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SOMETH!


SINGAPORE (6512241827 JAKARTA(6221) 7196403 KUALA LUMPUR (603) 6326202


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F o c u s LEE R O B I N S O N

SPAA-AFI

M a r t h a A ns ara

by

C areer p ro file o f a n eglected p io n eer o f A ustralian film an d television.

Supplement

16

SPAA by

C H I L D R E N OF THE REVOLUTION by

M ary C o l b e r t

E v eryon e - fro m Ju d y D avis to J o s e f Stalin (okay, m a y b e n ot Stalin) is saying w on d erfu l things a b o u t P eter D uncan an d his d éb u t featu re, C hildren o f the R evolution.

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T he Screen P rod u cers’ A ssociation o f A ustralia gears up fo r its an n u al con feren ce an d tackles the big questions fo r producers in th e late 1990s.

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2 AFI A W A R D S by

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BY Fl NCI NA HOPGOOD

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HO TE L DE L OV E

1 OB A C a t h a r i n e M unr o

by

28

Ju st w hen y ou thought ... T ax con cession s are b a ck on the agenda.

S U N D A Y T OO F A R A W A Y

13

I an S t o c k s

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A b r ie f history o f A ustralia’s m a jo r film aw ards.

by

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W riter-director Craig R osen berg is an u p -com in g A ustralian director m akin g a splash on the in tern ation al stage.

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M O R A L R IG HT S

T w en ty-on e years on, the m akin g o f Sunday T o o Far Away em erges fo r the first tim e as a story o f free-spirited m avericks, tough deals an d hard lessons.

by

J o h n B. M u r r a y

W ill the p ro p o sed m o ral rights legislation ach iev e its g oa ls f

17

34

NEW P R O D U C T S T HE L M A L O V E S M A R T Y ... A ND M I C H A E L by

AND P R O C E S S E S by

J ame s S h e r l o c k

F red H a r d e n

21

T h elm a S ch oo n m a ker m arried M ichael P ow ell. N o w she is M artin S corsese’s editor.

TECHNICALITIES

42

29

Inbits

2

Shorts

48

In rev iew

51

Censorship

58

Legal Ease

62

Inproduction

73

N ihil O b s ta t N ine

80

by

D o m i n i c C ase ♦*♦ 44

Cr Acclaime

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M ichael H elms visits the set of Peter Jackson’s bizarre horror film, The Frighteners. page 1 0

Martha Ansara is a filmmaker and convenor of the Filmmakers' Oral History Group; Dominic Case is Atlab's Group Manager, Technology and Services; Mary Colbert is a writer on film; Diane Cook works part-time as a freelance writer and at Cinemedia; Dena Gleeson is a tutor in cinema studies at LaTrobe University; David A. Haines was deputy chief censor from 1986-94, and presently consults to the communications and entertainment industry on censor­ ship issues; Fred Harden writes on multimedia; his on-line 'zine can be found at www.mm.com.au/amm; Lloyd Hart is a principal of Hart & Spira; Michael Helms is Editor of Fatal Visions', Tim Hunter is a Melbourne freelance writer;

Fincina Hopgood is an Arts-Law student at Melbourne University; Brian McFarlane is an Associate Professor in the English Department at Monash University; Catharine Munro is a finance journalist at Australian Associated Press; John B. Murray is finishing a documentary on Tibet; Marg O'Shea is a Sydney writer on film; James Sherlock is a Melbourne-based film historian currently involved in motion picture preservation and restoration; Ian Stocks is a filmmaker and lecturer in film and television at Queensland University of Technology; Raymond Younis is a lecturer at the University of Sydney.


Srave; Marc Spicer, H otel de Love, Country Life and

Dear Sir,

Rapa Nur, Brent Crockett, M etal Skin, Ocean Girl,

Í write in regard to an open letter to the AF1 from film director Richard Lowenstein, published in your

The Feds and The Silver Strand (U.S. tele-feature);

last edition of Cinema Papers [No. 112, October, p. 5].

Yuri Sokol, Lonely Hearts, M y First W ife, M an o f Flowers, Fran, Cactus and Warm Nights on a Slow

M r Lowenstein singles out the pre-selection of the

Moving Train, Joel Peterson, Faces o f War, The

four films nominated for Cinematography in this year's AFI Awards and questions the credibility of judges.

Last M agician and Homelands, and Bridget Costello

I would point out that all the judges who participated

who was a contributing DOP on Bad Boy Bubby. Nor would the cinematography jurors appreciate

in this event are members of the Australian Cinematographers Society and that six of the eight

his implied suggestion that they are "embittered"

judges are accredited members, namely Brent Crockett

and "have axes to grind". W hat gives him the right

ACS, Mark Spicer ACS, Jaems Grant ACS, Ian Jones

to suggest this when he was not party to their discussions?

ACS, Joel Péterson ACS and Yuri Sokol ACS. The

• To suggest jurors are normally out-of-work industry

remaining two judges, David Burr and Bridgid Costello,

members is simply wrong. Read the full list of jurors

although not accredited, are members of the Society and experienced in the industry. (Barry Malseed and

printed in the Awards presentation programme and

Louis Irving ACS did not participate in this year's

judge for yourself. I doubt if they appreciate

judging.)

Richard'sriIl-informed assertion on their behalf.

'

• Think about the alternatives to pre-selection. The

May I further point out, for a Cinematographer to be granted accreditation and given the right to use the

American system, where you don't have to see the

letters ACS after their name is considered to be the

films in order to cast a nominating vote? The British

ultimate accolade in the society and is highly valued.

system, where films are nominated on the basis of how many write-in votes they accumulate?

To question people who have achieved this honour, as

Prior to introducing pre-selection, as few as thirty

to whether they know what good cinematography is,

TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL Fincina H o p go o d

T

he 1996Toronto International Film Festival turned out to be a signifi­

Schaech, Liv Tyler, Ethan Steve Zahn. Tom Hanks’ That

including Lust and Revenge (Paul Cox), (David Caesar), The Quiet Room (Rolf

where the stars come out to play, and Hollywood execs consider the festival an important test of their product

and Love and Other Catastrophes (Emma-Kate Croghan). In particular, three films were enthusiastically

actor-turned-director features on show this year, and nearly every one of them

People's Choice Award and the Metro

The following open letter arrived at Cinema Papers from the AFI's Ruth Jones:

that thousands, rather than hundreds, vote from [sic] the nominated films.

Richard Lowenstein's open letter to the AFI,

:

published recently in the October edition of Cinema

The AFI does not have pre-selection in order to save money. We had an exhaustive consultation process

Papers, is big on rhetoric and low on logic and fact.

earlier this year and, after extensive discussion, the

As near as I can make out, Richard was 'aghast'

Awards Advisory Committee was unanimous in its

when he heard the final nominations. He had happily

recommendations to the Board of the AFI that, on

.

participated in the process to that point, before dis­

balance, the interests of the industry were best served

a debut. The most heavily promoted -

1

covering it was 'unrepresentative and undemocratic'.

by the current pre-selection jury system.

and closing night gala - was Tom

Hr

Why? Because the films he favoured didn't get up?

Hanks' That Thing You Do!, an

But that's what democracy is, Richard - you live

ited press.

unashamedly nostalgic look at

with it, even when the numbers aren't with you.

FIPRESCI, the international film critics award, goes to the best film in the

Nominations and pre-selection are part of any democratic process and by utilizing them we ensure

Media Award, as voted by all accred­ A separate category, known as

more than 70 films in order to vote. In this scenario everyone really would need to be unemployed.

Australian Cinematographers Society.

before it hits the mass market. This

received by punters and critics alike: hit

fiction categories only, it would be necessary to see !

National President

was demonstrated by the litany of

film of the fest was Scott Hicks' Shine, which took out both the Air Canada

It is difficult enough ensuring one hundred people view all the entered feature films. In 1996, in the non­

Yours sincerely Milton Ingerson

Toronto is the main Canadian festival

de Heer), Dead Heart (Nick Parsons)

sample. Statistical validity is another concept Richard needs to come to grips with.

is expected, and would never have "an axe to grind"

eral: how they are made and "why Love's American release is scheduled for February 14 (get it?).

entered films. Now that is an unrepresentative

or be "embittered" when making a judgement.

nation with Australian movies in gen­ they're all so damn good I" Hotel de

no doubt helped M r Lowcnstein’s career. so with the professionalism, integrity and honesty that

thine7 you Jo!

cinema, with a total of nine features

people voted in some of the specialist craft categories - this was the number that managed to see all the

All ACS members who participate in the judging do

Embry, Tom Everett Scott anti

cant showcase of current Australian

Floating Life (Clara Law), Idiot Box

American society in the pre-Vietnam '60s. Hanks' script, about a young band with a hit record, comes to life though

The note appended by Cinema Papers to Richard's letter naming the cinematography jurors was incorrect. In future, feel free to check the facts with us before publishing. .

Let's make a few things clear: • 100 jurors voted for Best Film nominations - not

H

;

And, by the way, I was interested to read Cinema

the six or so Richard implies.

Papers' comments to the effect that winning 7 AFI

• He reckons it wasn't a good year for cinematogra­

Awards had had no effect on Angel Baby's perfor­

Discovery programme, usually consist­

enthusiastic performances by Jonathan

ing of directorial debuts. The 1996 jury

Schaech, Liv Tyler, Steve Zahn and

phy and says the decisions of the cinematography

mance at the box-office. I don't think the producers

selected Lawrence Johnston's Life.

Tom Everett Scott, who bears more

jurors were wrong. Frankly, cinematographers are a

would agree - and with a 44% increase in box-office,

Best Canadian feature, with a prize of

than a passing resemblance to a

$CAN25,000, went to David

younger Hanks. The writer-director

Wellington, for his adaptation of

himself plays Mr White, the band's

Eugene O'Neill’s Long Day's Journey into Night. The third Australian feature to gener­ ate a buzz in Toronto was the world premiere of Craig Rosenberg's Hotel de

2

L - R: Tom Hanks, JoFinathon

can only be considered naTve and show little respect for the views of such people - the likes of whom have

better judge of cinematographic quality than he.

on 13 less screens, immediately following the AFI

The names, only with.a short list of their credits as

Awards telecast (figures courtesy of Motion Picture

DOP, 2nd Unit OOP, camera operator or Steadicam

Distributors Association of Australia), I don't either.

hard-nosed manager; and when he

operator, are: Ian Jones, Bad Boy Bubby, Babe,

wasn't busy writing lines, or calling the

Dead Calm, Strictly Ballroom, The Russia House,

shots. Hanks was even writing some of

Clear and Present Danger and Evil Angels, David

the songs. But it's the art department that steals the show, with its kitsch

and the Greedy, The Good Looker and Only the

Love. After laughing so much they fre­

recreation of the Ambassador hotel and the family-run appliance store,

logue, 600 punters welcomed

complete with 'the latest technology'

Rosenberg with 90 seconds of

in Hoovers, washers and clock radios.

applause at the end of the screening.

Another star debut - Anjelica

Rosenberg's question-and-answer ses­

Huston's Bastard Out o f Carolina -

sion with the audience, and a flood of

may have a harder time getting a full

interviews with U.S. and Canadian

theatrical release, thanks to Ted

press the following day, demonstrated

Turner's disliking of the finished prod­

not only the success of this particular

uct. Originally made for Turner

product but American audiences' fasci-

Entertainment, Huston's adaptation of

Chief Executive

.

Australian Film Institute

Burr, W ild America, The Phantom, Beyond Rangoon and [the] Mosquito.Coast, Jaems Grant, The Needy

quently drowned the post-joke dia­

Ruth Jones -

Richard Lowenstein replies (over}.

C I N E M A P A P E R S • DECEMBER 1996


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cerrens o v f For example, Jones demeans a DOP such as Jan

Richard Lowenstein replies:

in the other categories as well (Best Film and Best

The focus of my mention of the cinematographers'

Documentary, among others). M y criticism is not

Kenny by crediting Fran to Yuri Sokol. Kenny not

panel this year to select (or not select, as the case

with the ACS or the members of a panel (it is their

only was the DOP but was the camera operator.

may be) the four top films in their section misses

"opinion", after all), my criticism is with the jury

Sokol's credit was for "Additional Photography"

the point of my intended criticism. M y gripe has

system itself. A system where such a small panel

(not even one of Jones' categories).

nothing to do with the films I favoured; that is only

has to speak for the whole industry is fraught with

my "opinion", as duly noted.

problems (as any unjustly-convicted criminal will

actually responsible for the Australian features

tell you). It was a system that was brought in

mentioned by Jones are footnoted below.1

One really must have one's head in the sand to

To set the record straight, the DOPs who were

miss the quite public and widespread criticism

during the turbulent days of the 10BA funding

At the end of her letter, Jones writes:

(ABC Radio National, SBS M ovie Show, amongst

where between 35-40 films were being made

And, by the way, I was interested to read

others) of the nominations of all sections of the

each year, with upwards of 25 of them being

Cinema Papers' comments to the effect that

Dorothy Allison's best-selling novel,

AFI Awards this year. And as for democracy ...

unwatchable (I know, I had to watch most of

winning 7 AFI Awards had had no effect on

about a girl's abusive childhood in

we are talking an Eastern Bloc politburo situation

them). This situation does not exist any more. The

A ngel Baby's performance at the box office.

South Carolina in the '50s, was consid­

here rather than anything democratic. Last time

amount of films made per year is now around 20.

These "comments" were published in May (issue

NEWS, VI EWS, AND

f\|

ered too violent and sold off to the Showtime network. While Turner allowed Bastard to go to Cannes, the same privilege was not extended to St

110) and have nothing whatsoever to do with

people", not "for the people by a small panel

Lowenstein's letter (published in October).

if they are going to vote democratically for the

matography is the focus of these letters, let me

one that is the best of the year in their area of

item to which she refers does not say what she

expertise. Or are the panels of 6-8 always going

claims. Rather, it reads:

armingly calm about this treatment of her artistic product; when asked at a press conference whether she would HBH

a cinematographer to sit on the AFI jury panel and

ers (who have done a marvellous job given the

Baby, despite its swag of seven Awards [...]

judge the most prestigious feature-film cinematog­

judging system they have to work with) that low

ended the year with a domestic gross of

|

$869,591. B a b e [..\

rapher award in the land? M y understanding of

attendances at the screenings from accredited

the AFI's procedure was that the jury members

AFI members was a major problem with the old

The remarks refer to many films, not just Angel

(of all categories) had to have a feature-film credit

system. Since 16 out of 20 films submitted this

Baby, and "little bearing” has never meant "no

in the area of expertise they were judging. This is

year were screened twice for jury members and

effect”.

indeed what they say to me every time they

then twice again a month or so later for all

approach me to sit on a panel. Is this not so for

Accredited voters, this should not be a major

following facts on the 1995 threatrical release of

the cinematographers? Should this mean that

expense or problem. It may also give accredited

Australian films. Babe set an all-time record for

membership of the Writers' Guild or the Directors'

AFI members currently in gainful employment a

an Australian film in domestic release, and was

Association is all that is necessary to be able to

chance to be involved in the process of selecting

not entered in the Awards. Dad and Dave On Our

sit on the Screenplay and Director juries?

their "Best" four of the year. Maybe then the

Selection, with a single Award for Original Music,

I don’t wish to nitpick on Jones’ credit list and I

"nominations" would reflect the films with the

outgrossed H otel Sorrento, with two Awards,

have no beef with any of the individuals concerned,

most votes and not a panel's arbitrary decision.

which in turn outperformed Angel Baby.

That item in Cinema Papers reported the

If not, maybe we should rename the "Best Film

Angel Baby, despite the Jones-perceived promo­

here, not 2nd Unit DOPs, camera and Steadicam

Award" the "Best of the 4 Rims W e Have Been

tional muscle of 7 AFI Awards, ended the year

operators. The last time I spoke to my good friend

Allowed to Vote For Award". Maybe, then, I

with a domestic gross of less than $870,000.

Steve Windon, he’d photographed Hotel de Love.

wouldn't have a problem.

Country Life and Rapa Nui, not Marc Spicer. And

disturbing and shocking scenes of

on local box-office performance in 1995. Angel

I know from conversations with the AFI organiz­

but I thought we were talking cinematographers

Bastard indeed features some

The AFI Awards seem to have had little bearing

to do the bulk of our thinking for us?

membership of the ACS is all that is necessary for

there would be no press. Huston is dis­

Jones also gets confused, because the "Inbits"

hand-picked by bureaucrats". But, since cine­

Are Ingerson and Jones really saying that

shown at Edinburgh on the condition

and replied, "I'm not fighting anyone."

Surely, accredited AFI members from each section of the industry should be able to see all 20 films

answer that.

Sebastian, and the film was only

win out in the end, she smiled serenely i

I checked, democracy was "for the people by the

On this evidence, AFI Awards did not correspond

PS: Along with the two films mentioned in my

the list goes on. I thought Andrew Lesnie had shot

open letter to the AFI, the exclusion of Life from

Babe. Dean Semler Dead Calm. Steve Mason

the cinematographer nominations also

Strictly Ballroom. Silly me. And how many DOPs

seems to be a grave and serious omission.

£ ¡0 1

shot Bad Boy Bubbyl At last count it was thirty-

But, then again, this is only my “opinion".

f|||

is not gratuitous violence for the pur­

ADs, assembly editors, production co-ordinators

pose of titillation - is clearly made: it's

able to sit on the jury panels next to the Jill

not the violence itself that's disturbing

Bilcocks. Jane Campions, Laura Joneses and

so much as the reality of it.

Peter Weirs. This is blatantly absurd.

Bastard features strong perfor­

Would a feature director submitting his/her

mances by 12-year old Jena Malone

promotional opportunities of the Awards may not benefit the performance of any individual

i

The Editor replies:

Let's follow this theory through to other fields. Are all script editors, standby props, 1st and 2nd

1995. Cinema Papers was not suggesting the

one! Are they all now able to sit on the jury panel?

violence, but Huston's point - that this

with hit success at the domestic box-office in

1§8 I

In her criticism of Cinema Papers. Ruth Jones gets some facts wrong and misses the point. Jones complains Cinema Papers didn't check . with the AFI first about who was on the pre-selec­ tion panel. She is correct. The reason is that every

film - as. too, do weather and traffic condi­ tions. Nor, as Jones disingenuously insinuates, was Cinema Papers deriding the claims of Angel Babys producers. This year, the low-budget, 16mm Love and Other Catastrophes, with no Awards nominations at time of release, has already grossed more than $2 mil­

year Cinema Papers has asked for such informa­

lion. Shine, with no Awards nominations at the

movie to the AFI Awards honestly believe that

tion it has been refused. It is pleasing to note

time of release, has grossed more than $5 million.

and Jennifer Jason Leigh as her

someone who had only made a ten-minute short is

that Jones wants transparency brought to an

mother. When asked what she'd learnt

the best person to judge their feature? I think not.

organization which has long shunned it. Perhaps

from her father’s work as a director,

| The director would rightly demand that he/she be

Huston said, "He cast well, because

judged by someone, if not of equal stature, at

And if the AFI Awards are such a massive boost to box-office, as Jones claims, why would

she could reinforce this change of heart by

exhibitors reduce by 13 the number of cinemas

publicly revealing the true cost of the Awards.

showing Angel Baby immediately after the

it was his theory that if you really fit

least in the same ballpark - that is what "peer

Naturally, Cinema Papers apologizes for the

your actors to your script, half your

assessment" means. The AFI has often claimed

errors of its faulty detective work, and to the two

work was done. I certainly agree with

its Awards are judged by industry peers, but when

DOPs wrongly listed. However, the fact remains

increased, not the reverse.

him on that." Other actors-turned-directors on

cinematographers who have never done a theatri­

that, of the eight DOPs on the jury, only four had

1 Bad Boy Bubby (\an Jones, plus 30 consulting

cal feature judge those who have, "peer assess­

shot a theatrically-released feature at the time of

DOPs), Babe (Andrew Lesnie), Cactus (Yuri

show at Toronto included Kevin Bacon

ment" has obviously been tossed out the window.

judging: David Burr, Jaems Grant, Ian Jones and

Sokol), Country Life (Stephen Windon), Dead

(Losing Chase, with Helen Mirren and Kyra Sedgwick), Emilio Estevez (direct­ ing father Martin Sheen in The War at Home), Matthew Broderick {Infinity, Cher (co-directed, with Nancy Savoca, If These Walls Could Talk, starring Demi Moore and Sissy Spacek), Kevin Spacey (Albino Alligator), Steve Buscemi (Trees Lounge) and Campbell

But to focus on this is to miss my point. When

Awards? If the Awards are a true goldmine, the number of cinemas would have been greatly

Yuri Sokol. This is inappropriate for any jury

Calm (Dean Semler), Evil Angels (Ian Baker),

referring to "embittered" and "axes to grind", I

professing to honour "peer assessment", as

Fran (Jan Kenny), H otel de Love

was not referring to the cinematographers. ( was

Lowenstein rightly points out

(Steve Windon), Lonely Hearts

referring to the whole nature of the jury system of pre-selection where a tiny group of industry professionals have a disproportionate effect on

Jones goes to great lengths to 'smudge' this lack of peer 'appropriateness' by tossing in T irrelevant credits as "2nd Unit D0P, camera

(Yuri Sokol), M etal Skin (Ron

S >\ \ C - \ i |U

Hagen), M an o f Flowers (Yuri

\f

I

Sokol), M y First W ife (Yuri Sokol),

awards that should be voted for by as many .

operator or Steadicam operator". And this is

The Phantom (David Burr), Strictly

accredited members as possible.

done at the expense of people who should, and

Ballroom (Steve Mason), Warm Nights on a

deserve to be, duly accorded.

Slow M oving Train (Yuri Sokol).

The erratic nature of the nominations are there

1

\

Scott (Big Night, another co-direction, with Stanley Tucci).

4

C I N E M A P A P E R S • DECEMBER 1996


CINEMA PAPERS

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

Number 29 (Qct-Nov 1! Bob Ellis, Uri Windt, Edward Woodward, Lino Brocka, Stephen Wallace, Philippine cinema, Cruising, The. Last Outlaw David Williamson, Ray Harryhausen, Peter Weir, Antony Ginnane, Gillian Armstrong, Ken G. Hall, The Cars that Ate Paris

Sam Fuller, ‘Breaker’ Morant rethought, Richard Lester, Canada supplement, The Chain Reaction, Blood Money

Number 2 (April 1974) Censorship, Frank Moorhouse, Nicolas Roeg, Sandy Harbutt, Rim under Allende, Between the Wars, Alvin Purple

Bryan Brown, looking in on Dressed to Kill, The Last Outlaw, Fatty Finn, Windows, lesbian as villain, the new generation

Number 32 (May-June 1981) Judy David, David Williamson, Richard Rush, Swinburne, Cuban cinema, Public Enemy Number One, The Alternative John Duigan, the new tax concessions, Robert Altman, Tomas Gutierrez Alea, Edward Fox, Gallipoli, Roadgames

Richard Brennan, John Papadopolous, Willis O'Brien, William Friedkin, The True Story of Eskimo Nell

Kevin Dobson, Brian Kearney, Sonia Hofmann, Michael Rubbo, Blow Out, Breaker' Morant Body Heat The Man from Snowy River

Number 4 (December 1974)

Number 37 (April 1982)

Bill Shepherd, Cliff Green, Werner Herzog, Between Wars, Petersen, A Salute to the Great MacArthy

Stephen MacLean, Jacki Weaver, Carlos Saura, Peter Ustinov, women in drama. Monkey Grip

Albie Thoms on surf movies, Charles Chauvel filmography, Ross Wood, Byron Haskin, Brian Probyn, Inn of the Damned

Number 6 SOLD OUT

Geoff Burrowes, George Miller, James Ivory, Phil Noyce, Joan Fontaine, Tony Williams, law and insurance, Far East

Number 39 (August 1982)

Number 7 SOLO OUT

Helen Morse, Richard Mason, Anja Breien, David Millilkan, Derek Granger, Norwegian cinema, National Rim Archive, We of the Never Never

Number 8 (March-April 1976) Pat Lovell, Richard Zanuck, Sydney Pollack, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Phillip Adams, Don McAlpine, Don’s Party

Number 9 (June-July 1976)

Henri Safran, Michael Ritchie, Pauline Kael, Wendy Hughes, Ray Barrett, My Dinner with Andre, The Return of Captain Invincible

Milos Forman, Max Lemon, Miklos Jancso, Luchino Visconti, Caddie, The Devil's Playground

Number 41 (December 1982) Igor Au in P a u l Schrader, Peter fammer, Liliana Cavani, Colin Higgins, The Year of Living Dangerously

Nagisa Oshima, Philippe Mora, Krzysztof Zanussi, Marco Ferreri, Marco Bellocchio, gay cinema

Number 42 (March 1983)

Emile De Antonio, Jill Robb, Samuel Z. Arkoff, Roman Polanski, Saul Bass, The Picture Show Man Ken Loach, Tom Haydon, Donald Sutherland, Bert Deling, Piero Tosi, John Dankworth, John Scot Days of Hope, The Getting of Wisdom

ELouisBMalle,E PaulBCox,EJohn3 Power, Jeanine

Mel Gibson, John Waters, Ian Pringle, Agnes Varda, copyright, Strikebound, The Man from Snowy River Sydney Pollack, Denny Lawrence, Graeme Clifford, The Dismissal, Sumner Locke Elliott's Careful He Might Hear You

Number 44-45 (April 1984) David Stevens, Simon Wincer, Susan Lambert, a personal history of Cinema Papers, Street Kids

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 Tom Cowan, Truffaut John Faulkner, Stephen Wallace, the Taviani brothers, Sri Lankan film. The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith

Number 16 (April-June 1978)

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

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

Number 60 (November 1! Australian television, Franco Zeffirelli, Nadia Tass, Bill Bennett, Dutch cinema, movies by microchip, Otello

■ B E

Alex Cox, Roman Polanski, Philippe Mora, Martin Arminger, film in South Australia, Dogs in Space, Howling III Screen violence, David Lynch, Cary Grant ASSA conference, production barometer, film finance, The Story of the Kelly Gang

Number 63 (May 1! Gillian Armstrong, Antony Ginnane, Chris Haywood, Elmore Leonard, Troy Kennedy Martin, The Sacrifice, Landslides, Pee Wee's Big Adventure, Jilted Nostalgia, Dennis Hopper, Mel Gibson, Vladimir Osherov, Brian Trenchard Smith, 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: part 1, James C|ayden, Video, De Laurentiis, New World, The Navigator, Who’s That Girl

Number 18 (Oct-Nov 1978)

Number 19 (Jan-Feb 1979) Antony Ginnane, Stanley Hawes, Jeremy Thomas, Andrew Sarris, sponsored documentaries. Blue Fin

Vietnam on Rim, the Cantrills, French cinema. Mad Max, Snapshot, The Odd Angry Shot Franklin on Hitchcock Bruce Petty, Luciana Arrighi, Albie Thoms, Stax. Alison's Birthday

Janet Strickland, Everett de äiman, Chain Reaction, Stir Charles H. Joffe, Jerome Heilman, Malcolm Smith, Australian nationalism, Japanese cinema, Peter Weir, Water Under the Bridge Randal Kleiser, Peter Yeldham, Donald Richie, obituary of Hitchcock. NZ film industry, Grendel Grendel Grendel

Number 90 (October 1992) The Last Days of Chez Nous, Ridley Scott: 1492 Stephen Elliott Frauds, Giorgio Mangiamele, Cultural Differences and Ethnicity in Australian Cinema, John Frankenheimer's Year of the Gun

Number 70 (November 1988)

Yahoo Serious, David Cronenberg, 1988 in retrospect, film sound. Last Temptation of Christ Philip Brophy

c a r a s s i

Little Dorrit, Australian sci-fi movies, 1988 mini-series, Aromarama, Celia, La dolce Vita, women and Westerns

Number 73 (May 1989)

l a

a

i E

i

Reckless Kelly, George Miller and Lorenzo's Oil, Megan Simpson, Alex, The Lover, women in film and television, Australia's first films: part 2

;

.

Number 108 (February 1996) Lynn-Marie Milburn's Memories & Dreams, Franklin on the science of previews, The Custodian, documentary supplement, Tom Zubricki, John Hughes, Australia's first films: parts

Cthulu, The Top 11 Kidman in To Die

¡hes' istrali

Queensland issue: overview of film in Queensland, early Queensland cinema, Jason Donovan and Donald Crombie, Rough Diamonds, Australia's first films: part 6 20th Anniversary double issue with New Zealand supplement, Simon Wincer and Lightning Jack, Richard Franklin on leaving America, Australia's first films: part 7

Sally Bongers, the teen movie, animated, Edens Lost Pet Sematary, Martin Scorsese and Paul Schrader, Ed Pressman

Priscilla, Queen of the Desert Victorian sup­ plement, P, J, Hogan and Muriel’s Wedding, Ben Lewin and Lucky Break, Australia's first films: Part 9

Stephen Wallace, Ian Pringle, Walerian Borowczyk, Peter Schreck, Bill Conti, Brian May, The Last Bastion, Bliss

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

Number 77 (January 1990)

Number 107 (December 1995) George Miller an. Chris Noonan talk al Babe, New trend i in criticism, The rise boutique cinema

...

Alain Resnais, Brian McKenzie, Angela Punch McGregor, Ennio Morricone, Jane Campion, films, Niel Lynne horror trims. -

Lino Brocka, Harrison Ford, Noni HazlehursL Dusan Makavejev, Emoh Ruo, Winners, Morris West's The Naked Country, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, Robbery Under Arms

the Gun, AFC low budget semini

Number 91 (January 1993)

Cannes '94, Steve Buscemi and Reservoir Dogs, Paul Cox, Michael Jenkin's The Heartbreak Kid, 'Coming of Age' films, Australia’s first films: part 4

Rim Australia, Gillian Armstrong, Fred Schepisi, Wes Craven, John Waters, Al Clark, Shame screenplay part 1

Number 106 (October 1995)

Clint Eastwood and Unforgivsrr, Raul Ruiz, George Miller and Gross Misconduct David Elfick's Love in Limbo, On the Beach, Australia's first films: part 1

Cannes '94, NSW supplement, Bemardo Bertolucci's Little Buddah.The Sum of Us, Spider & Rose, film and the digital world, Australia's first films: part oart 9

Number 109 (April 1996) Rachel Griffiths run and Cosi, Sundancr Tolkin, Morals and

m Festival, Michael Mutoscope

E iW B iiiW lB l

Once Were Warriors, films we love. Back of Beyond, Cecil Holmes, Lindsay Andersop, Body Melt AFC supplement, Spider & Rose, Australia's First Rims: Part 10

new home, SI Richard Rank

lara Law's Serenade,

John Farrow monograph. Blood Oath, Dennis Whitburn, Brian Williams, Don McLennan, Breakaway, "Crocodile" Dundee overseas

Number 78 (March 1990) John Schlesinger, Gillian Armstrong, Alan Parker, soap operas, TV news, film advertising, Don t Call Me Girlie, For Love Alone, tor mone, Double uoutue Sculls scuiis Brian Brown, Nicolas Roeg, Vincent Ward, Hector Crawford, Emir Kusturica, NZ film and TV, Return to Eden

Brian Trenchard-Smith, Ian Holmes, Arthur Hiller, Jerzy Toeplitz, Brazilian cinema. Harlequin

Cannes '92, David Lynch, Viiali Kanievski, Gianni Amelio, Fortress, film-literature connections, teen movies debate

Martha Ansara, Channel 4, Soviet cinema: part 2, Jim McBride, Glamour, Ghosts Of The Civil Dead, Feathers, Ocean, Ocean

Number 69 (May 1988)

[ } I

Strictly Ballroom, Hammers Over the Anvil, Daydream Believer, Wim Wender's Until The End of the World, Satyajit Ray

The Delinquents, Australians in Hollywood, Chinese cinema, Philippe Mora, Yuri Sokol, Twins, Ghosts... of the Civil Dead, Shame screenplay

Number 47 (August 1984) Richard Lowenstein, Wim Wenders, David Bradbury, Sophia Turkiewicz, Hugh Hudson, Robbery Under Arms

Number 51 (May 1985)

Ken Cameron, Claude Lelouch, Jim Sharman, French film. My Brilliant Career J:,.-.-- I ...... ___ l

Multi-cultural cinema, Steven Spielberg, Hook, George Negus and The Red Unknown, Richard Lowenstein, Say a Little Prayer, Jewish cinema

Jane Campion and The Piano, Laurie Mclnnes and Broken Highway, Tracey Moffatt and Bedevil, Lightworks and Avid, Australia's first films: parts

Number 76 (November 1989)

John Lamond, Sonia Borg, Alain Tanner, Indian cinema, Dimboola, Cathy's Child

Number 105 (August 1995)

Number 67 (January 1988)

Sex, death and family films, Cannes '88, film composers, Vincent Ward, Oavid Parker, Ian Bradley, Pleasure Domes

i l j

Romper Stomper, Tt, Greenkeeping, Eight HDTV and Super 16

John Duigan, James Bond: part 2, George Miller, Jim Jarmusch, Soviet cinema/ women in film, 70mm, filmmaking in Ghana, The Year My Voice Broke, Send A Gorilla

Number 49 (December 1984)

Number 17 (Aug-Sept 1978)

Jocalyn Moorhouse, Proof, Blake Edwards, Switch, Callie Khouri: Thelma & Louise, independent exhibition and distribution, FFC part 2

Krzysztof Kieslowski, Ken G. Hal! Tribute, cinematography supplement Geoffrey Burton, Pauline Chari and Traps, Australia's first films: Part 8

Ken Cameron, Michael Pattinson, Jan Sardi, Yoram Gross, Bodyline, The Slim Dusty Movie

Bill Bain, Isabelle Huppert Brian May. Polish cinema, Newsfront The Night the Prowler

James Cameron and Terminator2: Judgement Day, Dennis O'Rourke, Good Woman of Bangkok, Susan Dermody, Breathing Under Water, Cannes report, FFC

Cannes '89, Dead Calm, Franco Nero, Jane Campion, The Prisoner of St Petersburg, .Frank I «¡11« IPierson, IC.OUM, ,Pay oy TV ,.

Number 48 (Oct-Nov 1984)

Gunnel Lindblom, John Duigan, Steven Spielberg. Tom Jeffrey, The Africa Project Swedish cinema, Dawn!, Patrick

Woody Allen, Reinhard Hauff, Orson Welles, the Cinémathèque Française, The Fringe Dwellers, Great Expectations: The Untold Story, The Last Frontier

ummiib Clifford, Graeme vMi.u.uy Bob uuy Weis, ,, u,u, uw,„> John Boorman, Boon Menahem Golan, rock videos. Wills and Burke, The Great Bookie Robbery, The Lancaster Miller Affair

The Crossing, Ray Argali, Return Home, Peter Greenaway and The Cook..., Michel Ciment, Bangkok Hilton. Barlow and Chambers

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 Car An Angel At My Table, Martin Scorsese Goodfellas, Presumed Innocent

Number 82 (March 1991 )

James Stewart, Debbie Byrne, Brian Thompson, Paul Verhoeven, Derek Meddings, tie-in marketing, The Right Hand Man, Birdsville

The Godfather Part III, Barbet Schroeder, Reversal of Fortune, Black Robe, Raymond Hollis Longford, Backsliding

Fred Schepisi, Dennis O'Rourke, Brian Trenchard-Smith, John Hargreaves, Dead-end Drive-in, The More Things Change,.., Kangaroo, Tracy

Australia at Cannes, Gillian Armstrong, The Last Days at Chez Nous, The Silence of the Lambs, Flynn, Dead to the World, Anthony Hopkins, Spotswood

ra w m i

DECEMBER 1996

Little Women, Gillian Armstrong, Queensland supplement, Geoffrey Simpson, Heavenly Creatures, Eternity, Australia's First Films

Number 83 (May 1991) Number 104 (June 1995)

Number 112 (October 1996) P;

1


Accounting

JOAN COLLINS

f or the Ar t s

Actors Animators Architects Art Directors Artists Clowns Cinematographers Comedians Composers Choreographers

66l trust his judgement and his integrity and could not recommend anyone more highly to be in charge of my publicity campaign. It is the personal, caring, hands-on type of promotion that makes it so easy to sit back and be confident that the job will be done correctly. Highly recommended”

Costume Designers Critics Dancers Designers Directors Film & Television Editors Festivals Galleries Graphic Designers Incorporated Associations Journalists Jugglers Landscape Architects Multimedia Artists and Producers Musicians Performers Painters Photographers Playwrights Film Television and Radio Producers Print

Alan Dredge & Co Pty Ltd

Chartered Accountants T ax Returns, Audits, Accounting & Financial Advice, Electronic T ax Lodgement

Makers Production Companies Publicists Sculptors Sound Technicians Singers Stunt Persons Theatre Companies Writers

18 Hill Street, Richmond, Victoria 3121 Telephone 03 9428 3855

ALAN DAVIDSON PUBLICITY Tel/Fax 03 9374 2188 • Mobile 041 1389 754

development, production and promotion of Australian programs to audiences everywhere. Recognising originality and diversity of Australian programs through:

VIDEO COLLECTION FOR SALE

500 Titles directors represented: Woody Allen, Almodovar, Antonioni, Bergman, Bertolucci, Bresson, Buñuel, Chabrol, Cocteau, De Sica, Fellini, Ferreri, Greenaway, Kieslowski, Kurosawa, Leconte, Mike Leigh, Malle, Polanski, Rohmer, Rossillini, Tavernier, Truffaut, Visconti, Wenders, Zhang Yimou and many more All VHS, PAL system to express interest and obtain a full list, contact: Box 2 2 6 9 GPO Darwin NT 0801 or fax (08) 89 8 1 2 0 4 5

• • • • • •

development and production of film and television programs multimedia initiatives festivals and special events support for Indigenous self-representation research and information services support for resource organisations, documentation & critical analysis

Contact the AFC for further information at: Sydney 150 William St Woolloomooloo NSW 2011 Tel: 02 9321 6444 Freecall: 1800 226615 Fax: 02 9357 3631 email: info@afc.gov.au URL: http://www.afc.gov.au Melbourne 120 Clarendon St Southbank Vic 3006 Tel: 03 9279 3400 Freecall: 1800 33 8430 Fax: 03 9696 1476 email: afcmelb@mpx.com.au Europe 2nd floor Victory House 99-101 Regent St London W1 R 7HB Tel: 44 171 734 9383 Fax: 44 171 434 0170 email: marketing@afclond.demon.co.uk

WALK OUT OF ILAA WITH A SHOWREEL Direction, cinematography, 1st A.D., Sound Recording, Screenwriting, Camera Operation, Still Photography, Continuity, Editing, Video Production and Video Editing. Any or all of these can be on your showreel within the Diploma of Screen Arts programme at ILAA. Typically our students direct at least one film (16mm Synch) and crew on four or five other key roles. LECTURERS p rac tisin g p ro fess io n als AFTRS q u alified

IN S T IT U T E OF LENS A R TS PO BO X 177 K A L O R A M A V I C 3 7 6 6

6

THE V IA B L E A L TE R N A T IV E

TE LEP H O N E 9 7 2 8 1 1 5 0

C I N E M A P A P E R S • DECEMBER 1 996


SOUTHERN STAR

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IAN CHAPMAN PRODUCTIONS

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NEWTOWN FILMS

C m C M L J O ^ CULi^cviav ¿v,

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FILM AUSTRALIA

Street., N o r t h

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ism@i'sm. c o m . a u Sydney,

NSW

2060,

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Australia.!


inbits NEWS, VI EWS, AND

AUSTRALIAN FILM RETROSPECTIVE IN SPAIN

S

pain hosted a major retrospective of contemporary Australian cinema

at the 41 st Valladolid International Film Festival.

MORE

NEWS,

ETC.

NEW INCOME OPPORTUNITIES FOR FILM RIGHTS OWNERS roducers, distributors and other

P

rights owners in film and television

have the opportunity to access new

Focus on Australian Cinema, present­

maths and chemistry, directed to

producer, Cathy Chapel.

secondary and tertiary education science students.

CALL FOR ENTRIES... 4th St Kilda Film Festival, April

1

24th-27th 1997. The Festival

showcases recently-made Australian short films, with awards to the value of $10,000. Preview tapes must be sub­ mitted on VMS along with a handling fee of $10 per entry. For an entry form and more details call (61.3) 9209 6699.

T

ropfest w ill take place on Sunday 23 February, 1997. In addition to

Opening Night festivities w ill be

sources of income through the Audio­

ed by the Australian Film Commission

Tropfest '97 General Screenings. All

Visual Copyright Society (AVCS), a

in association with the Festival, also

films entered in Tropfest '97 w ill be

non-profit copyright collecting society

screened at the prestigious Filmoteca

screened from Monday 24 February to

representing owners of copyright in

in Madrid.

Sunday 23 March, in approximately ten

film.

cafes along Victoria Street, Darlinghurst.

Focus on Australian Cinema com­

Since 1990 AVCS has administered

Around 300 short films are expected

prised 20 major feature films showcas­

the educational copying scheme, which

ing the past 20 years of Australian

to be submitted before the deadline

was introduced into the Copyright Act

cinema, and included films by

of 17 January 1997. Fifteen w ill be

to allow educational institutions to

internationally-renowned directors

selected by local industry professionals

copy television and radio programmes

Peter Weir, George Miller, Fred

in return for paying a fee to copyright

Schepisi and Jane Campion, as well as

owners. AVCS has collected almost

works from directors perhaps less

$30 million to be distributed to rights

known in Spain, such as John Hillcoat,

owners since the inception of this

Michael Rymer, Rolf de Fleer, Nadia

scheme.

Tass and Scott Murray. A selection of short films was pro­

AVCS is now establishing other schemes aimed at capturing returns that are difficult or impossible for pro­

Emma-Kate Croghan's Sexy Girls,

ducers or distributors to access on an

Sexy Appliances and Tracey Moffatt's

individual basis. These schemes are

Night Cries - A Flural Tragedy.

not intended to replace individual

In addition, several Australian films

administration of rights in traditional

screened in the Festival: Love Serenade

markets. There is no fee for participa­

and The Quiet Room in competition, and

tion in these schemes. The AVCS

From Sand To Celluloid, the package of six short films produced by the Australian Film Commission's Indigenous Drama Initiative, screened

distributes all money collected after deducting its administrative overheads.

T

he Great Inflatable Film Festival. Garden Street Studios seeks short

films, of any genre, 16 or 35mm, made on the theme of Australia as a coastal culture/ surf culture/ beach culture. Deadline for entries is 22 November. A selection of films w ill be exhibited at Wylie's Ocean Baths, Coogee Beach,

Cate Hemmings at AVCS on (61.2) 9904 0133.

The TVPF is seeking children's feature films and television projects which are primarily aimed at the 6-13 year-old age group and which can be produced on budgets which require a contribution from the TVPF of $2 million or less. This year the TVPF is calling for children's telemovies and series which already have an Australian commercial network pre-sale in place for at least the minimum amount required by the TVPF for children's drama (i.e. $40,000 an hour). A pre-sale to a commercial network is not a prerequisite for a children's feature, but the film must be able to have its first Australian television screening on either the Seven, Nine or Ten network. A selection panel consisting of a writer, director and producer experi­ enced in children's drama w ill be appointed by the TVPF to recommend projects for funding. A provisional "C" classification from

however television projects selected

2015. Phone (61.2) 9318 2388;

meet the ABA's Australian "C" Drama

Fax (61.2) 9318 2334.

criteria prior to final approval. Applications must be submitted by

AUSTRALIAN MULTIMEDIA ENTERPRISE

culmination of Microdance, an

CD-ROMS for five-to-seven year-olds

initiative of the Australian Film

in 11 languages. • $235,000 in a $530,000 health and physical education learning hybrid

the producer of the project with a fullydeveloped script, a budget, proposed schedule and a director attached. The deadline for submission is 5pm Friday, 29th November 1996. Producers with suitable projects should contact the Project Assistant of the TVPF, Clare Sawyer, at the Melbourne office of the Australia Film Commission on (61.3) 9279 3418 or toll free 1800 634 205.

CD-ROM/Web site, to be developed

Victoria and two from NSW -

by Sydney-based Multimedia

are:

Learning Systems. • $370,000 in a series of four English

Matthew Bergan; director,

language listening and comprehen­

Robert Flerbert; producer,

sion CD-ROMs directed to the

Sally Regan.

ELICOS markets (English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas

pher, Trevor Patrick; director,

Students), to be developed by The

Paul Plampton; producer, Liz

Facility Pty Ltd of Melbourne, with

Burke.

a budget of $750,000.

• Dance Hur. choreographer,

Drama Initiative.

for funding by the TVPF will need to

• $897,000 in a $2 million series of

• Nine Cauldrons, choreogra­

for its second round of the Children's

Studios, 92 Garden Street, Alexandria

investments of:

• Prancing, choreographer,

Australian film and television producers

(ABA) is not required at this stage,

screen on ABC-TV as the

The four projects - two from

Fund (TVPF) is calling for applica­

tions for children's drama projects from

should be sent to: Garden Street

our short dance films w ill

Council and ABC-TV.

he Commercial Television Production

copies and accompanying material

The AME Board has approved AME

Commission, the Australia

T

the Australia Broadcasting Authority

MICRODANCE PROJECTS

F

CHILDREN'S DRAMA INITIATIVE 1996/97

from 8-11pm on 14 December. VHS

For further information contact

in the Festival's Punto de Encuentro (Meeting Point) section.

for Opening Night.

within the last three years, that touch

grammed with the features, including

a non-competitive screening of Shine.

• $204,500 in a series of three CD-

In th is issu e The offices of Cinema Papers were burgled and ransacked during production of this issue. Unfortu­ nately, many of the materials relating to Part II of the Queens­ land supplement were damaged or stolen, and could not be replaced in time for inclusion. We anticipate publishing those articles in the

Tracie Mitchel; director, Maciej

ROMs budgeted at $409,000 to be

next issue, and apologize to

Melissa Morrison (Saffron Burrows)

Wszelaki; producer, Elisa Argenzio.

developed by Knowledge Books and

readers for the delay.

in Craig Rosenberg’s H otel d e Love.

* Room in a View, choreographer, Kate

cover:

8

Champion; director, Alyson Belland;

Software of Brisbane, on physics,

C I N E M A P A P E R S • DECEMBER 1996


Card N o................................................................................................. Expiry Date ......................................................................................... S ig n a tu re ............................................................................................. Cheques should be made payable to MTV Publishing Limited and mailed to P0 Box 2221 Fitzroy MDC Australia 3065. All overseas orders should be accompanied by Bank Drafts in Australian Dollars Only. Please allow 4-6 weeks for processing.

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cinemedia is a hom e fo r scre e n c u ltu re - film , video, m u ltim e d ia a visio n of th e past, p re se n t and fu tu re an a rth o u s e fo r th e 2 1 st c e n tu ry

cinemedia s u p p o rtin g o rg a n isa tio n s, events and p ro g ra m s w h ich e n h a n ce V ic to ria as a c e n tre o f e xce lle n ce fo r scre e n cu ltu re

cinemedia

incorporating Film Victoria and State Film Centre of Victoria 3 Treasury Place, East Melbourne, 3002 Tel: 03 9651 0600 Fax: 03 9651 0606 r a t a ^ f c ^ ^ ^ l n t e r n e t http://www.cinemedia.net


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AMIDST VOLCANIC ACTIVITY AND OTHER DISASTERS, THE PRODUCTION OF 77//','

m

F righteners

conducted itself inside

AND AROUND WELLIN GTON’S SPRAWLING

C amperdown S tudio s . H oused

in the

LARGEST OF TWO BUILDINGS WERE PETER

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ackson ’s co - owned companies of

W ET A , WHICH INCLUDES DIGITAL AND

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A LARGE PHYSICAL EFFECTS WORKSHOP, and

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W ing N ut F ilms . T here

was

ALSO A MAJOR HOUSE SET WITH SEVERAL ROOMS, BUT OUR FAVOURITE WAS THE GIANT BLUE SCREEN STAGE THAT

M ichael J . F ox

was body - slamming

HIMSELF INTO. A WAREHOUSE UP THE ROAD CONTAINED A DAMAGED HOUSE SET AND VERY IMPRESSIVELY-AGED MORGUE.

S everal

months prior to the less -

THAN-SATISFACTORY U .S. RELEASE,

The N ew Y ork T imes J

announced

ackson as writing and directing

THE NEXT VERSION OF KIN G KONG. H o w d id The Frighteners b e g in ?

Stuart (Jim Fyfe), Frank Bannister (Michael J. Fox) and Cyrus (Chi McBride). Peter Jackson's The Frighteners.

. ..

Every movie has a gestation story. Some time after B rain d ead was finished, Fran [Walsh] and I were mucking about with story ideas and came up with a simple, novel twist to the ghost story. We were, at that time, interested in the idea of writing a cou­ ple of scripts a year for Hollywood - spec scripts, not for me to direct. They’d just be a bit of work we could do in-between movies. So, we came up with this idea and wrote a twopage outline which we sent to our agent in Hollywood. He just keeps these things on file, and, if he thinks it’s a good idea to show it to anyone, he does. A few months went by and he heard that Robert Zemeckis was looking for story and script ideas for a series of Tales from the Crypt movies big feature films. This was about three years ago. The plan was that the guys who developed the Tales from the Crypt show - Zemeckis, Richard Donner, etc. - were all going to direct a feature film. At that point, we had Heavenly Creatures lined up to shoot. It was about a year after we talked that we developed the first draft. We were writing it think­ ing it was possible for Bob to direct. Eventually, when he got the first draft, he called up and asked me if I’d ever thought of directing it? It was actually the first time I’d ever thought

RG FILM THE FRIGHTENERS, PETER JACKSON TALKS TO MICHAEL HELMS C I N E M A P A P E R S • D ECEMBER 19 9 6


various other things into the script. The wish to get the computer was a definite factor, rather than the dramatic reason, really. W e just got one com puter, and the various canning and outputting things that you need to get from film onto digital effects and back to film again. [With] one computer and about 30 odd shots from Heavenly Creatures, we figured out how to do it. George Port was the only guy we had at that stage doing it. We had this big package of about $ 1 ,0 0 0 ,0 0 0 of machinery from the States. It came in a big ca rd b o ard b o x w ith one page o f x e ro x e d instructions [big laugh}. After the stuff arrived, it took four to five months before we got a sin­ gle shot. George had to figure out how it all w orked. A lot o f experim enting and testing went on. Computer technology is so new in terms of film that the sky’s the limit. It’s as much as your imagination can encompass. Initially, it was all morphing. Everyone thought, “Wow, you can morph!” It’s settling down now and people are starting to realize that you can use it for many different applications.1 W h a t lim its a re b e in g te s te d w it h th is film ?

W e’re testing our limits in terms of the sheer number of shots that we’ve got. The bread-andbutter com puter w ork on this film is ghosts. W e usually have actors playing the ghosts; not always, but usually, actors shot against blue screens and then they’re composited into the shots that we’ve already done. W h a t is th e s p e c ia l g h o s t e ffe c t t h a t y o u 'r e g o in g fo r, a n d h o w d o e s it c o m p a r e to Casper [B ra d S ilb e rlin g , 1995]?

W e were doing ours before Casper came out and so were very interested in seeing it. Ours is similar in that sense that they’re transpar­ ent and have a bluey glow. The main difference is that ours were actors and Casper is a cartoon. The story is very much the relationship between the guy that Michael Fox plays [Frank Bannis­ ter] and a series of ghosts. W e never thought of doing it any other way than using actors and dialogue, and being able to bounce o ff each other.

about it, which was kind of weird since we’d writ­ ten the script. So, I said, “Yes I’d like to. If you want me to make it, how about doing it in New Zealand?” He said, “Okay, if you can make it look like middle Amer­ ica.” W e sent someone with a camera around New Zealand taking photos of small towns and sending them back. Bob and Universal were happy we could do it, and then the whole thing came together rel­ atively quickly. Fran and I wrote more drafts and had more meetings. W e were still taking Heavenly Creatures through its final stages of post and into festivals. So, last year was taken up with that and getting

The Frighteners to the stage where, this year, we could start shooting it. W a s Heavenly Creatures a te s t fo r th e c o m p u te r a n im a tio n w h e n y o u w r o t e th e sc rip t?

Yes, in a way it was. It was actually an excuse to buy the gear. Around the time we were writing Heavenly Crea­ tures, I wanted to get into computers. It was when Jurassic Park [Steven Spielberg, 1993] hadn’t been seen by anyone, but all these rumours were going around about how amazing the dinosaurs were. I

"AT TH IS STAGE, I HAVE N O TH IN G BUT G O O D TH IN G S TO SAY ABOUT W O RKIN G ON A STUDIO FILM, MAINLY BECAUSE THEY HAVEN'T REALLY HAD MUCH TO DO W ITH IT, W H IC H HAS BEEN G O O D .” like special effects. Braindead could have been amaz­ ing if w e’d had com puters. They are actually an amazing tool for just about anything. It’s quite inex­ pensive but there was none o f that gear in this part of the world. So, we deliberately wrote some sequences in H eav­ enly Creatures that could only be achieved through computers. W e deliberately wrote morphing and

It’s very much a character piece. W e don’t treat the ghosts in our story like a special effect. We don’t make them too gimmicky or too cartoony. Scenes are written and shot as you would with any actors, only some of the characters in the scenes are ghosts and some aren’t, but they interact as just a bunch of guys together. It’s a classic Roger R abbit scenario in a way. Our lead actor, Michael J. Fox, spends more than half the movie acting to nothing, in a room, getting into quite tight conversations with ghosts who are put in later. So, it’s been an arduous shoot in that sense. Every shot o f that type is very tim e -co n ­ suming, as you have to shoot it tw ice: once with M ich a e l, and som etim es m onths later the blue screen with ghosts. A c r e w m e m b e r w a s s a y in g y o u r s h o o tin g r a tio is 60:1.

4 3 :1 at the m om en t. T h a t’s the ov erall ratio throughout the movie. M y other movies have been 15:1. This is the one movie where I’ve never had to w orry ab ou t ru nning out o f film sto ck . O th er movies, there’s been major panic if I’ve shot over the ratio, but this one has a budget where film stock is not a problem. W e’ve shot about 1/4 million feet so far. T h at s enough for tw o-and-a-half feature films.


Y o u 'v e s a id th e Blubberhead p ro je c t is still h a n g in g a ro u n d . Is th is a te s t ru n fo r th a t?

This is more mainstream - a good, logical pro­ gression to get my hands on that sort of budget if I should want it in the future. The one thing I want to do is go back and do more low-budget movies in the future. They’re very different ani­ mals. The big-budget films like this with a long shoot is one type of experience. They’re equally enjoyable. This is enjoyable because ultimately y o u ’re striving to achieve som ething that is commercial and funny whereas, with a low-bud­ get m ovie, you have a lot m ore freed om to play and have fun. Y o u 'v e s till m a n a g e d to k e e p y o u r h a n d in w ith lo w -b u d g e t film s lik e Jack Brown Genius.

Yes, I did. I was executive producer on that one and I co-directed a thing called Forgotten Silver, which was made for television not cinemas - it was only one-hour long. W e shot that just before we started work on The Frighteners. Shooting 30 set-ups a day with a small crew: that was great. I certainly love being in the middle of all this [The Frighteners ], but the concept of doing a little film with a small crew has its appeal. H as th e re la tio n s h ip w it h U n iv e rs a l b e e n good ?

Yes, it has; really great. At this stage, I have noth­ ing but good things to say about working on a studio film, mainly because they haven’t really had much to do with it, which has been good. W e’ve had a

very good creative executiv e from the studio, John Garbett, who has been with us and very sup­ portive and has come up with some good ideas for the script. Fran and I have re-written the script all the way through the shoot, which is the way we like to work. W e see the rushes and see how the film is developing and we then re-write. Just about every week we’ve been inserting new pages. We just try to keep ahead of ourselves and keep improving it all the time. The guys at Universal say this is the first time this

has ever happened. Usually they don’t re-write much because, if they finance a film, then, in a year’s time, that’s the film they want to see. But the folks at Uni­ versal have been really pleased because they have seen that we’ve been improving it and so they say, “Great. If you want to change this, okay.” So that experience has been good. W e’ve been getting great feedback on the rushes. They get the rushes on video and they’ve been happy all the time. They’ve never signalled any problem s w ith the rushes to me. And, after six months, I certainly feel I’ve been left alone to make the film that I want to make. I don’t feel that at any point they have tried to influence me in any way at all. I’ve had total freedom. H o w d o y o u go a b o u t p ro d u c in g fu r th e r w o rk ?

I’ve got a development deal with Miramax that lets me develop my own projects and they have a first look at them. That’s the sort of deal I like because I’m interested in scripts. I’m still not enthusiastic about shooting other people’s scripts. Y o u 'v e ta lk e d a b o u t th e g e n es is o f th e film , b u t w e r e th e s tu d io s n e rv o u s in d e a lin g w ith yo u?

I’m sure that they have been, but it hasn’t been made apparent to me. Bob [Zemeckis] saw the script and liked it before the studio ever knew anything about it. Bob had a development deal with Universal. In other words, the studio didn’t even know the pro­ ject existed until they saw that script, by which stage Bob obviously liked it and w anted to proceed with it. I’m sure the studio reaction to the project probably would have been very different if it had just been me hammering on their door saying, “Read this and I want to make this film in New Zealand.” W e r e y o u g ra n te d c re a tiv e fre e d o m ?

I don’t have final cut on the film, but I knew that going in. Bob’s got final cut, so I have no qualms about that. The guy’s made some great movies, so I’m quite happy for him to have that sort of control. Bob’s been very definite all the way through that I should make the sort of film I want to make. He wants me to make this because o f my previous movies, and he doesn’t want anything, either from him or the studio, to intrude on that. Otherwise, it’s not my film; it becomes some weird hybrid. I’ve never had a discussion with Bob at any stage about whether I should shoot this or that differently - he’s just left me alone. He has been very useful with suggestions of scheduling and budgets, and the nuts and bolts of getting the film made. H e’s never attempted to have major creative input, which is great, because I guess it means he’s happy with what he’s seen. If he weren’t happy, I suppose it would be a different story. S o , g e n e ra lly , y o u 'd say y o u h a v e n 't h a d to m o d ify y o u r ap p ro a c h ?

No, I haven’t. I’m very much shooting in the style I ’ve shot my other film s, although this has the encumbrance of motion-control cameras. If you’re C IN E M A PAPERS


Frank Bannister and Luc Lynskey (Trini Alvarado), The Frighteners.

not careful, you get nailed down a little bit by the technology. The film has been as much a battle against being controlled by the motion control as it has been about just being able to let rip with the style that I’m used to. It's n o t a s tra ig h t h o rro r film ?

N o. It’s just a character/black com edy really, a psychological black comedy. It has ghosts and some h o rrific stu ff in it - som e m onsters and some psychos. It’s sort of a weird one. M ichael J. Fox describes it as Truffaut meets The M ask [Charles Russell, 1 9 9 4 ]. Bob Zem eckis was going on the other day with a description - a com bination of Ghostbusters [Ivan Reitm an, 1984] and N atural Bom Killers [Oliver Stone, 1994], Flollywood always has to categorize you and to mix the films to try to explain it. That’s why I don’t know; it’s a pretty oddball movie. It has a lot of commercial elements because it is a commercial studio movie. But because it’s made here and written by Fran and I, we’ve retained a lot of that quirkiness and black humour that we had in our other movies. That, immediately I think, is going to make it a little bit more interesting than if it were a film made in America by Americans. It’s certainly going to have an edge. W h e n d id M ic h a e l J. F ox e n te r th e p ro je ct?

Again, the studio has been very supportive in cast­ ing and didn’t try to put anyone on the film. Fran and I obviously took the casting very seriously. If you get the script right and the casting right, it becomes very difficult to make a bad movie. W e wanted to be sure we got the very best cast for the characters. The role that Michael plays is a difficult combi­

nation of straight drama and comedy. W e came up with names of various comic performers because we could see that this character is funny - he has some funny lines and does some funny stuff - but we wanted him to be a real person, not a goofy clown. When you start thinking in those terms, it’s hard to think of actors. There are not that many that you’d accept on board as being a straight actor someone you really take seriously but also has a really nice comic timing, com ic sensibility - who can play that kind of straight comedy, like the Lionel rôle in B raindead that Tim Baim e played. I t’s a straight rôle in a sense, but the guy gets caught up in such ridiculous circumstances that he just has to acknowledge the humour, whilst not actually cre­ ating it, not playing up to it. W e thought of M ichael and mentioned him to Bob. Bob has a relationship with him and said, “If you seriously want Michael, I’m happy to give him a call, send him a script and see what he says.” I met M ichael at the Toronto Film Festival and he was willing to sign on and give it a go. W h a t d o y o u th in k o f th e A m e ric a n -e d ite d v e rs io n s o f Heavenly Creatures a n d Braindead'1?

I loved the R-rated version of Dead/Alive. They took about 17 to 18 m inutes out o f it and it’s really funny. A bunch of us sat down with a few beers and watched it and laughed every time it got cut. The lawnmower sequence is virtually gone: Lionel walks in the front door and then, the next minute, he’s standing among these piles of bodies. It’s just gone. I don’t take any of that stuff seriously. The whole rating system in America is totally stupid. The un­ rated version is available to anyone who wants it. The fans who want to see that sort of film can get

copies anywhere in the world, which is just great. So who cares if someone puts out the R-rated version? Heavenly Creatures is fine. W e supervised a cut of H eaven ly C reatures that was about 10 minutes shorter than the N ew Zealand version. W e did about 3 to 4 versions after it was released in New Zealand. Miramax wanted it to be a bit shorter. I had final cut on the film in the States, so Fran and I tightened it. W e actually prefer the American ver­ sion to the New Zealand one now. W h ic h v e rs io n has A u s tra lia g o t?

Australia has a hybrid. Because we were tailoring the 10-minute shorter version for the American mar­ ket, we were very much aware that the Americans would not want to see the British tennis-party men­ tality, so we tailored one that we thought would be okay in America. W hen we came to release it in places like England, Europe and Australia, I got them to stick back a couple of the scenes. The Eng­ lish sense of humour is more attuned to those scenes, so we stuck them back in. New Zealand is the only country that has seen the longest version. America has the shortest version and the rest of the world had an in-between version, which was all done under my supervision. W e r e y o u s u rp ris e d b y y o u r O s c a r n o m in a tio n s ?

Yes. It was surprising. I didn’t think films like Heav­ enly Creatures got any attention by the Oscar people and the Academy. That was good. @ 1 See Scott Murray’s article on Peter Jackson, Heavenly Creatures and computer technology in the New Zealand Supplement of Cinema Papers, No. 97-8, April 1984, pp. 20-30. 2 U.S. release title: Dead/Alive.


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is a unique figure in Aus­ tralian cinema, having been variously a writer, director and producer of a stream of commercially-successful projects. He has written extensively for radio drama, made docum entaries, feature film s and television series, and now in his retirement still deals with the ongoing business of his worldwide sales. In the early ’70s when the film community was polarized around the ‘Art vs Industry’ argument, Lee Robinson was condemned by some for his firm stance in the camp of com m erce. He recalls “a school of thought” in that period which did not understand that “the main tool of picture-making is money” and which criticized “any leanings towards commercial­ ism as au tom atically u n -A u stralian ” . Ind eed , so dominant was this view amongst those entrusted with establishing the new government-funded film indus­ try that, as experimental filmmaker and ex-Robinson employee Albie Thoms observed in 1 9 7 1 1, they com­ pletely passed over experienced filmmakers like Lee Robinson — which was absurd. Robinson was one of a handful of filmmakers whose abilities had enabled them to survive in the difficult days before govern­ m ent support, in the days when m ost others went to the wall. 1 9 5 8 is a case in p o in t: in th at year,

Thid article drawd on interviewd with Lee Robindon conducted by Graham S hirley (in Augudt 1976) and m ydelf ( October 1995). Graham and I are memberd o f the Filmmakerd ’ Oral Hidtory Group which encouraged film hidtoriaru to ude duch dourced. Accedd to interviewd can be obtained through the oral hidtory officer o f the N ational Film e3 Sound Archive. New memberd o f the Group are alwayd welcome, ad are volunteer trandcriberd. M.A.

16

C I N E M A P A P E R S • DECEMBER 1996


H ostage: The Christine Maresch Story (1983). The industry recoiled in amazement when Shields’ The Surfer (1988) was selected for the Quinzaine des Réal­ isateurs (D irectors Fortnight) at Cannes, having themselves received the film with derision at the pre­ vious year’s AFI judging screenings.2 Yet things do change and it is interesting that in 1 9 9 2 it was Lee Robinson who received the A FI’s Raymond Longford Award. The sting of com ­ mercialism now muted by a patina of nostalgia, perhaps it was time to regard Robinson’s contri­ bution to Australian cinema as a promise, not a threat. Historically, Australian filmmakers have had to contend with particularly discouraging and com­ plex cultural, economic and technological forces to produce a relatively small body of work; and it is true that some of these films, commercial and —

1

- —

non-comm ercial alike, now seem naïve, crude and sometimes crass3. Yet, it seems to me, these films and this past provide considerable insight into choices and attitudes which still confront Australian filmmak­ ers within the changed circumstances of today. 1996 marks the fiftieth year of Lee Robinson’s career, a career which spans half of the Australian century of cinema. There is much to learn from his accomplishments.

-----------------------------

Clockwise from opposite; On LOCATION fo r Namatjira

Robinson’s Southern International was the only Aus­ tralian company actively producing feature films. While government intervention has led to some improvement in the prospects for Australian features — they now command between five and seven per­ cent of our yearly box office — the film culture élite, in their nationalistic arrogance, still piss from a great height on the genre films which are today’s equiva­ lent o f the Lee R obinson action drama. Y et their moral strictures regarding worthy emotional and intel­ lectual content are not necessarily shared by popular audiences or even by other cinephiles. Take, for example, Frank Shields, producer-direc­ tor of the accomplished but decidedly B-grade thriller C I N E M A P A P E R S • DECEMBER 1996

the Painter, M ay 1946. Lee Robinson, Luting a rare wire

recorder, records the Aboriginal corroborée chants fo r the soundtrack. Corroborée boss Nosepeg Lads the singers. Robinson and Nosepeg rem ained life-long friends until the la tter’s recent death. Robinson was given a Pintobe tribal name, Wairo Tjucalba, which m eans “fire ”. PART OF the crowd scene staged f o r the fin a l sequence o f Walk into Paradise. Twelve thousand beplumed and beaddressed natives were assembLd by Aiuttralian Administrative officials fo r these unique scenes. A SCENE from The Phantom Stockman. Robert Tudawali o f Jedda fa m e Lads a wounded policeman, K en Wayne, to safety. C H IP S R a f f e r t y , o n l o c a t i o n , r e l a x e s b e t w e e n s c e n e s .

17


Lee Robinson was born in 1 9 2 3 , one of eleven children of a close-knit M ormon family, whose reli­ gious taboos included movie-going. He tells the story of the kids persuading their mother to see her first film in the ’30s, a De Mille bible epic, The Sign o f the Cross (1932). Twenty years later, when Robinson’s feature The Phantom Stockm an (1 9 5 2 4) was at the local cinema, they talked her into going to see her second film, and, when she came out, asked her what she thought. “I’ve seen worse”, she said. This laconic style is a mark of the Australia in which Robinson grew up and did his major work. It was an Australia whose identity had been shaped by Federation, the Anzacs, and a masculine bush nationalism. It was an Australia which valorized egalitarianism, understate­ ment, unpretentiousness — even anti-intellectualism. And, until relatively recently, this Australia repre­ sented “the real Australia” to almost all of us — not the least of all to Lee Robinson. A military historian during World War II, Robin­ son w rote a large and detailed rep ort on the Portuguese Timor Campaign. His view of the Anzac spirit of these Australian commandos continued to be expressed in an enduring interest in films of adven­ ture, and directly in his last two features as producer, Attack Force Z (Tim Burstall, 1982) and Southern Cross (aka The Highest Honour: A True Story, Peter Maxwell and Seiji Moriyama, 1984J), which fiction­ alized their exploits. On his discharge from the army in 1946, Robin­ son learned that the newly-created N ational Film Board was setting up the Department of Information (DO I) Film Unit, later to becom e Film Australia. Under the influence of John Grierson and the docu­ mentary movement, the DOI created a new kind of film by a new breed of writers and intellectuals, the creative interpretation of Australian nation-building: men at work. Often the ‘real’ Australia was located in the bush and the bush became Lee Robinson’s area of expertise. Robinson, a successful short-story writer, was hired as a scriptwriter, given a treatment to write on Aboriginal artist Albert Namatjira, and then asked to direct the film. He recalls that when he told the DOI chief, Canadian Ralph Foster, that he wouldn’t have a clue about directing, Foster replied, “Well, there aren’t too many around who have, so what’s the difference.” Feature films were almost extinct and the cameramen who had, in actual fact, been direct­ ing newsreel stories weren’t considered as directors. So, with a few exceptions, at that time, as Robinson has said, “There were no directors in Australia.” The DOI in those days was a cauldron of religious, political and aesthetic debate; and film became a sub­ ject for intense study by the neophyte director. English director Harry W att, a former documentarist who

18

WMiii'n was in Australia making features for Ealing, was sup­ portive of the new film m akers. He explained to Robinson the mechanics of such things as overlap­ ping action, and invited him to Pagewood Studios to watch the making of Eureka Stockade (1949)6. Robinson and his cameraman, Alex Poignant, set off for central Australia where they spent months researching and filming Namatjira the Painter (1947). In those days at the D O I, film m akers did their research, shot their film and then came back and edited it — as a creative whole. Watt had emphasized to Robinson the importance of the editing process, and it became an aspect of filmmaking which Robin­ son was closely involved in — in the cutting-room — throughout his career. From his very first film, Robin­ son shot to cut, using essentially drama techniques on actuality situa­ tions. He gave strong direction to his real-life characters. N am atjira the Painter even includes flashbacks of Albert Namatjira played by a young hunter known as Nosepeg. (Nosepeg joined a handful of Aboriginal actors in contributing an air of mystery and local colour to Australian productions o f the ’5 0 s and ’ 6 0 s.) T his film remained in distribution for decades, with a revised version in 1974.

for sync. M usic, narration and voices were gener­ ally dubbed later — a consequence of the unwieldy nature of sync cameras as well as of stylistic devel­ opments. Filmmaking teams of two or three people camped out or to ok cheap accom m od ation, and expenses were low. Robinson remembers that he and his cam eram an, Frank B agnall, spent weeks in Broome on another DOI documentary, The Pearlers (1949), just taking everything in. Then, when he’d devised his shooting script, they shot the film in a day. Later, in 1957, Robinson experienced a different kind of luxury, collaborating with the famous Amer­ ican co m m en tato r L ow ell T h o m as on his High Adventure series shot around the world for American television. The budgets were lavish, the crews large and you could ask for anything you wanted. By this tim e, Robinson had acquired a reputation as “an expert on primitive peoples” because of his work in Aboriginal Australia and New Guinea. And, appar­ ently, on this basis Thomas could have gotten him citizenship in the U.S. R o b in so n , how ever, had been w orking on the Am erican series in order to finance his own projects and declined the offer. He recalls that he liked working with Thomas but, as a sixth-generation Australian, he was “so totally Aus­ tralian in every shape and fo rm th at I couldn’t conceive of becoming a citizen of another country^ He says in retrospect that- h In speaking of his location M icty ^ ^ M eserin g the s mentary work, Robinson rl^aLs'tl|<§ body else pleasure and the luxury o n fact Weft the DOI fotylndit time (in the absence of a large crew u ctio n , te challenge Lee Robinson set to research and think. Film s were himself was to create pictures that were distinctly Aus­ largely shot m ute, although wire tralian and yet con stru cted in a way th at could record ers were occasionally used command an international audience. He recalls that C I N E M A P A P E R S • DECEMBER 1996


restrictions on the raising of capital for any but essential industries and film was not one of them. Chips Rafferty had been refused an exemption to accept £ 1 2 0 ,0 0 0 committed by local businessmen for production of a fea­ ture about im m igration problem s and a thirteen-part series for world television. R ob in so n had w ritten an urban th riller which he likewise was unable to produce. (It was eventually sold to E aling, w here it became the basis for the Siege o f Pinchgut (Harry Watt, 1959)). So, when Robinson, as w riter-d irector, R afferty, the actor, and George Heath, the cameraman, decided to pool their skills to make their first feature, they had to devise a technically simple and extremely low-budget pic­ ture with elements that would sell. This became The

Phantom Stockman. By this tim e, Robinson had done a number of other documentaries for the DO I in the N orthern Territory, including Outback Patrol (1947) and Croc­ o d ile H unters (1 9 4 9 ) , w hile R afferty had had experience shooting in the Centre with Ealing’s The Overlanders (Harry W att, 1946). Robinson recalls that his work in the Territory had given him an abid­ ing “fondness for Aborigines” and a tremendous admiration for their telepathic communication and finger-talk. He had endowed an earlier radio char­ acter written for Rafferty with such powers and this ‘Sundowner’ now seemed ideal to build a film around to exploit the novelty of a Central Australian back­ drop. Within these parameters, Robinson and Rafferty set about devising their script: We knew we had very limited money because you w eren’t allowed to put more than ten thousand pounds into a picture then, so there was no point in going mad with all sorts of exotic locations and production values and things. We knew we had to keep it simple and very straightforward. And [...] we created this mythical character, The Sundowner, which was Chips, who became the Phantom Stock­ man, who had this affinity with Aborigines [...] And, of course, we had to put a semblance of a love story or a female interest in it and had to have a bit of action, but basically Chips was going to solve the problem through using his knowledge of the Abo­ riginal. That was the idea of it.

The Phantom Stockman is a story of Kim Marsden

he used to argue with radical filmmaker Cecil Holmes about this. Robinson believed that your first respon­ sibility was to get your investors’ money back,' because, if you did, there was a chance you’d make another picture and, if you did it again, yet another. And per­ haps by that time you might get to the point where you made the picture that you w anted to make. Holmes, on the other hand, was determined to make the picture he wanted to make right from the start. In Lee Robinson’s view, this was why, for all his talent, Holmes was never able to blossom as a d irector7. Holmes was more scathing about Robinson’s position. In 1952, when Robinson formed Platypus Pictures with Chips Rafferty and cameraman George Heath, the obstacles to local feature production were forpbitio

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MtX I^f|ny^thgcremtal :>y overseas companies and some of the local films were so poor as to be unreleasable. Thus, the collective feature film experience of local actors, technicians, directors and producers was min­ imal. Moreover, post-war governments imposed strict C I N E M A P A P E R S • DECEMBER 1996

(Jeanette Elphick), a young cattle station heiress who sends for The Sundowner and Dancer (Henry M ur­ doch), his Aboriginal offsider, to track down cattle thieves. The rustlers turn out to be in league with Sta­ pleton (Guy Doleman), the owner of a neighbouring station. When The Sundowner is captured, he uses mental telepathy to summon Dancer to the rescue. The love story sees Kim delivered from the unwelcome attentions of Stapleton into the arms of a more wor­ thy suitor. To this plot, Robinson, with his abiding passion for things Aboriginal, added a somewhat irrel­ evant appearance of Albert Namatjira as himself and, more interestingly, deliberately reproduced Namatjira’s compositions in shots of the same locations on the premise that one couldn’t better the master. Robinson began his drama career with a strong belief in the im portance of screen presence in his ~ n that basis, he chose the untrained leanette hickifoEihe I W "I IT role |ill ofI Kim. H er perform1 mmNGN lce, he s, whs designed to be post-synced and, . \1 .-1# , I \1 f , ¥® l:3.................... . . . yahaihadjEer doneKuch aLhing re,_ Robinson, sound recordist Hans Wetzel and Merv Murphy’s Supreme Sound Studio set up a loop sys­ tem of post-syncing, using the young June Salter as Kim’s voice — a little-known fact. In viewing The P han tom S tockm an now , its exploitation of unknown and exciting settings, its sim-

Clockwise from far left- TH E LEGENDARY LowelL Thomas and

Lee Robinson on location at A yerj Rock on the High Adventure series. There was no road to the Rock in 1957. The unit navigator Chru Armstrong found the landmark to be wrongly positioned by two m iles on their current maps. Thomas, the best known voice in America was the “Father o f Cinerama ”. An UNDERWATER scene from King of the Coral Sea. Both Chips R afferty and Bud Tingwell did their own som etim es dangerous underwater scenes themselves. No doubles were used. C H IP S R a f f e r t y , Lee Robinson and Ross Wood, cameraman during the underwater film in g o f ‘K ing o f the Coral S ea’. C H IP S R a f f e r t y , Paul Edmond Descharme, President o f Disciflim o f Paris and Lee Robinson sign the fir s t ever Australian co-production deal with Australia and France in 1956fo r the film Walk in to Paradise.

pie action plot, and its externalized characters appear to combine the documentary impulses of the era with the proclivities of Hollywood B features. The film was a financial success. Although crude and not particu­ larly well-paced, it obtained both American and British releases and in its first year returned more than dou­ ble its budget from overseas sales — in the B-picture market. It was also well received in Australia. The success of The Phantom Stockman allowed Lee Robinson and Chips Rafferty to form a new company, Southern International, and to devise a more ambi­ tious film, King o f the Coral Sea (1954), drawing on Robinson’s knowledge of the pearling industry. Again, in the absence of name artists and experience on which to sell the picture, Robinson developed the project from a unique Australian background, and then found a suitable story through which to bring it to the screen. Once again, considerable thought went into the ques­ tion of commercial viability. As he said later: The challenge really was to make pictures that were internationally acceptable. Because there was no way in the world that you could possibly get any­ thing like a tenth of the budget back in this country and you had to get international distribution before you could stay in business. And that was a thing of not breaking too many rules in filmmaking. Just as there are certain standard rules for directors — you know, you don’t cross the line — there are rules regarding making pictures. To start with, we knew that we had a problem with the Australian accent, getting it accepted overseas. So we were forced to go to some extent to the Australian equivalent of a mid-Atlantic accent. And there was an old filmmakingaxiomj^donjj«do two new things at once. D on’t have a new location and a new storyline. If you’ve got a new storyline, put it in an old location that’s familiar to people. Make it like New York or Los Angeles or London. So we were aware of these rules and didn’t want to break them. Firstly, we had to work against the Australian accent. And, secondly, we were giving people a totally new location, so therefore we had to be fairly conventional in our storyline to be commercially viable at all. We could have been totally way out and experimental and probably would have made

19


one film and never been heard o f again. And it might have been a very, very good little film. But the idea was to try and build something as a base to work on over the years. The economics of it were a fact of life. You simply had to observe that that was a requirement, too: if you’re going to get peo­ ple to put m oney into your n e x t one, get th eir money back for them on this one. And, of course, that happened in the early stages, you know. W e found that once you got people’s money back, they came in like a shot the next time. They were pre­ pared to back you.

King o f the Coral Sea , more polished than The Phan­ tom S to c k m a n , is again a sim ple actio n film . It involves an illegal immigrant racket and the kidnap­ ping of the daughter of Ted King (Chips Rafferty), a Torres Strait pearler. Along with Rafferty, the cast includes Australian actors who were just beginning to build their world-class careers. The playboy owner of the pearling company was played by Bud Tingwell, who by then had appeared in several local features. The villain was played by Lloyd Berrell, a part-Maori actor who was one of Sydney’s most talented radio and stage perform ers until his premature death in 1 9 5 7 — en route to England. Reg Lye, a character actor with tremendous screen presence, appeared as

from Southern International’s original strategy of pro­

on the set, and rapidly learned how to get the most out o f his appearances. Bud Tingw ell took Taylor under his wing. Robinson: I remember Bud saying to Rod, “You’ve got to watch out when you’re working with Chipsey.” Chips, of course, was six foot five. “When you’re working with Chips, he d oesn’t lo o k ta ll; he makes you look short”, Bud said. “Watch him. Try and get on a rise.” And I watched Rod through the camera, day after day after day, and he seemed to creep up gradually on Chips until he was just about at his ear level — close enough to be able to play two-shot scenes with him. And I wondered how the hell he seemed to grow like that. And one day I found — he used to wear those basketball boots, like those Reebok things now — all packed with paper, up for about two inches. He hardly had room to get his foot in but he’d woken up to that was the way to get himself a bit taller. Oh, he was smart, Rod. One of the most successful elements of the film was Ross W ood’s exquisite black-and-white photography of the sail-powered pearlers around the little-known Torres Straits. Wood, too, became Rod Taylor’s tutor. It was on these early features that R afferty and Robinson began their relationship with Joy Cavill. Cavill started as continuity, soon took on the role

ducing low-budget Australian films was, in the long run, a miscalculation. W hile the first joint venture,

W alk into Paradise (1 9 5 6 ), was a great success, co­ production ultimately led to disaster. Southern International linked up with Discifilm and producer Paul-Edmond Descharme when Walk into Paradise was in the final stages of pre-produc­ tion, and successfully adapted the adventure script to accom modate two French stars. Discifilm also pro­ vided a director for a French language version of the film along with 3 0 percent of the budget. In future, the two companies would alternate in providing the bulk of the finance and the choice of story and direc­ to r. W ith a sm all crew , R o b in so n set o ff fo r a twelve-week shoot in the N ew Guinea Highlands. Again, the film emphasizes travel and action, as Dis­ trict Officer McAllister (Chips Rafferty) and his New Guinean offsid er lead a party into the in terio r to investigate jungle oil deposits. Foisted on the group is a F re n ch w om an d o cto r co n d u ctin g m alaria research for the United Nations. The clim ax o f the film com es when M cA llister, ever know ledgeable about the ways of the natives, secures the co-opera­ tion of initially hostile tribes in building an airfield in return for a promise to cure the chief’s sick children. W itch doctors cause trouble, the explorers are nearly massacred, but the children recover just

i

i

unit doctor John Quinn, Lowell Tho mao examine j the dkull o f Lasdeter. Filming are K eith Loome and Bobby W right and interedted observer, Lucky Harria, chief grip. Robertdon and production m anager Curley F raser were charged with the ancient com m on biw charge o f gra ve robbing over this incident and faced a ja i l term o f deven yearj. Lowell Thomad travelled to W ashington to explain the Circumstanced to the Auotalian Ambasdador and the charged were withdrawn. W A TCH ED B Y

---------

a seedy villain in the first of the rôles which Robin­ son continued to write specifically for him. He, too, achieved international success. The rôle of Ted King’s American offsider was played by a scintillating young Sydney actor, Rod Taylor, shortly to be snapped up by Hollyw ood. Robinson, again casting for screen presence rather than experience, soon discovered that Taylor threw himself into mastering screen technique

20

of production manager and eventually worked as a writer and producer with Robinson for many years and, ultimately, on her own features.8 Initially, Raf­ ferty had been the one w ho organized the film scheduling, marking cross-hatches on big sheets of paper. Robinson recalls — and others confirm the story — that Cavill soon becam e involved in that aspect o f production and, with typical Australian inventiveness, developed the strip board scheduling system which — so industry tradition would have it — consequently spread throughout the industry and the world. In a period when most Australian features were not financially successful, overseas sales of King o f the Coral Sea returned its £ 2 5 ,0 0 0 budget within three weeks of the film ’s completion. The Australian box office was also good, laying the foundation for South­ ern International’s expansion into co-production with the French. In retrospect, it appears that deviating

in time. Shot under extremely difficult circumstances, the £ 6 5 ,0 0 0 film was the second feature to be shot in colour by an Australian crew — at a time when colour stock was slow and difficult to use, demanding high light levels and perfect colour balance. The film was the first Australian feature to be shown at Cannes, where the work of cam­ eraman Carl Kayser was highly commended. Lee Robinson was delighted when his American agent sold the film to Joseph E. Levine’s Embassy Films for S 6 0 ,0 0 0 . Retitled Walk into H ell, the film became one of the 100 top-earning box-office pictures of all time in America. Robinson recalls seeing Jo e Levine in New York later: He took me around to the clubs and said, “Eat what you like, drink what you like. You’re my guest while you’re in New Y ork.” He said, “I made millions of dollars out of you.” And I said, “Well, Joe, I didn’t do too good with that pic­ ture. You oughta give back some to m e.” He said, “I’ll give you as much as you would have given me if I had lost.” You know, you don’t get the value out of what you make. Now, of course, I know that Joe would have probably gone to £ 2 0 0 ,0 0 0 , but I didn’t know then. But I also found later in life that our own agent was work­ ing with Joe Levine to buy the picture, and Joe was giving a backhander to him to tell me that £ 6 0 ,0 0 0 was a very, very good price.

Indeed, although Southern International appeared to be maintaining production, the overall situation for Australian features was pretty grim. Since the ’20s, filmmakers had been trying to get legislation in sup­ port of the Australian industry but to no avail. In the twenty years between 1 9 4 6 and 1 9 6 6 , only 38 fea­ tures o f an hour or m ore in length were made, of which eighteen were produced by overseas com pa­ nies. Only seven wholly-Australian films managed to get a release o f more than a week in a com m ercial cinem a. R obinson was well aware o f the p recari­ ousness of his situation: Chips and I had done an analysis before we went to C an berra to lobby M enzies — we saw Fad den, the Deputy Prime M inister, and I think we saw one other M inister. W hat we wanted was a plan like they have in England, the C I N E M A P A P E R S • DECEMBER 1 996


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E O F F R E Y RUSH describes it as “Battleship Potemkin meets Mel B rooks”, Rachel G riffiths as “a bit Citizen Kane and Robert Alt­ man”. Sam Neill “had never read anything like this [script] before” and “is still not quite sure what it is”, while Judy Davis thinks “It’s very fu n n y .” O scar w inner F. Murray Abraham was sufficiently inspired to travel across the world to do a cameo rôle as Stalin. And the industry panels voting electorate were sufficiently impressed to nominate it in nine cate­ gories in the Australian Film Institute Awards in probably the strongest and most diverse year ever. Whichever way you look at it, Peter Duncan’s imaginative début, the black comic-tragedy Chil­ dren o f the Revolution , has made a strong impact.

fo c u s in g o n a S ta lin w o r s h ip p e r /d e v o te e w h o m a n y

D id y o u r s h o rt film s h a v e a n y th in g in c o m m o n w ith

y e a rs la te r r e v ie w s his o p in io n ?

Children o f the Revolution?

No, but I did see a lot of documentaries in prepa­ ration for this, amongst them one in which kids talk about the impact of Stalin’s death as the worst event of their lives - 11- to 12-year-olds who in 195 3 believed that all science, politics and literature had stemmed from him. The fervency of the beliefs is extraordinary and what’s fascinating now is that Stalin’s pictures are going back up in Moscow. People are rehabilitating him saying, “Despite everything else, we never had it so good as back then.” The post-Gorbachev exper­ iment hasn’t worked and it’s extraordinary how Y eltsin has to deal w ith cy clical e ffe c t. I t ’s an interesting time to make this film. In 1989, when I started writing the script, the response, especially in Russia, would have been quite different.

h e rita g e , w a s it?

W a s th e m a in c h a ra c te r o f th e fe rv e n t c o m m u n is t, J o a n F raser [J u d y D avis], b ased on him ?

There are no real parallels, though so many peo­ ple have said that they know a Jo an , someone w ho’s virulent and impatient in terms of their world beliefs, who watches the news on televi­ sion and gets so frustrated by what’s going on in the world. I guess at the heart of the film is the concept: How does a passionate, intelligent, rational, com­ mitted person with good intentions and a good heart reconcile late in their life the fact that what they’ve been working for has been distorted in such a way that it wasn’t just ineffective, it was evil? Do you then repent your life? D id y o u se e A n d re i K o n c h a lo v s k y 's Inner Circle, w h ic h d e a ls w ith s o m e s im ila r th e m e s b y

F ilm w a s a c tu a lly a s e c o n d c a re e r c h o ic e fo r yo u?

I was a para-legal at Allen Allen & Hemsley for three years while I was finishing my law degree, though I never got admitted as a solicitor. It was very interesting work - the best in the field - which actually strengthened my resolve to leave it because it wasn’t satisfying me. I knew I had to try some­ thing else. The best fun I’d had at uni - much to my academic detriment - was doing revues, so ideally I wanted to go in that direction.

T h is s to ry w a s n 't a c tu a lly in s p ire d b y fa m ily

It actually started out as an essay, a polemic I was writing on the concept of blind faith. I was inter­ ested in how to prove to a Christian that God didn’t exist. How do people cope when every­ thing they put their faith in turns out to not exist? As a short story, it wasn’t working because you can’t offer the ultimate proof. Then I thought of human gods throughout the course of history, with some of the most dramatic examples in the 20th century being Stalin and Hitler, who flew off the agenda because I wanted it to be funny. That left Stalin. M y grandfather, even though he was a bank manager, was a card-carrying member of the Communist Party back in the 1940s and, through him, I found a vehicle to tell this story. I remem­ ber how to the end of his life he adhered to his communist principles. That concept of blind faith really intrigued me and became the catalyst for lots of other ideas. The story became a com bi­ nation of these two things.

Black humour. As a writing student at film school, I also got to direct The Obituary, about a man who is m istakenly believed by his girlfriend and best frien d to be dead, and is n o t to o happy about their reactions. It’s a story in which I was very much concerned with turning points and structure to try to get the laughs coming at the right place. A Bit o f a T iff with the L ord is about a young mer­ chant banking priest [R ichard R oxbu rgh] from the Vatican who comes back for his mother’s funeral on a property in western N SW . His father [Ron Haddrick] is seeing angels, which faces the son with a crisis of how to deal with that - it’s a bit mad and very black.

A t t h a t s ta g e , y o u c o u ld h a v e v e e re d to w a r d s th e a tr e . H o w d id y o u m a k e th e c h o ic e to b e c o m e a film m a k e r?

H o w d id y o u c o n n e c t w ith y o u r p ro d u c e r T ris tra m M ia ll1?

W e met at the AFTRS graduation screenings early in 1 9 9 4 where my short, A Bit o f a T iff with the Lord, was shown. Tris liked it and suggested we get together. The scenario happened just as I hoped it would. I’d resolved to have a screenplay ready for graduation, though it was in a very unruly form of 203 pages of totally-unshootable material. Tris warned me he only goes for projects that have a personal appeal. “Commercial viability plays a part, but if something doesn’t appeal to me at first read I will pass”, he said. Fortunately, he really loved it and things started rolling from there, with the N SW Film and Television O ffice coming in with development money to enable me to hone it into something vaguely shootable. Towards the end of 1994, Judy [Davis] read the script and really liked it. Once she was on board, we had a combination that was strong enough for the FFC in April 1995 to agree to back it.

I’d always been more attracted to film. I’d watched movies with my mother since I was a small child. I didn’t expect to get into film school but [while at Allen Allen & Hemsley] I’d written a 60-page script called “The D iscreet Revolution” and sent that as part of my application to AFTRS. W hen I went for my interview , th at’s all everyone wanted to talk about, and Paul Thompson [now Head of Film and Television, then Head of Writing], who’s been a key support in this whole process, was wildly excited about it. D id y o u c o n tin u e to w o r k on th e Revolution sc rip t a t film sch o o l?

N ot really. For most of the time it sat in my drawer, but the ideas withstood a very important test: the test of time. T h e s c re e n p la y h a s b e e n h ig h ly a c c la im e d . C an yo u e la b o r a te on th e w r itin g p rocess?

I guess I did 10 to 12 drafts all up, but each one was a lot of work. I wasn’t disseminating. W hat I had when I first did the original script became pretty much the first half of Children o f the Revolution: Judy’s character; her world in Balmain; her trip to Russia; fucking Stalin; his death as a result of that; return to Australia pregnant and the child’s growing up. The first part fell into place quite eas­ ily. As a committed communist, her reason for going and Stalin’s attraction to her all became terribly log-


Stalin (F. M urray Abraham) and Joan Fraser (Judy Davis). C h ild ren o f th e R evolution.


ical. She’s strong, intelligent, dynamic, everyone in Sydney’s in love with her, so why not him? I didn’t have the tougher m aterial of what hap­ pens to the child once he grows up and how his metamorphosis occurs. I didn’t hook into Jo e ’s jour­ ney early on and this is evident in the drafts. Many were concerned with the second half of the story. Jo e took a number of journeys in the screenplay; he was an academic, in advertising, a politician, unem­ ployed, ran for local council. I tried so many things until I finally settled on the trade union leader. It just felt right.

The material being covered was structured in such a way that it would reflect - on a metaphorical level - the history of communism, starting off with great hum our, larg er-than-life, w ell-intentioned , bighearted people who end up quite a bit older and sadder. T o have done it in a way that didn’t reflect that breadth of tone would not have satisfied me or the story that I wanted to tell. W hether or not the film suffers from having those gear shifts is in the eyes of the individual filmgoer, but I wouldn’t have made the film differently. The gear shifts were always inherent in the story and we certainly discussed them. I always made it

It was im portant to con n ect the two journeys. They are two different people but actually it’s one

clear that the film was going to start and end in the

journey because, like many parents, Joan has aspi­

way it does, and it was up to those people who were ch o o sin g to be in volved w ith me on this film

ra tio n s fo r her ch ild . T h e film also show s the importance of the ‘baggage’ we carry; the mystery of what makes us what we are.

whether they were going to accept that. T h e R u s s ia n s e q u e n c e s c o n ta in t h e m o s t fa rc ic a l

to history. As G eoffrey Rush has said, “I t’s M el Brooks meets Battleship Potemkin. ” W hat I was try­ ing to convey was a sense of larger-than-life in overt comic terms which wouldn’t have worked in other, everyday parts of the film. B ut th e re is so m uch p o w erfu l ico n o g ra p h y attached to the period that people have an expec­ tation and understanding of Stalin. So, when you travestize, it’s naturally going to be funny - as our first impression of him doing up his fly or reading Hollywood movie magazines. In the early drafts, on her arrival in Russia Jo an was going to be appalled by the excesses, but that just didn’t work in the story. It was much better for her to be blown away by everything - psychologi­ cally drunk - on the whole trip. W orking against the grain is where the humour is.

S o th e fo rc e s o f h is to ry c r e a te J o e b u t a ls o d o o m

D id y o u t h in k o f J u d y w h ile y o u w e r e w r itin g it?

h is re la tio n s h ip s ?

Yes, though I don’t suggest those are independent, objective pure forces; they’re sullied by human inter­

The rôle required a person who could play from the

est and distortions of history. T h at’s why the film is in that quasi-documentary format - to say we’re

it required a brilliant actor and she is arguably our most brilliant. I count my blessings every day that

presenting you with alleged truth, but we all know it’s manipulated. The film makes the point that the

she liked the script.

ages of 27- 69 with a lot of long diatribes; in short,

Y o u 'd a lre a d y e s ta b lis h e d a r e la tio n s h ip w it h

blurring of fact and fiction can be quite dangerous.

R ic h a rd R o x b u rg h in A Bit o f a Tiff w ith the Lord.

Jo e [Richard Roxburgh] and Anna [Rachel G rif­ fiths] are star-crossed lovers whose relationship is doomed by history. The forces of history conspire

W a s t h a t a u to m a tic a lly e x te n d e d to th is p r o je c t in

in such a way and so profoundly [Anna’s grand­ parents were killed by Stalin’s army] that they just can’t overcome it. A n n a 's d r e a m s e q u e n c e s — n ig h tm a r e s o f J o e 's r e la tio n s h ip t o S ta lin — p la y a p iv o ta l rô le in th e p lo t a n d s tr u c tu r e o f th is film .

She is the first person to articulate what everyone else, including Jo e, has been denying - that a meta­ morphosis is occurring - and once she starts to have her visions and to tell Jo e about them, it’s the thin edge of the wedge; it’s the slippery slope to disas­ ter from there on. It’s a key point. W h a t p r o m p te d y o u to u s e th e q u a s i-d o c u m e n ta r y fr a m e w o r k ?

The format is important in terms of questioning the truth of history. It was a ‘gift’ in this complex, dia­ logue-driven story to have the occasional interviews with ‘experts’, which could be used very econom i­ cally to establish exposition, narrative elements or to n e, and, through archival fo o ta g e , still p h o ­ tographs to enrich the story and create diversity. J o a n is a v ib r a n t c h a ra c te r a n d h e r s to r y c o n ta in s su ch s tro n g m a te r ia l t h a t k e e p in g u p t h e m o m e n ­ t u m in th e s e c o n d h a lf o f th e film , w h e r e h e r s o n 's

c a s tin g h im as S ta lin 's o ffs p rin g ?

“I wanted an icon to play Stalin. Given Judy’s stature, I thought it was important that the role was played by some­ one familiar to the audience to whom we travel to make a pilgrimage.”

Absolutely. Richard and I had a great time on T iff and have since become very close friends. W hen I told him about this film back then, he was wildly enthused. At that stage, we even talked about get­ ting a co-op together to make it somehow. Given the scale the film has turned out to be, it would have been a catastrophic experience. Richard fired the enthusiasm of Anne Churchill-Brown at Shanahan’s M anagem ent and, as most of our leading actors Judy, Sam Neill, Geoffrey Rush, a star on the ascen­ dant as evident in his w onderful perform ance in

Shine 2 - are represented by them 3, it was a great asset to have this communication. F. M u r r a y A b r a h a m is t h e o n ly n o n -A u s tra lia n a c to r in th e film . D id y o u in te n tio n a lly w a n t S ta lin t o b e p la y e d b y a fo r e ig n e r , a n o n -A u s tra lia n ?

I wanted an icon to play Stalin. Given Judy’s stature, I thought it was important that the rôle was played by someone familiar to the audience - to whom we travel to make a pilgrimage. There are probably a number of Australian actors who could have played him, but I felt it was im portant to get an interna­ tional icon. M urray is an Oscar-w inner, can look like the most evil son of a bitch on the planet, and yet he’s a charming and lovely human being. It was a blessing that he was available and loved the script.

s to r y ta k e s c e n tr e s ta g e , m u s t h a v e b e e n a d iffic u lt b a la n c in g act?

G e o ffr e y R u s h 's p e rfo r m a n c e as J o a n 's s u ffe rin g

Absolutely. A key to that is not losing Jo a n ’s char­

h u m o u r , b o rd e rin g e v e n on s la p s tic k . W h a t w e r e

h u s b a n d , W e lc h , is r e m a r k a b le fo r its q u ie t u n d e r ­

acter from the film, because she is its heart. The film is really a m etaphor of how I see communism. It starts with a lot of heart and heady optimism, lovely

y o u tr y in g to a c h ie v e th e re ?

s ta te m e n t - so d iffe re n t t o h is rô le in Shine. W e r e

in te llig e n t p eop le w an ting a b etter w o rld , but ends quite sadly several decades later for these peo­ ple. It was important that Joan remains there and fo r the hum our to be m aintained . Som e o f the sequences between Rachel and Richard are quite funny, but there is no question that there is a change

I made a decision in keeping with the tone of black

y o u u s in g h im as th e a n tith e s is fo r y o u r la rg e r -th a n -

com edy that Stalin would not be treated in the

life c h a ra c te rs ?

H e ’s the glue, the person untainted by the outer

traditional way of being portrayed as a foreboding ogre. I chose to treat him in a humorous way. I also

world. The inner-world of that family is everything

am aware from material I’ve read that anyone who

to him, so he stretches himself in a herculean way

visited the Krem lin at that tim e found it to be a larger-than-life experience. Therefore, it seemed to

the external world of Joan and Jo e. That makes his

to keep everyone together, despite the interest in

me, the intellectual logic of it was to push that into

very warm character one of the most accessible in

o f to n e as the story p ro g resses; oth erw ise, the

the realm of the bizarre, using as much dramatic

metaphor wouldn’t work. The film can’t really end

licence as possible.

the film, and I think G eoffrey just does a beauti­ ful, beautiful job.

on an up-note.

I don’t think there’s anything in reality that’s more strange than Stalin singing and dancing at the end

tuoso perform ance as an actor - as an actor it’s a

T h is film 's a v e r y a m b itio u s w o r k , e s p e c ia lly fo r a t h e e n tir e s p e c tr u m fr o m s la p s tic k to p o ig n a n t

of a dinner party, because he did it at the end of every dinner party he had at the Kremlin. The fact

tr a g e d y ?

that he sings a Cole Porter tune is certainly taking

d é b u t fe a tu r e , b e c a u s e to n a lly y o u v ir tu a lly c o v e r

24

a lot of licence, but from the western point-of-view that has the resonances that are quite appropriate

H e’s truly brilliant in Shine in terms of a truly vir­ bravura thing. In Children, it’s a far more under­ stated perform ance but, I hasten to add, no less challenging. C I N E M A P A P E R S • DECEMBER 1996


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D id y o u in te n d h im t o b e t h e c h a ra c te r w it h w h o m

W e’ve known each other for 25 years and have a

H o w d iffic u lt w a s it s h o o tin g th e R u s s ia n s e q u e n c e s

t h e a u d ie n c e ca n b e s t b o n d ? A t tim e s , in d r a m a tic

very open relationship and can hurl abuse at each

in A u s tr a lia , to re c re a te th e K re m lin , fo r in s ta n c e ?

te r m s , h e a c ts as a s o rt o f G r e e k c h o ru s .

T h at’s right. You don’t have that many options in this film in terms of characters that the audience can

other. I find that was so im portant in the editing process where you’re locked in a room with some­ one for 12 hours a day, 6-7 days a week. The person

spy, Joe is Stalin’s love child, Anna [Rachel Griffiths]

has to have your sensibility and, while other editors could have cut C hildren , I ’d seriously question whether anyone else could have been as sensitive to

has this European history about her. You’re pretty

the material. Bringing in Simon at script stage meant

much left with W elch as the audience’s personal

that he had the distinct advantage of being acutely tuned to the tone.

latch onto. Joan is a strident zealot — there aren’t that many of us out there — Nine [Sam Neill] is a

touchstone, although we all know the other char­ acters. T h a t’s why, dramatically, I think it’s very interesting that in the end he suffers more than any­ body. The person in the inner-world suffers more, despite the fact that Joan’s outer-world dreams aren’t realized emotionally, because of his sensitivity. H e’s so affected by everything around him. H e’s a pas­ sionate man but he’s ploughing a lot of that passion into his family. He presents that home-spun, simple commonsense reflection of circumstances.

H o w d id y o u p la n th e lo o k o f th e film ?

I had lots of stylistic conversations with the direc­ tor of photography, M artin M cG rath, production designer Roger Ford and costume designer Terry Ryan. A lot of these related to following the tone of the metaphor. W e started w ith w arm reds and orang es, the colours of idealism and commitment. In Russia, cold blue and greys predominate, but as the story pro­

It wasn’t at all difficult because we only had one exterior. That was probably the biggest night of our shoot: making the exterior of the Commemorative Pavilion at the Showground into the Kremlin steps. Roger Ford and Laurie Fahey, the art director, and I had long conversations and they were wonderful. The exterior was tough but I didn’t want it to be the ornate baroque palace full of gilt chandeliers as it is known. I wanted to play against audience expec­ ta tio n s. W e op ted fo r a m ore fascist lo o k - an oppressive, forebod ing and gloom y set-up with straight lines - and then to have the twist in the char­ acters. I think that worked for the comedy. H o w im p o r ta n t w a s s u b te x t in c o n n e c tin g th e p e rs o n a l a n d p o litic a l w o rld s ?

It was very important to connect the kitchen-sink w orld of the film and the political pow er world because th a t’s the h eart o f the jo u rn ey fo r the

H o w d a u n tin g w a s it to b e w o r k in g w it h s u c h a n e x p e rie n c e d s te lla r c a s t — s o m e o f th is c o u n try 's a n d th e w o r ld 's b e s t — as a fir s t-tim e d ire c to r s tr a ig h t o u t o f film sc h o o l?

It was daunting working with them, but I didn’t feel daunted directing them. Their experience, talent, acclaim made it daunting all right; leaving Judy, Sam and Murray out of the equation, G eof­ frey, R ich ard and R a ch e l are such outstanding actors. Each has so much more film experience than I. But their very experience was som e­ thing on which I could rely; the fact that I knew if I could effectively communi­ cate my agenda for the whole film or a scene to Judy - or the others - 1 knew it would com e to life, happen. T h a t took a lot of pressure off. So I tried to shape, rather than force, performances. T h e m ost im portant part o f my job became keeping the whole film in my head and trying to keep the nuance. I found that difficult because it’s such a big film and because we were shooting all over the place, juggling to fit in with the actors’ availability. Murray was only here for four days, we only had Sam for four weeks, Rachel had commitments to finish The Small Man4; there was no continuity in the shooting sequences W h a t w a s y o u r b ig g e s t c h a lle n g e ?

Getting the pace and rhythm right in terms of the whole picture. Earlier in the shoot I was less cog­ n isan t o f p acin g ; I b ecam e m ore aw are o f its importance as I got further into the shoot. D id t h a t m e a n m u c h o f t h e r h y th m a n d p a c in g w a s s h a p e d in th e e d itin g ro o m ?

A b solu tely . O ne o f the co n c ern s fo r fund ing

26

gresses, and the idealism crumbles, so too does the film lose warmth. I storyboarded about one-third, but Danny Batterham, one of the most senior [camera] operators in the country, and Martin were very flexible about coverage. Russian sequences were shot with a lot o f cam era m ovem ent to reflect Jo a n ’s all-at-sea nature. H o w d id y o u u s e th e c a m e ra to s h o w J o e [ju n io r's ] in c re a s in g p o w e r?

W e tried to show that through re-reflecting the K rem lin segm ents. As his pow er-base expands,

approval was not only my inexperience but that of my editor, Simon M artin, who had worked as an assistant editor, and had cut both my short films but had never cut a feature. He’s my closest friend, we’d gone to school and uni together, had worked as a script editor on Children and was an integral part of the team; in fact, his contribution to this film has

very different feel. Something’s gone horribly wrong

been enormous.

along the way.

things become increasingly a metamorphosis of the Kremlin environment. It works on an exponential curve; it is impercep­ tib le at the beg in n in g and grad ually lo o k in g backwards to that fun part of the film but with a

S c r ip t e d itin g a n d e d itin g is a ra re c o m b in a tio n , y e t

S o , in a s e n s e , y o u re v is ite d th e R u s s ia n s e g m e n ts

o n e th a t m a ke s sense.

in th e la tte r p a r t o f th e film ?

individual zealot/ideologue’s relationship to the big­ ger structures. For Joan, world revolution is the goal, but it starts at home with a kitchen-sink reality. One of the things that frustrates her is that no one’s quite committed as she is; no one’s badly off, no one actu­ ally wants to have a revolution. N in e A FI n o m in a tio n s in p ro b a b ly th e s tro n g e s t, m o s t d iv e rs e fie ld e v e r is p r e tty im p re s s iv e fo r a d é b u t.

I was absolutely thrilled. We went in with very mod­ est expectations and I’m just delighted that so much good work and effort - so much blood, sweat and tears - was rewarded. M y only personal chagrin was that Simon Martin didn’t get a nomination for edit­ ing, because he was so integral, not only to the editing but to the whole process. W h a t a re th e re le a s e p la n s fo r th e film ?

W e’re opening nationally on Boxing Day and M ira­ max has picked it up for N orth and Latin America, the UK and Italy. A M ay Day op ening is being planned for the U.S. © 1 Recent feature credits as producer include Strictly Ball­ room (1992), Billy’s Holiday (1995). 2 Shine (Scott Hicks, 1996).

H e w asn ’t hard enough on me w ith th e scrip t editing and paid for it in the end. W e were in pro­ duction for seven months and I felt confident that,

Stalin’s office in design terms was the key to the offices, because Stalin’s office becomes Jo e ’s office

3 The major exception being Rachel Griffiths, who plays Joe’s wife, Anna.

despite our in ex p erien ce, we could get it right.

and accommodates the various stages of Jo e ’s life.

4 Released as To Have And To Hold (John Hillcoat, 1996).

sequences in the Kremlin and also in the Australian

C I N E M A P A P E R S • DECEMBER 1996


Congratulate the following AFI nominated feature films CHILDREN OF THE REVOLUTION LOVE AND OTHER CATASTROPHES LOVE SERENADE BRILLIANT LIES WHAT I HAVE WRITTEN LILIAN'S STORY

International Representation - Beyond Films Head Office

Sydney: 53-55 Brisbane Street Surry Hills NSW 2010 Australia Tel: 61-2-9281 1266 Fax: 61-2-9281 9220 Representative Offices Melbourne: 32-36 Little Leveson Street North Melbourne Victoria 3051 Australia Tel: 61-3-9348 9340 Fax: 61-3-9326 5493 UK: 22 Newman Street London W1P3HB UK Tel: 44-171-636 9611 Fox: 44-171-636 9622 USA: 1875 Century Park East Suite 1320 Los Angeles CA 90067 USA Tel: 1-310-785 2255 Fox: 1-310-785 2260


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H E FO LLO W IN G DAY con­ sisted o f a daunting schedule of interviews with N orth American press and television; and when Rosenberg finally returned to his hotel room, no less that nine messages awaited. Festival organizers say they haven’t seen a début so warmly (or so loudly!) received in years, and the press w ere only to o keen to pick up on the hype sur­ rounding this latest Aussie crowd-pleaser. W ith th e b a rra g e o f in te r v ie w s y o u 'v e ju s t b e e n th r o u g h , w h a t w e r e th e N o r th A m e ric a n p re s s m o s t in te re s te d in ta lk in g a b o u t?

T hey’re fascinated with why they love every Aus­ tralian film they see; they’re fascinated with the quality of the stories [which] they love; you know, they mention Priscilla, M uriel’s Wedding, Shine.1 The perception is that it’s amazing that Australia keeps turning out all these quality, low-budget movies. T h e re w a s a q u e s tio n fr o m th e a u d ie n c e la s t n ig h t a b o u t th e fu n d in g fo r Hotel de Love.

Yeah, the guy said I was a capitalist! They were interested, I think, because Canada has a similar system where they have a governm ent­ funding body. T h e re ’s very little private money, so I think they were all fascinated with how we raised the budget. D o y o u se e Hotel de Love as p a rt o f a p a rtic u la r s ty le o r g e n re o f A u s tra lia n film s t h a t h a v e e n jo y e d


I t fS

in th e th r e e o th e r film s . W h y w a s th e '7 0 s th e

unreal place. It is not an unreal place because it’s a real hotel and people have to live and sleep there. The humour comes from a lot of the rwgsra wilder aspects of it. In terms of the pro­ duction design, even though these rooms PlpiaEl were fantastically bizarre, they nonethe■¡e Sw I less had a bed in them and were real H» rooms. We had to be very careful in terms of X 9H the acting, so that everyone stayed cen­ tred and were real people. I find you can be a little broader and have a little more K J fun with the more peripheral characters, H like with the new ly-m arried couple, Bruce and Janet Campbell [Caleb Cluff and Belinda M cC lory]. But with your central characters, you have to keep them grounded and focused and have the more zany, wacky stuff on the periphery. A film like Four Weddings and a Funeral [Mike Newell, 1994] is very similar in that way, with grounded central characters and a broad, comic aspect on the periphery.

d e c a d e fo r y o u r s o u n d tra c k ?

T h e film d o e s h a v e a s lig h tly d a rk u n d e rto n e to

o v e rs e a s success, b e g in n in g w ith Strictly Ball­ room [B az L u h rm a n n , 19 92 ] a n d c o n s o lid a te d by Priscilla a n d Muriel's Wedding?

PHOTOS: SKIP WATKINS

I think it’s the most purely romantic comedy of all those film s. M u riel’s W edding vacillated between moments of comedy and moments of drama, while Priscilla was more a comedy than a rom antic com edy. Strictly B allroom was a romantic comedy, but it also had all that great dance stuff. H otel de Love is probably closest to

Strictly Ballroom. D o y o u th in k it's fa ir to g ro u p th e m all to g e th e r like th a t?

I think it’s a little unfair. They all have their little idiosyncratic charms. W hat they have in com m on is that they’re Australian, they’re suc­ cessful and they’re a little larger than life, with great music. H otel de L ove shares all that in common. But the way each story is told is different. So, I wouldn’t lump them together. 1970s m u s ic is an in te g ra l p a rt o f y o u r film , as it is

First, we had the flashback scene, which was ten years ago, and in the mid-’8 Os they were playing all the ’70s songs again. All the parties I went to redid those disco songs. So we used a lot of the songs for the piano player [Alan Hopgood] in the movie. I just find it hysterical that this old hotel pianist would be singing these kind of songs, like “Howzat”.

it, p a rtic u la rly w ith R ick a n d S te p h e n 's p a re n ts , J a c k [R ay B a rre tt] an d E d ith [Ju lia B lak e], A t tim e s it is frig h te n in g ly re a l, e s p e c ia lly th e fin a l c o n fro n ta tio n b e tw e e n th e m . T h e film s e e m s to w a lk a fin e lin e b e tw e e n re a lity a n d a to u c h o f s u rre a lis m , w h ic h a g a in is

Is it t h a t th o s e s o n g s a re th e u ltim a te in kitsch

re m in is c e n t o f Muriel's Wedding a n d Priscilla.

ro m a n c e ?

D o y o u c o n s id e r th a t b a la n c e p a rt o f th e

Yes, the piano player certainly. My father was a pianist and he used to come home and say, “If I have to play ‘Piano M an’ one more time ...” or “Theme from Love Story” - all those songs which people just love. They are staples of a certain kind of lounge lizard music. So, I stuck ’em in there.

ro m a n tic c o m e d y genre?

I think we probably had to be more careful than other romantic comedies. A romantic comedy like When Harry Met Sally ... [Rob Reiner, 1989] is very realistic in the comedy and the dialogue. O ur characters are real people in an alm ost

You need to have those kind of scenes if the movie isn’t going to be just light and frothy the whole time. I was interested in investigating what’s wrong with this marriage, what’s wrong with these people - not just focusing on the comic aspects of their relationship, but viewing them as people that are tragic. It’s a kind of tragedy what’s happened to them. All the relationships have some serious scenes, like when Rick’s on the rooftop with Melissa. All of these characters have their serious moments,


which I think you really need, otherwise the com ­

A re y o u p e rh a p s ju s t s n e a k in g in th e r e w it h

Angeles. It was a time when I was mortgage-less and

edy will have no real inferences, no real meaning for people.

A d e n Y o u n g ? H e g o t s o m e fa v o u r a b le c o m m e n ts

wife-less, and, if I didn’t give it a go then, I might not be able to do it in ten years. So, I took off.

D o y o u c o n s id e r t h e o u tc o m e o f th e film is

Probably yes, particularly in Australia.

d e te r m in e d b y th e c o n s tr a in ts o f t h e ro m a n tic

T h e film a c tu a lly b a la n c e s th e t w o m a le le a d s v e ry

c o m e d y g e n re ?

w e ll; n e ith e r o n e o u ts h in e s th e o th e r. B u t A d e n

It’s an interesting question. It’s hard to talk about it without giving the ending away! M y advantage is you never knew who is the real star of the movie, or I hope you don’t. It’s a weird ensem ble, w here people are m eeting each other by colliding off other people and their stories are intertw ining; they’re bouncing off another rela­ tionship into something else. Because there’s a couple of permutations with an ensemble, the normal boy-meets-girl, boy-loses-girl, boy-gets-girl-in-the-end didn’t apply. W e didn’t have two stars we were focusing on. We had three or four fully-developed stories, and two or three have some large intersections going on. W e have Rick and Ali­ son [Pippa Grandison], we have Rick and Melissa, Stephen and Alison, and R ick and Stephen argu­ ing about it all. In that sense, it was advantageous in that, hopefully, the suspense of w ho’s going to

Y o u n g d o e s h a v e th e n a m e .

Right, yeah. But what can you do? P e rh a p s b y g iv in g h im th e less s y m p a th e tic c h a ra c te r.

On initial reading that’s true. You know, when I was castin g it, I d id n ’t th in k , “W h ich is the bigger rôle? W ho should I give the bigger rôle to ? ” My feeling is, when people ask, “W ho’s it about?”, I say, “It’s about both of them. It’s about how both their rom antic lives are a function of this strange rela­ tionship they’ve had, ten years ago. Why is Stephen so obsessed with this girl, and why does it make him bounce off to someone else?” So, it’s about both of them. I don’t see either of them being more or less important than the other. Prior to directing H o tel de L ov e, Rosenberg was a scrip tw rite r in H olly w oo d . H e ’d studied law at

T h a t s e e m s t o b e a n e ffe c tiv e w a y o f re v is in g th e

M onash University and published award-winning short fiction in various literary m agazines before becoming involved in film.

g e n r e , o f g iv in g it a b it m o r e lo n g e v ity .

W h a t w a s y o u r fic tio n like?

end up with whom would go on longer than it nor­ mally would in a romantic comedy.

Yeah, it is and I don’t think they do that in Ameri­ can movies. Studios d on’t really make ensemble movies any more, because they’re completely stardriven. It’s impossible to think of H otel de Love with someone who’s a star because it would completely unbalance the ensemble: “Okay, this is the person I’m following and, because this person is the star, they’re gonna end up with this other person.”

30

fr o m th e a u d ie n c e la s t n ig h t.

N o jokes! All serious literary fiction. W e r e y o u th e n w r itin g a b o u t re la tio n s h ip s ?

Yeah, all kinds of strange love stories. W h a t p r o m p te d th e d e c is io n to tr y s c r ip tw ritin g ?

I wrote my first script, “Eliot Loves Gabriela”, in about four months. I got an agent and within a day and a half he’d sold it to Paramount, so I was off and running. It hasn’t been made yet, but Disney bought it off Paramount and it may be getting made towards the end of the year. John Cusack is attached to it. H o w d id y o u g e t a f o o t in th e d o o r in LA , p a rtic u la r ly w it h o u t h a v in g g o n e to film s c h o o l?

That was the most difficult part, because you can sit in your room and write War and Peace, and write a letter to an agent, saying, “Hello, my name’s M r Tol­ stoy and I’ve just written War and Peace”, and they won’t even write back to you, you know? It’s all about knowing people, so I had to go out and meet peo­ ple who would pass my script on to other people. I just did it through anyone I knew who had any con­ nection whatsoever with the film industry. Through doing that, I got about five or six agents who really liked it, and I chose a guy called Brad Groves, who also represents Ron Shelton [Tin Cup], The next thing I was being offered scripts. I did one at W arner Bros.; one at Interscope, a Polygram company; I’m writing one for Tw entieth Century Fox at the moment; and one for Disney. So, I was just busy, busy, and wrote H o tel de L ov e at night, after hours. D id y o u a lw a y s e n v is a g e Hotel de Love as t h e film y o u w o u ld d ire c t?

Yes.

I’d finished my degree. I was never going to prac­

N o w t h a t y o u 'v e c ro s s e d o v e r t o d ir e c tin g , w o u ld

tise as a lawyer. I’d always loved films and I wanted to write scripts, so I thought I’d give it a go in Los

y o u e v e r g o b a c k to w r itin g s c rip ts fo r o th e r p e o p le ?

N o, no. C I N E M A P A P E R S • DECEMBER 1 996


D O M IN O Buena Vista/Cinergi Pictures Allied Pinocchio Productions Ltd US distributor - New Line Cinema/ International Distributor - Kushner Locke International

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The M a g ic C a m era C o m p a n y

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Walt Disney Pictures Jim Henson Productions The M a g ic C a m era C o m p a n y

Allied Filmmakers/John Goldstone/Terry Jones

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UA/Eon Productions

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It d o e s s e e m a rea l c o n tra s t, th o u g h , to g o fro m

with it and say, “Okay, we don’t have this. W hat’s

w r itin g s e rio u s fic tio n to c o m ic sc rip ts. H o w d id

fantastic that we can do elsewhere?”

th a t happen?

y o u r c re a tiv ity , it a c tu a lly m a k e s yo u m o re creative?

which was a romantic comedy, they said, “Fan­ tastic! You’re a comedy writer”, and I said, “Oh

Exactly. It spurs you on to new and fresh ideas.

really? When did that happen?” But that’s how Hollywood tends to type you.

preparing, such that you d o n ’t allow things to

W o u ld y o u d ire c t s o m e o n e e ls e 's script?

ture some moment of truth, of real life, between people. I think you always have to allow for the

that I could bring it to life, I would do it. It’s not

opportunity to do that. You can’t be too structured

like I have a prohibition to never direct some­

in your thinking about how you w ant to shoot

one else’s script. But you just have to be very

something, or where you want people to stand, and

careful. You have to get a good producer who’s

things like that.

to be careful about the people you work with.

I wasn’t very good at that. H a v e a n y o f th o s e sc rip ts seen th e lig h t o f d a y on film ?

They’re all at various stages of development. I don’t want to jinx things, but it looks like the Disney one may be going ahead, and one of the others. A r e th e y a ll r o m a n tic c o m e d ie s ?

happen spontaneously in front of the camera. The whole enormous organization is designed to cap­

it and felt some involvement with the script and

going to be supportive o f you. You have to search a bit, but they’re there, and you just have

O h, God! G ot a couple of hours? You know, it’s really difficult if you just want to be a writer in Hol­ lywood, because you have to learn to give up your material to people who don’t treat it very well, and

T o me, the real danger with d irecting is over­

If it was the right script, I would. If I really loved

going to protect you and a studio exec w ho’s

W h a t is it a b o u t th e p ro c e s s y o u re a lly d o n 't like?

S o , ra th e r th a n th e logistics o f it g e ttin g in th e w a y o f

I know, I know. Well, when 1 sold my first script,

W h a t w e r e s o m e o f th e d iffic u ltie s y o u e n c o u n te re d in th e tr a n s itio n fr o m w r itin g to d ire c tin g ?

W h a t w ill b e y o u r n e x t p ro je c t as d ire c to r?

I’m being offered a few studio jobs at the moment, so I may do one of those; or I may do another script of my own which I am currently writing. At the moment I’m just reading and writing, and in a few months I’ll decide.

The most apparent thing is that as a writer you spend

W ill y o u b e h e a d in g fo r a n o th e r c o m e d y o r o ff o n a

six months in intense isolation, and then as a direc­

d iffe re n t ta n g e n t?

tor you spend three months in intense exposure to people. Everyone’s coming up to you saying, “What do you want?” It’s about communicating what you want from the script to the people around you.

Again, I don’t have a strict prohibition against com ­ edy, but I would like to do something different. W o u ld y o u d o a n o th e r A u s tra lia n m o v ie ?

The most difficult thing is probably the unforeseen

I’d love to do another Australian movie. My feeling

things that come up every day, and having to deal

is that it’s simply always about the script and the

with them. You know, like losing the permit for this

story. I’ll do a story wherever it’s set, if it interests

location where you’re planning to shoot, and losing

me. But I guess I will always write Aussie movies. ©

N o, no, they’re different. Two of them are roman­ tic comedies, one’s a comedy but not romantic, and the o th er’s a bit m ore serious. So, it’s been p re­ dominantly comedy, but now I’m branching out into

think the only way to deal with that is to try and turn

Elliott, 1994), Muriel’s Wedding (P. J. Hogan, 1994)

other genres.

it to your advantage, and, instead of fighting it, work

and Shine (Scott Hicks, 1996).

C I N E M A P A P E R S • DECEMBER 1996

the sun behind a cloud - just those unforeseen phys­ ical things that can happen on a movie set. But I

1 The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (Stephan

33


CINEMA

PAPERS

D E C E MB E R 19 9 6


T H E M A K IN G O F SUNDAY T O O FAR AWAY resulted from a unique set of government-initiated circumstances. In the late 1960s, the Dunstan Labor Government had taken advice from columnist and film critic Phillip Adams and political analyst Barry Jones on the feasibility o f funding film production through state incentives. The result of their researches was to lead to the setting up of the South Australian Film Corporation, a state initiative. In broad outline, the plan was to create a viable industry in the state by consolidating government short-film and documen­ tary production to provide a pool of experienced film crews, and, at the same time, to lay down plans for feature film production using loan finance. Adams’ account of the process (in 1980) is succinct: “I devised the South Australian Film Corporation [SAFC] which C I N E M A P A P E R S • DECEMBER 1996

against all logic continues to survive [...] when Dun­ stan found the money, the money found the talent.”1 In this d eterm ined e ffo rt at state cap italism , described by Albert M oran in 1 9 8 3 , the SAFC was designed to “Reflect our way of life with truth and artistry [...] to provide opportunity for Australian artists and craftsmen to develop and express them­ selves within the film medium.”2 The first feature from the SAFC was to be Sunday T oo Far Away , but before this production could be launched there were to be a number of false starts to the plan to make feature films. The prospects of finan­ cial success, for any feature project, were not great. Experienced producer Gil Brealey, appointed as first

Gil Brealey and Matt Carroll have expressed to the author some reservations about this article appearing. Cinema Paprs has taken note of these concerns/ but has decided to publish as it believes the article is written without bias/ and goes to great lengths to represent and fairly discuss the views of all the key players. Equally imprtant/ Sunday Too Far Isay is one of the few true icons of Australian cinema. Whatever problems the filmmakers had along the way/ whatever courageous steps Brealey believed he had to take to rightly fulfil his role as a producer/ the result is a classic that continues to gain in stature with the years. Only in celebration of this beloved film is this article printed.

35


Producer-in-C hief of the SAFC, felt that the main problem facing the Australian industry was its dis­

ities. This was complemented by the Australian Film

some feature projects that we could go ahead with

D evelopm ent Corporation (AFDC), which loaned

and one of those was Gallipoli.

continuity, because very few locally-produced feature films had been made in the country for more than

money for commercial projects. For the first time in

thirty years.3 Australians had almost no useful expe­

recent history, many Australians working in the arts, including theatre and film, saw the opportunity to

G a llip o li was an am bitious first p ro d u ction , and Brealey sought help from an old school friend, Ian

rience in the production of features, and those who did had gained their experience overseas. “W e were really starting from scratch and we were all learning

create works which were popular, and also had some

Jones, a military expert and a producer at Crawfords, the large M elbourne television production house.

artistic and social purpose. Som e Australians, like director Bruce Beresford, returned from overseas and

ers and producers, and had developed their skills

a great deal, and we learnt it the hard way”, Brealey said.4

began to develop projects which would reflect the general optimism and idealism of the Whitlam era. The activities of the SAFC were heavily influenced

Also, there was no guarantee that the films would find a m arket, as the local industry had long been dominated by U.S. and British distributors. Despite this, the SAFC projected a somewhat naïve optimism that A ustralian film s w hich w ere well made and reflected national values would find a viable market­ place or at least suit the needs of local audiences. The board of the SAFC confidently announced, prior to the production of Sunday T oo Far Away. It has now been established that there is a substan­ tial audience for Australian films. Com m ercially successful features costing no more than $ 2 5 0 ,0 0 0 can re co v er th e ir p ro d u ctio n and d istrib u tion expenses in Australia.5 The producers lacked experience and were conscious of a formidable array of critics ready to pounce if they made a failure. And, to compound the issue, politi­ cians were w atching the enterprise with atypical interest. Film production had been encouraged by the previous Prime M inister, John Gorton. Peter C ole­ man, a member of the Australian Council for the Arts in the late 1 9 6 0 s and early ’7 0 s, recalls G o rto n ’s enthusiasms: “ [he] made clear in many speeches that he wanted [...] to show the rest of the world.” Give us some films and be quick, he seemed to say.6 Cole­ man also noted the “tendency to centralisation of decision making, so th a t... fewer people are having a say in how it is sp e n t” . He adds, “W e w anted results, some films to show around quick and lively. So training and cultivation took second priority.” Coleman recalled: “ [There is] always a risk in Gov­ ernment patronage. Governments want something to show for their money, something to show the pub­ lic, and something to boast to foreigners about.”7 The prevailing optimism about local feature film production was further encouraged by the election of the first federal Labor government in almost three decades, under the leadership of Gough W hitlam . The Australia Council began to address itself to the prom otion of Australian cultural values, however vaguely these values were to be defined in practice. For the first few years of the Australia Council, pro­ duction was funded by a Film and Television Board, which supported short-film and script-writing activ-

by Premier Don Dunstan, an ardent supporter of the arts. Through its groundbreaking development and production of Sunday T oo Far Away, the SAFC was to establish itself as a prime producer of quality Aus­ tralian film. Sunday stands as one of the first successful attempts at a period film, a “breakthrough with the public [...] at its best a superb evocation of 1950s out­ b ack life ”8. Sunday was one o f the first locally-produced films since Jedda, made by Charles Chauvel in the m id-1950s, to make extensive use of the Australian landscape, and it set a benchmark for modestly-budgeted local production. The skills devel­ oped in the production of Sunday were to serve the Australian industry in good stead, although some painful lessons had to be learnt, particularly about the process of project development. The problem s faced by the producers stemmed mainly from the financial principles on which the SAFC had been founded. In 1 9 7 3 , Gil Brealey recounted details of his interview for the post of Director of the SAFC, and his alarm when he learned the arrangements for financing the Corporation’s activities: I said “W ell how much m oney are we going to spend each year?” [TJhere were smiles all around the tab le, and though nobody quite knew they thought there’d be about $ 4 0 0 ,0 0 0 a year. W hen I was appointed to the position I was told that it (the operating capital and expenses) were going to be raised through loan funds. It took me a month after I got there to find out that I did have to worry about it - not the capital but the interest. W e’d be up for about $ 2 0 0 ,0 0 0 over five years just on interest. Nobody had worked it out.9 One of the aims of the SAFC was to produce feature films, so Brealey began seeking suitable subject mate­ rial for its first feature. Brealey feels that the SAFC dependence on loan funds put additional pressures on the enterprise to find a viable feature project: The South Australian Film Corporation never oper­ ated on a government grant of any nature, which is something people don’t generally understand. On this borrowed money - at first it was $ 4 0 0 ,0 0 0 and we were paying interest on it - we had to choose

SUNDAY TOO FAR AWAY" % 5 “S|»n of m life fire all the life ¡own When Monday is too close For is to cars

i Another view was green And another road was8longer And friends always waiting somewhere 8 Jh ii0rc?,i5lde didnt M e ib id them all So long" • I While Sunday warms my blood And cools mv minH And the d re a m s ita g h t were true Are now mud beneath my footprints Ten thousand ages behind

Crawfords had trained a stable of experienced writ­ on series productions like Homicide. Jones had shown a strong interest in historical subjects, and had pre­ viously been involved as w riter-researcher on the British-financed Tony Richardson production of N ed

Kelly (1970), which starred rock singer M ick Jagger. Brealey was initially enthusiastic about working with Jo n es, as they had shared many experiences in the Melbourne theatre world of the 1950s and ’60s. The im plications o f the deal w ith C raw ford s quickly became apparent to Brealey as unforeseen problems began to emerge: Before I knew where I was, suddenly it was H ector Crawford I was talking to. It was quite obvious he was prepared to co-operate, but that if the project w ent ahead H ector was going to be very closely involved, and would in fact assume it was a Craw­ fords production that happened to be made by the South Australian Film Corporation. Now , politi­ cally that was of no value to us at that stage, because we had to get som e so rt o f clo u t if we w ere to pursue this as producers in our own right. aluable tim e began to be lost in n e g o tia ­ tions with Craw fords. W ell-know n writer John Dingwall was contracted, but the main o b stacle to realizin g the p ro je c t was the attitude of Crawfords, which demanded a high degree of creative control over the pro­ duction and major financial participation. At an early stage, Dingwall was asked to register the project at the W riter’s Guild as being Crawfords’ property. There were soon other unexpected political prob­ lems. T he film would require the staging o f large battle scenes, and Brealey had contacted the M inis­

V

ter for the Army. He was told by the Minister’s office that government support (required for the staging of large battle scenes) would only be forthcoming if the p ro je c t was an an ti-w ar statem en t. B realey also learned that Crawfords’ involvement was to prove a stumbling block with the M inister: “W hen I said that we were thinking of working with Crawfords, he was not pleased and he circled the name Craw ­ fords and became very concerned about it.” M att Carroll, a Sydney architect-turned-producer, who had previously managed the Australia Council’s Film and Television Board, was made Head of Pro­ duction (so C arroll recalls; B realey says C arroll was, in fact, Production Co-ordinator), and became involved in the efforts to solve the G allipoli prob­ lems. The points of dispute seemed irreconcilable and the SAFC decided to relinquish the project. Carroll recalls that the break was acrimonious: It was a terrible bloody falling out. It was a really ugly conversation because Gil didn’t want Craw­ fords, so the whole thing fell out of bed. All of a sudden, I had a contract with Jo h n to write a pro­ ject, and Gil said, “Look, the only way to settle this is to not do it”, and I said, “W ell, we now have a writer with a co n tract.” So he said, “W ill you go and sort it out?”10 This left the SAFC with Dingwall still on contract but no project to work on. Dingwall offered an original idea, based on the career of his brother-in-law, who had been a shearer involved in the great Queensland shearers’ strike of 1956. W orking briefly as a rouseabout in shearing sheds, Dingwall had listened to his

36

Lyrics: Bob Ellis; Music: Patrick Flynn. Singer: Jack Thompson

CINEMA

P A P E R S • DECEMBER 1996


b roth er-in -law ’s stories about the life of itinerant shearers, and built these into a short story tre a t­ ment titled “Shearers”.11

weeks, just among themselves, for the title of being the gun shearer - the fastest shearer. And then they come into town with all their pay that they had bro­

deal that was struck. Dingwall indicated his relatively low status and the humble aims of the project by ref­ erence to the fees that were agreed to for his services:

Brealey, with little time to develop another pro­

ken their backs on, and do it in a dice game or a card game, and then have to go back again.

“They asked me to do the script for a pittance, which I did. I w rote the screenp lay for $ 7 ,5 0 0 , w hich

Dingw all’s treatm ent portrayed the adventures of Foley, a gun shearer who begins to lose his edge and, at the same time, becomes romantically involved with the daughter of a station owner, who has returned home after a divorce. Other key elements of the story are the camaraderie and competition between the men who formed the “shed”, con flict with the station

even then was a pittance, on the basis that I would get 10 percent of the overseas profits. I have never

owner (“the cocky”) and the growing threat of the shearers’ strike as scab labour is brought in to com­ pete with the professional shearers’ wage demands. This early document outlines most of the events

John then went off on a research trip. He went to Queensland to track down his brother-in-law. I also sent him up to where my brother lives in the bush and we did a whole research thing. Out of it came this screenplay, which obviously I w orked pretty closely with John on, because Gil didn’t like it very much.

ject to replace G allipoli , read Dingwall’s treatment. M att Carroll says that Brealey asked him to have a meeting with Dingwall about the new project: So I went up to Sydney and sat down with John. He said, “I have got a great idea. I’d like to do a script about my brother-in-law’s life as a shearer.” And I said, “I would much rather do that than G allipoli .” So I went back to Gil and said, “Jo h n is happy to drop G allip oli but he wants to do som ething on shearers”, and Gil said, being the good old urban M elbournian, “I don’t want to know about shear­ ers, but, if you like, go ahead with it. W e have to

seen another penny.” “Shearers” was announced in 1973 in a fulsome press release. Carroll was attracted by the setting and the visual qualities of the environment, and together he and Dingwall discussed the settings for the film:

Dingwall spent many hours in conversation with his brother-in-law, listening to the tales of shear­ ers’ lives, and recording these in note form: I asked him to take me around to the old shearers in Brisbane. Old G arth was based on a guy whose son had gone up shearing, and stayed one day and came down to Sydney. And this old guy had come down to Sydney to look for him . He had heard he was a w indow dresser, and he couldn’t find him. He looked in all the windows in Sydney. he title of the film came from a piece of shearing folklore, which tells of the effects of hard work on the sexual life of the shearers, and especially the women’s response to this: “Friday night too tired, Saturday night too drunk, Sunday night ... Sunday night too far away.”14 Sunday T oo Far Away became the title, as Dingwall recalls: “It was just a saying they had ... the shearers’ wives. So I called it Sunday Too Far Away. Now that’s pure instinctive titling of the film .” Brealey intended to raise funding for the pro­ ject through the AFDC, which would match the SAFC’s own funds. Just as the AFDC approved the project, Dingwall suddenly went back to Queensland, and Brealey feels that this created prob­ lems in the development of the script:

T

get Jo h n to write something, so it may as well be about shearers as anything else.” Brealey says that he was immediately attracted by the potential of the story and setting, and particularly by its casting potential: John said that it would probably make a very good project for Jack Thom pson [as Foley]. I had used Jack Thompson for one of his first film appearances back in the late ’60s at the Com m onw ealth Film Unit. I had a terrific admiration for his work. He was one o f the few , in th o se days, w ith a g en ­ uinely b u tch m aleness ab ou t him . He was so genuinely Australian; he was saying everything that we wanted him to say. A film treatment usually defines scenes and segments in sh o rt ou tlin e fo rm , but D in g w all’s treatm en t read like a short story. Brealey recognized the qual­ ity of the story, characters and setting, and became very enthusiastic: “It was about 2 0 pages long and was undoubtedly one of the most exciting things I have ever read in the Australian film industry.” 12 “Shearers” had been written with a definite social purpose in mind, and it had strong documentary ele­ ments. Dingwall wanted to record a way of life which would soon disappear: I felt the m agnificence of the story o f men who would go into the middle of nowhere, and work at this incredible pace for a period o f six or seven C I N E M A P A P E R S • DECEMBER 1996

of the film, lists the kinds of incidents which would be shown, and moves towards a closure which has Foley defeated as gun shearer, and losing his money gambling. The shearers’ strike against reduced pay and conditions begins, and Foley finds himself lead­ ing the men against police harassm ent and hired toughs protecting scab shearers. Foley is bashed up and banned from town, but returns to consummate his romance with the cocky’s daughter. The film was to be a historical piece, set in the recent past, depicting a labour struggle, as well as the lifestyle of the shearers, as outlined by writer John Dingwall: “Sunday [...] records a period that we are no longer familiar with. It encompassed the Australian spirit - ‘don’t give a stuff, ‘do anything’, fight, drmk, everything was contained in that story.” The film treatment also delineates some of the less-attractive class divisions which exist in Australian society, fore­ ground ing the w orkers against a less-th an sym p ath etically -p ortray ed “ c o c k y ”, who refers scathingly to the shearers as “scum.”13 Carroll asked Dingwall to fulfil his contract with the SAFC by writing a screenplay from this treatment, and found he had a strong personal commitment to the story: “Part of my honours thesis was the shear­ ing sheds, as indigenous architecture [...] and so I knew all the history of the Australian Workers Union going right back.” Dingwall agreed, although in ret­ rospect he was less than happy about the financial

The AFDC liked it [the treatment] and they invested in the first draft. Jo h n Dingwall disappeared that afternoon. He got the sudden news that his son was ill or there was some trouble and he couldn’t stay. He never came back to Adelaide but he went straight into his first draft. Brealey lost contact with Dingwall for the period of time he was writing the first draft, and his only con­ tact was through Dingwall’s agent: It was disastrous from my point of view, because in about six weeks’ time it was supposed to be deliv­ ered and it wasn’t. I rang his then agent and she said, “Well, we do have a problem: he is over-writing.” I said, “W hat do you mean ‘over-writing’? Do you mean h e ’s w riting to o m uch, or is he w ritin g the characters too large or what?” She said, “Both, actually.” The main problem in developing the screenplay arose from the many events contained in the treatm ent, which was too long for a 90-m inu te feature. The unusual form of the treatment created problems for M att Carroll: The film was really only about half of that treat­ ment. W e then went into a screenplay and there were several drafts of it all - by largely me working

37


closely with Jo h n . There was no director at this stage for a long, long time. While the script was in development, Dingwall spent another lengthy period driving around with Carroll looking for suitable locations for the film (or, more specifically, one suitable location, since it was intended that the film should be shot entirely on one location) and collected more anecdotes which entered the film script. It was decided that the film would be shot in the same shearing shed used for Fred Zinnemann’s production of Jon Cleary’s The Sundowners. W ith more experience, the producers could have recognized the problems inherent in the treatment. T h e film story as presented by Dingwall is co m ­ plex, with a number of sub-plots and themes. The storyline also contains a number of character inter­ actions, but does not follow a conventional plot which sets up an audience-satisfying resolution of the main character’s aims and needs. The needs of the Foley character are obscure, and, even though the characterization is strong and convincingly realized by Jack Thompson, the audience is no more in touch with Foley’s inner life at the end of the film than they were at the beginning. Foley is full of behavioural contradictions: he enjoys the camaraderie of the shearing shed but also longs for female contact; he works hard for the final pay he earns, but throws it away in a card game; he strongly supports the rights of shearers but only acts reluctantly to try and protect those rights against the scab labourers. Foley is really a cipher, a set of char­ acteristics; none is really consistent with the others. But Foley is, above all, a worker and a part of an Aus­ tralian bush mythology. In the growing Australian nationalism of the mid-1970s, Brealey was well aware that these elements in the film would give it a better chance of success: N ot only was it the film we all wanted to make, as far as [being] a nationalistic film , but we knew that the feeling of the community was that way. We knew that we wanted this nationalistic film. So, it was not only a personal sort of want to make that sort of film, but it was also very carefully commer­ cially calculated.

S

unday, by relying on linked anecdotes and

the appeal of the extended yarn, eschews all forms of causality7in its plot. The texture of the film is rooted in an everyday reality, where trivial and often commonplace events take on a sense of heightened drama through the response of the characters, rather in the manner of heroic stereotypes.15 Thus, the shearers are natu­ rally com petitive, and a simple task like washing clothes becomes a competition in speed. The shear­ ers race to see who will finish first, heedless of the fact that their towels have fallen off and their bot­ tom s are bared. T h is may be an allu sion to the underlying homosexuality which is always present in the myth of mateship, and the implications of this scene intrigued reviewer Noel Purdon. To Purdon, the scene illustrated the attitude: “We don’t care, we have no secrets or sense of shame in the company of our mates.”16 T h e search fo r a d irecto r began, and a few

I started to read this bloody thing and it was won­ derful to read, absolutely superb on the page, but about half-way through we had probably covered the first two pages of treatment. I just quickly flicked through the end and I just threw the script to the other side of the room. I was just so angry - I real­ ized he had [only] written half the picture. Aside from the problems of running time, since the budget would only cover a 90-minute film, Brealey found that the script had major structural problems:

prospects were mentioned, including the British direc­ tor Jack Lee. Brealey considered a non-Australian director not an option:

There was no climax - it just fizzled out at the end - although the characterization was wonderful, the humour was m agnificent, all the things we had looked for were there. So, I had a talk to Ken, showed him the script and he felt the same way. The other terrible thing was that it was almost the same as The Sundowners. N ow I knew The Sun­ downers very well and I got a copy of it out. A major plot in The Sundowners, not the major one, but a major sub-plot is in fact a shearmg competition, and it seems so repetitious and it wasn’t that long since The Sundowners was made - so that again made a really big worry about it.

That wouldn’t have been an Australian film. I’ve always been very con sciou s o f the d ifferen ce between English filmmakers and Australian film­

Brealey returned from the UK and, in a meeting with Dingwall, attempted to renegotiate the down-beat ending:

makers, and I thought that it was very important that our first feature was made as much an a ll­

I said, “At least one of the things we have to have is a sort of a climax to it.” [John] said, “There is a cli­ m a x .” I asked, “W hat is it? ” He said, “Loley is

Australian project as possible.

38

Ken Hannam, with extensive credits at both the ABC and in the UK, was brought into the development negotiations, although Dingwall still had not deliv­ ered a final script. Brealey sent the treatm ent to Hannam in London: “Ken came back to me and said it was absolutely a marvellous treatment and he would love to work on the film.” Brealey also made the deci­ sion at this tim e to involve H annam in the scriptwriting process, although now he has mixed feelings about this decision: “I think some of the deci­ sions that we made at that level were in fact Ken’s mistakes.” Brealey went to London to discuss the project w ith H annam , and the men w ere m eeting when Dingwall's first draft script arrived. It proved an enor­ mous shock to Brealey, for two reasons:

destroyed.” At the end of the screenplay, what hap­ pened was that Foley went back to his room of his hotel and sat there looking like he was going to slash his wrists - that was the end of the film. I said, “At least we can get something of the drama of the scab shearers com ing in. At least have a conflict with them so it leaves the audience kind of high and we can leave it at a high point and say that out of this comes so and so. At least it will be a dramatic cli­ m a x .” H e said, “I w ant it to be so th at he is absolutely destroyed.” I said, “Why John?” He said, “Because I want people to understand that shearing destroys people!!” Hardly the subject of a feature film. Time and budget constraints began to have an impact on the scope of the screenplay. The first real casualty of the writing and rewriting of the script was the sub­ ject of the strike. The film treatment had as its finale a portrayal of Foley’s role in the shearers’ strike, against a court decision to make them accept lower wages. In development, the script changed to a char­ acter profile of Foley and depiction of the shearers’ lifestyle. The group of main characters, men who could have faced the strike and been changed by it, were outlined in their working situation, and the film ended where the strike would begin. T h e ending seemed so arbitrary that N oel Purdon accused the producers of tacking it on.17 M att Carroll defends the decision to film this ver­ sion, because it was the one that Dingwall chose to deliver: “W e realized we cou ld n’t take it beyond the strike in terms of length. Basically, the screenplay that first came in ended at that point.” Dingwall says that the failure to include the strike was forced on him by the industrial conditions of Aus­ tralian filmmaking: W hen I wrote the story, the real story is about the shearing shed. The strike should have been abbre­ viated in part, but probably taken about twenty m inutes o f screen tim e. T h at would have taken the script to 1 1 5 - 1 2 0 m inutes. At the tim e we didn’t do, and still don’t, 120-m inu te films. W e do 10 5 , 11 0 . T h at’s basically because we haven’t got too much to say. I actually believe, if I had got to the draft further down the road, I would have written the strike in. C I N E M A P A P E R S • DECEMBER 1996


W hat happened was that I wrote it. It took me quite a while to write it. But when I got to page 95 or 100, when they were going into town, I realized that the movie was over at that point. Through an imperfect development of the screenplay from the treatment, the character of Foley had been diminished. Further drafts were needed to tighten up the film’s narrative while retaining major elements of the overall story. At the time, this arduous process of refinement, common in Hollywood product, was not fully understood in Australia. Technical problems in the handling of the narrative seemed endemic in the Australian industry of the time, a fact of which Gil Brealey is now well aware: The first draft had the elements of a great movie. It is what we now know as a first draft of perhaps ten. It had all the ideas there but none of the structured development. We knew that there had to be a series of drafts, but we didn’t know the levels to which they should go.

noticing particularly the hero’s lack of defined goals. Barry Jones wrote:

hints at a new rôle and identity for Australian work­ ers, one that will require new strategies for survival.

Phillip Adams echoed my thesis that in many, per­ haps most, of our films the central character is a recessive. [Foley] backs off from situations because he does not understand what is going on. Events impose themselves on him. He spends most of his screen time mucking about. The dramatic rivalry between the two “gun” shearers carefully set up at the beginning is simply throw n away at the end when it appears that Foley doesn’t care any more.19

Severe cuts in the storyline reduced the possibility of

These character faults are not apparent in John Ding­ wall’s original treatm ent, which sets up Foley as a man of conscience who possesses a rugged decency, but is also capable of extreme violence if provoked. In the original treatment, Foley is victimized by the police supporting the scab workers, and, in a fight with hired thugs, bashes one of them senseless. Foley is provoked again by the police, beaten up and, under a charge of resisting arrest, banned from the town for two weeks. Foley leads the shearers back to town to

a happy outcome for the Foley character. Another major problem in the narrative emerged when the potential love interest between Foley and Sheila Dawson (Lisa Peers), which led to the climax of the original story, was destroyed through casting decisions. Instead of a woman of Loley’s age, return­ ing to the country after a divorce, the Sheila character was changed to a woman just out of her teens. To ov ercom e the age d iffe ren ce , a love affaire was written in between her and the shed’s rouseabout. This sub-plot was shot, but later removed in the edit­ ing process, as noted by David Stratton.22 Curiously, Dingwall attributes this major change to Brealey, while Brealey attributes it to Ken Hannam . W hatever its origins, the change has been identified as one of the film’s major faults, as it squan­ ders the possibility of a happy ending. Brealey gives his account of the changes to the Sheila character, which he says came about through Ken Hannam ’s input into the scriptwriting process: Ken spent about a fortnight with John. The m ajor change that he made was th at he turned the girl from a divorcée to a young girl [...] I much preferred it the other way. I think it is one of the weaknesses of the film. Dingwall’s version of how the changes were negotiated is quite different: Gil really wanted [the changes]. Ken wanted to cast a young woman, and Gil really did, and Gil spoke to Ken, and Ken spoke to me. I said to him, “I think it’s wrong, but if you really want to do that, we will change it.” I still think it was a mistake, because Loley was able to communicate with this woman [Sheila], The woman had more maturity, she’d been through a divorce, there was more pain and suffering there. The most significant result of the change in Sheila’s age is that Loley does not return to claim her at the end of the film, as contained in the original treatment:

Problems of development, lack of expertise in nego­ tiating script changes and the inexorable pressures of having to work on minimal budgets had an effect on many films of the time. Peter W eir’s experimental The Cars that Ate Paris (1974) has an even more reces­ sive character, and, like so many films of the period, simply ends rather than building to a climax. Noel King, writing in 1 9 8 0 , saw the structure of Sunday as indicative of a whole trend in Australian movie storytelling:

Sunday purports to contextualise a specific labour struggle at a particular historical moment, the events leading up to the 1955 [sic] shearer’s strike in North­ ern Queensland. The fact that the representation of this labour struggle occupies only a gestural or mar­ ginal place within its narrative makes Sunday T oo Far Away an instructive case study of the narrative mode arguably to be found in many other examples of the new Australian cinema. It is an historical real­ ist mode with a tendency towards certain pastoral conventions [...] to a large extent Sunday seems a repository of the strategies of narrative displacement and character stereotyping found across much of the new Australian cinem a.18 However, as we already know, the motives for show­ ing the strike were extrem ely im portant, and the changes were made only at a later stage of the film’s development. Other critics observed faults in Sunday , C I N E M A P A P E R S • DECEMBER 1996

reclaim Ivy’s pub as their territory. In another scene, Arthur Black (Peter Cummins) has been found to be teaching scabs how to shear, and is alm ost lynched by Foley and his m ates20 hardly the actions of a total recessive. Only the arrival of the scabs, protected by the police, and the pub fight appear in the final version of the film. In the course of the film, as completed, Foley sees that Old G arth (Reg Lye) has a near respectable funeral and is able to deal with the appalling cook. He holds the cam arad erie o f the shearing shed together, even as his own career as a “gun shearer” is threatened and ultimately destroyed. Assessed in term s o f A ustralian m ale behaviour o f the tim e, Foley’s actions, mostly on behalf of his mates, could be seen as exemplary. Foley changes from a character who can con fi­ dently state at the beginning of the film, “If I was there, I rung the shed”21, to a drunken, bitter loser, who has lost all his money and is futilely throwing punches at scab shearers who have taken his job. This ending seems to have been forced on the film by a number of factors. While the film attempts to docu­ ment a pastoral tradition that gives its participants dignity and identity, it is clear by the end of the film that this period is closed, and that Foley’s plight is an indicator of the issues which led to the strike of 1956 and its outcom e. On a broader scale, the film also

He got out of the car and they stared at one another and he said, “I need you.” She said, “Smile when you say that.” And he smiled. She went into the house to get some things.23 iven the personal politics that come into play in the casting of major rôles in feature films, there are a number of possible explanations for the casting of an ingénue in a key dra­ matic rôle. Lisa Peers plays Sheila, and does a reasonably convincing job of depicting the cocky’s daughter, who insists on seeing the realities of life in the shearing shed. However, her exchanges with Loley, in which the possibility of unrealized sex­ ual attraction was m eant to be suggested, are not developed enough to be effective.

G

Gil Brealey acknowledges that he was too liberal in his approach to the film ’s casting, except where Jack Thompson was concerned: I gave Ken a great deal of leeway. W hen it came to casting in the early stages, I said to him that it was w ritten really for Ja ck T h o m p so n , and he said that he didn’t really want to use Jack Thom pson because he had heard that he had got too big a head. But I put my foot down on that one, and said it was definitely Jack’s film. In fact, they got on like a house on fire and there was no problem. But had Ken had his own way, he would have cast somebody else in the Thompson rôle.

39


shearing shed for ten days, with sheep to shear, when we had to train the actors to shear the sheep. The sheep were bloody starving and dying on us, and it rained and we had no electricity or power out there.

At one stage in the rewrites, the script was left with H annam , w ho p rod u ced a fu rth er d raft w hich included many changed lines and a change of empha­ sis in a number of scenes. The results of Hannam’s efforts so appalled Dingw all that he successfully

M att Carroll feels that the problems that ensued were

argued that the director’s lines be removed:

due to the script’s excessive length:

I finished my rewrites that took the girl down to an earlier age. Ken said to me, “Look, if you like, I’ll take the script now and type it up.” And in the typ­ ing Ken started to do a bit of rewriting. He had the only copy, because in those days you didn’t have copies, you just had the one copy. [...] W hen Black Arthur beats Foley, and they’re in the pub and Foley loses his money and they’re standing in the bar and Ugly com es up to Foley and says, “W hat are we going to do?”, my line was, “Go ask Black Arthur”, because he has won the game right. Ken had added in the line, “H e’s your hero now.” When we got to that line, I said, “I am professionally embarrassed by this line.” Now, to Ken’s credit, he read that 30page document and he said, “You are right, I am w rong.” He went back to the original script which we had agreed on before he retyped it, and that’s very much to his credit.24

The script was long. It just wasn’t properly timed [because] we were amateurs at this. It was pretty much shot as scripted originally.

dence, but also to the problems caused by a lack of attention to the shooting of some of the scenes, which he felt were scantily covered. Brealey showed the long cut to Dingwall and M a tt C arroll, and registered his own feelings later: I think John thought it was all lovely and I remem­ ber saying, “John that’s final”, and we put it together as well as we could. W e disappeared with M att Car­ ro ll in to my o ffice and I said, “I th in k i t ’s an unmitigated disaster, and it’s going to have to come

Brealey remained at the SAFC offices while M att Car­

down extraordinarily to get the actual essence of

roll managed the production.

what it is about.”

Due to the length of the script and H annam ’s shooting style, it soon became apparent that the film

M att Carroll:

would run much longer than was first anticipated.

W e had tremendous problems in the editing stages

This was a common enough problem with early films

because it was too long. It ran 150 minutes long,

of the revival, but such overruns inevitably played

and this is where a lot of the controversy came: that

havoc with budgets and the availability of key cre­

the film was cut and there were two versions of it.

ative people became a problem. At the end of the shoot, Hannam began work with the editor on an assembly of the film and, accord­

Once again, the problems of the expense of commu­ nication arose. Brealey flew to Sydney to confer with H annam , now occu p ied w ith his n e x t p ro je ct -

ing to Brealey, only a few weeks passed before Han­ nam dropped a major bombshell:

episodes of the mini-series L uke’s Kingdom25 - which left him little time to concentrate on the problems of Sunday. Brealey was shocked when Hannam viewed the film without offering any concrete suggestions for improvement:

With costs accumulating, and with considerable pressure on him to start the film, Brealey pre­ sented Dingwall’s latest draft to the AFDC: The two assessors, who had both read the pre­ vious treatment, were very disappointed. I said, “Look, I think we will make this one.” They came back and said, “N o, that’s not a good idea. Get the writer to go back and write the second screenplay from his treatment that we were given.” John wasn’t prepared to do that, so I had to finally persuade the AFDC to let us go ahead, and in the end they did. Further doubts as to the value of the script came from Brealey’s ultimate superior, the Premier of South Australia. Brealey heard Dunstan’s com ­ ments: “Don Dunstan didn’t like the script, and asked did we really think this was the film that was going to make us. And I had to persuade him to go ahead with it as well, which he finally agreed to do. All the decisions were mine and the responsibility was mine.” John Dingwall was not present at the shoot and pressing production problem s emerged. W ith the general lack of expertise came prob­ lems with weather. The remote location, where cast and crew roughed it in makeshift accommodation, was rained out, and this delayed production. In the seven-week shoot, the actors suffered periods of lowmorale, and line producer Matt Carroll describes hav­ ing to defuse an open revolt by the actors w hich exactly paralleled events in the script: Half way through the shoot there was this incredi­ ble actors’ strike that had nothing to do with more than the fact they had become totally possessed by these bloody characters. A couple of the actors lived in their bloody wardrobe. They actually became these people, Jack probably as much as anybody. Long hours and inexperience made heavy demands on the energies of all involved, but Carroll attributes the film ’s artistic and critical success to the crew and cast’s enthusiasm. Even so, the production prob­ lems led to many delays and the film looked like running over budget: W e never had made a feature of that size before. We had no idea what we were in for. W e were under­ crewed but we all had incredible energy [...] It was a film made w ith great passion, because we all adored the script and there was this incredible belief in what we were doing. And there were just monu­ mental problems to actually do it - to shoot in a

40

I saw the first 30 minutes cut together and it worked reasonably well. You realized that as an assembly it was going to have to be pulled together. But it would be probably successful, and I went away on the first holiday that I’d had for years. When I came back, I expected that the whole assembly would be finished. It had progressed hardly at all over about 2-3 weeks [...] Ken suddenly announced that he had been offered a job directing some of the series that was being done here by a British com ­ pany called H all. It was a phone call. H e said, “I’m off. Can’t finish the cut. You will have to fin­ ish it yourself.” He said he wasn’t earning enough money. W e paid him $ 1 0 ,0 0 0 as a flat fee for the whole thing, presuming that was a year’s salary. Given Hannam’s experience at the ABC and BBC, he could perhaps be forgiven for assuming the film would be completed without the need for daily super­ vision. Brealey saw his priority as com pletion of a version which would be accepted by the distribu­ tors and also satisfy his p o litica l ov erseers, and immediately pushed for a completed version. When completed, it ran over two hours. Brealey objected to some of the technical defects still in evi­

Hannam [...] came along with his wife and various friends, and we showed the full tw o-and -a-half hours of it. At the end of it, I said, “W hat do you want us to do with it?”, and he said, “W ell, you could get it down a bit in len gth .” N o notes, no comments or anything. Editor Rod Adamson and Brealey started to reduce the film in length, and this resulted in a two-hour ver­ sion which was again shown to Hannam, who offered no com m ents other than advising Brealey to keep working on the film: “He said, ‘Just keep doing what you are doing.’” M att Carroll states that he worked closely with the editor to bring the film down in length, after Brealey started to believe that the film was a failure: Gil, of course, hated it. He said, “This is going to be the end of the South Australian Film Corpora­ tion” and things like that. I then got Rod Adamson, the editor, and said, “Look Rod, we will get what­ ever notes Ken can give us and we will get it down to tim e.” So Rod and I, basically with some notes C I N E M A P A P E R S • DECEMBER 1996


CINEMA

P A P E R S • DECEMBER 1 996 • S P A A S U P P L E M E N T


peculation about the Australian audio-visual production industry’s future, particularly about subsidy levels, is widespread. Many are alarmed at recent and proposed federal bud­ get cuts, and strongly concerned about the future of government subsidy. Will federal government main­ tain the FFC after 1997/98, or use as its primary support mechanism ‘revamped’ tax concessions under Division 10BA of the Incom e Tax Assessment A ctl How will the AFC fare? How will the ABC adjust to proposed cuts? On the eve of its eleventh national conference, however, SPAA takes a generally positive view. “It’s a difficult and exciting time for the industry, but it has been for the past decade, and probably will be for a couple more”, says Michael Gordon-Smith. He is confident that SPAA’s recent representations to Can­ berra have helped to tem p er the H ow ard government’s policies, and views the current state of play as b etter than an ticip ated p rio r to the past election. This is the crux of SPAA’s business - nego­ tiation, political dialogue - and it is long-accustomed to the challenge.

S

1996 is a time of flux for the Australian audio-visual produc­ tion industry. It faces the possibility of broad-ranging changes to its funding base and infrastructure, as well as complex policy, regulatory, copyright and industrial-relations issues entailed in the expansion of delivery systems. On top of this comes continuous change in the marketplace. D i a n e C o o k talks to Michael Gordon-Smith, Executive Director of the Screen Producers’ Association of Australia (SPAA), and Association President Steve Vizard, about SPAA’s world view.

SPAA is the employer representative association for the audiovisual production industry. It is respon­ sible fo r n eg o tiatin g term s and co n d itio n s of employment within the industry; its activities include lobbying, the facilitation of information exchange and networking, and the development of business and cre­ ative relationships. T h e A ssociation also aims to encourage debate on industry issues, and to develop the industry’s profile and an awareness of its contri­ bution to Australian life. From its earliest incarnation (1 9 5 6 ), SPAA has expanded to represent the interests not only of feature film and television producers but those involved in documentary production, commercials, corporate and

C I N E M A P A P E R S • DECEMBER 1 996 • S P A A S U P P L E M E N T


other commissioned video production, facilities and services, and, most recently, multimedia. Structure comprises an Executive Director, an annually-elected national Council with Divisions representing the con­ stituent production sectors (although there is no multimedia division as yet), with state chapters in Vic­ toria, NSW , Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland. Council, as of O ctober this year,- com ­ prises Steve Vizard as President, Maureen Barron-as Vice-President, Tom Jeffrey, Daniel Scharf, Mikael Borglund, Roger Le Mesurier, Jude Lengel, Andrew Williams, Andrew Wiseman, Andrew OgjilvieyMurray Forrest and Richard Krohn. - ' W , ■ National membership currently stdnds at just under 3 0 0 ; G o rd o n -S m ith p o in ts o u t th a t th is figure includes company as well as individual members, and adds that SPAA seeks to encouragenew-’members via', liaison with the Australian Film Television & Radio School. He also mentions initiatives tylmembet' c o m -. panies to sponsor the attendance of new producers SPmtxecutiVe Director Michael lordon-Sirnth' ^ at SPAA’s annual Conference: _ .. . ' . : They’re sponsoring producers who might very Well be their com petitors. I think it’s a good demonA stration of the industry’s interest in self-renewal.

>' structures and employment patterns that are importaut to all [the members], and it’s the same in this industry. 1 think the fundamental thing is that indus­

Is it difficult to achieve consensus within an organi­ zation which encompasses inherently diverse if not disparate agendas? Gordon-Smith:

tries which are able to represent themselves well and to come up with some sort of consensual view, and

It’s very frequently the case that there are differ­ ent viewpoints in the industry, depending upon the changes proposed, and th ere’s a point where an organization that represents those groups can’t be arguing for an increase in one which is only achieved at the expense of the other.

advocate and argue it well, do better than industries that don’t. If you leave it up to the government to be the arbiter, then you’re not solving any of their problems - and government likes it when you solve their problems. Steve Vizard adds: The points of difference are obvious. I think we have

But Gordon-Smith likens SPAA’s membership to that

to dwell on the points of commonality. W e’re about

of the National Farmers’ Federation:

telling stories that we think are unique to Australia,

T here are obviously things about tax, econom ic

and that is our starting-point. I’m a great believer

C I N E M A P A P E R S • DECEMBER 1 996 • S P A A S U P P L E M E N T

in going to grass roots to get a sense of direction; my starting-point for all of the [current] inquiries 5 is: Why do we do what we do? The fundamental - thing is-that members of SPAA are storytellers, and what they want is the capacity to tell stories that relate to who they are, as Australians. From that point, you generate an agenda - that we need to be guaranteed a space on carriage to tell our stories. Gordon-Smith'identifies effective lobbying as one of •SPAA’-s*M'qst significant achievements over the past few years, attributing a Coalition policy turnaround primarily to SPAA’s efforts. He says that the Associ­ ation s provision of briefings and invitations to then Opposition leaders to speak with the industry in the lead-up to the 1 9 9 6 Federal election was strongly in flu ential in d eterm ination o f 1996/ 97 Budget allocations: Over the past three or so years, there’s been a Uturn in the position being put to the industry by the Liberal-National Party Coalition. W hat was said prior to the ‘Fightback’ election at the SPAA Con­ ference sent a chill up the spines of those who were listening. Three years later, the commitment that John Howard made at the Conference last year is probably largely responsible for the industry not suf­ fering very savage cuts in the last Budget. We would have seen substantially bigger cuts had we not had that commitment. Vizard points to an “even-handed, apolitical approach, in a sense”, as crucial to SPAA’s effectiveness: It’s critical for an organization like ours to have strong relationships with governments of all com­ plexions. I expect that our submissions in respect of the Gonski review and the Mansfield review and C E R [and oth er issues] w ill be well heard, not because we have close p o litica l co n n ectio n s -

3


although we have good political connections, as we

structures that work in countries of 25 million tele­

had with the previous government - and not because we’re involved with the media, but because we have

vision households on the edge o f Europe, or in a place the size of the States. W e think the ABC would

as much for its networking and deal-making as for its official agenda. SPAA held its 1 9 9 4 and 1 995 C on­ ferences in M elbourne in conjunction with the AFI Awards, and attracted record attendances - well over

well thought-out, well-constructed arguments that

be much more cost-effective, much better engaged

ultimately employ people, create business, and give people Australian stories in cinemas and on televi­

with the creative life of Australia and better able to tap in to the creative ju ices o f the in d ep en d en t

5 0 0 each year. The 1996 Conference (13-15 Novem­

sion. They’re very compelling arguments.

production sector if it was to contract out. On the debate over New Zealand product, G or­

Gordon-Smith says SPAA is very happy:

Vizard goes on to describe Gordon-Smith’s executive directorship as instrumental. Explaining the need for SPAA’s Executive Director to deal simultaneously and equally with government and cultural and com mer­ cial sectors, Vizard says: M ichael is one of those rare creatures; he moves between three camps with relative ease, with poise, with dignity. Tie’s been the lynchpin in SPAA’s being able to attract an almost unanimous supporter base from almost all the film and television producers in the country, for it to be a successful mix, and [for SPAA] to achieve some real degree of success in changing the statutory and commercial environment in which we work. Among SPAA’s chief concerns now are the review of the ABC, the recent acceptance by Justice Davies in the Federal Court of lobby group Project Blue Sky’s arguments for points for New Zealand product under Australian content regulations, and the current review of film financing (the Gonski review). SPAA attracted criticism for its submission to the ABC review, which suggested that the industry and the ABC might be better served if the ABC were to contract out production rather than produce in-house. Gordon-Smith acknowledges that this view could be seen as self-serving, but stands by the submission: Obviously, if you’re a representative of the inde­ pendent production sector, you’re looking for ways of making more business, but I actually think in this case it makes a hell of a lot of econom ic and pol­ icy sense. The reporting of the submission would lead you to think that we were in some ways argu­ ing for cuts to or that we were opposing the ABC. Nothing could be further from the truth; we’re argu­ ing very passionately for the retention of a strong and powerful public broadcasting system. W e just think there are ways in which it could be better man­ aged for more effective results.

ber)

co n tin u es

th e

a s s o c ia tio n ,

w ith w h ich

I think there’s a great deal of value in an event hav­

d on-Sm ith is vehem ent. Ju stice D avies’ decision, which accepts New Zealand product as ‘Australian’ under Australia and New Zealand’s 1988 Agreement

ing a Janus face ... looking in and looking out. It’s very valuable for the industry’s annual event to focus on issues which are important to the industry, to be

on Closer Economic Relations - CER - is highly con­ tentious. C E R was established to facilitate mutual trade benefits, and many in the Australian industry have argued that such a trade agreement should not

a gathering o f the industry, but also fo r it to be connected with a showcase and a marketing exercise - an exercise in drawing the attention of the general

apply to what’s essentially a cultural issue, and that to include screen product in its ambit would disad­ vantage Australian product (which is subsidized on cultural grounds) in the domestic market. At the time of writing, SPAA was seeking to become a party to the ABA’s appeal of the case, due to go to court in October. Gordon-Smith: It’s a big issue in terms of the cultural precedent it sets, for the relationship between cultural policy and international trade deals. I think the campaign by the New Zealanders has very little going for it. I think from their point of view this is the first step in a campaign to have access to the full range of Aus­ tralian assistance measures. Criticizing New Zealand’s lack of content policy to date, he says: W hen you have dialogue with these people who oppose the Australian standard GATT, believe there is no place for public broadcasting in their broad­ casting environment, have no local content rules of their own and then seek to get access to the bene­ fits of the Australian local content requirements, it seems to me to be an act of extraordinary hypocrisy. It’s so easy to be angry about it. Regarding the future of government subsidy, while SPAA has yet to co-ord inate its submission to the Gonski review, Gordon-Sm ith says there is general support for continuation of direct funding m echa­ nisms, in particular the FFC:

There’s no real interest in a radical re-shuffle that would see, for example, a complete about-face to In a country of six million television households, an en tirely ta x -d riv en m odel. T h e re are m any it’s a mistake to look to examples o f systems and people, many companies, in SPAA that would like '; to see structures which might help them put their i f . businesses on a more secure footing, which would make the life o f independent producers a shade more viable. But I think there’s more recognition of the yalue o f direct funding mechanisms and broad support for the existing institutions. : Vizard elaborates:. \ D irect funding-by government is a critical part of supporting a viable film industry, but, more impor­ tantly,. i t ’s a critica l p art o f preserving and : , encouraging Australian culture. That’s not to say that . direct funding can’t be complemented by other forms o f discretionary private-sector funding, where, for .. example, tax concessions and other concessions are attracted by investment in film and television. W e

public to what’s made and to how fabulous it is. Citing other advantages for both SPAA and the AFI, such as increased interstate and foreign attendance at the C o n fe re n ce and the Aw ards, G o rd o n -S m ith says SPAA hopes to continue the association: “I think there are useful synergies which we haven’t yet fully developed and exploited.” T he agenda for this year’s C onference is dom i­ nated by the obvious big issues: Having said we wanted to get away from a policyfocused Conference, the industry’s in the grip of a review of the whole structure of industry assistance, and there’s the C ER case and the ABC review. These topics will get a lot of attention. W hat we’re trying to do is to use [the Conference] to kick-start a policy-making process, to try to have the industry more involved in setting the agenda for government rather than responding to it. So, there are sessions at this year’s C onference directed to answering policy questions. W h at’s the industry going to look like over the next ten years? How can Australia engage with the international industry? W hat are the financing structures we need in order to achieve that? W e’ve divided it by strands, by ‘genre’ - there’s a strand for features, for television, for documen­ tary, television com m ercials. And w e’re trying to ensure they’ll continue [across the first two days] in a way that lets the debate and discussion develop, rather than being scattered across a series of ‘lucky dip’ issues. O n the th ird day, w e’ d hop e to a ttr a c t som e people who are there for the AFI Awards, to look at m ore ‘ c re a tiv e ’ issu es: W h a t’s on screen as opposed to how it gets there? W e ’re hoping for a debate on sex, violence and social engineering. There are a lot of questions about censorship, screen violence, influence on society, etc., which have been brewing for a long time, but which have probably been brought to a head [in Australia] by the Port Arthur tragedy. T h e industry probably needs to engage with these issues more than it has so far. C onfirm ed guests at the tim e o f w riting inclu de: Maud Nadler and Richard Guardian from Overseas Film Group/First Look Pictures; M ark Ordesky, Exec­ utive V ice President of Acquisitions for N ew Line Cinem a; Graem e M ason, V ice President o f W orld W ide Acquisitions for Polygram International Ltd; T om Rothm an, President of Production at Tw enti­ eth Century F ox; and Lachlan M urdoch. SPAA also

-■) don’t see them as mutually-exclusive positions.

hopes for attendance by Roger Corm an and repre­

One of SPAA’s most important forums for debating industry issues is its annual Conference, which has

sen ta tiv es o f N B C , W a rn e r B ro s ., and Sam u el Goldwyn. ABC Chair Donald M cDonald will present the H ector Crawford M em orial Lecture. ®

become one of the industry’s most popular events -

C I N E M A P A P E R S • DECEMBER 1 996 • S P A A S U P P L E M E N T


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A History of the

it is being said, is the ny examination of Australian film inevitably turns to the AFI Awards, and the controversy strongest year for they always cause. This year’s nominations have put many noses out of joint. Why did the Australian film Love Serenade only get nominated for Best Produc­ j industry yet. Again. tion Design and Best Costume Design after winning the Camera d’Or at Cannes? W hy was Rats in the It seems that every year we are told how strong Ranks (Bob Connolly, Robin Anderson) not nomi­ nated for Best Documentary when it is clearly one of and successful Australian films are. Even last year, the best of recent times? And why was Rolf de Heer’s T he Q u iet R o o m , w h ich was in C o m p é titio n at which was a fairly weak year for films - with some Cannes this year, totally overlooked? The AFI Awards are no stranger to controversy, notable exceptions, of course - we were assured whether it be over the pre-selection process, the nom­ that the industry was powering ahead. inations themselves, or the telecasting of the Awards night. But they are important, they are sought after It is true that this year’s films are remarkable in within the industry, and they are instrumental in the Australian film industry’s grow th, and have been their diversity and maturity. This started with the for thirty-eight years. success of Shine (Scott Hicks) at Sundance, Love Serenade (Shirley Barrett) at Cannes, and L ov e and Beginnings t all started in 1958 at the M elbourne Film Fes­ O ther Catastrophes (Emma-Kate Croghan). The tival where the Director, Erwin Rado, presented the first Australian Film Awards, co-sponsored by Melbourne International Film Festival screened Kodak. The aim of these Awards was “To direct pub­ half of the features nominated for AFI Awards this lic attention to Australian films and to encourage high standards in their production.” There were four cat­ year, as well as many of the documentaries and egories: Documentary, Educational, Advertising and Open, and a special Experimental Film Award. short films. And here is where blood begins to Eater that year, the Australian Film Institute was established, with the staging of the Australian Film bubble, and controversial comments start to Awards as one of its major objectives, and they have circulate: the AFI Awards. staged them since 1959.

A I

8

C I N E M A P A P E R S • DECEMBER 1 996 • S P A A S U P P L E M E N T


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Bob Ellicott

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The Awards reflected the nature of Australia’s film industry at the time, which was commercially-based, and explains categories such as Travel, Public Rela­ tions, Children’s and Fiction. Gold, Silver and Bronze medallions were awarded to the winning films in each category, and a Grand Prix could be awarded by the judges, but only if they thought the film had inter­ national potential. It was the films themselves that were awarded the prizes, and not individuals, and they were judged by an invited jury made up of crit­ ics and a few filmmakers. Further awards were introduced in 1 9 6 2 - the Kodak Award for Best Black and White Photography, and Best C o lo u r Photography - the first move towards craft-based awards, and recognition of the various elements of a film. 1963 saw the awarding of the first Grand Prix prize to Dusan M arek’s film Adam and Eve , for its “origi­ nal and im aginative achievem ent in the use of symbolism in animation”, and proved for the judges that the Australian Film Awards were being successful in their aim to “stimulate and raise the standards of film production in Australia”, a view that was echoed by critic Colin Bennett the following year in an ABC talk show. He also stated that international film fes­ tivals had asked to see the prizewinners, proving there was an international market for Australian film. A further award was introduced in 1967, the Film Editors’ Guild of Australia Award for Best Edited Film, and, in 1968, the Raymond Longford Award was first presented. This was an AFI citation for a sig-

nificant contribution to Australian film­ making from an individual, and the first recipient was documentary filmmaker Ian Dunlop. By 1970, the Australian Film Awards were receiv­ ing more than two hundred entries - quite an increase from the sixty it was receiving a decade earlier - and, for the first time, cash prizes were awarded to the three most creative entries from money endowed by the M yer Foundation. It seemed obvious that the Australian film industry was making a comeback, a sentiment that has been reiterated and elaborated upon every year since. Individual filmmakers were recognized further in 1971 with the introduction of Best Performance and Best Direction Awards, won respectively by Monica Maughan for A City’s Child (Brian Kavanagh) and Peter Weir for Homesdale.

Tise Beginnings of Controversy hroughout the early ’70s, there was much debate about award categories and judging methods. John C. Murray commented in Lumiere :

T

Entries are invited under five categories: D ocu­ mentary, Experimental, General, Advertising, and Fiction. Granting that these five had some utility when the awards were first established (and also granting that the judges can move entries from cat­ egory to category as they see fit), I don’t think they have very much to do with the varied natures of the films now being submitted.1

Bennett wrote in The Age2 about the judging process

C I N E M A P A P E R S • DECEMBER 1 996 • S P A A S U P P L E M E N T

which at the time consisted of pre-selection panels and juries made up of professional filmmakers. Personally, I have always had grave doubts about the value of prizes picked ‘by the industry for the industry’. Such competitions assume that the best judges of quality are those who create it, not those for whom it is created. Awards for Best Screenplay and Best Original Music Score were established in the 1974-5 Awards, and Honourable Mentions were given for Best Perfor­ mances in Supporting Roles. Sixteen feature films were entered, forcing the Fiction category to split into Feature and Short Fiction, proving that earlier con­ cerns about the categories were p ertin en t and subsequently addressed. From 1976, categories were divided into Feature and Non-Feature Films, and the Best Film Award was presented for the first time, won by The Devil’s Play­ groun d (Fred Schepisi). The judging process underwent a major overhaul, and a model where pro­ fessionals voted for the films in their area of expertise was adopted, with the help of various industry guilds and unions. Best Film was decided by the guilds and unions, together with members and associate members of the AFI. Other new awards included Best Supporting Actor and Actress, and Best Cinematog­ raphy in a feature film.

The Telecasts Begin 976 was also the first year the Awards were tele­ cast nationally by the Nine Network. Criticism was not far away, and the telecast received an unfavourable pasting by Ken Quinnell in FilmnewsP

1

9


Frank Thrinj Phil Noyce.

Today’s Btginnifigs n 1 9 8 7 , the p re -se le ctio n p ro cess was again revamped into the basic form still in operation now. Film entries were pre-selected by specialized industry groups. Those films were then judged by all accredited members - not just by the relevant mem­ bers for the various categories. All AFI members voted for the AFI Members Prize, awarded for Excellence in a Feature Film , which has now evolved into all members voting for Best Film, Best Documentary, Best Short Fiction, and Best Animation. In 1991, the Young Actors Award for actors under the age of sixteen was initiated and, in 1992, the AFI Members Award for Best Foreign Film was first awarded. After a rocky time during the early ’90s, television cover­ age was secured again by the ABC. The success of Australian film in recent years, both locally and overseas, has resulted in a spiral of recog­ nition and credibility. Proof (Jocelyn Moorhouse) and its success at Cannes in 1991 gave its AFI Awards, including Best Film, extra credibility, which in turn gave the film more recognition. Attendances for P roof jumped by 20 percent in the fortnight following the AFI Awards for that year, and it had already been run­ ning for seven weeks. The spiral continued upward with Strictly B allroom (Baz Luhrmann), The Piano (Jane Campion), Muriel’s Wedding (P. J. Hogan) and Angel Baby (Michael Rymer). Attendances for Angel Baby increased by 44 percent in five days after it won six awards last year, including Best Film, and, while the telecasting of the Awards has been erratic during that time, the AFI Awards now have a consolidated place, not just within the film industry, but in the minds of the general public as well. Executive Director of the AFI Ruth Jones believes the AFI Awards are a very good promotional hook for Australian film:

I

Colin Bennett and Michael Thornhill debated through

The Age the merits of peer judgement, and whether the Awards criteria should be craft-based or art-based. Further craft awards were initiated in 1977: Best Achievement in Sound Editing, Art D irection and Costume Design. Concerns that the Awards Presen­ tation, this time telecast on the ABC, was too glitzy and not relevant to the Australian film industry clashed with the belief that, if the industry was to receive the attention of the general public, such pre­ sentations were necessary. The next year’s Awards were telecast from Perth by the 0-10 Network, and 1 9 7 9 ’s Awards were not telecast at all due to an industrial dispute. This was also the year the current Awards trophy was first pre­ sented. One of the largest contentions regarding the Aus­ tralian Film Awards and television coverage was the use, as with the Logies, of international film per­ sonalities as presenters. Theories were expounded about the contradictory nature of Australia’s confi­ dence in it’s own film industry. Some said that inviting international stars to host the Awards was hypocrit­ ical, and indicated to the general public that local personalities were not deemed good enough, or wellknown enough. This undermined the whole aim of the Awards themselves, and therefore could not be taken seriously. The AFI signed up with the ABC in 1980 to tele­ cast the Awards for the next four years, and, in 1982, a pre-selection group was introduced. This consisted o f a core com m ittee of tw enty mem bers recom ­ m ended by the various industry guilds and associations, and professionally-accredited AFI mem­

10

bers willing to attend the pre-selection screenings. This group was required to see all thirty feature films entered that year, and to cast four nominations in their accredited categories. The nominated films were then screened to all members, who would decide the winners. This system was widely criticized as being unde­ mocratic and too selective, and actually resulted in the number of entries dropping in 1983. The system was subsequently abandoned. New awards in the N on-Feature categories were introduced, encom ­ passing many craft awards, and, for the first time, the Awards were presented as the AFI Awards, and not just the Australian Film Awards. In 1984, the Byron Kennedy Award was founded, carrying both a trophy and a $ 1 0 ,0 0 0 cash prize. Its purpose was to recognize and encourage the pursuit of excellence within the Australian film and televi­ sion industry, and could be awarded to anyone within the industry. It was first awarded to Roger Savage. Television’s growing relevance was recognized in 1 9 8 6 , and awards including Best Telefeature, Best Mini-Series, Best Direction, Screenplay and Perfor­ mance by a Lead A ctor and Actress were decided on by an invited panel of industry representatives. The controversy of the year was the withdrawal of Crocodile Dundee (Peter Faiman) from competition, and Cinema Papers published an article in September 1986 that questioned the Awards’ relevance and dis­ cussed the problems the AFI was facing that year. It is interesting that many of the issues raised then are still relevant today - the inclusion and exclusion of films, eligibility, the effects of the Awards on box office and television coverage.

People are reassured by endorsements and the AFI Awards are a signal of quality for the general pub­ lic, and a final seal of approval for the local film industry. M ost people know what they are now. They won’t necessarily know previous winners or how th e y ’re judged, but they are a lo t m ore informed now, and there’s a sense that there’s a broader audience watching. Jones talks about the growing commercial success of both Australian films and the AFI Awards. “Australian films are now screening in the multiplexes, and not just the arthouse cinemas”, she elaborates, adding: The Awards presentation has to be an event. It’s ter­ ribly important, because it’s the key to the public image of Australian film. Frankly, it’s gotten bigger every year, but that needs to continue as the indus­ try continues to grow. T o this end, the AFI Awards this year are going on the Internet w ith a live N etcast - like the O scars earlier this year - which will attract a much larger, international audience, and w ill continu e, Jo n es hopes, to develop in the future. Whatever the controversies - and it can be argued that controversy itself is an important element to the Awards’ success - the AFI Awards serve a vital role within the Australian film industry. © 1 Lumiere, October 1973. 2 The Age, 8 December 1973. J Filmnews, August 1976.

C I N E M A P A P E R S • DECEMBER 1 996 • S P A A S U P P L E M E N T


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promised re-introduction of taxbreaks will undoubtedly be the hot topic for the Australian film industry in the years ahead. The federal Coalition has already signalled a return to indirect subsidies - quite possibly something along the lines of the old 10BA tax breaks, mere mention of which provokes mixed and heated feelings among Australian producers - and a phasing down of the Australian Film Finance Corporation (FFC), presently the principal source of funding for Australian feature films. With this article, Cinema Papers re-opens the topic of how best to apply subsidies to what has become a thriving and internationally-renowned filmmaking community. Cinema Papers welcomes responses and views on what is clearly the most vital issue presently facing the local production industry.1 C atharine M unro sets the scene. he Howard government is returning to one of its old ideas - high ta x -b rea k s fo r film investors - opening up the question of how best to subsidize the industry.

T

The options boil down to two approaches. One is the indirect subsidy in the form of high tax-breaks, such as those that were offered under Section 10BA of the Incom e Tax Assessment Act during the 1980s. The other is the present system of direct funding. Hopes that the government will adopt both seem fan­ ciful given the current regime’s apparent preference for small government and small budgets.2 It is not about to give up large amounts of foregone tax rev­ enue and increase spending on films at the same time.

The Australian Film Finance Corporation (FFC) is the largest government body that subsidizes films, and many in the industry are highly sceptical about its success. But no one canvassed for this article would go on the record about the FFC, reflecting the power of an organization which has a virtual monop­ oly over government subsidies to the feature-film industry. On the other hand, one of the great concerns within the film industry is that bigger tax-breaks will produce bad films because investors would not be concerned about the success of their film, only the tax write-off they would make. FFC Chairman Christopher Lovell issued a warn­

C I N E M A P A P E R S • DECEMBER 1 996 • S P A A S U P P L E M E N T

ing to supporters of the pre-FFC days in the Corpo­ ration’s 1994/95 annual report: Then film investment was dictated by tax and finan­ cial considerations resulting in a larger industry which produced dem onstrably fewer films that found their way to Australian cinemas and televi­ sion screens. W hilst the present position of the industry is far from perfect it is vastly superior to the position in which the industry found itself in 1986 and 1987. But a glance at a list of films made before and after the establishment of the FFC suggests that Lovell’s assertion may be nothing more than an attempt to justify the present system of funding which costs the government much less than the high tax-breaks provided for before the FFC was set up. W hat if, in fact, the films made in the “bad old days” of 10BA w ere, on average, b etter than those made using FFC subsidies? In 1992, former Australian Film Commission offi­ cer Lynn Gailey compiled a list of the highest-grossing Australian films to 1992 in real terms. Only 11 of the 4 4 films on the list were financed after the FFC was established. O f course, since 1992 there have been hits, such as Strictly Ballroom (Baz Luhrmann, 1994) and The Adventures o f Priscilla, Queen o f the Desert (Stephan Elliott, 1994). But the number of hugelysuccessful films made under 10BA belies Lovell’s warning. The 10BA tax scheme started in 1981 when the Fraser Government decided to offer a 150 percent tax write-off for investment in films, with 50 percent of the net earnings tax exem pt. A ccording to the Department of Communication and the Arts, bud­ gets for film features through division 10BA rose from $ 5 7.93 million in 1980/81 to peak at $ 1 0 5 .6 0 mil­ lion in 198 5/ 86. W h ile the num ber o f film s skyrocketed, many argue their quality plummeted because most investors had no interest in box-office revenue, only their tax write-off. Television producer Errol Sullivan, who has made highly-successful television series, produced a large number of low-budget feature films during the hey-

13


day of the 1980s tax scheme. He is now chief exec­

1994/95 financial year and this is ploughed back into

utive o f S o u th e rn S ta r. T e n years ago, Sullivan thought that the scheme worked because it would rid

the industry. By contrast, foregone government rev­ enue in the form of tax breaks does not produce an immediate return. The cost to revenue of tax breaks under 10BA peaked in real terms at $ 1 8 0 .9 million

the industry o f bureaucratic intervention. N ow he thinks the scheme was an administrative disaster. He believes governm ent subsidies in the form o f tax breaks are inflationary and a blunt instrum ent for stimulating the industry: 10B A did th row vast am ounts o f m oney at the industry and it overheated and it was calamitous. The bad thing was that it caused a proliferation in production which couldn’t be sustained by the cre­ ative community and put a big inflationary impact on costs. It’s not sustainable in terms of growing the business in an orderly way. M any producers love high tax-breaks because of the independence it gives them. For example, Jane Scott, who spent three years finding the money to make Shine (Scott Hicks, 1996), and got $3.5 million from the FFC , wants them back. “Any scheme that the government may be looking at is one that may attract that sort of investment from financial m ar­ kets”, Scott says. “I hope that they explore it [10BA] again.” But FFC Chief Executive John Morris argues there is no need for a diversity of government funds while there are “thousands” of sources out in the market­ p lace. H e says the F F C is w illing to provide the cash if the film has a “marketplace attachment”. While few would be foolhardy enough to say it openly, there are many in the industry who say that subjective and even personal choices are made by the FFC, especially when films are border-line cases as to the extent of their private financing.

[...] on® of the great concerns within the film industry is filai

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will produci bad films because investors would t be concerned iiccesi of thei r film, only the tax w r i t e - o f f they would make. In 1 9 8 8 , the Labor governm ent abolished the scheme and reduced the tax breaks to 100 per cent, where they currently stand. It set up the FFC to dis­ tribute federal funding. Labor promised to lock in $ 5 0 million a year in funding for three years starting in 1995/96. M orris argues the move has made the industry more market-driven while being cheaper for the taxpayer. The FFC earned $ 2 5 .5 million in the

14

in 1984/85, with no direct returns to the government. But what Morris fails to point out is that the indi­ rect returns are far-reaching. Firstly, the proceeds of a successful film are returned to the industry, with approximately four-fifths of a film’s budget taken up paying those who worked on the film . A rich film industry creates a bigger training ground for Aus­ tralian filmmakers. Also, the F F C ’s returns of $25 million may sound a lot compared to its annual bud­ get, but they are the p ro d u ct o f several years of spending. No one tries to argue that the film industry does not need subsidies. W hile successful producers like George M iller may not need governm ent finance, most projects are too risky for the profit-driven pri­ vate investor to participate in from the w ord go. Consequently, the absence of government subsidies is rare, with Jane Campion’s The Piano (1994) being a commonly-cited exception. It was funded entirely by Ciby 2 0 0 0 , a subsidiary of French construction company Bouyges. But, in most cases, the high start­ up costs o f a p ro je c t, w here success depends on popularity, make investing in a film an unattractive option for those outside the industry. M ore com ­ m only, investm ent in film s is left to those w ithin the industry: the state and federal funding bodies, and a myriad of distribution agents and cinema chains. Apart from control over spending, M orris argues another advantage for having a centralized body such as the FFC is that it has encouraged more business dealings with international distribution and sales agents, such as M iramax and Polygram, to establish themselves in Australia. For them, the FFC creates a gateway through which buyers can enter the Aus­ tra lia n film indu stry. B ut F F C c ritic s say these businesses would have found their way here any­ way in an era when pay-television operators seem to be hungry for as many film and television produc­ tions as they can lay their hands on. W hile the industry needs subsidies, and always will, private investment in the film industry appears to be popular. The fact that funds are raised for main­ stream U .S. film s is evidence th a t the m oney is around. C lockers (Spike Lee, 1 9 9 5 ), Evita and Jim Carrey’s latest feature, Liar Liar, are three examples. The latter’s prospectus is seeking about $ 1 0 0 million under Section 51 (1), which allows a 100 percent deduction on something which produces income. But such interest from the private sector will not guarantee the making of culturally-important films. A crucial advantage of direct government subsidies is the support they can provide to such projects. This is the domain of the Australian Film Commission (AFC), which, among other objectives, aims to encourage the making of “experimental programs and programs of a high degree o f creativeness and the making and appreciation of Australian programs and other pro­ grams as an art form”. It received $19.8 million from the federal government in 1995. U nlike o th er areas, the film indu stry is n o t expected to feel the chill winds of the federal gov­ ernm ent’s spending cuts immediately. Jo h n M orris said that the Coalition has promised him that it will honour Labor’s funding commitment until 1997/98. But what happens after that is anyone’s guess and,

given that most films take at least a year to go into production, the expected changes are just around the corner. A tax-break seems more in tune with the Liberal Party’s ideology than is direct funding, because it encourages direct investment from the private sec­ tor and moves away from a centralized institution. This was highlighted by then-Opposition leader John Howard who, during the 1 9 9 6 election campaign, said arts policies should “reflect the core Liberal ideals of championing free enterprise and maximizing the ch o ices available to in d iv id u als” . H ow ard also promised to maintain direct subsidies, incentives for private investors and Australian content requirements. W hile such com m ents may suggest support for higher tax-breaks, the system would be prone to cost blow-outs. Tax-breaks in any area face staunch oppo­ sition within the bureaucracy and Treasurer Peter Costello’s distaste for them has already been revealed. In late July, he announced the end of the 150 percent deduction for syndicates who invested in com p a­ nies engaged in research and development, choosing to replace the scheme with direct grants. Costello said the system invited rorts and led to growth in costs by $ 1 0 0 million to $ 2 0 0 million each year. One of the authors of the discussion paper which led to the F F C ’s inception is David Court, M ovieco managing director. He believes tax breaks could come back in a different form: The option that I have heard floating around, but I haven’t seen anything on paper, is an option where returns from the movies that were reinvested in new movies would attract concessions. That would be attractive to me because we aim to look very well after investors who we think would reinvest. The government is also “exploring ways” of chang­ ing requirements for issuing a prospectus in a process that is separate to the review of 10BA. The corpora­ tions law requires a financier to prepare a prospectus for any investment less than $5 0 0 ,0 0 0 . This is seen as an impediment to film producers because issuing the document chews up about $ 8 0 ,0 0 0 to $ 9 0 ,0 0 0 . The government is expected to introduce a “short-form” prospectus which would cost only about $ 5 ,0 0 0 to produce. A plan to make it easier for 20 people or less to invest in a film budgeted at less than $ 5 0 0 ,0 0 0 is also being examined. Court does not believe the shortform option would work because investors have come to expect the amount of information contained in the long-form prospectus. Movieco is looking at more sophisticated ways of offering films to investors. “W e are looking at seg­ menting and spreading the risks so we can match the investors’ risk/reward preference”, Court said. The cautious investor would be promised a return of 20 percent and be the first to receive his or her share while the speculator’s investment would be leveraged and the returns much higher. “T h ere’s an expecta­ tion th at there w ill be som e change, but I ’m not holding my breath for that - it will take them a long time to come up with something that will satisfy Trea­ sury”, Court said. © 1 See also interview with Ross Dimsey, “Finding a Voice”, by Scott Murray, in Cinema Papers, No. 112, October 1996, pp. 22-4, 59-60, for a discussion on re-introducing 10BA. 2 See “Productive Associations” in this issue’s supplement, pp. 2-4.

C I N E M A P A P E R S • DECEMBER 1 996 • S P A A S U P P L E M E N T


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Getting Moral Rights Right John B. Murray discusses moral rights legislation he draft legislation for the introduction and possible enactment of moral rights: which will accord artistic creators the right of attri­ b u tio n and p ro te c t the integrity of their works and reputation: seems unable to b reak free from the c o n ­ straints o f the past; from the precedents set by France and the United Kingdom, and from the earlier consideration given to moral rights by C opyright Law Review C om m ittees in Australia. There may well have been an effort by draftspersons in the Attorney-Gen­ eral’s Department to get it right once and for all, but it does have a sense of political simplicity. Film has obviously been the challenge, one that should have ensured face-to-face consultations w ith su b m itters and p ra c titio n e rs. T here have been a number of parlia­ mentary committees set up recently, but not one through which artists and film­ makers could help elucidate this topic. W h a t seem s clea r is th at we are about to perpetuate the archaic frame­ w o rk and lim ited term in o lo g y of premises previously defined: i.e., that a creator is an ‘author’: with the recog­ n itio n o f film being m ore com p lex, resulting in the drafters further defin­ ing ‘author’ as ‘the maker of the film’, and ‘maker’ as ‘the director or the pro­ ducer of the film .’ The real essence of creatorship has not been grasped, nor has the proper stress been placed on principles as a first priority. ‘A u thor’ is too much tied to , and limited in connotation by, the world’s predominantly literary past. This con­ ditioning does not naturally allow the b ro ad er co m p re h en sio n needed to accommodate creativity in audio-visual tech n ology. W e need to replace the term ‘author’ to properly expand the community’s understanding of the cre­ ative process. A dictionary definition of ‘author’ includes: “the originator, beginner, or creator of anything”. This is not quite adequate in relation to film , drama, painting , literature, etc., unless creator is fully u n d ersto od . T o help in this p ro cess and to provide a y ard stick against which claims of authorship can be accu rately m easured, I have sug­ gested a further clarification, such as: An ‘author’ (creator) is one who con­ ceptualizes, implements and governs the execution of his or her idea in a C I N E M A P A P E R S • DECEMBER 1996

chosen medium or mediums, with or without the collaboration of another or others. In this definition, “governs the execu­ tio n ” or, alternatively, “controls the execution” is essential. I suggest that it will become clear in the following text that it overcomes confusion. It facili­ tates the assessment of who is worthy o f m oral rights in a w ork and who should be denied, for, particularly in film, the responsibility of determining the final form of a work is crucial.

clear when the weight of evidence is predominantly in a particular person or persons’ favour. I have suggested, in response to the draft legislation, that it be incorporated as a guideline. A creator is a person(s) who 1. conceives of an original idea and communicates the fact in a manner cog n izab le by oth ers in spoken words, by musical sounds, a prelim­ inary sketch, model or by physical action, or in written form such as a précis or draft;

It is also clear that a playwright is a cre­ ator with points 1, 2 and 4, unless he or she has contracted to surrender point 4 to a stage director and the play is to be considerably altered. For film it is easy to decide, by refer­ ence to the guid elines, w h eth er the d irector, the producer, the scenarist (or anyone else) should be attributed as creator , or if the right should be shared. A scenarist would clearly hold the first position, but the director might hold the following three, thus favouring the director. Alternatively, if a scenarist did

I see the e stab lish m e n t o f m oral righ ts legislation, if properly created and prom oted, particularly as a to pic in sc h o o ls, as h avin g an im portant and m uch w ider beneficial effect on our national psyche.

The better term to encapsulate the above qualities and attributes is creator , as shown in brackets. The following guideline, elements 1 to 4, can be applied to all artistic disci­ p lin es, inclu d in g film , video and television, and it soon helps determine who is the creator of a particular work. T h ere is no need to award p e rce n t­ ages for each category, and there is no need to say that all elements must be attained in order to qualify. It becomes SPAA SUPPLEMENT

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c o n ten t, nature and style o f the expression to be realized in physical/material form; 3. controls the performance or execu­ tion of the work; or 4. decides the final form of the work. Invariably, a painter, sculptor, writer, choreographer, composer or composer and lib rettist, or an a rch ite ct, fo r instance, would rate four out of four.

retain positions 1 to 4, it would be clear that the scenarist is the creator of the film and should be accorded moral rights. In the latter case, the scenarist would have been assisted by (to use the term generically) a journeyman director who would not normally qualify for moral rights, but on some occasions as joint-creator only. At the same tim e, it needs to be understood that if a creator is divorced from his/her work by forces outside the creator’s control, or force majeure, and does not execute or have power to exe­ cute or supervise the final form of the work, and his/her essential vision is real­ ized by a replacement, then the former should still be acknowledged as creator. Jorn Utzon, for instance, is undeni­ ably the creator of the Sydney Opera House, even though he was prevented from supervising his architectural vision during completion of the building. It is still apparent that he retains the pre­ dom inant right by referrin g to the 4-point guideline. One can see that he has had the major influence in categories 3 and 4, in addition to holding points 1 and 2.

17


Sim ilar circum stances could affect the creator of any cinema or television

T h e term c r e a to r m ore read ily

up to deal with moral rights. W hen and

embraces the sense of being in control

inclu d ed in c o n tr ib u to r s ’ c o n tra cts which commits the producer of a film

p ro g ram m e, a p ain tin g , scu lp tu re,

if disputes do arise, a tribunal could be

of the perform ance and execution of,

dance, music or literary work including

a more appropriate body than the Fed­

and the final form of, a work, and this

and his/her representative, the director,

eral Court nominated in the legislation

is an essential and inescapable qualifi­

to make their best endeavour to uphold

There is generally, and quite in ex ­

to provide this forum for discussion and

cation for a creator , especially in a work

the integrity of that person’s work. Such

plicably, an unwillingness, historically

bring about speedy resolutions. A tri­

realized in collaboration with others in

a ‘best end eavour’ clause could help

drama and the staging thereof.

and now, to acknowledge the degree of

bunal is less formal, less costly for artist

a medium such as film. An understand­

ensure that collaborators are allowed

creativity and conceptual worth of the

applicants, and probably more immedi­

ing of this also overcomes the inability

enough time and assistance in budgets

writer/scenarist, although it is widely

ately available than the Court with its

which presently exists in the community

and schedules to deliver of their best to

recognized, figuratively, that a screen­

direction hearings and then final adju­

to discern a creator in the midst of con­

play is w orth up to 75 percent of the

dication, and even though there is an

finished film.

increasing use of mediation processes.

tributors and collaborators. I am not objecting to a producer or

their satisfaction. All this is drawn from my responses to the Discussion Paper of June 1 9 9 4 , and the proposed legislation of January

As a simple example, take Padding­

A tribunal would also develop spe­

a director being recognized as the cre­

to n B ear (o rig in ally fro m “D ark est

cial knowledge and expertise which I

ator of a film; the director will rightly

1 9 9 6 . I was concerned that the word

Peru”). It would be inconceivable that

feel is essential to guard against inaccu­

get the guernsey more times than not. I

‘compromise’ was used by the Attorney-

m oral rights not be accorded to the

rate precedents in this sensitive field.

am objecting to the fact that the draft

G e n e ra l’s D ep a rtm e n t, and th a t it

author, M ichael Bond. He has created

It would be better able to settle differ­

legislation does not kn ow that one or

expressed the opinion that it cannot

a complete character in Paddington: the

ences about w ork-in-progress, or the

the other is the creator. It has no prin­

hope to satisfy everyone, reflecting, it

way he looks, dresses, thinks, expresses himself: and what he eats (a passion for

ciple to apply in order to find out. And

would seem, a view that the legislators

it should not be a m atter of whom it

must steer a course m idst com peting

marmalade sandwiches), the nature of

might suit others to call a creator.

in terests. T h a t som e in film -related

the situations in which he involves him­ self, and Bond carefu lly defines the

The proposed legislation has also ignored the fa c t th a t a jo u rn ey m an

to establish a position suited to their

locations and ancillary characters.

director should not always be eligible

industries are aggressive in attempting own self-interest seems apparent. Should the legislation be influenced

It would be an injustice for any other

for moral rights. It wants to nominate

person, such as a film director, to usurp

the jo u rn ey m an d irecto r as c re a to r

this right - and, even w orse, to auto­

purely because he or she is a director.

by such attitu d es - w h ich are q u ite removed from the central issue - we will

matically do so as the draft legislation

And it does not accept that there should

certainly lose our way. W e must, first,

w ould have it. At m ost, a d irecto r

be joint-creators. It allows only joint-

clearly understand the inviolable prin­

should share with Bond, and only if new

directors and joint-producers.

cip le o f m oral rig h ts, th en cre a te a

situations and events were to be created for Paddington in consu ltation with

If breadth and clarity is not brought

structure which will guide the commu­

to the final wording, I see it leaving the

nity, inclu ding the industries w hich

Michael Bond. If portrayed by puppets,

door open to confusion and injustice in

the puppeteer might also be considered a joint-creator.

the future, and, given that no sound principle has been defined, claims by

exploit the works of artists, in availing themselves of fair and reasonable access

If a writer/scenarist conceives of an

other participatory creators to be classed

to the work. T h e essence o f m oral rights is a

as creators will confound the issue fur­

reflection of the Declaration of Human

ther. The confusion exists betw een the

Rights; Article 27 (2):

original narrative drama (or other film) and structures the w ork in a literary form, together with complete descrip­ tions of characters, locations, style of realization including camera composi­ tions, lighting ambience, etc., and if that scenarist either has right of approval over the way in which his or her con­ cept is realized - or delivers a shooting script that is achieved w ithout m ajor alteration - that writer is the creator of the film. The director would be engaged primarily as a craftsperson. Such influ­ en tial w riters/scenarists are few ; nevertheless, one cannot accept legisla­ tio n th at sim ply denies this ju st recognition as a matter of course. We should not allow the collective myth

" W e m u st, first, c le a rly u n d e r s ta n d th e in v io la b le p rin c ip le o f m o ra l r ig h t s . " Joh n B. Murray, one of Australia’s most experienced producers, has first-hand knowledge of moral rights, having successfully taken a French distributor to court for altering without permis­ sion a feature he produced.

Everyone has the right to the protec­

concept of moral rights pertaining to

tion of the moral and material interests

creatorship, and the proper recognition

resulting from any scientific, literary

and acknowledgment of an artist’s tal­ ents - the latter, to some, seeming to be

the author.

denied. An individual contributor does not

or artistic production of which he is And, Article 29 (2):

over whether, or in what manner, his or

In the exercise of his rights and free­ doms everyone shall be subject only to

her expertise may be applied and incor­

such limitations as are determined by

porated in a work. That is the role of the director or creator , who would not

law solely for the purpose of securing

be so titled without that responsibility.

rights and freedoms of others and of

T h e natu re o f co n trib u tio n s is selected by the creator , and a work is

m eeting the ju st re q u irem en ts o f

not the sum of contributions of indi­

welfare in a democratic society.

have authority over the whole work nor

due recognition and respect for the

morality, public order and the general

that has grown out of France’s elevation

terms of a com m ission, or about the

vidual c o lla b o ra to rs th a t have been

These are not tracts created by empiri­

o f the film d irecto r to any longer

original terms of an engagem ent not being m et, or if som eone should be

left to their own creative devices, or

cal reasoning but universally-accepted

who have had a free hand to decide

ideals to which nations are expected

replaced as creator. There must be ready

upon and incorporate their contribu­

to conform. Agents for the sale and dis­

tions as they considered fitting.

trib u tio n o f a rtis tic w orks can be accommodated. I am not aware that the rest of the world is paranoid about the

obscure the truth of the situation. I acknow ledge, how ever, that we

18

m ore p ro te c tio n fo r a clause to be

ongoing tribunal I suggest should be set

owe m uch to Fren ch cu lture and its

access for creators who feel under pres­

w o n d erfu l ap p recia tio n o f a rtistic

sure to waive m oral rights from

N either creativity nor artistic input

endeavour, which gave rise to the con­

employers such as television networks,

cept o f m oral rights. Its leg islation ,

production companies and/or produc­

q u alifies a p erson as cr e a to r unless he/she has originated the concept or cre­

nevertheless, limited creatorship in film

ers, investors, d istrib u to rs, funding

ated an adaptation of a w ork and its

to the director. By establish in g a m ore thorou g h

agencies, etc. However, just what a creator is is not

expression in another form , who has

I see the e stab lish m en t o f m oral

controlled the expression and realiza­

rights legislation, if properly created and

marketing of films from France, where moral rights have a very high profile.

means of discerning the true creator ,

fully apparent in the legislation. Pro­

tion of the work and determined its final

p rom oted , p articu larly as a to p ic in

and by legislating to protect the integrity

ducers and d irecto rs are a rb itra rily

form: i.e., has had the decision-making

schools, as having an im p ortan t and

of creators rather than ‘authors’, there

nominated as the creators (see ‘author’)

ability and must take responsibility for

much w ider b en eficial e ffe ct on our

is no need to specify the nature of the

in film , and th erefore define creator

the final form.

artist or of his/her discipline.

rather than are defined by creator. If a

national psyche. It will help develop in

In film , the c o lla b o ra tiv e aspect

society generally a greater understand­

This proposed method should bring

d efinition of creator is made w holly

comes into play as artists work together

ing and respect for each other as unique

insight and intelligent debate to the con­

appropriate, there would be no need to

to realize the d irector’s (or creator's)

individuals, and it will allow the free­

sideration of creativity. More light could

nominate any specific rôle or rôles to fit

concept, and not as joint-creators of the

dom and to leran ce w hich we should

be brought to bear by members of an

the category.

work itself. But, I suggest, it would offer

rightfully expect and enjoy. ©

C I N E M A P A P E R S • DECEMBER 1 996 • S P A A S U P P L E M E N T


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Welcome Back Freddie After two years' break, Fred Fiarden returns to Cinema Papers with his much-loved column (now incorporating the Webs et al)

Newtonian log

Well hung T he M il l e r P r o jib , at 251b (11.4kg), weighs in at less than most of its rivals, even with Miller’s solid construction qual­ ity. Made from hard-anodized aluminium and stainless-steel components, it folds down to 48 inches and it has a respected reputation with crews around town as a cost-effective studio or location crane, handling camera payloads up to 50lbs. The release of the Projib Undermount has been similarly well received. It lets operators suspend their camera beneath the jib arm fo r even low er shooting angles. The Undermount, which attaches to the Projib bowl via a Hi-hat adapter, ensures the cam era and fluid head remain balanced in the centre of the jib bowl. M iller say this increases system

C I N E M A P A P E R S • DECEMBER 1996

stability and it would certainly eliminate the stress which an offset bowl attach­ ment causes. The U nderm ount and Projib are available as separate components, and also available in an ENG or studio sys­ tem package with M iller’s fluid heads, tripods and studio accessories. For fu rther in form ation please contact: Brett Smith, Miller Fluid Heads (Australia). Tel: (61.2) 9 4 3 9 6 3 7 7 , Fax: (61.2) 9438 2819.

Angles of sensitivity into its twenty-five pages of simple black-andwhite layout. Subtitled “Women working

A n g l e s packs a lot

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I f y o u ig n o r e M ik e F e e , who has decided to always cut film by hand, the only problem with nonlinear editing is the time it takes to review, log, organize and input the footage for digitizing. Sure, all the biggie editing systems have a sim­ ple off-line V CR logging option, some even have a cable that goes to your portable and grabs the timecode on the set. But I want to walk around on set or lo catio n and do the same thing. No wires, no bulky portables. So, I want a Newton PDA and the new Shot Fogger. Shot Fogger transmits timecodes from a pager-sized 9 1 6 .5 M Hz transm itter attached to the timecode source of any camera, VCR, professional camcorder, Nagra or device supplying a pulse time­ code signal. It’s picked up by a PC Card receiver in the Apple Newton. While it’s accurately logging timecode “in” and “out” points for each take, you can rate each take, enter detailed scene descrip­ tions, numbers and notes, and export a list of preferred shots for digitizing. The whole story is told in detail on the P rod uction M agic web site, http://www.productionmagic.com/ and Mike Savino, V.P. at Production Magic, said he is now arranging for distribution in Australia, having made contact with a couple of companies. (He says he’s interested in opportunities for more new distributors.) So, if you want to buy one (there’s a current price deal of around U S$2,000, you supply the PDA), or, if you want to sell lots of them, contact Mike@ProductionMagic.com. Tel: 802 864 0278, Fax: 802 865 2468. ♦ Production Magici m m m

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21


new products look up slightly and can still see to walk. It fits loose enough so that you can still wear your glasses, has stereo headphones and attaches with a thin three-wire cable to breakout box with BN C and RCA inputs, PAL or N TSC. It costs $ 1 ,9 9 0 ex tax from Video Department Aust., 32 Punch Street, Artarmon. 2064. Tel: 1 800 675 168 freecall. (Can’t you just imagine a studio full of PT-01-visored crew walking around bumping into each other, or, in a twist on the famous Leunig cartoon, going “Ooooh aaah” at the spectacular sun­ set straight from the vidsplit.)

One eyed, one horned P T -0 1 ( H o l l y w o o d S e r i e s ) isn ’t a M cH ale’s N avy rem ake but a headmounted video monitor. The idea was developed so that cam era operators could watch head-up the video split while doing hand-held and Steadicam shots. It has found a list of other uses in sports shoots, animatronic and pup­ pet manipulation, and it keeps directors quiet for hours. Looking a bit like a VR helmet, the display is great for use in bright sunlight and the optics produce a virtual image 60 inches diagonally that appears metres in front of you, reducing eyestrain. The helmet is light-weight and flips up so that you can have an unob­ structed view, or positioned so that you

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Small, tiny, titchy, etc. f r o m VDA comes the news that their Microdolly from Microdolly Hol­ lywood is rolling off the shelves and out the door. Earlier this year it picked up the pick-of-the-show award at NAB ’96 and it’s almost too nifty to call a pipe dolly. In a lOlbs kit (that’s, err umm, 4.5 kilos), you get a T-Bar dolly, 13 feet of track with foam track pads, 1 dozen track shims, 1 rachet tiedow n and 1 wheel wrench tool, and it fits in your pocket (if you have a 30-inches long pocket) or a custom-soft case. There’s lots of extras you can get, such as a fold­ ing handle to push the dolly and extra track. Video Department Aust. Tel: 1 800 675 168 freecall.

A lso

Film in, Film out, Film in ... P hilips B roadcast T elevision Systems

and Eastman Kodak Company have developed the w orld’s first real time multi-format, multi-standard film scan­ ner. More than just another telecine, they claim it is the world’s first “Datacine.” The Philips BTS Spirit Datacine offers the same fu nctions as a trad itio n al telecine, and also provides high-defini­ tion television and digital data for external graphics w orkstations. The Spirit can output to a variety of standard definition (SDTV) and high-definition (HDTV) television formats in real time and with image quality in film resolu­ tions up to 2K (1920 pixels/line). Inside is an advanced CCD film imaging head, designed by Eastman Kodak, and the microprocessor-controlled film transport handles frame rates, at the top resolu­ tion, up to 6 fps. Eastman Kodak will also provide a version of the Spirit Datacine, called the

Cineon Thunder telescanner, with an even h ig h er-resolu tion data output option as part of their integrated Cineon system. Kodak is working with Philips BTS to develop the software to enable the data transfer between this telescan­ ner and an SG I O nyx or C hallenge computer. Colour correction will be per­ formed in conventional fashion with a standard colour corrector; then the teles­ canner will be switched to data transfer mode. The colourist then selects the res­ olution (SDTV 4 :4 :4 , H R TV 8 :8 :8 , or 2K RGB data) and the software will con­ tro l the scanning process and data transfer to the computer. High-definition scanning is part of the high cost of digital post-production and faster systems such as the Spirit and the Thunder will change how we work with film. The telecine session could be one of the most important responsibili­ ties for the cinematographer, defining the image for all the formats, current and future. Philips BTS contact is Richard Everett (61.2) 9888 0400.

C I N E M A P A P E R S • DECEMBER 1 996 • S P A A S U P P L E M E N T


extends its thanks to all our Feature Film and T V Series clients for handing us a

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Quick Hits back into the PR releases bin (it’s scary but someone has to do it), we found Quinto reporting that there’s 28 major U.S. television series and 47 U.S. features currently in production using Lightworks or Heavyworks to cut on. (You knew that Lightworks merged with Tektronix Inc., didn’t you?) Quinto also sold a Rank C intel Ursa Gold to ZeroOneZero, but you’ve seen Network 10 skite about it in their ads already, so that’s not news. The best bit is the Ursa tie-in to the da Vinci Artisan Renaissance colour corrector, which uses a SGI Indy computer to control and display the 8:8:8 digital options. Who wants 4 :2 :2 ? Not me; more bits please. Phone Quinto on (61.3) 9558 9377, or (61.3) 9417 5166.

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with full 10 bits per pixel resolution.” H elp! If you d o n ’t understand it, I assume you don’t need one. I just like the clean effects and nifty drop shadows that they’re getting at places like Icon Post in Melbourne and Acme Digital in Sydney. Contact is Arthur Barnstable at GEC Broadcast Sales on (61.2) 9 8 8 7 6 2 2 2 . Maybe they explain it better on the Web site at http://www.abekas .com.

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Movie Master are on the W eb, if you’re scriptwriting, download the demo ver­ sion of M ovie M aster, a script/word processor that’s been around a long time and still gets better with each upgrade. They’ve demos for DOS, Windows 3.1, (soon W indows 9 5 ), and M acintosh. W h ile

o n d e r e d h o w they got all that smooth slow-monon video on the Grand Final broad casts? Ages ago, T C N 9 bought an EVS Super Live Slow Motion system, a powerful digital recorder that teams up with its Sony Super m otion camera. The camera records three tim es faster than norm al speed (75fps). The EVS comes from Amber Broadcast. Say hello to Peter Amos on (61.2) 9975 1211.

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t a l k in g v id e o . A bekas’ (Abekas’es? Abekii?) dveously named Dveous twin-channel DVE has sold well around the country (may have been special deals on the 16 systems used at Atlanta?) and has completely confounded me with the press-release specs. I understand most acronyms and can usually ask intelligent ques­ tio n s, but did you know th at the Dveous “delivers the highest p ic­ ture quality o f any D VE by using 23 x 12 point video filters and four point store output interpolators. All picture transform information is cal­ culated to 1.2nS spatial precision

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24

They are complete programmes (with instructions included), except that they do not allow saving, exporting or print­ ing of files. It’s enough to give you a taste and to compare with your Word macros. If you are digitally challenged, they’ll even send you a demo disk. Just fax to (2 0 1 ) 2 5 1 8 0 5 0 , and include your address and telephone number and what op erating system you use. D O S? I remember DOS.

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whimsy to send you o ff to your shoot.

If you peddle your Web browser over to Mark Forman’s Web pages, you’ll be able to experience the multimedia plea­ sures of The Forman Camera Bicycle. Developed by M ark (who is a proud M em ber of The Society of Operating Cameramen), whose credits include those as producer and director of Bicycles on

race was shown on the D iscovery Channel and was winner of Best Film at the 1 994 Interbike Film Festival (one of my favourites after Telluride). He was “director of bicycle photog­ raphy” for the interactive feature film Ride for Your Life, for Sony-Interfilm, released in May 1995. Mark also con­ sulted for and photographed an M TV spot for Ray-Ban Sunglasses and has developed and built other special camera mounts. But his piece de (wind) resistance is the Forman Camera Bicycle (patent pending). Built to enable unique track­ ing shots at speed, “This patented device”, he says, “was especially devel­ oped to shoot actors, athletes and vehicles at speeds up to thirty miles per hour in situations where motor­ ized vehicles cannot be used because of safety or space limitations.” There’s a small Quicktime movie you can download on the site show­ ing M ark using a boom on the rig, and he lists the various camera posi­ tions the rig is capable of including, a front camera mount facing rear­ ward toward the actor’s face as he rides the bike in traffic. A centre top m ount uses a norm al 100m m fluid head to follow riders between cars, and the camera mounted on the rear looking backward toward other riders at speed. The rig can also be used safely in a low fro n t m ount looking forward, rearward or side­ ways using a full-sized film or video camera only a few inches from the pavement. The Form an Cam era Bicycle is available for rent but sadly only in the U.S. It comes with remote view­ ing system and operator on a daily basis. Get on your (patent pending) bike now and peddle your browser to http://www.seanet.com/Users/tini tyler/film/forman.html Fred Harden, editor, etc., Australian M u ltiM ed ia O nline, http://www. mm.com.au/amm O ffice tel/fax (61.6) 2 3 8 0 0 2 0 , P0 Box 3 1 7 Bungendore, N SW 2621.

C I N E M A P A P E R S • DECEMBER 1 996 • S P A A S U P P L E M E N T


The Production Show 24-26 February 1996 Sydney

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Australia is the major conference and trade exhibition devoted exclusively to the TV & Film Production Industry. Television has never been so exciting with the advent of new cable and satellite service, digital TV and deregu­ lation, the demand for program content is enormous and rising. The independent production community is at the centre of these changes and w ill be responsible for an increas­ ing proportion of future programming.

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Companies offering products and ser­ vices to the TV and film producer Post-production facilities Footage libraries Prop suppliers Special effects houses •

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The TV Australia conference organised in association with SPAA The Screen Producers Association of Australia will be an exciting event providing: • A forum for the production community to meet the broadcast and commissioning community. Discuss needs and ideas for future program content. A platform for the broadcast industry to discuss the future of TV in Australia and worldwide. • A forum for the advertising community to meet the com­ mercial production industry. • An opportunity for the whole industry to recognise the enormous consequences of new technology on the future of content, creation and distribution. • TV Australia will take place alongside Digital Media World, Australia's premier creative design event for the broadcast industry.

Who should attend? All those involved in content creation of TV, film , cor­ porate video commercials and music video. ® Producers 4 ) Directors ® Executive Producers # Editors f l ‘ Researchers © TV Executives TV Australia will bring together Australia's production, broadcast and facilities communities as never before.

R E G IS T E R FO R YO U R FR E E T IC K E T A N D S H O W P R E V IE W TO T V A U S T R A L IA 24-26 FEBRUARY 1997 Sydney Exhibition Centre, Darling Harbour Sydney For your free entry badge, which gives you fast track entry to the event, please complete the form below and return it before 12 February 1997. After 12 February, please bring this completed coupon with you to save the $20 entry fee. BY FAX: 02 9211 1137

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All the Fun of the Fair Dominic Case delights in the International Broadcasting Convention in Amsterdam

t

rade exhibitions are getting bigger and bigger, and more

and m ore freq u en t. T his seems to be particularly true in the film industry, where, traditionally, equipment has been fairly stable and longlasting, and technological development has been at a calm and steady pace. In western Europe, for example, the main

show always used to be P h o to k in a , staged every tw o years in C o lo g n e, w here p ro fession al m o tio n picture equipm ent occupied one of twelve: or thirteen halls, alongside every aspect of still photography from Pentax cameras to wedding albums. Now, much of what film makers have come to use is to be found at IBC (the International Broad­ casting Convention), which is an annual show - this year occupying eight halls, each the size of last year’s SM PTE show in Sydney - held in Amsterdam, It’s one of three shows in Europe in the ie same m onth (P h o to k in a ’s still on). IBC exhibitors show microwave transmitters, cable co n n ecto rs, and video routing sw itchers, but also telecines and film scanners, non-linear editors, cam era lenses, lights, film cleaners, digital effects software and sound effects libraries. As more and more systems are com­ puter and software-driven, they become more and more flexible, and attempt a w ider and wider range o f fu nctions: every editing system is also an effects com positor and a titling system; every stand shows images on m onitors, and dem onstrators with microphones and m ice. And so it is quite difficult, in a fairly-rapid stride around the halls of IBC, to distinguish exactly what a lot of the toys on show are really for. By the same to k en , it becom es increasingly difficult, in a short space of time, to assess how well a given system does its job. An experienced sound mixer may, in a prolonged session at one stand, pick up on the strengths and weaknesses of a particular desk, and its suitability for a particular application. But not many others would. Few people in production or post-production have more than a passing acquaintance with what goes on in areas other than their own spe­ ciality. How many readers, for example, could identify the exact function of an Evertz film footage encoder fitted on a telecine and compare it with the Aaton K eylink system ? (N o t th at everyone needs to worry about such technicalities, but you need to know whether what you don’t know matters or not.) C I N E M A P A P E R S • DECEMBER 1 996

All of which amounts to my refusal to do an overall survey of new toys on display. Suffice it to say that, whereas last year’s impression was that everyone was selling their own brand of non-lin­ ear editing system , this y ea r’s big products are virtual studios. Effectively, the virtual studio is a live-action, real time com positing system, w orking in television resolution.1 A 3D computer graphics set is designed (ahead of time)

presenter bends to pick up a real coin from underneath a virtual chair, so we see him step behind the chair, and the virtual cam era tracks down to show the underside of the chair. Live-motion capture systems reverse this effect: a real actor, wearing a suit with wires at every jo in t, dances and waves; a computer-generated cartoon character mimics the a c to r’s p e rfo r­ m ance. T h e result is that the Pink

products stood out to me as astonishingly good, however simple. Third place-get­ ter was the Hollywood Microdolly.2 A 4 kg bag contains a lightweight dolly and four metres of track, capable o f sup­ porting a camera up to 15 kg. Another bag of the same weight brings two more four-metre lengths of track. Made of air­ craft-grad e alum inium , it’s hard to imagine it working successfully in the rough terrain where the light weight

Best o f th e show? [...] R unning on a W in d o w s PC or on a M ac lin ked to a video player. The Executive Producer builds a d a ta ­ base fo r each shot in a video p ro d u ctio n .

with CG I desks, wallpaper and other objects. A television presenter works in a matte-blue studio, with any necessary chalk marks on the blue to indicate the position of the virtual set objects. A com­ puter - usually a Silicon Graphics Onyx - chromakeys the presenter into the stu­ dio background. So far, so simple: but as the camera moves, so does the view of the 3D computer-generated set. Cam­ era movements, and even focus distance and depth o f field , are fed into the Onyx, which brings various layers of the virtual set into and out of focus, and tracks its view of the set in perfect line with the real camera movement. As the SPAA SUPPLEMENT

would be its greatest advantage, but, still, a dolly and twelve metres of track weigh­ ing less than a slab o f VB is pretty H impressive. jjF Second place, and even smaller, was a brilliant idea seen on the Aaton stand, quite new, just clever. How do you ;e a mark on a set that the actor can but the camera can’t? The Synchroark3 is a simple laser torch, mounted a flexib e neck, and synchronized to camera shutter. Shutter closed, it’s on. Shuttet open, it’s off. The actor sees Panther, on screen, has a conversation the mark, the operator sees the mark, with a studio audience, aided by the the film doesn’t. And the spot of light suited actor in front of a camera but hid­ was bright enough to be seen on a wall den from the audience. One disturbing right across the exhibition hall - about effect of both these systems is that the 30 metres away. image manipulation has a propagation Best of the show? For me, the most delay of about 3 frames, and so sound impressive product was a simple logging on the PA system at the show must either system. Running on a Windows PC or be out of sync with the screen image, or on a M ac linked to a video player, The with the live actor. Perhaps the great­ Executive Producer builds a database for est skill on display is th a t o f the each shot in a video production. In- and presenter, seeing and hearing himself on ou t-tim ecod es, slate num bers, scene the monitor and speakers three frames descriptions, dialogue, time and date, roll later, and not getting confused. I’ve tried numbers, anything and everything can be it: it’s easy to fall over. logged in a completely configurable data­ At the other end of the scale, three base entry system. Complete logs can be

29


te c h n ic a litie s exported in Avid form at as well as a range of EDL styles - but sadly not in the industry standard FL eX format at this stage. As well, there are powerful search­ ing and sorting functions: to mark all the C/U shots, all those with a named char­ acter mentioned, all those shorter than a certain duration and so on. The database can be edited with many word process­ ing functions: spell checking, search and replace, for example. Instead of running a V TR, timecode can be captured from a timecode gener­ ator on the set for location logging, or can be typed in manually. The easy and adaptable style of data

entry alone would set this system high amongst its competitors. But three extra features are real crackers, and make TEP a real winner. O ne: when the PC is fitted with a video board, thumbnail size frames (160 pixels wide) can be captured, one for each logged scene. These images are included in reports in a range of styles. Illustrated post-production scripts, edit­ ing notes, storyboard reports, or library management documents are just some of the possibilities that this feature presents. The second feature? By this time I was impressed. I had spent a long time at IBC looking at this product, trying to

crystal, it becom es capable o f being developed to silver. Larger crystals have more chance of collecting photons, but still only need the same half-dozen. In a nutshell, this explains the connection between grainy films and sensitivity: fast films, in order to work in lower light lev­ els, have larger grains, collecting scarce photons over a larger surface area. Actu­ ally, most film emulsions have a range o f grain sizes. T h e larger ones are exposed in shadow areas: in brighter areas of the image, there is more light to expose the smaller grains, filling in the A G rain of T ru th gaps and making a denser, but more detailed, negative image. magazine in a waiting-room was full Colour film still works with silver of superbly-detailed photographs of society weddings and fashion parades:bromide, and the exposed crystals are in a full-length portrait of Ivanka Trumpstill developed to silver grains, but the (the daughter), you could count everymore complex processing also produces diamond. (Okay, they w eren’t small.)clouds of coloured dye around each sil­ But on the n ext page appeared somever grain. W hen the silver image is bleached away, the dye clouds remain as faint, blurry, immensely grainy photos a trace of the original silver image, and of two other famous women: one towelshow the same grainy structure. Like sil­ clad on a d istant beach, the other, ver grains, the individual dye clouds are headscarfed, getting out of a car across too small to be visible even in a projected a city square. W hy was the technical image, but they tend to clump together quality so poor, and yet acceptable? Per­ in a random arrangement, and it is this haps the captions explain it: Demi Moore - pregnant again ? and Princess C aro­ rand om , clum py arrangm ent that appears “grainy”. line - has she lost her hair? In the past few years, the film manu­ In McLuhan’s terms, the medium is facturers have learnt how to make silver the message. Here, we are being told, bromide crystals flat, rather than chunky these women have something to hide, and solid, and also how to arrange for but our photographer has caught them all the crystals to lie flat in each emul­ out! The long lens, the fast film and sion layer. As a result, the crystals present the extreme enlargement all emphasize their best face to the light, and capture the texture of the photograph itself. The photons far more efficiently. The thin, camera does not lie: it captures docu­ flat crystals then generate much smaller mentary evidence of the unannounced dye clouds, leading to finer grain for pregnancy, of the hidden alopecia. faster film than was possible before. Grain is the essence of the p h o to­ Granularity is the objective measure graphic im age: like p ixels on the of grain: taking a microscopic view of computer screen, each grain is the small­ a developed emulsion, the variation of est, indivisible part of a picture - but density between clumps of dye and the unlike pixels, the size and arrangement gaps between them and the size of the of grains is quite random. In conven­ clumps may be measured using a spe­ tional black-and-white film stocks, each cialized microdensitometer. But it is the grain is a separate granule of metallic sil­ subjective quality graininess that relates ver, correspond ing to one crystal of more directly to our experience of the silver bromide in the unexposed emul­ effect of grain. The eye is less sensitive sion. These crystals are sensitive to light: to variations at low light levels, and so once half-a-dozen photons (wave-like very dark areas in a print tend to appear particles of light) have landed on one

A

30

think of something it couldn’t do. It soon turned out that there was another fea­ ture I hadn’t even dared to consider: scene change recognition, or auto mark­ ing. W hile you leave the videotape playing and have a cup of coffee, the sys­ tem recognizes any sudden changes in scene content and marks a scene change, grabbing a thumbnail frame for refer­ ence. This feature can be trimmed to ignore flashes of lightning or other aber­ ration s, by w aiting fo r a con sisten t change over a set num ber of fram es before confirming the scene change. This column doesn’t normally offer free sales pitches. But the third feature

of The Executive Producer that took my breath away was the price. The entire software system can be yours for under $1,000. Add about the same again for a video capture card, and RS422 interface. For the cost of a local phone call, you can get a demonstration version (fullyfunctioning for up to ten scenes only) from the In tern et, at w w w .im agineproducts.com ., or from Sydney-based

less grainy. However, the lower levels of light in the original scene w ere only enough to expose the largest of the sil­ ver brom id e grains, and so, in any ob jective m easurem ent, the shadow areas must have the largest grains. Under-exposed scenes deprive every area of the image of some light, so that more large crystals and less small crystals are exposed: furthermore, by grading these scenes lig h ter, the eye’s a tten tio n is drawn to the extra granularity. Moral: avoid underexposure unless you want a grainy effect! The sense of graininess is also affected by the nature of the image itself. It seems that the eye seeks out the clearest details

readily than static patterns, and so it would be reasonable to expect the ran­ domly-changing pattern of grain from frame to frame to be noticeable - par­ ticularly in an optical freeze-frame effect. However, the viewer builds up a much more detailed image as the random grain pattern shows fine detail differently in each successive frame (a distinct advan­ tage over the fixed pattern of television or digital screens), and the sharper image tends to distract attention from the grain patterns. Optical freeze frames usually cycle through two or three still frames to keep the grain pattern moving, for this reason. Camera negative emulsions are many times faster than any lab stock - print or intermediate - and so duplication and printing cannot - strictly - add more grain: it’s all there in the original. How­ ever, the slight tricks that duplication plays with the contrast of the image can often make the image appear subjectively a little grainier. Careful grading and printer control in the lab are, of course, vital to getting the best results. What about grain removal on telecine or digital imaging systems? Aperture cor­ rectio n is an electro n ic system of increasing the apparent sharpness of a scanned image by boosting the high-fre­ quency variations in the image signal. The technique adds a sharper edge to image details, but also outlines every element of grain in the same way. The grain can be suppressed by reducing aperture correc­ tion, but inevitably at the expense of image sharpness. Similarly, digital filters can reduce the effect of pixel-by-pixel variations in the image, but grain struc­ ture and fine image detail are affected alike. As we have seen though, grain is m ost ob jection ab le w here it is the sharpest element of the image: in these circumstances, grain suppression does lit­ tle harm to the image itself. E xcep t where the grain is the real story. Often cinematographers choose a grainier stock for its “gritty reality” look, rather than for its speed. Is Art imitating Life, or are the paparazzi the trendset­ ters for a creative look? Perhaps not, after all. ©

Colour film still w orks w ith silver bromide, and the exposed crystals are still developed to silver grains, but the more complex processing also produces clouds of coloured dye around each silver grain. as a key for understanding the image. In a brightly-lit, sharply-focused scene, there is plently to lock on to, and the grain structure goes unnoticed. But where the focus is a little bit edgy, or a wide aper­ ture has put much of the scene out of focus, then the sharpest detail to look at is the grain itself. Similarly, in dim or flat light, the light-and-dark pattern of the grain is as strong as the subject, but, with a key light thrown in, the same scene can suddenly appear grain-free. W e tend to notice movement more

agents Adimex on (02) 9 3 3 2 4 4 4 4 . 1 In Australia, Techtel have supplied the first Elcomvirtual studio to Channel 7 Sydney. 2 Inquiries to ASC on (02) 9901 4455. 3 Available from Lemac (03) 9427 9344.

C I N E M A P A P E R S • DECEMBER 1 996 • S P A A S U P P L E M E N T


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from Ken, brought it down to whatever it runs 110 or 115 minutes.

Brealey decided to follow the same approach. His approach was based on clear dramatic principles:

B realey recalls the dropping o f a sub-plot w hich

Audiences will forgive you if you leap sequences, if

was to have considerable ramifications: “One element [thrown out] was the developing love scene between

in fact there is not necessarily an absolute linear

[Foley and] the girl, because basically it wasn’t shot.” During production, Brealey had regularly viewed

them or if you destroy the illusion of the film that you are creating.

rushes, and had noticed that one scene was poorly covered and that there were not enough angles and takes to enable the scene to be edited . T h is was intended to con tain a suggestion o f a love scene between Foley and Sheila near the pigpen: Up came a wide shot, which was absolutely w on­ derful. Fantastic black clouds coming out of sky and absolutely wonderful with light coming through it. I said, “ G od th a t’s w o n d erfu l”, and he [M att] said, “Well, you had better enjoy that, because that’s all you are going to g e t.” T here were no scenes, there was no dialogue. The whole sequence had been dropped w ithout my permission. The scene could not be cut for emphasis and was not included. Because this relationship was not developed. Other scen es, such as when F oley sees the ro u seab ou t M ichael Simpson (Gregory Apps) in bed with Sheila at the end of the film, were also cut. Brealey feels the major reason for the cut was the unsatisfactory cast­ ing o f the ch a ra cte r w ho plays the ro u seab ou t. H annam cast an a cto r fo r the ro le who was not only taller than Jack Thompson, but who was too old to p o rtray the callow lad requ ired in the script. B realey feels this casting decision destroyed the dynamics of the sub-plot:

structure, but they will not forgive you if you bore

W orking with Rod Adamson, Brealey assembled a spare and economical version of the film. This meant throwing out many scenes which had required con­ siderable w ork and were treasured by the director and other crew members. D avid S tr a tto n ’s a cco u n t o f the p ro d u ctio n

frame, which became almost a hallmark of Australian films of the time, followed by a montage of the empty shearing shed. M cFarlane and M ayer com m ent on the prevalence of “lowkey endings, often involving a closing caption [...] all ending on a deliberately muted, expository note.”29 In the case of Sunday, the caption read “But it wasn’t so much the money, it was the bloody insult.” M att Carroll believes that the script was shot as planned and the ending was as originally intended: “That was always Ken’s ending. That was where it all ended in the script and that was how Ken shot it.”

losses. The “entire subplot”26 cut was the relationship betw een Sheila and M ichael, which was removed because of poor performances, according to Matt Car­ ro ll: “T h e girl who played S h eila w asn ’t a very good actress, and the whole thing didn’t work, so basically that sub-plot came out. That was basically what was done.” Brealey also made the significant decision to have the shortened version of Sunday m usically scored , w hich im plies that the editing process had been “locked off”. Hannam learned that the film had been recut and returned to South Australia to view the completed

unday T oo Far Away premiered at the Quin­ zaine des Réalisateurs (Directors’ Fortnight) at Cannes in May 1975, the first Australian film to be selected for this event. It was a major critical success. In June, it opened the Sydney Film Festi­ val to an invited and predominantly industry-based audience, which responded to the film’s energy and overw helm ing visual authen ticity. R um ours had already been spreading in the local industry about the troubled post-production phase. M any wondered what had been cut and what the film would have been like if Dingwall’s script had been filmed in its entirety. The legend, as reported by David Stratton, is that both Dingwall’s script and Ken Hannam’s realization of it

version. Arguments ensued between Hannam and Carroll, and Brealey finally agreed to reinsert some shots the director wanted, but rejected others on tech­ nical grounds. O ne such scene included a faulty cam era shot. A shot of the strikers at the station started with a slight camera shake, and Brealey insisted it could not be used. Hannam’s reaction to this deci­ sion was given by David Stratton in The Last N ew Wave: “I can’t get over the fact that the editor didn’t use that shot [...] it simply should have been used.”27 The release version of Sunday was the producer’s cut o f a m uch m ore com p lex n arrativ e, and the producer was the individual who shouldered the ulti­ mate responsibility for the film’s apparent failure to realize its potential. Brealey became the target for many attacks from within the industry, as summa­ rized by David Stratton in 1 9 8 0 : “Ja ck Thom pson [...] feels that in its longer version Sunday T oo Far Away was one of the finest achievements of the Aus­ tralian cinema, if not the finest.”28 Sunday ends with a curiously enigm atic freeze

had been irreparably damaged by the heavy-handed approach of the producer. W ith considerable hindsight, it is apparent that Ken Hannam translated Dingwall’s script into fine performances by Jack Thompson and a strong sup­ porting cast. T he bush ethos and the lives o f the shearers are convincingly realized and the lighting and art direction by G eo ff Burton and Bob C o p ­ ping give the film a pow erful sense of place and authenticity. The period elements are exceptionally well-handled, and this was to prove an influential achievement in terms of the developing Australian industry as a whole. On the debit side, the heavy cuts and manipula­ tion of the storyline and script defuse much of the film ’s character conflict and scenes of com petition and dispute are diluted. Some notable exceptions are Foley’s battle to get rid of an appalling cook, and the death of Old Garth, which Dingwall states was __ a verbatim depiction of scenes he had heard or witnessed. An authentic vision of the under- P ® ®

referred to the loss of the love affaire between the girl and the rouseabout as one of the m ajor narrative

The fact that he was a 15-year-old runt was vital to the screenplay, and I think Ken did a major piece of damage to the film, which went on to be one of the reasons why we had to do such a major cut in the film. That character just didn’t work, and as much of it was with the girl. This was one of our biggest problems when we came to look at the film. Brealey, by this stage, was becoming more and more anxious about how best to com plete the film, and showed it to others in the business, including the SAFC’s John M orris and an unnamed distributor: I got it down a bit further and then I had a screen­ ing for Jo h n M o rris, and a couple o f the other m em bers o f s ta ff th a t had com e ov er. T h e ir response was that it was unshowable. We had some advice from a distributor who came across to have a look at it. He didn’t want to know about it. What was w rong with it? T o o many diverse sub-plots that weren’t resolved, a romantic relationship that wasn’t established - all the obvious things that I had thought was wrong with it. B realey was fo rced to consid er radical action to save the film, and save the SAFC. Obviously, Sunday in its longer form did not appeal to distribution inter­ ests, Hannam seemed to have lost interest in the final outcome, and only Brealey and the editor, the patient and conscientious Rod Adamson, were left working on the film. Brealey came to a difficult and ultimately unpopular decision that was to have a devastating effect on his career and his attitude to filmmaking. He was angry with Hannam’s lack of interest in the post-production stages and decided to exercise his own force m ajeure: “I had to decide that I was not going to let Ken get away with it and that I was going to take responsibility for it.” B realey had co n sid erab le ex p e rien ce at Film Australia in restructuring dramatic films, when a final decision could not be made as to final content or nar­ rative form. He had reworked Peter W eir’s segment “Michael” in the portmanteau film Three to Go (Peter W eir, Brian Hannant, Oliver Howes, 1970). T o arrive at a releaseable version o f Sunday, C I N E M A P A P E R S • DECEMBER 1996

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T h e l m a SCHOONMAKER INTERVIEWED b y J a m e s S h e r l o c k

Why Thelma Loves Marty In between editing the films of Martin Scorsese, Thelma Schoonmaker promotes the work of her late husband, Michael Powell.

were made, anything like that. I thought I was going to become a diplomat. I was brought up outside the United States because my father wanted to run an oil company. I was born in Algeria and grew up in the W est Indies and came to the States when I was 15. I went to college and studied political science and the Russian language, but was told by the State Department that I was too idealistic. I did some graduate work in New York city and saw an ad in The N ew York Times saying someone was willing to train an assistant film edi­ tor. It was just a stroke o f luck, because nobody

rom an early age, were you influenced by films to go into editing?

who was butchering the films o f V isconti, Fellini, Antonioni and Truffaut for late-night television slots. My job was to help him subtitle things like Shoot the Piano Player and II Gridoh Because of that, I was able to study these films back and forth on the Movi­ ola as I measured them for subtitles. The editor also taught me a little bit about negative cutting. After about six months, however, I couldn’t stom­

T h ere was this amazing television p ro­ gramme here called Million Dollar Movie,

ach what he was doing to these great film s anym ore. But I did learn th at I wanted to do something more in film. I then saw that there was a sum mer

which would take a classic film and run it nine times in one week. M artin Scorsese

course in film production at New York University, a six-week course where they

was able to use that programme as a way to ob sessively study film s th a t w ere intriguing to him as a child and young man. Some of the ones that were the most interesting to him were the films of Pow­ ell and Pressburger, the films of Visconti and Fellini, things like that.

put small groups of people together to make a short film. That is where I met M arty, who was attending the Univer­ sity, majoring in film. I wasn’t working

F

I didn’t know Marty then, but I also was w atching M illion D ollar M ovie. This is why my late husband, M ichael Pow ell, called his second volume of autobiogra­ phy M illion D o lla r M ov ie. H e fe lt he was rescued from oblivion by Marty, who then came to England to find him and res­ u rrect the w hole canon o f Pow ell and Pressburger films. I remember being par­ ticu larly affected by seeing my future husband’s film , T he L ife an d D eath o f

C olonel Blim p [1943], on Million D ollar M ovie when I was about sixteen. I also remember being deeply moved by

The Red Shoes [1948] in a movie theatre when I was about twelve. That film meant a great deal to me, but I had no idea how to get into the film business, or how films

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advertises those jobs in the film business. You get jobs purely by w ord-of-m outh recom m endations from editor to editor. My new boss turned out to be a terrible old hack

on his film, but the person who had cut the negative ruined it and he needed som eone w ho knew a little b it about negative cutting. Because I’d learned a little bit from this butcher, I went over and helped M arty recut his negative. That is how we met! [Laughs.] Was that Who's that Knocking at M y Door (1968)? N o, it was a little student film called

What is a Nice Girl like You Doing in a Place like This? [1963]. There was a par­ ticularly good group of students there th a t y ear: M ic h a e l W a d le ig h , w ith whom we later made W oodstock [1970], and Jim M cBride, for example. It was a fantastic time at the film school. Some o f us got together and started making d ocu m en taries in the streets o f N ew Y ork and small films for television — and out of that came W oodstock. C I N E M A P A P E R S • DECEMBER 1996


CINEMA

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â&#x20AC;¢ DECEMBER 1 9 9 6


H o w s o o n d o y o u b e c o m e in v o lv e d in a p ro je c t?

I start on the first day of shooting. Marty usually gives me the script a little bit before that. He doesn’t like to cloud my mind with all of his problems during the scriptwriting. My job is to look at the dailies cold on the screen and tell him if anything isn’t working. I read the script once and then try to put it aside and not to look at it again unless I absolutely have to. I just like the film to evolve on the screen. H o w lo n g d id it ta k e to c u t Raging Bull?

It took a long time because we were waiting for De Niro to go through various weight changes. Marty would stop shooting and we would edit until De Niro had gotten to his first weight gain. We shot on both coasts, so there was a good deal o f moving involved. It to o k a lo t longer than an ordinary film because of that. We shut down twice while De Niro ate his way through France or Italy - I’m not sure which. Y o u r la te h u s b a n d M ic h a e l P o w e ll w a s an a b s o lu te ly b r illia n t film m a k e r , a re m a r k a b le m a n a n d , o f c o u rs e , a m a jo r fo rc e in e s ta b lis h in g th e Y o u w e r e a s s is ta n t d ire c to r on Woodstock. H a v e y o u e v e r h a d a d e s ire to p u rs u e t h a t career?

No, I never have. Maybe if I weren’t working for such a brilliant director, I would. But Scorsese sets himself a challenge with each film he makes - some­ thing th at he w ants to try , or learn to do, to experim ent with - and therefore I’m learning in every film with him. It is just the best job in the world as far as I’m concerned. B ac k in th e d a y s o f N Y U , d id y o u re a liz e t h a t th e r e w a s s o m e th in g h a p p e n in g , t h a t h e w a s ...?

Oh, yes. Scorsese’s first student film, It’s N ot Just You Murray, which won the National Student Film Award, had early strokes of genius in it. It was quite clear to us that he was special. We all helped him finish his first feature, W ho’s that Knocking at My Door?, and he asked me to help him edit it. He already had such strong, brilliant

everything but the camerawork, which was done by W adleigh. The union was very restrictive in Los Angeles in those days, and, when Marty asked me to come out there and work with him, it turned out I couldn’t because I wasn’t in the union. It wasn’t until Raging Bull that the producer, Irwin Winkler, got me into the union and, from that point on, I’ve been lucky enough to edit all of M arty’s movies. In 1 9 8 0 , y o u w e n t on to w in th e A c a d e m y A w a r d w ith Raging Bull. H o w d id y o u fe e l to w in th e O s c a r a n d to e v e n tu a lly fin d o u t it w a s v o te d th e b e s t A m e ric a n film o f th e '80s?

Oh, we were very proud of that. My feelings on Oscar night were very conflicted, though, because I was so devastated that Marty didn’t win. How they could have turned him down just seemed impossi­ ble to me. De Niro also won an Oscar that night, which was wonderful.

B ritis h film in d u s try . Y o u 'v e a lre a d y m e n tio n e d t h a t h e w a s a m a jo r in flu e n c e o n S c o rs e s e , as w e sa id b e fo re , w ith The Life and Death o f Colonel Blimp. W h a t o f th e h ig h ly c o n tro v e rs ia l b u t in s p ira tio n a l Peeping Tom (1 9 6 0 ), w h ic h is e x tr e m e ly p o p u la r w ith film s c h o o ls in A u s tra lia .

M arty was incredibly influenced by Peeping Tom . He felt so strongly about it that, when he discov­ ered that Michael Powell was still alive, he arranged to have the film entered in the New York Film Fes­ tival, even though it had been made years before. It was eligible because it had never been given a proper distribution in this country. It was a huge success at the Festival and the rebirth of the Powell-Pressburger films was off and running. Marty also put up some of his own money to get the film distributed here in the U.S. M ic h a e l P o w e ll a c tu a lly c a m e to A u s tra lia a n d d id They're a Weird Mob (1 9 6 6 ) a n d Age o f Consent

’Marty and I have worked so long together that we are almost like one mind . We play at fighting, sometimes, just to release tension. We have fun arguments. but we always work it out. ideas about camera movement, and particularly edit­ ing, and a great gift for getting the best out of actors, even though he had never been taught about acting. He portrayed the neighbourhood where he grew up with fascinating reality. T h e re is a te n -y e a r g a p b e tw e e n Street Scenes (1970) a n d Raging Bull (19 80 ). W e r e y o u still as s o c ia te d w ith S co rsese?

I would include W oodstock in that period, because M arty did work on it for a while. Once Marty went to Hollywood, I couldn’t work for him because I wasn’t in the union. As young filmmakers protesting against the Vietnam War and supporting the civil rights movement, we never had to be in the union. W e all loaded film magazines, drove the cars, tied into electrical sources, ran sound, pushed the wheelchair we used as a dolly - we did

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I was backstage being interviewed when I found out M arty had lost and it took a great deal of the pleasure out of the evening for me, because it was such an injustice. I could not believe that remark­ able film had not been voted Best Film , or that Marty would not have been voted Best Director. The reason we won Editing was because of the fight sequences, and they were so beautifully thought out by M arty. He had a different conception for each fight, and there were eight in the movie different size of ring, a different attitude for each one, incredible camera moves, and a very sharp edit­ ing conception. That is what made them so brilliant and that is why I won the award. So, I’ve always said that in a way it is M arty’s Oscar. I was particularly proud when Raging Bull was named best film of the decade. That really meant a great deal to me.

(1 9 6 9 ). B o th th e s e film s , w h ile re le a s e d o n v id e o a lo n g t im e a g o , h a v e v irtu a lly d is a p p e a re d . Is a n y o f P o w e ll's w o r k tie d u p in c o p y r ig h t p r o b le m s o r litig a tio n ?

I understand from M ichael Pow ell’s son, Kevin P ow ell, who lives in C an berra, th at there is an attempt to get Weird M ob re-released in Australia this year. I hope they can get both Weird M ob and Age o f Consent restored.

Age o f C onsent had a very nice score by Peter Sculthorpe that was removed by Columbia Pictures when they got the film . M ichael was very upset about the music Columbia put in the film and told me he wanted to get the original score put back in. W e are working on that. I b e lie v e y o u a re a ls o w o r k in g in c o n ju n c tio n w it h th e B ritis h F ilm In s titu te in p re s e rv in g his w o rk ?

C I N E M A P A P E R S • DECEMBER 1996


Yes, they have done a wonderful job of restoring many of the Powell-Pressburger films. They have got­ ten grants from people like Sainsburys to pay for the restorations, which are very expensive. Michael was lucky that so many of his early films were in colour, which may have contributed to them being restored early. He made some of the first Technicolor films in England. Rank Films also took pretty good care of the negatives, which was most important. The staff of the British Film Institute have been incredibly devoted to the work of Powell and Press­ burger, for which I am very grateful. W h a t has b e e n y o u r m o s t d iffic u lt jo b as an ed ito r? H av e y o u a n d S c o rs e s e e v e r c o m e to lo g g e rh e a d s a t s o m e th in g ?

W e’ve only disagreed a couple of times on key things. De N iro and I at one p o in t w ondered whether the last speech in Raging Bull, where Jake

Fa M otta is looking at himself in the mirror and rehearsing the “I could have been a champ” speech

each other o ff so w onderfully. On some o f the scenes in Raging Bull, Marty couldn’t get two cam­

from On the 'Waterfront, should have been a warmer

eras in the room, which made it very difficult to cut

performance. Marty had shot De N iro doing the speech in varying degrees of em otion. He felt strongly that Bob should be stripped of emotion

the footage, because I would get a very funny line from Pesci and not have De Niro’s response on cam­ era. But, w ith much tim e and e ffo rt, it finally

when he confronts himself in the mirror. De Niro

came together in a way that preserved all the best

and I wondered whether a warmer take was better. So, we screened it once with one take and then once

moments. I love cutting this kind of improvisation because

with the other. And Bob and I saw that Marty was absolutely right.

it calls on some of the things I learned as a docu­ mentary filmmaker. You are given a whole bunch

Marty and I have worked so long together that we are almost like one mind [laughs]. We play at fight­ ing, sometimes, just to release tension. We have fun arguments, but we always work it out.

of footage and you have to find a shape for it. But it can sometimes be quite back-breaking work. You

The hardest thing I’ve ever had to do on one of his films is get brilliant improvisation to cut together, particularly between De Niro and Pesci. They spark

just think, “I’ll never get this to work”, and then you have to go home and come back the next morning and dread turning on the m achine, because you don’t think you can find a solution. But gradually you find a way. A re y o u still in t h a t s itu a tio n n o w ? A re y o u r e y es still o p e n in g to o th e r film m a k e rs a n d th e v a s t te c h n iq u e s ?

You never stop learning. Before we did Casino, I worked for a year on Marty’s documentary for the BFI and Channel 4 called A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese through American Movies. I got to spend a great deal of time digesting the work of filmmakers that Marty' had admired over the years, and I just loved it. You can learn so much from the films made before you. It can be quite humbling, but so exciting and inspiring. You feel restored sometimes when discovering a great film you never knew about. For Marty, it is equivalent to the way painters go to museums and study the work of painters who came before them. He studies older films because it refuels him. It gives him a lift. It gives him the inspi­ ration to go on. He never copies those older films, though. W hatever inspiration they give him he digests and it comes out as something his own. It is the spark, the spark that something like The Red Shoes gave him: the emotion, the power, the guts, the brilliant camera work, the editing, the colour, the use of music - all of it so deeply influences him. Is th e r e a n y o th e r d ire c to r y o u h a v e e v e r h a d a d e s ire to w o r k w ith ?

I would like to have worked with my husband, but that wasn’t possible. Marty is the best director in the world as far as I’m concerned, and I look for­ ward to each film with great excitem en t. And because he is such a good teacher, I get to share his love of film history. It is like going to the best film school in the world, and having the best job in the world. Now what more could you ask for? He also introduced me to my husband, so I’ve had all the luck anyone could ever ask for in life. H o w lo n g d id it ta k e to e d it Casino?

It took us almost a year because it was so big. It was really like editing two films. D o yo u h a v e a p e rs o n a l fa v o u r ite fro m his o v e ra ll b o d y o f w o r k , w h ic h d iffe rs so m u ch?

No, I love them all for different reasons. The Last Tem ptation o f Christ [1988] was a deeply spiri­ tual experience for all of us, and we are looking forward to the Dalai Tama film for that reason. Marty is not a devotee of the Dalai Fama, but the subject matter is one close to his heart: the collision of the spiritual and the physical - the clash of a holy man like the Dalai Fama and a political being like Mao Zedong. S co rs es e's m o th e r p la ys an im p o rta n t p a rt in Casino, a s c en e -stea lin g se q u e n ce. W h a t is she like?

She has a w onderful sense o f hum our, slightly surreal, which has influenced Marty a lot. She has C I N E M A P A P E R S • DECEMBER 1996

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H o w d id t h a t c o m p a r e to t h e o ld fa ith fu l s y s te m ?

W ell, I resisted it very much [laughs]. I was bad. I didn’t want to do it, but I had a wonderful, patient trainer. After about two weeks, I was off and run­ ning and stopped complaining, because it is very, very fast. T h e w ond erfu l thing is th at you can save your cut and then just take a copy of it, which takes about a second, and then rip into it with some revolutionary ideas and not worry if it doesn’t work because you’ve still got your old cut there as well. It makes experimentation easier. The only down factor is the image is pretty bad, but they are going to improve that year by year, and it is very, very fast — very expensive, but very fast. B e tw e e n p ro je c ts , w h a t d o y o u do? I g e t th e im p r e s ­ sio n th e r e is a lo t o f d o c u m e n ta r y w o r k g o in g o n .

Yes, there are the documentaries M arty is making about the history of the movies. He is just starting one on the history of Italian cinema. I hke to go back to my husband’s cottage in Eng­ land whenever I can. But I’m getting less and less time to do that these days. M y stepson, Columba, lives there when I am not there. I love being back there surrounded by Michael’s books and his paint­ ings, and the house he lived in for 2 0 years. W e were married in the little church in the village and he is buried there, only a short distance from the cottage. A fin a l q u e stio n : H a v e " film re s to ra tio n " an d " p re s e rv a tio n " a lw a y s b e e n 'd irty ' w o rd s ?

Marty got involved in trying to do something about the fading of old films during the making of Raging Bull. He had been complaining bitterly of the qual­ ity of the prints he was seeing in retrospectives in LA and N ew Y ork. O ne day he ju st got furious about it and decided to call up Eastman Kodak and say, “W hat the hell is going on there. W hy is this film fading?” He decided to use the publicity tour for Raging Bull as a way to go around the world and try to teach people about the need for preservation. He asked me to come along to explain some of the technical information. W e did lectures in Los Ange­ les, Tokyo, London and Venice. Out of that grew the m ovem ent that is now m aking a d ifference. Archivists at museums had been trying to do this for years, but now filmmakers themselves became involved and began to badger the studios to start looking after the great treasures in their vaults. R o b e rt H a rris is a m a jo r in flu e n c e in film re s to ra tio n .

Oh yes, huge. F ilm C a re , th e c o m p a n y t h a t I'v e ju s t s ta r te d , w o u ld n 't b e fo r m in g as r a p id ly if it w a s n 't fo r his in v o lv e m e n t.

a great love of music, which has also made its mark on him. He puts her in his films because she just responds very naturally to whatever situation he cre­ ates. She enters into it completely as if it is real. In the scene in C asino , he had to keep saying to her, “Now just do that again. Tell him not to use swear words”, and she would answer, “I am trying to do that, but he w on’t listen!” She makes every take very fresh. Marty never prepared her for the scene in G oodFellas where she feeds Jo e Pesci and De N iro and Ray Liotta in the middle of the night, while unbe­ knownst to her they have a dead body in the trunk o f their car outside, which they have to bury. He just told her to react to whatever the conversation was. She has known Jo e and Bob for so long that it was very easy for her to just do that. She is great. S c o rs e s e v e r y ra re ly s h o o ts in C in e m a s c o p e . Is t h a t fo r re a s o n s o f v id e o a n d te le v is io n ?

46

Marty shoots in Super 35, a kind of an artificial Cin­ emascope so that he doesn’t have to pan and scan for television. He shoots a flat image in the camera — sh o o tin g in to the area o f the fram e usually reserved for the track — thereby getting a wider image. He frames up in the frame, so that he can use the bottom part of the fram e for television. W hen we are ready to finish the film, we make a flat interpositive and then blow-up and squeeze the image to a dupe negative, thereby allowing us to get a track onto the film.

Now they are raising money for film preservation on A M C, a cable channel here in the U.S. People have sent in large amounts of money because of the little blurbs that are run on the channel several times a year, which alert them to the crises of fading films. D o y o u d o a n y r e s to ra tio n w o r k th e re ?

N o, the restoration work is done at museums or archives like UCLA. M arty’s Lilm Loundation is dedicated to trying to get the studios to reserve their own vaults. Some o f them are doing a better job than others. Paramount has a beautiful temperature-

W hen it comes to putting the film on video, we use the flat interpositive and use the bottom part to avoid panning and scanning. Marty detests panning and scanning. He feels it is a real violation of the director’s composition. I b e lie v e Casino w a s e d ite d o n d ig ita l c o m p u te r.

Yes, it was.

Tirez au pianiste (François Truffaut, 1960), Il Grido (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1957).

C I N E M A PAPERS

DECEMBER 1996


C I N E M A P A P E R S â&#x20AC;¢ DECEMBER 1 996

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shorts

Local Explorer Marg O’Shea examines Kathryn Millard's multi-hued Parklands arklands is a 50-minute film set in A delaide, spanning the week after the death of Cliff (Tony M artin), a for­ mer policem an. His daughter, Rosie (Cate Blanchett), believes she has reason to investi­ gate the last years of his life.

Parklands uses archival footage of Adelaide, mainly from the ’50s and ’60s, to create a collective image bank. In addition, it recreates scenes from that period. In writing about Parklands, it seems important to convey the sense of ambi­ guity with which writer-director Kathryn Millard has imbued her film. She insists on the ambiguities of lived experience, her dissatisfactions with neat endings, and her exploration of a cinematic form, rich like life. The parklands of Adelaide were described in the instructions to Ade­ laide’s surveyor, Colonel William Light, as the buffer zone between work and home. If I could, I’d use the metaphor of flowers to talk about the film: the beautiful allure of the film’s beginning buds; textu res in their heads, stems and petals; and colour gradations too beautiful for a plan, too precious to fade. But Millard refines this dewy view: The parkland is a metaphor. All that flower imagery that goes through the film - I have deeply ambivalent feel­ ings about that. I’m extremely attracted to the nostalgia around that kind of imagery as well as seeing it as repre­ senting a kind of order that may be very containing. Some botanic and municipal gardens are extraordinarily ordered. Ever}-thing is in its right place.

They’re beautiful but they have a feel­ ing of being rigid.

Parklands thrives on the thrill of explo­ ration. In a loose narrative of investigation and mystery, Rosie returns to Adelaide to attend the wake of her father. Millard: I think those times when somebody dies are times when the past can overwhelm the present. Rosie is overwhelmed by conflicting impressions and memories. It does seem that there are many unre­ solved issues in the relationship with her father, also a sense of fear associated with the police force, a sense of her

At script stage, the various strands of

Parklands.

Parklands each took on a colour. M il­

Millard noted a prominence of the colour red in her archival research:

lard d oesn’t subscribe to a strict colour-coding system like, say, the sys­ tem French composer Olivier Messaien was reputed to have used. But emerald green, for instance, follows particular characters and the use of red has been earlier described. This red was also a result of the way the scenes were shot, by director of pho­ tography Mandy W alker.1 Millard:

This is partly because of the reversal film stock used. That became an idea for the [scenes of] childhood memo­ ries, and the idea that you remember the past through the photographic technologies of particular periods. Millard also cites cross-cultural com ­ m entators who confirm ch ild ren ’s

C liff (Tony M a rtin ), Y oung R osie (C o rrin n e A m m e rla n ) and Y oung A n d re w (S te fa n S apio). J j U S k K ath ryn M illa rd 's P arklan d s.

father being quite a secretive person. It may be [characteristic of] men of his generation, especially policemen, or it may be that he has something to be secretive about. They remain open questions. Cinematically articulate and resourceful, Millard has borrowed genre conventions

preference for red and yellow. And she confirms that this is her personal recol­ lection of early childhood. So it is no surprise that key objects are red in the recollections of Rosie’s early Adelaide years: red shoes, red chairs, a red bal­ loon. “The past wasn’t all black and white, you know”, Millard quips.

"I th in k different themes demand different kinds of storytelling." to support her investigative story-strand using events like late-night drives in police cars, and “a cool kind of look for the investigative stuff”. Importantly, for scenes of recent memory, the camera is quite still: “I see that as recent memory not being endlessly recomposed.” In por­ traying Rosie’s recollection of childhood

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grapher whose vision of the world was in black and white.

events, archival footage both revealed and prompted technical responses from the collaborative creative team behind

Light Years, Millard’s previous film about black-and-white photographer Olive Cotton, was born of her strong interest, albeit with no formal education, in the visual arts: I became very aware of my own sense of colour through this process of mak­ ing a docum entary about a photo-

What Mandy and I both liked about this process was that the results were never totally reliable. I have this notion of unstable colour and colouring the past. And you know the way in which mem­ ories shift and fade? That’s something I’m keen to embrace. Maybe it hints at something about the unreliability of memory - not in a negative way. In the same way, idealized, archived Ade­ laide shows houses Duluxed fresh, in matte and gloss everlasting. The home’s interiors, from the women to the walls, are stained and shone to catch the eye. But on hot nights the kids of Parklands watch television out in the yard in the pal­ pable warmth of their parents’ porch love. It’s one of the “bits that don’t fit in to the idealized world offered in the images of the ’60s”. EMs ’ The backdrop of the film ’s C I N E M A P A P E R S • DECEMBER 1996


f [ § I §

D IG IT A L & B E T A C A M S P E D IT IN G S U I T E S G R A P H IC S STA TIO N • P H O T O S H O P A F T E R E F F E C T S FIN A L E F F E C T S INFINI-D

S E R I E S • D O C U M E N T A R IE S • F E A T U R E S TRAINING VIDEOS • TVC'S • MULTI-MEDIA • C O R PO R A TES 2N D F L O O R , 2 0 C L A R K E S T , C R O W S N E S T N S W 2 0 6 5

T E L : 9 4 3 7 5 3 7 7 • FA C SIM ILE (0 2 ) 9 9 0 6 4 8 4 1


»

I n v e s t i n g in

t h e

Future m PRO JECT DEVELO PM ENT S c rip t D e v e lo p m e n t an d M a rk e tin g s c h e m e s fo r a p p lic a n ts w ith s c re e n c re d its , a n d s u p p o rt fo r Q u e e n s la n d p ro d u c ers A D D U C T IO N IN V E S T M E N T F U N D ro v id e s e q u ity fin a n c e to c a s h flo w p ro d u c tio n s C R E A T IV E D E V E L O P M E N T N e w w rite rs , d ire c to rs an d p ro d u c e rs a re s u p p o rte d th ro u g h sh o rt film , d o c u m e n ta ry w ritin g a n d p ro d u cin g s c h e m e s P R O F E S S IO N A L D E V E L O P M E N T D e v e lo p m e n t of skills fo r w rite rs , d ire c to rs , p ro d u c e rs an d p ro d u c tio n p e rs o n n e l CULTURAL DEVELO PM ENT S u p p o rtin g film c u ltu re th ro u g h in d u stry o rg a n is a tio n s , F e s tiv a ls an d A w a rd s an d IP c u ltu ra l sp o n s o rs h ip s P le a s e c o n ta c t us fo r m o re in fo rm a tio n T e le p h o n e 0 7 3 2 2 4 4 5 3 6 Toll F re e Ph 1 8 0 0 1 7 5 531 F a c s im ile 0 7 3 2 2 4 5 8 0 4 Toll F re e F a x 1 8 0 0 1 7 5 5 3 2 FILM QUEENSLAND


Reliving Sue B rjan ' ~

* '

M cFM lane

examines howwdLlr D. H. Lawrence’s favourite character in literature conies to life in Jude

4 52

T w o Law s /M il:

j

Aflhite and Aboriginal law clash Nicholas Parsons’ nervy actio: thriller, Dead Heart N ery investigates R ob

S h e an d He Rolf de H eer’s .

1995 Cannes entry

54

Epsilon is finally due for Australian release, and D f.NA G leesok is moved by the experience

%

in review

A WA L K A C R O S S W E S S E X • WI LL FI ND YOU TRUE LOVE

EPSILON |

Director: Roti de Heer. Producers; Domenico Procacci, Rolf de Heer9s Co-prabjcer: Giuseppe Pedersoli. % Line producer; Sharon Jackson. Scriptwriter: Rolf de Heer. Director of s photography: Tony Clark.Sound j designer: Peter D. Smith. Editof^Ta®.^ j \ Nehme. Composer: Graham Tardif. Cast: Dili Birve (She), Syd Brisbane (He). Australian distributor: Roadshow. 1996.35mm, AustraliaTtaly. 102 mins.

T

he most fantastic thing about this film is the motion-control

photography, real-time characters

man, against the Earth. Thé man must help her leave, she says.

^

She shows him the people

^

scurrying around like insect life/ as though there was no time left. She notes tnafthemiore she slows things down, the faster things go^if She likens a human being to a frog placed in cold water and slowly heated anti! it dies. Human beings don’t want to"stop, to look at what’s

on a time-lapse background in the

happening around them, the devas­

most spectacular landscape loca­

tation, the pollution and that soon

tions. Epsilon’s drama is the story

the Earth and humans will die.

of time and planet Earth. A woman from planet Epsilon drops unexpectedly onto planet

The irrationality of human’s refusal to heed the obvious infuriates her; she must teach the Earth man

Earth. She meets a man, a surveyor,

the lesson of environmental truth.

camping alone in the Australian

They fight, they hurt, they fall in

desert. She demands to know where

love as, of course, they must. She

she is, and, when she finds out she is

embodies the intellect, he is unable

on Earth, she rages - against the

to think of his body. Their desire to be together effects a reconfiguring of time, and, for planet Earth, a hero. The reference to Huxley’s Brave New World in the film’s title has to be an ironic one. In Huxley’s tale,

Peter Greenaway's new film is an audacious and multi-layered w ork in which the spell of the Orient is insistent and vivid. Greenaway returns to The Pillow Book of the M inor Counsellor (Shonagon) of the tenth century in Japan, in order to fashion an intricate but stylish meditation on the nature of the im age and the text, and on the functions of writing, inscribing and signing. "

i

'

C I N E M A P A P E R S • DECEMBER 1996

p

52

Epsilons are the people of the lowest caste in a mass-production society where babies are decanted from bottles and exposure to certain chemicals and conditionings prede­ termines caste. Epsilons are starved of oxygen in order to keep them below par and suited to the lowest levels of work. Like humans in Epsilon, they “breathe the foul air”. Also in Brave New World, all the castes - Alphas, Betas through Epsilons - are conditioned to class-consciousness and emotional regulation through sleep teaching whispers from under the pillow,

51


or hypnopasdia. Five hundred

For me, this diminished the sense

nation. We’re finding that we’re

repetitions once a week from age

of possibility, the magic of the film

reinventing certain aspects of

thirteen to seventeen, for instance,

unfolding as shamanic journey.

cinema, but we’re also finding

could instil “progress is lovely” as

Nor does the film’s story in the

that we’re doing things that have

truth in an Alpha brain.

recut close in the present time, and

clearly never been done before.

the spiritual notion of Jungian indi­

There are times when there’s a

The time-lapse photography in

new cinema language at work.

Epsilon offers the majestic image

viduation is given over to the more

of the Earth as a breathing, moving

traditionally political notion of the

For me, Epsilon is an epic two-

form of awesome wonder. The

gifted leader (a man, of course). But

hander, both intimate yet expansive,

secrets of the cinema, time and

I’m more than probably being picky.

dealing with the most personal

repetition, here reveal the spirit

De Heer shot the film across a

(love) and the most public (the

of nature. It’s a hypnoptedic lesson

twelve-month period with a core

earth). If the experience of

from Rolf de Heer you won’t

block of ten people, including the

watching is half as powerful as

forget.

two actors, Ulli Birve (She) and

the experience of making it, we

Syd Brisbane (He), who both give

wall have succeeded.

I must admit, though, I liked the film better when I saw it at the AFI

wonderful performances. Epsilon

The film is a murmur of voices

screenings last year. The framing

is de Heer’s second collaboration

on a canvas to rival Koyannisquatsi

device, whence the story is narrated

with Italian producer Domenico

(Godfrey Reggio, 1983) and, like

by an old woman to her two grand­

Procacci; the first was Bad Boy

Bad Boy Bubby, is trenchant in pulse

daughters around the campfire, is

Bubby. Says de Heer on Digital Arts:

and message. It’s a film to see and

Once you learn the basics of

hear more than to talk about. And

recut, you know this is a story with

morion control, the limitations are

then become proactive about the

an end right from the beginning.

only those imposed by your imagi-

environment.

a new addition to the film. In the

© D ena G leeson

and recurrent myth: God fashions a clay doll, gives it design, solidity and form, and then signs it w ith His name in order to give it life. This creation myth is given a hypnotic, almost obsessive impor­ tance in Nagiko's life and in the film D irector Peter Greenaway. Producer Kees Kasander. Executive producers: Terry

Greenaway. Moreover, The Pillow

of levels. Crucially, The Pillow Book

Glinwood, Jean Louis Piel, Denis Wigman. Scriptwriter: Peter Greenaway. Director

Book is notable for its confused and

becomes the narrative m irror of her

ioned discourse of repetition and

of photography: Sachy Vierny. Editors: Chris Wyatt, Peter Greenaway. Production

loose structure: There seems to be

unhappiness, separation from her fam ­

insistent traces.

designers: W ilbert van Dorp, Andrée Putman. Costume designers: Dien van Straalen,

no unifying logic or plotline in the

ily, and the critical lists she constructs

Koji Tatsuno, Martin Margiela. Cast Vivian Wu (Nagiko), Yoshi Oida (The Publisher),

collection - no doubt this is something

on the pages. Her husband destroys

that attracts Greenaway also,

her book on the pretext th a t she is a

(Jerome), Judy Onegg (The Mother), Ken Mitsuishi (The Husband.) Australian

especially since it offers radical

modern woman and does not need

audacious and bizarre. Her body w ill

distributor: Dendy. Japan/Hong Kong/Luxembourg. 1996.35mm. 123 mins.

possibilities when applied to the

such an archaic tool. Nagiko then sets

be the page on w hich the lovers w ill

language o fth e cinema.

out in search of an ideal lover.

inscribe their names and th e ir love.

eter Greenaway’s new film

of a particular kind of w riting in Japan­

is an audacious and m ulti­

ese literature. First of all, the w rite r in

The film does not only invite

Her body w ill become the text, and it

layered w ork in w hich the

this case is a woman w ho belonged to

Ostensibly, the film deals w ith a young

reflection on questions of power and

is suggestive to say the least to think

spell of the Orient is insistent

And w hat one gets is a radical film.

the upper classes and w ho looked

Japanese woman, Nagiko (which, cru­

subjugation in terms of its ostensible

th a t her devotion to this w riting is her

and vivid. Greenaway returns to The

down on the so-called vulgarity of the

cially, many believe was the name of

plot lines; it also seems to affirm the

own w ay of honor ring her father. So,

Pillow Book of the M inor Counsellor

commoners. Secondly, it has been

the woman w ho composed The Pillow

continuity between the distant past

(Shonagon) of the tenth century in

suggested that she w as per­

texts and the film becom es a self­

Japan, in order to fashion an intricate

suaded or required to marry

reflexive image of the dynam ics of

but stylish meditation on the nature of

an official. This is a book

desire, articulation, inscription and

the image and the text, and on the

that belongs in a line of

signatures w hich m u ltip ly -o n e might

functions of w riting, inscribing and

vernacular literature w hich

add, in a cinematic space w hich has

signing. In the context, the film raises

was inscribed -th o u g h not

become largely discursive and texture,

very im portant and topical issues w ith

exclusively - by wom en's

particularly in term s of its appearance,

regard to notions of authorship and

hands. Thirdly, as a conse­

its texture and its i:orm.

myth, creativity and forms of life in lit­

quence, such a book offers

erature, film and culture. It also raises

crucial glimpses into the

the film becomes a book in w hich lists,

bodies become bc-oks, books become

As one watches, usually entranced,

im portant points about the connec­

w orld of a woman who

observations, jottings, ephemera and

tions between popular cultural forms,

w orked in the court and

confessions are recorded. And the

such as the personal diary, pillow book

whose w riting betrays

book w ill be signed: breathes life into it,

and calligraphy on the one hand, and

many contem porary norms,

so too Greenaway suggests boldly, the

those high cultural forms in literature

habits, conventions and

film is fashioned and the signature

and the visual arts w hich Greenaway's

values. It offers a glimpse

completes the w ork and brings it to life.

previous film s have explored in such

into the tenth century w orld

For assuredly many w ill go and see this

visually memorable term s - for exam­

w ith its restrictions, snob­

film because it is a film by Greenaway

ple, his cinem atic appropriations of

bishness and intolerance, but also its

Book), w ho w as brought up by a father

and the present. In this sense, the mod­

(though some w ill avoid it for this very

The Tempestanti Dante's Commedia,

w it, elegance and charm. The Pillow

w ho insisted on a ritualized existence.

ernism thatthe film examines turns out

reason, but that w ill be their loss).

as w ell as the masterpieces of Rem­

Book is a collection of observations,

She hears passages from The Pillow

to be an unfinished and perhaps an

brandt, Hals, D elacroix and so on.

musings, satire and informal views,

Book read out and decides to have one

inexhaustible fabric which is concealed

of intricacy that the view er w ill be

This film w orks at such high levels

Greenaway's cinema is largely a

and it w as kept by the pillow just so the

of her own. In it, she w ill enter her

and frowned upon, but nonetheless

defeated on a first viewing. Green­

cinema of allusion, evocation and

w rite r could capture fugitive thoughts

accounts of her lovers. Her marriage is

there in the tenth century, and which

away de-structures the classical

invocation, pastiche, parody and

in prose. It is a collection of lists, and

pre-arranged when she is six years of

arc from the medieval to the modem

language of the mise en scène: the

eclectic appropriation.

loose jottings. Presumably, it is

age. Not surprisingly, she finds the

world. But there is more to this:

unified spatial and tem poral dim en­

aspects such as these that fascinate

marriage unsatisfactory at a number

Nagiko's father emphasized a particular

sions of the fram e are fractured and

The Pillow Book is a key example

52

The ideal lover w hich Nagiko seeks w ill also be a calligraphist. At : ■. '■ . .. this point the film becomes som ewhat

Ken Ogata (The Father), Hideko Yoshida (The Aunt, The Maid), Ewan McGregor

P

through Greenaway's carefully-fash­

C I N E M A P A P E R S • DECEMBER 1996


JUDE Director: M ichael Winterbottom. Producer: Andrew Eaton. Executive producers: Stewart Till, Mark Shivas. Scriptwriter: Hossein Amini, based on the novel by Thomas Hardy. Director of photography: Eduardo Serra. Editor: Trevor Waite. Production designer: Joseph Bennett. Costume designer: Janty Yates. Original music: Adrian Johnston. Cast: Christopher Eccleston (Jude Fawley), Kate W inslet (Sue Bridehead), Liam Cunningham (Phillotson), Rachel Griffiths (Arabella), June Whitfield (Aunt Drusilla), Ross Colvin Turnbull (Little Jude). Australian distributor: PolyGram. 1996.35mm. UK. 125 mins.

M

bizarre road movie, Butterfly Kiss

\ into a consciously literary style of

(1995), followed its pinch-faced

filmmaking. It is good to report

protagonist through the bleak land-

! that he has avoided both traps. He I j manages to encapsulate two influen- j ambience. The village of Marygreen \ tial strands of British cinema - the \ is muddy and dank rather than ' literary and the realist - without postcard-pretty: it can’t offer an ' committing to either, and the result i intelligent boy like Jude what he

scapes of northern motorways and roadhouses. In filming Thomas Hardy’s austere masterpiece, Jude the Obscure, Winterbottom evokes

Jude’s problems are, of course, not merely those of the frustrated intellectual, though the film is very touching about his aspirations to scholarship, and one of the most memorable scenes is that in which he, half-proud and half­

late 19th-century ‘Wessex’ by a

is a film which is committed to

wants. For this he must make his

skilful manipulation of harsher

passion and records Jude’s endless

way to the University city of Christ-

Christminster pub by reciting the

minster, where the film takes on a

Nicene Creed in Latin. A generation

\ strivings with unflinching compas-

settings in, for example, Yorkshire and in rain-soaked Edinburgh,

sion and no touch of sentimentality,

which stands in for the story’s

The film opens on a memorable vista of a hillside field beneath a

Christminister/Oxford.

\ wide, grim sky (for some viewers i this may echo Fred Williams’ unset-

Winterbottom has not, that is, succumbed to a temptation to make

a heritage movie from a book whose | ding hillscapes). The young Jude anguished hero is again and again j Fawley (Christopher Eccleston) is

odern Dorset is too softly

bruised by the social and moral

green and cosy for director

conventions of late-Victorian

Michael Winterbottom’s purposes,

small son twenty years later. This i black-and-white prelude to the film ' establishes a mood and a difficult

England. On the evidence of the

punished for feeding the birds he is !

i

meant to be scaring away, and the sequence is dominated by an image

i

embarrassed, silences a noisy

i muted colour. His Marygreen 1 teacher, Phillotson (Liam Cunning­

later, D. H. Lawrence’s hero, Paul Morel, would be less daunted by the

ham), has told him, “If you want i to do anything in life, that’s where i you have to go”, adding with what

class barriers to scholarly pursuit,

proves to be a tragic irony, “You

whereas Jude has to accept the disappointment of a letter from the Dean of Admissions coldly advising

\ can choose your future.” Jude’s

him to stick to his own sphere in

tragedy is that he is never able i seriously to choose his future and 1 the begowned young scholars of

life. Winterbottom doesn’t make the

so for the second time he has taken

genuinely alarming Butterfly Kiss,

of dead birds hanging in a row as a

Christminster, in their self-absorbed

to the harsher north of England.

one would not have expected him

grimly prophetic warning of the

superiority, seem to mock his

His first feature, the rigorous,

to prettify a tough novel or to fall

! film’s worst horror, involving Jude’s i attempts.

mistake of representing as a joyless business Jude’s life as a stonemason, working on the outside of the halls of academe he wants to enter: it is shown as having its own skills and

-¿fm 'h

MR J1'' '

,. ", t‘ ■

//ft m it ■f/M r ■1

IMaqiko (Vivian W u ). subdivided into sequences and sets

words, this is a film w hich im plicitly

musings and so on. For ultimately, one

then, does not just insert dazzling and

Greenaway has never been noted for

of images w hich are not always

challenges and undermines some of

realizes that Greenaway has pre­

excessive simulations into the space

his restraint! - and it is overwrought in

symmetrical or sequential. It is as if

the most entrenched assumptions

sented the seemingly-chaotic details

of the mise en scène; it also rarely

a number of respects, but it can be

Greenaway is attempting to fashion a

about the central role of the view er in

within the strict fram ew ork of 13 Books

allows the view er/reader to forget that

argued that this excess is a part of the

complexity w hich raises questions

relation to the nature of the image; it

w hich encompass life, love, desire,

it is constantly doing so and in a self­

point. On the other hand, this is a vivid

about the ostensible centrality of the

presents a plurality w hich exceeds

disappointment, absence and empti­

conscious way. So, the film more or

and provocative affirmation of the self-

viewer's gaze, just as it problematizes

and evades the view er's capacity to

ness, betrayal, authorship and death.

less constantly invites the view er to

reflexivity of the cinema in the 1990s,

the assumption that the view er is in

see and process and understand at a

And the tradition of The Pillow Book is

consider the origins, nature and func­

just as it is a thoughtful meditation on

control of the image sequences and

number of key moments.

passed on to another daughter, who

tions of images, texts and discourses

the extentto w hich images and simu­

again takes up the myth of the God

in modern life.

.

clusters on the screen. This is a cin­

m .

Moreover, the film only seems to

ema that seems to affirm and

present chaotic accumulation of lists,

who fashions a clay doll and signs it

celebrate a rhetoric of excess. In other

jotting, essays, meditations, jokes,

w ith his name to give it life. The film,

C I N E M A P A P E R S • DECEMBER 1996

The film is marred on a fe w occa­ sions by some visual indulgences -

lacra pervade modern lives in ways w hich are often elusive, uncontrollable or

indeterminate. ©

Raymond Y ounis

53


inreview Films

lives and has several children.

he will never reach, he reminds one

DEAD HEART

in these respects of the murderous

(Aaron Pedersen), doesn’t know she

Director: Nick Parsons. Producers:

hates Aborigines. The whites talk

Amanda Plummer in Butterfly Kiss.

Bryan Brown, Helen Watts.

loudly among themselves at table,

The director, on the basis of these

Scriptwriter: Nick Parsons. Based on

the men in Hawaiian-style shirts.

Eunice played so memorably by

two disparate films, shows a special

the play by Parsons. Director of photography: James Bartle. Production

It may be the consequence of a cliched idea of dramatic realism that

Unlike the openly-sensual Arabella,

gift for representing the driven

Winslet’s Sue offers a daringness of

protagonist, consumed from within

speech and social behaviour, a sense

by needs at odds with what society

of being undaunted by the conven­

permits and aware of that society

Dingo (David), Angie Milliken (Kate),

Jude’s fellow workmen are allowed

tions of the age, but nevertheless

rushing past heedlessly. Both films

a good-natured tolerance of his

oddly inhibited in the matter of sex­

are in fact characterized by rapid

Aaron Pedersen (Tony), Gnarnayarrahe W aitaire (Poppy), Lewis Fitz-Gerald

aspirations. However, the imagery

uality. In all this, Winslet is Hardy’s

tracking shots along roads or rails,

(Les). Australian distributor: Roadshow.

melancholy. The filmmakers make

insistently stresses Jude’s outsider

Sue to the life, all “theoretic uncon­

or of vehicles rushing past. The

Australia. 35mm. 1996.106 mins.

sure every one of them gets his or

status in relation to the life he

ventionality”, which crumbles when,

itinerant nature of the two is

craves.

at the end, worn down by grief and

another common element, and

loss, she decides she must return to

Winterbottom exploits it not just to

tendency or group in the larger

to the pig-breeder’s daughter,

her husband, Phillotson, the teacher

tell an episodic story but to render

community (say, the Nation), gather

lets out to Sarah that his Sydney

Arabella (played with well-judged

who long ago has encouraged Jude.

the sheer weariness of incessant

them together in some place whose

girlfriend has written to tell him of a

features stand for features of the

job at the University of New South

larger community (the Nation) and

Wales. This leads to a shouting

c o n tin u e d

Jude’s early disastrous marriage

sensuality and directness by Rachel

The novel’s unnecessary harping

striving for elusive goals.

designer: Brian Edmonds. Costume designer: Edie Kurzer. Sound: Phil Tipene. Cast: Bryan Brown (Ray), Ernie

T

every white character in this fly­ blown colony is a collection of distasteful or pathetic motives. At no time are we allowed to find their predicament poignant or even

ake several characters, each

her due. The most obvious symp­

of whom stands for some

tom of this pattern is the scene near the end where frustrated Charlie

Griffiths), is a major obstacle to his

on how the Fawleys aren’t meant

progress. Winterbottom cuts from a

for marriage is rather surprisingly

with the earlier film because it is

set the characters to fighting over

match. The quarrel has nothing to

screenful of warmly-glowing inter­

retained in the film - surprisingly,

important to note, in a year domi­

some issue (the Issue). This dramatic

do with the rest of the film, but it

I have stressed the compassion

twined limbs to the snow-covered

because Winterbottom’s lean

nated by adaptations of the classics,

pattern for middle-of-the-road

does take care of poor Charlie, of

fields in which Jude shrinks from

version of Hossein Amini’s screen­

that Winterbottom has made an

serious theatre is followed by Dead

whom we so far knew little.

killing a pig, while Arabella is

play more than adequately accounts

essentially modern film from a

Heart and, among recent films, the

undaunted: in the juxtaposition of

for the anguish of Jude’s life. The

century-old novel. He avoids that

milder-mannered Hotel Sorrento

and Aaron Pedersen’s Tony get

(Richard Franklin, 1995).

better treatment from Dead Heart’s

Ernie Dingo’s preacher David

the two images is summed up the

cruelty of deprivation; of feeling

numbing attention to period detail

sexual basis of the marriage and the

shut off from the world of ideas

which can distract both eye and

Directed by Nick Parsons and

incompatibility of its principals.

and imagination; the conflicting

mind, and he understands that

based on his play, Dead Heart is put

charming sensitivity to the expecta­

Arabella returns much later when

demands of an urgent sexuality and

Jude’s story, for all its embedding

together in a nervy, action-thriller

tions of both white and Aboriginal cultures. But David and Tony can’t

filmmakers. Both are allowed a

many things have gone badly for

a wish to grapple with the world’s

in Hardy’s Wessex, is a modern

manner. It moves suspensefully to

Jude, and the film is wise enough

cultural wealth; the poverty and

story of dogged perseverance met

a bloodletting climax. And it is

be permitted to go their own sweet

not to make her a mere nemesis

social stigma that make his life

by alienation and injustice. Nothing

one Australian film where the film­

way. They are trapped between

in his life.

with Sue one of peripatetic misery:

can make this a happy tale, and the

makers don’t feel they have to state

white and black. They must suffer

all these are movingly registered

filmmaker has found a visual story­

everything for the viewer. The per­

or die. David, an intelligent man

romantic Marianne in Sense and

in Christopher Eccleston’s fine,

telling style suited to the grim truths

formances are generally good; Lewis

dressed in Country Road good taste,

Sensibility (Ang Lee, 1995), con­

unmannered Jude, so that the

his characters have to face. A great

Fitz-Gerald slightly overplays the

suffers. Tony dies. He is punished

trasts superbly with Griffiths, as the

claptrap about curse on the

work in one medium has provided

wimpiness of Les, a schoolteacher,

because he has made love, graphi­

modern-minded Sue Bridehead,

marrying Fawleys seems to belong

the basis for a starkly powerful

but Ernie Dingo, Aaron Pedersen

cally filmed, with Kate on a sacred

Jude’s cousin, with whom he falls in

to another order of drama.

work in another.

and Bryan Brown are very good;

site forbidden to outsiders, where

Kate Winslet, last seen as the

love and with whom he eventually

Gaunt of face, intent on goals

© B r ian M c Far lane

and any discontent I have about the

“boys are killed and turned into

performance of Angie Milliken must

men”. They make love (or have

be blamed on the script. The film

sex: “Maybe it was only lust”,

works. I have little doubts about the

Kate finally admits) on a painting

competence and ingenuity with

on the rock floor.

which a certain version of dramatic

The plot turns on this offence,

realism and intensity is served, but

which brings to a head the conflict

about what is served I have large

between Poppy the elder and Ray

doubts. In the end, the film’s com­

the cop, each of whom seeks to

petence seems to me interestingly

impose his law on the land. (Aborigi­

misplaced.

nal women have no role here; they

Ray, the cop, is loud-mouthed,

are just about invisible.) Presumably,

narrow-minded, decent in his own

Poppy stands for Aboriginal tradi­

way, a bloody nuisance. He is the

tion because he rejects whitefella law

object of some animosity among the

and education, the latter because he

blacks, for several reasons. A black

believes schoolchildren will be

man has hanged himself in Ray’s

stolen. If the whites are distasteful

gaol. He has locked up Poppy (Gnar­

or pathetic in this conflict between

nayarrahe Waitaire), the old man,

white civilization and Aboriginal

for shooting his own Toyota van.

tradition, the film contrives to make

Les, the primary schoolteacher,

54

fun-loving young black, Tony

Poppy appear a sinister magical

is a wimpish do-gooder who is

force, masterminding inscrutably to

angry when the children go bush.

have Tony killed, Ray brought to his

Charlie (John Jarratt), the anthro­

downfall, the whites dispersed. In

pologist who is shacked-up with

one sequence, for example, Poppy’s

Sarah (Anne Tenney), the ineffec­

mere look seems to create an appari­

tual doctor, is a slob and has a

tion of a painted black face in the

girlfriend in Sydney. Kate (Angie

window that frightens Kate. Really,

Milliken), the lonely, bored house­

the implication that Aboriginal tradi­

wife, who has an affaire with the

tional culture is a sinister magical

C I N E M A P A P E R S • DECEMBER 1 996


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review

them to film a love scene on a

HOTEL DE LOVE

sacred site in a style worthy of Paul Verhoeven. “This is the last time”,

j magical fountain in the Hotel I grounds.

Director: Craig Rosenberg. Producers:

As a treatise on love, this

force is just plain Victorian. The

posed to be desirable, a symbol of a

sequence inserted after Tony dies,

suspense of the plot depends on our

happy possibility? Then presumably

in which one of his mates sits idly in

finding this plausible, for, curiously

it is a consummation to remain

front of a run-down hut and turns

enough, white Australians of this

wished for because the traditional

his head. There is a track or zoom

day and age are shown as mentally

blackfellas want to preserve their

onto the door to the fridge-room

David Parker, M ichael Lake. Executive producer: Peter Heller. S criptw riter: Craig Rosenberg. Director of photography: Steve Windon. Production designer: Simon Dobbin. Editor: Bill Murphy. Costume designer: Bruce Finlayson. Cast: Aden Young (Rick Dunne), Saffron Burrows (Melissa Morrison), Simon Bossell (Stephen Dunne), Pippa Grandison (Alison Leigh), Ray Barrett (Jack Dunne), Julia Blake (Edith Dunne). Australian distributor: Roadshow. 1996. 35mm. Australia. 96 mins.

besieged by the alien darkness

law. Are the lovers trapped between

where Tony’s body is lying. Given

“Bananas are green for months and

come face to face with oneself,

around them, like colonials

the patriarchal norms of bloody-

its briefness and its context, the

ripe for only 12 minutes before they

and that can be, at least initially,

maddened by Africa.

minded societies? At the painful

sequence creates an expectation

go black and mushy. Sometimes I

a bit of a let-down, or simply darn

climax (painful to Ray), Poppy says

that something is going to happen,

stay home because my bananas are

confusing if you keep bumping into

about to ripen and I don’t want to

your twin brother.

Films continued

This brings me to perhaps the

The possible meanings of the

says Kate ambivalently, after being rubbed with suntan lotion. But, it is one of many times the film displays

love-making (or lust-making) on the

an insensitivity induced by its

sacred site, for which the happy-go-

notions of provocative, tough-

lucky Tony pays with his life, are

minded drama.

more troublesome. Is this event sup­

There is a brief two-shot

miss it, if you know what I mean.” - Stephen

Australian film from first-time director Craig Rosenberg is a warm and silly gesture to love as a sense of the everyday - familiarity. If you can recognize love, you’ve found it - that is, as long as you look in the right direction. And that’s exactly what most of the characters spend their time learning - which direction, often literally, to look in. The problem, of course, is that first one must

The characters aren’t as cool as those in another Australian film

tephen Dunne (Simon Bossell)

released this year with love in the

is a passionate melancholic who

title, Love and Other Catastrophes

S

hasn’t been out with a girl for three

(Emma-Kate Croghan), though

years and will declare undying love

considerably more cooler than those

in an instant. Rick (Aden Young)

in Love Serenade (Shirley Barrett).

is Steve’s twin brother, as experi­

Love’s narrative machinery is more

enced and cynical as his brother is

obvious in Hotel de Love than in

pathologically romantic. Jack (Ray

either of these other two films,

Barrett) and Edith Dunne (Julia

but there’s nonetheless that breath­

Blake) are their parents, old and

lessness, recklessness, urgency and

jaded yet ready to take their vows

confusion so necessary to love’s

again at the honeymoon resort

pursuit which characterizes all

hotel so dear to them thirty odd

three films.

years ago, the Hotel de Love,

There’s never really any doubt

which their son Rick now manages.

of the happy endings, and perhaps

Alison Leigh (Pippa Grandison),

this knowledge remains too easily

who is determined to go to

unchallenged, or perhaps the film

Barcelona, is the resident fortune

can’t decide whether to avoid or

teller at the Hotel, as well as being

to celebrate a self-consciousness

Rick’s distracted girlfriend. Enter

which is awkwardly acknowledged

the woman of Rick and Steve’s

a little late in the piece, in Rick’s

dreams, Melissa Morrison (Saffron

unsuccessful last-minute dash to the

Burrows), ten years ago Rick’s first

church, but Hotel de Love has a

sweetheart and now back on the

warmth resonant of the best of

scene toting a Ralph Bellamy hand­

romantic comedy’s silly, joyful

bag by the name of Norman, as

moments - moments which make

well as her philosophy degree.

the film more than worthwhile

Melissa is on holiday at the Hotel

viewing.

de Love with Norman and blithely, she thinks, about to be married.

And the odds of finding love are really quite good - 60 percent,

Belinda, a happy newly-wed herself

even better on weekends, as Steve

who believes in the discretion of

calculates statistically from his

the talking penis, proves herself

time watching and waiting at the

Melissa’s friend.

airport for the love he hopes will

These screwball characters

return. According to the publicity,

most interesting aspect of Dead

to the preacher, “Are you blackfella

something Tony’s mate is in on.

and others bump for a time at the

Heart. This is the way it constantly

or whitefella?” David answers, “I’m

Nothing happens. The sequence I

Hotel de Love in various of the

Australian-born director-screen­

sets up the viewer to make infer­

just a fella.” This suggests that the

think is intended to indicate that at

outlandishly-decked theme rooms,

writer Craig Rosenberg divides his

ences that lead to dead ends or form

lovers are trapped between inhu­

least this one mate of Tony’s feels

like the Garden of Eden and Subter­

time between Australia and Los

false expectations. The implication

mane antagonists.

sorry for him or guilty, but the film

ranean Seduction, and meet and

Angeles, and is mostly known for

is so hell-bent on creating dramatic

un-meet in the Hotel foyer where

his fiction writing. In some ways,

inference, if it is one the filmmakers

tension that it won’t stop to let us

“Ronnie” (Alan Hopgood) sings

Hotel de Love presents as a dizzy

Since this implication precedes the

intend, is the implication that Abo­

observe the moment.

and plays 10CC and The Captain

Hollywood comedy pic without the

suspicion that Poppy has arranged

rigines have to tolerate the violation

and Teneille love songs on the

studied languor of our home-grown

the death of Tony, it can’t be a

of their core tradition (the sacred

ness calls for space, a landscape, for

piano: “Love, love will keep us

characters like Muriel in Muriel’s

belief on the part of the whites. If it

site) as a condition for reconciliation

uncompromised observation, but

together...” Oh, and most impor­

Wedding (P. J. Hogan, 1994) or

that Poppy is exerting a strange magic on events is an example.

What is unattractive in this

Dead Heart’s aimed-for serious­

is from Poppy’s point of view, it is

between blacks and whites. Can the

instead the film perpetuates a corn-

tantly for the rendezvous or

those in Love Serenade . But Aden

unclear why he should appear sinis­

filmmakers mean this? Whatever

ball formula for dramatic intensity.

proposal of marriage, there’s

Young is a dream. And it’s fun.

ter. Is it just there for suspense?

they mean, I think it is tactless of

C I N E M A P A P E R S • DECEMBER 1996

© R obert N ery

Niagara Smalls, a modest but

© D ena G leeson

57


censorship

A New Conservatism More than ever; the newly-titled Film Classification Board is reflecting an agenda o f political correctness and conservative bureaucratic expediency. David A. Haines investigates ver the past two years, community not only understands the hardly a month has classification system, but largely agrees passed without media with decisions on specific films - if any­ com m ent about the thing, the Board was shown to be more new conservatism ema­ conservative. nating from the Office It follow s that any review should of Film and Literature have used the existing guidelines as a Classification. The most recent examples starting point for public consultation have included: the banning of Jathe r­ mishmash that was put ratherJim than musch’s Dead Man (1995); The outcuts for to consideration. Rock (Michael Bay, 1996) to gain MA guidelines appear to The an revised classification; the re-classification, from reflect an agenda of political correctness MA to R, of the video release Ninja Scroll and conservative bureaucratic expedi­ after only 15 months; and cuts to Dis­ ney’s The Hunchback o f Notre Dame to eliminate scenes around which there was “an atmosphere of threat and menace” before it was granted a G classification. These decisions have been made con­ currently with the revision and adoption of new classification guidelines for films and videotapes that came into effect fol­ lowing the meeting of commonwealth, state and territory Ministers at the end of July this year. The question must be asked, how­ ever, why the Film Censorship Board’s practices appear to have changed so much over the past couple of years that the guidelines have had to be re-written to reflect the greater conservatism of their decisions. And isn’t it ironic that, in these days of increasing censoriousness, the newlyadopted ride of Film Classification Board probably reflects what the Board does no better than when it was called the Film Censorship Board - as Shakespeare wrote:

a

W hat’s in a name? That which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweer The introduction of consumer advice in 1990 meant that consumers knew pre­ cisely what they were getting. A costly, ongoing and clearly-successful public awareness campaign was launched in 1991. As a consequence of these, com­ plaints to the O FLC have declined steadily and substantially since that time. Surveys and research conducted by the OFLC in recent years have shown that the m ajority of Australians have been happy with the classifications applied using the existing guidelines. For example, interviews with focus groups to obtain feedback on classification deci­ sions have been undertaken since 1993 and have shown consistently that the

58

ency. How was the alleged shift in community standards assessed? Or was a decision taken that community atti­ tudes should be moulded by imposing stricter standards? The Chief Censor, or Director as the position is now styled, has stated that the revised guidelines do not mark a change in the way films are classified; that the changes merely formally spell out the cri­ teria the Office already used informally in rating film s. These disingenuous remarks would appear to indicate that the old guidelines were flexible enough to allow different interpretations to be made - in which case why change them? They are also at odds with the fact that the Board is supposed to interpret guide­

lines that have been approved by the Council of Ministers, not anticipate pos­ sible changes. The D irecto r has also stated that the revision was necessary to make the guidelines more easily understood by the public and to better explain the classifi­ cation system. A comparison between the two sets of guidelines, however, shows that they are both more prescriptive and less descriptive. Though the film and video classification guidelines are a relatively

pendent statutory B oard , as the appointed tribunal of fact applying the law and making the hard decisions with­ out succumbing to outside interference from politicians or noisy minorities. It was that informal working docu­ ment used by Board members to guide them in their decision-making on the­ atrical films, with the addition of an X category for video, w hich was first adopted by Ministers. During the course of 1984, there were a number of changes made to the X guidelines to meet con-

The question m ust be asked, how ever, w h y th e Film C ensorship Board's practices app ear to have changed so m uch over th e past couple o f years th a t th e guidelines have had to be re -w ritte n to re fle c t th e g re ater conservatism o f th e ir decisions.

recent introduction, they have become something of a sacred cow under the present administration at the O FLC. Prior to the introduction of voluntary point-of-sale regulation for videotapes in 1984, when “formal” guidelines were agreed to by censorship Ministers, the Customs (Cinematograph Films) Regu­ lations provided the legal framework for decisions to register for im portation films for public exhibition; the classifi­ cation assigned to a film was a matter of judgem ent by Board members based on their perceptions of community stan­ dards and expectations. While there were informal in-house guidelines, Board members regarded themselves, being members of an inde­

cerns about sexual and other violence in this new category. Changes were also made to the guide­ lines for G, NRC (today’s PGR), M and R, but only to remove specific examples that could have led to a more rigid clas­ sification process. It is clear from minutes of meetings held at that time that, in presenting the guidelines, the Board was seeking a broad consensus from Ministers on the way the system had worked; that there was a clear understanding of the difficulties which could arise if the guidelines used pre­ scriptive or proscriptive language; and an acknowledgement that the reason for having a Film Censorship Board was that its members were best placed to judge the merits in any particular case. Film guidelines were next reviewed in 1988 following the appointment of a new Chief Censor, John Dickie, and the creation of the Office of Film and Lit­ erature Classification. The establishment of the OFLC not only brought Canberra’s policy and min­ isterial fu nctions under the C h ief C I N E M A P A P E R S • DECEMBER 1996


d (C an and ry.

Censor’s umbrella; it also changed the Board’s culture. Political sensitivity to decision-making increased to the point th at the d eterm in in g c rite ria have become less a matter of community stan­ dards than of considering what questions m ight be raised in Parliam ent and at m eetings of censorship M inisters, or what Senator Harradine and the Sen­ ate Committee might say. The principal reason for the 1 988 review was to make the guidelines more accessible to the public and to remove the more subjective terms used. This was in anticipation of a costly and exten ­ sive public awareness campaign which was dependent on a transparent and eas­ ily-understood classification system. Concern over the Hoddle and Queen Streets massacres was still reverberating through the community, however, and much was made of “consultation” with the states and territories - a draft was sent to each for comment, though in the event only one state came back with a suggestion (which was ignored). The Joint Select Committee on Video M ate­ rial also reported to governm ent that year and made a recom m endation in respect of the R guidelines, which was also largely ignored. The current review was announced on 14 October 1995, causing an imme­ C I N E M A P A P E R S • DECEMBER 1996

diate furore. In spite of recommen­ dations by the Law R eform Commission, in its 1991 report on censorship procedure, about the need for a 3-m onth public consultation process, only ten days were given for the presentation of submissions. The closing date anticipated a Censorship M inisters’ meeting by just a week. Clearly that timetable influenced the time available for public input rather than the obligation to consult. In the event, the deadline was extended for a month by order of the Federal Minister. No report on submissions received has been made public, and, although much has been made of the involve­ m ent o f P rofessor Peter Sheehan (former Chairman of the Board of Review) in their incorporation into the draft guidelines, it is understood he saw only a summary of submis­ sions prepared by staff at the OFLC. The review provides an example of the political influences increasingly being b rou ght to b ear, w h eth er from the Censorship Ministers, other federal Min­ isters, or the Senate Committee. One need look no further for the real in sp iratio n fo r the review than the Senate C o m m ittee on Com m unity Standards. In February 1995, it recom-

[T]he determining criteria have become less a mat­ ter of community standards than of considering what questions might be raised in Parliament and at meetings of censorship Ministers, or what Senator Harradine and the Senate Committee might say. mended that R-rated material should not be allowed on Pay-TV until such time as the OFLC undertook a comprehensive overhaul of the R classification. Only when this was done would the C om ­ mittee reconsider its recommendation. The Committee was driven by its con­ cern with Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Salo o le

C entiventi G iornate di S odom a (Salo or the 120 Days o f Sodom, 1975) which

it saw, wrongly, as being typical of material classified at the upper end of the R category. In fact, none of the Committee had at that time seen the film, and the only one who has seen it since - Senator Brian Harradine has said that the film was not as bad as he had expected. We have yet to see what differences the new guidelines, which have been in effect now for only a short time, will have on film classifications, but it is clear from statements about cutting back on violence in films by Senator Alston (and since when has the Minister for Communications been responsible for film censorship?) and the Director of the Classification Board that there will be changes. Are we likely to see such films as Reservoir Dogs (Quentin T arantino, 199 2 ) Pulp Fiction (Tarantino, 1994), Seven (David Fincher, 1995) and the infamous Dead Man banned under the new régime? The Chief Censor says no, we will not be denied the likes of Tarantino’s work, that the Ministers have expressly stated that quality cinema films are not intended to be covered by the stricter régime on film violence, that it will apply only to a dozen or so videos. This is mis­ leading double-speak. The guidelines refer to all films and videos equally.

59


cen so rsh ip The reference to quality films pre­ sumably harks back to the new Code which requires the Board to take account of a film’s artistic or other merit in arriv­ ing at a classification decision. It is as well to remember that Salo - the film that started this review - was classified R on appeal in 1993 on grounds that included the fact that it was one of the most powerful and important works of a leading filmmaker. At a hearing of the Senate Commit­ tee on Com m unity Standards last November, Dickie stated categorically that under the new guidelines Salo would be refused, even for film festivals. He also said that films with high-level consumer advice - that is to say, those at the upper range of R that would now be refused - would include films such as Pulp F iction and Seven. Peckinpah’s Straw Dogs (1971) is another film Dickie has singled out in public statem ents

The C h ie f C ensor says no, w e w ill n o t be denied th e likes o f Tarantino's w o rk , th a t th e M in isters have expressly stated th a t q u a lity cinem a film s are not in ten d ed to be covered by th e s tric te r rég im e on film vio len c e , th a t it w ill app ly only to a dozen or so videos. This is m isleading double-speak. T he guidelines re fe r to all film s and videos equally. 60

as w arranting refusal under today’s guidelines. If such films are banned, it will have nothing to do with community standards and the hundreds of thousands of adults who have enjoyed such material both on the big screen and at home, and every­ thing to do with political expediency. The recent announcements of a tight­ ening up on violence in film have, as Senator Alston has stated, more to do with addressing the public perception than the reality of violence in our community. While politicians and the Chief Cen­ sor have referred constantly to “growing concern” in the community about vio­ lence, there is no evidence that such concern is higher than, for example, after the Queen Street and Hoddle Street massacres. It is undeniable that people believe there is a link between television violence and violence in the community - A ustralian B road casting T ribu nal research in 1989 put the figure at more than 60 percent. W hat no one has ever asked is why people believe there is a link between film violence and real violence. One sus­ pects the media and self-serving politicians have a lot to answer for in this regard. And what do people mean by unacceptable screen violence? A look at the lists of the most popular films and videos may go some way to help under­ stand what is acceptable. A couple of years ago, a small-scale study in South Australia into why people felt they were living in an increasingly violent society indicated that it was because of media reports stating this was the case, and because of increased media coverage of violent crime. This is in marked contrast to statis­ tics from both the Australian Institute of Criminology and the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research which have for some years consistently shown that there has been no such increase. It is clear that the wowsers are in the ascendant. We have seen an increasing and widely-recognized conservatism in classification decisions over the past cou­ ple of years. T his will undoubtedly continue with the review this year of guidelines for publications and computer games. A further concern in terms of the politicization of censorship practices in Australia is that the new Act substantially increases the power of the Chief Censor or Director. The office now wears three hats: chief classifier; substantive policy adviser to Ministers; and public service head and CEO of the “commercialized” OFLC. There are even indications of an increasing rôle in enforcement. These are po ten tially -con flictin g rôles. Statutory Boards are set up to dis­ tance the decision-making process from political influence. They should be, and

be seen to be, at arm’s length. That a Board member is currently acting in a public service position compounds this conflict of interest. The determining criterion for a clas­ sification decision must be in line with community standards. Some politicians argue that they represent that view, but they are susceptible to the minority or swinging votes that win or lose elections. They are also often isolated and tend to hear only from certain sections of the community. If the Classification Board is simply to take the safe and least resistant course, the political and bureaucratic solution, why have a Board? For the future, perhaps we should look at the way in which converging tech­ nology is fast making the existence of two separate bureaucratic bodies dealing with regulation - the Australian Broadcasting Authority and the OFFC - an expensive and unnecessary duplication. The existence of this two-pronged approach to the regulation of media con­ tent is an accident of history: film censorship commenced in 1917, with a Censorship Board established in 1929 evolving into the O FFC in 1 9 8 8 ; the advent of television in the ’50s saw the establishment of the Broadcasting Con­ trol Board which became the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal in the ’70s, fol­ lowed by the Australian Broadcasting Authority in 1992. The separation of regulatory controls resulted from the different modes of delivery. With converging technology, this will no longer be an issue. It would be cheaper, more efficient, and more

convenient from a policy point of view to link the OFLC classification processes to the self-regulatory model administered by the ABA, which has all the resources and expertise necessary, in research, pub­ lic consultation and the oversighting of self-regulation in broadcast and narrowcast services including television, Pay-TV and quite probably on-line services. Technology will soon allow us to transmit films and other entertainment straight into homes and other venues. Common sense would suggest a need to rationalize the regulatory process in order to achieve a consistent approach and facilitate public education in the use of the new communication media. A self-regulatory approach may well be resisted by an industry that can cur­ rently p oint the finger at the O FLC when their audiences complain about a classification decision. With the present system becoming increasingly suscepti­ ble to political influences, how ever, perhaps it is time for those closest to public tastes and standards relating to filmed entertainm ent — the film and video industry — to take an active role in regulating them selves and thus become more accountable. It works with television; it has worked with film festi­ vals; and it works overseas. There are those in the industry who share my concerns — albeit to varying degrees — though they may be reluctant to make their views public. However, now is the time to speak out if the indus­ try is n ot to be patronized like the viewing public has been. An industry voice in the form of an advisory or con­ sultative council would be a start. © C I N E M A P A P E R S * DECEMBER 1996


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legal ease

C o m p le tio n

G u a ra n te e s

R e v is ite d

Lloyd Hart continues his examination o f completion guarantees y article in the last issue on c o m p le tio n g u a ra n te e s has spawned requests for m ore on the subject. I will now go over a number of things that can crop up in negotiating the terms of a com pletion guarantee under the headings: Approvals, Script, Stop Dates, Insurance and Letters of Credit.

m A pprovals

Among other things, the guarantor guar­ antees the delivery items appearing in a distribution agreement will be delivered as required in that agreement. The pro­ ducer must deliver to the distributor a film conforming to the blueprint of elements set out in the distribution agreement; that is, using the script described there, the budget, the schedule, the key­ cast and heads of d ep art­ ments named. Typically, a distributor has the right to approve these key elements and their replacements. From a guarantor’s point o f view tw o “W hat if? ”s arise: What if, given the exi­ gencies of production, the distributor has not approved key elements at the time the guarantor com mits? W hat if the distributor does not or will not approve a replace­ m ent? G enerally, the g u aran tor’s answer to the form er is not to accept lia­ bility for elements undecided at the time it commits. Otherwise, the opinion of an interested party on artis­ tic ability could decide delivery. For example, the distributor may want to approve the com poser, who is som e­ times identified late in the day, or the music, which ordinarily is produced down the track. There are times when the guarantor accepts the risk of delayed approvals out of necessity. It is common on television series fo r many o f the scripts not to be finished at the time of financing; yet the television licensee has script approval. Given the writers, other personnel, the bigger pool of artists and the format of the series, the producer, directors and licensees pretty well know what they will get, so the risk is minimal. On approval of replacements, most agreements require the distributors to

62

respond to proposals within a number of days or they are deemed to approve. The producer and distributor can agree beforehand on a list of persons any one of whom the distributor will accept. Usu­ ally, the replacement must be of similar standing to the original. Can you find an A ustralian contem porary who isn ’t w orking to replace Russell Crow e? There can be sticky situations in c o ­ productions where the replacem ents must be a particular nationality to keep parity o f contrib u tions betw een c o ­ production countries. There may be no one else of similar standing from that country available to do the rôle. If the producer can’t find that replacement, the film ceases to be a co-production under the relevant treaty; ceases, therefore,

S crip t As you would expect, a distributor wants the film to be made in accordance with the approved script. Apart from the m inor o n -th e -flo o r changes to m ost scripts, there can be m ore dram atic changes for all sorts of legitimate rea­ sons; the special effects won’t quite work as expected, the director recognizes a better way of doing something, some­ thing else is seen not to be working (the pig won’t fly, the sequence it die). The producer undertakes to the guarantor to obtain prior approval of the guarantor and the distributor for any changes other than m inor o n -th e -flo o r changes. Clearly, them atic changes, structural changes and changes to the nature of a character belong in this category.

To go further may require the guaran­ tor to overtrain as a supervisor. Frequently, agreements require that, if there is a dispute, an arbitrator decides on whether a film has been delivered in accordance with a distribution agree­ ment, to avoid leaving the question in the hands of interested parties such as the distributor or the completion guar­ antor. In a recent arbitration in England, the arbitrators said that the key was whether the film as delivered was made accord­ ing to the script as defined in the distribution agreement, and found irrel­ evant the industry practice which allows some scope for the producer to make changes. Frankly, this sucks. It is a more w orkable approach to ask w hat the parties to the distribution agreement intended, objec­ tively d eterm ined , w ith industry p ractice being relevan t to th at in ten t. If com m on sense prevails, future arbitrators will use a test like this. S to p D ates

to qualify for FFC funds; and just plain ceases. There are times when particular stars or directors are vital to the film and become ‘essential elements’. W ho else for Edna Everage? So, no particular star, no financing distributor, no film, much pain. W hen this happens, insurers will often agree to accept liability to pay Film Producers Indemnity (FPI) if the relevant person becomes unavailable through the things usually covered by FPI. For exam­ ple, to be bleak, if they get sick, they become incapacitated or they die, the insurer pays up the loss to the backers; production is abandoned. If an essential element person is unavailable for other reasons, like their walking off or inca­ pacity through addiction, the guarantor is responsible.

Another “What if?”: What if the pro­ ducer does not seek or does not get the approval of the distributor as they make the film? Is the distributor bound to accept the film? This depends on the wording of the distribution agreement. If the script is so defined as to allow no departures at all, then that is what the producer must deliver. That can pres­ sure the filmmakers, adversely affecting the film, particularly where there has been no time to obtain approvals. Where the d istribu tion agreem ent uses a description like “based on the script”, there is more scope for changes. After all, the distributor will have approved the key filmmakers, which itself shows some confidence in their ability. Film Finances, Inc. usually guarantees the delivery of the film based on the script.

The gu aran tor’s ability to hon our its obligations depends on having the cast available to finish the film. Frequently, actors are ju g­ gling com m itm ents and, because of competing sched­ ules, want to leave as soon as possible after the scheduled completion of their services. They, therefore, negotiate a “stop d ate” w hich, as the name suggests, stops the actor’s obligations to provide services to the film after that date. Because the producer may extend a schedule for reasons beyond reason­ able control, a tight stop date can cause real uncertainty in production. The par­ ties may negotiate and reschedule to accommodate the differing needs of all concerned as much as possible. As the one liable if an acto r does not co m ­ plete a performance, the guarantor needs to know about potential stop dates as soon as the actor proposes them. Insurance M ostly, the insurers and guarantors cover mutually-exclusive areas. There are times when the production company may suffer loss because the insurers are not liable. For instance, the fact that an actor does not disclose addiction to an incapacitating C I N E M A P A P E R S • DECEMBER 1 996


I

m ething m ove. But only S o ftim ag e 3D ves your characters an uncanny d e p th o f Âťrsonality and em o tio n . It o ffe rs m ore ols th a t can be com bined fo r an in fin ite rie ty o f e ffe c ts . Build inverse kinem atic ains to c reate su b tle, in te rd e p e n d e n t svem ents b e tw e e n bo dy p a rts. Easily

S o f t im a g e . M o re p e rfo rm a n c e . M o re digita/

wer.

M ore


b it s N E W S , V I E W S , A N D M O R E N E W S , ETC.

MICROSOFT DEBUTS CINEMANIA '97 he latest edition of Microsoft Cinemania '97 allows consumers to supplement their CD-ROM experiences by getting the latest information with the enhanced Internet integration Cinemania '97 includes links to the Internet for the latest movie information and celebrity guided tours for behind-the-scenes perspectives. The Cinemania Online Web site (http://cinemania.msn.com/) contains the latest movie reviews, entertain­ ment news, video releases, biographies and monthly download­ able updates for the CD-ROM. It also includes access to the all­ new Cinemania Connections - the guide to the best independent Web sites about movies and filmmakers. Online features require Internet access, which must be acquired separately and for which the user may pay a separate fee. Free monthly updates to Cinemania '97 are available online.

T

VILLAGE ROADSHOW PARTNERS WITH WARNER BROS. arner Bros, and Village Roadshow Limited have successfully completed negotiations begun earlier this year to create a joint venture with the existing Warner Bros. Theatres operation in the United Kingdom and Germany. Village Roadshow's interest in the joint venture will be approximately 50 percent. The total amount of Village Roadshow's initial investment in the venture is approximately A$170 million. Warner Bros, currently operates 143 screens on 16 sites in the United Kingdom, and 26 screens within three locations in the Ruhr Valley of Germany. When completion occurs at the end of November 1996 those theatres w ill become owned and operated by the joint venture. Warner Bros, and Village Roadshow have long enjoyed a relationship in operating, thus far, 19 cinemas with 160 screens as well as other entertainment attractions in Australia.

W

64

SUPPORT CONTINUES FOR AUSTRALIAN FILM INDUSTRY uantel, the company which has played a pivotal role in the evolution of graphics and effects in post-production, broadcast and film, is to sponsor the 1996 Australian Film Institute Awards. In its 38th year, the Awards are an annual event that recognises out­ standing achievement in film and television, the equivalent to the BAFTA Awards in Great Britain. In announcing the sponsorship on the tenth anniversary of Quantel's Australian office in Frenchs Forest, Managing Director Haydn Deere commented: Quantel has been in the picture business since 1975 when we launched the world's first frame­ store synchroniser. Now, most recently with the launch of Domino, Quantel has shown a continued investment in developing products that help creative people achieve excellence. It's our pleasure to support the AFI by sponsoring the Awards success in Australia over the years. AFI Awards Manager Lindsay Van Niekerk commented: By sponsoring the AFI Awards, Quantel is showing its support for the many outstanding achievements over the past year in the Australian film and television industry. The AFI congratulates Quantel on its tenth anniversary and looks forward to a successful partnership in the 1996 AFI Awards.

Q

TAKING STOCK ou'll have realised that we're in the middle of a production boom at the moment (count the titles in the 'in production' section of this issue), so it's a busy time for film stock sup­ pliers. With Agfa out of the negative stock market here, Kodak has the lion's share of it. Richard Krohn reports that the company is handling 12 major productions, both local and for Japan and the U.S. To that, says Richard (he's the PMI National Sales and Marketing Manager for Australia and New Zealand), add an increase in local television production and all the film schools who are finishing student productions. The labs and optical

Y

MISSION: CRAWFORDS

C

rawfords Australia went top secret for its promotional briefing by the Treasurer and Minister for Multimedia, the Honourable Alan Stockdale, and launch if its new multimedia facility with joint

venture partners Sega and Compaq Computers Australia. The day was hosted by Crawford’s owner, Bruce Gordon, who flew in from London for the day. The first two projects will be a multi-path movie, Am zor the Powe.rle„M, slated for Christmas 1997. This sci­ ence-fiction comedy adventure was written and devised by Crawford's Brian Douglas. The second will be a television series designed for the Internet titled M oonbeam . The comedy adventure is set 50 years from now. The facility is being housed as a stand-alone section within Crawlords, and is looking to specialize in interactive entertainment programmes.

houses also report good business. Agfa has been busy supplying print stock. Graeme Wilson, Motion Picture Products Manager, reports Agfa has just done the two biggest local releases, B ra v e h e a rt and Ind ep e n d e n ce Day.

DIGITAL TOYS ixar's production for Walt Disney, Toy Story, will be out on video sell-through and hire mid-November in Australia. U.S. pre-orders were over 21 million, beating the pre-orders that were set by the best-selling video of all time, The Lion King. Disney took nearly SUS200 million at the box­ office for The Lion King. Want to bet there'll be a Toy S to ry video in lots of Christmas stockings in Australia as well? Disney also announced a video release early next year of a frame-by­ frame restoration of B a m b i for the 55th anniversary of the movie. The edition will have "never-before-seen footage" and a free commemorative booklet entitled The M a g ic o f B am bi.

P

1958. It opened the New York Film Festival in October and is in show­ case around the country. Originally shot in colour in VistaVision, the colour faded film was restored, emulsion layer-by-layer by Robert A. Harris and James C. Katz, who rescued such classics as L a w re nc e o f A ra b ia , S pa rta cu s and M y F air Lady. They have a painstaking devotion to detail, even tracking down a paint-chip from the Jaguar sports car that appears in the film, so that the original colour could be recreated. The release wouldn't have been so dramatic if it wasn't for the major discovery of tapes of Bernard Herrmann's original stereo recording of the score, which has been re-mixed and converted to a DTS digital sound­ track. Fans of the James Stewart and Kim Novak classic can look forward to revisiting it in a new Super VistaVision 70mm print.

BUSH TRACKING ON THE INFORMATION SUPERHIGHWAY he Indigenous Branch of the Australian Film Commission is currently visiting Indigenous communities around the country to generate interest in and promote discussion about new technology and multimedia developments.

T

YOU CAN LOOK DOWN NOW he other restoration to have an Australian release early next year is Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo, made in

T

The 'Multimedia Show and Tell'tour addresses the implications of new technology and multimedia for Indige­ nous Australians, and looks at issues of copyright, cultural misappropriation and promotion of Indigenous culture. There are some 300 sites on the Web that focus on Indigenous Australians: only around 25 percent have been created by Indigenous people. This percentage is mirrored in the manufacture and production of CDROMs about Indigenous Australia. Wal Saunders, Director of the Indigenous Branch, says: We are also concerned about the extensive archival holdings about Indigenous people and the risk of this material being appropriated in order to satisfy the increasing need for multimedia product. The world still hasn't worked out who owns culture. The copyright laws of this country do not recognise or support ownership of intellectual property, like stories, legends, archival images and Indigenous cultural practices. But we recognise that the new media also offers tremendous opportunities to promote Indigenous issues to the world and to encour­ age kids within our communities to respect and understand their own culture amidst this ever-changing w o rld .®

C I N E M A P A P E R S • DECEMBER 1996


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65


Sunday stated sentim entality of life and death in Australian rural P ^ surroundings is delineated for a contemporary audience. McFarlane and Mayer describe Sun­ day as: One of the key successes of the new A ustralian cinem a [...] S u n day [...] clearly draws its strength from its real­ ist observation of a small rural community of men with more interest in the tensions and difficulties and sol­ idarity o f their lives, than in the construction of a causally connected narrative.30 Distributors for the film were finally won over by threats and flattery. Prior to 1975, only a few locally-funded films had received full th eatrical release. Brealey recalled his meetings with the Australian distributors, Roadshow: We had to persuade the distributors to show this film. I said, “If you don’t show it, we have the funding to actu­ ally register it in a cinema and show it for 6 months. And if we embarrass you, we are going to make the most of it. I don’t care if I don’t get a cinem a. I am going to get a tent and I know there are laws against you trying to do any­ thing about that. We have got Whitlam on side and we’ll do that too.” So, in a way, we didn’t give them an alternative. Graham Burke [Roadshow] came to see the film and, as he came in, he said, “One of these days, one of these Aussie films is going to be successful and make some money”, and I said, “Gra­ ham, you might be going to see it.” M att Carroll, to whom it had fallen to steer the film through its most difficult production and post-production periods, feels that it succeeded. Carroll defines the mood that the film creates through his enthusiasm for one scene: The election of the union representa­ tive is one of the great scenes, and there are a number of great scenes in Aus­ tralian movies, but it will remain a classic scene. It’s totally fantastic. You can look at it time and time again. It gives you goose bumps; it’s so close to the bone of what were about. The international reaction to the film was favourable. Dingwall was sent copies of English reviews and registered the film’s reception from afar with a sense of pride: Sunday was the first [Australian] film to be in competition [sic] at Cannes. I read this review and I thought, “Jesus it’s good.” Sunday was credited with opening up A ustralian film s to the international market. They gave us a very good subtitle in France and it did very well.

66

The film was not a major financial suc­ cess, given the problem s and lack of experience in releasing Australian films, but it did achieve respectable arthouse runs in the UK and E urope.31 C o n fi­ dence was restored in the fledgling

S u n d ay Too Far A w a y

11 John Dingwall screenplay of Sunday T oo

The South Australian Film Corporation. SUNDAY TOO FAR AWAY. © 1975 South Australian Film Corporation. Made with the assistance of the Australian Film Development Corporation. 35mm. 100 mins.

SAFC, and production seemed assured for some time. Sunday probably did at least as well at the box office as the earlier W ake in Fright (1971), directed by noted Canadian Ted Kotcheff and produced with a far larger budget.32

Director: Ken Hannam. Producers: Gil Brealey,

For all the people involved in its pro­ duction, Sunday T o o F ar A w ay was a steep learning curve, and the film can be viewed as a paradigm case for the meth­ ods by which original Australian screenplays were to be developed over the following period of intense produc­ tion. It seems simple enough in retrospect to see why the film succeeded, but at the time it was made the Australian industry lacked both a clear sense of direction, and a pool of experienced production people who had the confidence and the skill to realize such an ambitious project. The risks of failure were very high, and the industry was only too quick to turn on those who made serious errors in judgement. Gil Brealey’s career was to suffer irreparable damage as a result of the action he took to complete Sunday, and the personal cost to him was almost intolerable:

Patrick Flynn. Musical arranger: Michael

It destroyed my career, it destroyed my feeling for film, it destroyed my life completely - that experience finished me [...] I have been through a lot. I had been making films for 20 years in those days. The thing that destroyed me most was the way that I was treated [...] by everybody, even my closest friends in the film industry. I was the first pro­ ducer to stand up for what I had to do, and I had to do it. There is no question about it. Matt Carroll went on to produce Storm B oy (Henri Safran, 1976), a successful family film based on a story by Colin Thiele, and other features at the SAFC, then moved to commercial television. He produced a range of quality television projects at Roadshow Coote & Carroll. John Dingwall continued as a writer of film and television, and his career was not markedly affected by the stories that circulated about the re-editing of the final cut of Sunday. However, the problems may well have reinforced Dingwall’s rep­ utation for integrity in his writing, and he has since moved on to directing with Phobia (1990) and The Custodian (1993). The actors, many of them already rec­ ognizable faces from Australian television shows and theatre, went on to appear in many films of the revival, and demon­ strated their abilities on the big screen with an assurance which would have been unthinkable even ten years before. ®

Matt Carroll. Scriptwriter: John Dingwall. Director o f photography: Geoff Burton. Camera operator: Graham Scaife. Production designer: David Copping. Wardrobe: Flelen Dyson. Editor: Rod Adamson. Composer: Carlos. Song: Bob Ellis (lyrics); Jack

Far Away, Heinemann Educational, Oakleigh, 1978. 12 John Dingwall, interviewed by Ian Stocks, 1992. All future quotes taken from this interview unless otherwise stated. 13 Jo h n D ingw all, screenp lay. T h e te x t which opens the film is “Friday night too tired, Saturday night to o drunk, Sunday n ig h t... Sunday night to o fa r a w ay .” 14 John Dingwall, screenplay. 15 See Graeme Turner, N ation al Fiction s L iteratu re, film an d th e con struction o f A u stralian n a rra tiv e, Allen &c Unwin, Sydney, 1986, pp. 98-100.

Thompson (singer). Sound recordist: Barry Brown. Sound editor: Greg Bell,

16 Noel Purdon, “Sunday Too Far Away”, C in e m a P a p er s, N o. 7 , N ovem ber-

Mixer: Peter Fenton.

December 1975.

Cast: Jack Thompson (Foley), Phyllis Ophel (Ivy), Reg Lye (Old Garth), John Charman (Barman), Gregory Apps (Michael Simpson), Max Cullen (Tim King), Ken Shorter (Frankie Davis), Robert Bruning (Tom), Jerry Thomas (Basher), John Ewart (Ugly), Sean Scully (Beresford), Peter Cummins (Arthur Black), Graeme Smith (Jim The Learner), Ken Weaver (Quinn), Lisa Peers (Sheila Dawson), Hedley

17 Noel Purdon, op cit. 18 Noel King, “Sunday T oo Far Away and the Born Again Cinema”, F ram ew ork 13, 1980. 19 Barry Jon es, T h e Age, 7 June 1 9 7 6 , in Bertrand. 20 Joh n Dingwall, 1 9 7 2 , Appendix 1, pp. 26-32. 21 John Dingwall, screenplay, Sunday T oo F ar Away, p.12.

Cullen (Mailman), Wayne Anthony (Undertaker); Doug Lihou, Mark Farrell, Peter Rowe, Bruce Wright, Ian Jamieson (Rousies);

22 David Stratton, The L ast N ew W ave: The Australian Film Revival, Angus & Robert­ son, Sydney, 1980, p. 102.

Curt Jansen (Wentworth).

23 John Dingwall, 1972, Appendix 1, p. 2 6 ­ The author thanks Professor Graeme Turner of the University of Queensland for his support with this study.

32. 24 The lines in question as they appear in the final film are: UGLY: W hat d o you think?

1 Phillip Adams, T he Age, 19 November 1980, in Ina Bertrand, A D ocu m en tary H istory o f Australian Film , NSW Univer­ sity Press, Kensington, 1989.

FOLEY: I d o n ’t. All I kn ow is, here I am again with the arse ou t o f m y pants. G o ask you r m ate, B lack Arthur. 25 L u ke’s Kingdom, 13-part series, Nine Net­ w ork -T rid en t T V UK. O n-air date: 7

2 First Report of the SAFC, 1972, in Albert

April 1 9 7 6 . Flannam was one o f five

Moran, “A State Capitalist Business Ven­

directors, another of whom was Peter

ture:

Film

W eir. Albert M oran described it as “a

Corporation”, in Moran and Tom O ’Re­

commercial miniseries but ahead of its

T he

South

A ustralian

gan (Eds), An A ustralian F ilm R ead er, Currency Press, Sydney, 1985.

time”. Moran, op cit, pp. 2 7 7-278. 26 Stratton, p. 102: “A final cut was made,

3 Bruce Molloy, B efore the Interval, UQP,

removing an entire sub-plot and reducing

Brisbane, 1991, contains a useful account

the running time to a little over ninety

of the decline of Australian feature pro-

minutes.”

ductionduring the leadup to World War

27 Stratton, p. 103.

II and the post-war period.

28 Stratton, p. 103.

4 Gil Brealey interviewed by Ian Stocks,

29 Brian McFarlane and Geoff Mayer, N ew

1994. All further quotes from Brealey are

Australian Cinema, Cambridge University

taken from this interview, unless other­ wise stated. 5 F irst R ep ort o f the SA FC , 1 9 7 2 , in Moran, 1985. 6 Peter Coleman, in Bertrand, p. 278. 7 Peter Coleman, T he B ulletin , 4 August 1973, in Bertrand, “A Symphony for Busy Clapperboards”, p. 278. 8 Scott Murray, “Australian Cinema in the 1970s and 1980s”, in Scott Murray (ed.), A u stralian C in e m a , Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 1994, p. 81. 9 Brealey quoted by Rod Nicholls, “Sym­ phony for Busy C lap p erbo ard s”, in Bertrand, p. 285.

Press, Oakleigh, 1992, p. 134. 30 McFarlane and Mayer, p. 169. 31 See David W hite, A ustralian M ovies to the W orld: The In tern ation al Success o f Australian Film s since 1970, Fontana and Cinem a P a p e rs,1 9 8 4 . A celeb rato ry account of the film’s release, accompa­ nying an equally celebratory documentary film of the same title (G ordon G lenn, Scott Murray, 1983). White quotes Amer­ ican critic R ex R eed: “I first becam e aware that there was something in Aus­ tralia besides koala bears and kangaroos [in] the year of Sunday T oo F ar Away. I liked it quite a lot.” 32 This film, funded by NLT (Australia) and

10 M att Carroll, interviewed by Ian Stocks,

Group W (U.S.), premiered in the O ffi­

1992. All future quotes taken from this

cial Selection at Cannes in 1971 and also

interview unless otherwise stated.

attracted critical attention.

C I N E M A P A P E R S • DECEMBER 1996


Robinson ,___ _ ^

Eadie Plan, where so much out of the box-office receipts went to the cinema, to the distribu­ to r and the prod u cer, you know . That’s what we wanted. And, oh, we spent days and days and days trying to talk politicians into [recognizing] that was the answer to it.

N evertheless, at this point, Southern International’s shareholders were happy to invest in a further slate of three pic­ tures. "With the arrival o f television promising additional opportunities, in M ay 1 9 5 6 R afferty and R obinson bought and refurbished the old Cinesound studio in Bondi as a base for operations. Robinson had sold his house to go into feature production and, deter­ m ined to build th eir cap ital, he and Rafferty kept their salaries pegged at £15 a week. W ork for Lowell Thomas and hire of facilities kept Southern Interna­ tional afloat for a while. Robinson also continued to make documentaries — and indeed did so throughout his career. H ow ever, costs were beginning to mount. In D ust in the Sun (1 9 5 8 ), he and Rafferty returned to the Northern Territory for a story again featuring sta­ tions and Aborigines. This time, they shot in colour with an imported English actress, but could not repeat the success of W alk into Paradise. Moreover, South­ ern In te rn a tio n a l’s final French co-productions, T he Stow aw ay (1958) and T h e R estless a n d th e D a m n e d (1 9 5 9 ), were budgeted at figures far greater than the company could afford. Hybrid productions, they failed critically and financially. The B-picture market in the U.S. was being rapidly eroded by television, while in A ustralia, in the absence of content regulations, televi­ sion failed to provide the expected opportunities for independent produc­ tion. Southern International was forced into liquidation. As Robinson told Gra­ ham Shirley: We got out of feature production com­ pletely because there was a feeling there was no future in it. We came in at the wrong time, Chips and I. We were at our peak when television started in this country. If we’d been at our peak five years earlier, we’d have been consoli­ dated by the time television came in. Nevertheless, it was television which was to lead to Lee Robinson’s greatest suc­ cess. Following the collapse of Southern International, Robinson worked as a director and producer on a range of doc­ umentary projects, and as production supervisor on the only Australian film released in 1966, T hey’re a W eird M ob, with English producer-director Michael Powell. He then teamed up with John M cC allum , who had represented the Australian interests in T h ey ’re a W eird M ob, to become one of the principals of

68

Fauna Films. By this time, local televi­ sion production had managed to make the breakthrough to Australian audiences with the 1 9 6 3 success of C raw fords’ police series H o m icid e. Producing for television was potentially viable. Once again, R ob in so n carefu lly thought through the commercial considerations involved in this new area of production. He travelled to North America, South America and Europe — at a time when such trips were not so readily under­ taken — studying the television markets. In Los Angeles, Robinson recalls, he dis­ covered that the producer of Flipper was getting out of production to concentrate on theme parks and was shrewd enough

thought there was a relationship just with a single parent and the boys — better mateship availability. The series, of course, was Skippy (196769)9, the adventures of Matt Hammond and sons, assisted by the bush kangaroo. John McCallum and the other five part­ ners scraped up the finance for a pilot. Each episode was to cost $ 1 8 -2 0 ,0 0 0 . Robinson, who had completely run out of money by this time, put in his labour: I wrote the pilot and directed the pilot and produced the pilot. We had to use a kangaroo from Kuringai Chase zoo, untrained, totally untrained. And it was a hell of a problem to get the kangaroo footage to make it work. Because you

turned around and he said, “Well, how much are you asking for it? How many do you intend to m ake?” And I said, “W ell, we want to make 3 9 .” Y eah”, he said, “I’ll give you six thousand dol­ lars an episode. That’s my best price.” And we argued and we said, “Well, for seven years.” And he said, “Alright, it’s limited to seven years. I’ll give you an option for three thousand for another three y e a rs.” W e said, “Aw, th a t’s good. Now how many episodes?” He said, “I’ll take as many as you like to make.” And the contract was written that, so long as we kept making them, Frank would buy them [laughing]. Unending contract, yeah. Thu s, S k ip p y , again, was absolutely dependent upon international sales for its continuation. It proved to be Aus­ tralian television’s first major success. In its day, it was sold to more countries than any other television series in the world — the Americans couldn’t sell to the Soviet block. Today, Skippy has sold to 126 different countries, often many times to the same country, and is still sold anew with each country to acquire television. Lee Robinson believes that Skippy’s success is a result of its honesty:

to persuade his six partners of the impli­ cations of this for Fauna: I came back and they said, “Have you found out anything about the televi­ sion.” I said, “Yep. Whatever we make has got to play at six o ’clock at night. That’s where the hole is all around the world.” And they said, “Well, what’ll we do for that?” And I said, “Well, it’s got to be a children’s series. Probably something with an animal but it’s got to be designed to fill that hole.” [...] Because nobody made their own chil­ dren’s stuff all around the world. It was the one American-type programme that everybody tolerated. And so they said, “Well, we’d better put a programme together.” So I said, “Well, let’s start with a kangaroo. That seems logical. And a national park and a family. And ...” It went through various stages. At one stage, the father had a wife and then I to ok the wife out because I

know you just had to pick up footage of whatever you could of a kangaroo hopping about. Anyway, we put it together and went to a lot of trouble in the editing. And then the pilot was finished and we went and showed it to Frank Packer [whose company oper­ ated TCN Channel 9, among others]. And that was very em barrassing because the projector broke down in his boardroom. We were looking at it. And I said, “Can we stop and fix the projector?” And Frank said, “N o.” He said, “I can hear it. I can hear what’s going on.” And after a while [laughing a bit], the sound went off but the pic­ ture had come back on. And now it was going with no sound and I said, “Can we get the sound fixed?” And he said ferociously, “NO! I can see what’s going o n .” So, at the end o f it, I thought, “W e’ve got Buckley’s chance here with old Frank.” I knew him well from T h e T ele g ra p h days. And he

It’s got qualities in it that you don’t see every day in other television things. If you read the Writer’s Bible that we, Joy Cavill and I, designed to give to writ­ ers as a guideline, [it] laid out the code. Typical was: the police will always be our friend; there will never be conflict between our characters and proper authority; there will be no authoritar­ ian attitude between M att Hammond and his sons; there will be mateship and consultation; and so on. Thirty points are in it. The Bible goes on: an element that must be in every episode is freedom of childhood; it always must express not only for children the free­ dom of movement, but a memory for adults of what the freedom of child­ hood was. There was a reminder about Skippy in the B ible. It was: always remember Skippy is a free, wild ani­ mal. Skippy is n ot a pet of the H am m onds. And all through that series; Skippy could come and go as it pleased. It was never considered to be their property, because it’s illegal to own a protected animal. In the new series, Skippy was their property. Wore a collar like a dog and, of course, the new series was less than successful; the whole concept we started out with had completely gone. S kip p y led to a feature sp in-off, T h e Intruders (1969), and was followed by other Fauna series: Barrier R eef, B oney, S h an n on ’s M ob and then B a ile y ’s Bird (1976-77), shot in Malaysia. Bailey’s Bird led to R o b in so n ’s grou nd -breaking but ultimately unsuccessful Asian co ­ produ ctions, the war dramas A ttack Force Z with Taiwan and C I N E M A P A P E R S • DECEMBER 1996


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Southern Cross with Japan. For­ mer AFC Commissioner Jo hn McQuaid recalls that, at the 1978 Asian Film Festival in Sydney, Robinson was the only Australian to pick up the proposition that Asia might provide partnerships and markets. However, R obinson’s Asian co-productions, if anything, presented more difficulties than those with France. Perhaps, once again, he had arrived too early. In any case, Australia was changing. The stylistic and aesthetic sensibilities which had guided Robinson throughout his long career were losing acceptance in an increasingly sophisticated milieu, and by the end of the ’80s he had retired from active production. In his day, Robinson was often per­ ceived as a Hollywood-style producer: charm ing, ruthless, insightful, doing things in lavish style. In fact, he was often short of money and laughs now at the naive deals which he believes pre­ vented him from reaping an appropriate financial reward. Nevertheless, despite difficult circumstances, Lee Robinson produced and/or directed dozens of doc­ umentaries, 13 feature films and seven television series. It’s a record which pro­ vides some justification for the argument he made to Cecil Holmes. T od ay, governm ent support and changed cultural circum stances have somewhat alleviated the necessity to choose between making the film you really want to make first or fulfilling a responsibility to your investors to get their money back. But I now understand why, in Australia in the 1950s, Robin­ son couldn’t see his way clear to doing both. The project which was (and still is) close to Robinson’s heart is a fivereeler called The Brim ming B illabon g.10 In brief, it concerns a young man from Arnhem Land who leaves his tribe to find the brimming billabong which pro­ vides all the wonderful things he has heard about in tales o f the outside world. He travels to a cattle station and, although he learns to be a station hand, he’s treated poorly and all they want is his labour; it’s not the brimming bill­ abong. He goes to a m ission station where they feed him three times a day and he doesn’t have to work. But, just as he thinks he’s found the brimming billabong, he discovers they want him to discard his own beliefs and attitudes. (“See, they want his brain and not his body in this place.”) So he goes on fur­ ther, to an outback police station to work as a tracker. One day, the police­ man arrests a fellow for spearing cattle. But when the young man talks it over with the prisoner, he can’t explain why a man should be locked up for hunting at a waterhole that has provided his peo­ ple with game for hundreds of years and he lets the prisoner out. Finally, unable to find a brimming billabong, he returns home and there’s a corroboree to cele­ brate his return.

70

It’s a curiously reverberant tale for the Australian film industry. In the 1950s and ’60s, many Australian actors and filmmakers left the country to search for the Brimming Billabong. Some, like Rod T a y lo r, thought that they found it som ew here else; but m ost returned, eventually. Lee Robinson chose to stay with the tribe, where the work of mak­ ing something out of what we had and who we were was, in itself, the only rew ard a film m aker could usually achieve. © 1 Film new s, October 1971. 2 David Stratton, The A vocado Plantation, Sydney 1990, p. 236. 3 This matter has been discussed in a very interesting way by Bill Routt in his essay, “On the Expression of Colonialism in Early Australian Films - Charles Chauvel and Naive Cinema”, in Albert Moran & Tom O ’Regan (eds), An Australian Film R eader, Sydney, 1985. 4 Not released in Australia until 1953. 5 Made in 1982. Unreleased theatrically in Australia, but released in the UK as The H ighest H on ou r: A True Story in 1984. 6 E ureka Stockade was shot in 1947; dates of first release are used for all films men­ tioned in this article. 7 Cecil Holmes directed sponsored docu­ mentaries and his two features, Captain T h u n d erb o lt (1953) and T h ree in O ne (1 9 5 7 ). For Film A ustralia he also directed G entle Strangers (1972), origi­ nally 75 minutes, but cut to an hour by Film Australia to remove controversial material. 8 Cavill’s feature credits include: The Stow­ aw ay

( 1 9 5 5 ),

associate

produ cer,

co-writer; Dust in the Sun (1958), asso­ ciate producer, co-w riter; T he Restless an d The D am n ed (1959), associate pro­ ducer; The Intruders (1969), co-producer; N ickel Q ueen (1971), co-producer, co­ writer; Dawn! (1979), writer, producer. 9 As is invariably the case various princi­ pals involved in a successful project tend to claim credit later for its origin. T he Sydney Morning H erald (14 March 1996) reports John McCallum as saying that he decided to stay in A ustralia in 1 9 6 7 because h e’d “just thought o f a good idea”, the television series Skippy. Given R o b in so n ’s record , I’d go w ith his account as representing more or less what happened, although no doubt there may have been a significant input from others, also. 10 This script appears to be a re-working of a more unstructured and very much less pointed novelette by Bill Harney, the famous bushman storyteller with whom Lee worked on occasion in the Northern Territory. Entitled Brimming Billabongs, it was written as the protagonist’s first­ person true account by H arney, ‘On Patrol’ (as he signs the introduction), in 1945 and published in 1947. Apparently,

sh o rts world is a fabric of characterspecific images, like the dark P 4 8 a b y s s of this local fibro night and collective images, like the glossycalved coutured club babes, that ghost Rosie and Jean (Carmel Johnson) as they walk Hindley Street mall. Cliff lived with Jean for the last years of his life, not with his wife, R osie’s mum, whose resent­ ments are clear. Rosie stays with Jean on her return to Adelaide. Millard: There’s lots of questions they have of each other. They both know about dif­ ferent bits of Cliff’s life, so I thought dramatically that offered some inter­ esting possibilities. It opens Rosie up, for one thing. Millard is drawn to the silences, the gaps, and, conversely, the desperate need for characters to talk, if about little. It’s these details that fire her to say so much about life in her creative work. Of Jean, she says: There are quite bold colours and pat­ terns associated with Je a n . Je a n ’s kitchen was yellow; lots of conflicting patterns. She is not particularly con­ cerned with good taste, which I like. Millard worked with script editor Keith Thompson through all five drafts of the script. Throughout our conversation, Millard spoke in musical terms about scriptwriting, using words like coun­ terpoint and orchestration to evidence her love of music, her excitem ent at using different artistic languages and the vital working relationship she has with composer Richard Vella. Collaboration is primary for Millard. She parlayed the immediate, positive responses to her script from producer Helen Bowden and DOP Mandy W alker into a successful production team: I think it was a very intricately struc­ tured script and I was unwilling to let go of anything during production. I felt I would be open to adding things, if that was physically possible. We had a tight budget: 15 days to shoot 22 locations. Perform ers Cate Blanchett and Tony Martin are the leads, working with dif­ ferent textures in the script of voice-over and dialogue: I think different themes demand dif­ ferent kinds of storytelling, and one of the really interesting things was explor­ ing some of the contradictions of lived experience. Take flowers. Old roses definitely smell better than new ones. Rose-coloured glasses? And as for that flower that has the perfume of rotting meat to attract its pollinator, put a parkland between me and that stinker. “It’s not that I don’t like flow ers”, says Millard. I know what she means.

Harry W att attempted unsuccessfully to interest Ealing in producing the film for Robinson.

1 The ’60s scenes were shot on reversal film stock and processed as negative.

legal ease drug to the insurer’s m edical advisers may vitiate the FPI on tbat actor. The guarantor will not take responsibility for this, for it is an insurance matter. Letters of C red it A distributor may pay its advance under a letter of credit it has procured from a bank. In the meantime, the producer may have discounted the letter of credit to fund or part-fund the production. On the bank’s paying under the letter of credit, the producer can repay the discounted funds and interest. The bank pays when presented with particular bits of paper in a prescribed form, usually laboratory let­ ters where the laboratory acknowledges that it holds the relevant film material, including duplicating material for the film, and a guarantor’s certificate that the film has been delivered. From the viewpoint of the producer and the guarantor, satisfying the require­ ments o f the letter of cred it is m ore hazardous than the innocent might sup­ pose, because the bits of paper triggering the payment must be in the exact form prescribed. The purpose of this require­ ment is to remove doubt, not to cause misery, which unfortunately is often its incidental result. Sometimes, it may be better for the successful distribution of the film to change some of the delivery items in the light of more information and changing technology. But, given the strict requirements of the letter of credit, the bank may not be obliged to pay if the producer makes changes. The banks often insist on a tight expiry date or early performance dates of the various letters triggering the letter of credit, so that a ‘mistake’ cannot be righted. To reduce these risks, producers and guarantors n egotiate to have a right to make changes to the triggering documents, have disinterested parties certify and have liberal expiry dates. Against this, release or programming needs som e­ times dictate delivery dates, a common one being to get the film to the Cannes Film Festival. Conclusion I have necessarily concentrated on com­ mon issues that producers and guarantors have to solve. Believe it or not, some­ times things go smoothly. Offhand, I can’t think of an Australian feature film or television series that has been aban­ doned, a word that bites deep into the psyche of our species. ©

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F or any enquiries please contact: H art & Spira, 2 / 8 8 G eorg e Street, T h e R ocks, Sydney NSW 2000. Tel: (02) 9 247 5008, Fax: (02) 9 2 4 7 5858. C I N E M A P A P E R S • DECEMBER 1 996


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F C C a n d C T P F F u n d in g D e c is io n s Telefeatures 99.9 Raw FM Fable The Adventures of the Balanced Particle Freeway Amy

73 73 73 73

Documentary Barry Humphries’ Flashbacks The Dream Factory

73 73

Feature

I

Diana & Me Doing Time for Patsy Cline Heaven’s Burning P r o d u c tio n S u r v e y : Joey Oscar and Lucinda Features in Pre-production ! Paws Dead Letter Office 7 3 ! Siam Sunset Sound of One Hand Clapping

The Well

73

Features in Production The Alive Tribe The Big Red Black Ice Dark City

j

74 74 74 74 76 76 76 76

Features in Post-production 73 73 74 74

Blackrock My Blessings Scream Thank God He Met Lizzie

76 76 76 76

Television Series

Documentary Changing Heart

77

Shorts The Date Otherzone Purgatory Titsiana Booberini Your Move

77 77 77 77 78

Cosmo Kids Good Guys, Bad Guys Skippy 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

78 78 78 78

Television Production Kangaroo Palace 3-4 Ever Spellbinder II: The Land of the Dragon Lord

78 78 78

production ■

H E A V E N ' S B U R N I N G FOR JOEY • PATSY CLI NE • D I A N A & ME

Telefeatures

FFC Funding Decisions

FABLE (120 mins )

Following a Board meeting on 28 August, the F F C has entered into contract negot­ iations w ith the producers of the following projects:

Telefeature 99.9 RAW FM (90 mins ) D: M ichael Carson P: B ob W eis EP: S ue M asters W s: J acquelin Perske, M ichael B rindley Pre- sale: ABC-TV D ist: B eyond

I n a suburban M elbourne warehouse, fringe music and techno-m ixer Robert and blind, Braille librarian Zelda have got their hands on a community radio licence. It promises to be a week-long narrow cast dance party for the kids of Melbourne. The graffiti gang, the Vietnamese kids, the party girls, the skateboarders, the headbangers and the clubbers are all drawn to RAW FM. It's chaotic, and fraught w ith adrenalindriven excitement. For seven days, this could be theirs...99.9 RAW FM.

Documentary THE DREAM FACTORY (55-minute Accord) S orena P roductions Ds: A ndrew Saw , L izzy Gardiner Ps: A ndrew Saw , Lizzy Gardiner EP: J ohn M abey, Rhonda M abey Pre-sale: ABC-TV

PS: B ill H ughes, Susan Haworth . Distributor: S even N etwork Director: M alcolm M cD onald Writer: I AN COUGHLAN Cast: S imon W estaway

A

ustralian soap opera is a heated crucible where the ordinary and obscure are rapidly and unexpectedly rocketed to a level of fame that people in other walks of life take decades to achieve. The Dream Factory is the story of the addictive lure of fame and the immense influence and power of soap opera. Via the intimate lives of young celebrities and their more experienced peers, the documentary w ill examine the pressures, expectations, frustrations, and professional and personal costs of sudden and intense notoriety.

At the Ju ly Board meeting, funding was approved for

Feature

A

current affairs host becomes obsessed w ith the supernatural after the death of his family.

THE ADVENTURES OF THE BALANCED PARTICLE FREEWAY PS: Z elda Rosenbaum ,

Oscar W hitbread Director: Paul M aloney Writer: Carole W ilkinson

A

grumpy old dragon crashlands into a children's cubby house and needs the help of the children to restore his power.

THE WELL

AMY

(95-100 mins)

Director: N adia T ass Writer: David Parker

X an adu S outhern S tar D: Samantha Lang P: Sandra Levy

T

he story of an eight-year-old girl who can hear only music and communicates by singing.

Commercial Television Production Fund The Commercial Television Production Fund has approved funding of a new adult drama, two projects from the C hildren’s D ram a Initiative and the Fund's first docum entary project.

Documentary BARRY HUMPHRIES' FLASHBACKS Director: David M itchell Producer: J ohn M cLean Distributor: SEVEN NETWORK Presenter/co-writer: B arry Humphries

A

n irreverent look at the past four decades of Australian history w ith an original slant on the events and people that shaped the country.

K

ey

Features in production THE ALIVE TRIBE

EP Executive Producer P Producer Co-P Co-Producer AS Associate Producer LP Line Producer D Director SW Scriptwriter C Cast PC Principal Cast S E Story Editor W D Writer-director D IST Distributor N O TE: Production Surrey forn u now adhere to a revised form at. Cinema Papers regretj it cannot accept inform ation received in a different form at.

Budget: $17,000

Principal Credits Director: STEPHEN A mis Producer: STEPHEN A mis Associate producers: LAWRENCE

SlLBERSTEIN, GREG LINKS, PETER LINKS Scriptwriter: STEPHEN A mis D.O.P: Darrel Stokes Production manager: M yrlene B arr Camera operator: Steve W elsh Assistant director: MONIQUE GRBEC Film gauge: Super 16

A

group of university students campaigns against the use of chemicals.

Cinema Papers doer not accept

THE BIG RED

responsibility fo r the accuracy o f any inform ation supplied by production com panies. Thu is particu larly the cave when inform ation changer but the production company m aker no attem pt to correct what bcu already been supplied.

Production Survey Inform ation is supplied as and adjudged as of 1 Septem ber 1996

(working

S cala Productions; Unthank Films Production office: Sydney Production: 16/9-9/11/96

Principal Credits Director: Stephan Elliott Producer: FlNOLA Dwyer Co-producer: A ntonia Barnard Executive producers: N ik Powell,

Stephen W oolley Scriptwriter: MICHAEL THOMAS Based on the novel: T he D ead H eart by

Douglas K ennedy Director of photography: M ike M olloy Editor: M artin W alsh Production designer: Owen Patterson Financed by:

Features In Pre-production DEAD LETTER OFFICE Production company: A rtist S ervices Production: 20/1-7/3/97 Scriptwriter: D eborah Cox

title )

Production companies:

T he Samuel Goldwyn Company , FFC International Sales: T he Samuel Goldwyn Company

T

he story of Teddy, a streetw ise New Yorker, who finds himself out of his depth Down Under, entrapped by a sunkissed Outback Valkyrie.

THE NEW HHB DAT TAPE THE BEST GETS EVEN BETTER FREECALL 1 8 0 0 675 168 C I N E M A P A P E R S • DECEMBER 1996

73


production Production Survey continued BLACK ICE

DIANA & ME

Production company: W edgetail Film M anagement Ltd Budget: $1.5 M illion P rincipal Credits

Production company: M att Carroll Films Production: 28/9 - 16/11/96 Finance: A ustralia Film Finance

Corporation, NSW Film Office, V illage Roadshow Pictures Principal Credits Director: D avid PARKER Producer: M att Carroll Line producer: Greg RlCKETSON Executive producers: Greg Coote, A lan Finney Screenplay: M att Ford ( based on a SCREENPLAY BY ELIZABETH COLEMAN) D.O.P: K eith W agstaff Editor: B ill M urphy Production designer: J on D owding Costume designer: T ess S chofield P roduction Crew 1st assistant director: V icki S ugars M arketing International sales agent: VILLAGE Roadshow Pictures W orldwide Unit publicity: Fiona S earson

Director: J ames Richards Producer: Robert Greenough Executive producers: B ill M utter, Ron W illiams Associate producer: Ron V reeken Scriptwriters: J ames Richards, Rob Greenough D.O.P: Kevin 'L oosey' Lind P roduction Crew Post-production supervisor:

Karl B ransten Choreographers: Ron V reeken, J ames W illiams Assistant editor: A dam W eis Cast J ohn Orcsik, T ony B onner, Ron V reeken, T onia Lee.

N

athan Vaughn, an enigmatic man, a coiled spring ready to explode, is recruited by Detective Andy Riddle to hand out his own form of rough justice. Vaughn begins working for criminal Curtis Starr w hich is his final journey to self-destruction.

DARK CITY Production company: Dark C ity

Productions Production: 5/8-18/11/96

Principal Credits Director: A lex Proyas Producer: A ndrew M ason Screenplay: A lex Proyas, Lem D obbs, David Goyer D.O.P: D ariusz W olski Editor: Dov HOENIG Production designer: GEORGE Liddle Costume designer: Liz KEOGH P roduction Crew Production manager/Line Producer:

Barbara Gibbs 1st assistant director:

Steve A ndrews M arketing International sales agent: N ew Line Cinema Publicity: Fiona S earson, DDA Cast Rufus S ewell, W illiam Hurt, Kiefer S utherland, J ennifer Connelly, Richard O'B rien, B ruce S pence and Colin Friels.

J ohn M urdoch awakens alone in a strange hotel room, accused of a series of brutal murders that he cannot remember. Indeed, most of his memories have vanished altogether. He soon discovers that his memories and reality as he knows it are in fact artificial creations controlled by a fiendish underworld of ominous beings collectively known as The Strangers.

DDA (612) 9955 5800

Cast T oni Collette, Dominic W est

A

romantic comedy, Diana & Me is the story of a young Australian woman who shares the same name and birthday as the Princess of Wales. Obsessed w ith her royal namesake, she w ins a trip to London and comes close to shaking her hand, but is elbowed out of the way by a pushy paparazzo photographer.

Production runner: Leah A bernethy Production accountant: \K evin Plummer Insurer: H.W. W ood A ustralia P/L Completion guarantor: Film Finances Legal services: Hart & S pira Travel co-ordinator: J et A viation Camera Crew Focus puller: Colin Deane Clapper-loaders: N ick W att , Campbell D rummond Camera assistant: N ino T amburri Key grip: ROBIN MORGAN Assistant grips: PAUL Hamlyn , Donovan N orgard Gaffer: Paul B ooth Best boy: Stephen Gray Electrician: B en Steele On -S et Crew 1st assistant director: Chris W ebb 2nd assistant director: T anya J ackson-V aughan 3rd assistant director: J ennifer L eacey Continuity: K ristin V oumard Boom operator: Stephen J ackson-V aughan Make-up: Paul Pattison Make-up assistant: A nnette Hardy Hairdresser: Paul Pattison Assistant hairdresser:

A nnette Hardy Special fx supervisor: Ray Fowler SPFX Services Line dancing consultant: J ulie T albot Stunts co-ordinator: Z ev Eleftheriou Safety officer: W ayne Pleace Still photography: Phillip Le M esurier, Elise Lockwood Unit publicist: JANE OSBORNE, T racey M air Catering: CLAIRE POLLARD Action vehicles: A dam Pinnock A rt Department Art director: LAURIE Faen Art department co-ordinator:

DOING TIME FOR PATSY CLINE Production company: Oil Rag Films Production: 20/9 - 1/11/96

P rincipal Credits Director: Chris K ennedy Producer: Chris K ennedy Co-producer: J ohn W inter Screenplay: Chris Kennedy D.O.P: A ndrew Lesnie Sound recordist: CHRIS ALDERTON Editor: Ken SALLOWS Production designer: ROGER FORD Art director: Laurie Faen Costume designer: LOUISE WAKEFIELD Composer: PETER B est Music researcher: CHRISTINE WOODRUFF

P u n n in g

and development

Casting: Chris K ing C/-

Liz M ullinar Casting Extras casting: D ominique M echam ,

J oe B ennato, Roseanne S carfo P roduction Crew Production manager: Caroline B onham Production co-ordinator: D ebbie A tkins Production secretary: MIRANDA CULLEY Location manager: M aude H eath Unit manager: S imon Lucas Assistant unit manager: ROSS B rioekirk Unit assistant: Paul M esser

Christina N orman Set decorator: KERRIE B rown Props buyer: ADRIENNE OGLE,

Guy T urnbull Standby props: Chris J ames Armourer: A manda K irby W ardrobe Wardrobe supervisor: Robyn Elliott Standby wardrobe: N ina Parsons Cutter: S usan Head Construction D epartment Scenic artist: Dave T uckwell Carpenter: Les S eaward Painter: J ohn Orden P ost- production Assistant editor: B ascia OZERSKI Editing assistant: N atalia Ortiz Sound post-production:

A udio Loc S ound Design Editing room & post-production:

S pectrum Films Shooting stock: KODAK

Government A gency I nvestment FFC, NSW Film & TV Office M arketing International sales agent:

S outhern Star Sales Poster designer:

Harcus Design

Cast Richard Roxburgh (B oyd), M iranda Otto (P atsy), M att Day (Ralph ), Gus M ercurio (T yrone), B etty B obbitt (C onnie ).

A

w ry tale about a reluctant hero who sacrifies his dreams for love and desire.

HEAVEN'S BURNING Production company: Duo A rt P roductions Pre-production: 12/8 - 27/9/96 Production: 30/9 - 22/11/96 Post-production: 25/11/96 - 4/4/97

P rincipal Credits Director: CRAIG LAHIFF Producers: A l Clark, H elen Leake Executive producers: Craig Lahiff ,

Georgina Pope Written by: Louis N owra D.O.P: B rian B reheny Sound recordist: ToiVO Lember Editor: J ohn Scott Production designer: VlCKl N iehus Costume designer: A nnie M arshall Composer: Carl V ine

P lanning and D evelopment Casting: A nna Lennon-S mith , Liz M ullinar Consultants Casting assistant: Daniel S hipp Extras casting: Lyn Pike Production Crew Production manager: Lesley Parker Production co-ordinator: TRISH Foreman Production secretary: JULIE BYRNE Location manager: MAURICE BURNS Unit manager: M ichael Gill Unit assistants: M ichael A itken, S imon T aylor Production runner: S cott H eysen Production accountant: D eborah W ilde Accounts assistant: SHERYL M aung Insurer: Richard Hyde, W ebster Hyde Completion guarantor: A drienne Read, Film Finances Legal services: B ryce M enzies, Roth W arren Travel co-ordinator: TONY M ILES, Stage & Screen Freight co-ordinator: TONY BORKOWSKI, S un Couriers Camera Crew Camera operator: B rian B reheny Focus puller: J ohn Foster Clapper-loader: Corey Piper Attachment camera assistant: Renee Hanna Key grips: D avid S haw , Paul M icallef (G rip ) Assistant grip: J osh M oore Gaffer: Graeme S helton Best boy: Dave S mith 3rd electrics: Roberto KARAS On -S et Crew 1st assistant director: A drian Pickersgill 2nd assistant director: Christie M cGuinness 3rd assistant director: M atthew B ennett Continuity: Chris O'C onnell Boom operator: M arco A rlotta Make-up/Hair: B everley Freeman , Christine M iller Special fx make-up: B everley Freeman Special fx supervisors: PETER Stubbs , J eff Little Stunts co-ordinator: Richard B ouÉ Safety officer: Robert S imper, Richard B oué Unit nurse: J enny B ichard Still photography: Lisa T omasetti Unit publicist: A nnette S mith Catering: D & M Location Catering

A rt D epartment \ | i

Art director: Hugh B ateup Art department runner: RlCCO Pearse Set decorator/Props Buyer: Sarah A bbey,

T ony Cronin Draftsman: BORGE FAAB0RG Standby props: Leroy PLUMMER Armourer: DOUG CAMPBELL \ Action vehicle co-ordinator: Phil M cCarthy :

W ardrobe Wardrobe supervisor: Kathy Hain 1 Wardrobe buyers: CATHERINE Herreen, J ennifer Ramos Standby wardrobe: Gwendolyn Stukeley Wardrobe assistant: SANORA D onlan Construction D epartment Scenic artist: JOHN Haratzis Construction manager: ARTHUR V ette Carpenters: Gary B uss, K evin J arrett Brush Hands: M atthew Farrugia , B en Resch Post- production Assistant editor: Strutts Psyridis Sound editors: Livia Ruzic, Craig Carter Laboratory: A tlab Laboratory liaison: S imon WlCKS Film/Video gauge: 35 mm Screen ratio: 2.35:1

Government A gency I nvestment Development: SAFC Production: FFC, SAFC M arketing International sales agent: B eyond Cast Russell Crowe (C olin ), Youki Kudoh (M idori), Ray B arrett (Ca m ), Kenji Iso ­ mura (Y ukio ), Robert M ammone (M ahood), A nthony P helan (B ishop), M atthew Dyktinski (M offat), Petru G heorghiu (B oorjam ), Colin Hay (J onah ), S usan Priox (S haron), Kate Fitzpatrich (G loria ).

JOEY Production company: V illage Roadshow Pictures Production: 4/9 - 16/10/96

Principal Credits Director: Ian B arry Producer: M ichael Lake Executive producers: Robin B urke,

Greg Coote Screenplay: Stuart B eattie D.O.P: David B urr Editor: Lee S mith Production designer: Peta Lawson Costume designer: M arion B oyce

Production Crew Production office: Gold Coast Unit production manager: B rian B urgess 1st assistant director. Stuart Freeman

P ost- production Animatronics supervisor: J ohn Cox

M arketing International sales agent: V illage Roadshow P ictures W orldwide Unit Publicity: Fiona S earson, DDA . Cast J amie Crofts, A lex M cK enna , Rebecca Gibney, Ed B egley J r, Ruth Cracknell, Harold H opkins

W

hen a young Australian boy boards a train to Sydney to reunite a baby kangaroo w ith his abducted parents he begins an hilarious adventure through the city's mean streets and to the halls of government, finding a new best friend and justice along the way.

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Virtual unreality

avai l abl e on Qua nt e l Henr y from Zer o 1 Zer o post pr o duc t i on,

design gr aphi cs a nd speci al effects. Phone (02) 9 4 1 7 5 7 0 0 . Fax (02) 9 4 1 7 5 8 7 9 .

Zero 1Zero 01


production -

-

Production Survey __

^

continued OSCAR AND LUCINDA Production company: MERIDIAN Films Distribution company: Fox Searchlight Production: S eptember-D ecember 1996 Budget: S16 million Director: Gillian A rmstrong Producers: T im W hite, Robin Dalton Scriptwriter: Laura J ones Government Agency Investment: FFC

B

ased on the novel by Peter Carey, a story about fate, love, gambling and faith.

PAWS Production company: Latent I mage

Productions P/L Distribution company: POLYGRAM FILMS (UK) Ltd Production: 14/10 - 9/12/96

P rincipal Credits Director: Karl Z wicky Producers: A ndrena Finlay, V icki W atson Executive producer: Rebel PenfoldRussell Screenplay: Harry Cripps Based on the novel: Chance in a M illion Written by: Stephen Dando -C ollins Scriptwriters: Harry Cripps, Karl Zwicky D.O.P: Geoff B urton Sound recordist: GUNTIS SlCS Editor: NlCK HOLMES Production designer: Steven J ones-Evans Costume designer: David Rowe Planning and Development Casting: M aura Fay & A ssociates Casting consultants: A nn Fay Extras casting: M aura Fay & A ssociates Dialogue coach: NiCO Lathouris Shooting schedule by: J amie CROOKS Production Crew Production manager: B renda Pam Production co-ordinator: Sandy Stevens Producer's assistant: Leoni Strickland Production secretary: Cassandra S impson Location manager: Richard M ontgomery Unit manager: A ndrew M arshall Production runner: Lou AUSTIN Production accountant: J ohn M ay Accounts assistant: S cott Lovelock insurer: H.W. W ood - T ony Gibbs Completion guarantor: Film Finances Legal services: A llen, A llen, & Hemsley Camera Crew Camera operator: Geoff BURTON Focus puller: Leilani Hannah Clapper-loader: J asmine Yuen-C arrucan Camera assistant: M artin Gooch 2nd unit action director: GLENN BOSWELL 2nd unit focus: Chris T aylor 2nd unit operator: Steve N ewman Camera maintenance: Sam my ' s Key grip: SCOTT B rOKATE Assistant grip: T im Duggan Gaffer: Ian Plummer Best boy: Robbie B urr Electrician: S imon W illiams

On -S et Crew 1st assistant director: JAMIE CROOKS 2nd assistant director: T om Read 3rd assistant director: J ennifer Rees-B rown Continuity: Karen M ansfield Boom operator: Emma Barham Make-up: Robbie Pickering Hairdresser: T eena M cCarthy Special fx supervisor: J ohn B owring Stunts co-ordinator: S pike Cherrie Unit nurse: J acquie Robertson-R amsay Unit publicist: M aria Farmer Catering: Feeding Frenzy A rt D epartment Art director: IAN GRACIE Art department runner: Edmund Levine Set dressers: J oanna Park, Richie Dehne Props maker: Fiona W ilson Standby props: A ndrew Playford, J ayne J ohnson Armourer: JOHN BOWRING W ardrobe Wardrobe buyer: Christelle Coroneos Standby wardrobe: Fiona N iccols A nimals Animal trainer: Luke Hura Animal handlers: Sue BLOOM, J oanne K ostuik Construction Department Construction manager: Rob RlCKETSON Scenic artist: Frank Falconer Labourers: MATTHEW COX, J ohn W illiamson S et finisher: Giles B radbury Studios: M ax Studio P ost- production Assistant editor: A lison W heeler Laboratory: A tlab Laboratory liaison: DENISE WOLFSON Film gauge: 35 mm Shooting stock: KODAK Telecine transfers by: DIGITAL PICTURES Off-line facilities: Frameworks Video special fx: CONJA Video to Film:D-FlLM Government A gency I nvestment Development: Film Finance Corporation Production: Film Finance Corporation M arketing International sales agent: POLYGRAM FILMS (UK) Ltd International distributor: Polygram Films (UK) Ltd Cast N athan Cavaleri (Zac ), Emilie Francois (Samantha ), J oe Petruzzi (Stephen), Caroline Gillmer (S usie), Rachael B lake (A my ), Sandy Gore (A nya).

P

pw sis a family adventure film about a boy, his dog and their computer.

SIAM SUNSET Production company: ARTIST SERVICES Production: 11/11-13/12/96 Scriptwriters: M ax Dann , A ndrew Knight

W ardrobe Wardrobe supervisor: JACKLINE Sassine Standby wardrobe: Gabrielle Dunn Wardrobe assistant: Sara M athers

Construction D epartment Construction manager: Greg M urphy

Government A gency I nvestment Production: FFC, NSWFTO M arketing

s o u n d of o ne h a n d

CLAPPING Production company: A rtist S ervices Production: 7/10-22/11/96 Producer: Rolf de H eer Writer: Richard Flanagan Script editor: DEBORAH Cox

Cast K erry Fox

Featured in podt-prodaction BLACKROCK Production company: Palm B each P ictures (B lackrock) Pty Ltd Distribution company: POLYGRAM Production: 26/8-4/10/96 Principal Credits Director: STEVE VlDLER Producer: David Elfick Associate producer: Catherine Knapman Scriptwriter: NlCK ENRIGHT Based on the play by Nick Enright Director of photography: M artin M cGrath Sound recordist: GUNTIS SlCS Editor: Frans Vandenburg Production designer: David M cKay Costume designer: David M cKay

Planning

and

Development

Casting: Christine King, Liz M ulunar Extras casting: Kate Finsterer

P roduction Crew Production manager: Catherine Knapman Production co-ordinator: LlBBY SHARPE Producer's assistant: Valerie W illiams Production secretary: Robin CLIFTON Unit Manager: M arc A shton Production runner: ALICE LANAGAN Insurer: H. W. W ood A ustralia Pty Ltd Completion guarantor: Film Finances I nc Legal services: Hart & Spira Travel co-ordinator: H elen Linthorne

Camera Crew Camera operator: M artin M cGrath Focus puller: Katrina Crook Key grip: B rett M cDowell Assistant grip: T im Duggan Gaffer: David Parkinson Best boy: Greg Rawson On - set Crew 1st assistant director: Charles Rotherham 2nd assistant director: Karen M ahood 3rd assistant director: ANDREW POWER Continuity: Carmel T orcasio Boom operator: MICHAEL TAYLOR Make-up: J an (Z iggy) Z eigenbein Make-up assistant: B eck T aylor Hairdresser: J an (Z iggy) Z eigenbein Assistant hairdresser: B eck T aylor Still photography: Elise Lockwood Unit publicist:

One Globe Promotions A rt Department Art director: Sam Rickard Art department co-ordinator: SANDRA (H eidi) Oosterman Art department runner: A ndelija (A ngi) V elickovic Set dresser: Glen J ohnson Props buyer: A dam S later Standby props: GEORGE ZAMMIT

Cast M arie -L ouise W alker (J ane ), Ian D ixon (M ichael), Dale Stevens (L isa ), Em ma Strand (S ue), M ark S hannon (L ind ­ say ), V ictory Day (Rachel), Graham Pages (J effrey), B ill M ousoulis (as himself), Dirk de B ruyn (as himself).

A

diary film, chronicling six days in the life of a woman in her early 30s.

Marketing consultant:

One Globe Promotions

SCREAM

International sales agent:

Production company: T he Film Factory Production:... D ecember 1996. Principal Credits Director: Gary Young Producer: T. C. Fields Executive producer: Gary YOUNG Scriptwriter: Gary Y oung Cast Don B echelli, T ed M iller, A l B equette, Rich Goyet.

B eyond Films Publicity: One Globe Promotions Cast Laurence B reuls (J ared), Linda Cropper (D iane ), S imon Lyndon (R icko), Chris Haywood (D et. Sgt. W ilansky), Rebecca S mart (C herie), Essie Davis (D et. Gilhooley), J essica Napier (Rachel), Heath Ledger (T oby), J ustine Clarke (T iffany).

W

hen a 15-year-old girl is raped and murdered at a teenage surf club party, Blackrock turns into a town of hatred, shame and distrust. For 17year-old Jared, the event tears him between loyalty and truth. When one is 17, scared and alone, how does one choose?

A

young man is arrested after the hold-up of a liquor store. During psychiatric examination, the young man regresses to Egypt 4,000 years ago as a mummified body. The psychiatrist learns that there has been a trail of killings of anyone who disturbs the mummy.

THANK GOD HE MET LIZZIE

MY BLESSINGS Production company: Innersense Productions Budget: $8,000 Pre-production: 12/8 - 22/9/96 Production: 23/9 - 11/10/96 Post-production: 12/10/96 - 1/3/97

P rincipal Credits Director: BILL MOUSOUUS Producer: B ill MOUSOUUS Original screenplay by: B ill MOUSOULIS D.O.P: Kattina B owell Sound recordists: Phillip H ealy, Chris O'S hea, J ennifer S ochackyj, Emma B ortignon, J ohn Cumming Editor: B ill M ousoulis Production designer: Danica D.B. P u n n in g and D evelopment Casting: B ill M ousoulis, M arie-L ouise W alker P roduction Crew Producer's assistant: Sandi A ustin Production assistants: Georgeia Dearaugo, Louise Sterling Camera Crew Camera operator: Kattina B owell Focus puller: A ndrew M cCormack Clapper-loader: A ndrew Ball Camera assistants: M att T oll, Tov B elling Gaffer: Liam A dam On -S et Crew 1st assistant director: BILL MOUSOUUS Continuity: DANICA D.B. Still photography: Robert Ball Catering: Sandi W ishes A rt Department Art director: DANICA D.B. Assistant art director: J ulie Raffaele W ardrobe Wardrobe supervisor: Danica D.B. Post- production Sound transfers by: D irk DE B ruyn Mixer: Dirk de B ruyn Laboratory: ClNEVEX Film gauge: 16mm Screen ratio: 1.33:1 Shooting stock: 7248

Production company: Stamen Films Distribution companies: REP (A ustralia); B ecker Group (I nternational) Budget: S2.25 million Production: 25/7/96 - 11/9/96

P rincipal Credits Director: Cherie N o w u n Producer: JONATHAN SHTEINMAN Co-producer: Carol H ughes Scriptwriter: ALEXANDRA LONG Director of photography: KATHRYN MlLLlSS Sound recordist: Stephen V aughan Editor: Suresh A yyar Production designer: Clarrissa Patterson Costume designer: Edie Kurzer Composer: MARTIN ARMIGER

Pu n n in g

and

D evelopment

Casting: Liz M ullinar Casting

P roduction Crew Production co-ordinator: Ruth W atson Production secretary:

Natasha B rockmeler Location manager: B evan Childs,

Robin Clifton Unit manager: B ob Graham Production accountant: Kate D rindiville Insurer: ROLLINS HUDIG Hall Completion guarantor: Film Finances

Camera Crew Focus puller: A drian S effrin Clapper-loader: J asmine Carrucan Gaffer: J onathan H ughes Best boy: Darryn Fox Electrician: GARTH A llen

On - set Crew 1st assistant director: P. J. VOCTON 2nd assistant director: J ohn M artin Continuity: A ndrew Upton Boom operator: B rent S hepherd Make-up assistant:

Cleacwizzyl M olineaux Hairdressers: Chiara T ripodi, T rish Glover Still photography: Philip Le M esurier Unit publicist: T racey M air Publicity, M aria Farmer Public Reutions Catering: CURE POLURD, Camera Cooks

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C I N E M A P A P E R S • DECEMBER 1996


A rt D epartment Art department co-ordinator:

Stefanie K leinhenz Art department runner: B eth PlCKWORTH Propsperson: M ichael Lacono Props buyer: Sam Cook Standby props: Chris Darvall

W ardrobe Wardrobe supervisor: T racey Richardson Standby wardrobe: N ina Parsons P ost- production Assistant editor: N ick Cole Musical director: M artin A rmiger Laboratory: MOVIELAB Shooting stock: Kodak A ustralia

G overnment A gency I nvestment D evelopment: A ustralian Film Commission Production: AFC, NSWFTO M arketing International sales agent: B ecker Group Cast Richard Roxburgh (G uy), Cate B lanchett (L izzie ), Francis O'C onnor (J enny ), Linden W ilkinson (P oppy), J ohn Gaden (D r O'H ara ), Genevieve M ooy (M rs J amieson ), M ichael Ross (M r J amieson ).

Executive producer: K en HAWKINS Director of photography: H elen Carter Editor: S imon W hitington Technical supervisor: Gerald T hompson

Planning and D evelopment Casting: V ast - P eter Yates P roduction Crew Production manager: J acqui Harrison Production assistant: M ia Hargrave Financial controller: Peter W hite Insurer: ClNESURE Legal services: HART and S pira Travel Co-ordinator: Show T ravel Camera Crew Camera assistant: Darryl W ood Camera type: M itchell MK II, A rri III Key grip & Motion Control: CHARLIE KlROFF Motion Control Electronics: Patrick W alsh On - set Crew Helicopter Pilot: TERRY Lee P ost- production

S ee previous

issues for details on the following :

DUST OFF THE WINGS

( large S creen Format ) Screen ratio: 1:2.34 Shooting stock: K odak 5245, 5298 Video transfers by: D igital P ictures Off-line facilities:

N etwork 8 & Digital A rts he Changing H eartis a largeform at film to be screened at the new Desert Life Park & Botanic Gardens near A lice Springs. The film follow s the evolution of Central Australia from the beginnings of time until recent history.

T

THE INNER SANCTUARY

Shorts

K.C. A NICE GUY

THE DATE

RED HERRING ROAD TONHILL TRUE LOVE AND CHAOS

Awaiting Release S ee previous issues for details ON the following:

FIRST STRIKE (FORMERLY THE STORY OF C.I.A.)

IDIOT BOX LUST AND REVENGE THE QUIET ROOM RIVER STREET UNDER THE LIGHTHOUSE DANCING ZONE 39

Documentary CHANGING HEART Production company:

D igital A rts Film & T elevision Pre-production: JANUARY-FEBRUARY 1996 Production: M arch-A ugust 1996 Post-production: S eptember-D ecember 1996

P rincipal Credits Director: MlKE CARROLL Producer: S ean Caddy

Film gauge: 16MM Screen ratio: 8:1 Shooting stock: Kodak V ision 500 Video transfers by: Complete Post Off-line facilities: H orizon Films

A nimal Logic Laboratory: M ovie Lab Film gauge: 35 mm B low up to 70 mm

Production company: B urnt Orange Films Budget: $7615.00 Pre-production: 6/96 Production: 7/96 Post-production: 9/96

Principal Credits Director: Pip M ushin Producer: David J agoda Co-producer: Ernie S chwartz Executive producers: P ip M ushin , David

J agoda, Ernie S chwartz Screenplay: David J agoda , Pip M ushin ,

Ernie S chwartz D.O.P: A ndrew 'B oo' Oliver Sound recordist: Chria Coltman Editor: Robert Hall Production designers: David J agoda,

Pip M ushin Costume designer: Katie Graham Composers: S hane T hornton,

T im S chroeder P lanning and D evelopment Casting: Chameleon Casting Casting consultants: M aria Efthymiopoulos, J o Rippon Production Crew Production co-ordinator: Paul M unn Location manager: Ernie S chwartz Unit manager: Camille M argalit Camera Crew Focus puller: S cott TlEDGEN Gaffer: Karl Engeler Best boy: J ason M cK innon On -S et Crew 1st assistant director: PAUL MUNN Continuity: T ara Ferrier Boom operator: Chria Coltman

Animation: David Cox Laboratory: CiNEVEX Film gauge: 35 mm Government A gency I nvestment Development:

A ustralian Film Commission Production: Film VICTORIA (IFF) Cast M arie H oy (Z heng), Stelarc (N am M eloque), M ax Fairchild (C utts), B ruce N aylor (C hicken sticks ), Karen Hadfield (N atalie ), J acqueline M itelman (K areen).

Dam ian W ood P ost- production Post-production supervisor: Robert Hall Sound transfers by: S oundfirm Sound editor: PETER WALKER Assistant sound editor: Richard Girvin Music performed by: M adine M usic Recording studio: Kiss Mixed at: SOUNDWAVES Titles: J ason M cQuoid Laboratory: CiNEVEX Laboratory liaison: Paul CROSS Grader: T im M organ

3D Animation & Digital Compositing:

T

he rom antic myth is exposed for Guy when he is plagued by memories of an old girlfriend on his wedding day.

Make-up: Sam antha Patterson Hairdresser: Samantha Patterson Still photography: T rina RUBENSTEIN Unit publicist: JACKi Starr Catering: DEBBIE Rose Runners: Danny Gesundheit,

Cast T orquil N ielson (J ack ), N icole N about (Rachel), J im Daley (D ad ).

J

ack likes Rachel. Rachel likes Jack. W hat could possibly go wrong?

OTHERZONE Production company: SERPENTINE Films Budget: $205,000 Post-production: 13/3/96-31/1/97

P rincipal Credits Director: David Cox Producer: Sarah Z adeh Scriptwriter: DAVID Cox Director of photography: Paul R. Cox Sound recordist: L eonie Dickinson Production designer: Georgina Campbell Costume designer: L innet G ood Composer: ÛLLIE OLSEN

P lanning

D evelopment Script editor: A drian M artin Casting: Prototype Casting Storyboard artist: David Cox, J ohn Power Budgeted by: Sarah Z adeh Production Crew Production manager: Libby Porter Production co-ordinator: Lisetta M oscardo Assistant unit manager: Barbara A gar Production accountant: A lan D redge and Co - Gianna Rosica Insurer: H. W. W ood Legal services: S hana Levine Roth W arren Camera Crew Focus puller: Kieran D oolan Clapper-loader: N icole Swann Camera type: A rri "E xquisite " 35 Key grip: FREDD0 D irk Assistant grip: RUSSELL CROWE Gaffer: J im Hunt , A ndy M oore On - set Crew 1st assistant director: Karen M ahood Continuity: T ara Ferrier Make-up: Lloyd J ames Safety officer: Peter Culpan Still photography: ROCCO FASANO Catering: Eat Your H eart Out A rt D epartment Art director: G eorgina Campbell Assistant art director: Paul M acak Armourer: J ohn Fox W ardrobe Wardrobe supervisor: Linnet Good P ost- production Edge numberer: Oliver Streeton Sound transfers by: EUGENE W ilson Sound design: Philip B rophy and

K

areen Ngyen, researcher, has developed the Ameth scarf, a device w hich enables human souls to be down-loaded and stored. Her m urder by Nam M eloque, head of the global telecom m unications monopoly. M achines All Nations, propels Kareen’s daughter, Zheng, on a chase to avenge her death, and join a rebel group on their moon base.

PURGATORY Production company: AWOL Pictures Production: 19/9 - 22/9/96 Post-production: 30/9 - 1/11/96

Principal Credits Director: A ndrew Lawrence Producer: Danni Landa Written by: A ndrew Lawrence D.O.P: H im m an D hamija Sound recordist: Finton M ahony Editor: Gina T homson Production designer: A ndrew Raymond Art director: A lex Leckie Costume designer: Z oe M ahony Composer: BENEDICT HARRIS

P lanning

and

D evelopment

Storyboard artist: VANESSA M c Donald Shooting schedule by: B rendan Fletcher

P roduction Crew Production supervisor: MARCUS GlLLEZEAU Production manager: CAITUN BURGESS Production runner: A lex Luppi

Camera Crew Focus puller: A ndrew Horton Clapper-loader: J ames Littlemore Camera type: 16 SR2 Gaffer: Sam S hannon On -S et Crew 1st assistant director: B rendan Fletcher 2nd assistant director: M elinda W earne Continuity: A ntonique V erschure Boom operator: M ichael D empsey Make-up/Hair: J anush S ilwa Still photography: M ishka Golski Catering: Canteen , B almain A rt D epartment Art director: A lex Leckie Standby props: Sacha Edmund Levine W ardrobe Standby wardrobe: Sally Creagh P ost- production Sound editor: KEITH LYNCH Mixer: Keith Lynch Mixed at: Garden Street Studios Laboratory: MOVIELAB Film gauge: 16 m m

Cast J ustine Saunders (I rene Harris ), M arin M imica (W inesap ), S imon Lyndon (A gent One ), T ony Phelan (A gent T w o ).

I solated. Dispossessed. Left for dead.

Irene Harris, an old aboriginal woman, resides in a small tow n in rural NSW that is cast in the shadow of a m onolithic nuclear pow er station. A

! | i | \ i \

large nuclear pow er company, BAFE, has moved in and dispossessed the entire population of the tow n. Irene refuses to leave. She is sentenced to live the rest of her life in total isolation, a citizen of a ghost tow n. She is left for dead, w aiting to meet her maker. The company keeps her existence under wraps. W inesap, a disillusioned BAFE employee, visits Irene w ith the intention of exposing this human rights violation. W hile he is at Irene's home the monthly grocery service supplied by BAFE is delivered and W inesap is caught out.

TITSIANA BOOBERINI Production company: VICTORIAN COLLEGE OF the A rts, S chool of Film & TV P rincipal Credits Director: Robert Luketic Supervising producer: A nn T urner Associate producer: Robert L uketic Screenplay: Robert Luketic Written by: Robert Luketic D.O.P: Louis P uli Sound recordist: J ock H ealy Editors: Robert Luketic, Hayley Cloake Production designer: Lisa -J ane B ell Costume designer: Lisa -J ane B ell Composer: M ark M cCulloch Additional music: A nton D elecca, A ndrew Page Vocals: Sarah Liversidge Additional vocals: Karin M cClean P lanning and D evelopment Script editor: Em m a B alazs Casting: Robert Luketic Shooting schedule by:RoBERT Luketic, Em m a B alazs Budgeted by: Robert Luketic, Em m a B alazs P roduction Crew Production manager: Em m a B alazs Unit manager: Dale Finke Production asssitant: A ndrew Perry Production runners: JASON B ird, A ndrew P erry, Richard S mallwood Camera Crew Camera operator: Louis Puli Focus puller: Laurie B almer Additional focus: Peter V an Santen Clapper-loader: N icole Swan Camera assistant: Laurie Balmer Camera type: A rriflex Camera maintenance: N igel Gorham , Samuelson Film S ervice M elbourne Key grip: Peter Kershaw Assistant grips: Garry Hallenan , Sam P icket Gaffer: B rett Hull Best boy: M arcus Struzina On -S et Crew 1st assistant director: Hayley Cloake 2nd assistant director: N arween Otto 3rd assistant director: A dam D olman Continuity: GlULA SANDLER Playback operator: GlULA SANDLER Boom operator: Chris O'S hea Make-up: M ichael M enegazzo Wigmaker: SlMON SETTER Stylist/hairdresser: S imon S etter Special fx make-up: M ichael M enegazzo Choreographer: S imon V owles Additional choreography: Cazerine Barry Safety officer: PETER CULPAN Still photography: J ohn PiCClRlLLO Catering: T he B enedykt Cafe-S t K ilda A rt D epartment Art director: L isa -J ane B ell Assistant art director: A nita K ing

THE NEW HHB DAT TAPE THE BEST (SETS EVEN BETTER FREECALL 1 8 0 0 675 168 C I N E M A P A P E R S • DECEMBER 1996

77


W ardrobe Wardrobe supervisor: Katherine B arberi Post- production Post-production supervisor:

Steve M ason Avid consultant: Kristine Rowe Sound editor: T im Stobbart Musical director: M ark M cCulloch Recording studio: VCA-DSP Facility Music engineer: N eil B ell Mixed at: SOUNDFIRM Sound: D olby Stereo Opticals: I an S heath Titles: Optical & Graphic Laboratory: Cinevex Film Laboratories Laboratory liaison: Ian ANDERSON Negative matching: Rohan W ilson Grader: I an Letcher Film gauge: 35 mm A namorphic Screen ratio: 1:2.35 Shooting stock: Fuji F250 T ungsten-8551 Print stock: Kodak 5386 Video transfers by: COMPLETE POST Off-line facilities: A vid T echnology

M arketing Publicity: M averick Cast T ania Lacy (T itsiana B ooberini), Sophie Lee (Francine Pickles), David J. B erman (C hubus Zarbo ), Rosalind Hammond (Carol J ohnson) young Italian girl, Titsiana Booberini, feels trapped by her existence as a check-out chick in a suburban supermarket. When Top Dog Francine Pickles plots to break Titiana's spirit, no one could have predicted the outcome. It's amazing w hat a little faith in yourself can do! Titsiana Booberini is a film for anyone who has ever felt different.

A

Post- production

PRICK

Post-production supervisor:

TALES FROM AFAR

Edward M cQueen-M ason

Television Production

Sound editor: Peter D. S mith Mixer: Peter D. Smith Mixed at: S.A. Film Corporation

[S elected Entries Only.]

Development: S.A. Film Corporation

Government A gency I nvestment

KANGAROO PALACE ( m in i - series )

Production company: ARTIST SERVICES Principal Credits Director: Rob MARCHAND Producer: Ewan B urnett Executive producers: A ndrew Knight, Steve V izard, Rebecca Gibney Scriptwriters: A ndrew Knight, Deb Cox Director of photography: K im B atterham Sound recordist: JOHN McKERROW Other Credits Focus puller: T rish Keating Clapper loader: LOUISE WILLIAMS Production co-ordinators: Kim T ravis, M agnus M ansie Producer's assistant: S usan Combey Production secretary: J ana B lair Location manager: T im S cott Cast J acqueline M cKenzie (Catherine), J ohn Polson (R ichard), J eremy S ims (J ack), J onathan Firth (T erence), Rebecca Gibney (H eather), J erome Ehlers (S imon ), J osephine Byrnes (A nne) n the mid-1960s, four Australians leave the country of their birth for the home of The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the fashion industry, the pill and all-night clubs. In London, they confront sex, destiny, love, failure and varying degrees of success. Kangaroo Palace is their story.

I

he orphaned Danny, Paulle and Frances find they have a lot in common and through Frances' psychic powers and shared adventures, in an often cruel and intolerant world, an unbreakable bond is produced - a pact to be 3-4 Ever.

T

SPELLBINDER II: THE LAND OF THE DRAGON LORD ( series ) Production company: Film A ustralia Network presale: N ine Production: 5/96-3/97

Principal Credits Director: N oel Price Producer: NOEL PRICE Executive producer: Ron Saunders Associate producer: Z oe W ang Scriptwriters: MARK SHIRREFS,

J ohn T homson Director of photography: Danny B atterham Production designer: NICHOLAS McCALLUM Costume designer: J ulie M iddleton Editor: PlPPA ANDERSON Government A gency I nvestment Production: FFC, Film V ictoria Cast Heather M itchell fantasy adventure Children's series. See previous

YOUR MOVE Production company: W arneroo Production: 17/10 - 20/10/96

Principal Credits Director: Philip W arner Co-producers: Philip W arner,

Dani Rogers Written by: David M cCarthy D.O.P: B en N o n ­ Art director: A dam Claringbull Camera operator: Jo Erskin Make-up/hair: Kit Campbell Wardrobe: M ichele M urray Set construction: S hane Rushbrook

CAST Harold Hopkins (Overon), A ndrew B uchanan (B en). he film tells the story of an innocent Australian businessman, Overon, who is committed to life imprisonment in a South American prison, and Ben, who after a five year sentence sharing a cell with Overon, is finally released. Their lives are summed up in the on­ going checkers game the pair played during their internment - your move.

T

See previous

issues for details on:

BOY DEVILS EXILE GORILLA GIRLS HOUSE TAKEN OVER INDULGENCE LEFT LUGGAGE

issues for details on:

SIMONE DE BEAUVOIR'S BABIES

3-4 EVER

THE TERRITORIANS

( m in i - s e r ie s )

WHIPPING BOY

Production company: V ertigo Productions/F andango SRL Distribution company: SBS (A ust) RAI U no (Italy) Budget: S3.2 MILLION Pre-production: 3/6/96 ... Production: 30/7/96 ... Post-production: 23/9/96 ... Principal Credits Director: Franco Di Chiera Producer: David Lightfoot Co-producer: J ane Ballantyne Executive producers: Rolf De Heer, Domenico Procacci Scriptwriters: JlM CARRINGTON, M aura N uccatelli Sound recordist: Des Kenealy Editor: Edward M cQueen M ason Production designer: IAN JOBSON Composer: Graham T ardif P lanning and Development Script editors: Rob George, David Farrell Casting: A udine Leith Shooting schedule by: David Lightfoot Budgeted by: David Lightfoot Production Crew Production manager: Scott M cDonald Production co-ordinator: HEATHER MuiRHEAD Location manager: Nadine Schoen On - set Crew 1st assistant director: David W olfe-B arry Continuity: J ulie FEDDERSEN Make-up: B everly Freeman W ardrobe Wardrobe supervisor: Ruth M unro

Television denied COSMO KIDS

(13x24

m in s )

Production company: N ovalis Entertainment P/L Distribution company: N ine N etwork Producer: CARLOS ALPERIN riendship when you are 13-years-old is never easy. Especially when you're trying to save your planet and cope w ith parents who just don't always understand. And when both of you are from different galaxies, you can sometimes seem worlds apart. And for Zenith and Daniel, they are! She is an intergalactic heroine determined to find a solution to her planet's problems. He is a typical Australian boy - more interested in surfing and hanging out than in girls. Together they w ill save their planets from greed and self­ destruction and in the process discover something even greater - friendship and real adventure!

F

GOOD GUYS, BAD GUYS

(13x60

m in s )

Production company: BEYOND SlMPSON Le M esurier P/L Distribution company: B eyond Distribution

Pre-production: 12/8 - 6/9/96 Production: 9/9/96 - 5/2/97 Post-production: 6/2/97 P rincipal Credits Directors: Steve J odrell, B rendan M ahar , P ino A menta Producers: Roger S impson , Roger Le M esurier, Ros T atarka Executive producers: MlKAEL B orlund, Kris N oble Writers: Graeme Koetsveld, Elizabeth Coleman, Peter Gawler, A nthony Ellis, M ac Gudgeon, Chris M iddendorp, M atthew Bates, Deborah Parsons, Everett De Roche, Graham Hartley, B ill Garner, Ray B osely, A ndrew Kelly D.O.P: Craig Barden Editors: Peter Carrodus, Stephen Evans Production designer: T el Stolfo Costume designer: Sandi Cichello Composer: Phil J udd Music supervisor: CHRIS GOUGH Planning and D evelopment Story editor: PETER HEPWORTH Script editor: J utta Goetze Assistant editor: M ark Ellis Casting: K elly O'S hea Casting consultants:

Liz M ullinar Casting Consultants Budgeted by: Ros T atarka Production Crew Production manager: S ue Edwards Production co-ordinator: SERENA GATTUSO Producer's associate: A ndrew W alker Production secretary: Christine H utchins Location managers: N eil M cCart, J eff B owen Unit manager: Leigh AMMITZBOLL Unit assistants: T ina H ennel, P eter B oekeman Production runner: TODD EMBLING Production accountant: M argot B rock Accounts assistant: J uanita PARKER Script co-ordinator: A lison B oughey Extras casting: DEBORAH BARLOW Camera Crew Focus puller: Rodney B olton Clapper-loader Cameron Dunn Key grip: Craig Dusting Assistant grip: T ravis W alker Gaffer: Richard Rees-J ones Best boy: A ndrew M oore 3rd electrics: KlM JOHR On -S et Crew 1st assistant directors: Chris Lynch, Phil J ones 2nd assistant director: T oni Raynes 3rd assistant director: Eddie Raymond Continuity: Kay Hennessey, Cate Lapham , Paul K iely Boom operator: Dean Ryan Make-up: A manda Rowbottom Hairdresser: Pam M urphy Special fx: P eter Stubbs Stunts co-ordinator: Z ev Eleftheriou Safety officer: T om Coltraine Unit nurse: A ndree SCOTT Still photography: SKIP W atkins Catering: Reel to Reel, Eat Y our Heart Out Runner: NICHOLAS POWER A rt Department Art director: B ernie W ynack Art department co-ordinator: S imone S emen Set decorator: J ill Eden Props buyer/dresser: MONICA Cogan Standby props: B rian Lang Armourer: JOHN BROMLEY W ardrobe Costume supervisor: J ill J ohanson Standby wardrobe: N arelle J ohnson

A nimals Animals: Luke' s Canine & A nimal

A ctors P/L Construction D epartment Construction: S crewed & Glued Vehicles: Rob M cLeod P ost- production Sound post-production: LABSONICS Tape house: AAV V ideo S ervices Laboratory: ClNEVEX M arketing International distributor: B eyond International Presale: N ine N etwork A ustralia Publicity: Lucile S helton Cast M arcus Graham (E lvis M ag innis ), A lison W hyte (S tella), T ravis M cM ahon (R euben). lvis M aginnis comes from a dubious family background and the fact he's a form er cop only makes matters worse. It's hard to tell the Good Guys from the Bad Guys any more. But then again, perhaps it always was Good Guys, Bad Guys. Nothing is w hat it seems.

E

SKIPPY

(Animation Series, 26 x 24- mins) Production company: Yoram GROSS Film Studios Network presale: N ine Production 12/96 ... Principal Credits Director: YORAM GROSS Producer: YORAM GROSS Executive producers: Sandra Gross, T im B rooke-H unt Scriptwriters: J ohn Palmer , David W in , Paul Lacy, Sally Odgers Script editors: Y oram GROSS, M alcolm M cGookin Animation director: Richard S lapczynski Production manager: Lea M ilic Composer: Guy GROSS

20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA Production company: VILLAGE ROADSHOW

Pictures and Frederick S. Pierce Director: Rod Hardy Executive producers: Keith and Richard Pierce, J effrey Hayes Screenplay: B rian N elson B ased on the novel by J ules V erne Cast M ichael Caine , Patrick D empsey, M ia Sara , B ryan B rown. n 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, a young scientist, haunted by his overbearing father, sets sail w ith an American frigate in search of a monster terrorizing the high seas. But after the ship is attacked, Arronax learns the menace is in fact an astounding man­ made vessel called The Nautilus, a ship of untold power guided by the brilliant, enigmatic man who built it - Captain Nemo.

I

S ee previous

issues for details on:

BIG SKY MURDER CALL RETURN TO JUPITER THE WAYNE MANIFESTO

THE NEW HHB DAT TAPE THE BEST GETS EVEN BETTER FREECALL 1 8 0 0 675 168 78

C I N E M A P A P E R S • DECEMBER 1996


Sydney

a u s tra lia

TEL b l 5 / T T D b l 2 3 5

FAX f c .l2 / cnOt,?M33 E- M AIL


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NB: "Nihil obstat: [Lat., 'nothing stands in the way] Words appearing on the title page or elsewhere in the preliminary pages [...] indicating that it has been approved as free of doctrinal or moral error"

The criticj are: B ill

80

Collins

A pan el o f nine film reviewers hat rated a selection o f the latest releates on a scale o f 0 to 10, the latter being the optimum rating (a dash m ea/u not seen).

(Fx on F oxtel); Barbara

Adrian Martin

Creed (The A ge); Sandra H all (The Sydney Morning H erald); Paul Harris ( “The Green Guide ”, The Age) ; Stan James (The Adelaide Advertiser); Tom Ryan (The Sunday A ge); David Stratton (Variety; S B S ); and Evan Williams (The A ustralian).

(The Age; “The Week in F ilm ”, Radio N ation al);

C I N E M A P A P E R S • DECEMBER 1996


Thorn Birds

Twister IG H T W O R K S

Striptease

Halifax FP Law of the Land

Nutty Professor M ar i

Singapore Sling

The Cable Guy

Frontline

M ission Impossible

Liftoff II

Shine

Home & Away

River Street

Colombo

COSI

Spellbinder

B rilliant Lies

M atlock

Children of the Revolution

Cracker Conspiracy

Lillian's Story

Beaurepairs TVCs

Jack

M atilda Courage Under Fire Casino Batman Forever Braveheart Speed Pulp Fiction M rs Doubtfire Angel Baby

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Cinema Papers No.113 December 1996  

Cinema Papers No.113 December 1996  

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