-revered kinship ties dissolving and fam ily breakdown threatening social har­ mony. It’s a bittersweet vision of social trans­ formation, where the old Asian traditions leap into high-tech culture in one generation. The economic growth which the Taiwanese enjoy in Eat Drink Man Woman brings the dislocation of divorce, open relationships, and a new attitude by the young that finally brings the discussion of sex on to the agenda. These changes are distilled in the film into a personal, intimate tragi-comedy, played out in the microcosm of the family. At the film ’s outset, Chu (Sihung Lung), a widower for 16 years, and his three adult daughters, still live under the same roof, but just barely. The thoroughly mod­ ern, Powerbook-toting daughters spend their days in the city, with its westernized high-rise office buildings, schools and hamburger franchises, only to return to the archaic Chinese atmosphere of the home their father has created for them. Symptomatic of modern Taiwan is a host of universally-felt ironies, of which Ang Lee has

In truth, both generations have evolved to a

contrasts are visually stark, and set the context

world to Asian director Ang Lee, who has re­ feature, Eat Drink Man Woman.

ship with her ex-boyfriend brings a nasty shock when he reveals his own agenda; and Ning


Life goes on with births, deaths and m arriages am idst a myriad of elaborate Chinese dishes.

Lee told Cinema Papers that he usually

American narrative to a passing audience. In a

rehearses his actors for two weeks, where

series of lengthy flashbacks, our hero recounts

The film ’s serious m essage is delicately

changes to the script are made, but after that

his involvement in the most important media

balanced by comic elements throughout, such

there are very few changes. He very much

moments from the late 1940s to the early ’80s.

as the rom antic pursuits of Jen, a grim technical

wanted to work with Sihung Lung again, who

teacher and a born-again Christian who sings

plays the father in all three film s that Lee has

lower-than-average I.Q. to a genteel Southern

hymns at Karaoke parties. Her conquest of the

directed. Lee feels the cast of this film is “ like

woman who insisted her son be treated no differ­

unsuspecting volleyball coach is outrageously

the ingredients of a perfect dish; they are a

ently to other children, and who installed within

Gump was born with a crooked spine and a

funny, as he doesn’t really know what’s hit him.

perfect ensem ble” . E at D rink Man Woman

him a hom ely and sim ple philosophy best

A shotgun m arriage is followed by his outra­

seems destined to be just as popular as The

summed up by sentiments such as, “Life is a box

geously funny conversion to Christianity. Also

Wedding Banquet.

of chocolates: you never know what you’re going

memorable is old Chin-Cheng Lu (Lester Chen),

EAT DRINK MAN WOMAN Directed by Ang Lee. Pro­ ducer: Li-King Hsu. Executive producer: Feng-Chyi Jiang. Associate producers: James Schamus, Ted Hope. Line producer: Ta-Peng Lan. Scriptwriters: Ang Lee, James Schamus, Hui-Ling Wang. Director of photography: Jong Lin. Production designer: FuHsuing Lee. Sound recordist: Tom Paul. Editor: Tim Squyres. Composer: Mader. Cast: Sihung Lung (Chu), Kuei-Mei Yang (Jen), Chien-Lien Wu (Kien), Yu-Wen Wang (Ning), Ah-Leh Gua (Madame Liang), Sylvia Chang (Jin-Rong), Winston Chao (Li Kai), Lester Chen (Chin-Cheng Lu). Central Motion Picture Corporation-Ang Lee-Good Machine production. Australian distributor: Palace. 35mm. 123 mins. Taiwan. 1994.

to get next.” Gump then repeats these sickly

the fellow grand chef at the restaurant, who jokes about his own imm inent death by a fart. Eat D rink Man Woman is fast, funny and sophisticated and, despite its Asian language and location, is fairly accessible to an interna­ tional audience. For the most part, the fam ily predicament it portrays is universal. However, the Asian custom of most children staying in the fam ily home until they marry makes the dynamics of fam ily break-ups all the more dev­ astating. Also, there’s the ever-present dilemma of which sibling will look after the ageing par­ ent, a tradition still prevalent in Asia despite its recent westernization. Technically, the film is polished and wellcrafted, though perhaps cinematically conven­


homilies to confused individuals in an idiot-Southern drawl, thus supposedly enlightening their lives. Sally Field as mama acts appropriately respectable and stately, with a prerequisite death­ bed scene full of sentiment and pathos. Forrest Gump is above all a romance, one that starts between young Gump and his soul­ mate, Jenny (Robin W right), the pretty blonde girl who lives down the road. Jenny sees Gump for what he truly is, and, while her life is mired in tragedy and despair, she always has encour­ agement and filial love for him. T heir relation­ s h ip w ra p s its e lf a ro u n d th e h is to ry of contem porary Am erica, with Forrest’s unre­ quited love a constant in Jenny’s turbulent life.

Campbell’s style of mythology Is perfectly suit­

For all of Gump’s naïveté and stumbled-upon

tional, except for the steadicam and montage

able to our New Age ethos: his master myths are

fame, Jenny displays a diam etrically-opposed

sequences. Lee’s cinematographer, Jong Lin,

strenuously optimistic, full of hope, bravery and

desire for experience no m atter how degrading

who also worked on The Wedding Banquet, says

the ability to overcome, peopled by strapping

or ignoble: thus, she foolishly involves herself

that while shooting Lee “retains the instinct and

male heroes and fair maidens in distress [...]

in striptease, drugs and the peace movement.

reactions of a person sitting in the theatre” .

Above all, they present themselves as timeless

Forrest is a true ‘accidental hero’, and it is his

and universal - pitched at a sub­

ability to “run like the wind” which leads him to

lime level which promises to tran­

play a rôle in a series of important American

scend the petty materiality of our

events. From being a star running back for the

specific historical moment, our

All-American football team to a Vietnam hero, to

particular place in the social world,

a ping pong champion, to an entrepreneur mil­

our distinctive bodies and person­

lionaire, Gump manages to meet every Presi­

alities, and to resolve all the wars

dent over the past thirty years, become one of

and scars that arise from the abra­

the first Americans to visit the People’s Republic

sions of everyday reality.

of China, influence the peace movement of the

— Adrian Martin

’60s, play a rôle in developing John Lennon’s

artin is describing Joseph Cam pbell’s understanding of contemporary myth; he may as well be describing Forrest Gump and its underlying ethos. This film is truly monumental - in terms of its scope, its technical ability and its outstanding success in the U.S. Director Robert Zemeckis takes us on another journey into a world made up of fact intermingled with fantasy as in Who Fram ed Roger R abbit and Back to the Future. Forrest Gump is a film that de­ mands attention, not only for its technical wizardry, but for its ap­ peal to a popular audience in its claims of authenticity and morality. Forrest Gump is a tale of a sim­ ple man in a complex world: as the everyman storyteller sitting on a bus stop bench in a stately Southern town, Gump (Tom Hanks) retells the




10 2

lyrics, and then top these achievements by jog ­ ging across America over the space of three years in beautifully-shot scenes that are unfortu­ nately reminiscent of West Coast rock film clips. Forrest Gump is truly a trium ph of sameness over diversity, of linear narrative over the com ­ plexities of history, of Hollywood technology over reality, of blind optimism over difficulty, and, above all, of marketing genius. Take the soundtrack, for example: if it’s Credence, it must be Vietnam; if it’s the Mamas and the Papas, it must be San Francisco in the ’60s; etc. It is yet another example of that interesting phenomenon whereby popular culture is ap­ proached with a “best of” m entality. Above and beyond this is the story itself, the ultim ate New Age vision-quest where the concept of discovering “the child w ithin ” is taken to the nth degree. W hat could be more appealing than Gump (the quintessential nice guy libertarian - not too good looking, not too bright), who provides an apolitical figure of old-fashioned m orality and decency, and who gets the girl andVne money too? Best of all, we


get to see the images that shaped a n ation’s


consciousness, such as the Kennedy assassi-

nations, the march on W ashington, N ixon’s resignation, etc., m anipulated and reinscribed to make them more m edia-friendly, so that Forrest gets a guernsey in each. It is this Zeiiglike visual m anipulation which is outstanding w ithin the film , but, unlike W oody A llen ’s film , which was satisfied at just inserting the char­ a c te r a m o n g st the a ction , th us iro n ic a lly com m entating in a detached manner, Gump actually influences what happens. Not only is the manipulation of events and imagery noteworthy, but also the emphasis on individuality espoused within the film. Not the individuality of difference, but one of sameness - if only we were all like Forrest, the world would be a better place. To further this message, we are presented with a procession of clichéd char­ a cters w ho e ith e r re in fo rce the e ssen tial “Gumpness” of us all, or else the “anti-Gump” . In the first camp, we have Forrest’s Vietnam buddy, Bubba, essentially an African-American version of himself in terms of simplicity and naïveté. In the latter camp, we have figures such as the peaceniks and the Black Panthers, caricatures of the angry young radicals, full of fury and hypocrisy, and characterized by violence and propaganda. Then there is Lieutenant Dan (the talented Gary Sinise), who gets in touch with his inner Gump after losing his legs during the Viet­ nam war, thus echoing the journey from cyni­ cism and lack of faith to optimism and belief we all should follow. Traditional, conservative values are cham ­ pioned within this film, and it is this aspect along with the rewriting of history which has interest­ ing im p lica tio nsfo rsu ch a popularm ovie. It is at this p o in tth a ta co n sid e ra tio n of Adrian M artin’s quote seems to summ arize neatly a lot of what goes on in Forrest Gump. It is a film which illustrates a type of myth-m aking which ex­ plores and explains little, and which evades



tough, com plex questions. However, this is not ith M uriel’s Wedding(P. J. Hogan) and The

the film. M uriel’s Wedding is an ugly duckling

culture manufactured from within the “dream

Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

type fable, in which the necessity of fantasy,

factory” of Hollywood, Forrest Gump displays

(Stephan Elliott) vying for the honours at this

especially of the self-delusory kind, plays a

the fascination for magic, desire for epic narra­

year’s AFI Awards, the legacy of Baz Luhrmann’s

central role. While showing its pitfalls (som e­

tive and storytelling, and, most of all, the w ork­

Strictly Ballroom, with its ‘quirky’ blend of the

times starkly), the film does respect fantasy as

ing of minds with a “finely tuned sense of what

ordinary and the extraordinary, is hard to miss.

a fact of personal and social life, and perhaps

works for audiences to the extent that fears and

This latest stylistic spate continues the tradition

even as a viable path to self discovery.

desires both profound and whim sical are being

of safely-eccentric Australian films, a tradition

Like her so-called friends, Muriel Heslop

aroused in them ” . For all its faults, it is hard not

that threatens to define our unique culture a little

(Toni Collette) is struck by the dream of suc­

to be drawn into the simple, fantastic world of

too succinctly: eccentric without being radical,

cess in the form of marriage and a husband. But

Forrest Gump and his all-encom passing time

natural without being too honest. And, like its

faced with rejection for being too daggy, and

machine, even if it is at the hands of canny

high-profile compatriots, M uriel’s Wedding has

derision from an overbearing father (Bill Hunter)

Hollywood film executives who ignore ample

chosen the ‘slightly camp, but very classical’

for being “useless” , Muriel is forced to pursue

opportunity for a more tongue-in-cheek ap­

narrative to marry the potentially-conflicting im­

her dreams in the solitude of her room, to the

peratives of the art of marketing and the art of the

strangely m elancholy sounds of ABBA.

to dism iss the film: as a moment of pure popular

proach. FORREST GUMP Directed by Robert Zemeckis. Produc­ ers: Wendy Finerman, Steve Tisch, Steve Starkey. Co-producer: Charles Newirth. Scriptwriter: Eric Roth. Based on the novel by Winston Groom. Director of photography: Don Burgess. Production designer: Rick Carter. Costume designer: Joanna Johnston. Sound recordist: William B. Kaplan. Editor: Arthur Schmidt. Composer: Alan Silvestri. Cast: Tom Hanks (Forrest Gump), Robin Wright (Jenny Curran), Gary Sinise (Lt. Dan Taylor), Myketi Williamson (Bubba Blue), Sally Field (Mrs Gump), Michael ConnorHumphreys (Young Forrest), Hanna R. Hall (Young Jenny). Steve TischWendy Finerman Production. Australian distributor: U.I.P. 35mm. 142 mins. U.S. 1994.


cinema. In his theatrical feature debut as writer-

With a blank cheque from her unsuspecting

director, P. J. Hogan has resolved these poten­

mother, Muriel escapes to the local resort of

tial conflicts with wit and humanity, successfully

Hibiscus Island, where she meets Rhonda

combining cultural critique with celebration, and

(Rachel Griffiths), a school friend who has left

reflecting the ambivalent feelings that home towns

Porpoise Spit for the freedom of Sydney. Rhonda

and their institutions can evoke.

and Muriel imm ediately connect, and, in the

“You’re terrible, M uriel” is an envy-tinged

film ’s most heralded all-singing, all-dancing’

overstatem ent that sister Joan repeats to great

set-piece, they mime to ABBA’s “W aterloo” in

comic effect in M uriel’s Wedding. But as well as

front of M uriel’s incredulous friends and an

a perfectly timed one-liner, the put-down is a

approving male audience. It is in this moment

simple acknowledgment of the source of Muriel’s

that Strictly Ballroom and Priscilla most clearly

unhappiness in the coastal town of Porpoise

intersect with M uriel’s Wedding, and one is

Spit, and of the moral message at the centre of

tempted to recall Bernadette’s line from Priscilla CINEMA


1 0 2 • 69

is at the core of advances in cultural assertion,

about “no more bloody ABBA” , except that in

Mariel she embodies the possibility of outshin­

this case P. J. Hogan has harnessed the mu­

ing the negativity and low self-esteem that can

is the post-colonial environm ent of the 1990s.

sic’s campy nostalgia in quite interesting and

be the inheritance of society and fam ily - an

The confident assertions of indigenous people,

varied ways. As a kind of theme music, it charts

inheritance we all share in one way or another.

m inorities, women — in fact any identifiable

the trium phs and m elancholia of M uriel’s jour­

Of course, the film offers some pertinent advice

com m unities which differentiate them selves

ney, but it also embodies the fantasy world in

as to how this might be done, which does not

from a dom inating superior culture and find the

which Muriel escapes.

include marriage or ABBA.

structures suitable to produce and reproduce images of them selves - are a part of this new

Hogan’s wry acceptance of fantasy is again

M uriel’s Wedding was undoubtedly a project

in evidence when Muriel decides to re-invent

that suited the industry’s current ‘quirky’ mould.

herself by changing her name to Mariel. Away

But, within this paradigm, it achieves a lot. It

This is why this docum entary made me very

from cruel friends and dysfunctional family,

shows that fun does not need to be had at the

anxious, even angry. Producer-writer Bob Plasto

Mariel forgets “useless” Muriel and meets Brice

expense of more sobering realities, and that

has every right to make such a film, and with the

(Matt Day), an earnest parking inspector. In a

such realities sometimes require the power of

best of intentions I am sure. As a form er journal­

hilarious scene that typifies the film ’s embrace

fantasy to be overcome.

ist with a nose for drama of black and white,

of lows as well as highs, Mariel and Brice’s

FURTHER READING “Muriel’s Wedding-. Writer-director P. J. Hogan interviewed by Jan Epstein”, Cinema Papers, No. 101, October 1994, pp. 28-32.

documentary films over more than a decade

clum sy beanbag necking is interrupted by Rhonda and two naked American sailers who have been whooping it up in the next room. In the middle of M ariel’s giggling fit that this con­ frontation produces, Rhonda slips over and announces she can’t feel her legs. W hile nursing her wheelchair-bound friend, M ariel’s twin obsessions with marriage and ABBA return. She answers an advertisement from a handsome South African athlete (Daniel Lapaine), who wants to marry in order to gain citizenship. With the prospect of becoming fa­ mous as Mrs David Van Arkle and escaping Muriel Heslop forever, it seems M ariel’s dreams have come true. In a sequence that doesn’t quite live up to its position in the film ’s obvious narrative trajec­ tory, Mariel finally marries. Her father forgives her. Her friends from Porpoise Spit return to be her bridesmaids. Only Rhonda and M ariel’s

MURIEL’S WEDDING Directed by Paul J. Hogan. Produc­ ers: Lynda House, Jocelyn Moorhouse. Associate producers: Michael D. Aglion, Tony Mahood. Scriptwriter: Paul J. Hogan. Director of photography: Martin McGrath. Production designer: Patrick Reardon. Costume designer: Terry Ryan. Sound recordist: David Lee. Editor: Jill Bilcock. Composer: Peter Best. Cast: Toni Collette (Muriel Heslop), Bill Hunter (Bill Heslop), Rachel Griffiths (Rhonda), Jeanie Drynan (Betty Heslop), Gennie Nevinson (Deidre), Daniel Lapaine (David Van Arkle), Matt Day (Brice), Sophie Lee (Tania). House and Moorhouse Films in association with the Australian Film Finance Corporation. Austral­ ian distributor: Roadshow. 35mm. 105 mins. Aus­ tralia. 1994.

post-colonial form ation.

Plasto has worked with Aboriginal people on and has good credentials for storytelling. But what might have been an engrossing story a decade ago (when I first met Plasto) is no longer engaging. By positioning my response to the film in this way, I want to suggest that there are three ways of reacting to M y Country. The three responses are the disempowered observer; the resistant participant; the colonial recidivist. The disempowered observer is the position whereby the viewer is reduced to an impassive viewer, objectified as a passive agent capable of absorbing a consciously-articulated argu­ ment, but largely incapable of a response. This is the prevailing position adopted by the film ­ maker in this documentary.


As the journalist approaches the vexed is­


sues of the land rights through the observations

I n 1994, there is no longer an assured way for

of a conflict between the land-owning white

the middle class to position itself in relation to

settler/graziers around Denison in the Northern

Aboriginal Australians. The Native Title A ct of

Territory, the referred approach is that of old

But before she can taste the fruits of married

1992 (aka Mabo) changed all that forever. Yet

school journalism . Strategically, this involves

life, Mariel is forced back to reality with the

there are still many people who have to realize

proposing both sides of the issue, narrating

mother, who arrives late and is unnoticed, do not join in the celebrations.

the enormity of these legislative changes. Most

from outside the literal field of view, and allow­

as a philosophical and practical counterpoint to

notably, it is no longer possible for white Aus­

ing the imagined and informed viewer to make

M uriel’s blind faith in the ritual of marriage, and


Jeanie Drynan captures the kind of wain stoi­

tralia to speak fo r Aboriginal people in the way that good liberals may

cism and inexpressible rage that defines many

once have wanted to. Aborigines

women of her generation, and that is in the end

can now speak for themselves.

death of her mother. Betty Heslop’s story exists

a tragic stance. A nice directorial touch under­

The question this raises is dra­

scores her loss, when we see a snapshot of

m atic for cultural m ediators like

Betty after her funeral. It is the only time we

docum entary film m akers, whose

really see her smile for the whole film.

m odus operandi, at least some of

Her m other’s death awakens Mariel to the lie

the time, has been to reflect, repre­

she has been living, and to responsibility her

sent and empower the powerless in

father must bear for her own and her m other’s

society. Should they try to speak for

unhappiness. She ends the marriage, becomes

anyone any more, or should they

Muriel again, and, with Rhonda, bids a final and

disappear into the administrative and

emphatic farewell to Porpoise Spit.

production haze of the background

Bill Hunter injects the despicable character

in order to minimize the confusion

of Bill Heslop with a certain amount of pathos

they generate by their very media­

and looks perfectly at home in the succession of


Chinese restaurants that he inhabits. Sophie

These are questions and issues

Lee is great fun if slightly theatrical as Tania,

that do not only appear in relation to

the leader of the all-too-fam iliar home-town

documentary filmmaking about Abo­

bitches, and Rachel Griffiths helps maintain the

riginal Australians. They are also

playful yet honest tone of the film, as M uriel’s

questions that can be applied to the

sassy chain-sm oking catalyst for change.

changes taking place in the cultural

But it is Toni C ollette’s capacity to bridge the

context in general, as communities

euphoria and the darker moments of M uriel’s

appropriate the skills and knowledge

Wedding that gives the film much of its strength.

needed to operate new technolo­

As the dowdy Muriel, she invokes an empathy

gies in their own interests.

with those girls we all grew up with, and as





This skill-based advance, which

h a r r Y d ix o n


an appropriate rational judgem ent about a suit­


able outcome. At the conclusion of the film, the result is less em powerm ent and more inform a­

denly made sense. Perhaps this is

tion. In other words, the inform ation offered in

really a film for people in the UK who

the production is presented in such a way that

expect certain views about the banal­

it is more like data waiting in an endless, yet

ity of life in the Antipodes. The expla­

em otionless, assem bly line.

nation of land rights and black-white

U nfortunately, this is the approach taken in this film, despite some effects to the contrary.

relations is presented like a well-plot­ ted road map.

For example, the film desperately works across

This is the key issue this film

the land rights issues, placing them in the con­

raises. For Australian filmm akers,

text of the Martin fam ily who own a cattle station

the dilemm a in making films about

where a m assacre of perhaps 100 blacks (prob­

Aboriginal issues is not there in the

ably hundreds more) took place in 1928. This

deserts of Central Australia where

followed the murder of Fred Brookes by Abo­

the struggle about the relations be­

riginal people for his consistent misuse of Abo­

tween black and white Australia is

riginal women.

being worked out. The dilemma is in

We hear a version of this story from two

thefilm m aking. It is to be found in co­

Aboriginal men, one of whom, Harry Dickson,

productions made with an eye to

features in the film because of his long-stand­

informing non-local audiences. Co­

ing relationship with the Martin family. Dickson

lonial sim plicity is needed to paint a

represents the dilem m a faced by the landown­

picture, constructing it with the faded

ers who want to recognize his right to the land,

lenses of the 19th Century, as the

but, of course, not the land he believes is

lounge room set who watch the BBC

rightfully his. On that site is a bore-water source

for a bit of moral uplift get to cast

which the landowner is not willing to give up.

their eyes over life out in the colo­

Dickson is offered another piece of land, which is excised from the property for him to

nies. Yes, life really is tough and hopeless out here, isn’t it? This explains the absence of my emotional

This opening sequence sets the style fo rth e

it is his to develop. Of course, the demand for

engagem ent with this film. It serves the inter­

rest of the film. It is a combination steadicam -

land by Aborigines is the result of “outside influ­

ests of people outside our milieu who have no

crane shot: the camera begins from above,

ence [who] cause the shit” according to Grant

interest in any practical engagem ent with life in

looking directly down onto Rose, and, as she


shuffles along the road, the camera lowers until

settle on. W aterless and lacking any amenities,

Martin. Such views, expressed as a sort of camp­

Perhaps this sort of foreign-affairs filmmaking

it is on the road with her. It then follows her as

ate ordinariness it is frightening, it is also wrong,

should not be scrutinized the way other films are

she wanders around and we eventually see

but the disempowered observer approach to

analyzed. But, then again, perhaps there is a

through 360 degrees. (In order to achieve this

documentary never expects to wage war.

lesson here: namely, that co-productions involv­

shot without seeing the crane and crew, the

ing funds from afar will result in films that fail to

crane was mounted on the back of a tracking

find an audience in the country of their birth.

vehicle and, once the steadicam operator got

fire politics, are presented with such dispassion­

The resistant participant is the next position. Adopted by viewers who feel the film m aker has robbed the discussion of the necessary emo­ tional engagem ent, the resistant participant is my version of the engaged critic. In this case, this person responds because of pre-existing moral com m itm ent to land rights, social and Aboriginal well-being. The resistant participant is the popular cul­ tural advocate who lives in and with popular, everyday experience, recognizing what m at­ ters and what can be supported that may im ­

MY COUNTRY Directed by Bob Plasto, Ruth Berry. Producers: Bob Plasto, Ruth Berry. Executive produc­ ers: Dione Gilmour, Aian Bookbinder. Scriptwriters: Bob Plasto, Ruth Berry. Directors of photography: Minna Marusic, Richard Bailie-Mace. Aerial photogra­ phy: Chris Fitzgibbon. Sound recordists: Ruth Berry, Peter Walker. Editor: Tim Litchfield. Post-production: CAAMA, AAV. Developed and produced with the as­ sistance of Film Victoria and the Australian Film Com­ mission. Australian distributor: ABC. 35mm. 55 mins. Australia. 1994.

the resister, as an inauthentic expression of an

and carries us through this initial scene. In Spider & Rose, the camera is used almost like another character. Rather than using cuts, it often switches from being a conventional, unobtrusive observer to swinging around in “w hip-pans” to show us what the character/s has/have been reacting to. Instead of panning along the “line” , frequently the camera pans the other way; again, we often see almost 360

prove the state of the world. Any artifice or fabrication is quickly identified and rejected by

off the crane, the tracking vehicle drove away, out of shot.) The shot is m asterfully executed



degrees. The line is also crossed in a scene at the back of an ambulance as Rose and Spider (Simon Bossell) confront each other about

otherwise real situation. Authenticity in the post­ p id e r & Hose is an inspiring and worthwhile

whether or not Rose will travel in the back.

The colonial recidivist would not usually ap­

film: it is technically innovative and excit­

Spider wants her out of the way, but she is not

pear in the context of a liberal investigation of

ing with very strong perform ances and an

about to give in, and, as they argue, we cut from

Aboriginal land rights issues. Indeed, it was only

entertaining script. It is a film that challenges

a two-shot profile from one side to a two-shot

when the credits rolled at the end of this film that

our preconceptions about old-age, relationships

profile from the other, and back and forth with

the three positions were clear to me. The co­

and life.

the argument.

colonial environm ent is the touchstone.


producers of My Country are Film Victoria, the

The film opens with a post-crash sequence

Film Finance Corporation and the BBC. The

in which Rose (Ruth Cracknell) wanders along

Spider and his boss - about w hether or not he

latter funder seems to be the problem here.

an empty country road in shock. Her husband

will take the job of driving Rose to the country -

Imagine - rightly or wrongly - a documentary

has not survived the crash, but it takes Rose

the camera slowly tracks into each character.

made for British viewers of BBC-TV. The sim­

some time to notice this. For a while, her per­

As it does, their eyeline is direct to the camera. The device forces the audience to become a

During anotherconfrontation scene between

plistic version of events - balanced points of

ception is distorted by shock and she becomes

view, the black-and-white dilemmas arising from

preoccupied with her shoes, the trees, the sur­

part of the conflict since our point of view be­

land rights debates, a comfortable conclusion,

roundings in general. When she does notice her

comes tighter as the argum ent continues. Once

excessive use of the helicopter fly-over of the

husband’s body, it is covered with blowflies and

again, the camera becomes part of the action

semi-arid region of the Tanami Desert — sud-

their noise saturates the soundtrack.

as though it is another character rather than a




• 71

distant observer. It is an unusual approach, and

to w ithdraw from life and be resentful of others.

dialogue between characters. Only on occasion

gives the film a quirkiness which we discover is

They learn that instead of hiding from life and

is the dialogue awkward and a little contrived.

part of the characters and story.

the pain it represents, to embrace it and live it

The performances are on the whole very strong

as they really want to, and not by someone

with perhaps a few moments in which both Ruth

else’s concept of what they should be doing.

Cracknell and Simon Bossell are a little self-

The main part of the film begins a year later when Rose, who has been hospitalized all this time, is to be driven to the country to celebrate

As each begins to understand the pain the

conscious. But this is more a result of weak

her birthday with her son and his family. Rose

other carries, they are able to let go of the pain

moments in the script than their acting abilities.

has a bad feeling about the journey, and, cou­

within themselves. Rose can see that Spider

The film also looks at the sincerity of relation­

pled with a developed phobiaof flies, she makes

resents his parents, but she can enlighten him on

ships: what people say and what they are pre­

a difficult patient fo r anyone to handle. Spider is

how it might have been for his mother and what he

pared to do. This is first discussed when Rose’s

a young “ rebel” who is an ambulance driver.

could still gain from re-establishing some relation­

son tells her, after she has arrived at his farm,

The traum as of his job, together with a ne­

ship with her. Because Spider learns to appreci­

that he and his wife have decided it’s best if she

glected childhood, have made him develop a

ate how remarkable Rose is, he discovers his

lives in a nursing home. Later, Jack (Max Cullen)

rather aggressive outlook. His priorities in life

ability to see the same potential in his own mother.

is put to the test when, after encouraging her to

seem to consist of parties, music and girls. But

Similarly, Rose is “passed off” by her own son,

be with him and share their time together, she

Spider is given the job of driving Rose to the

and is told she is to be put in a nursing home rather

turns the tables and asks him to come with her on

country, and the task severely jeopardizes his

than live with him and his family.

a trip. He tells her he can’t; it is as if for the first time we realize that he too has his limitations. Up

attendance at his own farewell party. For Spi­

The film is also about making a stand on an

der, Rose is just a old woman whom he will

individual level. Throughout, various charac­

until now he has appeared to be the character

ters are involved in bargaining. Every person

who most appreciates Rose and what she has to

has this/her own agenda, and it seems the

offer - but only up to a point.

never relate to and who is directly responsible for jeopardizing his party. The film deals with several issues, though

object of the exercise is to try and get what you

Spider & Rose is also about how im portant it is for ourselves to see what we can learn from

predom inantly the acceptance of others. It is

can out of any situation. Spider and Rose are

through these two extrem ely different people,

continually in situations out of their control:

other people, to have an open mind with others

forced together to deal with some pretty de­

Spider does not want to drive Rose, but is

and the choices they make. It is also about the

manding situations, thatthe audience (and char­

forced to; Rose does not want to be driven, but

fact that one doesn’t have to make the obvious,

acters) learn to appreciate what each other has

is forced to; Rose wants to live on her son’s

conventional choices, that follow ing one’s own

to offer. It is also about learning from the elderly

farm, but he doesn’t want herto. Characters are

true instincts and desires is the most im portant

and of appreciating “old-fashioned” values.

constantly trying to negotiate some control over

thing. Spider and Rose learn this through their

(Much of the film takes place in the country

their situations, and sometimes they are suc­

own confrontations with death and the realiza­

where old-fashioned values are nurtured.)

cessful. For instance, Rose will travel with Spi­

tion that tragedy is potentially always around

Rose has herself become bitter and angry.

der, but only if she can sit in the front. She

the corner, but that you can’t be afraid to keep

She quite rightly believes she is not respected

convinces him to allow her to do this by threat­

living because of that.

or appreciated because she is old. She is sur­

ening to vom it because she gets travel sickness

rounded by young people who are more inter­

in the back. (Actually, she vom its on him any­

ested in their own lives than what an elderly

way because he w ouldn’t slow down.) By the

woman might have to offer. The death of Rose’s

end of the film, Spider is in exactly the same

husband represents the loss of perhaps the last

situation as Rose was at the beginning. He is

person who had any respect for her. Now she is

picked up by an ambulance, and, because of

aware that most people think of her as someone

his broken leg, the driver wants him to lie in the

to look after until she dies. Spider is no excep­

back. Spider refuses just as Rose did, and the

tion. But through their circum stances together,

ambulance driver uses the same tactics on

Spider comes to realize that, despite her age,

Spider as Spider used on Rose.

Rose does have a lot to offer and he is eventu­

Because the film deals with very different characters vying for some control over their

ally forced to rely on her. In many ways, Spider and Rose are sim ilar

lives, it is very dialogue-heavy where much of

people: they both live life in the extreme be­

the dialogue is pacey and competitive. Most of

cause in their different experiences, they have

the characters are new to each other and there­

learned that life is transient and can deal some

fore find out about each other through talking.

bitter pills. This knowledge has largely led them

There is a lot of smart, back-and-forth, pacey


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SPIDER & ROSE Directed by Bill Bennett. Producers: Lyn McCarthy, Graeme Tubbenhauer. Line producer: Julia Overton. Scriptwriter: Bill Bennett. Director of photography: Andrew Lesnie. Production designer: Ross Major. Costume designer: Ross Major. Sound recordists: Syd Butterworth, Andrew Plain. Editor: Henry Dangar. Composer: Cruel Sea. Cast: Ruth Cracknell (Rose Dougherty), Simon Bossell (Spider McCall), Max Cullen (Jack), Lewis Fitz-gerald (Robert Dougherty), Jennifer Cluff (Helen Dougherty), Tina Bursill (Sister Abbott), Beth Champion (Nurse Price), Marshall Napier (Ambulance Dispatcher), Bruce Venables (Truck Driver), Bob Baines (Ambulance Driver). A Dendy Films production. Australian dis­ tributor: Dendy. 35mm. 90 mins. Australia. 1994.


FINAL DRAFT for Macintosh $489.00


FURTHER READING “Bill Bennett’s Spider & Rose", a report by John Conomos and Raffaele Caputo, Cin­ ema Papers, No. 100, August 1994, pp. 40-4.


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HAMMER AND BEYOND 1958), The Hound o f the Baskervilles (1959),

The book divides horror film production into

Peter Hutchings, M anchester U niversity

The Mummy (1959) and The Gorgon (1964).

four periods: 1946-55, 1956-64, 1964-9, and

Press, 1993, 193 pp., pb, rrp $29.95

These films, as Hutchings writes,




1969-72. Each period is analyzed in terms of

embody the aesthetic in its most accomplished

p ro d u ctio n p ra ctice s, so cia l e nviro n m e nt,

form [... and] can be seen as centres of gravity

aesthetic concerns and ideological focus. Sev­

Horror has been one of the most successful

within Hammer Horror, in the same way that

eral key films from each period are selected as

m ovements within the British film industry in the

Hammer itself provides a basic definitional model

key representatives of the time, and subjected

post-war period. H am m er and Beyond: The

of British horror cinema in general, [p. 60]

to close reading.

British H orror Film, by Peter Hutchings, de­

Hutchings provides detailed analysis of these

A chapter is also devoted to tracing the

scribes the unique place that horror occupied

films and others in the book. He clearly articu­

history of Dracula and Frankenstein from the

within the British film industry. Pre-eminent

lates the way in which aesthetic and ideological

19th Century to their re-incarnation in British

among the production houses of the time was

issues were treated in Horror and the way in

horror of the 1960s. Hutchings argues against

Hammer Films, which accounted for more than

which Hammer in particular was able to capital­

a simple gothic tradition and focuses on the way

half of all horror films made

ize on these.

in which the characters have been disrupted

between 1956 and 1972. The

The dominance of Ham­

success of Hammer was due,

mer was due, according to

Hutchings argues, to the way

Hutchings, to three key fac­

Film covers a dynamic period of cinematic and

in which it was able to articu­

tors. First, Ham m er was

social history, providing general outline as well

and redefined. Ham m er and Beyond: The British H orror

late, re -in te rp re t and re ­

very sensitive to its audi­

as specific analysis, in a quite non-technical

present critical them es and

ences, and was committed

and reader-friendly manner. Hutchings m an­

ideas at work within Britain

to carving out a market niche

ages to draw attention to a neglected collection

during the 1950s and ’60s.

for itself, rather than to a

of films, without feeling the necessity to laud the

Horror is seen as a re­

generalist com m itm ent to

genre, picking up themes and issues, finding

flection, a response and an

‘fa m ily e n te rta in m e n t’ . It

development, disruption, conservatism, experi­

interven tion into post-w ar

moved quickly to exploit

mentation, success and failure.

British life. In endeavouring

opportunities in the market,

to assess the im portance

changes in censorship regu­

and worth of British horror,

lations and screening prac­

and to account for its suc­

tices in order to maximize

cess and popularity, H utch­

its success. Second, Ham­

Marlon Brando, with R obert Lindsey, Century,

ings em ploys a strenuously

mer established itse lf at

London, 1994, 469 pp., hb, illustrated, no

Bray Studios for 16 years

index, rrp $29.95

non-reductionist m ethodol­ ogy. He charts the ways in which horror re­

and was able to establish a key group of skilled

flected and diverged from the characteristic

craftspeople, technicians, filmm akers and ac­




practices of the broader film industry, and

tors. Third, Hammer linked itself to an aggres­

The long-awaited ‘autobiography’ of Marlon

describes the com plex process of interaction

sive American distributor, which enabled joint

Brando Is, in fact, an edited interview con­

between the film m akers, the audiences, the

financing and eventual worldwide distribution.

ducted by Robert Lindsey, with written amend­

industry, the press, and the w ider historical

Critical appreciation of horror did not begin to

m ents and su gg e stio n s by Brando. It is,

arrive until the early 1970s, for horror posed

therefore, not an autobiography in a true sense,

particularproblemsforcritics. As Hutchings notes,

and the publisher wisely doesn’t claim it to be.

factors involved in the British film industry,

its morbidity, violence, exploitative nature and

While efficiently and cleanly put together, there

Hutchings works to uncover the imaginative

adolescent audience made it easy for reviewers

Is no personal style or tone, and it skips large

and creative work done by the filmm akers, in

to be patronizing or dismissive. The formulaic

chunks that a singly-authored text might not.

order to account for the entertainm ent factor of

aspects of Hammer films attracted repeated criti­

It is always risky for cinema icons, espe­

these films:

cism, for they bore not the signature of the artist

cially actors, to put their thoughts and rem inis­

(auteur) but the mark of the film factory.

cences on paper. The reader’s interest in or

and social environm ent. While giving due attention to the structural

It will become clear that in seeking to make horror attractive to an audience [...] filmmak­

However, such success was not on the

respect for the subject’s work on film may be

ers necessarily had to address what they per­

agenda for Hammer Films, and it in fact shunned

diminished by unsavoury or unlikeable aspects

ceived to be the lived experiences, fears and

critical approval when it came. For Hammer

of a personal life.

anxieties of that audience, with the terms of

itself seemed to revel in its own re-use of props

This is certainly a risk for Songs My M other

this engagement both aesthetic and ideologi­

and sets, the fam iliar stable of actors, the cycli­

Taught Me, where Brando does not always

cal. [p. 21]

cal nature of the films, and depended on the

come across as intelligent or admirable. This is

The period 1956-64 clearly marks the em er­ gence of a British horror cinema, and the peak

negative reaction of the press for its sustained

not to argue that Brando isn’t an actor of enor­

comm ercial success.

mous talent, or a man who has bravely, if not

years of Hammer. Of particular importance in

Hammer [...] seemed to contribute wilfully and

always wisely, stood up for his convictions.

this period is the collaborative work of Peter

enthusiastically to its own critical disreputabil-

Many actors make a habit of superficially pa­

Cushing, C hristopher Lee and directorT erence

ity. Indeed this disreputability became an im­

rading political sentim ents, but Brando is dif­

Fisher on five films: The Curse o f Frankenstein

portant factor in the way Hammer sold .itself

ferent. Always an individualist, his controversial

(1957), Dracula (U.S. title: H orror o f Dracuia,

and its product to the mass audience, [p. 10f]

and changing political and social views are CINEMA



■ 73

clearly a core part of the man.

career and status. The other two choices may be

The difficulty of Brando’s balancing the joys

a surprise for those whose preference is Am eri­

and rewards of his career, which he ultim ately

can cinema: Gillo Pontecorvo and Bernardo

regards as irrelevant and trivial, with w eightier

Bertolucci. There is little doubt, though, that

concerns about the planet and its peoples is

Brando’s performances in ¡Queimada! (Burn! in

well conveyed in the book. One may disagree

some territories) and Last Tango in Paris are


by, som eof his views, and

cut above in terms of craft


the naive way some are

and intelligence. The only

Stephan Elliott, Currency Press, Sydney,

expressed, but one can­

director missing for this

1994, 86 pp., pb, rrp $14.95

not doubt his co m m it­

short pantheon that this

The script of this latest Australian hit movie


reader finds surprising is

includes complete cast and crew credits, and is

A rthur Penn: Brando’s

illustrated with both black and white and colour

with, or even be surprised

highlights, the directors a

Because the book is d ic ta te d , B ra nd o also

p e rfo rm a n c e

says th in g s th at, w ith

C ha se

more thought, could have

among his greatest. But

been better put, or been

each to their own.


c le a rly


pics. The In tro d u c tio n by S tephan E llio tt

ran ks

amounts to very little regarding the process of scriptwriting.

less muddled. For exam ­

U nfortunately, what

ple, when discussing Irwin

Brando writes (or, rather,


Shaw’s The Young Lions,

says) about these great

Peter Ward, Focal Press, Oxford, 1994, 186 pp., pb, rrp $35.95

a film

s ta rre d


film m a k e rs

Brando, Brando says he

w h ic h


triv ia l and a n e cd o ta l.

Sony introduced the Betacam in 1982, a com ­

found the book too black


One would have hoped

bined broadcast-quality cam era and recorder

and white when it came to

for much more, and, had

that could be operated by one person. The

portraying Germans.

Brando actually sat at a

techniques developed with this new type of

is ra th e r

desk and penned this

video camera and recorder were a m ixture of

Germans as evil cari­

book, he may have gone

television and film methods. It could be edited

catures [...] Like many

deeper into these im por­

or it could be used live. It required the technol­

[...] Shaw portrays all

books and movies produced by Jews since the

tant cinem atic relationships.

ogy of video, but could use the discontinuous recording methods of film.

war, I think it was a perfectly understandable

Of course, another director who got a stun­

bias that, consciously or unconsciously, Jews

ning performance from Brando, in a film which,

This book aims to give basic instruction of

felt would ensure that the world would never

while massacred by the studio, is still a classic,

the one-piece camera and recorder, as well as

forget the Holocaust and, not coincidentally,

is Brando himself. One Eyed Jacks is a favour­

provide a basic knowledge of the additional

would increase sympathy and financial sup­

ite of most lovers of Westerns, and a legend

skills required - sound, lighting, video editing,

port for Israel. Indirectly, Shaw was saying that

because of stories about Brando’s direction

television journalism , et al.

all Germans were responsible for the Holo­

and the film ’s original length. (One account has

The book is divided into three broad sec­

caust, which I didn’t agree with. [...] I thought

Brando showing a cut which lasted more than

tions progressing from a step-by-step guide for

the story should demonstrate that there are no

24 hours, with multiple takes and clapper boards

anyone new to the Betacam, then to more

inherently “bad” people in the world, but that

still in shot, to stunned executives. At the end,

detailed information about operational controls

Brando is reputed to have said, “Great. And I

and, finally, to the basic production techniques

don’t want a single frame taken out.”)

required for broadcasting.

they can easily be misled. I’m uncomfortable with generalizations be­ cause they are rarely accurate. [...] Brando seems entirely to miss the irony of his own contradiction. Brando is on much surer footing when he

Again, Brando says little about the film, and

Specific description of controls in this manual

less about his efforts as director. What he does

are related to the Sony 300/400 series of

impart is unlikely to make many warm to his


cavalier approach:

discusses the craft of acting and the talents of

I started editing it, but pretty soon got sick of it

fellow performers. At times, there is a sense

and turned it over to someone else. When he

that he has not fully or clearly revealed all his

had finished, Paramount said it didn’t like my

thoughts, but there is no doubt that these are

version of the story; I’d had everybody in the

subjects about which Brando has a deep, even

picture lie except Karl Malden. The studio cut

unique, understanding.

the movie to pieces and made him a liar, too.

The book, divided into many short chapters,

By then I was bored with the whole project and

tends to deal in blocks of fam ily and personal

walked away from it.

history, highlights of a film and theatre career,

If that sounds a tad casual, try this on

and a discussion of his activities for social

C hristopher Columbus: The Discovery.

change. Many readers, of course, will be most

I was depressed and wanted to go home, but

interested in the film sections, and be eager to

I knew Alexander [Salkind, producer] would

find out Brando’s views on the famous people

sue me if I backed out of my contract. There

he has worked with.

was nothing left for me to do except walk

Actors are not always in accord with critics

through my part. The other actors and I had

and audiences about their best or favourite

nothing to work with. They tried hard, but I’m

films, perform ances and directors. To an actor,

afraid I didn’t. I mumbled my way through the

overcoming a bad director or part, and, in the

part and gave an embarrassingly bad per­

circum stances, giving an acceptable perform ­

formance. The pay wasn’t bad, though: $5

ance can hold far greater importance than de­

million for five days’ work.

BEASTS OF SUBURBIA: REINTERPRETING CULTURES IN AUSTRALIAN SUBURBS Edited by Sarah Ferber, Chris Healy and Chris M cAuliffe, M elbourne U niversity Press, Victoria, 1994, 257 pp., pb, rrp $24.95 The editors have gathered essays on diverse aspects of suburbia, drawing on various disci­ plines and methodologies including feminism, history, philosophy, sociology and anthropology. The dream of an ideal life is conjured up in suburbs of the early 20th Century and today’s project homes. Am bivalent responses to the suburbs are discovered in cinema and art. A b o rig in a l su b u rb s in A lic e S p rin g s and gentrified inner-city suburbs of Melbourne em­ body the dram atic contrasts between suburban lifestyles. ‘“ Round the Block’: Back to the Suburb in

livering a tour deforce in the company of angels.

Still, when one Is dealing with a star, one

Peturn Home” by Rose Lucas is the essay

When Brando lists his three favourite direc­

takes a risk. It’s the nature of the business

directly related to the cinema, though all other

tors, he not surprisingly lists Elia Kazan, the man

which has been very good to Marlon Brando,

essays deal with related concerns.

more responsible than any in shaping Brando’s

but perhaps not as good as he has been for it.




1 02

CLAY ANIMATION M ichael Frierson, Twayne Publishers, New


York, 1994, 278 pp., pb, rrp $24.95

Edited by John Walker, HarperCollins,

1994, 220 pp., pb, rrp $20

Clay animation on film first made its appear­

London, 1994, 335 pp., pb, rrp $12.95

Two recent additions to the series of the Film

ance in silent cinema in conjunction with live-

SUSPENSE IN THE CINEMA Tom Howard, John H oward Reid, Sydney,

Index publications put out by John Howard


action in what were called tableau vivants, which initially were painted people who looked

Reid. This series is strictly for those readers who are into nostalgia; they rarely have an entry

Edited by John Walker, HarperCollins,

like sculptures. The films usually involved a

from the 1960s onwards (a H itchcockfilm would

London, 1994, 445 pp., pb, rrp $12.95

dream sequence bracketed by a sculptor w ork­

These two guides are drawn from the standard

ing away, who then gets tired, falls asleep and

reference book H alliw ell’s Film Guide. The list­

dream s about the sculpture coming to life. In a

ings include principal cast and crew credits,

lot of cases, clay animation was employed in­

plot synopses, critical assessm ent (comments

stead of painted human figures.

from well-known professional critics are som e­

Clay animation stopped around 1911, pre­

tim es appended), ratings (none to four stars),

sum ably because of the perfection of drama

Academy Awards, year of release, and indi­

techniques and the com m ercialization of film,

be an exception). Each index presents a mass of non-critical, though still judgem ental, com ­ ments. The information provided for each entry is obsessively comprehensive - attempts at complete cast and crew credits which include release dates, lengths and venues (where known) for the U.S., U.K. and Australia.

cates which films should be currently available

and didn’t come back into vogue until studios

on video or laser disk.

like Aardman came along in the late ’70s.


fo urth e d it io n

Roy Pickard, A Studio Vista Book, London,

This is an important book, not only because

1994, 292 pp., hb, rrp $70.00

other form s of anim ation have traditionally

An A-to-Z of Academy Award winners. A very

because there is very little written critical his­


tory of clay animation.

R. Barton Palmer, Twayne Publishers, New

facts about the 600-plus feature films that have

York, 1994, 206 pp., pb, rrp $24.95

won Oscars since the awards were introduced

Of late, film n o irseems to be enjoying renewed

in 1929. The book’s appendices are extraordi­


critical interest; this is the fourth or fifth book

narily thorough; they include guides on the

Peter Wells, Seeker and Warburg, Auckland,

(including re-issues) on film noir to have ap­

performance of Oscar winners at the box-office,

1994, 2 0 7 pp., pb, rrp $19.95

peared over the past two years. A detailed

nominated films that lost, memorial and honor­

A collection of short stories by New Zealand

review of this book will appear in a forthcoming

ary awards, Oscar night hosts, and many more

w riter-director Peter Wells, written during his



played second fiddle to cel-anim ation, but also

concise and com prehensive guide, providing

co-directing venture on Desperate Remedies. W ells’ first gay fiction collection, Dangerous Desires, won the Keri Hulm e-judged New Zea­


land Book Award and the 1991 Reed Fiction

Tom Howard, John Howard Reid, Sydney,

Award, and is about to be published in the U.S.

1994, 218 pp., pb, rrp $20





0 521 44080 7




J jlV U A l



710 GLENFERRIE ROAD H A W T H O R N 819 1917

io Stamford Road Oaldeigh 3166

M A IL O R D E R • P 0 BOX 482 SOUTH YARRA VIC. 3141




• 75




■ » “ -w

™m.» m ■ ■ « ■

■ m. ■ -mm mrnmm m


^w A



oshua Shapira (Tim Roth), a hired

the International C ritics’ jury). Whatever the

technique used is what might be called a “pro­

New York killer, strolls up to an old

mood of the discussions, there was an abun­

tracted naturalism ” : long (long) takes that de­

man sitting on a park bench and shoots him

dance of winners: two Gold Lions, three Leone

mand audience attention on each character

point blank (Little Odessa, James Gray, U.S.)1.

d’Argento (Silver Lions), Premio Speciale della

(with a climax of a ten-m inute take of a woman

Addicts, pimps and gangsters in Paris torture

Giuria (Special Jury Prize), Medaglia d’Oro

upset and crying as she sits on a park bench).

and kill each other in Pigalle (Karim Dridi,

della Presidenza del Senato (Gold Medal of the

Critically acclaimed, but too demanding for the popular audience.

France). This was the first day, and we were still

President of the Senate) - and the two winners

a week away from N atural Born Killers (Oliver Stone, U.S.).

of the Osella d’Oro per la Regia (Best Direction)

The Hong Kong film, Wong Kar-W ai’s Dung

and the Osella d’Oro per la Sceneggiatura (Best

Che Sal Duk (Ashes o f Time), dramatizes a

Screenplay) were none of the above.

traditional swordsman legend, again dem and­

The tone of the early films continued through the week, an abundance/excess of killings, in

The big winner was Milcho Manchevski’s

most of the nineteen films in Competition as

cycle of three stories, Before the Rain (UK). It

characters (with questions of gender identity).

well as those in the regular sections, Notti

shared the Gold Lion, and the International

The action sequences are stylized rather than

Veneziane (Venetian Nights; NV), FinestraSulle

Critics’ Award, among other non-official prizes.

fast-paced stunt action. By contrast, the Chi­

Immagini (W indow on Images; FSI) and a

Born in Skopje, Macedonia, in 1959, Manchevski

nese entry, Jiang W en’s Yangguang canlan de

number of special events. When questioned as

had studied in the U.S., where he directed some

rizi (In the Heat o f the Sun), goes back to Beijing

to the prevalence of violence and murder in this

documentaries and video clips. But this was his

teenagers of the early 1970s, the post-Cultural

year’s selection, president Gian Luigi Rondi, a

first feature, an assured piece dramatizing the

Revolution disaffection, and personal relation­

dead ringer for a Vatican Curial cardinal as he

brutality of hostilities in the Balkans and the

ships in a changing social context, re-inter­

moved along the line of guests, shrugged and

carry-over of terrorism to London, with an im­

preted from the ’90s perspective.

noted that this was the world in which we live.

plied plea for solidarity and peace.

ing because of the time shifts and numerous

The popularly impressive film of the Com pe­

Perhaps the world in which we live was

The other Gold Lion winner came from Tai­

reflected in the Jury decisions. David Lynch

wan, Tsai M ing-liang’s Aiqing wansui ( Vive

ner of Best D irector and the International

was elected President. Others in the jury in­

L ’Amour). W hether it was politically correct di­

Catholic Organization for Cinema and Audio-

tition was Gianni Am elio’s Lamerica (Italy), w in­

cluded Australia’s David Stratton, actor Uma

plomacy or whether it was coincidence, there

Visuals Award (of whose jury I was a member).

Thurman and writer Mario Vargas Llosa. Italian

were three Chinese films in Competition: one

Amelio has made a strong impression in recent

headlines towards the end of the Festival sig­

from the People’s Republic, one from Taiwan

years with Porte Aperte (Open Doors, 1990)

nalled “Division and Confusion” amongst the

and one from Hong Kong. They each reflect the

jurors. Britain’s Derek Malcolm wrote of expec­

social and historical interests of their countries.

and II Ladro di Bam bini ( The Stolen Children, 1992).

tations that Oliver Stone would win the Leone

Vive L ’Am our has a contemporary setting,

Lamerica is topical with its portrait of Albania

d’Oro (Gold Lion), but that other movies came

focusing on three young adults, city drifters

(800 Albanian boat people crossed the Adriatic

up and overtook it (as happened, he noted, in

using an apartment, their lives entangling. The

to Italy the week of the festival), boasts fine




1 02

location photography and has the quietly des­

s c re e n in g s .

For in s ta n c e , E v e ry n ig h t ...

tween two sisters (played by Anne Parillaud

perate atmosphere of a bewildered people’s

Everynight had only a small audience for its

and Béatrice Dalle), À la Folie (oddly retitled Six

emerging from dictatorship, but also a critique

press screening (with a number leaving), though

Days and Six Nights), the Hungarian-British co­

of the rôle fascist Italy played (and their de­

a good crowd for its official screening. True Lies

production, lldikö Enyedi’s Büvös vadäsz {The

scendants are now playing) in small Albania. It

(James Cameron, U.S.), popular as one of the

Magic Hunter), a reworking of Carl Maria W e­

is strong cinema geared for a popular audience.

Venetian Nights, was given an extra midnight

ber’s 18th-Century opera, D er Freischütz, in

The o the rsig n ifica n tfilm that highlighted the

screening with only 1200 turning up! The Pano­

modern Budapest (with medieval flashbacks),

changes in Eastern Europe was Jiri M enzel’s

rama Italiano series (which usually clashed

a variation on the Faust legend. Difficult for

satirical picture of Stalinist Russia at the time of

with press screenings of Competition films) was

those not fam iliar with middle-European my­

the Nazi invasion of the Ukraine, The Life and

so popular with local audiences that they were

thologies and cultures, it was still an arresting

E x tra o rd in a ry A d ve n tu re s o f P riva te Ivan

given repeat performances at midnight.

and stimulating drama.

Chon kin (UK). It is a Good Soldier SchweikJ

Special events included screenings of Tom

European co-productions are on the in­

Catch-22 comedy from Russia by a Czech di­

and V iv in the presence of Miranda Richardson

crease. A quietly elegant and bleak version of a

rector who was not able to make films for five

and director Brian Gilbert, an amusing comedy,

W.B. Yeats’ play about spiritualism in Dublin

years, a combination of the cheerful and the

Staggered (something like no wedding and no

and the ghost of Dean Swift, Mary M cGuckian’s

s in iste r-u n im a g in a b le

funeral), with actor-director Martin

Words Upon the Window Pane (ES), was Irish,

ten years ago.

Clunes, and a restored print of

although all the studio work was done in studios

The countries rep­

Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Martha

in Luxembourg. The stars include Geraldine

resented in C om peti­

(1973). The Aardman collection was

Chaplin, Geraldine James, Ian Richardson, John

tion is always a puzzle.

screened several times. The retro­

Lynch and Jim Sheridan (as Jonathan Swift).

This year there was

spective section consisted of about

The Press Conferences are always a fea­

nothing from Northern

twelve of King Vidor’s early films,

ture of the Festival (where punctuality is not the

Europe (again), though

ending with Hallelujah (1929).

name of the game and where it is further dis­

A surprise popular success,

rupted by the orgy of photographing). While

(w ith th re e )

g ive n re p e a t s c re e n in g s , w as

there were the celebrities - Tom Hanks, Jack

were present. There

Jefery Levy’s S.F.W. (U.S., FSI),

Nicholson, Harrison Ford (smiling m omentarily

was a Burkino Fasso-

seen as a more m odest (and more

and cracking a joke or two this year) - journal­

France co-production,

successful?) companion piece on

ists asked a lot of good questions of directors.

but nothing else from

the media and killers and victim s

There were particularly effective conferences

Africa. Latin Am erica

to N a tu ra l Born K ille rs. Some

with Peter Jackson, Geoffrey W right and Phillip

had one entry, from

youngsters are held by terrorists in

Noyce (who was there with Clear and Present

S pain, P o rtug al and F ra n ce

Argentina. There were

Danger). The glamour was reserved

three U.S. entries (be­

for AI Pacino, who was given a life

sid e s the tw o m en ­

award along with Kenneth Loach and

tioned already, there was Alexandre Rockwell’s

veteran writer, especially for Visconti,

Som ebody to Love with a dynamic Rosie Perez

Suso Cecchi Damico. It should be mentioned in fair­

perform ance). While New Zealand was repre­ sented by H eavenly Creatures, there was no

ness to the Festival that the awards

Australian film in Competition.

ce re m o ny was not an a bso lu te

However, New Zealand and Australia were

s c h e m o z z le . It w as an a ffa b le

strong presences atthe Festival. Besides Heav­

schemozzle. Lasting an agonizing 45

enly Creatures, there were screenings of Lee

minutes (with the journalists guffaw ­

Tam ahori’s Once Were Warriors (FSI), with the

ing at the big screen showing), it

news of its win at Montréal coming on the day of


its screening, Anna Cam pion’s Loaded (FSI),

ON P A G E 7 9

filmed in the UK, and the Melbourne Festival Short Fiction winner, Gregor Nicholas’ Avondale Dogs (FSI). H eavenly Creatures deservedly won a Sil­ ver Lion and showed the talent of co-writer and director Peter Jackson (who spent a lot of time

a fast-food shop; videos are made

in interviews and press conferences explaining

of them each night and have to be

that he was not planning his career, that the

shown on television; when two of

1954 murder case interested him and that he

them finally get out after 36 days,

had not necessarily moved on from his cel­

they are feted by everyone as na­

ebrated ‘splatter’ movies). It is a stylish, vigor­

tional celebrities with all the over­

ous and imaginative film that, with Once Were

adulation and hope. Stephen Dorff

Warriors, shows that creativity is alive and well

is the star, a young unemployed

in New Zealand.

man whose reaction to the public

The Australian films were Geoffrey W right’s

reaction is S.F. W. (i.e., “So fucking

M etal Skin, programmed as a Venetian Night,

w hat”). Levy is obviously a talent

Alkinos Tsilim odos’ Everynight ... Everynight

to look for.

(FSI), Ana Kokkinos’ Only the Brave (FSI),

The other impressive American

Monica Pelizzari’s Best Wishes(FS\), screened

film was James Gray’s first feature

this year on SBS, and Anna Johnson’s short

(at age 24), Little Odessa, winner

feature, Seven Days Under M avis (FSI). It was

of a Silver Lion, which will surely

a strong collection, stronger (num erically and in

receive wider commercial release.

quality) by far than films from other countries.

Among the films that were not

One of the difficulties of assessing the im­

so well noticed were Diane Kurys’

pact of the films is knowing how many attended

effective psychological clash beCINEMA



. 77



Negotiation 'I hear what you say, but...’ ing with other cultures. In Asia “yes” can sim ply mean they understand what you are saying, not that they are going to part with the $5 million you’ve just requested.

A skin g Q uestions - A Key S k ill Asking questions pays due respect to the other side, clarifies their position and provides more information. Generally, people are ready to tell where they stand. Often you don’t even have to ask. You can establish a ground rule that you will only agree to what they can give a good reason for. It follows that it is unwise to put positions of your own which you are unable to justify or explain. The bad points detract from the good. Sometimes in answering questions concessions are made by the other side, particularly when you have them on a roll. On reflection, it can be “IN THE INTERESTS OF A CO-OPERATIVE NEGOTIATION, LET ME PARAPHRASE. YOU SAID, ‘YOU’RE A FACILE LITTLE TURD, AND I ’M GOING TO NAIL YOUR ASS TO THE BOTTOM OF THE HARBOUR.’ AM I RIGHT?”

bad for the long haul if you hold the other side to something you both know they have conceded without due thought. It depends.

Leverage e negotiate from the cradle on. Sometimes, in w o rk

By now you will have a good idea of what the other side expects and why. It helps to know

as in life, we postpone o r avoid it, expecting pain. What follows

w hether their priority is to get certain things or

applies w hether you negotiate yourself o r use an agent o r lawyer.

to avoid something. Is their first inclination to

It leans to a co-operative approach that can enable both parties to do better. Mostly you negotiate with a good relationship and repeat business in m ind.

see things in term s of sim ilarities or of differ­ ences? At the extremes, some see things al­ most exclusively in term s of either sim ilarities or differences. Present the latter with two options, one covering the deficiencies of the other. They will fool you by rejecting both. You may also

P reparation - A Must

risk averse, global or focused mainly on detail,

of paper in separate columns what you want,

wants to be consistent, is ego driven, interested

don’t want, and will concede. Focus on it. You

in a good long term relationship, public rela­

may vary this when you know more. Gather

tions or just the money.

intelligence, if you can, about the param eters of

Putting You Own Case

sim ilar deals and the attitudes of the other side. These can be gleaned from contact, publica­





have noticed w hetherthe other side is daring or

To begin, set out for yourself on a single sheet

Sometimes it pays to put your position in writing,

tions, bodies of work and individuals’ track

reducing ambiguity and misunderstandings. Note

records. Have respect for the other side. It

the common ground to foster an environment of

shows when you don’t.

agreement. Cast your view assertively in lan­

Listening - An U nderrated A rt

where the other side is coming from, and what

Now you are at the table, perhaps preferring to

they say they want and need. Generally, it is best

be elsewhere as the small talk subsides. Fasci­

to offer only the strongest direct and real rea­

nating as one’s own viewpoints are, postpone

sons. Easily-demolished proposals undermine

their expression for a moment. Really listen to

credibility. To ask for something you don’t really

what the other side is saying, paraphrase it

want very much to give the other side a win will

back to them and ask them to confirm. It is not

work well where the whole negotiation is based

a trick. It shows you really are listening to what

on ambit claiming. It can affect trust. When

they want and are saying. It breeds trust. It

stating what you want or answering the other

provides you with valuable inform ation and an

side, there is seldom much benefit from rushing.

understanding of what they need. It is the raw

Overcome any fear of looking stupid to provide

material for a m utually-satisfactory outcome.

more time to create and learn. Wait before m ak­

You can avoid costly m isunderstandings in deal­

ing a point rejecting what the other side has just

guage attuned to the information learned about

proposed. It looks as though you are not listen­

duces this. “ However” can have much the same

ing. It is the wrong psychological moment. You

effect as “but” . “You” messages are seldom

may be able to reframe a rejection in a positive

welcome; i.e., you are this o rth a t as though this

way or your interests may best be served by

identifies them, even if it’s positive it can sound

saying no clearly at a propitious time. Be flexible.

patronizing or crawling. Lecturing people about

If the other side is engaging in a power struggle,

what they “should” and “should not” do, a popu­

ignore that and stick to the point. Admit to incon­

lar sport at the moment, is not a terrific negoti­

sistency rather than agreeing to something you

ating method.

don’t want. Where the relationship is good, brain­ storm with the other side for creative solutions.

Characterizing an offer as “generous” : this

Be Prepared To W alk Away The other side senses if you think you must do the deal at all costs. Desperadoes can slide down a slippery pole of concessions. What if in a negotiation the other side, say an Australian television channel which is the only one inter­ ested in a film, says, “$x, take it or leave it”? Well, you may just be powerless. Consider giving in. Consider walking away. Consider

says that the other side is blockheaded or

what your investors will do to you. Good luck!

C om m unication Of Em otions

ungrateful and gets most people’s backs up.


Your honest communication of emotions breeds

See whether you are manipulating, by taking

trust and understanding of the real situation as

advantage of the other side’s lack of inform a­

long as it’s quickly over with. It can be a neces­

tion to prey on fear or guilt instead of influenc­

sary act of assertion. It does not mean dumping

ing. Do not agree then and there to a proposal

on the other side when your buttons are pressed.

put to you on the telephone by someone who has had time to think about it. Take it away to

No Nos

Once there is oral agreement, say how, when and by whom it is to be put in writing. Set clear deadlines. Go for a dispute resolution mecha­ nism in all agreements that is cheap and in your own jurisdiction.

ponder. If you are represented, let the other

Showing you have not listened by saying “but” .

side know you will not agree to anything until

“But” says that you are disregarding what pre­

you have sought advice. There may be im plica­

cedes the “but” . The use of “and” instead re­

tions you have not considered.

Hart & Spira, Level 2, 88 George Street, The Rocks, NSW 2000. Tel: (02) 247 5008. Fax: (02) 247 5858

V E N E Z IA Maschile: non protagonista (Volpi Cup for Best

Before the Rain. Best First Italian Film La Bella

Supporting Actor) Roberto Citran for II Toro Coppa

Vita (Living it Up, Paolo Virzi). CICT-UNESCO Prize

certainly made an excellent case for cue cards,

Volpi per la Migliore Interpretazione Femminile:

Aguilas no Cazan Moscas (Eagles Don’t Eat Flies,

marks and rehearsals. M argherita Buy, the of­

non protagonista (Volpi Cup for Best Supporting

Serdio Cabrera, Colombia). OCIC Catholic Film

ficial jury delegate chosen to announce the

Actress) Vanessa Redgrave for Little Odessa

Prize Lamerica. La Navicella Venezia Cinema Le

awards, shuffled her pages as did the MC, but

Oselle d’Oro per la Fotografica (Best Cinematog­

Cri du Coeur (Idrissa Ouedraogo, Burkina Faso).

not at the same time. When Monica Vitti stood

raphy) Wong Kar-wai and Christopher Doyle for

Cinema for Unicef Before the Rain. Cinema-

up to present an award, you would think it was

Dung Che Sai Duk (Ashes of Time, Wong Kar-wai,

avvenire Before the Rain. Anica-Flash Best First

a life award for Monica Vitti. And none of the

Hong Kong) Osella d’Oro per la Sceneggiatura

Film Once Were Warriors (Lee Tamahori, New

celebrity presenters seem to have been told

(Best Screenplay) Juan José Bigas Luna and

Zealand). Ciak d’Oro for the Panorama Italiano

how many awards they were to give. But every­

Cuca Canais for La Teta ila Luna (The Tit and the

La Bella Vita. Pasinetti Prize Lamerica. Pasinetti

one still looked affable and cheerful, except the

Moon, Spain) Osella d’Oro per la Regia (Best

Prize for Best Actress Juliette Lewis for Natural

jury who sat in two rows looking rather over­

Direction) Gianni Amelio (Lamerica, Italy) Medaglia

Born Killers. Pasinetti Prize for Best actor Rade




d’Oro della Presidenza del Senato (Gold Medal

Serbedzija for Before the Rain. CICAE Art House

In checking on the film s I saw, I realize that

of the President of the Senate) Jiri Menzel for The

Prize Lamerica. AIACE Italian Art House prize for

I did see forty features over the 12 days and

Life and Extraordinary Adventures of Private Ivan Chon kin (UK)

Best Italian Short SentiAmorMio? (Roberta Torre)

dressed and over-solemn.

practically all of them had points of interest, at

and Discanto (Luigi Abramo and Davide Bertoni).

least. Violence was prevalent (even two killings

UCCA Venticitta Prize for International Critics’

in W oody Allen’s entertaining pastiche of 1920s

Week Akumulator 1 (Jan Sverak). Telepiu Prize

New York, Bullets Over Broadway) and, while it shows us our world, our real world, it was a surfeit of madness, cruelty and violence. But audiences will be able to pick and choose when the film s reach us and we can pace ourselves.

U NO FF I CI A L PRIZES FIPRESCI International Critics’ Prize Before the

Rain and Aiqing wansui. FIPRESCI Prize for Inter­ national Critics’ Week That Eye the Sky (John

Ruane, Australia). Venezia Kodak First-Film Award

for Best Short in Finestra Sulle Immagini The

Coriolis Effect (Louis Venosta). FEDIC Italian Film Club Prize La Vera Vita di Antonio H. (Enzo

Monteleone, Italy).

Perhaps it’s time to visit Natural Born Killers again. 1 All films in Competition, unless otherwise stated.

AWARDS Leone d’Oro (Gold Lion) Before the Bain (Milcho

Manchevski, UK) and Aiqing wansul( Vive I’Amour, Tsai Ming-liang, Taiwan) Premio Speciale della Giuria (Special Jury Prize) Natural Born Killers

(Oliver Stone, U S.) Leone d’Argento (Silver Lion) Heavenly Creatures (Peter Jackson, NZ), Little Odessa (James Gray), II Toro (The Bull, Carlo Mazzacurati, Italy) Coppa Volpi per la Migliore Interpretazione Maschile (Volpi Cup for Best Ac­ tor) Xia Yu for Yangguang canlan de rizi (In the

Heat of the Sun) Coppa Volpi per la Migliore Interpretazione Femminile (Volpi Cup for Best Actress) Maria de Medeiros for Trés Imaos ( Two

Brothers, My Sister, Teresa Villaverde, Portugal) Coppa Volpi per la Migliore Interpretazione CI N EMA



• 79






C lem en t M a s o n ’ s F l o r o d o r a F il m s — MARCH


Just before Baldwin Spencer commenced his exploration of the Warwick Bioscope camera’s scientific potential, a Melbournebased cameraman made the first Australian usage of the same machine for theatrical purposes. The musical comedy F lo ro d o ra opened at London’s Lyric Theatre on 11 November 1 89966, and was an immediate “smash hit”, with tunes by Leslie Stuart including “Tell Me, Pretty M aiden” and “In the Shade of the Palm”, which became stand­ ards of their time. It was the first show to have its original London cast recorded more or less completely on gramophone discs67, and highlights were even filmed by the British M utoscope and Biograph THEATRE ROYAL. THE GREAT HOLIDAY ATTRACTION Company68, so great was its popular­ ity. F lo ro d o ra opened with an en­ *tr, Aa WLUAJWKÏ* lAwter 4 Oir«c*J*« «****♦? s #»r. **CH*RO YWte* M**#**ri tirely new Australian cast at Her M ajesty’s Theatre in Melbourne on 15 December 1 9 0 0 69 and it imitated the success of its British prototype. X c T W IL L I A M S O N ’S ' J. C. Williamson, who brought F lo ro d o ra to Australia, had been dab­ bling in movie exhibition since establishing his J.C.WilliamsonAngloAmerican Bio-Tableau touring com­ pany in M arch 1900. Clement M a­ son was brought from London’s Warwick Trading Company to su­ pervise the company’s Boer War film ENORMOUSLY SUCCESSFU L O PER A of screenings.70 By March 1901, new novelties were sought to maintain its 'WaaAimlvM&IÎt&eStttenw&Bgr H IT S O F T H E O P E R A . popularity, so Mason commenced his production of Australian films, fea­ Mr 0KQ. m o m -& Mis» CAB.BXE MOORE TH E »¡sURT OHU TH E P B A P S E S . THE P R A P S S E t o tu rin g star p erfo rm ers under Williamson contracts. In this way, * Australia’s first fictional films of lo­ cal stage stars were made. Each item was probably 150 feet ANOTHER — ATTRACTION •Which is certash to cause ah immense amount o f interest is a Film of nearly 1.200 Feet, showing a Oomnkte Series e j Animated (2 min 30 secs) long71, was shot in Pictures o l our LA TE BELO VED Melbourne, and is listed below in Q U E E N ’S F U N E R A L . Hover in the A nnals of English History has such a Briiiiairt y«t P athetic Sp ectacle be«n witnessed: atnf eostaidering the Fabulous order of screening date: Stuns paid for a sight ol this RemartcaWe Demonstration, it wifj

Saturday next, dune 29

Left: Clement Mason, producer of the F l o r o d o r a films, in Melbourne, M arch 1901. From S t a g e l a n d (Sydney), 31 M arch 1908, p. 2. Below: Poster advertising the F l o r o d o r a films’ showing in H o ba rt’s Theatre Royal, 29 June 1901. Courtesy J. W . B. M u rp h y Collection, Tasmaniana Library, State Library of Tasmania.

1901, p. 7. First screening at Athenaeum Hall, Melbourne, on 16 M arch 1901; refer Argus (Melbourne), 15 M arch 1901, p. 8. 4: Florodora: The Prapses, Mysterious Musicians With George Lauri and Carrie M oore from the original Melbourne cast. First mentioned in Argus (Melbourne), 16 M arch 1901, p. 14. It was shown at the Athenaeum on the same day. 5: Florodora: The Prapses, Mysterious Musicians (No. 2) Argus (Melbourne), 16 M arch 1901, p. 14, refers to “two of the items in connection with the ‘Prapses’” being on the night’s film programme. Featured George Lauri and Carrie Moore. 6: Florodora: Double Sextette “Tell M e Pretty M aiden” With the original Melbourne cast members. First mentioned in T he Age (Melbourne), 23 M arch 1901, p. 10. T he A ge, 27 M arch 1901, p. 12, indicated that a 5-inch diameter “Con­ cert” phonograph cylinder of the song was introduced into the performance, and that it was “the intention of the management to work it with the film ” . M 7: H .M .S. Pinafore: Hugh J. W ard’s Grotesque Hornpipe Dance eertaliuy be appreciated by one and all tvhen it is painted o at that The COM PLETE PROCESSION rasp- be seen fear tS» sm all a m a m t charged First mentioned in T he Age (Melbourne), 26 1: Florodora: The M illionaire’s Song me «5**«» we«.««*!. I, Osborne House to Cowes. 2. Procession Tast Men-«'.War, . . J M arch 1901; first screened on that evening, and Dance 3. Pf^tesstos Thtnogh London. 4. Windsor Station to St, tiMfgi's Cbapet •<r; $, Baal Pmes»«* to Msasebtaas at Pogwoit. 8: Florodora: Unidentified item Features the original Melbourne Ifag m fii»-it Ptctuji... w i,: K Shown >n mnnoei.on with » * number o f the iietoat t o a t e o f tj*® cSi With Grace Palotta and Wallace Brownlow cast member Hugh J. Ward. First SOUTH AFRICAN W AR. from the original Melbourne cast. First men­ mention of filming “the hits of S te a ls* the f'mci'v EwertAioment t « t . P » l t ttto tioned in R o c k h a m p to n B ulletin, 1 May 1901. (¡¡wc : • , , L..;,, F lo r o d o r a ” is in A rgus (M el­ Added to the Bio-Tableau set after the compa­ bourne), 8 M arch 1901, p. 8. First ny’s departure from Melbourne. See also T asm anian N ew s specific mention of W ard’s “Eccentric D ance” is in Argus, 9 (Hobart), 22 June 1901, pp. 2-3; T he M ercury (Hobart), 29 M arch 1901, p. 8. June 1901, p. 3. 2: Collins Street, Melbourne: The Block Shot at 11 a.m. on 9 M arch 1901. Refer: Argus (Melbourne), M ason’s exhibition company with the F lo ro d o ra films left 5 M arch 1901, p. 10. Argus, 11 M arch 1901, p. 9, states “a Melbourne on 29 M arch 1 9 0 1 72, touring Australia some time number of local celebrities happened to be passing” in the ahead of the “live” production in most of its venues, thus serving film. as an advertising “trailer” for the stage show. 3: Florodora: Burlesque of ‘The Dart-ohs’ The British Mutoscope and Biograph Company’s film of the Has original Melbourne cast members Carrie Moore and earlier London cast performing “Tell M e, Pretty M aiden” from George Lauri. A burlesque of an adagio dance team then F lo ro d o ra was shown in Melbourne in April 1901. According to appearing in a Melbourne C inderella pantomime, which T he B ulletin, the local production and the local films indicated M oore and Lauri interpolated into F lo ro d o ra . Earliest known that our version compared more than favourably with London’s: mention of this film is in T he Age (Melbourne), 13 M arch *m ***& »*«





ï 'in u





The ladies [in the British film] are lymphatic, not so fruity as ours. Nor is the business as good, and it does not look anything like so lively. The ladies play too much at the audience with their nods. Maybe the film was [taken] at a crude stage of the piece. In Australia we get the benefit of London’s 300 nights.73 In Brisbane, the F lo ro d o ra films arrived at His M ajesty’s Theatre on 1 June 1 9 0 1 74, more than two months before the “live” production. They “have caused a mild rush to set in to His M ajesty’s Theatre, where business has been good all along”, said the M elb ou rn e Punch-. Brisbaners, apparently hopeless of seeing the Stuart play for some time, are evidently glad to get a glimpse of the Mascotte show, even if only through the medium of an [up] to date magic lantern.75 The F lo ro d o ra films were always shown as a group, and invariably were enthusiastically reviewed. None of them, sadly, are known to survive, and the only known “stills” of them are on a Bio-Tableau advertising poster for Hobart screenings on 29 June 1 9 0 1 76, held in the State Library of Tasm ania’s J. W. B. Murphy poster collection (see illustration).

C lem ent M a s o n ’ s B a c k g r o u n d A forgotten but pivotal pioneer of Australian film, Mason claimed to have been experimenting with motion pictures in Britain since 1 8 9 2 .77 After working for the W arwick Trading Company and mak­ ing the 1900-1 tour of Australia, he relinquished the manage­ ment of W illiamson’s Bio-Tableau to a M r W. Howard late in 1 9 0 1 78, returning to Britain. There, he gave shows at London’s Empire and Alhambra Theatres in association with Charles Urban’s film enterprises.79 He returned for another Australian tour with W illiamson’s Bio-Tableau Company late in 1904, showing Russo-Japanese W ar coverage and local film of the 1904 Melbourne Cup.80 Early in 1905, M ason shot films of New Zealand gorges in association with a cameraman named Hickey.81 During a spell in London late in 1905, he worked on Charles Urban’s featurelength travelogue, Living L o n d o n 81, which was a great moneyearner for Johnson & Gibson’s shows in Australia, inducing them to produce their famous 1906 Story o f the K elly G an g.83 M ason finally settled in Australia in about August 1 9 0 7 84, taking the lease on Sydney’s Queens Hall for his London BioTableaux Company for two years and operating the Clement Mason Trading Company there, one of Sydney’s earliest film and equipment exchanges.85 He also ran the earliest known Austral­ ian movie-makers’ school in April 1 9 0 9 86, and manufactured movie projectors of his own design atM errylands in July 1 9 1 0 .87 Several “M ason” projectors survive in private collections. M ason’s was one of the few Sydney film exchanges to resist joining the “com bine” around 1912. He distributed the output of the smaller European producers like Nordisk, Harma, Hepworth, Windsor, Italia and Caesar.88 After Clement Mason died during the First World W ar, the business was continued by his widow89 into the early 1920s as M ason’s Super Films.

A cknow ledgm ents Pat Laughren of Griffith University arranged for this series’ financial support under an Australian Research Council grant. Particular thanks for materials used in this issue go to Arthur and Corinne Cantrill (Melbourne), to Clive Sowry (Wellington) and to Jenny Trustrum (Melbourne). Professor D. J. Mulvaney of Canberra provided guidance for the Baldwin Spencer research in a politically-sensitive environ­ ment. Generous assistance was also provided by the following: In Melbourne: State Library of Victoria; NFSA Melbourne Office Ken Berryman, Helen Tully; Ross Cooper, Mimi Colligan, Frank Van Straten; Museum of Victoria - Mary Lakic; Prue Long. In B risb an e: Dr M ary Lau ghren , Paul R u ck e rt, R ich ard Fotheringham. In Sydney: Ian Dunlop, Judy Adamson, Graham Shirley. In Canberra: Meg Labrum, Marilyn Dooley. In Tasm a­ nia: John Corrick; State Library of Tasmania - Tony Marshall. In Britain: John Barnes. In America: Norman Tindale.

N otes 1

2 3


4 5

6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27

N ext I n s t a l m e n t In M ay 1901, the First Commonwealth Parliament was opened by the Duke of York in Melbourne. The Royal Tour associated with this event was covered by no less than six film production companies in both Australia and New Zealand, resulting in several documentaries exceeding an hour in length. It coincided with the first peak of pioneering film production in Australia. As Australia now moves towards republicanism, 1 9 0 1 ’s Royal mania emphasizes our nation’s changes over the last century, and forms the focus of our next instalment. •

That is, it was six times the length of any earlier Australian film, it ran for more than 30 minutes, and it frequently was the sole film shown on a night’s programme. Brian Coe, T he H istory o f M ovie P h otog rap h y , Ash & Grant, London, 1981, p. 80. John Barnes, Filming the B oer War, Bishopsgate Press, London, 1992, p.

28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35

Ibid. T he Australasian P h otographic R eview , 22 May 1901, pp. 22-5. Salva­ tion Army acquired Warwick gear in April 1901, Mason probably the month before, and Baldwin Spencer probably in February 1901. John Barnes, op. cit., pp. 167-70. See reference (5). T he A ustralasian P h otographic R eview , 22 May 1901, pp. 24-5. D. J. Mulvaney & J. H. Calaby, So Much T hat Is N ew , Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1985, p. 28. Ibid, p. 32. Ibid, p. 50. Ibid, p. 67. Ibid, p. 70. Ibid, p. 110. Ibid, p. 120. Ibid, p. 123. Ibid, p. 121. Cantrills Film notes, Melbourne, No. 37/38, April 1982, p. 28. Mulvaney &c Calaby, op. cit., pp. 162-4. T he South Australian Register (Adelaide), 15 March 1901: “The Ethno­ logical Expedition”. Spencer Papers, Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford: Gillen to Spencer corre­ spondence 16 September 1900. Cinem a Papers, No. 96, December 1983, pp. 33-6: “Australia’s First Films”, part 6, Chris Long and Pat Laughren. Ibid, p. 35. Spencer Papers, op. cit.: Haddon to Spencer, 23 October 1900. Ibid: Gillen to Spencer, 11 December 1900. A. C. H addon Papers, Cambridge University Library: Spencer to Haddon, 1 December 1900. Alice M. Moyle, “Sir Baldwin Spencer’s Recordings of Australian Abo­ riginal Singing”, in M em oirs o f the N ation al M useum , Melbourne, No. 24, December 1959, pp. 7-36. W. B. Spencer, Field Jou rn al o f Spencer-G illen E xpedition (held by Mitchell Library, Sydney): entry for 22 March 1901 (p. 29). Sir Baldwin Spencer, W anderings in Wild A ustralia, Macmillan, London, 1928, pp. 359-60. W. B. Spencer, Field Jou rn al, op. cit.: entry for 4 April 1901 (pp. 74-5). Ibid, entry for 6 April 1901 (p. 1). T he Age, Melbourne, 8 July 1902: “Australian Aborigines”. L ife, Melbourne, October 1904, p. 1059: “How We Wrote Our Book”. W. B. Spenger, Field Jou rn al, op. cit.: entry for 3 April 1901 (p. 69). Gillen’s diary, 4 April 1901, states that 24 recordings were sent home that CINEMA


1 0 2 ■ 81

36 37

38 39

40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61

day; Spencer in W anderings (1928) states that there were 36, of which 8 broke on the return journey. Those now in Adelaide and Melbourne are duplicates made by J. H. M. Davidson of Reeves & Co. in Adelaide in 1902. The originals appear to be in Britain. Information from A. Moyle, 1983 (personal correspondence) and from A. Cantrill, 1994. Adelaide set owned by Royal Geographical Society of South Australia are those used by Gillen in his Adelaide lecture on 24 July 1902; the four in the Museum of Victoria may have been from the same set originally. W. B. Spencer, Field Jou rn a l, op. cit., 8 April 1901, p. 3. F. J. Gillen, G illen ’s Diary, Libraries Board of S. A., 1968, p. 18. The Salvation Army and Baker & Rouse seem to have had commercial ties in film-related matters. Cinem a Papers, No. 101, October 1994, pp. 56-83: “Australia’s First Films”, part 10, Chris Long. F. J. Gillen, op. cit., p. 51; Sir Baldwin Spencer, W anderings in Wild Australia, p. 374. L ife , Melbourne, October 1904, p. 1059. F. J. Gillen, op. cit., p. 53. Ibid, p. 58. W. B. Spencer, Field Jou rn al, op. cit., 2 May 1901, p. 7. Sir Baldwin Spencer, W anderings in Wild Australia, op. cit., p. 374. F. J. Gillen, op. cit., p. 72. Ibid, p. 76. Ibid, p. 81. Ibid, p. 85. Mulvaney & Calaby, op. cit., p. 211. Ibid, p. 213. Ibid, p. 217. Ibid, p.218. See also Spencer P apers, op. cit.: Gillen to Spencer, 11 April 1902. Ibid. See also Spencer Papers, Mitchell Library, Sydney: Spencer to Rev. Lorimer Fison, 24 April 1902. The Argus, 8 July 1902: “Australian Aborigines”; T he Age, 8 July 1902: “Australian Aborigines”. W. B. Spencer & F. J. Gillen, The N orthern Tribes o f Central Australia, Macmillan, London, 1904, p. xiv. Mulvaney & Calaby, op. cit., p. 218. See also Cantrills Film notes, Melbourne, April 1982, p. 39. Ibid, p. 213. The Age, Melbourne, 15 July 1902. The South Australian Register, 24 July 1902, p. 4; 25 July 1902, pp. 4, 7. Mulvaney & Calaby, op. cit., p. 221.



62 Australian Archives, Mitchell, ACT: Department of External Affairs correspondence, CRS/A1, ITEM 13/14458. Report on J. P. Campbell’s work by D. B. Edwards, 8 March 1913, p. 2, lists 3,000 feet of film handed over to Prof. Spencer by Campbell, who toured N.T. “with the official party”. Campbell had been Commonwealth Government’s offi­ cial cinematographer since December 1911. 63 Cantrills Film notes, Melbourne, April 1982, p. 37. 64 Ibid. pp. 26-42. 65 Information from A. Cantrill, 1994. 66 Ada Reeve, T ake It F or A Fact, Heinemann, London, 1954, p. 82. 67 Re-issued by Pearl Records on its “Opal” label c.1990, OPAL CD 9835. 68 The Bulletin, Sydney, 27 April 1901, p. 28. All of the films exhibited by Wyld and Freedman were the 70mm product of the British Mutoscope and Biograph Company. 69 Argus, Melbourne, 15 December 1900; Punch, Melbourne, 20 December 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89

1900, p. 708. T he Stage, Sydney, 29 April 1908, p. 6. 50 feet was the standard Warwick camera load at the time. See ref. (8). Argus, Melbourne, 29 March 1901: “Amusements”. T he Bulletin, Sydney, 27 April 1901, p. 28. T he Courier, Brisbane, 1 June 1901, p. 4: “Mr J. C. Williamson’s BioTableau”. Punch, Melbourne, 6 June 1901, p. 686. State Library of Tasmania: J. W. B. Murphy poster collection, No. 81. The Stage, Sydney, 29 April 1908, p. 6, said that Mason had “the first cinematograph machine, and made the second 16 years ago”. Q ueensland T im es, Ipswich, 10 October 1901, p. 1; 15 October 1901: “The Bio-Tableau”. Tasm anian N ew s, Hobart, 6 May 1905: “Mr J. C. Williamson’s BioTableau”. Ibid, 8 May 1905; 9 May 1905, p. 2. Information from Clive Sowry, Wellington, New Zealand, June 1994. Information from Ross Cooper, Melbourne, 1989. Film Daily Y earbook o f M otion Pictures 1922-23: “Early Days In Australia” by Millard Johnson. Advertisements for M ason’s lease of Queen’s Hall are scattered through August 190 7 ’s issues of T he Sydney M orning H erald. Everyones, Sydney, 11 March 1925, p. 13: “A Retrospect”. The R eferee, Sydney, 28 April 1909. T heatrical Argus, Sydney, 30 July 1910, p. 4. T he T heatre M agazine, Sydney, 1 December 1918, p. 48. Ibid; see also E veryones, 16 January 1924, p. 13.


New Director for Film Queensland Ross Dimsey has been appointed Director of Film Queensland. Dimsey, who has more than 25 years experi­

Dimsey has been executive producer on a

Nowra ( Map of the Human Heart), Cos/'will feature

number of television series including The Magis­

Barry Otto ( Strictly Ballroom), who also appeared

trate, House Rules, Inside Running, This Man ...

in the original stage production. Additional Austral­

This Woman and The Four Minute Mile, associate producer of Darlings of the Gods and production

Weinstein said:

executive on Battlers.

ian actors are still to be cast. Miramax’s Harvey Miramax Films has a deep and ongoing commit­

ence in the film and television industry as pro­

Dimsey took up the position of Director, Film

ment to the Australian cinema, and I am thrilled

ducer, director and writer, was formerly Chief

Queensland, on 24 October. He replaces Richard

to be working with the FFC to bring this great

Executive, Film Victoria, and Senior Executive

Stewart, who left to become the Chief Executive

Australian comedy to the screen.

Producer, ABC Drama (Melbourne). He is pres­

Officer, New Zealand Film Commission, earlier

The Chief Executive of the FFC, John Morris,

ently a member of the Board of Cinema Papers

this year.

and of the Course Advisory Committee of the Victoria College of the Arts, Film and TV School. Dimsey’s producing credits include the mini­ series Half a World Away and A Thousand Skies, and the feature films Warm Nights On a Slow

Moving Train, Kangaroo and Morris West’s The Naked Country.

as a key financier.”

Miramax acquires world rights to Cosi

ecutive Vice-President of Acquisitions Tony Safford

Further to the Miramax story in this issue, Miramax

on behalf of Miramax, and executive producer Phaedon Vass, and FFC Senior Investment Man­

(FFC) will join forces to finance Mark Joffe’s Aus­

ager Catriona Hughes on behalf of the FFC.

tralian comedy, Cosi. Miramax has worldwide rights

Cosi is a reality-based comedy about an aspir­



Cosi will be co-financed by Miramax and the FFC, with the participation of New South Wales Film & Television Office. Richard Brennan will

ing theatre director who stages a production of

produce, with Phaedon Vass as executive pro­

Mozart’s opera “Cosi Fan Tutte” in a mental insti­

ducer. The picture begins principal photography

tution. Directed by Joffe ( Spotswood , aka The

in Sydney in January 1995.

Efficiency Expert) from a screenplay by Louis • CINEMA

The deal was negotiated by Weinstein and Ex­

Films and the Australian Film Finance Corporation

with the exception of Australia-New Zealand.


said, “Miramax has been an enthusiastic buyer of Australian films. We now welcome its involvement



the image etc. O therthan this Harry as pointed out


in the article is a grossly expensive piece of equip­ ment for use in the transfer of tape to film.


A couple of other remarks are also well off the The book also contains some interesting com­

An AVID issue

ments about Romper Stamper’s non-selection for the Cannes festival (it was screened, like dozens of other films, elsewhere at Cannes) which seem rather at odds with C aputo’s disingenuous im pli­ cation that the dom estic performance of Romper

Stomper, like that of the other two films, owed much to its reception in “Cannes” . Romper Stomper in fact seems to demonstrate the opposite: that, despite the im portance of Cannes to the A ustral­ ian industry, it is not the only way for an Australian film to skin the cat of domestic audience interest. Yours sincerely Jock Given [Former Policy Advisor, AFC] Sydney Raffaele Caputo replies: Jock Given writes: “The decision to commission a book about ‘successes’ rather than failures was taken for two reasons.

ments suggest that these systems deliver resolu­

It has been noticed that an advertisem ent which

tion levels greater than that of the original mate­

was recently run in Cinema Papers contains an

rial. Unfortunately if you start with 625 or 525 lines

inaccuracy which, by implication, unfairly misrep­

of resolution it matters little how intelligent your

resents our product.

pixels are; you can only end up with the original

An ad for the AVID non-linear editing system

amount of information. Your reporter who is well

made the claim that it was the only such system

known for his technical ability should realise that

with 24 frame editing mode and cutting list facility.

to improve the quality of film once it is shot is not

In fact, Lightworks edits in native 24 FPS mode

I would also like make clear a few things about

Films are cu rre n tly being cut utilising these

Acme Photo Video. Our system was developed six

Lightworks features in Germany, UK and Australia.

years ago by our company and has nothing w hat­

I wonder whether you would see fit to clarify

the time that it has operated we have transferred

Yours sincerely

four feature films and innumerable documentaries

Shaynee Yaffe

as well as commercials. In this time we have

Generation Films Port Melbourne

soon after the publication of issue no. 99 in May

time, were the ones most associated with that kind

1994, but was misdirected internally and only came

of optimism. Second, it’s much easier (even if still

to the Editor’s notice at the commencement of this

very difficult) to get people to talk publicly and

issue. Sincere apologies, then, to Shaynee Yaffe

honestly about their successes than their failures.

and Generation Films for this unacceptable delay.

A book full of people blaming each other for

The ad mentioned by Yaffe last appeared in

particular ‘failures’ (or denying the ‘failure’ alto­

issue no. 99; subsequent ads have not made this

gether) seemed less likely to be constructive.”


1. The review of Long Shots to Favourites

However, as the issue is an important one,

avoids any either/or position; indeed, it wants to

Cinema Papers asked its Technical Editor, Dominic

draw out the limitations of a decision to concentrate

Case, to comment.

on only “successes” rather than “failures” . Thus,

Dominic Case: Both Avid and Lightworks now offer

the review states: “Perhaps a much more interest­

versions which can run at 24fps, although these

ing exercise would have been in weighing up these

developments have only become available during

success stories with the ‘failures’, so to speak.”

the course of the year. Running on computers, these non-linear editing systems are not, of course, limited to running at the PAL videotape speed of 25fps.

renaissance mean something different today than

The issue of the exact frame matching be­

what it did in the 1970s? Or, could talk of a

tween film, video and digital systems at different

renaissance be enorm ously unrealistic (as in the

frame rates is quite complex, particularly when the

’70s when, despite a great deal of optimism, the

need to synchronize sound is taken into account

m ajority of film s made little or no returns)? The

as well. Cinema Papers issue no. 100 carried my

issue is compounded further especially when one

report on one approach to this by Spectrum Films,

realizes that Proof was not an only film slogging it

using Lightworks.

out at Cannes. It went along with a batch of films

when one reads and hears so much comparison between Strictly Ballroom and recent “successes”

managed to overcome most of the problems in­ volved in transferring video to film and unlike our competitors we are prepared to do back to back quality comparisons at any time. Finally I am pleased to agree with the article that our system is earning export dollars which is being reinvested in the Australian film and televi­ sion industry, all of which helps in a small way to keep reporters from film magazines, popcorn sell­ ers and kine operators in a job. Yours sincerely Larry Wyner Managing Director Acme Photo Video Artarmon Dominic Case replies: Despite several phone calls when preparing the article of “Digital Film Transfers” , I was unable to obtain an interview at Acme, and so I welcome Larry W yner’s contribu­ tion to the topic. I don’t mind seeing commercials as such at the cinema - some of them have as much to offer in 90 seconds as the feature manages to deliver in 90 minutes. It’s seeing television commercials that disappoints me. The quality is different - as this letter concedes - and surely it is ultimate film quality (among other things) that brings audi­ ences out to the cinema instead of waiting for the video release. Should we settle for less? As pointed out, Harry is indeed expensive and

- Holidays on the River Yarra, Dead To the World, go “w rong” with the others? Another example is

soever to do with any other system in the world. In

the error.

The Editor replies: The above letter was received

et al - from the same film fund. Where did things

possible, videotape is no different.

and outputs a frame accurate cut and optical lists.

ian film ‘renaissance’. These three films, at the

2. This poses a problem when talking about an

“intelligent interpolation of pixels” : both these state­

Dear [Editor]

First, there had been a lot of talk about an Austral­

“Australian film renaissance” . Does talk of a film

mark such as “effective 1400 lines resolution” and

The very ACME

I’m quite sure that the other facilities wouldn’t use it if it d id n ’t do a good job in m atching the

The following letter arrived just as the previous issue went to press.

colourim etry of the video image to that of the film stock. This amounts to far more than merely re­ racking the image.

like The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the

Dear [Editor]

Desert and Muriel’s Wedding. Thus the review

I would like to correct several inaccuracies in your

Common sense has always told us that you

states: “By reducing the study to only the apparent

article entitled “The Film and Digital World: Digital

can’t ever get an image sharper than the original

successes certainly gives a sense of precedence,

Film Transfers” ( Cinema Papers, no. 100, August

material - be it film or videotape. But ever since the

but no real indication of wider param eters.” And

1994, pp. 50-2). Firstly though, I can only agree

original “focus enhancement” systems were devel­

the concluding paragraph: “the report is useful in

with your reporter that he is indeed old-fashioned

oped by NASA in the 1960s to re-sharpen blurry

so far as it directly relates to the three films in

in his thinking when it comes to watching comm er­

moon images, mathematics and statistics have

question, but, in relation to the film industry in

cials before a feature film, as you would need to go

been able to improve on the original - most of the

general, what the report seems to reveal is that

back to the early sixties to remember a time when

time. If this paragraph had every alternate letter

Proof, Romper Stomperand Strictly Ballroom made

this was not the case. Also I have seen many a

missing, you could probably guess most of the

the most noise, and issues regarding the type of

feature film in my years in the industry that was far

missing ones and get them right. In image process­

cinema Australia is producing really seem to come

worse quality than that of our transfers.

ing, this “intelligent interpolation” does indeed give

The statement that “The big difference is due

the effect of more lines of resolution. But it’s true

3. On the point of a “book full of people blaming

to Harry” is a complete nonsense as, unlike the

that this technique still falls short of making video

each other” , if this is the only critical approach with

Acme Photo Video system, Harry is only used in

look like film (my original point), and this is where

regard to “failures” , then it seems we are all in dire

systems to relay the image to the film recorder and

processes like Cineon are necessary. (See Flame

straits with regard to our critical capabilities.

make up fo rth e recorder’s inadequacies in racking

article in this issue’s “Technicalities” .)

to naught.”



■ 102

. 83







There are real tensions between effective cultural develop­ ment, which is about taking risks, letting people fail, make mistakes and learning from them, on the one hand, and perform­ ance requirements, on the other. The whole cultural area is the sharpest edge of tension in all of the work the AFC does. So, there is an extent to which it’s back to the drawing board on that one. I’m not suggesting that we will do another Review; I’m not convinced that the review process is a way of solving the problems. But we will be talking to people about what we think our options are, and how we might pursue them. We need to be consultative, and give people the opportunity to react and to respond. Indeed, we will listen to any ideas they have as to how to proceed. The AFC is at a real crossroad, and not only because, like all film agencies in the federal arena, we have a four-yearly review early in 1995. We are also in a position where, because of our changed activities, particularly in the Film Development area, our revenue is declining significantly. As well, we had $ lm taken away from us when the last review of the AFC was approved. The additional money we have had since from the Commonwealth has been specifically targeted. One of the staff described what we do as a bit like slicing a salami into very thin slices to make sure it all goes around. There is a view that we are doing too much, and we are not actually doing what we do well enough. I would like the opportunity to have some more money, but one must be realistic about these things. Where governments in




Yes, though you catch me early on in my stewardship, and I haven’t had a lot of chance to do that. But I do intend to keep myself informed. In both Melbourne and Sydney, a regular list is prepared of projects that have been rejected, together with the names of the filmmakers. If anything stands out to me, I’ll look into it. That list also goes to each of the Film Commission’s Board meetings. I have been asked at board meetings why such and such was turned down, or why something else was recommended. The Board can take whatever level of interest it wants in the process. As to any new directions in the way assessments will go? Well, we have to find an answer to this problem of 920 applications a year. We spend in the vicinity of $ 1 8 8 ,0 0 0 commissioning assessments on projects, and it may go through the $ 2 0 0 ,0 0 0 mark this year. We have to have a discussion with the filmmaking community about whether we can keep on doing that. It’s not pleasant for those who are in the 25 to 30% which obviously won’t get funded, but maybe these projects could receive a different sort of assessment procedure to those which may or will receive funding. We may need to streamline our assessment procedure to allow us the facility, subject to transparency and accountability, of dealing more quickly and inexpensively with the bottom 25 to 30% so as to free more time to dedicate to stuff which may or should be funded. I don’t foresee, however, the Commission going for a set of maintained peer assessment committees, assessing all our projects on a rolling basis. I don’t think it’s necessarily the most effective • CINEMA


1 02

Does government ever make comments about what it feels you should or shouldn’t support? They tend to steer away from that, though they took quite an interventionist role in the Distinctly Australian money. They had very firm views about what they wanted, which is not to say that they didn’t listen to advice from us. If there is a broad view that can be attributed to the govern­ ment about the work of the AFC, it’s that our development and production work is the most important. But that’s not meant to imply there isn’t support for the co-production activities, the marketing and the cultural work, or indeed appreciation of the policy work we do. Some of the biggest users of our Research and Information publications are people in government. There is a sense in which the government thinks we are doing the right thing. But the environment in Australia and in the industry keeps changing. It behoves us to be looking at whether and how we need to change with it. I think it’s safe to assume that the AFC won’t inevitably be doing in two years’ time all of the things we’re currently doing. •

P AGE 3 9

Do you ever look at what hasn’t been recommended to gauge what the project co-ordinators are rejecting?


recent times have been increasing funds, they have been doing it in very targeted ways. They are not giving places like us lump sums of money and saying, “ Go away and do what you want with it.” They are attaching very specific kinds of requirements to the expenditure.

way of doing it. It runs the risk of being more cumbersome and even more expensive than the system we already have. I also foreshadow the need to discuss with the filmmaking community the practice that the Commission has of not only sending every assessment we commission back to the filmmaker, but having it signed. As far as we know, we are the only agency that does both of those things, and we are starting to experience assessor reluctance. In some cases, they are being harried, and, in others, they are starting to feel the need to write assessments which perhaps don’t deal with the issues as firmly as they might need to be dealt with. Isn’t there the danger with unsigned assessments of returning to the legendary assessments of the AFDC and AFC which were almost designed to cause people to jump off tall buildings? Because they were unsigned, there was no reluctance on the part of assessors to be spitefully damning in their comments. Well, yes, that’s part of the other side of the coin, part of the management problem that you need to deal with. I can only say that we are the only agency that releases signed assessments, and we are experiencing some difficulty with the process. We need to discuss it. Another issue, and I’m speaking anecdotedly as I don’t have any proof, is the suspicion that one of the reasons why we are getting 920 submissions a year is because we’ve become, and I don’t say this pejoratively, a free assessment process. “Ah, you want to get your project assessed? Send it into the Commission. It will go through its process.” Our highly-professional assessment service is running at the limit of its capacity.

What is the basis for choosing outside assessors? It’s very diverse. We have assessors whom we would consider to be helpful script analysts, assessors who can deal with marketing questions, or with the capacity of the project to get funding or to get made, who can look at it from a visualization point of view. Of course, any project that comes before us with elements of indigenous representation gets sent to an indigenous assessor. So, it’s a very broadly-based assessment procedure. We call upon the various talents of an eclectic group of about 150 people. It’s being added to all of the time. Given the criticisms of inconsistency in the AFC’s funding of the second narrative features of John Hughes and Aleksi Vellis, what exactly are the AFC’s feature-film guidelines and have they changed? I’d like the opportunity to deal with that particular point, and to put some information on the table. John Hughes’ film T raps [1986] was funded as a $ 34,000 feature-length documentary. Hughes’ W hat I H ave W ritten has been funded as a fully-dramatized, highly-interesting narrative feature at $ 1 .5m. The films are in completely different categories. As far as this Commission, and this branch, is concerned, W hat I H ave W ritten is a feature film in the sense that is currently understood by most people; Traps was not a feature film in the same way. John Hughes came to us as a first-time feature-film director. End of story. Finish. But directors who had their first features funded under 10BA, without any government investment, have been rejected by the AFC because they don’t qualify as “first-time feature-film” directors. I’m not sure I follow the link with 10BA. Why should the AFC rule out someone who made a feature with 10BA money, but not someone who made one with AFC money? Where the funding comes from shouldn’t alter the definition of who is a first-time feature-film director. I’ll try again. Traps was funded as a $3 4 ,0 0 0 project in a documentary category. It became a feature-length documentary in its final form. As far as Aleksi Vellis is concerned, he was given something like $ 1 0 0 ,0 0 0 to make a 50-minute film. It later turned out to be something much longer. In the case of both projects, the premise for the original decisions were in different grounds. T he L ife o f H arry D are [Vellis] and W hat I H ave Written were presented as $ lm plus narrative feature film scripts and were assessed as such. It is hopefully a point that anyone can agree with; different things were being considered at different times. Look, obviously, there is some confusion about whether or not we are interested in only first-time feature-film directors. The most recent Board decision [July 1994] about that issue uses words which imply a “preference” for first-time feature-film directors, which does not want to exclude the possibility of second-time feature-film directors coming up for consideration. I can investigate the back policy history on this if you like, but my feeling is that the Commission was never only exclusively interested in first-time directors. There was only ever a preferen ce for first-time directors. But people have been rejected, or not considered, purely on the grounds they were applying for a second feature.

Well, I’d better stand corrected on that, and I’m in a sense happy to do so. W hat you have said to me means that we need to make sure the guidelines that will operate in a few months’ time are extremely clear. There is a point about consistency and people understand­ ing what the Film Commission’s criteria are. At the same time, we need to be flexible. We operate a number of criteria so far as feature-film funding is concerned, of which whether or not a director has directed a feature is only one. If we receive, for example, indifferent projects from first-time featurefilm directors, but two crackers from filmmakers who have directed a feature already, do we knock them out and fund the first-timers purely because of one aspect of our funding criteria? We are between a rock and a hard place. There is a constant dynamic between flexibility of guidelines and consistency of practice, which is one reason why I want my colleagues and I to go out into the filmmaking community to have these discussions. It’s necessary to have critical discourse on the one hand, and the practical discourse on the other. I’m a little sorry that it’s not better known that we financed Only The B rave, Eternity [Lawrence Johnston, documentary, 1994], R o m p er S tom per [Geoffrey Wright, 1992], P r o o f [Jocelyn Moorhouse, 1991] and a whole lot of other things. Our corpo­ rate culture of shyness almost amounts to hiding our light under a bushel. W e’ve been forgotten as the organization that took the principal risks. T hat’s another thing that has to change. Are you disappointed that filmmakers the AFC supports are so reticent to ever mention or thank the AFC? Well, we can’t put words into filmmakers’ mouths, but we can make damn sure that, short of blatant propaganda, which backfires on you in the end, our story is better known. We look to the future with a great degree of excitement and enthusiasm. I think the Commission is going to function very well as a converged organization in the next few years. We are going to have vigorous debate and make a good contribution to all sorts of film and multi-media practices in the near future. If we can just beat the overload question, we have the capacity to respond to filmmakers, to generate ideas, to be a pathway organization. I’m feeling really great about it. •






munities to network among themselves and with their respective state film bodies. Funded under a three-year co-operative agree­ ment between the Department of Employment, Education and Training (DEET), Saunders says that the money for the Indig­ enous Branch is being used to pay his salary, an assistant’s wage, administration costs and two initiatives at Open Channel in Melbourne and Metro in Sydney. The Prime M inister’s cultural statement on 18 October af­ firmed the importance of film, print, art and theatre in defining the national character. Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders Australia’s indigenous people - remain anxious to have a chance to tell their stories. The two points of view are not mutually exclusive. Whether Australians will watch an “Aboriginal” film or a Chinese programme, as opposed to something else, is more a matter of personal choice than any high notions about needing a cultural imperative. I would think both the audience and Aborigines should be given that choice and chance. •



1 0 2 • 85

PRODUCTION SURVEY NOTE: Production Survey forms now adhere to

and all in this romantic musical comedy, featur­

Motion control mechanic

a revised format. Cinema Papers regrets it can­

ing 10 songs, old and new.


not accept information received in a different format, as it does not have the staff to re-process the information. Information is correct and ad­ judged as of 24/10/94.


ROUGH RIDERS Prod, company

Cowgirl Pictures Ronin Films

Dist. company

Principal Credits Jenny Hicks



Graeme Isaac Geoff Burton


John Scott


CTHULHU Prod, company

Tricia Waites


Onara Productions



80 mins 35mm

Length Gauge

Synopsis: A young female rodeo rider who is 1 /9 4 - 1/1995 also studying Law at Brisbane University makes 1/95 - 2/95 her mark in an arena traditionally seen as a 2/95 - 5/95 domain of men.

Pre-production Production Post-production

Principal Credits

[No further details supplied.] DamianHeffernan


UNDER DamianHeffernan Prod, company Michelle Ryan

Producer Line producer Exec, producer

THE GUN Villarosa Pictures

Kevin Dunn

Assoc, producers

Michelle Ryan James Mepham Call of Cthulhu

Based on story titled Written by

H.P. Lovecraft

Director Producers

Costume designer


Tom Kuhn Miranda Bain

Assoc, producers

Prod, manager

Michelle Ryan

Producer’s asst Production runner

Tracy Cook

Ian Jones Lloyd Carrick Gary Woodyard


Ralph Moser Prod, designer Matthew Heffernan Cast: Richard Norton, Robert Bruce, Peter Lindsey, Nicky Buckley, Kathy Long, Peter Sharon Tonge Cunningham, Stan Longinidis, Jane Badler, Tino ZapProductions Cererano. VFL

Prod, accountant

Other Credits 1st asst director Titles Laboratory Film gauge Screen ratio

16 mm 1:185

Synopsis: A small town is terrorized by an un­ speakable horror. Two unlikely heroes must save the town and indeed to world from the threat of the Cthulhu cult. Battling a savage cult

Billy’s Holliday Roadshow Film

Dist. company


Principal Credits

SAFC Opticals Laboratory

Kevin Williams

Lab liaison

Pamela Hammond Super 35


Richard Wherrett Tristram Miall

Producer Co-producer

Psilon Fandango (Rome) Jan - Mar 1994 Mar 1994... ... Mar 1995

Shooting stock


Video facilities

Network 8

Principal Credits Rolf de Heer


Domenico Procacci

Sally Ayre-Smith Denis Whitburn

Production Scriptwriter

Roger Lanser


Guntis Sics

Sound recordist

Sue Blainey Michael Scott-Mitchell Martin Brown

Art director

Terry Ryan

Costume designer

Peter Cobbin

Musical director

Leslie Rouvray FACB

Make-up Completion guarantor



NSW Film & TV Office AFC

Co-producer Assoc, producer Scriptwriter

Tania Nehme Graham Tardif

Prod, assistance

Jacqui Harrison

Beyond Inti. Completion guarantor Beyond International

Cast: Max Cullen, Kris McQuade, Tina Bursill, Drew Forsythe, Genevieve Lemon, Richard Roxburgh, Rachael Coopes. Synopsis: In the eyes of Billy’s teenage daugh­ ter, he is a loser. And his girlfriend can’t find the

Billie Holiday, life throws him some wild and wonderful curves. Fame, fortune - and Faust turn Billy’s world on its head until what emerges is the true romantic spirit of Billy Apples - voice



Camera type

Greg Burgmann Greg Molineaux

Asst grip Gaffer

Paul Johnstone

Best boy

Simon Higgins

Dan Hutton

On-set Crew 2nd asst director 3rd asst director

Lynne-Maree Dansey Jane Creswell Gabrielle Liston


Karen Mansfield

Stunt co-ordinator

Art Department

Carol Hughes

Art director

Bruce Davey

Scenic artist

Jonathon Shteinman George Whaley

Based on original novels by Steele Rudd Martin McGrath Lloyd Carrick

Sound recordist Editor

Wayne Le Clos Herbert Pinter Roger Kirk

Prod, designer Costume designer Composer

Peter Best

Planning and Development Production Crew Prod, manager

Maggie Lake Robin Clifton Juanita Parker


Steeves Lumley

Completion guarantor Legal services

Film Finances Paula Paizes

Camera Crew

Tor Larsen Matt Connors Lea Worth

Props buyer

Priscilla Cameron

Standby props

Wardrobe Wardrobe designer

Brett McDowell David Parkinson


Sasha Drake

Post-production Asst editor

Annie Breslin




90 mins



Cast: Toni Pearen, David Price, John Jarratt, Jamie Petersen, Carmen Tanti Synopsis: Mick, a 16-year-old country boy, cross dresses and joins an all-girl band in town for the local festival. He falls hopelessly in love with band member Angela, who is flirting with lesbianism. She’s hot for Mick, not just because he’s cute and [No further details supplied.]

On-set Crew

ANGEL BABY Toby Pease Karan Monkhouse

Continuity Make-up

Pam Willis Nikki Gooley


Cheryl Williams

Prod, company

Principal Credits Director

Michael Rymer


Timothy White Jonathan Shteinman

Nicholas Bonham


Michael Rymer


Wardrobe supervisor

Kerry Thompson

Post-production Atlab


Ellery Ryan

Sound recordist Editor

John Phillips Dany Cooper

Production designer

Chris Kennedy

Costume designer

Kerri Mazzocco


Planning and Development



Icon Productions Inc. International distributor

Astral Films 21/3/94 ...


Art Department


Wendy Chuck

Wardrobe asst

talented but, being a woman, he’s honest.

Key grip

Mike Carroll

Phil Brock

Government Agency Investment

Maizels and Associates

Sean Caddy

Digital Arts Motion Control

Mike Kelly Annabelle Denham


George Whaley

Tony Clarke

Patrick Walsh

Focus puller Clapper loader Sound recordist

Anthony Buckley


Motion control electronics

Sally Power

Camera Crew


Government Agency Investment

Jeremy Webber

Stephanie Melino

Prod, assistant


Helen Carter

Software design

Prod, accountant


Helen Carter

Motion control

Annie McEvoy Chris McGuire

Prod, co-ordinator

Anna McGinley Brian Holmes

Principal Credits

Focus puller

Aerial photography

Elizabeth Knight

Prod, manager

Lesley Rouvray

Colleen Kennedy

Digital Arts

Production Crew

2nd make-up


key to his heart. But when his pub jazz band takes off after Billy finds he has been magically blessed with the voice of his idol, the legendary

19/9/94 ...


Special fx photography

Murray Pope Suresh Ayyar


19/12/94 ...

Art director

Giulia Bernardi

Legal services

Steve Arnold

DOP Prod, designer



Camera Crew

Gerard Lee


Lesley Rouvray

Gail Fuller Film Finances

Robert Connolly

Assoc, producer


2nd asst director

Christopher Corin

John Maynard


Audine Leith

Unit manager

Gerard Lee


31/10/94 ...


Sharon Jackson

Principal Credits


1st asst director

Prod, manager

Roadshow Distributors


Mike Carroll

Production Crew

Pinnacle Pictures

1st asst director

Anthony Buckley Productions

Dist. company

Creative collaborator

Village Roadshow


ON OUR SELECTION Prod, company

Prod, accountant

Peter D. Smith


Intrafilms (Rome)

Inti, sales agent

Cast: Ulli Birvé (She), Syd Brisbane (The Man). Synopsis: An intergalactic love story about a planet earth.

Sean Cuddy Digital Arts

Tony Clark




Location manager

Rolf de Heer

DOP Sound designer


Rolf de Heer

Sharon Jackson


Dist. company

PA to Gerard Lee

Government Agency Investment

Casting consultants

Denis Whitburn






Gauge Screen ratio



Tania Nehme Hendon Studio

Mixed at

that can go wrong does.


ALL MEN ARE LIARS Prod, company


Post-prod, supervisor

Exec, producers

Pre-production Production

Fiona Paterson



Prod, companies

BILLY’S HOLLIDAY Prod, company


Beverley Freeman

Synopsis: A nightclub owner attempts to unload his debt-ridden club on a night where everything

and an invisible creature proves to be an adven­ ture of terrifying proportion.


Beverley Freeman

Matthew George


DOP Tracy Cook SharonTongeSound recordist

Prod, coordinator

International sales

Hair Wardrobe Unit publicist

Tom Jenkins

Production Crew

Editor Prod, designer

Beverley Freeman


Nie Masson

Storyboard artist

Beverley Freeman


Matthew George Paul Elliot Currie

Fred Weintraub

Executive producers DamianHeffernan




Tony Shepard


On-set Crew

Principal Credits

Richard Norton Co-producer

Peter Laan Charlie Kiroff Charlie Kiroff

Additional casting Majestic Films

Trish McAskill Alison Barrett Casting Greg Apps

Production Crew

Cast: Leo McKern (Dad), Joan Sutherland (Mother).

Prod, manager

Synopsis: A rural comedy based on the Steele Rudd novels.

Producer’s asst.

Judith Hughes

Director’s attach.

Tanja George

[No further details supplied.]

Prod, co-ordinator

Yvonne Collins Jo Friesen



June 24



(55 mins) Binnaburra Film Co. Producer: Glenys Rowe. Director: David Caesar. Scriptwriter:

THE GENIE FROM DOWN UNDER (13 x 25 mins) Australian Children’s Television Foundation. Executive producers: Anna Home,

the shrinking land. This is the saga of the Suttons, an Australian-lrish family, and the Kanaks, who

Jennifer Hicks. Scriptwriter: Jennifer Hicks. This

David Caesar. A funny, sexy film about Austral­

are caught between the stone age and the legacy of French colonialism. A story of greed,

they travel to Outback towns to compete in rodeos with the ambition of making it to the

ians and their cars.

passion, courage and death in which the fate of

National Finals in Sydney. The film treats themes

Oceania hangs in the balance.

of itinerancy and wanderlust, friendship and loyalty, courage and determination, showman­


Patricia Edgar. Producers: Patricia Edgar, Phil

(55 mins) Carlyon & Rivette Pictures. Produc­

Jones. Scriptwriters: Steve Spears, Christine Madafferi, Mandy Hampson. When a 13-year-

ers: Michael Rivette, Terry Carlyon. Director: Terry Carlyon. Scriptwriter: Robyn Miller. This

old aristocrat Penelope Townes discovers an Australian genie called Bruce in her crumbling

film deals with missing children. The story will focus on the operation to trace and recover a

ancestral mansion in England, she naturally expects her fam ily fortunes to improve. They do

child smuggled out of the country by a parent as the result of a bitter custody battle.

... sort of. Bruce promptly transports her Down


Under where she has inherited Townes Downs, 500 square miles of Australian outback.

GLAD RAGS (13 x 25 mins) Nomad Films International. Ex­ ecutive producer: Douglas Stanley. Producer: Kate Faulkner. Director: Karl Zwicky, plus an­ other TBA. Scriptwriter: Trevor Todd. The ad­ ventures of Lizzie Forbes, a 13-year-old girl with a vivid imagination who lives with her


August 26

(20 x 24 mins) Millennium Pictures. Executive producers: Posie Graeme-Evans, Dorothee


Pinfold. Co-producers: Andrew Blaxland, David Gibson. Directors: Mark Piper, John Banas.

(55 mins) Marguerite Grey & Martin Daley Ven­

producers: Philip Gerlach, Robert Lantos. Pro­

Hilary Bell, Alister Webb. Australian/New Zea­ land co-production. Two 14-year-old girls, who

ducers: Heather Ogilvie, Lael McCall, John Winter. Director: Geoff Bennett. Scriptwriter:

of the celebrated Sydney Gay and Lesbian

live in different times, become friends through

Choir. Over the course of a year the film looks

the magic of an old mirror. They travel to one another’s time zone and become embroiled in a

James Nichol. April is the dreamy wife of an ambitious public servant who needs her help to

at the diversity of the choir’s achievements and shows how it has become a symbol of changing attitudes in contemporary Australia.

plot to rescue a young boy who is heir to the Tsarist throne of Russia.


July 29

(24 x 30 mins) Grundy Television. Executive



Lewis, a young University graduate, accepts a job directing mental patients in a therapeutic

(2 x 60 mins) Prospero Productions. Executive producer: Peter Du Cane. Producers: Ed

drama course. His control is usurped by Roy, a manic depressive, who demands that they stage

Punchard, Julia Redwood. Director: Peter Du Cane. Scriptwriter: Julia Redwood. True stories

an opera by Mozart despite the fact that none of the inmates can sing, speak Italian or act.

kingdom it is not only the large and powerful predators who kill. This is the story of creatures whose lethal venom makes them potentially deadly to humans who are often their unin­

This film gives a voice to people with disabilities on the issue of sexuality, and reveals their search for intimacy and acceptance and the ways they cope with society’s attitudes.

TELEVISION DRAMA TELEMOVIES SINGAPORE SLING (3 x 100 mins) Barron Films (Television). Ex­ ecutive producer: Paul Barron. Producers: Paul Barron, Julie Monton. Directors: Geoffrey

the original series, the heart of the children’s Centauri Network is once again hidden beneath a farm in the Australian bush.

Nottage, John Laing. S criptw riters: Keith Aberdein, David Phillips, Peter Schreck. A worldweary private investigator, based in Singapore, unravels a series of cases involving power, politics and the Asian underworld.


CURTAINS FOR MY CABIN BLACKWATER TRAIL (95 mins) Rutherford Film Holdings. Executive producers: John Sexton, Chris Brown, Victor Glynn. Producers: John Sexton, Julie Forster. Director: Ian Barry. Scriptwriter: Andrew Russell. A successful playwright returns to his home town for the funeral of a former school mate - a police detective killed undersuspicious circum­ stances. His decision to return home brings him face to face with his ex-lover and with his

(50 mins) Buona Notte Film Productions. Pro­ ducer: Cristina Pozzan. Line producer: Lucy M cL a re n . D ire c to r: M e lissa J u h a n so n . Scriptwriter: Melissa Juhanson. FFC/ABC ac­ cord. This film follows a woman truck driver as she takes a load through the night to Port Augusta in South Australia. Forthe women who have joined the “brotherhood” of the trucking community there is a fascination in the nomadic lifestyle and world of long-distance driving.

murdered friend’s dangerous past.



(55 mins) Vixen Films. Producer: S tuart Menzies. Director: Jo Lane. Scriptwriter: Cate


Rayson. FFC/ABC accord. This film uses can­ did interviews, drama segments and archival footage to explore the impact which watching television has made on Australian life.


Sarah Stephens. Scriptwriter: Sarah Stephens.

to return to her former life with her husband.


tended targets.

(50 mins) Fertile Films. Executive producer: Geoff Barnes. Producer: Eva Orner. Director:

of armed robbers. As she grows to know and like her captors, April realizes she doesn’t want

Rossi Kotsis. An international computer network of children sets about overcoming national rival­ ries and saving the environment. In this sequel to


the East India Companies to modern day skul­ duggery, such as a psychotic treasure hunter

Scriptwriter: Roger Whittaker. In the animal

win a promotion to a key post with the Attorney General. She is taken hostage by an inept gang

Phillips, Dave Worthington, Serge Lazareff. Cast: Shane Briant, Frederick Parslow, Emma Fowler,

of shipwrecks from the swashbuckling age of


(100 mins) Total Film and Television. Executive

producers: Ian Bradley, Roger Mirams. Produc­ ers: Stanley Walsh, Emanuel Matsos. Directors: Colin Budds, Howard Rubie. Scriptwriters: David

(105 mins) Smiley Films. Executive producer: Phaedon Vass. Producer: Richard Brennan. Director: Mark Joffe. Scriptwriter: Louis Nowra.

(2 x 60 mins) Roger W hittaker Films. Producer: Roger Whittaker. Director: Roger Whittaker.


ture. Producer: Marguerite Grey. Director: Mar­ tin Daley. Scriptwriter: Martin Daley. A portrait

gang of young neighbours outwit him.

and dramatized re-enactments.

ship and sportsmanship.

Scriptwriters: Tony Morphett, Greg Millin, Greg Haddrick, Ray Harding, Katherine Thomson,

mother above a costume hire shop called “Glad Rags” . When a crooked property developer tries to take over their building, Lizzie and her

who blows up the wrecks to pillage and plunder them. The film uses underwater photography

film follows a group of young rough riders as

(3x120 mins) Crawford Productions & Gaumont Television. Producers: John Kearney, Philippe Vignes. Director: Michael Jenkins. Scriptwriter:

BLANCHE D’ALPUGET (55 mins) Don Featherstone Productions. FFC/ SBS Accord Documentary. Producer: Don Featherstone. Director: Don Featherstone. Scriptwriter: Don Featherstone. It will explore aspects of writer Blanche D’Alpuget’s life and will look at her writing as a distillation of her “s e lf, her recent foray into Christianity and how this contrasts with her earlier life; and the crea­ tive process as she works on her current novel.

BEYOND THE BLACK STUMP (30 mins and 52 mins) Orana Films. Producer: R ichard D ennison. D irector: Gary Steer. Scriptwriter: Gary Steer. Earlier this year Syd­ ney experienced its worst bushfires in 100 years. The holocaust left homeless countless creatures and caused overwhelming disruption

Graeme Farmer. Australian/French co-production. The violent earth is New Caledonia, where


to vast areas of bushland. This film looks at the

(80 mins) Cowgirl Pictures. Producer: Graeme

the settlers and Kanaks work out their destiny on

Issac. Co-producer: Patricia Waites. Director:

wider picture of how fire has shaped Australia’s natural landscape.

Location manager

Steve Brett

2nd asst director

Robbie Visser

Sound editor

Frank Lipsom

Principal Credits

Asst location mger

Melissa Rymer Andy Pappas

3rd asst director

Damien Grant

Laboratory Lab liaison

Cinevex Ian Anderson

Director Producer

Unit manager Unit asst. Production runner Insurer Comp’n guarantor

Jolyon (Joel) Simpson

Make-up Hairdresser

Emma Javold

Make-up bus driver

Tony Leonard

Still photography

Steeves Lumley

Unit publicist

Antonia Barnard


Film Finances

Focus puller Clapper-loader Camera equipment

Jolyon (Joel) Simpson Jennifer Mitchell Fiona Searson, DDA Rick Herr

Robert Murray Sion Michel

Art dept co-ordinator

Andrew Jerram

Art dept attachment


Art director

Set dresser

Barry Hansen


Ted Nordsvan

Standby props

Best boy

John Brennan


Props buyer

3rd electric

Greg de Marigny

Standby wardrobe

Generator operator

Greg de Marigny

Asst costume

Euan Keddie


Hugh Bateup

Sound design

Rick J. Sawyer Anne Brooksbank

BABE Director

Kennedy Miller Chris Noonan [No details supplied.]

DOP Sound recordist

Stephen Dobson Guntis Sics Tim Wellburn

Editor Prod, designer

Ross Major

Planning and Development Casting


Marita Mussett

Prod, company Dist. company

Frank Lipsom

Paul Leadon


of the human psyche.

Glen W Johnson

Isobel Carter

Doug Yellin Gary Hamilton

Synopsis: A roller-coaster journey to the fringes

Joanna Park

Martine Simmonds

John Sexton

Executive producers

Cast: John Lynch, Jacqueline McKenzie

Sharon Young

Dean Sullivan

Michael Robertson


Prod, company


On-set Crew

Government Agency Investment

Harley to Rose

Key grip

1st asst director

Zeljka Stanin

Art Department

Camera Crew Camera operator

Kirsten Veysey

Budget Pre-production

Faith Martin

Casting consultants

Back of Beyond Films

Dean Carey

Dialogue coach

Beyond Inti.

Storyboard artist

$3.8 million

Shooting schedule

1 /8 /94-10/9 /94

Faith Martin & Assoc. Roger Fletcher Carolynne Cunningham Anne Bruning

Budgeted by


12 /9/94-15/10/94

Production Crew



Prod, supervisor


Anne Bruning


1 0 2 • 87

Proci, co-ordinator


Julie Sims

Prod, assistant

Deborah Eastwood

Location manager

Denham Jones

Prod, company Director

Vincent Monton Phillip Emanuel

Transport manager

Dave Suttor


Unit manager

Dave Suttor

Executive producer

Unit manager assts

Andrew Marshall

Prod, runner Prod, accountant


Julian Ryan


Gemma Rawsthorne


H. W. Wood

Completion guarantor Legal services

Film Finances Mallesons Stephens Jacques Basia Plachecki

Travel co-ordinator Base-office liaison

Deborah Eastwood

Camera Crew Camera operator

Marc Spicer

Focus puller

Sally Ecleston


Robert Marsh

Camera assistant

Kylee Bayliss

2nd unit operator

Nick Mayo

2nd unit focus

Andrew Birbara

Camera type

Arri BL4

Key grip Grip Gaffer

Louis Irving

Robbie Burr


Greg Allen

Asst electrics

lain Mathieson

[No further details supplied.]

GIRL Prod, company

1st asst director

Carolynne Cunningham

2nd asst director

Henry Osborne

3rd asst director

Guy Campbell


Jo Weeks

Boom operator

Fiona McBain


Phillip Emanuel Prods

Scriptwriter Editor [No further details supplied.]

Principal Credits

DOP Sound recordist Editor Art director

Nicole Spiro

Prod, manager

Stunts co-ordinator

Spike Cherrie

Safety officer

Spike Cherrie

Prod, accountant

Fiona Lennard

Location manager

Unit publicist

Marc Vignes

Unit manager

Tracey Mair

Unit asst.

Art Department

Production runner

Art dept co-ordinator

Camera Crew

Rose Keeping Andrew Short

Props buyers

Andrew Plumer Andrew Short

Props dresser

Andrew Plumer John Fox



Action vehicle co-ord.

McKinley Wardrobe supervisor

Louise Spargo

Key grip Asst, grip Gaffer Best boy 1st asst director 2nd asst director

Wardrobe assistant

Kelly May

3rd asst director Boom operator

Guy Allain Tony Piliotis John Moore

Construct, manager Carpenters

Continuity Make-up Runner

Paul O’Reilly

Stunt co-ordinator

Crispin Joos

Safety officer

Herman Hansman Brenton Grear

Tutor Nurse Still photography

Post-production Asst, editor

Bin Li

Sound editor

Gary O’Grady

Barbara Ring


Art Department

Opticals Laboratory


Props buyer

Moira Fahy


Props dresser

Moira Fahy

Lab liaison

Ian Russell

Standby props


Art dept runner



Shooting stock


Standby wardrobe



Telecine transfers

Andrea Hood

Kylie du Fresne

Director Producer

Sara Jane Van Gyen



Shane Wilton

Exec, producer



Annie Benzie Brett McDowell John Tate Derek Jones

Robert Burns

Composer Researchers

Annou Borrey

Script editor

Sally Browning

Mark Worth

Sophie Fabbri-Jackson Fiona McBain

Budgeted by Prod, manager

Standby props

Murray Gosson Wendy Cork Mary Christodoulou

Post-Production Dialogue and FX

Location manager Prod, accountant

Legal services

Liam Egan

Travel coordinator Freight cordinator

John Paul II in Sydney as Australia’s first saint.


Ben Bohane

Sound transfers by


Sound editor Music performed by Mixer

David White Counterpoint Sound

Music mixer


Lab liason

Martin Hoyle

Film gauge Screen ratio Shooting stock Off-line facilities




Synopsis: A film about the interactive elements of youth, culture, crime and music in the urban and rural areas of Papua New Guinea.


Terry Kyle

Director Producer

filled with infinite beauty and eternal mystery.

after it’s maiden voyage. Equipped with the


The magical place where a young man’s search for spiritual fulfilment becomes an amotional

detective kit bought by young son, Jim, father and son trek off to find the KOMBI. Their search

Cast: Jonathon Hardy (Ballard), Amanda Mires (Aria), Gerowyn Lacaze (Lear), Daniel Kealy

Legal services

awakening of the heart and soul.

leads them to a relationship they never had, and

(Joyner), Sallyanne Ryan (Manderson), Marc

Focus puller

1 02

Buona Notte Film Productions

Principal Credits

Graphics designer


Omnicon Frameworks


restoring his VW KOMBI only to have it stolen


10:1 Kodak 7298 & 7293

Government Agency Investment

Set realisation



Video transfers by

Synopsis: Harry Dare is the coolest Aboriginal detective there ever was.The man spent years

Margaret). Synopsis: Outback Australia. An ancient land

David Bridie



(Ned), T erry Serio (Lucky), Glenda Linscott (Mary

David Bridie John Philips

Carrie Mellett (Anne), Ben Nelson (Johnny), Tony Briggs (Dan).

(Gilbert), Amy Miller-Porter (Rosie), Aaron Wilton

Prod, designer

Mark Ward Counterpoint Sound

Sound recordist

Cast: Paul Mercurio (Tom), Colin Friels (Connor), John Poison (Nick), Dee Smart (Charlie), Rebekah Elm aloglou (Susan), Bob Maza

Annie Davis

Still photography

Terry Kyle Peter Gregory


Margaret McNally

Other Credits

Principal Credits Producers

Film Finances Heidtman & Co.

Jet Services

Archipelago Films 29/1/94...

Tony Fofoe Jane Cordon, H. W. Wood Australia

Brian McKenzie

dreds of thousands of people around the world. In January 1995, Mary will be beatified by Pope

Leisl Hillhouse Marcus Schintler

Moneypenny Servies Insurer Completion guarantor

Lindi Harrison

Stills photographer

Prod, coordinator

Judy Lovell Angelina Rosso

Sally Browning

Production Crew

Francesca Cubillo-Alberts(Dulcie, 1965), Carole Frazer (Dulcie, 1S78-80s), Bob Agius (Bert),

Beyond Inti.

Sally Browning

Shooting schedule by

Adam Spencer


Inti, distributor

David Bridie

Planning and Development

Mark Watson Vicki Sugars

Mark Worth


8 years old), Aaron Wilton (Jim), Billy Trott (Jim in his twenties), Bobbi-Jean Henry (Jem),

Beyond Inti.

Mark Worth

Sound recordist

Associate producer

Inti, sales agent

Glenys Rowe David White, SBS Roman Baska

Cast: John Moore (Harry), Gordon Weetra (Harry,


Mark Worth Sally Browning



Benjamin Jasper


Asst, editor

Nov 1994 ...

Principal Credits

Simon Bennetts

Other Credits

PhilMacPherson Prod, company PersciaBrokensha Production

Government Agency Investment FFC

Sept 1994 ...


Downing (Flora), Mitchell McMahon (John), MonicaPearce Jaclyn Hewitt (Lexie), Rebecca Scully-Watson KaranMonkhouse (Mary 6yrs old), Roslyn Oades (Sister Paula), MichaelOxenberry Maureen Green (Sister Theresa), Dean Nottle Mike Bakaloff (Gentleman), Nicholas Findlay (Tommy), Carol Carmel Torcasio Skinner (Cook), Jane McDermott (Sister Clare), Andrea Hood Scott McGregor (Father Hughes) MichaelOxenberry Synopsis: Mary MacKillop is one of Australia’s Zev Eleftheriou little known heroes. Despite excommunication Zev Eleftheriou and exile, Mary remained determined to bring Rob Dekok education to the poor and underprivileged. More Jenny Bichard than one hundred years later, the Sisters of St Simon Stanbury Joseph, an order of nuns founded by her, has Maria Blore brought enlightenment and knowledge to hun­


Screen ratio



Cast: Lucy Bell (Mary MacKillop), Linden Wayne Aistrope Wilkinson (older Mary), Brendan Higgins (Fa­ Mike Smith ther Woods), Brian Harrison (Bishop Shiel), PaulHamlyn Stephen Leeder (Father Horan), Frank Garfield Richard Rees-Jones (Bishop Reynolds), Brian McDermott (James ChrisHerfeld Quinn), Ron Zines (Matthew Quinn), Vanessa

Mixed at



Julian Ryan

Chris Cronin Asst, editor

Yuri Poetzl

Emerald Films $262,000 June 1994 ...

Sarah Royds

Hair and makeup artist Tim Stanley Set dresser

Art dept asst.

BOYSTOWN Prod, company Pre-production

Michael Davis

Focus puller Clapper-loader

1 I



Wardrobe supervisor KevinPlummer Standby wardrobe

Sean McGovern


Camera Crew

Miriam Ready

Lyddy Van Gyen

Lyn Askew

Scenic artists

Barbara Gibbs

Paul Meulenberg


Martin Brown

Key grip Terry Charatsis Grip assistant Barbara Gibbs Gaffer GeraldThompson Best boy Geoff Hall On-set Crew BronwynMurphy 1st asst, director Tony Patterson 2nd asst, director IanJobson Continuity Beverley Freeman Boom operator

Focus puller

Standby wardrobe

Construction Dept

Aleksi Vellis

Camera operator

On-set Crew


Infinity Pictures South Australian Film Corp.

Production Crew

Stills photography

Angus Strathie

Production accountant


Prod, co-ordinator

Unit nurse

Margaret Sixell

Production designer

Location manager Alex Zabotto-Bentley Production runner

Prod, designer

Costume designer

Conrad Rothman


PeterThompson Producer’s assistant Tim Smart Production secretary Andrew Narozny



Jan Kenny Mark Blackwell

Production coordinator JohnHipwell



Bridget Ikin Kay Pavlou

Sound recordist

Production Crew PhillipEmanuel Production manager DavidHannay

Executive producer


Rosemary Blight


Lesley Rouvray

Make-up asst Special fx


Art director PeterThompson

Assoc, producer

On-set Crew

See previous issue for details on Kay Pavlou



hostile world they reside on.

R.B. Films

Consultant producer NeilAngwin Scriptwriter Neil Sutherland DOP


Prod, companies

front the unknowability of each other and the


Ted Otton

Prod, designer

Ian Plummer

Best boy

of research station Orpheus are forced to con­

VincentMonton Director


Dave Hansen Paul Smith

Synopsis: Isolated on a remote planet, the crew


Principal Credits

Simon Quaife

Asst grip

disappearance many years ago. A comedy about

DavidHannay Prod, company JohnHipwell


Paul Malane

James (Felle)

to unravelling the mystery of Harry’s father's

Phillip Emanuel Prods

Belinda Glaistner Terry Kyle Peter Gregory Jeff Licence Adam Head Craig Hanacek

Line Producer Scriptwriter DOP Editor

Melissa Juhanson Cristina Pozzan Lucy McLaren Melissa Juhanson Graeme Wood Mark Atkin

Other Credits Script editors

Other Credits

Brian McKenzie Alison Tilson

Geoff Weate

Prod, manager

Jeff Licence

Prod, accountant

Tom Taylor BVU-SP

Insurer Completion guarantor

Debra Annear Monika Gerht Steeves Lumley Motion Picture Guarantors Roth Warren Trish Keating



Government Agency Investment

Government Agency Investment


Development Production


Film Victoria FFC ABC Pre-sale

Production FFC

ABC ABC Publicity

Synopsis: Each year in Australia hundreds of


Synopsis: Curtains For My Cabin is a documen­ tary film about the lives of the women who work

unhappy or abusive homes, others are victims of personal wars between parents who only see

Prod consultant Scriptwriter DOP

in and around the trucking industry. The film

custody as a major victory. The film traces the

Sound recordist

follows Julie driving through the night, setting off

investigation to recover one such child.


women truck drivers, girlfriends, husbands and roadhouse waitresses are interwoven through­ out Julie’s trip.


Prospero Productions

Dist. company Budget Pre-production

$457,158 25/7/94 - 25/8/94


26/8/94 - 3/11/94

Vixen Films


17 /10/94-11/11/94

Principal Credits


14 /11/94-23/12/94


Jan - April 1995


Ed Punchard


Jo Lane


Stuart Menzies


Cate Rayson


Dennis Parker

Editor Composers

David Bridie


Hugh Kittson Ed Punchard

Completion guarantor

Film Finances Betacam SP


16mm Off-line facilites

Lightworks, The Joinery

Government Agency Investment Development

Film Victoria



Julia Redwood Niobe Syme

Prod, manager Prod, accountant Insurer Completion guarantor Legal services Camera operator Make-up

Rick Parish

Safety officer

pened, what happens and what will happen on the other side of the screen. Glued to theTeiiy is

Government Agency Investment


Carlyon & Rivette Pictures




June -July 1994 August - October 1994

Production Post-production

Nov 1 9 9 4 -Jan 1995

Principal Credits Director

Terry Carlyon


Terry Carlyon

Development Production

wrecks. Using dramatic re-enactments the pro­ gramme moves from the swashbuckling age of the Dutch East India Company, paying particular attention to the bloodcurdling tale of the wreck of the Batavia, through to tales of modern skuldug­ gery, where treasure-hunters plunder underwa­ ter historic sites.


Terry Carlyon A.C.S.

Sound recordist Editor

Other Credits

Prod, manager Prod, accountant


Robyn Miller Jane Corden,


Christy Beard


Christy Beard



Christy Beard

Chrisine Suh,

Motion Picture Guarantors Michael Rivette, MJR

Legal services Camera operator

Terry Carlyon A.C.S.

Camera type Camera maintenance

Super 16 Aaton XTR

Still photography

DOP Sound recordist

Anna Meyer


Greg Eagle Nick Tardent

Peter Muir


Georgina Mack

Prod, manager

Holly Leask

Camera operator

Keith Platt

Camera assistant

John Jacobson

Gaffer Sean Meitzer Doron Kipen

M&E Sound Laboratory Cinevex Film Laboratories Grant Millar

Grader Film

Siggy Ferstl 16mm

Shooting stock

7248, 7293 lloura


Marcus Bosisto


Todd Telford Graeme Shelton

On-set Crew Continuity

Patricia Balfour Scott Piper Philip Elms David Crowe

Still photography Catering

Sonja Fuller Farhad Heidary Maryam Masters

Cathrine Hall Sean McCafferty Andrea Klucis SP Betacam

Stills photograhy Gauge


Steve Lumley Paul Robinson

Prod accountant Equipment Camera type

Dialogue editor Sound editor

Video master by

The Facility Pty Ltd


4/7/94 - 29/7/94

Art dept co-ords

Michelle Taylor

Standby props Armourer

Andrew Playford Albie Hoskins (Broken Hill)

Post-Production Editing asst

Barnaby Smith

Sound editor Laboratory

Andrew Belletty Atlab Simon Wicks

Lab liaison


Gauge Screen ratio


Shooting stock

Kodak 7293 & 7245

Marketing Publicity

Ian Phipps AFTRS

Cast: Aden Young (Cliff), Claudia Karvan

Lemac Aaton 1 TR 7

Synopsis: A road movie about a schizophrenic man looking for home.

James Clark

Mixer Laboratory

Peter D. Smith Cinevex Ian Anderson

Lab liaison

Super 16

Gauge Screen ratio

1:1.66 Eastman 7293

Shooting stock Shooting ratio



Film Australia Polish Television

Principal Credits Director

Noel Price

Producer Co-producer

Noel Price Polish Television

Exec, producer

Ron Saunders

Assoc, producer Scriptwriters

Dennis Kiely Mark Shirrefs John Thomson






Sound recordist Editor

Cast: Roger Newcombe (Virgil Harbinger), Maureen Sherlock (Erica Harbinger), Caroline Mignone (Girl Student).


AUSTRALIAN FILM TELEVISION & RADIO SCHOOL L________________ __ ;____________ À Prod, company Budget Pre-production Production Post-production

AFTRS 515,000 2 7 /6 /9 4 - 19/8/94 22/8/94 - 4/9/94 5/9/94 - 8/12/94

Principal Credits Director

Deborah Niski

Producer Scriptwriter

Andrew Moffat Steven Vidler Jonathan Cohen Andrew Belletty Robin Lloyd Beth Pickworth

Planning and Development Casting

Joy Sargant (Sydney) Bobbie Pickup (Broken Hill)

Production Crew Prod, manager


SPELLBINDER Prod, companies

Government Agency Investment

Soluble Fish Films $90,930

Michelle Bernet

Lindy Astin

Prod, designer



Art Department

(Glynda), Max Cullen (Gideon), Steve Bisley (Chiron), Derryn Hinch (as himself).

Hendon Studios


The Facility Pty Ltd

Thomas Kayser Ben Brett

Piper Films

Sound mix

Synopsis: [No details supplied.]

Off-line facilities

Special fx Still photography

Yvonne Van Gyen Tony Young

Music engineer

11 mins Length Cast: Lydia White, Jason Davis, Jamie Honey.

Prod, company

Cathy Denovan

Post-production Asst, editor

DOP Sound recordist


Brian Hughes


Other Credits


1st asst director Prod, assistant

Stuart Ewings

Justine White John Foster

Key grip

Other Credits

Jacinda Kliedon Toni Ridley

Lab liaison

Video transfers by

Principal Credits

Lemac Film Rentals

Post-production Post-production supervisor

24/9/94 - 29/9/94 7/1 0/94 -31 /10/9 4

Robyn Miller Terry Carlyon

Steeves Lumley

Insurer Completion guarantor

Brad Lanyon

Synopsis: A short film about philosophy, philately and the end of the world

DESOLATE Production




Geoffrey Wilson Michael Collins David Hirschfelder


Recording studio


Synopsis: Atwo-hourdocumentary special which tells the tales of Australia’s earliest known ship­

Robyn Miller


Sound editor


Inti, distributor

ABC Documentaries

Patricia Balfour Kim Duffy

Screen West


Mark Hamlyn


Phil Percival Betacam

Shooting stock

Michael Rivette Exec, producers

Joya Stevens

Camera operator

Special effects

ABC Pre-sale Synopsis: A documentary that studies what hap­

watching Australians watching telly from yester­ day to today and beyond, and has a laugh at our behaviour.

Rachel Fielder

Tanya Jackson

Camera Crew

Hannan & Co

Rachel Stevenson

Stunts co-ordinator

John Martin (Broken Hill) James McTiegue (Sydney)

Production Crew

Boom operator

Ian Pugsley

1st asst directors

Boom operator

Tony Weller Film Finances Rob Carton-Smith

On-set Crew

SA Casting

Asst, grip

John Philips

Tony Mandl Paul Andersen

Best boy


Art dept. asst.

Other Credits

Tony Bosch


2nd asst director

Julia Redwood

Ken Sallows

Arri SR 16mm

Key grip

Ann Peters,


John Wheeler

Camera type

Mike Bakaloff David Banbury

John Ruane

Prod, assistant

Glenn Martin

David Foreman


Prod, coordinator

Sound recordist Editor

Osvaldo Alfaro Lara Connor

Script editor

Peter Du Cane Ian Pugsley


Bill Odgers

Prod, manager

Jonathan Cohen

Focus puller

Planning and Development

Julia Redwood


Camera operator

Michael Haarhoff

Exec, producer

Principal Credits

Joya Stevens

Ruth de la Lande

Graphic art Peter Du Cane

Camera Crew

Shane McNeil

1/1 /95-31/3 /95


Shane McNeil Jane Ballantyne



Prod, company


Art director


John Bentley Paul Nettleton (Broken Hill)


children go m issing... many run away to escape

journey is the main thread of the film, while other

Greg Caple

Unit assts

Sept - Nov 1994

Principal Credits

Cast: [No details supplied.]

at dusk and arriving back home at dawn. Her

2/8/94 - 8/8/94


Zoe Mikus

Martin McGrath Paul Wyhowski Pippa Anderson

Prod, designer

Nick McCallum

Costume designer

Julie Middleton

Planning and Development Casting

Liz Mullinar

Production Crew Prod, managers

Glenda Carpenter Janusz B. Czech

Prod, coordinator Unit manager

Julie Sims Pawel Barenski

Assis unit manager

Joanna Zalewska

Prod, assistant

Louise McCallum

Prod, accountant

Sandie Morris

Camera Crew Focus puller Clapper-loader Key grip Gaffer

Witold Nitkiewicz Mieczyslaw Anweiler Eugeniusz Kowalewicz Grzegorz Bieler

Best boy Electician

Dariusz Lawniczak Pawel Chiczewski

Asst electrics Generator operator

Mieczyslaw Rychta

Piotr Kryska

On-set Crew 1st asst directors

Bob Donaldson

2nd asst director

Ewa Andrzejewska

Chris Webb 3rd asst director

Agata Domagaia

Script asst

Wieslawa Goscik

Continuity Make-up

Nicola Moors Miroslawa Wojtczak

Make-up asst Art directors

Ludmila Krawczyk Angus Tattle Jeremi Brodnicki

Asst art director


Geoff Howe


1 02

• 89



Post-prod supervisor

Matthew Tucker

Assistant editor

Sam Petty

Sound editor

Les Fiddess

Story editor Script editors

Marketing Marketing consultant Publicity

Lisa Halbish

Bruce Rowland

(Jo Moody), John Bach (Rainer Bass), Brian

Set dressers

Glenn W. Johnson

John Reeves

Vriends (Michael), Marcus Eyre (Blocker), Nell Feeney (Rose), Amanda Jane Bowden (Tina).

Props buyer

Johanna Park

Planning and Development


Lesna Thomas Cast: Heather Mitchell (Ashka), Zbych Trofimiuk

Extras casting AFC attachment

Synopsis: Experienced, likeable, all-too-human,

Standby props

a family man with a broken marriage, Superin­


Jan Pontifex

tendent Dave Griffin spearheads the feds’ battle against organized crime. Dave’s regular partner

Wardrobe supervisor

Nikki Longstaff Julie Goodall

is Detective Sergeant Jo Moody, a lawyer turned

Wardrobe asst

policewoman. Jo and Dave were lovers once.

Construction Dept

Now they are both striving to put the job first.

Construct, manager

Walter Sperl

Leading hand

Mike Ashton

(Paul), Gosia Malgorzata (Riana), Andrzej

Production Crew Prod, supervisor

Chris Page

Prod, co-ordinator

Jo Friesen

Stanislaw Brejdygant (Summoner Toren), Rafal Zwierz (Gryvon).

Producer’s asst



Betty Parthimos Greg Ellis Neil McCart

Liberty Films

GLAD RAGS Nomad Films International Pty Ltd

Dist. company

Prod, assistant Prod, runner

Emma Jamvold


Accounts asst Insurer

Ron Sinni

Beyond Distribution

Budget Pre-production

S3 million

Freight co-ordinator

16/8/94 ...

Camera Crew


26/8/94 ...

Focus puller


29/8/94 ...



Rob Stewart

Principal Credits Directors


Liddy Van Gyen Trish Keating

2nd unit DOP

Brent Crockett

2nd unit focus

Angelo Sartori ARRI 16 SR II

Camera type

Exec, producer

Doug Stanley

Key grip

Scott Brokate

Trevor Todd

Asst grip Gaffer

Alistair Reilly

Best boy

Anthony Tulloch

Generator operator

Chris Shanahan

Alex McPhee A.C.S. Vicki Niehaus


Frank Strangio1

Planning and Development Script editor

On-set Crew Doug Stanley'


1st asst directors

Brendan Campbell

2nd asst director

Chris Odgers Robbie Visser

Maura Fay & Associates Doug Stanley'

Budgeted by

Production Crew


Prod, manager

Ray Hennessy

Location manager

Mason Curtis■ Debbie Wildei

Prod, accountant

H.W. WoodI Motion Picture‘

Insurer Completion guarantor

Guarantorsi Blake Dawson Waldroni

Legal services Travel coordinator

Sound transfers by

Boom operator


Brad Smith Andrea Cadzow

Asst hairdresser Special fx Stunts co-ordinator

Aaton XTRI Labsonics



Tom Coltraine Sweet Seduction


Susie Thompson

Props buyer

Rolland Pike Stuart Redding John Fox

THE FEDS (tele-feature) Prod, company Dist. companies Pre-production Production Post-production

Crawford Australia Eaton Films Modicum!

Editing asst Dialogue effects Sound editors

Donald Crombie


Michael Pattinson Jan Marnell Bruce Gordon John Kearney

Exec, producers

Everett DeRoche Vine Moran Ian McFadyen Patrick Edgeworth DOPs Sound recordist Editors Prod, designer Costume designer




Caaren Hulme Rachel Nott Peter McNee Crawford Australia David Birrell Barry Lanfranchi Bruce Climas Stephen Vaughan

Jean Turnbull Roger Mason

HALIFAX F.P. (tele-fcaturc) Prod, company

Simpson Le Mesurier Films Pty. Ltd.

Maizels and Associates

Dist. company

Beyond International

Susie Maizels

Budget Pre-production

May 1994 ...


July 1994 ...

Planning and Development Casting Casting consultants

Peta Einberg Damien Anthony-Rossi

Production Crew Prod, manager


Principal Credits

Prod, co-ordinator

Location manager Unit manager

Patricia Blunt Stuart Lynch Marg Ashton Brad Pimm

Prod, runner Prod, accountant Insurer Completion guarantor

Katharina Keil Kevin Plummer

Travel co-ordinator

Peta Ross

Freight co-ordinator

Janine Ellis

Camera Crew Mike Kelly

2nd unit DOP

Asst grip

John Wareham Gary Shearsmith John Dolan

Gaffer 3rd Asst Electrics

On-set Crew

Tony de Pasquale

Continuity Boom operator

Joanne McLennon

Charlie Ellis 16mm

Roger Simpson Peter Kinloch Mac Gudgeon David Boutland Jan Sardi


Craig Barden Andrew Ramage


Anne Carter Tony Paterson Peter Carrodus

Prod, designer

Toby Pease


Sandi Cichelio Nerida Tyson-Chew

Planning and Development Researcher

Julie Turner

Script editor

Tom Hegarty


Liz Mullinar

Casting consultants

Kelly O’Shea Liz Mullinar Casting

Extras casting

Liz Mullinar Casting


Chris Goldsmith


Tel Stolfo

Costume designer

Michael Easton

3rd asst director

Pamela Hammond


Michael Atkinson

2nd asst director


Kris Noble Ros Tatarka

Assoc, producer

Steve Gordon Scott Allan

Andrew Jobson

David Birrell

Roger Simpson Exec, producer

Graham Rutherford

Tracey Grimshaw John Simpson

Digital Arts Film & Television

Roger Le Mesurier

Philip Cross

2nd unit camera asst Key grip

Darren Mallett Julie Burton

Chris Pettifer

Michael Offer Producers

Jeffrey Fleck

Peter Fitzgerald

Crawfords Australia

Mike Smith Steve Jodrell

Sound recordist

Focus puller

Paul Moloney


Steeves Lumley Antonia Barnard

1st asst directors

Laboratory Lab 'ia'son Telecine grader

Pygram (Spit). Synopsis: The story of a platoon of firefighters.


Best boy

Jon Holmes Trout Communications

Jan Sardi



Music editor Mixed at Time lapse

Phelps (Nick), Max Phipps (Dinosaur), Wayne

David Hugget Costume designer

Michael Carden Fo|ey

Stuart Armstrong Peta Lawson



Principal Credits Directors

Rob McLeod

Construction Dept

5/4/94 - 27/5/94 30/5/94 - 11/11/94 14 /11/9 4-2 /95

Hugh Bateup Karen Salter Simon McCutcheon


Post-prod, supervisor

Shane Connor (Giraffe), Deborra-Lee Furness (Dolores), Aaron Jeffery (Banjo), Tayler Kane (Grievous), Georgie Parker (Morgan), Peter

Prod, designer

Unit assistants

Complete Post

Construct, manager


Michael Rumpf

Complete Post


Steve Arnold Paul Clark

DOP Sound recordist

Brendan Maher

Video master by

vivid imagination. She loves dressing up and fancies herself as an actress ... a spy ... or a1 detective, often with hilarious results.

Everett De Roche Deborah Cox

Gary Keir Lab liaison Kodak Shooting stock Cast: Andy Anderson (Repo), Liddy Clark (Jean),

Michael Carson

Viv Wilson

Wardrobe supervisor Standby wardrobe

Barbara Gibbs Mikael Borglund


Mel Coggins

Video transfers by

a busy city. Lizzie Forbes lives above the shop which is run by her mother, Trish. Lizzie has a



Tony Cavanaugh


Suzanne Flannery

Mixed at

Heather Muirhead

Film gauge

Action vehicle co-ord.

Peta Black


Prod, secretaries

Set dressers

FFC: BeyonoI Distribution Synopsis: Glad Rags is a costume hire shop ir I

Paul Hilton

Zev Eleftheiou

Ian AndersonI 16mm negative

Production International distributor

Billy Malcolm

Scenic artist Brushhands

Asst editor

Exec, producer

New Generation Stunts

Lab liaison

Standby props Armourer

Adam Smigielski

Producers’s asst

Labsonics Cinevex Laboratories;

Government Agency Investment

Peter Bloomfield Set finisher

Film Trix

Mixed at Laboratory

Art dept co-ord.

Ian Cook Rodney Russel Gene Tropeano

Barbara Gibbs Kerry Callander Liza McLean

Art Department Art directors

Nigel Boyle Paul Carter


Simone North Tony Cavanaugh Line producer

Jenny Sutcliffe Brad Smith Andrea Cadzow

Stunts Safety officer

Recording studio

Carmel Torcasio

Make-up Make-up asst


Other Credits Camera type

Nick Payne

Andrea Hood Gwendolyn Stukely

Megan Simpson Michael Caulfield


Show Freight

Kate Faulkner

DOP Prod, designer

Peter Fisk


Producer Scriptwriter

15/8/94 - 19/12/94 19/12/94-6/2/95


Jardine Tolley

Travel co-ordinator

Jean Turnbull

Standby wardrobe

Beyond Distribution Pty Ltd

Sandra Djuma

Completion guarantor

Dist. company

Principal Credits

Prod, company

Shane Warren Carol Matthews

Prod, accountant Prod, company

FIRE (mini-series) Extra Dimensions in association with

Location managers Unit manager

John Anderson

John Reeves Graeme Farmer

Grabarczyk(Bron),SlawaMichalewska(Maran), Erlan Buchan (Jal), Julia Biczysko (Aria),

Synopsis: [No details supplied.]

Daryl Porter


Lynne O’Brien

Production Crew

Kym Sainsbury

Prod, co-ordinator

Sandi Revelins

Maree McDonald

Producer’s asst

Special fx supervisor

Steve Gourtney

Prod, secretary

Christine Vella Kerri Ryan

Special fx coord

Debbie Jackson

Location managers

Janice Duncan

Make-up asst

Special fx foreman

John Harris

Special fx labourer Stunts co-ordinator

John Hudson

Location asst.

Tim Scott

Chris Anderson

Unit manager

Michael Batchelor

Safety officer Still photography

Don Vaughn

John Brousek

Unit asst.

Michael Barnes

Production runner

Michael Agnew

David Foreman Roger Dowling John McKerrow

Gauge Shooting stock Video transfers by

Bill Murphy Denise Haratzis

Government Agency Investment

Art director

Paddy Reardon Marion Boyce

FFC Production Cast:RobertTaylor(DaveGriffin),AngieMilliken

Art dept co-ord.

Jennifer Des Champs

Legal services

Marshalls & Dent

Art dept runner

Michael Kissane

Travel co-ord.

Performance T ravel


0 ff-|ine facilities

Kodak 7293, 7298 AAV Crawford Productions


Jason Boland Annie Harris, Grade’s Catering

Runners’ asst

Geoff Metcalf

Art Department

Prod, accountant Accounts asst Insurer

Philip Drake

Completion guarantor

Margot Brock Andrew Walker Steeves Lumley Film Finances

Camera Crew Focus puller Clapper loader

Cast: Rebecca Gibney (Jane Halifax). Angelo Sartore Cameron Dunn

Key grip

Craig Dusting

Asst, grip

Travis Walker

Gaffer Best boys

Dick Tummel Darryl Pearson Lex Martin


Adam Williams

On-set Crew 1st asst directors

Stuart Wood Monica Pearce

2nd asst director

Christian Robinson

3rd asst director

lain Pirret Liz Perry


Victoria Sullivan Ann Went Paul Kiely Boom operators

Phil Sterling Steve Hagarty


Kirsten Veysey


Zeljka Stanin

Special fx supervisor

Peter Stubbs

Stunts coordinator Stunts Safety officer Unit nurse Unit publicist

Chris Peters New Generation Stunts Tom Coltraine Barbara Datson

Prod, company

Harley to Rose

Peter Mitchell

Vanessa Thomas John Bromley Rob McLeod

Wardrobe Wardrobe supervisor Standby wardrobe

Tracey Richardson

Asst editor

Stephen Evans

Post-production by

Complete Post

Sound post-prod, by Laboratory

Labsonics Cinevex


Val Green

Greg Marsh

Camera 3 Audio

Mike Barnes

Focus puller

Gary Bottomley

Paul McGrath

Camera asst

Francesca Bosch

Prod, assistant

Demi Skoufis

Underwater DOPs

Make-up Catering

Anne Forday

Camera Crew


Boom operator

Paul Forman (Plot)


Brett McDowell John Tate

Asst grip Gaffer

a celebrity guest to be broadcast late night, five nights a week.

Best boy

Darren Fox

On-set Crew

Westbridge Productions $3.5 million 6/6/94 ... 1/8/94 ...

Ian Kenny Arnie Custo

2nd asst director

Rachel Evans

3rd asst director

Nick Fenby


21/10/94 ...

Mark De Friest

John Wilkinson

T racy Watt Garry MacDonald

Asst editor

Jo Rippon

Construction supervisor






Shane Aumont Chris James Philip Watts

Other Credits


Jill Eden

Post-prod, supervisor Peter Hepworth Michael Joshua


Dive master

Kent Clifton-Bligh

Whale robotics

Chris Chitty, Robotechnology

Animal wrangler

Karina Eagle

Special fx

Peter Stubbs


Portafino’s (Port Douglas)



Sound post-prod.


Laboratory Insurer

Cinevex Richard Oliver Film Finances

Completion guarantor

Government Agency Investment Development

Film Victoria Film Queensland


FFC Film Victoria Film Queensland

Marketing Beyond Distribution

Cast: Marzena Godecki (Neri), David Hoflin (Jason Bates), Jeffrey Walker (Brett Bates), Alex Pinder (Winston Seth), Kerry Armstrong (Dianne Bates), Jacalyn Prince (Vanessa Lane), Nicholas Bell (Dr. Hellegren), Joel De Carteret (Jake “Froggy” Reilly), Cassandra Magrath (Zoe Kondelos).

Adele Flere (Port Dougals) Brian Alexander (Melb)

Standby props

Planning and Development


Zelie Thompson

Props buyers

Set decorator Location dresser

Laurie Stone

Casting director

Doug Glanville

Neri double/diver

returns to search for the secret of her past. Aided by the kids from Orca, she uncovers the incred­ ible truth, and starts the quest for the sister she never knew existed.

Philip Watts Andrew Scott

Story editor

Unit nurse Asst make-up/hair

Adele Flere (Port Douglas) Brian Alexander (Melb)

Ron Hagen

Prod, designer Composers

NGS Susan Burke

Art directors

Gina Black



Stunts coordinator

Synopsis: Neri, the mysterious girl from the sea,

Art Department

Jonathan M. Shift

Sound recordist Editors

Maggie Kolev

(Port Douglas) Bill Bachman (Melbourne)

Judith John-Story

Line producer

Paul Kiely Steve Brennan

Still photography

Principal Credits

Exec, producer

Hairdresser Safety supervisor

Inti, distributor

1st asst directors

Beyond Distribution


Maggie Kolev

Richard Rees-Jones Andrew Moore

Genny operator

OCEAN GIRL 2 (mini-series)


Ray Phillips

Key grip

Phil Avalon Synopsis: A half-hour television ‘chat’ show with


Ron Hagen Ross Isaacs Gary Bottomley

Hosted by

Prod, company

Rita Crouch



Underwater focus puller

Georgio (La Bora) Jan Murray & Assoc.


Script editor

Government Agency Investment

Rhonda Smith

Craig Wilson

Gabrielle Dunn


Karen Jones

Location chaperones

Daryl Mills

Action vehicle coord

Location manager

Camera 2

Pre-production Production

Standby props

Troy Suhr

Camera 1



Maree Gray

Alban Farrawell

Garry Brennan

Chris Young

Jane Murphy Vivienne Schwarcz Marita Musset

Kay Ben M’Rad


Tracey Mair


Bernadette Wynack

Props buyers

Prod, accountant Tutor

Other Credits

Dist. company

Stan Antoniades Marian Murray

Trish Mclnally Brendan “Moose” Boyd

Jan Murray

Art dept coord Set dressers

Prod, secretary

Executive producer

Art director Art dept runner

Jo Warren

Unit manager

Robyn Smith,

Art Department

Amanda Trotter

Prod, co-ordinator

Peter Mitchell Brian Pickering

Associate producers

Standby wardrobe

Tara Ferrier

Exec, producer asst

Principal Credits Producer

Wardrobe designer

Eleanor Mason Asst producer

Montage Productions


Trish Hepworth

Production Crew

THE LATE PHIL AVALON (working title )

GTV Channel Nine Catering

Script typists

Synopsis: Jane Halifax is a forensic psychiatrist whose specialty is the criminal mind.


Karen Johnson Pat Carr

TELEVISION POST-PRODUCTION See previous issue for details on JANUS (series) LIFT OFF 2

• • • • •








. 91


C r i t i c s ’































































Rose Troche










Emile Ardolino







THE INNOCENT John Schlesinger






















































































































Brian Levant R obert Zem eckis

Philip Brophy


M ichael Blakem ore

Coline Serreau


Allie Light

Rafael Zeilinski Ronald F . M axw ell



Andrew Bergm an

Ken Loach


Denys A rcand

Ben Lewin

B arbet Schroeder


O liver Stone



Aline Isserm an

Paule Baillargeden

Luis Llosa


Bud Friedgen

Brian Gilbert


K rzyzstof Kieslowski

TRUE LIES Jam es Cam eron


Henry Selick

Curtis H anson




FILM TITLE D ire c to r







9 7

8.5 5.2


X T 10 0, X T R 2 5 0 , X T S 4 0 0 C o l o u r N e g a t i v e F i l m s

NYPD Blue is a great show to shoot because we’ve practically thrown out the rule book; The camera itself is a voy­ euristic character. To pump up the grit and realism, I use tons o f edge light and virtually no fill. The film that lets me do this is AGFA XTR 250. It’s a low er contrast film, yet it ’s razor sharp and has a great tonal range. XTR 250 lets me light by eye and not w o rry about fill levels or blown-out windows. I really believe it's one of the best films fo r telecine transfer. When I’m done shoot­ ing, th e re ’s a nice fat negative fo r post-pro­ duction, which gives me a lot of latitude. I’m not locked into heavy colour saturation, and the low­ er contrast gives me total control over the blacks and highlights. AGFA XTR 250 helps me work faster and with more confidence. And, most im portantly, it looks great

w e

r e f I e c t

t h


b e s t


y o u


Motion Picture Division 875 Pacific Highway Pymble N S W 2073 Phone (02) 391 661 I Fax (02) 391 6699

Cinema Papers No.102 December 1994  
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