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AFI A W A R D S A N D RELIVES HALCYON


SYDNEY (02) 9436 1844 MELBOURNE (03)9446 3044 PERTH (018) 9«8 636 GOLD COAST (075) 588 6543 SINGAPORE (65) 224 1827 JAKARTA (622117196403 KUALA LUMPUR (6031632 6202


contents N U M B E R 112

C I N E M A P A P E R S ♦ OCTOBER 1 996

Fo cus RELIVING SW INBURNE By Richard L owenstein Publication o f a new book on the Swinburne Film and Television School has one o f its top graduates reminiscing about those hectic, passionate years, when the booking o f a camera could becom e a declaration o f war.

10

SIGHTING THE U N SEEN Lost 'T rea su res ' on V id e o

By Michael H elms M ore Australian features are first released on video and television than in cinemas. Which gem s lurk amongst the “new releases” section o f the video shop?

12

Q u e e n s la n d S u p p l e m e n t P a rt 1

F IN D IN G A VOICE Film Q u e en slan d 's Ross D im s ey and H enry T e fa y

By Scott Murray Can the once-great Q ueensland industry be re-born and find a voice all its ow n?

22

MR RELIABLE N a dia Tass in Q ueensland

By Paul Kalina A fresh look at the Wally Mellish saga by one o f Australia’s most successful comic directors.

26

Q UEENSLAND SHORTS

P atrio tism

The challenges o f making shorts in Queensland and how a Film School might help.

By J ohn W. H ood

30

Politics and censorship in Bangladeshi cinema.

THE ISL A N D OF DR MOREAU

CINEM A IN BANGLADESH

14

R E T U R N OF THE MAVERICKS T w o lo w -b u d g e ts

By Greg F indlay

“Inside” Life

A Critical M ass

By Paul Kalina

P roduction d esigner G rah a m 'G ra c e ' W a lk e r

By Michael Helms

Director Lawrence Johnston’s Eternity is one of the most acclaimed Australian films of recent years. Now he has made his first feature, Life, a searing look at love, survival and prison life. He talks with fellow filmmaker J o h n H u g h e s .

Creating the look o f a 1magic island, and keeping two directors happy.

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32

The 1970s renaissance was characterized by the cross-over from advertising to features, by people such as Fred Schepisi. Two new turks from advertising, Chris Clarke and Lee Rogers, are taking the same leap.

The rising young star o f Australian festivals.

16

35

BRISBANE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL A B roader S p e c tru m

By Paul Kalina

Insights 2

Inbits History

m

Documentaries

52

Festivals

54

Inreview: films

41

Technicalities

61

In review: books

48

Inproduction

67

Legal Ease

50

Sententious Seven 72

Chris Berry teaches in the Department of Cinema Studies at LaTrobe University; Dominic Case recently

cinema; John Hughes is a film director (W hatI Have Written)’, Chris Long is a Melbourne film

became Atlab's Group Manager, Technology and Services; Kate Dermody produces and announces the

historian; Richard Lowenstein is a film director; Robert Nery is a filmmaker and writer living in

Film Show on 3CR; Greg Findlay is a freelance writer on film and video; Freda Freiberg is a film and

Sydney; Wendy Rogers is a film historian and filmmaker; Paul Vietti is a Lee Falk and Sy Barry

photography critic with wide cultural interests; Lloyd Hart is a principal of Hart & Spira; Michael Helms

fan; Grace Waddell is a film student; Raymond Younis is a lecturer at the University of Sydney;

is Editor of Fatal Visions’, John W. Hood is completing a study of respresentations of women in Indian

Monica Zetlin is a producer's assistant and writer on film.


'bits NEWS,

VIEWS,

AND

MORE

NEWS,

ETC.

Ballroom midnight screening. This year, the Australian media took no serious interest in the Competition success of The Quiet Boom (yet look at how well the international critics rated it) or even began to convey the singular importance of Shirley Barrett's Love Serenade winning the Camera d'Or for Best First Feature (the highest award ever won by an Australian direc­ tor at Cannes). Given the near 'blackout' on these two films in the Australian media, many industry observers have been doubly fascinated by the exuberant promotion of Love and Other Catastrophes by, and through, the media. Whether by design or accident, many articles and television programmes have given significantly false information to the he Cannes Film Festival has launched many careers and betterment of the film's promotion. box-office hits, let alone a few myths. For example, Ruth Hessey in Given Australia's remoteness from The Sydney Morning Herald (27 July) Cannes (geographically and cultur­ claimed Love and Other Catastrophes ally), local press agents have had was shown in Un Certain Regard at carte blanche concocting "sexy" Cannes and that it only just lost out stories, especially as the media make on winning the Camera d’Or to Love no discernible effort to verify the Serenade. material fed them. Not only was Love and Other Catastrophes rejected by the Festival, Many filmmakers and critics have and not shown in any event, it was returned from Cannes to find that the never eligible for the Camera d'Or. Australian press has told (and been told) tales quite at odds with what How, one has to ask, does a jour­ they saw, heard and experienced. nalist of Hessey's prominence get the facts so wrong? And why do versions Try, for example, finding anyone of this and other wrongful tales keep who witnessed the widely-reported appearing? So often, in fact, that dancing in the aisles at the Strictly Globe, the distributor of Love Serenade, has taken the unusual step of sending out a press release: Love Serenade won the Camera d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival... not Love and Other Catastrophes. [...] Love and Other Catastrophes was not accepted into the Cannes Film Festival — it was for sale in the marketplace. Love Serenade was selected to screen competitively and won the prestigious Camera d'Or prize, awarded to films display­ ing a "unique cinematic vision". Love Serenade screened in the Un l Certain Regard category, winning the Camera d'Or award from a field of 25 competitors, including direct tors Al Pacino, Angelica Huston and Steve Buscemi. It is the first time this award has been won by an c o v e r : Snakey (Robert Morgan) in Lawrence Johnston’s Life. t Australian film, and the second film

THE SELLING OF 'CANNES'

T

2

1996 FILM V IC TO R IA G REG T E PP E R AWARD

aw rence Johnston (who is interviewed in this issue of Cinema Papera) has been aw arded the 1996 Film Victoria Greg T epper Award. In making the announcem ent, Jen ifer Hooks, Acting Executive D irector Cinemedia, said, The Aw ard was established as an encouragem ent to an em erging filmmaker who has made a significant contribution to Victorian filmmaking in the previous year, and the $5,000 prize will give Lawrence financial assistance for developing future projects at an im portant stage of his career as well as recognition for his outstanding work.

L

produced by Jan Chapman to win a major award at the Cannes Film Festival, the former being The Piano directed by Jane Campion. Says Jan Chapman, "Shirley Bar­ rett was flown in from Florence by helicopter where she was holidaying with her family and a motorcade then escorted her to the Palais where she received the prestigious award in a glittering ceremony. It is a great honour for Shirley." (...) But will this correcting information do any good? When publicists and journalists knowingly misquote a film's budget at $45,000 because it sounds "sexier" than the actual $545,000, when ads headlined "The Film That Took Cannes by Storm" have only quotes from Australian reviewers (couldn't find any from Cannes?), when films never shown in Cannes brandish the official laurel wreath on posters and ads, when those who dare point out the lies risk vilification, one can't but

agree with Jonathon Lute (Orson Welles) in I'll Never Forget What's 'is Name: "What price integrity this week?"

DIARY DATES

action and the bizarre. Cartoons and shorts are screened prior to the main feature. Screenings are held at Melbourne's State Film Theatre, every Friday night until 1 November.

etrospectives of Australian media artist Jill Scott, veteran filmmaker Stan Brakhage and Cana­ dian experimental filmmaker Guy Maddin are among the highlights of the "1996 Expérimenta Media Arts Festival", which takes place in Melbourne during November. The Festival, held every two years, also includes a multi-disciplinary pro­ gramme of installation, sound and performance artists working with time-based media, international CD-ROMs and a competitive 'video festival' on the Internet. For further details, telephone (03) 9525 5025.

elbourne's "Moonlight Cinema", which conducts outdoor screenings of past and recent popular films, such as Breakfast at Tiffany's, Blade Runner and Pulp Fiction, is about to be launched in Sydney and Brisbane. Moonlight Cinema Sydney commences 29 November, six nights per week for two months, at Centennial Park. Brisbane commences 11 October, at The City Botanic Gardens. Mel­ bourne screenings recommence on 4 January at The Royal Botanic Gardens. Further details will be advertised in local daily press.

" , O treetlight Screenings" features O cult and classic movies, with a leaning toward noir, horror, sci-fi,

T

M

he University of Queensland's Department of History, in con­ junction with the American Popular

C I N E M A P A P E R S • A UGU S T 1996


ONEMAí^RERS

Num ber 24 (O ec-Jari 1980)

:

Num ber 54 (Novem ber 1985)

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

Graeme Clifford, Bob Weis, JohnBoorman, Menahem Golan, rock videos. W ills and Burke. The G reat Bookie Robbery/ > The Lancaster M ille r A n a iry ¿

Harlequin ::. .

Number 25(Feb-M arch1980).

Number 55 (January 1986)

David Putinam; Janet Strickland;1Everett de Roche, Peter Faiman, Chain Reaction, S tir

Num ber I (January 1974) '~ r °

James Stewart' Debbie Byrne, r. Brian Thompson. Paul Verhoeven. Derek Meddmgs, be-in markebng; The Right Hand M an. Birdsville

N um ber26(A pril-M ay1980)

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

Num ber 2 (A p ril^ 4 );;;f!<

Charles H. Jdffe,-Jerome Heilman, Malcolm Smith, Australian nationalism, Japanese cinema; Peter Weir, W ater U nder the Bridge

Censorship.FiankMoorhouse. Nicolas Roeg, Sandy Barbuti Film under Allende. Between the Wars. Alvin Purple ••

Randal Kleiser, Peter Yeldham; Donald Richie obituaryof Hitchcock; NZ film industry, G rendel G rendel Grendel -

Num ber 29 (Oct-Nov 1960) *

Number 59 (Septem ber 1986) Robert Altman, Paul COX; lino Brocka, Ágnes Varda; theAFI Awards, TheM overs •

; Num ber 30 (Dec 1980-Jan 1981)

Num ber31 (M arch-A pril 1981)

Num ber 61 (January 1987)

Bryan Brown, looking in on Dressed to Kill. The Last O utlaw .FatlyFinn, W indows: lesbian •! as villain, the new generation

Alex Cox, Roman Polanski, Philippe M ora,. Martin Arminger, film in South Australia. Dogs in Space, How ling III

Number 32 (M ayslube '1981)^'%

Num ber 62 (M arch1 9 8 7 )'-'

Judy David, David Williamson; Richard Rush, Swinburne, Cuban cinema; Public Enemy Num ber O n& The A lternative - .

Screen violence. David Lynch, Cary Grant ASSA conference, productirin’barometer, film finance; The S tory o f the K elly Gang

Num ber 33 (Juuesluly1976)

Number 63 (M ay 198 7 ). Gillian Armstrong) Antony Ginnane; Chris Haywood, Elmore Leonard, Troy Kennedy Martin. TheSacrifíce,

Num bers34 and 35 SOLD OUT Num ber 36 (February 1982)

Num ber 8(M arch -A p ril 1976); >P at Lovell; Richard Zanuck, Sydney Pollac Pier Paolo Pasolini, Phillip Adams, Don McAlpine, Don's P arty ■

Number 66 (Novem ber 1987) a

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

Australianscreenwriters, cinema and China,,: James Bond; partt.Jam esClayden.Video; De Laurentiis, New World, The Navigator; W ho's That G irl

. Helen Morse, Richard Mason, Anja Breien, yt David Millilkan, Derek Granger, Norwegian cinema, Nabonal Film Archive, W é o fth e N ever N ever

N u m b e r6 7 (J a itu a ry l|n )|;|i

; Henri Safran, Michael Ritchie, Pauline Kael, Wendy Hughes, Ray Barrett M y D inner w ith Andre, Thé Return o f Captain Invincible

NaglsaOshima, PhilippeMora, Krzysztof Zanussi, Marco Ferferi, Marco Bellocchio; : gay cinema-'

¡111

hi

Num ber 68 (M arch 1988)

Igor Auzins, Paul Schrader, Peter Tammer, Uliana Cavani, Colin Higgins, The Y earo f Living Dangerously V

M el Gibson, John W aters; Ian Pringle, .. Agnes Varda, copyright Strikebound, ûThe M an from Snow y River

Num ber 43 (M ayrJune 1983)

Num ber 12;(April 1977) Ken Leach. Tom Haydon, Donald Sutherland,■; Bert Deling, Piero Tosi, John Dankworth, John S cot Days o f Hope. The G etting o f Wisdom

Num ber 13 (July 1977) Louis Malle, Paul Cox, John Power, Jeanine Seawell. Peter Sykes, Bernardo Bertolucci, IhS eprch o fAnna f-

Number 14 (October 1977) Phil Noyce, M att Carrbll^Eric Rohmer,.. Terry Jackman, John Huston, Luke's Kingdom .1 The Last W ave. Blue Fire Lady.

Num ber 15 (January 1978) ‘ Tom Cdwao/Truffaut JohnFaulkner, Stephen Wallace; the taviahi brothers.-'Sri Lankan film ,. ■The Chant of-Jim m ie Blacksm ith " .

Num ber 16(/^rij-June;1978):: Gunnel Lmdblom, John Duigan.Steven Spielberg, Tom Jeffrey, The A frica P roject Swedish cinema, Daw nl. Patnck . -

' •'*

Cannes'94.Steve BuscemiandReservoirOogs, J ■ Paul Cox. Michael Jenkin's The Heartbreak Kid, | | 'Coming of Age' filnis, Australia's first fitins: I

Num ber 69 (M ay 9 9W );

i

Sex, death and family films, Cannes D8, : '

\ N

K

W

^ A, ^ H 8 H R '^ i H j

Num ber 95 (October H93) : ' •

,

Lynn-Marie Milbum's M em ories & Dream s, ^ ' S i f t M n m h o , m e I M i n n n i iq q m m S S F irenm aty immf if» Custodian, documentary supplement TiSti: •: • f Coniunng John Hughes W hat I Have W ritten. .} Zubricki, John Hughes, Australia's first films: W phulu. The Top 100 Australian films, Nicole

^8'

Num ber 42 (M arch 1!Ç3|fc?;

Num ber 11 (January 1977) Emile De Antomo, Jill Robb) Samuel Z. Arfcoff, Roman Polanski,SaulBass,77iePictureS/ioiv

Num ber 94(Augusi1993)

!

Martha. Ansara; Channel 4; Soviet cinema: part 2, Jim McBride. Glamour, Ghosts Of 7/ie C ivil Dead, Feathers, Ocean, Ocean

Num ber 41 (Decem ber 1 9 8 2 )'

. Num ber 10(Sept-O ct1976)

j v O it Megan Simpson, A lex. The Lover, women j Number 107 (Ife b e m b b r 1 9 ! ® ® '® > in film and television, Australia's first films: w ESk -..... , Bh S W H | , . ! George Miller and Chns Noonan talk about i | j p r | i . Bafte.New trends m cntacism. The rise of ¡fy Number 93 (M ay 1993) -s -V \ boutique cinema Jane Campion and The Piano, Laurie Mclnnes - 1^ — _ _ r— , and Broken Hig/rwayiTraceyMoflatt and O j ll) E : t ; B edevil bghtworks and Avid, Australia's first

John Duigan, James Bond: pan 2, George Miller, Jim Jarmusch, Soviet cinema, :women in film, 70mm, filmmaking in Ghana; , The Y ear M y Voice Broke. Send A G orilla

Num ber 40(0cto bér 1982)

Num ber 9 (June-July 1976) MilosForm an.Max Lemon, Miklos Jancsi Luchino Visconti, Caddie, The Devil's

.i

Number 70 (Novem ber 1 9M ):x >

J Rim Australia, Gillian Armstrong, I - FredSchepisi; Wes Craven. John Waters; I AI Clark, Shame screenplay part 1

-

Sydney Pollack, Denny Lawrence, i Num ber 71 (January 1989) GraemeClifford, The Dism issal; Sum ner- ■ -Locke E llio tts Careful He M ight H ear You ; ' [ Yahoo Serious, David Cronenberg, . I 1988 in retrospect film sound, Num ber 4445 (A pril 1964) I Last Tem ptation o f Christ, Philip Brophy David Stevens, SimonWincer, Susan Lam bert: ! Num ber 72 (M a r c h |9 D )f|: a personal histoiy of Cinema Papers, v j Little D orrit Australian sci-fi movies, - S treet Kids I 1988 mini-series, Aromarama;Cef/a; Num ber 46(Ju ly1964), ' l La dolce Vka, women and Westerns ; Paul Cox, Russell Mulcahy, Alan J. Pakula; ‘ ! Num ber 73(M ay 1989) Robert Duvall, Jeremy Irons, Eureka Stockade, W aterfront The Boy in the Bush, \ 1 . Cannes ’89, Dead Calm, Franco Nero, I - Jane' Campion, The Prisoner o f S t Petersburg, \ A Woman Suffers, S treet Hero |T|t'JFrank Pierson, Pay-TJf;

Num ber 109 (A pril 1996)' Rachel Griffiths runs the gamut To and Cost Sundance Him Festival, I Tolkirt Morals and the Mutoscope

Num ber 47 (August 1964) *

!

) Richard Loweristein, Wim Wenders, David Bradbury, Sophia Turkiewicz, ; Hugh Hudson, Robbery Under Arms

Number 74 (July l)W );> >

1 The Delinquents, Australians in Hollywood, » I Chinese cinema: Philippe Mora, Yuri Sokol; . I Twins. Ghosts... o f the Civil Dead. Shame H s c r e e n p la y .

Num ber'48(Oct-Nm r |9 8 ^ ^ , Ken Cameron, Michael Patbnson, Jan Sardi, Yoram Gross, Bodylme, The Slim Dusty M ovie

i

Number 75 (Septem ber 1989)

I Sally Bongers, the teen movie, animated, ¿ ip -E d e n s Lost P et Sem atary, Martm Scorsese Alain Resnais, Bnan McKenzie, Angela Punch M S a n d P a u fS c h ra d e r.E d P re s s in a n « McGregor Enmo Morncone Jane Campion ' l i Number 76 (Novem ber 1989) horror films N ie l Lynne • Simon Wincer. Quigley Down Under, Number 50 (Feb-M arch 1985) - I Kennedy Miller. Terry Hayes, Bangkok f/dforr, Stephen Wallace Ian Pnngle Walerian 1 John Duigan, Flirting, Romero, Dennis Hopper, Borowczyk Peter Schreck Bill Conti ' FrankHowson,Hop Cobb Bnan M ay The Last Bastion, Bliss

Num ber 49 (Decem ber 1904)

Num ber 17 (Aug-Sept 1978) Bill Bam Isabelle Huppert Bnan May Polish

Num ber 18 (Oct-Nov 1978) John Lamond Soma Borg Alain Tanner Indian cinema Dim boola Cathy s Child

^Num ber 19 (Jan-Feb 1979)

J

Num ber 51 (M ay 1985) .

Number 20 (M arch-A pril 1979) Ken Cameron Claude Lelouch Jim Shaimaii French film, M y B rilliant Career;

Num ber 21 (M ay-June 1979) Vietnam on Film the Cantrilb French cinema M ad M ax Snapshot The Odd Angry Shot Franklin on Hitchcock

Num ber 22 (July Aug 1979) Bruce Petty Luciana Arrighi Albie Thoms Stax Alison s Birthday

Num ber 23 SOLD OUT

Angela Gaiter; Wim Wenders; Jean-Pierre Gorin, Derek Jarman, Gerald L’Ecuyer, Gustav Hasford, AFI Awards. Poor M an’s Orange

Num ber 39 (August 1982)

Num ber ¿SOLD OUT

AntonyGinnane;,’Stanley Hawes, Jeremy Thomas, Andrew Sarns, ' sponsored documentaries Blue Fm

Number 65(Septem ber1987)

Stephen MacLean, Jacki Weaver, ‘ Carlos Saura, Peter Ustinov, women in drama. M onkey Grip v

Num ber 38(June 1982)

Number 6 (July-August 1975)

einem

Nostalgia, Dennis Hoppèr;Mel Gibson, ; : VladimirOsherov, BrianTrenchardSmith, . chartbusters, Insatiable

Num ber 37 (A pril 1982);.

Steve Spielberg, Glenda Jacison, Susan:; Sontag, Jack Thompson, Bruce Smeaton, ; The Rem ovalist Sunday Too Far Aw ay

Num ber 64 (July 1907)

Kevin Dobson, Brian Kearney, Sonia Hofmann, Michael Rtibbo, B low Out. 'B reaker'M orant Body H e at The M an from Snowy R iver

Num ber 5 (M arch-A pril 1975)

Mark Joffe's Cosi. Jacqueline M Slawomir Idziak, Cannes Reine» Retrospective. Marie Craven, f t

Australian television. Franco Zeffirelli, Nadia Tass, Bill Bennett, Dutch cinema, movies by microchip. O tello

John .Duigan, the new tax concessions, Robert Altman; TomasGutierrezAlea, . Edward Fox, G allipoli, Roadgames

Alltie Thoms on surf movies, Charles Chai filmography, RosS Wood, Byron Haskin, Brian Probyn, Inn o f the D a m n e d :-

Num ber 105 (August 1995

Num ber 60 (Novem ber-1986)^¿

Sam Fuller, 'B reaker'M orant rethought Richard Lester, Canada-supplement ' The Chain Reaction. Blood M oney

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

Australia s first Rim Part 12

Woody AÍlen;Reinhard Hauff, Orson Welles, the Cinémathéque Frangaise, The Fringe O w ellers, G reat Expectations: The Untold Story. The Last Frontier

Bob Ellis, Un Windt, Edward Woodward, Lino Brocka; Stephen W allace, Philippine cinema; Cruising. The Last Outlaw . -

Num ber 4 (Decem ber 1974)-'.

Cannes Mama B illy s Holiday. Angel

I

Number 58 (July 1986)

John O'Shea. Bruce Beresford. Bari Timing

Num ber 3 (July 1974)' •

I

Numbers 5 7S O IO O U T .

Num ber 28;(Aug-Sept 1980) Bob Godfrey. Diane Kurys. Tim Bums.

Richard Brennan, John Papadopolous. Willis O’Bnen, William Fnedkin, The True :Story of Eskimo N e ll

ip _ Num ber 104 (June 1995) '

Num ber 56 (M arch 1 9 ttfK : Fred Schepisi, Dennis O'Rourke, BrianTrenchard-Smrth.JohnHargreaves; Dead-end D rive-in, flie M ore Things , C h a n g e K an g aro o , Tracy ' ■■

Num ber 27(June-July IS M )

üno Brocka Harnson Ford, Nom Hazlehurst Dusan Makavejev, Emoh Ruo W inners M om s W est's The Naked Country. M ad M ax Beyond Thunderdome Robbery Under Arm

I I !

\

¡ñero

Number 78 (M arch 1990)

I The Crossing, Ray Argali, Return Home, Peter l -Greenaway and 7fie CooA:_-., Michel Cim ent i i Bangkok Hilton, B arlow and Chambers

Number 52 (July 1985) John Schlesmger Gillian Armstrong Alan Parker, soap operas, TV news, film advertising. Don’t C all M e G irlie, For Love Alone Double Sculls

N um be^p^pH H W M m » Bnan Brown Nicola Roeg Vincent W aid Hector Crawford Emir Kusturica, NZ film and TV, Return to Eden

\

Number 79 SOLD OUT . ■

J

Num ber W (August 1990)-

l Cannes report Fred Schepisi career s 'I interview. Peter W eir and G reencard, 'y ! , Pauline Chan, Giis Van Sant and Drugstore ^ i Cowboy, German stones '

i ll S S C I N É M A P A P E R S • O C T O B E R S !^

Number 77 (January 1990)

John Farrow monograph, 0/ood Oatir, Dennis . Whitburn, Brian Williams. Don McLennan. Breakaway, ?Crocodile~Duhdeeoverseas r

| I -

Num ber 103 (M arch 1995)

Little Women Gillian Armstrong Queenslc supplement Geoffrey Simpison, H eavenlyj I I Creature's. Eternity, Australia s Hrst Hlms

i • ;

Number 111 (August 1996) Scott Hicks and Sb/ne, The Thiee Chinas. Trusting Chnstopher Doyle, Love and O titi


Open .better to the ’ A ustralian P±-lm~ Tnsti-Hi-t-«. . Prom Richard Lowenstein Culture Association, is conducting a multi-disciplinary conference, "Everyday Wonders: Popular Culture Past & Present", to be held in Bris­ bane on 9-13 June 1997. Proposals of 100 words are to be submitted by 14 February 1997 to: Associate Professor Clive Moore, Department of History, The University of Queens­ land, Queensland 4072.

cinema

a member of the API Scriptwriting j u r y , this year ,- I am

I

aghast at the reading ox the list of final nominations

October 1996 number 112

released on 9 August, and feel ashamed in having participated

116 Argyle Street, F itzroy, V ic toria, Aus tralia 3065. Postal address: PO Box 2221, F itzroy MDC, V ictoria 3065. T el: (03) 9416 2644.

in,the unrepresentative and undemocratic process in which the ^finalenominations are selected. Ilo., matter which film may win the award, a nomination is a very important acknowledgment of the film-industry’s opinion of what the f o u r best xilms in their class may be. This year, . ,xt^ e nominations

he "White Gloves Film Festival" screens only silent, black-and white-films of no more than threeminutes' duration and shot on a single length of Super 8/16 film over a 48-hour period with no post­ production whatsoever. This year's White Gloves event takes place: in Brisbane, 15 September, at the Hoyts Regent Cinema; in Sydney, 2 and 3 October, at the Valhalla Cinema; and in Melbourne, 5 October, at the National Theatre. 'Best of' screenings w ill also be held in Melbourne on 12 and 13 October at The Lounge, and in Sydney on 15 and 16 October at Kinselas Night Club (all sessions commence 7:30pm).

T

E mail: cp@parkhouse.com.au

(especially for Best Film and Best Cinema-togr

,, :

F ax : (03) 9416 4088.

^apjiy) seem t-cgj^iiive created a, situation where-the nominati/ons, Editor: Scott M urray

and ultimately the linai award, obviously d o n ’t mean a tixifig.v

Assistant Editor: Paul Kalina

w ^ h i s ^ a n be seen’as a personal opinion, but when films like. ÎTo H a y e a n d t o H o ld and L o v e a n d O t h e r C a t a s t r o p h e s are' nbt^

* -? I

included in the nominations for Cinematography in a year that

Technical Editor: D ominic Case Advertising: T erry H aebich

is not particularly strong in that category, one must surely

Subscriptions & Office Assistance:

question the processes of selecting those nominations.

M ina Carattoli

Six people (or so) sit in a room and decide ¿which films, are

i

hot eligible to be voted for by the hundreds of other industry .,■[

Accounts:

personnel that may actually make their way to the final screenings and vote. Six people,' sometimes opinionated, some-

ff I

Office Cat: O ddspot Legal Adviser: Dan P earce

times with personal axes to grind, sometimes- embittered,

(H olding R edlich, Solicitors)

usually out of work and sometimes with feature credits of varying quality..

M T V Board o f Directors:

C hris Stewart (C hairman),

■ As anY market researcher will tell you,* a small sample can

Patricia Amad, R oss D imsey,

some time s create a very erratic and unrepresentative résulta

Diana C ribble, N atalie Miller

Is it xair that people s lives and careers are placed in the s part of this year's Melbourne Fringe (29 September-20 October), a number of film and multimedia programmes w ill be held. "New Short Works" screens at the Melbourne Town Hall on 5 and 6 October, "Asian Underground Films" at the State Film Theatre on 14 and 15 October, and "Queer Film Week­ end" at the State on 12 and 13 October.

A

Founding Publishers:

-hands of such an erratic and unrepresentative -system? How can a®

P eter B eilby, Scott M urray,

that purports t,o represent an industry hand oyer

Philippe M ora

,5 */the sélection of the .top four films of *thp year to a h a n d f u l ! ^ . '>

Design & Production:

ptSü^jPase ^sfx)^ of industry prof es'siòhals who''usually heed t-o -be out'' of work during a period of three weeks or so "when the screenings take placç?

Parkhouse Publishing pty ltd

I

T e l : (0 3 ) 9 3 4 7 8 8 8 2

Printing:

Does'the API have any interest in its nomination system (and

Printcraphics

ultimately its awards) having any connection with any æsthetie judgement? Òr iis it just a handy way. to diminish the amount of screenings shown to the API voters? What if the six directors or scriptwriters this year were allergic to piano music (quite

he "Perth Super 8 Film Festival" takes place on 13 November at the Metropolis Concert Club. Filmmakers are invited to submit three-minute Super 8 films shot to a maximum budget of $300. Films must include at least one shot of the Fremantle sponsors. First prize of $3,000 w ill be judged on the night.

T

C ondor G roup

- | )

Distribution:

N etwork D is tribution.

© COPYRIGHT 1996

S h in e

would’ve been knocked out and no one would have been able to vote for it?

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Cinema isn’t life, even though you are tetting reat stories. I think that films need to give an audience an experience they don’t get from the real world. There are things peop le can say to each other in the movies they would never say to each other, and the cinema is the perfect medium to express that.” - Lawrence Johnston


Director Lawrence Johnston interviewed by film m aker John Hughes 4 0

ro d u cer E lisa A rgenzio and d irecto r Lawrence Jo hnston are justifiably happy with L ife. This very stylish, yet provocative, first feature builds on the successes of John­ sto n ’s N ight O u t (short featu re; 1 9 9 0 ),

which screened in Un Certain Regard at Cannes, and his more recent, celebrated documentary, E tern ity (1994). Elements of Eternity bleed through into the new film in intriguing ways, and there are thematic cormections back to Night Out. The production value, coherence and intensity o f the w ork are quite an achievement, though few are surprised given John-

%

ston’s collaboration with production designer Sarah Stollman and cinematographer Mandy Walker “T -2 ” is the name of the prison division into which H IV positive men are segregated in L ife. The gaol sentences they face to g eth er are b oth “life ” and “death”. The film seeks to explore life on the “inside”, and the possibility that the relationships between the men contain the compassion and connection that is denied outside prison walls. The film eschews a nat­ uralistic representation of a real prison environment in favour of a stylized production design and man­ nered visual style which, combined with less explicitly

theatrical text and performance, delivers an intrigu­ ing account of its themes. The film was developed from a play, Containm ent, written and performed by John Brumpton at the La Mama Theatre in Melbourne in 1991. Brumpton and Jo h n sto n collaborated on the adaptation for the screen and Brumpton plays the lead character, Des, in the film. Brumpton has said that for him the film is “about working-class masculinity”. Johnston agrees: Working-class characters in Australian film are usu­ ally characterized as being soulful and non-verbal, non-emotional and guarded. In reality, this is usu­ ally the opposite. W e wanted to explore things about masculinity, and the way that men, when they are confined, will talk amongst one another in a way they would never talk in front of anybody else, particularly in front of women with whom they might be involved. -

4S


% T o w h a t e x te n t is Life a b o u t th e e x p e rie n c e o f m e n in s id e p ris o n , a n d to w h a t e x te n t is th e p ris o n a m e ta p h o r fo r th e o u ts id e w o rld ? T h e s ty liz a tio n s y o u h a v e b r o u g h t to b e a r, w h ic h a re th e a tr ic a l in a s e n s e , te n d t o w o r k a g a in s t a n a tu ra lis tic re a lis m . T h e y s e t th e a u d ie n c e th in k in g , " D o e s th e p ris o n in th is c a se s ta n d fo r s o m e th in g else? "

If it stands for anything, it stands for the separate journeys of those different men, in terms of their ideas about enclosure. The floor of the prison is painted red. Prison floors are often painted but they are usually not painted red. Red brings into the production design elements to do with AIDS, without overstating it. Obviously, AIDS is to do with blood, and with blood being infected in a certain way. The floor runs underneath these people. It is not a metaphor for anything out­ side; it is really more interior and refers to these people’s lives being jeopardized. Enclosed in a room, you can really be anywhere in your mind, I suppose. It was really trying to get that across: ideas of time and memory.

like in Ralph’s dream toward the end of the film, where he is like an orator addressing an audience. Apart from some dissolves, he is allowed freedom and space to do that. T here are other moments, however, like where Ralph and Des are in the cell, when it is more languid. It is also a softness in the editing, too, because it flows a little more smoothly, whereas the sequences in the mess-room are cut much faster and are more acerbic, in a sense. W h ile th e m e n d o n 't ta lk to e a c h o th e r, th e y s p e a k

I really care about you. W e should be friends.” It doesn’t operate on that level. In that relationship, it is only toward the end, after a certain amount of time and experience has passed, that they are able to speak to one another and actu­ ally touch. In Australian cinema - well, cinema generally men can shoot each other, but the m om ent they touch each other physically - unless it is done in a very footbally, blokey kind of fashion - it is imme­ diately misconstrued as something else.

th e ir m in d s in o fte n s tra n g e ly p o e tic w a y s . W h e n

T h e film h a s v e r y s tr o n g , s e n s u a l p o r tr a its o f m e n 's

th e y a c tu a lly e x c h a n g e d ia lo g u e , it's k in d o f c o u n ­

fa c e s a n d b o d ie s .

te r fe it. For e x a m p le , in th e s c e n e w h e r e D e s a n d R a lp h firs t m e e t, th e r e is a n e x c h a n g e , b u t it is n o t a c o n v e rs a tio n . It is c o m p le te ly d e fe n s iv e ; it is lik e an a n ti-c o n v e rs a tio n .

That came out of going to the prison and talking to people. Initially, most people in prison don’t trust each other. We build up that trust between the two

Beauty is so subjective, but to me it can be found anywhere, even in the roughest person, male, what­ ever. In the cinem a, it is the way that things are photographed. You might see somebody in real life and they might not look the way they do in film. I guess I wanted to give a certain amount of dig­ nity to the men’s lives through the way they were

W h a t th e p ris o n e rs s h a re is a d e a th s e n te n c e .

Yes, there is a commonality in that. People who are HIV positive can really understand that life is short­ ened. The gay community has lots of treatments, as does the community in general, but realistically, at the m om ent, H IV means that your life could be shortened. It depends on people’s separate immune systems and how they live their lives. These characters are pretty much working-class and uneducated in terms of their outlook on life. That’s why there are moments of self-pity and melo­ dram a in the film w hich I, com ing fro m a working-class background, have seen when men get their defences down. W hen Des says towards the end of the film, “My life is half over. I haven’t done anything, haven’t been anywhere”, in fact he prob­ ably has done a lot. But at that moment he is feeling quite hemmed in. It drags him down more, and that is really part of the HIV thing, the psychological ter­ ritory. Unless people psychologically live a healthy life, they can actually die earlier. I know from personal experience, from friends who have died, that it partly has to do with their psychological outlook, and what they perceive the rest of their life is going to be like. There are other * people who live longer because of that. That makes me wonder about how I spend my life. Am I spending my time right? Am I wasting my time? I don’t know how many people actually have that self-reflection, but it is one of the things we wanted the audience to come away with. W e wanted them to think about people who are in that situation. O fte n th e d ia lo g u e is m o n o lo g u e : o n e m a n s p e a k in g a n d a n o th e r e ith e r re s p o n d in g o r n o t. T h e re is n 't m u c h d ia lo g u e b e tw e e n th e m e n , e x c e p t a t th e

characters. But it is like, “G et them before they get you”, which is the thing between Ralph and Des when they first meet Snakey [Robert Morgan] in the mess-room. There is an absolute need to be able to communi­ cate with other people in those situations, but it really is like “Flick them before they flick you.” It is a power thing. There are moments where they connect in dif­

fin a l m o m e n t. Is t h a t in te n d e d to te ll us s o m e th in g

ferent ways that have nothing to do with dialogue

a b o u t m en?

th at builds up th at trust - like the scene in the

It is in terms of the setting. W hen Des and Ralph [David Tredinnick] first meet in the film, each char­ acter is photographed in separate shots and these \ are intercut. One reason for doing that is to * allow actors the freedom and space to continu­ ally ‘go’, rather than doing it in little bits and then cutting it all together. That scene is a kind of squar­ ing off, a staking out of territory. There are moments when it becomes monologue,

shower where Ralph comes to assist. This is another rescue in a sense. W hen they get stoned, there is an apprehensiveness on Ralph’s part about doing drugs with him, but then humour takes over, which turns into violence through the strip-search. I think those are the places where men connect in prison. If you punch someone out because you are defending someone else, then that is a way of con­ necting, rather than actually being able to say, “Oh,

photographed and their screen time, whether it was talking or whether it was simply a visual thing. Is th e film in d ia lo g u e w ith tra d itio n s o f a g a y cinem a?

You could say it might be in some ways. The men might be photographed in a certain way and they might look a certain way, but it is also a harsh film in terms of things that come out of people’s mouths. In terms of an urban middle-class gay sensibility, it is a film that some people will be repelled by. It is not very hopeful about AIDs. Gay men have always been taught to be fairly positive about treat­ ments, and I sit on the fence with that, being more o f a re a list. T h e film to me is ab o u t m en and women, and men and men, but it is not a homo­ sexual film. If anybody in the film is homo or gay, it is Jimmy [Noel Jordan]. The only reason Snaky would be in that relation­ ship is because it is a prison type of homosexuality which a lot of people wouldn’t understand, being a separate type of sexuality to gay sexuality.


H o w d o e s th e film fit in to th e tr a d itio n s o f re p r e s e n ta tio n s o f A ID S ? It is n o t a s e n s a tio n a lis t a c c o u n t o f th e fa ll in to d is e a s e , th e " u n b e c o m in g " . O n th e c o n tra ry , it c o u ld b e a rg u e d t h a t it is th e o p p o s ite .

Yes, it is a dark story. It is a story that could only be told through com m itm ent. Jo hn and I were both committed to tell a story based in reality about men and women, and some very contem porary issues surrounding sexuality. W e wanted to make a film that was affecting and made an audience involved in these characters, rather than just taking a light approach to subjects where issues and situations are skirted around. W e want people to leave the cin­ ema with an experience that will hopefully affect them whether or not they ultimately “like” the film. People’s lives are filled with “dark stories” that are sometimes never told, in favour of more supposedly commercial films which some producers think are what audiences want to see. This country has pro­ duced some woeful judgements in what is deemed “commercial” cinema. W e were always aware, coming back to the physicality of the characters, that people can be positive and they can lead lives for however long; it depends on who they are and how they look after themselves.

One of the reasons John wanted to do the play was to write a rôle for himself. He had been disgruntled

ner, who has a fantastic presence. In the film, she is seen a couple of times in close-up and to me she is

about only having supporting rôles in films and it was a way of w riting him self a film , really. N ot

incredibly beautiful, the quintessence o f young womanhood that somebody like Ralph would be attracted to.

many actors in this country do that kind of thing. He was set to play Des all along. W e only talked to a couple o f people playing Ralph opposite him. I’d seen David Tredinnick in A ngels in A m erica, the Tony Kushner play, and I thought he was terrific in terms of being able to carry time on stage. I felt very confident about his abilities, particularly toward the end o f the film where there are moments where it could’ve fallen into a heap with the wrong actor, with one who couldn’t sustain the performance. Physically, David was great opposite John, because they are quite different. John is quite rough in some ways on the surface, but when he speaks there is another side to him. The physicality of David is completely the opposite because he is quite fine­ boned and gentle in a way you wouldn’t expect of someone who is in prison. Their performances are quite potent and very affecting. I am a personal friend of Belinda M cClory, who plays Sharon, so I’d always wanted to work with her. It was one of those things where you’d really

V a rio u s e le m e n ts o f Eternity flo w in to th e film . J o h n C liffo rd -W h ite 's o rig in a l m u s ic s h a re s q u a litie s w it h th e w o n d e r fu l R oss E d w a rd s p ie c e t h a t s e rv e s Eternity so w e ll. T h e d e s ig n e le m e n ts a n d lig h tin g h a v e s im ila ritie s to y o u r tr e a tm e n t o f in te r v ie w s , in p a rtic u la r. D o y o u th in k th e r e a re th e m a tic th e m e s flo w in g fr o m Eternity?

The thing about mortality comes back to what I was saying before about having known people who died early. Brian Robinson, who was head of the [Swinburne] film school, was one of those people. He died of a heart attack after he had just retired. That was cou­ pled with a couple of other people dying from AIDS, and finding about Arthur Stace, who was M r Eter­ nity. Even though I ’m n ot religious in the true Christian sense, there was something about the con­ nection with “eternity” and what that man did. There were a number of things that attracted me, that tied into themes of mortality. L ife is a much m ore serious exam ination. The musical treatments in Eternity and L ife have simi­ larities in that I grew up on Hollywood cinema. In my first job, I repaired film for 20th Century Fox for three years and I saw an awful lot of Hollywood films. It has really informed my work. When I went to the movies, it was first and foremost whether I had an emotional connection with the material or not; everything else was icing on the cake. I think for mainstream audiences it is almost the same. There can be elements of distance or chal­ lenge for audiences, but, at the end of the day, if they don’t care about what is on screen in the first 20 minutes of the film they are very reluctant to s it * through the rest. In term s o f the mise en scène and m aking it accessible, L ife has this elem ent o f m elodram a heightening the colour, the music and the perfor-^ m ance levels - n ot to the point w here they are stylized and the audience will be distanced from them, but to make them just a little bit bigger than life. In E tern ity, there is quite a vast use of dissolves and I use them again in L ife, as well as in com bi­ nation with the scrim that we used through the walls for similar reasons - the transience of appearances in spaces. People go into gaol cells for six months, a year or w hatever, and som ebody else will com e in and

There are so many films in which skinny men are in hospital beds, dragging themselves around, and to me it comes back to why people go to the movies. The men don’t look sick in the film and that chal­ lenges the audience to say, “Well, if it is supposed to be a film about AIDS, why do these men look like this?” It plays around with that, so that the audi­ ence is confronted with it in a subliminal way. It is the first film from this country to have the guts to explore some of these issues. Containment w a s a th r e e -h a n d e r a t La M a m a ; it b e c o m e s m u c h m o r e c o m p le x in th e film . C an y o u s a y s o m e th in g a b o u t th e p ro c e s s o f c a s tin g ?

like to work with someone and you ring them up and offer it to them. I was really aware that the role was problematic in some ways because the screen time is minimal. Sharon is a stripper and incredibly provocative. S h a ro n ’s relationsh ip w ith D es, and the irre ­ sponsibility of their union, form one of the major issues of the film: the negotiation or non-negotia­ tion of safe sex. T he thing that really attracted Belinda to it was the monologue in the car, because it seemed like it was the other side to what you saw visually of Sharon at the strip club. Ralph’s girlfriend, Jane, is played by Tibby T an­

inhabit that space. The same with Arthur Stace’s walking through the city of Sydney. He inhabited all those spaces which we recreated, but through dissolves they disappeared and the only thing left was this word written on the street. In L ife, those men are in those spaces and even­ tually they will either move on or they will die. Those spaces will be left empty and somebody new will take over, or the whole building will be dis­ mantled or whatever. It is the same on the “outside” in all our lives. I suppose it is about the transience of existence in some ways. ©


Photo: Bruce Postle (Renegades).

Reliving

I

am standing in a queue at the Swin­ burne film store behind another budding young filmmaker (later to build a strong reputation for him­ self by d irectin g a featu re film regarding violent skinheads and neo-Nazi psychology). I am holding a w ood en M ille r trip od w ith wooden legs and sharp metal tips. It is 1979. In front of me, a loud discussion is taking place in regard to the quality of the various film laboratories Melbourne has to offer. A lab called MasterColour (now defunct) and another called Victorian Film Lab­ oratories (now defunct) are being com pared. The merits of M asterColour are being praised in prefer­ ence to the ap p arent in com p eten ce o f my own favourite, Victorian Film Laboratories. As an impas­ sioned film student with an undying loyalty to my preferred laboratory and loyal lab-technicians, I pipe up, “Depends on what your standards are G... (name

10

d eleted to a v oid fu rther attack) ...” with all the tact, subtlety and superiority I can muster. Suddenly, the lights go out. I am lying flat on my back on the film store floor. A fist had come at me from out of the blue and connected with my face. Still holding the tripod, I thrust it upwards, metal feet first, connecting with the aforementioned wannabe film­ maker’s stomach. He lurches forward in pain as he launches himself upon me with a furious barrage of blows. My tim e-honoured ritual of self-defence, learned during brief forays into the concrete jungle of the Broadmeadows train line, automatically takes over as I curl up in the fœtal position and act pathetic. John Haddock, the storeman, Eugene, the ever-faithful and reliable technician (both notably absent from this book), and various other students destined for future greatness, pull the two of us apart to lick our wounds. W e snarl at each other.

of one’s territory. It was about the Steenbeck I had fortuitously booked out months in advance (appar­ ently). It was about the one Arri SR cam era I had booked out for my entire shoot months in advance. It was about kids from the suburbs sticking it to the private school pricks (even though the closest I’d ever been to a private school was the gates of M LC ). It was about the obscure o b je ct o f desire we were both lusting after.

The testosterone-driven explosion was not just about film laboratories. It was about the marking out

It was about the Swinburne film school. How to define Swinburne? Swinburne was about

It was about ambition, passion, lust, desire, frus­ trated creative expression, lack of equipment, lack of a film library, lack of screenings, lack of actors, lack of svengalis, com petition, deadlines, content over style, form over substance, quality, Brian Robinson and his three intersecting rings of spectacle, conflict and characterization. It was about struggling for what was achievable and, if necessary, beating each other senseless to get it.

C IN EM A PAPERS • OCTOBER 1996


The recent publication of Renegades: Australia's First Film School from Swinburne to VCA has one of Swinburne's most famous filmmakers reminiscing of Swinburne is the story of Brian Robinson, and of Brian’s rôle as father-confessor-therapist and Svengali, along with all the other dedicated oddballs, visionaries and students that persevered with the place against all odds. The war between the Australian Film Television & Radio School and Swinburne through­ ou t the 1 9 7 0 s and ’ 80s becam e a b attle o f Robinsonian proportions, with Swinburne’s ideas and content winning out over A FTR S’ money and style for the m ajor part of two decades. In typical Brian Robinson fashion, what Renegades lacks in resources it makes up for in ideas and content. But there is still another book waiting to be writ­ ten here: one that speaks in the first-hand voices of those who were there; one that sucks you in there and makes you feel it through the people that lived it; one with the definitive events, flavours, people and periods we can see, hear, smell and touch; one that feels the passions, the struggles, the frustrations, the jealousies, the pain and the tears. That book is yet to come.

Postscript: W hen the dust clears, I look down in front of me and stare at a bunch of car keys sitting on the floor. They aren’t mine, but belong to a sixcy lin d er guzzler ow ned by som eon e w ith an outer-suburban chip on his shoulder. I scoop them into my palm and promptly go and flush them down the toilet on my way home.

the student who was so frustrated at one of the lec­ turers that he was pushed down the stairs (so legend has it). It was about Nigel Buesst telling Gillian Arm­ strong that she should become a butcher’s wife and retire to Nunawading (legend again). It was about convincing the Security Guard to let you into the storeroom after hours and stealing rolls o f colour reversal stock for your student film. (I still have them in my fridge. Sorry ...) It was about cutting on a gangsync and being to ld a Steen beck was a luxury. It was about Jo h n Flaus and his amazing, but all too few, “H istory o f C inem a” classes. It was about an entire year of students going all post-punk-feral-nofuture on us and locking everyone into the T V studio during a party and chaining the door shut. It was about being throw n in the deep end by Brian and being told to sink or swim.

Renegades: Australia’s First Film School from Swin­ burne to VCA is a brave a ttem p t at an im m ense task: capturing and chronicling three decades of a C I N E M A P A P E R S • OCTOBER 1996

fairly haphazard, erratic, stimulating, frustrating and unique institution. The book reads as a dry portrayal of a very “wet” film school. It doesn’t surprise me to read that it originates from a research thesis. It reads like a research thesis. I see the familiar names and faces, but I am kept at a distance. The viewpoint is that of an outsider. I never feel what it was like to be inside. Y et, it is an im p ortan t w ork and a m am m oth research achievement: to chronicle an important and defining aspect of our fledgling film history. It was an era that will never again be repeated, where ide­ alism reigned, rather than Hollywood-style ambition to make “B ” grade A m ericana. A tim e and a film school where obscure “experim enta” was a proud achievement instead of the silent embarrassment asso­ ciated with it today. Although hampered by lack of funding, it was still one of the best and most unique film schools in the world. As Phillip Adams says in the Introduction, the story

Fifteen years later, I am doing an interview for a Melbourne magazine. M y therapist had advised me to come clean about the car keys —something about obsessing and seeing Holden Monaros in my dreams. So I tell all. A few weeks later, I am at an AFI Awards party. The film about skinheads has been overlooked for some glitzy Cinderella remake about ballroom danc­ ing. I am feeling conciliatory. I feel the skinheads deserve som ething. I feel good about the w orld. Everything is in balance. I have purged my demons. I look up to see a greying, long-haired dynamo charging towards me from across the crowded room. “I knew it was you, you bastard! I knew it was you!”, he is shouting. I start to go into my time-honoured fœtal position. Friends start to take up positions on both sides. You can take the boy/girl out of Swinburne, but you can’t take ... ©

Renegades: Australia’s First Film School from Swinburne to VCA Barbara Paterson, The Helicon Press, Ivanhoe East, 1966, 190pp., illus., index, pb, rrp $ 34.95

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Michael Helms ||aifsacks the action shelves of the local video library to cfffMf&versome recently-completed homegrown films that have bypassed cinema screens

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FATAL P A S im

Directors]: Clive Fleury [and Richard R y | p | t | il Wroducer: Phillip Em anuel. Co-producer: R ichard Ryan. Scriptw riter: Richard Ryan. Directors of photography' » A n d r e w Lesnie; Julian Penney (Japan). Production C j f designers: Ross M ajor; Laurence E astw ood (JapaS ik Costume designer: Jo M alcolm . Editors: Ted O tton, John Scott. Composer: Garry Hardm an. Cast: Costas M andylor (Costello), K a jij|S ig u ra (Jennifer Law rence), T erence C ooper (David Preston), S teven Grives (Peter Rossi), G ennie NevinsoTf (Helen M oore), S trls Brkic (Fuller). © 1993 P h illin ip jytf^ ina n B Ife ro d u c tio n s . 3 5 m m . min.

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sually, anythingWith the word ‘fatal’ in its title is worth a viewing (for proof positive see the television drama Fatal Vision or theaMong Konglensed Fatal Term ination from the 20 or spBilrns with fatal in their titles that arc currentlygHgra&le), but there’s always exceptions. While V aA etffiB m us the direct-to-video market has bottomed M ^ ^ fld w id e and that anything remotely resembling an erotic thriller is especially unsaleable, F atal Past isn’t shameless in advertising itself as such. It does get a tad shwWloughu when it comes to having its two stars, Costas Mandy­ lor and KasiaJtegra''actually portray the nakedcouple entwined on.t£tf||lil^ Essentiafflraim ne thriller with supernatural allu­ sions, F a ta l Past has Mandylor essay an ambitious organized crime underling, Costello, who is put in charge of the welfare of his boss’ favourite gal P jg jljje n nifer Lawre n llllb laved by the hitherto unseen Kasia Figura. jp|||||&e of pulp really gets fictional" when Jennif< u'claims to be^-courtesan-with aFsingld^liem: CostelloB boss’. reveals a she m ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ m ^ ff ii^ ^ ffl^ m eP leasure Quarter of 17th-century Edo. Simultaneously, in the waking? world, a crime scam is falling apart and a double-cr^S going down. Jennifer’s dreams really begin to im ade the film, though, after a trip to a psychiatrist for a d o iji of psychotherapy and drug-assisted hypnosis, spinning spirdl and all. By the-time we’ve got round to such deathless dia-1 logue as, “W ould you like me to fuck you, M r. Costello?”', and classic response (spoken leisurely), “Oh yeah, quite badly”, a routine chase scene drives in as

we ping-pong towards a climax that pits increasingly crazy dream sequences against nude swim scenes. At one stage, the Japanese sections come on like a rural version of Showgirls (Paul Verhoeven, 1995). Despite Ithe fact they could’ve been shot on the backstreets of Broadmeadows, the credits then inform us that these scenes were actually directed in Japan by F atal Past scripter Richard Ryan. The always-good-to-see, men­ acing support actor, Boris Brkic, cops a knife in the head in F atal Past’s singular sample of real graphic violence. While the functional screenplay for Fatal Past ticks over smoothly and spins out more than a modicum of invention, its principal director, Clive Fleury, seems to have his foot on the brake here. In between fitful bouts of the above-men­ tioned p lot intrigues and adequate thesping (watch out for Steve Grives from Stephen Hopkins’ 1991 Dangerous G am e, who chews the scenery as a sleazoid business associate of the boss), Fatal Past simply plods. Judicious use of the fast-forward control is highly recom ­ mended. Another Clive Fleury flick, Tunnel Vision (with Patsy Kcnsit), should have also hit the racks by the time you read this. A 1 Richard Ryan is listed as ‘Director-Japan’. The Japanese sequences possibly amount to about 20 perEai^iS p h e film.

OFFSPRING

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Director: Richard Ryan. Producer: Phillip Em anuel. Executive producer: David Hannay. Scriptwriter: Richard Ryan. Director of photography: Julian Penney. Production designer: Laurence E astw ood. I B S r .Terry Lamera. Editors: John S cott, Ted O tto n . Com­ poser: Neil S utherland. Cast: Chantal C ontouri (Rosa), k R obert M a m m o n e (Ben; Carlo), G abrielle Fitzpatrick-" T(Maria), Janelle O w e n s (Young Rosa; Y o u S S H h » avid B aldw in (Blakeford). © 1993 Phillip Em anuel | Productions. 1 6m m . 83 m ins. ade on an even tighter budget than F atal P a m and with only a three-member cast, Offspring is another Phillip Emanuel production from 1993.

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Though bearing a title usually reserved for horror films, this particular Offspring is more a revenge thriller, plac­ ing its three lead characters in a lonely country residence for a weekend of rest, relaxation and psy­ chodram a. I t ’s interesting to note that R obert M am m one and G abrielle F itzp atrick do appear together in a compromising position on the front of the slick, and that the Offspring ad line, “Born of sin. Bred to hate. Destined for revenge”, is a true and succinct summation of a product as you’re likely to find out there in videoland. O ffspring has Mammone [The Crossing, George Ogilvie, 1990) as M e n , an overnight acting mega­ success who’s just cracked Holly­ wood in a big way. H e’s also just ’’become engaged to his co-star with a mystery background, Maria (Fitz­ patrick). Together they set out on a weekend of discovery that kicks off innocently enough with the realization of the lie M aria told about the existence of her mother, Rosa (Chantal Contouri). Multi­ ple dream sequences and plot contusions later, it all ends ingloriously in a welter of arson, murder and vomiting. Without divulging the complexities of this particu­ lar CEdipal arrangem ent, it’s safe to say that writer-director Richard Ryan does keep things busy with the prerequisite topless shower scene, and the film’s most daring moment, which involves our two younger stars impossibly placed on a beachside rock in flagrante delicto. In the opening sequence, the camera pulls back from this scene to show it playing on a VCR. It turns out to be the climax of the completely fictional drama called “D ar^ & p io n ”, the place where Ben met Maria. The footage Is recycled later as part of Mamma Rosa’s video library aind the credits that briefly roll up the screen list PhjllipJ'Emmanuel as “Moyle”. ^ I n reality, Offspring is a competent-enough thriller with Fitzpatrick staifdmg out as the seriously-wronged daughter. Fitzpatrick, a Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers snagged a role in the new Jackie -CKitn film; A N ice Guy (Samo Hung). Chantal Con­ touri, in her greatest piece of feature-length screen time since Snapshot (Simon Wincer, 1979) or Thirst (Rod


Hardy, 1 9 7 9 ), plays the overbearing and psychotic Rosa with no recourse to subtlety. If nothing else, O ff­ sprin g should be noted for its gratuitous use of a body double during a nude scene (the current title holder is the U.S tele-feature D eadly L ov e with Susan Dey and anomalous body parts). The cocky strut of a naked model (supposedly Chantal Contouri) across her poolside sundeck (shot from behind a tree) is a great joke amid the otherwise grim and often laboured pro­ ceedings.

IRONHEf

Director: M a tth e w G eorge. Producers. Richard N orton, Paul E lliott C urrie. Executive producers: D evesh C hetty, David Chin. Scriptwriter: M a tth e w G eorge. Director of photography: Dan B urstall. Production designer: Ralph M oser. Costume designer: M anT e S im m onds. Editor: Gary W oodyard. Composer: Frank Strangio. Cast: R ichard N orton (Frank Torrence), Kathy Long (Lisa Kruse), Jane Badler (Sandy Torrence), P eter Lindsey (Harry H ardaw ay), R obert B ruce (D e te ctive D exter). © [undated; 19951 Vi Ila rosa Pictures Pty Ltd. 16m m . 93 i M onfist is the urban act ioner made by Richard fNorton as “Under The Gun” in a Richmond ware­ house in late 1994-early ’9 5 .1 Whatever the title, there’s no doubting the end-product is high calibre all the way, and that like Resistance (Paul Elliott and Hugh Keays-Byrne, 1992), Body M elt (Philip Brophy, 1994) and o l ll f l p ! ^ tralian genre film s, the Ironfist happened in forei ries well b efo re it r e c eAMnSrhA. ’

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ignominious black plastic boj^^^K|"T, on its home turf. Revolving around a 1 2 -^ S K S m ^ . imperative allows Ironfist to vlllllilifcA and out as many problems as possi­ ble for its lead action-m an. Unbeknow nst to co-w orkers and enemies alike, he’s desperately try­ ing to close deals and wind down personal activities at his nightclub. Unlike the characters that populate the Phillip Emmanuel films, Ironfist's Frank Torrence (Norton) wants to completely ditch his past and quietly slip out of town with a bulging bank account. His problems include an inscrutable busi­ nessman with a money imperative (and a superbly stoic elbow-swinging accountant played by Tino Cebrano), patronage riffraff, staff espionage, female trc ible, rabid drug-enforcement agents, machine-gun fights, freelance hitmen, crime gang competition, free drinks and sud­ den death. Aided by snappy editing, good perform ances, a rocking soundtrack (featuring the band Body Motors), charismatic and high-kicking Kathy Long, heaps of bone-breaking action and, most important, a sense of humour, Ironfist easily distances itself from similar pro­ ductions by possessing a personality. Precisely how much belongs to first-time writer-director Matthew George — who was probably the youngest person on the set and was admittedly terrified of the experience when we last spoke to him — is difficult to ascertain (N orton did ch oreograp h m ost o f the action sequences). W ith Iron fist under his arm he’d surely have no problems flying straight to South Africa and instantly becoming king of their burgeoning action film industry, which has only recently begun to clog our video shop shelves with Z-grade films that can only be described as shelf-filler (have you caught a Jerry Trim­ ble movie lately?). W ith more than its fair share of non-acting cast members, Ironfist is living proof that Australia is in pos­ session of more screen talent than it can probably use. C I N E M A P A P E R S • OCTOBER 1996

The afOT^^sEitioned Tino Cebrano is a case in ppinf, but even Ju c ^ Green’s turn as an ocker hooker with a heart of gold is not without charm. The success of Ironfist bodes well for the future local productioh’of Richard Norton films as it does for fur­ ther independently-funded productions of this nature. Currently finishing up as the lead bad guy*®LJjtckie Chan’ - Guy before he goes to workom aYeature wit%<Bhuck Norris, Norton does enterfainplans to get up anotl ler Australian action film. 1 See-Michael Helms, “Under the Gun, Cinema Papers, No. 106, October, 1995.

p o in t OF NO RETURN Director: V in ce n t M o n to n . Producer: Phillip Em anuel. Executive producer: David Hannay. Co-producer: John H ip w e ll. Scriptwriter: V in ce n t M o n to n . Director of photography: Louis Irving. Production designer: Neil A n g w in . Costume designer: A p h ro d itij K ondos. Editor:Ted Ò tton. Composer: Neil S utherland, Cast: M a rcu s Graham (G rad\«|ghhstian), N ik k i^ & a h ill (Kate), D oug B ow le s (O 'R ourke), S tephen W h itta k e r (Kopinsky), John A rnold (Frank). © 1995 Phillip Em anuel P roductions Lim ite d 4 6 in m . 94 m in s- ,

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he third but not final Phillip Emmanuel produc­ tion to land on video shop shelves in as many months is a contemporary crime drama once again fu elljd by vengeance. After jumping from a bridge into the Yarra to escape police custody, Grady (Marcus Graham), ex-special forces soldier and moneylaundering scapegoat, goes on a searchand-destroy m ission to locate his broth|||s killer. He spends more than the first half of the film in handcuffs (includ­ ing a sex scene) but is pursued and harassed for the entire duration by a pair of unbelievably out-of-control, gun-crazy detectives. Grady has fun with ’Na.m flashbacks, n u clea jS S p is trading, a snuff i ^ ^ ^ K iight-vision glasses, swords and, to acknowledge the modern world, an e-mail jokie^^^ue exploita­ tion fashion, his ex, p|||&ed by Nikki Coghill, provides support.ih the field despite her stren uons-Ynltiallprbtestag^ tions. Industry veteran anl^pB^ditcectqr " of Point o f N o Return, Ymc&vMonton,,, survived the 10BA era as o n B B B i i l l able cameramen (lensing Thirst, Snap­ s h o t, T h e L o n g W ee k en d [C olin Eggleston, 1 9 7 9 ], F an tasm [Richard Bruce, 1 9 7 6 ]) to end up helming his own productions in the ’90s. P oint o f N o Return is an unremarkable drama solidly constructed, but ultimately unre­ warding in action. Jo h n Flaus can ’t even seem to hold his accent in his cameo as an Irish priest. Ironically, the ad for the interactive video game A tm osfear that precedes the feature appeared to have had more money spent on it than Point o f N o Return.

RESISTANCE Directors: Paul Elliott, H ugh Keays-Byrne. Producers: C hristina Ferguson, Pauline R osenberg, Je n n y Day. Scriptwriter: The M acau C ollective. Director of photog­ raphy: Sally B ongers. Production designer: M a cG regor Knox. Wardrobe supervisor: Sally M olineaux. Editor: S te w a rt Y oung. Composer: D avood A. Tabrizi. Cast: Lorna Lesley (Jean Skilling), Harold H opkins (Peach),

V ince GiU(Bull)J S tephen Leeder (Colonel W ebber), Sharon Josspp'(Fitzroy), Jack T h om pson (M r W ilson), Hugh Keays-Byrne (Perer). M acau Light Film C orpora­ tion. A ustfi i i l M ^ ^ . 3 5 m m . Panavision. 107 m ins. art political parable, part action film but mainly all-purpose crazy film, R esistance is apparently the work o f many hands over many years. A near-future drama, R esistance encompasses a timeframe of seT%r-al days as it kicks off with television news reporting a riot in the Free Trade Zone before momentai ily latching on to a busload of m ilitary youth. Fully ajgmecg these lads cruise the highways ready and w a H R o r trouble as they’re pumped up with propagand^pom goverment-approved televi­ sion broadcasts and the ‘guidance’ of their superioil officers. Martial laW is just abohtto be enacted when ' the film switches focus to a mixed band of itinerant and mainly f^Sllljje harvest workers on an isolated ! wheat farming district. Ithaca Plains is the place, ai|§ (overused) female narrator tells us, as things start to get out of hand when the farming corporation decides to take on only a fraction of the usual am ount blM w orkersit does every year. Just prior to the army moving in on our hapless but not helpless mobile community of disgruntled farm workers, we’re introduced to the slob, Peter (Hugh Keays-Byrne), as he soaks up verbal abuse from one of the local children. Peter owns a set of wheels which gives him the option to leave town at will, and makes him a very attractive friend. The workers soon dis-. cover their labour has been replaced by prisoners from the local, government-run Hungerford Correctional Farm. M ore aggro ensues. The next day the army arrives with a special forces contingent who jump out o f a monster truck that looks like i: was made out of a few tanks and the refuse from half a dozen army dis­ posal stores. They are led by Peach (Harold Hopkins), who immediately endears himself by painfully crush­ ing the cro tch o f a new re cru it (in a lo n g -h e llll close-up), whilst relaying future plans to disperse all excess w orkers from the area. This bit of business alm ost overshadow s the appearance of Bull (Vince Gil) as a fellow special forces officer who happens to wear shorts. The tension soon jy s calates as the army comB e n c e s eviction w ork. A P articularly intense scene involving Bull attem pting toiobliterate a family pro­ vides R esistance's heaviest III m om ent,7 besides the §re§|||[ ■- appgar;ance of Peter for his own off-screen death seeneibj v (as are m ost of the o th er' Amajor deaths in this fi m). ,, G(pifta@|tly he; dint; « p wards thedpevitabk final confrontation, the last quarjV; ter of Resistancemsmark-ed'by close-ups o f razor ribbon,' a funeral pyre, t e n i e gun pi > a vocal per i in uiee from Keays-Byrrg^anoldguy ordered to^stand inked in the sun by Ha^4*'ffRP|:ins’ S' rgeant Crue plenty of female gun pfeLgtatuitous s h o ts p ^ ^ ® ]^ ^ s ^ ^ ^ | and a beautifull^^^tftgdYruck crash and burn along with less-than-s^^^m ar.tank truck destruction.' "J," A There’s m uclffip^tq^esrstancc thanjiSstmindle^# action, and, while this unique and provocative drama may struggle to communicate some of tint i [ oints, it seriously deserves^Sffpifater audien« ill m it will receive on video reieaSH B. %it out today. 1 he sound­ track also includes songs from Diesel, 1 ie ( o.smic Psychos and T hW M s^Hanks: and Sharon Jessop gets to call Jack Thompson a “f it bastard”. ©

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the university in Dhaka to complete a degree in psy­ chology. During those years immediately after the war, he took an interest in amateur and university theatre, soon making it plain that his was a notable acting tal­ ent. F rom th e re , he w ent into telev isio n and commercial movies, and then into serious cinema. In 1992, he played the leading role in a joint West Ben­ gal (India)-Bangladesh production of P ad m a N adir M ajhi (P ad m a R iver B o a tm a n ) directed by Goutam Ghosh and produced by Habib Khan, who had brought Ritwik Ghatak to Dhaka in 1972 to make Titash Ekti N ad ir N am (A R iver C a lled T itash , 1973). In 1993, Asad played in another of Goutam’s films, Patang (The Kite). He has recently starred in a W est Bengal pro­ duction directed by one of India’s leading filmmakers, Buddhadeb Dasgupta, L a i D arja (The R ed D oors). The cinema of Bangladesh and the career of Asad have run parallel to one another in more than the obvi­ ous ways o f mere involvem ent. A sad’s tim e as a freedom fighter brings him as close as anyone could be to the subject of so much that is valued and, at the same time, mistrusted in contemporary Bangladeshi cinema. It is not surprising that the Liberation W ar should be a prominent subject or context for movies, both pop­ ular and serious, but it is a matter of some wonder that he most obvious similarity between the cinema in Bangladesh and its counterpart in neighbouring India is the dichotomy between the pop­ ular, commercial cinema on the one hand and the serious, art cinema on the other. Bangladeshi popular movies generally run true to the Indian model, based on plots that are usually immaterial and at best improbable, peppered with gratuitous violence and well-choreographed fight scenes, spiced with sugges­ tive sex and palpitating dance routines, and laced with songs which are sold back to the audience again and again on radio and television and through booming cassette sales. In fact, many popular Bangladeshi films, it is alleged, are virtual copies of Bombay movies. The connection betw een the serious cinem a in Bangladesh and that in India is not as close. While India has a rich tradition of art cinema, there is lit­ tle of that ilk in Bangladesh. The Bangladesh Short Film Forum has been particularly active over the past decade in promoting serious filmmaking in the form of documentaries and short features, partic­ ularly in its annual festival and associated seminars and workshops. But when a serious feature film is made, with technical facilities of minimal qual­ ity in a context of the obvious material difficulties one would expect to find in one of the world’s lessdeveloped cou ntries, its problem s have often only just begun, due to the peculiar nexus between patriotism and censorship in today’s Bangladesh. Raisul Islam Asad - popularly known as Asad is one of Bangladesh’s best-loved actors. In many ways, he encompasses the reality of what is cinema in Bangladesh from an artistic, commercial and ideo­ logical point of view. As an actor, he has performed in many plays in the live theatre and television, and starred in numerous movies, both popular and serious. As a successful businessman, he has been involved in the production of successful films in Bangladesh. As a for­ mer freed om fighter and a continu in g staunch supporter of the ideals by w hich the country was founded in 1971, his own life is at the core of what so

much of the cinem a, especially the art cinem a, of Bangladesh is all about: the notion of national identity forged by the Liberation War. Indeed, Asad declares emphatically that life prior to the war was hardly worth a memory; everything dates from 1971. Certainly the most cataclysmic event in the his­ tory of the nearly 25-year-old country is the war that brought the country into being when it won its inde­ pendence from Pakistan. M ost of the present adult population was alive during the devastating nine months that ultimately brought freedom to Bangladesh, and many of them bear the various scars of personal loss, injury, rape, pillage and dislocation that charac­ terized the war. Moreover, it was a ‘popular’ war in the sense that the people in general were fighting, more than anything else, for what they perceived as their own cultural survival. Despite the ravages of nature, the exploitation of corrupt money-makers and the self­

interest of certain p olitical pow er-m ongers, that identity, that “Bengaliness”, is cherished by most Bangladeshis today. Asad was 16 in the early part of 1971 when war was looming, and after it erupted in April he became a guerilla fighter, being blessed with the good fortune to see, at the age of 17, the fulfilment of the ideals he and his comrades had been fighting for. In 1972, he com­ pleted his secondary education and, in 1973, went to

that kind of movie has been, indeed, discouraged by the government through its Board of Censors. Movies such as Agami (Time Ahead, 1984), Dhushar Jatra (Ashen Jou rn ey, 1991), and E kattu r Jishu (Jesus o f ’71, 1992), all dealing with the foundation event in the history of Bangladesh, have come into conflict in one way or another with the Bangladesh Film Censor Board. Tanvir Mokammel’s documentary, Smriti E kat­ tur (R em em b ra n ce o f ’71), about the slaughter of countless Bengali artists and intellectuals, an atrocity carried out by Pakistani soldiers aided by Muslim fun­ damentalist collaborators, was finished three years ago yet is still aw aiting release by the C ensor Board, while his feature film, N ad ir N am M adhu m ati (The River N a m ed M adhu m ati), featuring Asad, has been the subject of a prolonged battle with the Board since it was completed in 1994. N adir N am M adhum ati tells the story of a man who marries his late brother’s widow. An obvious rift is apparent between the woman’s son, Bachchu, and his uncle-father, Motaleb, as the boy goes off to join the freedom fighters while the opportunist step-father collaborates with the Pakistani sol­ diers. M o taleb m urders the H indu teacher, Amulya, a mentor of Bachchu, and forces his wid­ owed daughter, Shanti, to marry him. It is plain to the freedom fighters that M otaleb must be killed, but the fact that he is legally the father of Bachchu complicates the issue. However, it is Bachchu himself who decides to take vengeance on Motaleb. The Censor Board specified ten cuts which were, unsurprisingly, unacceptable to Tanvir. The Board expressed its sensitivity to the communalist issue, demanding the excision of a couple of lines indicating the vulnerability of the Hindu com­ munity, as well as the removal of a shot of a sign on a Hindu house saying, “This is the place for a mosque”; it also demanded the cutting of the scenes depicting the remarriage and the re-widowing of Shanti. A shot of a man smoking during the call to prayer would have to go as it was seen as an insult to Islam, and certain things that might do discredit to Islam, such as the killing of a man according to the formal procedures for

Patriotism and the Ci continued hid examination o f the cine mad John W. Hood

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


the ritual slaughter of an animal, would also have to be cut. Tanvir’s refusal to accede to these demands, publicly supported by an impressive number of fellow artists and intellectuals, is based on his conviction that to make the required cuts would be an act of dishon­ esty, com prom ising the a rtistic, in tellectu al and historical integrity of his film. Admittedly, N adir N am M adhum ati raises some of the more unpleasant aspects of Bangladesh’s War of Lib­ eration, namely collaboration with the Pakistanis and victim ization of the m inority Hindu com munity. Unpleasant though these memories are, they are, nev­ ertheless, facts embedded in the memories of so many of the people who lived and suffered through that tur­ bulent revolutionary year. M oreover, the frenzy of

reprisals that followed the destruction of the Babri mosque in Ayodhya in northern India in December 1992 is an indication that violence might still be directed towards the minority community, dubiously in the name of religion, and so much of the country’s economic back­ wardness is more than likely due in large measure to those people who, corruptly pursuing their own inter­ ests over those of the country, continue to collaborate with anyone who might be of advantage to them. It is possible to perceive an element of Realpolitik in officialdom’s apparent touchiness about the past. Put simply, the recently-deposed ruling party in Bangladesh, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, is not the party credited by history as bringing about the nation’s birth in its independence from Pakistan. That credit is due to the Awami League, now the new government. It is easy to suspect that the for­ mer governm ent was m ore than a little uncomfortable about the release of films that sing the praises of its opposition. Indeed, the film is set in the rural areas of one of the most riverine regions of the world, yet concern was actually expressed to Tanvir about the number of boats seen in his film, the boat being the electoral symbol of the Awami League. However, despite the potential for disconcerting the government, some films do slip through the censor’s net. While Tanvir Mokammel is trying to move the High Court of Bangladesh to take his side in the battle against the Censor Board, T areque and Catherine Masud’s 1995 film of the Liberation War, M uktir Gan (Song o f Freedom ), has been showing to packed houses in Dhaka with the full approval of the Board. M uktir Gan is an 80-minute, 35mm documentary whose making was more than a little unusual. Some five years back while in New York, Tareque and his American wife, Catherine, met the

highly-successful advertising filmmaker, Lear Levin, who, at one time, had ideas of making a name for him­ self as a documentary filmmaker. In fact, he had spent some months during 1971 in Bangladesh taking film of an entertainment group that went from camp to camp in the border areas and into the refugee settle­ ments stimulating popular morale with their nationalist songs. When he returned to the United States, Levin soon realized that his film had little commercial promise there, so he abandoned it and set about establishing himself in advertising. When he met the Masuds, he was happy to let them have the lengthy footage he had taken and for them to use it however they liked. Tareque and Catherine then set about devising a structure into which they could cut and edit the film; then they wrote a script that the film would illus­ trate; finally, they devised dialogue sequences and a musical soundtrack. It was Catherine, the non-Bengali, who so carefully lip-read much of the singing on Levin’s silent film to work out what, in fact, they were singing so that those songs could be recorded and set against the visuals. The result is an extraordinary film, technically, artistically and nationalistically, if the spontaneous displays of patri­ otism inside the auditoriums and the tear-stained faces coming out are any indication. The film opens with one of the emotionallycharged mass rallies addressed by the Awami League leader, Sheikh M ujibur Rahm an, in which he exhorts his follow ers to “make every home a fortress”. There follows footage depicting some of the atrocities and the general brutality of the Pak­ istan Army, and then, amazingly, amidst the violence and misery comes the cultural troupe with their inspir­ ing songs. The exceptional courage and sustained morale of the people is made evident in an interview with one old woman whose entire family had been shot before her eyes. Some comic relief, though never los­ ing the intensity of the film’s purpose, is provided by a puppet show with a dialogue between a Bengali and the Pakistani military dictator, General Yahya Khan, and

then the camera takes us back to shots of social dislo­ cation and masses of refugees and the horrible actuality of dead and mutilated bodies. There is a somewhat dis­ quieting irony - or maybe, perhaps, a reassurance - in that in all of this human horror we are never quite able to lose sight of the beauty of the Bengali countryside. There are some quite realistic combat shots, but gen­ erally the film has a human focus made brilliantly clear by the songs. Indeed, it is the music that makes patri­ otism a virtual character in the film. The songs, all of them well known and loved in both Bangladesh and West Bengal, celebrate the beauty of the land, the past greatness of a free Bengal and some of its popular heroes, and the present overriding ideal of liberty. And at every showing of the film, the audience has risen as one at the singing of “Amar Sonar Bangla” (“My Golden Bengal”), the song of Tagore that became the national anthem of Bangladesh. There are many reasons one might offer to explain the Board’s opposition to Tanvir’s films while giving a release certificate to M uktir Gan. The religious ele­ ment in Muktir Gan is negligible and there is no intense focus on the issue of collaboration. Being a documen­ tary, rather than a feature, makes it a little more difficult for philistines to argue with, and the fact that it was widely publicized prior to its release might have disin­ clined the censors to be obdurate. Perhaps there is also the faintest hope that the Bangladesh Film Censor Board just might be thinking of coming into line with public opinion. If they are not, it would seem that the cinema in Bangladesh faces a bleak future of dominance by inane commercial drivel. It is true that the government gives financial assistance to serious filmmakers, directly assisting in the production of one or two good films each year, but with the shadow of the Censor Board hanging over them their scope is somewhat limited. Asad has recently finished shooting a film called Dukbai, the title being the name of a girl who survives against all odds in the cyclonic tidal wave region of coastal Bangladesh. In some ways, Dukhai might be seen as a metaphor for the Bangladesh cinema itself. ©

The troupers in Tareque and Catherine Masud's Muktir Gan (Song o f Freedom).

nema in Bangladesh of India and Ltd neighbours. C I N E M A P A P E R S • OCTOBER 1996

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cnris ciante W h a t is y o u r b a c k g ro u n d a n d h o w d id y o u c o m e to d ire c t The Inner Sanctuary, y o u r fir s t fe a tu re ?

W ell, mine was a slightly unusual route into films. I edged into the business as a stage actor and then as stage director. I directed some great live theatre and that gave me a solid grounding in drama. T hen one day I started m aking television com ­ mercials, and that’s how it came about. I saw this great opportunity and went into advertising so I could make films in the long term. M ind you, I like making ads, and it’s helped enormously with film because it gives me a real discipline. In an ad, you can’t be too full of yourself and self-indulgent, as far as “I’ll let this shot go on forever.” You have to really be pushing through your message in just thirty seconds. S o , y o u le a rn e d th e te c h n ic a l a s p e c ts th r o u g h y o u r w o r k in a d v e rtis in g ?

I’ve learned a lot through theatre, through drama. Commercials have been good so far as the techni­ cal aspect o f what will w ork and what w on’t on screen, but the theatrical experience has exposed me to the subtleties of drama. H o w d id y o u d e v e lo p The Inner Sanctuary?

Originally, I wrote a completely different script and sent it to a studio. They said they would take the script but w ithout me as the d irecto r! So, some friends in Australia said, “Make yourself a low-budget film.” And that was it. I thought, “I can do that”,

Return of the Mauerichs The era of maverick; low-budget/no-budget filmmaking is back. W ith echoes of the early days of the 1970s renaissance, two maverick filmmakers with backgrounds in the advertising industry have decided to go it alone to get their début features made.

GREG F indlay talks to Chris Clarke in Melbourne about The Inner Sanctucuy, and to Lee Rogers in Sydney about Dust Off the WLngd.

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and I did. The script itself is very character-driven. The main character, Andrew [Brett Climo], is a young, slick accountant who has been demoted well beneath his capabilities. He is sent off to audit this dilapidated mission called St Cuthbert’s, run by a priest called Father Kelly [Gerard Kennedy], who has a drink­ ing problem. T h ere’s also intrigue in the form of some missing money. For Andrew, this creates the issue of moral right versus legal wrong. Kelly is taking money illegally, but it’s for an admirable cause. The story is really a rites of passage, in so far as, through all this, Andrew is having problems in his relationship with Felicity [Lisa M cC une], his girl­ frien d . T h e real p ro b lem is th a t he cannot communicate with her. Andrew befriends Carl, a street kid he meets at the mission. Carl is played by a young guy called Sam Johnson, who is a terrific actor. In Carl’s mind, he is a part-time homeless person, despite the fact he has been on the street for 18 months. Thus, his atti­ tude towards homelessness is a little different. The things I like about these characters are that they are not just black and w hite; your so-called “hero characters” have major flaws. The film sits in a grey area, which I like. It’s a little like the issues of religion and community support. There are no right and wrong answers ... just people. A re th e r e a n y p a rtic u la r in flu e n c e s ?

Thirteen years of Catholic schools is a major influ­ ence! I’ve m et good priests and bad priests, and Father Kelly is based on a couple of good blokes I’ve met. Monsignor Ryan [Peter Stafford] represents to me the politics of the church and how it fails to com­ municate with people today. The church is not really moving with the times, not offering people any spir­ itual guidance. W h a t a b o u t th e p o litic s o f d ru g r e fo r m , a n d d e a lin g w it h p r o b le m s o f d ru g s ?

Carl, a user, is probably the most likeable character C I N E M A P A P E R S • OCTOBER 1996


be looking as good as it does, shot on 35m m and looking very legit. It’s great. H a v e y o u a ttr a c te d in te r e s t fr o m d is trib u to rs ?

Absolutely. M o st o f the m ajor distributors have called up about the film and appear very interested. It’s been fantastic. Is th e r e a n y p a rtic u la r s h o o tin g s ty le t h a t y o u h a v e g o n e fo r in th is ?

I guess all directors have their own styles. I dislike the ‘television technique’ of shooting your master wide and then doing close-ups, close-ups, and maybe an extra close-up, and then going back to a wide. I really like the idea of working with my surrounds and background, getting actors to work around the camera. There is a lot of very fluid movement, as there is heaps of activity in the mission and surrounds. I’ve gone for as natural a look as possible, in the lighting and in the actual d irection. O n certain scenes between Andrew and Felicity, I’ve gone for locked-off camera to show a lifeless feel in the rela­ tion sh ip . In the m ission, I ’ve gone fo r a lo t o f movement and fluidity without a lot of cutting to show the constan t changes and activity. It has worked really well; it has actually surprised me! W h a t a d v ic e w o u ld y o u g iv e to s o m e b o d y w h o w a n ts to s ta r t m a k in g a film a n d is in th e q u e u e a t a fu n d in g a g en c y?

ing. I mean, it wasn’t originally going to be shot on 35m m , but things just snowballed. in the film. His death is such a tragedy. I wanted to show the terrible waste of youth and drugs. I confess to being slightly naïve on the politics and the personal problems of dealing with drugs, so our script took a m ore em otional approach. Andrew comes from a clean, middle-class upbringing that means he’s never come into contact with hard drugs. Suddenly, he is forced to deal with the human side of the drug problem, dealing with loss. H o w d id y o u fin a n c e t h e film ?

Private investment. It has a fairly small budget - just under one [million]. W a s it a c o n s c io u s d e c is io n o n y o u r p a r t t o n o t g o th r o u g h g o v e r n m e n t film -fu n d in g a g e n c ie s ?

I’ve had friends who have gone through the process and they thought it was so incredibly hard. Being 2 7 years old and very im patient, I decided, “I’ll make a film.” I didn’t expect too much support. I would probably go to them now, since I have a film under my belt, but I’ve heard it is very, very dif­ ficult without that first film. And why should they give me funding with no feature experience? I would

W h a t c h a n g e d t h a t to o k it u p to t h a t n e x t level?

There wasn’t one particular thing. Boyd Hicklin came on board at the fifth draft as a co-writer. W e would start at the office at 6am in the morning and work on the script until 10, then jump back into the ad world. W e were doing it that way for months, up until the 11th draft. Then we workshopped the script for two weeks with the actors. They have really breathed life into it and that two-week rehearsal period was absolutely crucial. D id y o u a p p ro a c h th e acto rs?

Some of them I know; a few I just called up. The ones who had worked with me previously as a direc­ to r fe lt co m fo rta b le , and w eren ’t to o hard to convince. I don’t think they realized it was going to

I think the more you direct, the more you learn. So, I’d encourage people to have a go at anything: the­ atre, video clips. I’ve learned a lot shooting this one. I’m happy with my work, but I had to learn very quickly. I went home on the second day and real­ ized it was totally different from anything else I’d ever shot. I reassessed everything I was doing, changed the whole outlook on this film and decided that, if it was going to work, it was going to take a real team effort. Thankfully, everyone came together to make a great, creative unit. I’m very lucky because I’m working with a good crew. One of my favourite films, The Brothers McMullen [Edward Burns, 1995], is a great example of a guy just going off and making a film. I really admire this work: just fantastic and very clever writing. But, at the end of the day, I’m just very lucky to be in this position. So, my advice would be pretty simple: just get out there, roll the sleeves up, do it and enjoy it!

never expect it. T h e s itu a tio n to d a y is a lo t lik e in th e e a rly 1 9 70 s d u rin g t h e re n a is s a n c e o f t h e in d u s try . T h e n , film p e o p le m a d e th e ir m o n e y m a k in g c o m m is s io n e d d o c u m e n ta rie s a n d a d v e r tis in g , a n d m o o n lig h te d to d o th e film s t h a t t h e y w a n te d to m a k e .

W ell, I can’t say much about how things were or are, as I’ve only been in the advertising business for three years. But I do know it’s an exciting, fast-paced place to be, and it’s helping me get where I want: making films. It’s given me much of the skills and discipline required to pull a major project together, under time and financial restraints. So, it’s been great from that point of view. But, to be honest, I’d go crazy if I were stuck in advertising for the rest of my fife. It’s hard to stay enthusiastic while you want to make a new film every two years or so. H o w d o y o u p la n to g e t th e film in to th e m a rk e tp la c e ?

W e’ll start with the Sundance Festival. I don’t really have a 1 00% fixed plan, as the project keeps grow­ C I N E M A P A P E R S • OCTOBER 1996

17


Lee Rogers W h a t is Dust O ff The Wings a b o u t?

The last 48 hours of bachelordom of a wild young Bondi surfer. I was married three months ago, so the film was no doubt inspired by that. A n d a ls o , lo o k in g th r o u g h y o u r re s u m e , b y a lo v e o f s u rfin g a n d th e h e d o n is tic s u n s h in e life s ty le .

You got that from the resume? I grew up on Sydney’s beaches and have lived in Bondi since I was 17, so that is certainly what I know. Also, funnily enough, despite it being a really mar­ ketable and fascinating culture, we have seen very few film s th at have captured it over the years. Puberty Blues [Bruce Beresford, 1981] is really the last one that did it successfully. Overseas, we see contrived yet very successful beachside dramas, with Baywatch and other spin-offs. F ilm m a k e rs h e re d o n 't s e e m te r r ib ly in te re s te d in th e c u ltu re o f s p o rt. Bodyline is a b o u t th e o n ly o n e to h a v e s u c c e s s fu lly d r a w n o n t h a t th e m e .

Absolutely, which is odd considering we’re such a sport-oriented country. As little as 10-15 years ago, Bondi was a workingclass suburb. Within the space of about 10 years, all the beautiful people have moved in and you have this really interesting melting pot. You still have the football, meat pie, surfing sort of Aussie blokes, but you also have all the models, the film industry types and the beautiful people. A n d th e film refle cts th a t m ix o f ch arac ters an d types?

Definitely. One of the reasons I ended up playing

the lead character m yself was so I could go and shoot amongst my friends and they would be them­ selves. I could be the catalyst for everything else that was happening, whereas if I had another actor play­ ing that role it wouldn’t have been as easy to do. Having got married three months ago, I’ve lived here for quite some time trying to maintain a monog­ amous relationship. The partying and the hedonism is constant. There is stuff happening every day. There is a line in the film about managing a relationship in Bondi, where the character says, “Just tell him to move out of Bondi. This is no place for a married couple.” If you add the recreational drugs factor, everything tends to make maintaining a relationship more difficult. It is hard to focus on a career or a rela­ tionship; it seems like hardly anybody ever works. Throughout the film , we juxtapose the bloke’s journey - his dilemma, his hedonistic mates and his past lifestyle- with what the girl is doing at the same time. I think it will be very revealing about how young people think and approach marriage and rela­ tionships in 1996, and how drugs affect that. More than anything, the film is about relationships in the ’90s and how far they have come, or proba­ bly haven’t come; how today’s lack of spirituality is affecting us. A lot of people in Bondi sell drugs, are models and have a lot of time on their hands. These days you find m en in th eir m id -th irties w hose lives are ruled by how many chicks they can score! It is a pretty bizarre concept really. W omen still have the inclination and the urge to rear children, but meanwhile they have a lot of trou­ ble finding a decent guy in a place like Bondi. I think 95 percent of the Australian modelling population lives in Bondi, so you have all these semi-naked

nubile young women roaming around. The blokes are caught in a time-warp, finding it very difficult to stick with one woman. It is a sub-culture that hasn’t been captured. For the people who live here, it is quite normal, but to the rest of the world it will be totally outrageous and shocking. It is disgusting really, yet it is hard for me to say that because I’ve come from selling drugs and doing the same thing. Yet, for whatever reasons, I’m now married and no longer in it. A lot of my friends still are. It is difficult to know how to define these people. Do I make them look like idiots or people struggling with the meaning of life? I’m happy with what I’ve captured. I’ve tried to not manipulate it too much. It has a doco style and a loose plot. I’ve been more concerned with cap­ turing the characters and what life is like here and letting people make their own judgements, rather than me structuring this thing to make them look like dickheads and have a strong moral line on them. W ith any film it is a fine line. If you push it too hard, people will just turn off. You have to just show it to them and let them decide. D id y o u s h o o t th e film o n ta p e o r film ?

W e shot it on Sony widescreen digital betacam tape, which may be seen as an interesting choice, but the film wouldn’t have happened had it been shot on film, especially with the speed it was made. W a s t h a t fo r fin a n c ia l rea so n s ?

Several reasons. Certainly for financial reasons it would never have been made, or it would have taken a few years to get the script to a point where you could get it funded and made, by which time the script would be obsolete and not nearly as interesting.

“95 percent of the Australian modelling pnpuiation Hues in Bondi, 18

C I N E M A PAPERS

OCTOBER 1996


was a day-to-day dilemma as to w here the money for the next day’s shoot would come from - not the best way to do it. I feel good now that it is shot, but it was a nightmare making it. Making any film, even if you have money, is a very difficult process, but going into it with virtually no pre-pro­ duction, a very raw script, lots of non-actors and me producing, directing, co-writing and playing the lead rôle made it a pretty hellish experience. W e wrote the script in late M arch, which is the end of summer, so it was either shoot it immediately or wait for next summer. But, had we n ot been getting it, I w ould have stopped and said, “This is crazy. W e are going to have to postpone it.” But each day we kept getting the stuff, so I thought, “All right, we’ll keep going.” H o w d o y o u e n v is a g e g e ttin g th e film o u t in to th e m a r k e t, g iv e n t h a t a t s o m e s ta g e y o u w ill h a v e to p a y o u t d e fe rra ls ? It's a tr a p t h a t a lo t o f n o -b u d g e t film s fa ll in to .

I have that sorted out. W e’ve done the deals and got the thing right through post-produc­ tion. I’m just going to finish the thing: have it transferred back to 35mm. W h e re a n d h o w d o y o u p la n to g e t th e film o u t in to th e m a rk e t?

Basically, I’m going to get it to the point of having a product that I’m happy with without having to bring anyone else in. People suggest I should do a deal with a distribution company now just to guar­ antee the theatrical release, but I’m confident we w on’t have any trouble getting that. I think I’ll end up getting a distribution deal with exactly the product I want. I know it is going to be very marketable. I don’t think we’ll have any trouble getting our money back. Films like this don’t often get made. The only way you can make a film like this is to make it very cheaply, like we have, where really nothing is sacred. D id y o u fin d it d iffic u lt to m a k e th e s te p fro m s h o rts , te le v is io n c o m m e rc ia ls a n d d o c u m e n ta rie s to a d ra m a tic fe a tu re ?

Had we not been shooting on tape, we wouldn’t have had that flexibility of knowing that I could do as many takes as I wanted without worrying about the cost. Also, had it been shot on film, we would have had a bigger crew. W e literally had a threeman lighting, grip and camera crew. W ith myself and the co -w riter being in it, we looked like a five-man doco crew, so I was able to use all these sensational locations without having to pay $ 1 ,0 0 0 a day in location fees. I w ent into it w ith a w eek’s pre-prod uction. I wrote two drafts of the script in eight days with co­ writer W ard Stevens. Had I not known I had the flexibility of tape and that lack of pressure — you know, if som ething fucked up then it wasn’t too expensive to shoot another day — I wouldn’t have had the confidence to go into it. W ith the widescreen aspect ratio, by the time we have tw eaked the softw are that is attached to a telecine and transferred it back to 35m m , 99 per­ cent of the punters out there won’t know it was not shot on film.

idu haue all these

W hen it comes to video, most of the film indus­ try is like, “No, no, no.” I think things have changed. Rather than hiding the fact that we have done it that way, I’ll use it as one of its selling points. For young filmmakers or people who are doing it for the first time, rather than waiting around for however long for someone to give you the money to do it on film, you are better off writing a story, going out, shooting it, making mistakes, learning a lot and moving on. As long as the content is there, it doesn’t matter these days. Having come from video — I started as a video tech­ nician — I know the technology and am not scared of it. For quite some time, I have been looking for the right project to shoot on tape, because I knew I could capture something on tape that I couldn’t on film. Also, the subject matter is very outrageous and would be fairly difficult to get funding for. H o w d id y o u fin a n c e th e film ?

Ward and I financed it together. He sold his car and stills camera, and we racked up the Visa cards. It

I suppose I didn’t find a huge difference other than just the amount of material you had to get through. On a 30-second com m ercial, I might spend two weeks preparing and then shoot it over a day or two. I went into a 90-minute feature with a week’s preproduction, and a production manager who started three days prior to shooting. Half the time we had­ n’t even done a recce on the location. The DOP and I would w ork out how we would shoot it, w e’d rew rite as we were doing it and then at night I would cast for the next day’s shoot, do recces, re­ write scenes, learn my lines and try to spend a few minutes with my new wife! I don’t think I’ll ever be nervous again going to sh oo t a com m ercial or anything else, know ing that day after day we managed to turn up to scenes that hadn’t been worked out and get them working on the spur of the moment. One of the great things about just going out and doing something on tape is that you quickly work out whether it is something you should be doing [laughs]. Until you write something, or until you do it, you really don’t know whether you are cut out to do it, because it is a pretty strange, psychotic job. I certainly have respect for other directors, especially successful feature directors, after doing it. ©

semi-nahed nubile young women roaming around.”

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

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íáMiÉ


Q u e e n s l a n d

S u p p l e m e n t

Q u een slan d has a d ram atically varied history o f film production. In the 1890s, it w as a m ajor centre o f actu ality film m aking. Q u een slan d w as also the b irth state o f th at m aster director, C harles Chauvel, w hose reputation only continues to grow. (H is w o rk has g reater rep resen tation in the recen t trailer on the A ustralian C en ten ary o f C inem a than any other s.) T h en , like elsew here in A ustralia, Q u eensland suffered a long drought o f film prod uction, b efore being overtaken in the 1970s ren aissance b y the sou thern states and cities. Today, the situation has changed dram atically. T h ere is a health y offshore ind u stry based on the G old C oast at the W arn er-R o ad sh o w M ov ie W orld Stu d ios (see P a rt 2 o f this supplem ent, n ex t issu e ). T h ere is also a slow ly-developing local ind ustry largely based in B risb an e. T h e question is w h eth er it too can flourish and w h eth er th ere w ill be a health y cross-over, or ju st co -existen ce, betw een the two. T h is supplem ent exam ines w hat is happening in the local ind u stry and w h at can be done to speed up its em ergence as su bstantial film culture w ith its ow n p articu lar voice.

C I N E M A P A P E R S â&#x20AC;˘ OCTOBER 1996

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I ’§ Ross Dimsey and Heniy

Queensland in early 1995 ¡¡TTfsee M e.JOSkllfr^ B K o ra ' industry w as consolidating, and thO lOcal ih d u S iP ^ ^^tre d ;m Brisbane, w as battling to begin. D irector (CEO) R ossjpttfsey has brought a lot of in itia tive to Film Queensland^tltehstate film body tasked w ith helping the ^ ^ ^ ^ e w ^ ^ ^ K t i r y find not only its feet but its ow n voice. In his 1995 interview , Dimsey spoke of his many plans and S cott M urray returned to Brisbane to find out w h a t progress has been made. It w as soon evident that the main issue for Dimsey and Henry Tefay, FQ's Head of Development, w as finding a particular Queensland voice.1

Queensland on Screen DIMSEY: There is a real paradox in the world of publishing in that Queenslanders are vastly over­ represented in published short- and long-form fiction. This is partly due to the excellent work of the University of Queensland Press. These local fic­ tio n w riters have been able, in m any cases, to capture the essence of what Queensland is about in a cultural sense, as well as in a sense of landscape and more obvious things. O ne of our priorities at Film Queensland is to bring about a marriage between the people who are proven at observing what this Queensland thing is, and our local filmmakers. UQP recently published an anthology of short sto­ ries called From Paradise to Paranoia which captures perfectly what I’m trying to express. The selection of stories, from very distinguished writers writing from Queensland and about Queensland, is really rich m aterial. There are at least 4 0 stories in the anthology and many lend themselves to low-budget pictures. I hate the word quirky, so I won’t use it, but they are idiosyncratic pieces, populated by d ifferent characters living in a culture w hich is surprising even to Australians, who tend to write off Queensland as surf, sun and so forth. The real Queensland culture is far more interesting than that. Already one of these authors, Andrew McGahan, who wrote the best-selling Praise, has adapted one o f his own short stories, “The Bottle Shop”, to a screenplay - very successfully, I am delighted to say. It is set in the urban sub-culture o f N ew Farm, which is kind of St Kilda-meets-Carlton, and traces a young man’s life as he drops out of university and comes to grips with life. As a first-draft first screen­ play, from any writer, it is a remarkable piece of

22

work, and one of our local producers has optioned it. W e hope it will go into production before the end of the year. It took me a while to get on to this, but the rich­ ness of fiction in this state has been long overlooked by filmmakers. This is not a guess by me. You can actually read this m aterial; and when you read it, the penny drops. You think, “M y god, this is different. These writers are actually getting into something which is peculiar and which is, by its nature, very appealing.” If you look at pictures like Trainspotting, and other independent films from Scotland, W ales and Ire­ land, the ones that exp o rt well are those which accurately reflect an interesting but tiny segment, either historically or geographically or culturally, of life in those places. That segment is held up and, by comparison, seems to be fascinating.

“[LJocal fiction writers have been able, in many cases, to capture the essence of what Queensland is about in a cultural sense [...]. One of our priorities at Film Queensland is to bring about a marriage between [these] people [...] and our local filmmakers/' - Ross

D

im s e y

The From Paradise to Paranoia stories - the good ones, and th e ones th at are sp e cifically about Queensland - do that in fairly high relief. Now, if our producers can just capture that on screen at lowenough budgets ... If government support for our industry up here is going to continue, it is only smart to angle our efforts to something which is unique to this state, which a government can hang its hat on. Even though we w eren’t involved, A ll Men are Liars [Gerard Lee, 1995] could have been it. Unfortunately, though a very good picture, it just missed, in my view. Government here, of whichever colour, needs to be presented with a picture every so often which it can be proud of, which reflects the values of its own state. I don’t say that just because one wants plau­ dits, but because it actually influences the enthusiasm of government support. C I N E M A P A P E R S • OCTOBER 1996


Q Ue a

all made films that put them on the map. The Adven­ tures o f P riscilla, Q u een o f th e D e s e r t, M u riel’s W edding and D eath in B ru n sw ick2 all come from particular places, particular sensibilities. They each established a certain identity and a particular voice about a community. In Queensland, I don’t think we’ve quite managed to do that. Since our novelists and short-story writers have been quite successful in being able to express some­ thing particular to Queensland, we’re hunting out material and pointing people towards it. But we are not going to get involved in developing anything in-

“W hat has been missing here is people having the confidence to write more idiosyncratic, personal material —scripts unique to their own life and their own community in Queensland/' - H

enry

T

efay

house. We might, for example, bring to the party a distributor who might be interested, or we might ask the ABC, “Would you be interested in this kind of material?” If we can find a local distributor, we will do that as well. But in no sense will we be forc­ ing anything on anybody. One of the areas that we want to move in to, but it is going to be a little bit of a problem getting more funding from government, is the area of the inde­ p end ent film . F o r the past five years, the independent filmmaking community has ridden on the back of the offshore industry, which has taken a lot of the limelight because of the huge budgets that come into the country. W hat has been missing here is people having the confidence to write more idiosyncratic, personal material - scripts unique to their own life and their own community in Queensland. Probably 85% of the material that comes through here is derivative. People write material, and pro­ ducers develop it, in the belief that it is a feature film, when it is either a tele-feature or of a partic­ ular genre that is done better with bigger budgets and the star system in America. A lot of them feel that the easiest way to success is to write something which is immediately identi­ fiable. And, if you dip your toes into a mainstream, and if you talk to distributors, what they are saying C IN EM A PAPERS • OCTOBER 1996

is, “Give us som ething that is the same but just different enough for us to be able to sell.” I don’t think films like Strictly B allroom , C osi and Shine3 come out of that mentality. They come from another platform , another w hole other way of thinking. So, what we are trying to do now is create an Inde­ pend ent Film m aking Fund, and encourage producers, writers and directors to begin to develop stuff that is more idiosyncratic, to look at material that could only come out of Australia. That is always tougher because they have to allow themselves to be more vulnerable, to expose things about their own life and their own take on life. Our future here is going to come from the inde-

a

t

S Up

TEFAY: Sydney, Melbourne and South Australia have

M

>0

V ?i >i 2

pendent short filmmaking community, not the peo­ ple who are establishing them selves in the mainstream, who are looking to make programmes for the commercial networks and the ABC. All these projects are determined by deals that are being gen­ erated at the marketplace, and they do have validity. I’m not in any way being pejorative about it. It is just that I think it is time now for the Queensland industry to say, “This is who we are. Let’s not be afraid to front up to where we’ve come from, where we are now and where we might be going.” There is some really good material, once the writers and directors are prepared to go looking for it. A ll th is s o u n d s as if F ilm Q u e e n s la n d is th e m o s t p ro -a c tiv e s ta te film b o d y in h is to ry . DIMSEY: If you are going to accelerate development,

you have to take the risk of being part of the process at certain stages. Acting as a marriage broker with some develop­ ment money, and a little bit of market guidance, is part of our rôle, because the natural process will take too long. Som ehow we have to put m ore rods in the uranium pile to get the critical mass glowing. TEFAY: There was a reaction from a sector of the

community when we were perceived to be playing an executive producer rôle and developing a pro­ ject: in other words, selecting a writer and then going off and, as it were, trying to find a more expe­ rienced producer to come on board to make the deal happen. There was a bit of a problem with that. So we have pulled back for the time being on that. We probably won’t go in that direction again. We will try to find other ways. Is m o n e y b e in g p u t as id e fo r d e v e lo p in g Q u e e n s la n d on S c re e n or w ill y o u ju s t b e s e le c tiv e o f w h a t is s u b m itte d ? DIMSEY: If we do it, it will have a specific allocation. We will call for tenders, as it were, and run it as a separate scheme. Comparative with our overall expenditure, and with the size of our film community, we spend quite a deal of money on script development. But our hitrate is lamentably low: that is, material we invest in the development of which actually gets produced. Although it has increased dramatically in the past year, it is still just above double figures. Film Victo­ ria’s hit-rate, by comparison, is something like 60% .

A lo w h it-ra te m a k e s it v e ry d iffic u lt fo r w r ite r s , as it m e a n s th e ir sc rip ts are n o t b e in g film e d a n d a ke y p a rt o f th e c re a tiv e p ro c ess is m is s in g . DIMSEY: E x actly . Even if you have a very rich

idea, if you don’t have producers with the necessary skills to push it forward and actually get it financed, the idea is going to die.

23


O

Equally, good producers tend to generate good ideas; that is, by and large, they make writers better. Good producers tend to commission work which is more likely to get up because they only commission stuff they think they have a marketplace for. W e have encouraged the development of certain genres because of our observation of the markets. This has probably slighdy elevated our hit-rate. The quality of ideas coming from writers working alone, in the quietness of their studies, and simply subm itting scripts fo r our investm ent is not very high. N ot a lot of original screenplays get up with­ out a partnership with a producer or a director, or som e kind o f m arket orientation that helps that process along.

What’s Happening in Queensland Wayne Manifesto is a television series for kids which Steve Vizard's organization, Artists Services, is co-producing with the ABC. W e are investors in that; in fact, w e w ere the pri­ mary developers of it. It is based upon a series of marvellous kids' books by a Queensland author, David McRobbie. He also wrote the scripts. Alan Hardy is producing.

H o w m u c h d o t h e p e o p le y o u a re ta lk in g a b o u t w r ite r s , p ro d u c e rs a n d d ire c to rs - c ro s s -o v e r w it h t h e c o m m e rc ia ls s id e o f t h e in d u s tr y in B ris b a n e ? DIMSEY: It is amazing how long these things take.

I’ve been here for about 2 0 months now. W e now have one o f the m ajor corporates producers, Des Power, co-producing a piece that we actually began the development of in-house, an adaptation of a D. H. Lawrence short story, “Love Amongst the Hay Stacks”. Jim M cElroy is producing. Also, one of our major commercials makers in the state, Ron Johanssen, is thinking of optioning a piece by one o f the writers I was referring to earlier. He is going to develop it, with our help, into a low-budget feature. They are two recent instances of a cross-over hap­ pening. But it takes a long time for people to see the opportunities and take the risk of having a go at the other side of things. I don’t know if you can pressure cook it. W e are doing the best we can.

Challenges

the Fire team. They have just shot the pilot in the middle of the city. They took over an old building and turned it into a hospital. That's for the 10 Network. After the pilot, it will go on to 26 one-hours. FQ is an investor in the pilot.

Angkor, which is currently doing its Philippine shoot. PRO is the production company. David Hannay is the producer. Phil W arner is the Queensland line pro­ ducer. That will be in town in a couple of weeks' time for the Queensland scenes. FQ is an investor.

N ow , I ’m n o t going to say th a t th a t has been revolutionary, but those in the programme have had their professional lives changed by it. Because there

c h a lle n g e as b r in g in g p ro d u c e rs u p t o t h e p o in t

were hardly any local producers producing anything

w h e r e t h e y ca n m a r k e t th e ir id e a s s u c c e s s fu lly a n d

apart from corporates and commercials, a number

s e e film s th r o u g h . Y o u o b v io u s ly s till b e lie v e t h a t is

o f the em erging producers w ere encouraged to

t h e a re a w h ic h h a s t o b e w o r k e d o n .

the belief that they were producers, even though

T o a c h ie v e th is . F ilm Q u e e n s la n d h a s in itia te d s e v e ra l in te r e s tin g p r o g r a m m e s . DIMSEY: W e instituted a very energetic and pro­

activ e m ark etin g p ro g ram m e, w h ich involved initially taking bands of producers to the M IP and M IP C O M markets. Prior to the markets, we went through their projects and got them up to speed in a series o f planned seminars, workshops and rolep layin g session s. A t th e m a rk e ts, w e w o rk ed one-on-one with them in terms of introducing them around the market and sitting in on any meetings which look like bearing fruit. W e then did a follow-

have now matured in terms of seeing more clearly what the role o f the producer is: that is, not only the key creative co-ordinator, but also the spear­ h ead w ho gets s tu ff to th e m ark ets and gets it funded. The international markets have been the big eyeopener for people in helping them recognize that film is a product. It has a defined market with para­ meters in terms o f subject m atter, budget and the types of programmes and genres it will accept. One has to develop projects in the tight of what that mar­ ket requires. D id y o u ta k e a d e le g a tio n t o C a n n e s ? DIMSEY: N o. I chose the M IP and M IP C O M m ar­ kets because they are not just T V markets; they are also movie markets in the sense that the vast m ajor­ ity of movies which Australians make actually end up on T V , even though we like to pretend other­ wise.4 As it turned out, however, the shock of approach­ ing one’s first M IP for our producers was pretty overwhelming. But the M IP and M IPC O M markets are laid out tike a very well-ordered expo and, once you get the hang of it, they are very easy to work. In a practical sense, I felt Cannes would be just too difficult for people to get a grip on. It is so diffuse and very hard to define. W e are thinking of Cannes next year, but it will depend on the kind of pictures that people are devel­ op in g , or th a t w e w ould lik e to fo rc e the development of.

Television Networks up series of seminars to make sure they were stay­ ing in touch.

W h e n w e la s t ta lk e d , R o ss , y o u s a w th e m a jo r

DIMSEY: W ithout question. M ost of our major pro­ grammes are geared towards bringing our emerging producers into contact with local and international markets, accelerating the development, where pos­ sible, for projects they have, and bringing our writer community up and on stream as rapidly as possible. B u t, even w ith th at e ffo rt, it is still a very slow process. This calendar year we’ll probably see a couple of significant breakthroughs in the sense of local pro­ ducers getting shows up. A num ber o f the local producers have local writers attached with mater­ ial which is getting very close to the market. I’d hope that we are looking at investing in two of those by the end of the financial year.

24

Medivac, which is the next series from

a painful experience for some, but almost all of them

they actually didn’t know a lot about it. It has been

DIMSEY: Access to networks for our people is a real

p ro blem . W e m anage to g et th e re al d e cisio n ­ makers up here at least once a year, for seminars and one-on-ones. It is probably not often enough, but it is as m uch as we can e x p e ct. W e have to recognize that network access is something we have to build into our development budgets that we fund people with. Curiously, producers are most likely to be able to talk to networks when they are 1 0 ,0 0 0 miles away in the South o f France. SPAA also offers a great opportunity, once a year. Our locals are not disadvantaged by the need of an air ticket to whip down and talk to the boys at Channel 9. Far from it. If things are getting to that stage, we’ll enthusiastically support them. W e have gone a long way to chopping out that Brisbane-Sydney distance thing. At the sam e tim e , I d o n ’t th in k you can ever replace the ability to walk around the corner, or run into someone in the pub - that propinquity which works if you happen to be in the same city as where the networks are based. But M elbourne has prob­ ably suffered the same disadvantage, and Melbourne producers got over it simply by plugging away. At the end o f the day, networks will be excited by stuff that they need. Our producers must learn to perceive needs in the netw ork programming, rec­ ognize tim e -s lo t o p p o rtu n itie s. I th in k F ilm Queensland does reasonably well, on behalf of the producers, in finding out what networks want and helping direct development. That is one reason why I expressed confidence ear­ lier that two producers are close to hooking a deal which will make production possible this financial year. I would consider that a fairly good result and, if we can get up another P ® ® C I N E M A P A P E R S • OCTOBER 1996


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J 25


Nadia Tass had been living in Australia for only two years when a fellow named Wally Mellish staged a siege in Glenfield, a poor semirural suburb on the outskirts of Sydney. Holed up in the house with Mellish, who was known to police as a small-time thief and was armed with a gun, were his girlfriend Beryl and her two-year-old child. As negotiations between the police and Mellish dragged on, a large crowd of well-wishers, curiosity-seekers, media, food vendors and pedlars gathered m the sweltering mid-summer heat.

i

his was to be a siege like no other. It ended some days later with Mell­ ish and Beryl being married by the NSW Police Commissioner, M ell­ ish according to legend holding a ring in one hand and a grenade in the other. In a definitive instance of the now commonplace rite known as the “media circus”, a boisterous media contingent stood by in readiness of a scoop, oblivious to how their very presence furnished the burgeoning indus­ try o f the M ellish cu lt: m isunderstood b a ttler, trouble-maker, freedom fighter, romancer ... It may not have been evident to the onlookers of the Mellish incident that the event signalled key char­ acteristics of Australian society’s post-War transition. Such thoughts would not have entered the mind of 12-year-old Nadia Tass in 1968. Today, however, as Mr R eliable1, her film based on those events, arrives on cinema screens, Tass has little trouble recalling how this event, or more precisely her memory of it, shaped a unique understanding of her adopted homeland: It was a period where we had a very simple or sim­ plistic attitude about migrants. They were people to be feared: their cooking sm elled, they dressed

%

3 h u l J ic d in a

strangely and read strange books. W e were less plugged into the world, and so our ideas, aspirations and philosophies in life were really quite unique and isolated from the rest of the world. The power of the media was just beginning to happen; television arrived in 1956, but not in working-class homes. We were still a very innocent race. It was our first siege as a nation. The way it was handled was, I think, very innocent from a human perspective. As a result of my upbringing, I was exposed to an amazing number of situations where the innocent person needs to defend himself, and most of the time fails. I hate seeing that failure and the injustice of that. That is why in my movies I really like to see the innocent victim not fail - or be blamed. It is really im portant for me to make sure that Wally does become a hero and M alcolm does get away with it. It has nothing to do with the Hollywood formula; it has to do with my background, my sense of justice and my having witnessed so much injus­ tice. I like to force the situation so that innocent people, the underdogs, actually get the opportunity to become heroes. I don’t think it happens too often! Tass proclaims no interest in authentic recreations of the M ellish affair - docum entaries are for that nor in another recent film on the same topic, David O ’B rien ’s Shotgun W edding (Paul Harm on, 1994), which she has not seen. “I wanted to use that same C I N E M A PAPERS • OCTOBER 1996


'«ns a«"

see how intelligence can be demonstrated in so many different ways. Looking at intelligence from the mid­ dle-class concept of verbal communication is not necessarily the b e-all-an d -en d -all. I ’ve been absolutely fascinated by that - that a 15-year-old boy from the western suburbs could dismantle a bicycle completely, talk about it while he is doing it and then put it together, and yet can’t read a sec­ ond-grade reader. Nonetheless, Wally and Beryl’s stance becomes a sym­ bol o f d efiance and a rallying-cry for the curiosity-starved onlookers, which includes a disillu­ sioned jo u rn alist and V ietnam co n scrip t Bruce Morrison (Aaron Blabey) and a fellow scribe, Penny Wilbeforce (Lisa Hensley). For Tass, another reality of that Zeitgeist was the Vietnam War and how it destroyed the lives of many young Australians. That Wally M ellish, an unedu­ cated, petty thief in the backwaters of Sydney, could be a potent figure of campus-led anti-War sentiments is but one of several ironic reflections the film pro­ poses. Tass:

narrative to talk about the time, victims, innocence, the establishment and the underdog.” W ith its left-wing humanism, sympathy for the socially disposessed and character-driven plot, Mr R eliable is reminiscent of many 1950s Ealing come­ dies. And, as in those films, at its centre is a seeming eccentric whose unconventional behaviour, disguis­ ing an acute if unorthodox intelligence, infuses the story with its unusual logic. Tass readily admits great affection for these films, together with the com e­ dies of Blake Edwards. As in T ass’ previous theatrical film s, M a lco lm (1986), Rikky an d P ete (1988), The Big Steal (1990) and Pure Luck (US, 1991), it is her conception of the term “innocence” and deft handling of comedy that brings to M r R e lia b le its ebu llient, left-of-cen tre perspective. They [Wally and Beryl] knew they really hadn’t done anything wrong and therein, again, lies the innocence of a human being in that period: “I’ve done nothing wrong. Why should they kill me? Why should they be out there pointing a gun at me?” It is a case of actually seeing the situation very much from the ch aracters’ perspective. I d on’t believe there was ever any tim e apart from the shootouts, which were instigated by Wally, where a gun was pointed at W ally within the range that would have killed him. He was very aware of the C I N E M A PAPERS • OCTOBER 1996

danger outside, but he felt that he was protected within the shell of the house. That is also a part of the comedy: the fact that we have a relationship developing inside the house and a different sort of society developing outside the house, which represents the enemy. Wally’s inten­ tion in the very beginning was that the cops would get sick of it and go away. Wally, played with goofy but stolid insouciance by Colin Friels, believes that the police want to question him about the theft of some ornaments. He and Beryl are oblivious to the snowballing mayhem as a chain of misunderstandings envelop the alleged gunman and his perceived hostage2, and the gun-wielding police. Tass: A sense of naïveté isn’t necessarily a lack of intellect or [being] stupid. For me, it is really interesting to

I think the fact that Wally was not educated is really important in depicting the purity of the rebellion, of its being absolutely unique and personally-based rather than dogma-based. I saw a lot of people at university who espoused all this anti-War philoso­ phy that they read the night before, or was told to them. But I think it is so much more powerful com­ ing out of a human being who hadn’t been exposed to any of that. The idea that during that time people could just say, “I’m not going to war”, is simple-minded. It is extremely difficult to say that because of the pres­ sures around. In places in Europe, there are very direct threats and very direct pressures, and that is the sort of environment that I moved away from with my family. To actually see it here in Australia coming closer and closer to what we left behind was really frightening. I saw and understood the dem onstrations that were going on in the ’70s. I thought it was fantas­ tic that Australia was responding that way, but I think those demonstrations would not have been as

“J, ôxxw a Hat of people at unioewity who eôspauôed ait tfiiô anti-Wxvt philosophy that they, %ead the night befoxe, ox waô told ta them. 3iut 3, thinh it is, s.a much moxe pmaexful coming out of a human being who hadn't been eocposed to any of, that ”


o > >

aTa T ?/?D

powerful and profound if Australia was not as inno­ cent during the late ’60s. Barry Otto plays [NSW Premier] Askin as the ruth­ less human being that he was. In Europe, where I lived, there were hundreds of them ; we were sur­ rounded by those people. Tass was also interested in n o t playing to o many expected cards in her depiction of the relationship between Mellish and Beryl (Jacqueline McKenzie): Beryl never actually tells Wally that she loves him, yet I think their relationship is really wonderful. It is not necessary to be in love in that manic juve­ nile way to have a fantastic relationship with another human being. Hollywood would have insisted that when he says, “You’ve never told me you love me”, she would say, “I do.” That is probably why I am in Australia and not in America making films there. N ot that I’m not going to be m aking film s th e re , yes I w ill, but absolutely under my terms, and only the way I want to make them. The fact that I can take a film like this and inject it with detail that I feel very strongly about is very important. Tass first read Don Catchlove’s script after it was sent to her by Terry Hayes: W e found that we had the same response to the story and very similar ideas about what should be done with the script. So we asked Terry' if he would re-write it and he did. The shooting script was verymuch [re-written] after I accepted the job. From her background in theatre — Tass’s career is still divided between film and stage directing — comes a strong commitment to pre-production rehearsals. Tw o-and -one-half weeks were spent in rehearsals of M r R eliable: I really need to know I’ve done all the work and we are all very clear about the characters the actors are playing and the pitch of the drama, the pitch of the comedy, and the pitch of the tension at any given moment in the film so that when I arrive on set I’m really concentrating on the camera. For Tass, a major challenge in shooting the film was to make it visually interesting despite the very con­ fined, often claustrophobic setting: T h a t was a really d ifficu lt problem to solve. I used the cam era in strange ways a lo t, m aking sure that the sense of carnival building up out­ side was being monitored. I needed to use it to contrast the sense of claustrophobia. In W ally ’s house, we purposelyused the co lo u rs and the te x tu re s w ithin the house in such a way that every time we came back to that envi­ ronm ent we would find something new in there. It is like a visual essay: the more you read it, the more you d iscov er the d iffe ren t layers. T h e house becom es m ore and m ore dis­ traught, and the characters becom e sweatier, as the film progresses. The film becomes more and more thread­ bare and desperate when they break the chair or table. Every tim e I was outside, I created some sort o f an interesting shot with w hich I could bring back the “three wise men”, as Aaron says. The fact that it was holiday tim e, sum m er, h ot, a good time in Australia ... M aking the

28

outside really feel like it was a fun time to be there, and then cutting inside, even though we were in the same space, just pointing at different corners. W hile audiences, both local and in tern a­ tional, have responded generously to T ass’ brand of genial and warmly humanistic comedy, she admits to finding it a difficult act, especially- when you are juxtaposing it against a ro m an ce, a drama or a w hole lot of tension. All of these elements are in this film , as w ell as h op efu lly its being funny. You have to get your drama right before you can make it funny, I believe - unless, of course, you are doing slapstick or a series of

on and fortunately the actors came along with me, after many discussions, even on the set. M r R elia b le marks the first m ajor investment in an Australian feature of PolvGram Filmed E ntertain­ m ent. P o ly G ram , says T a ss, was involved in discussions of who was going to play the lead roles for marketing purposes. The film was post-produced in M elbourne, with PolyGram seeing only the final cut. “It was very clear that they were prepared to go with the vision of the film”, she says. Tass describes the relationship as a very healthy one in which the company demonstrated to her a non-interventionist approach: “I think they believe in filmmakers, in a vision of a film, and they believe strength comes from that vision.” © 1 The production was originally known as My Entire Life. 2 Unlike David O ’Brien’s Shotgun Wedding, the script of Mr Reliable wisely avoids any suggestion of Beryl being

disjointed scenes. Getting the balance

held against her wish: “I wanted to show a misunder­

and that pitch throughout the film is

standing, not an attempt to trick somebody,” says Tass.

something I really had to concentrate

“It [a woman hostage] really has dreadful connotations.”

C I N E M A P A P E R S • OCTOBER 1 9 9 6


extends its thanks to all our Feature Rim and TV Series clients for handing us a

Designing and Producing over 400 quality visual effects shots this year for Paradise Road


or other jobs at the time, participation was impos­ land’s Head of Development, believes th at the future of independent feature produc­ tion in Queensland rests with the independent short filmmaking community. Yet the story of short filmmaking in Brisbane is less than straightforward. Even Ross Dimsey’s statement that “Shorts are a real prob­ lem ” is an exp ressio n born e o f optim ism and commitment for the form, not the put-down it may at first appear to be. Dimsey elaborates: The last Short Film Fund call, which was exactly a year ago, had something like 5 0 applications. The first round of assessments - and nothing is assessed in-house - recommended that none be funded. W e established a short-list, and established a programme o f w orking with the w riters and producers in a w orkshop situation. At the end of this process, our recom m endation was to fund none of these films. In the end, we funded three. Dimsey is quick to point out that the problem is not that Queensland filmmakers are any less smart or tal­ ented than those elsew here. T h e m ain issue, he believes, is to do with their background and training: Queensland has never had a dedicated film school. It has never had a Swinburne and the tertiary insti­ tutions offering courses in film, if their graduating films are any evidence, are very light on content. They vary in their emphasis, but mostly they are to do with the practical aspects of filmmaking, and the theoretical study of film and communications in the media. Dimsey is confident this situation will be remedied by the establishment of Pacific Film School of Film Production, which opened its doors this year. It is a co-operative venture between Griffith University and Queensland College of Art. G abrielle Jo n es is Film Q ueensland’s Creative Development M anager and M anager of the Short Film Fund. For Jones, the problem of serving a wide range of clients with the limited resources of the Fund is exacerbated by being “the only show in town”: In other states, the range of people in the short film area are being covered in other sections, be they ter­ tiary institutions, AFC-funded organizations or Open Channel-type production facilities. W e don’t have those up here and it is difficult. Film Queensland’s $ 1 5 0 ,0 0 0 Short Film Fund is used in a variety o f ways to support the production of locally-made shorts. The Fund not only fully finances the production of shorts, it provides post-production monies, marketing assistance and ‘top-up’ support. “W e’re trying to be as wide as we can, because we’re financially incapable of doing everything”, explains Jones. One solution to the challenge of spreading assis­ tance as widely as possible occurred with last year’s director’s workshop for filmmakers shortlisted for the Short Film Fund. Rather than the standard ‘lot­ tery’ from which a single filmmaker would benefit, the workshops gave a number of filmmakers the valu­ able experien ce o f w orking on their scripts with script editors and actors, to get those projects to their best possible point. (A few local filmmakers were dis­ appointed, however, that the workshops were held during ‘working hours’; for those working on a shoot

sible.) Jones denies that there is a prescriptive bent to the type o f projects she will fund, despite several film­ makers’ belief that the Fund is “looking for the next big th in g ”, w ith a p re fe re n ce fo r co n serv ativ e, “minifeature-looking kinds o f film s.” Some believe that it will steer clear of projects that are in the vein of unconventional, cutting-edge or experimental. One of the m ost interesting aspects of the short film scene in Brisbane is the level o f activity taking place outside o f the ‘o fficia l’ industry. T h e film ­ makers to whom Cinema Papers spoke have received various forms of funding throughout their careers, yet each firmly maintains that their filmmaking career is not dependent upon the g an receipt of Film Queensland funds. M ichelle W arner, whose largely selffunded shorts include Those Precious Mints and Tm Allergic, speaks of her versatility as a filmmaker when she says,

agji l l

I have applied [to Film Queensland], but they just haven’t been projects that they wanted to invest in, so on those occasions I’ve gone on to make smaller projects that didn’t cost as m uch m oney to m ake. I compromised on that, but have still been able to at least keep building my skills and tapping into different types of projects to get experience. One is very visual with no dialogue, whereas another one had diaFilmmaker Sarah Neal, presently shooting a short, Independently Blue, has succeeded in com pleting her p ro jects w ith private investment. She speaks of a degree of peer generosity and grass-roots support that film­ makers in other states would no doubt find enviable. Says Neal, There is that great line Andrew McGahan has in Praise, where he says, “Talk about six degrees of separation, in Brisbane it is th ree.” It works both ways. D oing this film I have b een so in cred ib ly o v e r­ whelmed by the number o f people who have helped. I know for a fact that it could not ever have happened in Sydney or M el­ bourne. Fifty crew? I wouldn’t have got 5 0 people to work with me. However, Neal adds that post-production (particularly given the requirements of international festivals), really hits you. You can easily get someone with a camera and som eone with sound gear, but when you get to post-production, if you want to keep the quality, you need a bit of financial help. T o avoid the hefty costs of post-producing on film, Randall W ood (Goori Goori Dreaming), who has also raised private monies for his projects, has moved into video-realized projects. I could never have made this on film at this stage of my career. This may not be the be-all-and-end-all of my aesthetic, but it is a way of launching myself into a whole new area. The Australian Film Commission, the principal sup­ porter of short filmmaking in Australia, does not have

PAUL KALINA

explores C IN E M A PAPERS

OCTOBER 1996


an office in Brisbane, and its non-presence is sorely felt by local filmmakers. The filmmakers to whom C inem a Papers spoke felt disadvantaged by the geo­ graphic distance and telephone-only relationships they conduct with APC officers in Sydney. The isolation is compounded by the disproportionate amounts of money (up to $ 2 5 0 ,0 0 0 for one short) they see being ploughed into Sydney- and Melbourne-derived short films. Dimsey argues:

Film Queensland. In a case like that, I would hope they pull me up and ask me. Randall Wood thinks that the engineers of Brisbane’s

makers that Queensland’s film and television indus­ try happens at a remote distance from their activities. Offshore productions, says Neal, are

creative process that filmmaking involves. It is not

a separate industry because it is not about local stuff. But there are features being made in Brisbane that have nothing to do with the studio system and they are great to get involved with because of the learn­

just going out and producing a film. It is musicians,

ing curve.

fledgling, yet enthusiastic, filmmaking industry need to take a much more lateral approach to the whole

it is acting, especially acting — we need a pool of good acto rs in Q ueensland . T h ere are a lo t of

I don’t think it is fair to say that the AFC resists hav­

people who can act well, but there needs to be sup­

ing representation in Queensland; they just don’t think they can afford it. They are making some effort to address their regional responsibilities here,

port all the way across the board, not just specifically for producers or directors. The Brisbane International Film Festival, now in its

So, where are the producers looking for the next wave of feature filmmakers, ready to option the screenplay that promises to be the “next big thing” ? For Dim­ sey, it is

m

a critical mass thing. There just aren’t enough young filmmakers yet to actually get together, swap ideas, be competitive, hate each others’ guts, want to get a film up rather than someone else, and really put in the hard yards to come up with different and inventive ideas. Not enough of them recognize film as a viable career option at this stage, so it is a com­ pounding circle. At least one thing is assured: the producer w on’t have to look hard to find the acolyte of his or her dream. ©

“IV e gone on to m ake sm aller p ro jects [ . . . ] b u t have still b een able to at least keep bu ilding m y skills and tap ping into d ifferen t types o f p ro jects to get exp erien ce. -

M ic h e l l e W a rn er

but I think they can go a lot further. Our relationship with them is extremely cordial, but, whether you like it or not, the AFC is a Syd­ ney-centric organization. It always has been and always will be. Jones has a philosophical view of local filmmakers’ going-it alone: I think it’s part of the creative development process that people do things outside of Film Queensland. They shouldn’t just be focused on funding, because that’s not the only part of their development they need to do. And given the limitations that are on our Short Film Fund, that doesn’t suit some people. If someone said to me, “I can’t go to Film Queens­ land because they w ouldn’t like my film ”, I’d be concerned about that, because I don’t believe that’s true. Perhaps they don’t understand the process of

fifth year, presents local filmmakers with a welcomed opportunity for the exhibition of short films, which are screened prior to features as well as in several selfcon tain ed sh o rt-film program m es, and fo r the profiling of filmmakers. The Fast Film event was staged in the Queen Street M all on the eve of this year’s Festival. Fast Films must be less than five-min­ utes in length and include a shot of a clo ck approaching midnight. (The Commonwealth Bank provides prize money of up to $1,000.) Pene Patrick, whose Film Queensland-supported short, V iolet, screened at the Festival, believes that the annual event offers another benefit for emerging filmmakers: exposing filmmakers, audiences and any producers among the audience to new filmmaking

[T Jh e re needs to be support all the w ay across th e board, not ju s t sp ecifically for p rod u cers or d irectors. -

R

a n d a ll

W

oo d

forms and styles. There is certainly a perception among short film-

S T A T E OF S H O R T F I L M M A K I N G IN Q u e e n s l a n d C INE MA PAPERS • OCTOBER 1996

« 31


I l l u s t r a t e d W e r e w o l f M o v ie G u id e c it e s N e w L in e

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C in e m a ’s T h e I s l a n d o f D r . M o r e a u , w h ic h w a s f il m e d F a r N o r t h Q u e e n s l a n d in t h e s e c o n d l a s t q u a r t e r

in

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1995,

AS T H E S IX T H V E R S IO N O F T H E

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G . W E L L S N O V E L .1

F u e l l e d b y t h e r e c e n t w o r l d w id e b o x - o f f ic e s u c c e s s o f

T h e M a s k , N e w L in e w a s a b l e t o a t t r a c t a h e a v y -

du ty

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H E A D E D BY V A L K l L M E R A N D M A R L O N B R A N D O

T O T H IS S T O R Y O F A M A N W H O PLAYS G O D BY T U R N IN G A N IM A L S IN T O H U M A N S. AH was captured by veteran director of photography William A. Fraker, who has crafted everything from R osem ary ’s B aby and O n e F lew O ver th e C u c k o o ’s N est to Street Fighter. N ot present for filming were initial cast member Rob M orrow, who decided not to risk exposure that far north, and the original direc­ tor and self-described genetic engineering fan, Richard Stanley, who le ft after a w eek o f sh oo tin g to be replaced by John Frankenheimer. Despite the fact that one o f his sets also didn’t make it to the end of the shoot, pre-eminent Aussie art director Graham ‘Grace’ Walker did stick around to only w alk o ff T h e Is la n d o f Dr. M o rea u when shooting wrapped. W alker spoke to CAnema Papers on the eve o f his departure for South Africa to shoot a film he thought suspiciously resembled Tears o f the Sun, a film nearly made in FN Q with John W oo. Did th e transitio n o f directors on The Island o f Dr.

Moreau involve a lo t o f m ucking around for you?

N ot really. We had basically formulated the whole look of it by then. The sets were finished when John Frankenheimer came on. Richard left after the first week of shooting, when it was all pretty much ready to go. So, none o f it was Frankenheim er’s vision,' but rather the one shared by Richard and myself. Frankenheimer just jumped on the end of it. W h a t look w e re you going for w ith Richard Stanley?

W e wanted realism, but we wanted something that was kind of austere. W e tried to get a little bit of the horror into it with the various looks o f the places where the creatures would be — maybe not horror but foreboding. The settlement where all the crea­ tures live was originally a ravine. They lived in caves and grass huts. I was always keen on relics in the ju ngle, you know , like in N ew G uinea and the Solomon Islands after World W ar II with all those aircraft. They actually lived in an airfield and lived on the planes. The bunker was an old ammunition dump. But N ew Line d id n’t w ear the W orld W ar II thing because they didn’t want to make it look like a period piece. So, we had to bring in some more mod­ ern aircraft. In the end, I think it looks very good. W h a t is th e tim e setting for th e film anyw ay?

[Laughs.] I don’t think anyone really knew, but it was set just som etim e in the near future: 2 0 0 8 , 2010. H o w do you go ab o ut approaching a m o vie th a t's been m ade as m any tim e s as Moreau, and h o w do you go ab o ut dealing w ith th e difference?

Basically, we had the same parameters. W e had the freighter, the house, the settlem ent, the house o f; pain. Those things were all in the others. Islan d o f L o st Souls [Erie C. Kenton, 1933] looked terrific. It was black and white with dark shadows everywhere

alongside luminous bright spots. The island itself was j more gaol-like with huge iron doors and iron grillesJj W hen you went into the house, you felt you were ; safe and that the animals could never get in. W ith our one, and the M ichael Y ork film [Don Taylor’s T he Islan d o f Dr. M oreau , 1 9 7 7 ], we were . able to utilize more space in the compound where the beasts could come and go a bit more. The only thing I really got from the Charles Laughton version [Island o f L o st Souls] was the freighter. I love that freighter. In the Richard Stanley version which he did shoot,' the first week was spent on this freighter. W e’ve since changed the freighter into an Indonesian sail# ing vessel. I w an ted to use th a t m ore than the freighter, but Richard really wanted to remain true to the H. G. W ells story. It cost a lot o f money to^ get this freighter up there. I d on’t think anyone wanted to relive that week on the boat, though. We had dogs, we had llamas, we had all sorts of animals that we had to take out there on smaller vessels and heave them aboard this ship. Then we were crushed into one area. The whole crew was jammed down one end of the boat. Day after day it was rocking around. It was fairly tough. D id th e film th ro w up an y o th e r m a jo r challenges?

W ell, we had a disaster, also in the first w eek of Richard’s shoot. W e were shooting at a place called Noah Creek, which is actually in the Daintree Rain­ forest National Park. The reason we were there was. we couldn’t get a wharf. W e had to have a wharf where some sort of vessel could com e ashore from i the freighter to bring in the animals. We had to con-g| struct a w harf that would have an easterly or sea view so we could see the ship laying off and a small vessel coming in. So, we built it in the creek mouth. W ell, this creek never floods, does it? “You’ll be right mate”,; say all

by Micheál Helms


fjth e cockies. Then it was unbelievable. The first day there the heavens opened up. They had been hav­ ing w eather that was so beautiful fo r so long. In under an hour, the creek came up raging and the , set gets washed away. T he next day the sun comes out. It was like fate wasn’t looking after Richard. Then they said, “W ell, we’ve got to find another wharf.” W e had to build a wharf around the point from Cairns. W e were actually out in the ocean. W e drove pylons in and created a 5 0-inetre wharf out * in the sea. The carpenters did a fantastic job. Then we got the m ost beautiful weather for the whole picture; someone was then looking after us because we didn’t get any northerlies which could’ve washed this thing away as well. When we were fin­ ished, we pulled the thing apart and gave all the wood to a local Aboriginal tribe that were living there. Everyone was very happy. * Every shoot in FNQ ten d s to have a rained-out story.

Oh mate, ail the time, all the time. When we were building that wharf, it was shocking weather. W e were really in the trenches, so to speak. As soon as you picked up a, hammer, down it came. But we had a bit o f time and we had a good budget. W e were actually spoilt because usually you don’t have a lot of money and you never have a lot of time. [Laughs.) We had a lay-off half-way during the year because they couldn’t get the actor they wanted. They had , to wait for someone else, but we were that far into the picture that they couldn’t pull out. So there was a skeleton crew left milling around and we had a chance to fiddle about. T h at was a bit o f a luxury. It paid off and, in the end, the house really blew me away. It was the culmination o f a lot o f effort by a C I N E M A P A P E R S ? OCTOBER 1996

group of really good people. I was really chuffed when Brando pulled me aside one day to tell me that it was one of the most realistic sets he’d ever acted upon. That was nice; very good actually. We were going to shoot all the settlement bunker } interiors and quite a bit of the other stuff in Sydney. So we built all the sets, but when Frankenheimer arrived, he said, “Why are you going to Sydney?

“I was really chuffed when Brando pulled me aside one day to tell me that it was one of the most realistic sets he’d ever acted upon,” \ - Graham ‘Grace’ Walker

^ Let’s build it here.” W e said, “There’s no studio.” He said, “Well, let’s build something in a field.” All this sort o f stuff [laughs]. So we found an old ware­ house and brought all the stuff back up. T hat was no drama really. They built it down there and put it on a fleet o f semis. W hen it arrived, we just had to pop it back up and it was ready to go. Is th is a horror film ?

Yeah, I reck o n ., W e re you involved w ith Digital Dom ain?

N ot really. We would help them with their set-ups here, but all o f their work was done in the States.

The EX were very much a process that they kept to themselves, as it turned out. I would have really liked to have contributed there, but now realize that I wouldn’t have come anywhere near the expertise demonstrated by Stan W inston’s boys. 1 thought it would have been nice to have had a hand in the design of the creatures and all that, but, when I saw what had been done, I went, “Oh wow”, and real­ ized I would have only been one amongst hundreds. They just did a sensational job. Stan never came out, but he sent a really professional team who were fan­ tastic and should be very proud o f what they did. A n y favou rite m o m e n ts fro m th e film?

From a purely aesthetic viewpoint, I love the way they arrive at the house. It really worked for me. T he house itself is kind o f like your original Far N orth Queensland or island structure with a cor­ rugated iron roof and really big verandas. It looks daggy on the outside, but has a really nice patina of warmth when you go inside, it was beautifully lit. W e got some really nice weather for those arrival days; everything was dripping. You just knew you were on some kind of wet, dank island. I think we really succeeded in hitting a mood. W e had a great guy do the garden. Because every­ thing grows so quickly up there, with the luxury of the eight-week lay-off, everything that had been planted took off in a big way. We had ferns creeping into the verandah. All the palm trees grew new leaves and coconuts. It looked really, really good. © 1 These include Island oflx rst Souls (Erie C. Kenton, 1933), Terror is a Man (aka B lood Creature, Gerry DeLeon, 1959) and The Island o f Dr. M oreau (Don Taylor, 1977).

33


WHE N

INSPIRATION

AVID, i l l u s i o n AVID is a registered trademark and MEDIA ILLUSION is a trademark of Avid Technology, Inc. Image ©1996 ChiselVision.


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'¿ f i * . S ir i '^no

Paul Kalina looks at a rising star of Australian film events

T

he 5 th Brisbane International Film Festi­ The print of Paths o f Glory (1957), co-written by val took place between 1 and 11 August. Kubrick, Calder Willingham and Jim Thompson, was Titled “Silents To Cyber”, the programme pristine. Unlike Strangelove, the passage of time has was thematically book-ended with silent only confirmed the merits of this m asterfully-con­ films commemorating the centenary of cin­ structed film, whose uncompromising examination of ema and an exhibition of CD-ROMs, with a thoughtful power and corruption is a poignant reminder of how selection of typical film-festival offerings in between: assiduously current mainstream cinema avoids such new Australian features, shorts and documentaries, issues. Paths O f Glory, many will recall, involves a a showcase o f current international cinem a and a weary battalion of French soldiers during World War retrospective. I, three of whose officers are executed for allegedly This year, author John Baxter introduced a retro­ refusing the commands of their superior, the ‘face-sav­ spective o f early Stanley K u brick films,- a tim ely ing’, morale-boosting procedure orchestrated by a retrospective given that two biographies are on the way callous general in line for a promotion. (one by Baxter) and Kubrick prepares to make his first The Festival opened with the premiere of Nadia film in a decade, Eyes Wide Shut. (It is rumoured he Tass’ Mr Reliable which was filmed in Brisbane though has since backed away from the project, following the action o f the film is set in Sydney during the advice from his colleague Brian de Palma about work­ 1968 W ally M ellish siege (see article in this issue). ing with T om Cruise, who was slated to star with It closed with Hu-Du-Men, by Hong Kong director Nicole Kidman.) Shu Kei (whose documentary Sunless Days has screened In an entertaining introduction to the screening of on SBS). The untranslatable title is a Cantonese Opera

Dr Strangelove: Or, How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb (1964), Baxter detailed the colour­ ful history of the production of this landmark film, and exploded many a myth about Kubrick and, in particu­ lar, his alleged pacifist leanings. Commenting on the assumption that, because the film ends with the destruc­ tion of the world, Kubrick was making an anti-war statement, Baxter said: Kubrick is not anti-war in any sense. He is in many ways a warmonger. He is certainly a war connoisseur. He loves the hardware of war, he loves guns [...] he is very fond of the hardware of killing. One gets the picture! C I N E M A P A P E R S • OCTOBER 1996 , / ■

term referring to the imaginary line that locks the actors into the characters they are playing. The lively and warmly sentimental backstage musical concerns the shifting sands of traditional and modern culture, gen­ der, fam ily and the Chinese diaspora. T h e main character of Hu-Du-Men is the star performer of an ailing Chinese opera company, who navigates a path through the populist leanings of its new, Chinese-American director, a financially-squeezed businessmanhusband, a lesbian daughter who has decided to come out and, if that’s not enough, an illegitimate son who suddenly shows up. Little wonder the script displays some awkward and contrived moves, though the film

is thoroughly enlivened by an effusive perfor­ mance by Josephine Siao. Five years on, the Festival has consolidated its programme and schedule, after a couple of editions which Artistic D irector Anne DémyG eroe adm its w ere sim ply to o diverse and sprawling for the scale and audience base of the Festival. The 10-day Festival takes place in the downtown Hoyts Regent Theatre (in which two cinemas run concurrent sessions at weekend evenings), with a number of specialist-nature sessions (experim ental shorts, silent film s), lectures and seminars at alternative venues. British historian and author Ian Christie deliv­ ered a lecture on “Lumière and the Legacy of Rom anticism ”, and took part on a panel dis­ cussion (with Chris Long and Pat Laughren) on “Silent Cinema: Developing the Language of Film”. To disparage this as a ‘small’ festival by com­ parison to the Sydney and Melbourne Festivals is to completely disregard the distinct merits of an event that is simultaneously intimate, author­ itative and discerningly tailored to the various interests, tastes and predilections of the local audience. Program me consultant Tony Rayns pro­ grammed a number of interesting Asia-Pacific films, which included a survey of Japanese inde­ pendent cinema in the 1990s. The focus on Asian cinema (Hong Kong, to be precise) continued h late-night screenings of Jackie Chan films, an ert selection of some of Chan’s finest films of all psuch as Mr Canton and Lady Rose and the first two Ice Story outings. (Hong Kong cinema buffs will »leased to learn that a representative of Golden Har­ vest was in Brisbane as part of a fact-finding mission to look into improving the distribution of Golden Har­ vest films in Australia.) Included in the World Cinema section were a range of films, from Secrets and Lies (Mike Leigh), Kansas City (Robert Altman) and Looking for Richard (Al Pacino) — films from major centres of film production that have local distribution — to Jan Jakub Kolski’s surrealist fable The Man Who Reads Music from Plates and Astrid Henning-Jensen’s Bella My Bella. To her credit, Démy-Geroe has managed to repre­ sent at least a few of the world’s under-represented cinemas in her selection (Poland, The Philippines, Denmark and Iran, to name a few). The over-represen­ tation of films from the U.S. and the UK at so many festivals these days is curious, given the trailblazing work of these very same organizations in the 1970s and early ’80s to expose the cinemas of India, Cuba and Latin America, the regions of the former Soviet Union, and so on. Glancing through the catalogues of many local and international festivals these days, one does have to won­ der where are the films from India, eastern Europe, Scandinavia...? Finally, the 1996 Chauvel Award, given by the Fes­ tival in acknowledgement of a distinguished contributor to Australian feature filmmaking, was awarded to George M iller. (Previous winners are Gillian Arm­ strong, Fred Schepisi and Paul Cox.) David Stratton conducted a career interview with the affable producer, writer and director, interspersed with scenes from his various features as director (Mad Max, Lorenzo3s Oil, The Witches ofEastwick) and early shorts (Violence in the Cinema ... Part 1). And for the true believers (and insomniacs), there was a rare opportunity to hit the road with M ax Rockatansky in a triple-bill of Mad Max (1 9 7 9 ) through Mad M ax: Beyond Thunderdom e (Miller and George Ogilvie, 1985). ©

35


history

Australian Film History: Three New Projects Early Queensland and Tasmanian enarrative’ films

r

W hile T he Story o f the K elly G ang eaders may have noticed (Charles Byers Coates, 1906) and The the temporary suspension of the history series, “Aus­ Sentimental B loke (Raymond Longford, 1 9 1 9 ) are analyzed year after year, tralia’s First Film s”. For whole Australian documentary produc­ several years, C h ris L o n g ing companies hardly rate a mention. and W e n d y R o g e r s have One could cite the case of Pathe Freres been w orking on three introduced the first regularlyhistorical documentary videos. which Murphy’s released Australian newsreel in 1910, Law had them all reaching completion and subsequently became the core com­ this winter - a nightmarish situation with logistical problems galore. Written pub­ pany of “the combine”. Or Herschell’s Films in M elbourne, whose studio in lications had to be postponed, but, out Jolim ont was in continuous documen­ of their frenzy, a wealth of forgotten tary production from the 1920s to the Australian footage will become available. 1960s. Or Sovereign Pictures in Sydney, It should force a major re-evaluation of our cinema history. which in December 1926 amalgamated with De Forest Phonofilms (Australia) T h e S h o r t - S ig h t e d S t a tu s Q u o Limited to produce our nation’s first syn­ - C h ris L o n g chronized optical sound films. These com panies produced films Before 1970, Australian films supported which were frequently syndicated world­ a predominantly-imported screen fare. In that supporting role, at least 80 per­ wide. Nobody has yet bothered to even list their output. As for identifying the cent of Australian footage consisted of artistic and financial significance of their short non-fiction films: documentaries, key films - forget it! actualities, newsreels and advertisements. Too often, Australians copy Ameri­ Yet, Australian cinema studies seldom can models for film study. Our industry extend beyond the analysis of fictional feature films, their directors and stars. In was not just a scaled-down version of America’s. The series “Australia’s First the local production industry, narrative Films” shows that fictional feature films feature films were the exception rather were rarely our core screen product. It than the rule. Our perception of early also indicates that narrative construction Australian production is consequently distorted. The whole economic rationale of the industry has been overlooked. R ig h t: S id n e y C o o k (1 8 7 2 -1 9 3 7 ) w a s o r ig in a lly a n a s s is ta n t c a m e r a m a n w ith M e lb o u r n e 's S a l­ v a tio n A r m y L im e lig h t D e p a rtm e n t. H e s e ttle d in Q u e e n s la n d as a c o m m e r c ia l p r o d u c e r - e x h ib ito r in 1907, a n d s o m e o f h is fo o ta g e w ill be s e e n In th e v id e o Q ueensland's First Films. P h o to b y c o u r te s y o f N o r m a W o o d , B r is b a n e .

B e lo w : G e o rg e s C a r re tte p r o je c to r , c. 1910: f e a tu r e d In th e T a s m a n ia n p h o to g r a p h y e x h ib i­ tio n , " W o r t h T a k in g a n d K e e p in g " , a t t h e Q u e e n V ic t o r ia M u s e u m , L a u n c e s to n .

36

was n ot restricted to fictional films. As soon as producers began to assemble sequences from a series of shots, narra­ tive construction became necessary to hold the audience’s interest, irrespective of whether the subject became Q ueen Victoria’s D iam ond Ju bilee (1897), The In au g u ration o f th e A u stralian C o m ­ m on w ealth (1901) or T he Story o f the Kelly Gang. The fascination of early Australian film lies largely in the way that it differs from its American counterpart. Many of those differences can be traced to our small population (and budgets), our post­ colonial British ties, our n a tio n ’s widely-dispersed settlement and simple economic imperative. There was a need to “put bums on [cinema] seats” with a minimum of investm ent. Our early industry was generally unwilling or unable to put sufficient finance into stu­ dio facilities, screen writers and a star system. With low budgets, only quirky, off-beat films like The Sentimental Bloke and On Our Selection (Raymond Long­ ford, 1 9 2 0 ) had a chance of success. M ore often, our producers lacked the power or the vision to make more than inferior versions of the potboilers which Hollywood churned out with greater polish. We could more easily and cheaply

import this formula stuff from abroad. Newsreel and documentary produc­ tion was an entirely different matter. Studio facilities could be minimized. Indi­ vidual cinematographer-directors could “make a go of it” over long periods in the field, working under contract to govern­ ment departments, newsreel companies or distribution agencies. While feature production tended to focus in Sydney, the documentary producers were dis­ tributed Australia-wide. Most Australian film histories have only researched film production in the major feature-produc­ ing centres of M elbourne and Sydney, perhaps on the assumption that little of significance was produced elsewhere. No assumption could be further from the truth. Film production in Queens­ land and Tasm ania particularly epitomizes the types of activity which the film historians have missed. Three documentary television pro­ gramm es have em erged from this research on newsreel production. There are two from Queensland, one intended as a sell-through video for release by Griffith University in association with the N ational Film & Sound Archive (NFSA), the other already (on 6 June) broadcast by ABC TV in Queensland. The com pilation of p re-1914 Tas­ m anian film began screening continuously at Launceston’s Queen Vic­ toria Museum on 31 August, as part of the Tasmanian photography exhibition, “Worth Taking and Keeping”. The show will later tour to Hobart and Burnie. Each of these videos examine early C IN E M A PAPERS • OCTOBER 1996


The Lum ière Ciném atographe (above) w as used by both the Salvation A rm y Lim elight D epartm ent and Fred W ills of the Queensland D epartm ent of A gricu lture to shoot som e of Q ueensland's first films in 1899. W h en W ills' original m achine w as film ed a tth e Q ueensland M useum in M a y 1996 (below ), everyone w a s am azed at its small size and portability. Photo: C. Long.

Q u e e n s la n d 's F ir s t Film s', location shoot of sugar farm ing nea r N am bour, w ith DOP W en d y Rogers

and production a s s is ta n t-re s e a rc h e r M a tt W e n g e rt. In M a y 1996, this c re w retraced the steps of Fred W ills and H. W . M o b sb y in 1899, taking com parison shots of the sam e scenes film ed 100 years ago. Photo: C. Long.

Australian non-fiction film in markedly different ways. P ro je c t O n e :

Q u e e n s la n d 's F irst Film s - C h ris L o n g

Almost all of Q ueensland’s film pro­ duction from the 1890s survives, and, as the official celebrations of the Centenary [sic] of Cinema draw to a close, Queens­ la n d ’s F irst F ilm s offers the first opportunity of seeing all of it in one pro­ gramme. Since 1991, the Griffith University (Brisbane) media studies lecturer Pat Laughren and I have been intensively researching Queensland silent film pro­ duction. Every actuality, documentary, advertising short and factual film made in Queensland before 1 9 3 0 has been sought. Extensive literature surveys of newspapers, business papers, industry journals and memorabilia have resulted in the detection of literally hundreds of films. Many of them have been subse­ quently located in private and public film collections. Finance from Griffith Uni­ versity, Film Q ueensland and the Australian Research Council has so far resulted in a series of lectures, published filmographies and articles. Now, with the addition to the team of research assistant M att W engert, director of photography Wendy Rogers CINEM A PAPERS • OCTOBER 1996

and editor David Huggett, the films con­ cerned are to be issued with our findings on a series of videos. The first, covering the state’s productions from 1898 to 1910, is Queensland’s First Films. Its first screening was given at the Brisbane Film Festival on 9 August. Later this year, it is due for release as a sell-through video by Griffith University in association with the NFSA. Arranged in a linear chronological progression, Q u een slan d ’s First Film s runs an hour with period music, vintage recorded extracts and a thorough com­ m entary. M uch more than a simple assemblage of early footage, the narra­ tive relates the m otivations for the making of the films to the industrial and econom ic background of colonial Queensland. Commencing with a discussion of the invention of the medium and its initial showing in Brisbane via Edison “kinetoscope” peepshows in 1895, the video goes on to outline several Queensland movie milestones. This was the state

with the first exhibitions of sound film (1895). Brisbane had the first venue in Australia exclusively devoted to film pro­ jection, opening on 26 September 1896 - two days before Sydney’s Salon Lumière. With this vigorous start, it is not surprising that film production also had its début early in Queensland (Sep­ tember 1897). The earliest surviving Queensland films - the world’s first ethnographic field footage - were shot on the 1898 expedition of Cambridge anthropologist Alfred Cort Fiaddon to Torres Strait. These were made more remarkable by the survival of their accompanying wax cylinder soundtracks, heard for the first time in ninety years in the video. They are also the first films in which Aus­ tralian Aborigines are seen. The first films shot by Queenslanders were soon to follow. In October 1898, Queensland’s Chief Secretary agreed to finance the preparation of publicity mate­ rial “on the Lumière Cinématographe principle” to prom ote trade, invest­ ment and immigration from Britain. By October 1899, the recently-appointed

artist-photographer to the Department of Agriculture, Fred C. Wills, and his assistant, Harold Mobsby, had shot about 30 one-minute films of colonial life. Most of the films, certainly among the world’s earliest government productions, survive. These views of sugar farming, wheat farming, city scenes, railway scenes, sta­ tion life and even the First Queensland Contingent embarking for the Boer War are shown in their complete surviving form. These are assembled on tape with the intervening lantern slides which orig­ inally accompanied them. Via Wendy R ogers’ cam eraw ork, the video also returns to some of the same shooting locales today. The 1899 films collectively provide a surprisingly-sophisticated visual nar­ rative to explain the m echanical intricacies of colonial farming. As these are the first Australian films containing more than a single shot per sequence, we see in them the earliest of all Australian filmed narratives. Also in 1899, the Salvation Army’s Melbourne-based Limelight Department made its first Queensland films. They

Q u e e n s la n d 's F ir s t Film s'. Rogers and W e n g e rt

re-s h o o t W ills' 1899 stills a tth e Queensland D ep a rtm e n t of Prim ary Industry library, M a y 1996. T h e ir SP B eta video cam era is m uch la rg e rth a n W ills' 1899 Ciném atographe, although it can record an hour's w orth of colour w ith sound at a load! Photo: C. Long.

37


Right: Professor A. C. H addon's film of Pasi, S e rg e a n t and M a n a on M u rra y Island (Torres Strait) on 5 S ep tem b er 1898 is Q ueensland's oldest surviving film . Featured in th e video

Queensland's First Films. C ourtesy Ken B erry­ m an, NFSA M e lb o u rn e office.

Far right: D ock loading th e s.s.

Katoomba at

Pinkenba (B risbane), 1 8 9 9 - f r a m e e n larg em en t from Fred W ills ' 1899 Q ueensland G overnm ent

Queenland's First Films, co u rtesy Ken B errym an , NFSA.

film , a fe a tu re of th e video,

shot coverage of the Riverview Boys’ Home at Moggill, near Ipswich, to illus­ trate their social work. Revisiting the locale today, we find the old boys’ home so little changed by the passage of a cen­ tury that we can dissolve from the 1899 coverage to the same views today. By 1906, independent film showmen like Sidney Cook (formerly of the Sal­ vation Army Lim elight Departm ent) were shooting local actualities. Cook’s travelling views of Brisbane’s Queen Street, George Street and the Brisbane River were used by the state government as a prom otion at L on d on ’s FrancoB ritish ex h ib itio n in 1 9 0 8 , and are shown in their complete surviving form. Finally, the video presents the earli­ est surviving film taken by Bert Ive, later (1 9 1 3 -3 9 ) the Com m onwealth G ov­ ernment’s official cinematographer. Ive’s Visit o f L ord Kitchener to Brisbane (Jan­ uary 1 9 1 0 ) was a 10-m inu te film intended for presentation at his outdoor “ C o n tin en ta l” film shows at W oo lloongabba. It was a news film produced on the very eve of the introduction of

regularly-released weekly newsreels in Australia. With the regularization of newsreel production in multi-item magazine for­ mat, first introduced to Australia by Pathé Frères in D ecem ber 1 9 1 0 , the whole game changed. Permanent cine­ mas were replacing travelling picture shows. The industry was slowly under­ going “vertical integration” as the major exhibitors merged to form a combine. The narrative feature film was slowly dis­ placing programmes of short films. For all of these reasons, 1910 was a conve­ nient date at which to close this first video of the Queensland series. The next video will deal with the regularization of news and documentary production, and the wider release and distribution facil­ itated by the opening of film exchanges. The increased profits provided by this system allow ed producers to make longer and more elaborate documen­ taries. The enorm ous num ber o f stills included in Q u e en sla n d ’s First F ilm s made its production especially tricky.

Rostrum camerawork, the art of making stills move, was handled skilfully by Wendy Rogers, working in tandem with editor David Huggett. They had the ben­ efit of a virginal AVID digital editing system, just installed at Griffith Univer­ sity as we went into post-production. D irector: Pat Laughren. P roducers: Pat Laughren, Chris Long. Scriptwriters: Pat Laughren, Chris Long. R esea rch : Chris Long, M atthew W engert, Sue Ward, Pat Laughren. D irector o f p h o ­ tography: Wendy Rogers. Editor: David H uggett. N a r r a to r : Chris Long. A Mungana Films Production. 55 mins. Betacam . Colour & B & W . Released by Griffith University in association with the N FSA, Canberra. E n q u iries: Pat Laughren, Griffith University, Media Studies, Brisbane. P ro je c t T w o : K in e to n e -

A P e rs o n a l F ilm H is to ry - W e n d y R o g e rs

The 1980s was not a vibrant time for the film industry in Queensland. The indus­ try was driven by a small number of production houses working chiefly on commercial product and at times with great success. Some local stories man­ aged to reach the screen, defying a state government which seemed to be working against culturally-relevant pro­ duction. The Australian industry had gone through its renaissance in the 1970s but Queensland was out in the cold with only a small amount of federal funding dribbling over the border. Many people were joining the growing drift southward. It was within this cultural vacuum at one of our meetings of the then selffunded Brisbane Independent Filmmakers that George Burne sprang to the floor to recite the history of his family’s film pro­ duction business, Kinetone Productions. The Burne family had in fact been pro­ ducing films for nearly seventy years. Seventy years! The story got better. A1 Burne, George’s father, had his own camera by 1910, a hand-cranked Pathe. Tasm anian cinem atographer Ernest Higgins w ith a film -developing rack, 1910. Som e of his w ork, including (1909) and

Picnic at the Springs, M t Wellington Hobart Carnival (1910), is exhibited at

the exhibition, "W orth Taking and Keeping".

He had learnt to process and develop his own film, probably from Clem Mason who had a film course in Sydney in 1907, and for whom he then worked as a projectionist. By 1908, he was at the Lyceum (now the Dendy) T heatre in George Street, Brisbane. His subsequent work with E. J. Carroll, Charles Chauvel, the Q ueensland A griculture and Stock Department, Topic Ads and vari­ ous newsreel producers put him on the map and provided a bank of skills that kept the business on its feet, passing across generations until George closed up shop in 1985. As I listened to George that night, things started to fall into place. Faint child hood m em ories o f im ages o f Queensland started to flow and a stream o f logic erupted. T h ere had been an industry here for many years. Chauvel had not simply been born with extra­ ordinary powers of film production, neither had Bert Ive. Their knowledge had come from a film culture and the image of a culture as a living body of knowledge, being continually exchanged and developed to become clear and tan­ talizing. It was that initial gut-felt wonder of finding something that resembled indus­ trial continuity that drove the production of the documentary about George and his family. When I asked people in the industry about Kinetone almost every­ body knew them . M any old hands would testify to the importance of the Burne family to the contemporary indus­ try, the people who took up the baton from others long dead and little known, like Sid C ook, to keep the m irror in front of our community’s face. T h e dram atic eye o f the story of Kinetone hinges on the advent of sound production. A1 Burne rebuilt the Pathe camera and an old silent Prestwich step printer to record and print sound. This extraordinary feat in the face of eco­ nom ic ruin and industrial/technical isolation typifies the pioneering spirit of our early filmmakers. That they period­ ically crossed the border to be involved in other parts of Australian and interna­ tional industry underlines a broader in te ractio n w hich pushes this story toward becoming an exemplary indus­ trial saga. In the 1 9 80s in Queensland, there C I N E M A P A P E R S • OCTOBER 1 996


history

Top: The Salvation Army Limelight Department made its first Queensland films in June 1899 at the Riverview Boys' Home at Moggill, near Ipswich. The boys were filmed to illustrate a Salvation Army social work lecture. 1899 photo by Joseph Perry, courtesy of Salvation Army Archives, Melbourne. Above: May 1996: the crew of Queensland's First Films return to Riverview to find the locale practically unchanged. Photo: C. Long. was n ot m uch in te rest in the past, althou gh, w ith the passing o f the Callaghan era, things were looking up. As I collected George’s stories over the next few years, it would often strike me how familiar it was sounding: a schism between the necessity for sheer deter­ mination in the face of indifference and te ch n ica l change, and, on the other hand, a sharing of information, attitudes and goals. As our industry develops again to be as relatively vigorous as it was earlier in the century, we provide a link between the exploits of an ear­ lier era and those o f the fu ture. Production in Queensland has been and still is a thin thread of a thing, but it’s a very long one. C IN E M A PAPERS • OCTOBER 1996

D ir e c to r : W endy R ogers. P ro d u c er : Wendy Rogers. Executive director: Tony Bowden. R esearch: Pat Laughren, Chris Long, Sue Ward, Wendy Rogers, George Bume. Produced with financial assistance from Film Queensland through the Cen­ tenary of Cinema Committee and ABC T V Q ueensland. E n q u ir ie s : W endy Rogers, 7 Little Jane St, West End 4101, Q ueensland . T e l: (0 7 ) 3 8 4 6 3 7 2 3 . Email: Wendyr @ peg.apc.org P ro je c t T h r e e : T a s m a n ia 's

F irs t F ilm s: 1 9 0 9 -1 9 1 4 - C h ris L o n g

quently travel to Hobart and Burnie. The compile is silent, with intertitles specify­ ing the date and provenance of each item, providing an interesting counterpoint to the equipment it accompanies. One doesn’t normally associate Tas­ mania with film production, but it had some really remarkable cinem atogra­ phers, especially before W orld W ar I. Later Tasmanian film has already been published in sell-through video form as the multi-volume series, As T im e G oes By. Produced by Peter Richm an P ro­ ductions of Hobart from the holdings of the Tasmanian Film and Video Archives, they’re structured in a light magazine format, with no indication of the pro­ ducer’s identity. T asm an ia’s First F ilm s, by co n tra st, draws on the h ith erto unseen holdings of Canberra’s NFSA, and focuses on the work of the producer or cameraman of each item. Hobart was the birthplace of the Hig­ gins b roth ers - E rn est, A rthur and Tasman - who shot many of the bestknown Australian silent feature films. Ernest, the eldest, shot the oldest sur­ viving Tasmanian film in 1909, showing his family’s picnic at the Springs on M t Wellington. In this, we see Arthur Hig­ gins, a decade before he gained fame as the cam eram an o f T h e S e n tim e n ta l Bloke. Ernest Higgins had already shifted his permanent base to Sydney by this time as chief cameraman for Spencer’s Pictures. In association with the Hobart cameraman Herbert Wyndham, Ernest probably also shot the 16-minute film, H obart Carnival (1910), about a bizarre gymkhana and historical pageant, which failed in its attempt to boost Tasmanian tourism. The most prolific Tasm anian pro­ ducer of the p re-1914 years was T. S. Tim m ins o f the English Am usem ent Company. Linked loosely with the main­ land concern of Pathé Frères, the “E. A. Coy” accounts for at least a dozen sur­ viving pre-1914 items of the newsreel type: Inauguration o f Launceston’s E lec­ tric T ram s (1 9 1 1 ), E ig h t H o u rs D ay Procession (1913) and Visit o f the Aus­ tralian F leet to H o b a rt (1914). These,

and m any oth er T im m ins film s, are included on the video. Another outstanding cinematographer to visit H obart at that time was Frank Hurley, who filmed the departure of the Mawson Expedition to the Antarctic in 1911. For many years, reels of randomlyassembled camera negative have been circulated under the incorrect title of The H om e o f the Blizzard (1913), purporting to be the official expedition record. It was screened at a recent Sydney Film Festival in that form, without continuity, intertitles or lecture narration. Fortu­ nately, I managed to locate the original English release print of the first reel of Gaumont’s Australasian Antarctic E x p e­ dition 1911-13 (to quote the title on the film ) and this appears on the video. The Hobart departure has re-emerged with intertitles and a narrative thread. It is to be hoped that the organizers of “W orth Taking and Keeping” will expand and develop this exhibition video for public release as a historical resource. The display also features Edison and Carrette projectors from the turn of the century, posters from the exhibitions of C o lonel Lum are (1 8 9 7 ), Carl H ertz (1897) and the Australian Animated Pic­ ture Syndicate (1 9 0 7 ) , a W arw ick Bioscope camera (1902) and numerous photographs of pioneering producers and film equipment. For further information, contact the Queen V ictoria Museum, W ellington Street, Launceston. Tel: (003) 31 6777. The video T a sm a n ia ’s First F ilm s was researched and assembled from NFSA holdings by Chris Long, assisted by Mel­ bourne N FSA o ffice sta ffer, H elen Tully. @ Left: Edison projecting kinetoscope: the actual machine used by McAdoo's Jubilee Singers to show the first feature-length film shown in Aus­ tralia, The Passion Play of Oberammergau (2,900 feet), which premiered in Hobart, 14 August 1899. Part of "Worth Taking and Keeping". Photo courtesy of John Corrick. Right: W arwick Bioscope Camera, Model "B", manufactured in Britain c. 1902, and used by the Corrick family entertainers from 1907 onwards, included in "Worth Taking and Keeping". Photo courtesy of John Corrick.

“W orth Taking and Keeping”, a major exhibition of Tasmanian photography spanning 1 8 4 0 to 1 9 1 4 , opened at Launceston’s Queen Victoria Museum on 31 August. A significant module in this exhibition is devoted to motion pictures, and includes pioneering film cameras, projectors, posters and memorabilia. The focus of this motion picture dis­ play is a chronological assemblage of pre-1914 Tasmanian films. With its ran­ dom selectio n o f film ed events and personalities, the video Tasm ania’s First F ilm s will run continuously at the Launceston exhibition, which will subse­

39


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For Those \ Who Came in Late The Phantom has finally m ade it to the screen, but Paul Vietti finds Jeffrey B oam ’s script a few Bandars short o f a tribe

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Dating the Enemy

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WESTERN

Staging Sexuality Teenage hom osexuality has not been treated seriously or w ell in cinema. C hris B erry tries the British Beautiful Thing

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Director: John H illcoat Producer: Denise Patience. Associate producer: Richard Hudson. Scriptwriter: Gene

ack (Tcheky Karyo), a French­

any attempts to understand it by

man living on the Sepik River

the characters and the filmmakers,

in Papua New Guinea, has lost his

not merely as a set of self-congratu­

wife Rose - how we are not told -

latory Australian cliches, the foil to

at the start of To Have and to H old,

liberalism or democracy or Judeo-

directed by John Hillcoat and

Christian culture or egalitarianism

written by Gene Conkie. Visiting

or suburbia. Considering the

Australia, Jack spots Kate (Rachel

Australian record of self-deception

Griffiths), a writer of romance fiction reading in a bookshop, and

Among the better parts of To

Deconstructing Westerns S co tt M urray is stunned by the academ ic pretences o f The Movie Book of the Western

or lack of imagination in depicting

And Tcheky Karyo, who has the

societies in the Asia-Pacific region

look of a man stunned by his fate,

Kate comes with him to Papua New

Have and to H old are its depiction

(e.g., Far East, Turtle Beach,

manages not to tip over into parody

Guinea, to his house in the river-

of the setting and lack of condescen­

Bangkok H ilton, Traps1), this film

in a difficult role.

Chris Kennedy. Editor: Stew art Young.

bank foliage. Despite the ominous

sion towards its Papuan characters.

is a real achievement. The rest of

Music: Nick Cave, Blixa Bargeld, M ick

signs that Jack and drinking mates

Robert Kunsa, who plays Luther,

cast are all true, without the sort of

and to H old is its plot, where Kurtz

Sal (Steve Jacobs) and Stevie (David

a ‘rascal’, and other Papuans in

overreaction - the “make sure the

meets Vertigo (1958) and Rebecca

Field) are a sad lot, and disinclined

minor roles have a naturalness

audience gets it” style - which has

(1940) by the Sepik River. (By the

to literary conversation, the shots

which is memorable. The filmmakers

lately cropped up in Australian films.

way, John Malkovich is gruesomely

David Field (Stevie). Small M an

of the Sepik River and tropical wild­

have a observant curiosity about

Rachel Griffiths has a distinctive

funny as Kurtz in the recent

Productions. Australian distributor:

ness (cinematography by Andrew de

Papua New Guinea, which is imag­

character even at moments when

Nicolas Roeg adaptation of Heart

Groot) are wonderfully seductive.

ined as something independent of

she is just thinking and watching.

o f Darkness.) Little in the way of

Conkie. Director of photography: Andrew de G root Production designer:

Harvey. Sound: Dean Gawen. C ast Tcheky Karyo (Jack), Rachel Griffiths (Kate), Steve Jacobs (Sal), Anni Finsterer (Rose), Robert Kunsa (Luther),

Palace. Australia. 1996.35mm. 98 mins.

The weakest part of To Have

psychological detail is added to the bare bones of the Hitchcock films. To Have and to H old tells a comic-book reduction of Vertigo and Rebecca. A bit of directorial overkill doesn’t help. From the start, any unhealthy suspicion that morose Jack is going to be anything less than a wacko, a nightmare condensation of James Stewart and Laurence Olivier and Orson Welles, is suppressed by melancholy music and the Gothic sombreness given off like ultraviolet light by the screenplay. Since Jack is never witty or good fun, why Kate should find

A Distinctive Delight It's an e ffe c tiv e lig h t ro m a n tic co m ed y, en g en d ered w ith h e a rty a ffe c tio n , b e a u tifu lly id io syn cratic h u m o u r, and c le v e rly -w ro u g h t su rrealism . [...] It's a rare p leasu re to see a n e w fe m a le d ire c to r succeed w ith th is ty p e o f m a te ria l. p 42

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

41


Director: Shirley Barrett. Producer: Jan Chapman. Scriptwriter: Shirley Barrett. Director of photography: Mandy Walker. Production designer: Steven JonesEvans. Costume designer: Anna Borghesi. Editor: Denise Haratzis. Sound recordist: Gary Wilkins. Cast: Miranada Otto (Dimity Hurley), Rebecca Frith (Vicki-Ann

continued

Hurley), George Shevtsov (Ken Sherry), John Alansu (Albert Lee), Jessica

him the fulfilment of her novelistic

Napier (Deborah). Jan Chapman

dreams is incomprehensible, or

Productions. Australian distributor:

perhaps perverse. The recurring

Globe. Australia. 1996.35mm. 101 mins.

string-music theme on the sound­ all and tanned Ken Sherry

T

track, by Nick Cave and company,

(George Shevtsov), form er

verges on being oppressively sad; it

king of Brisbane drive-tim e

has a nice melodic crest, but doesn’t

radio, cruises into the

lift high enough.

far-flung Victorian town of Sunray to

Indicative of the film’s heavyfooted irony about romance is the

becom e the big kahuna at 3SR-FM ,

recurrence, as ambient music, of a

w here the last disc jockey’s just died.

throbbing-voiced shower-room

It's no hero's journey for Ken, w e can

rendition of Bob Dylan’s sentimen­

tell, but to his new neighbours, sisters

tal “I Threw It All Away”, from

Vicki-Ann (Rebecca Frith) and Dimity

N ashville Skyline. Given how

Hurley (M iranda Otto), he's a veritable

obviously awful romantic love is

chanteuse in the bar who awkwardly

presented to be, you wonder why it

begins to sing “I Threw It All

persists at all. The film’s debunking

Away”; she is wearing a red dress

ambition in his heart.

Prince Charming come to awaken

THE PHANTOM

them from the miasma of sm all-town

Despite the failure of this anal­ ogy, the film remains entertaining.

of it is a textbook lab experiment

like the one he gave his first wife

Its gliding, golden cinematography

whose grim conclusion is a certainty.

Rose; the cycle repeats. There is

captures time in the tropics,

Pedro Almodovar’s Tie M e Up! Tie

a sick humour here in that the

although this idyllic sense all too

M e D ow n! (1990) was more subver­

object of Jack’s fantasizing seems

quickly turns creepy. Two scenes

sive and wiser about romance, and

ludicrously inappropriate. (Why?)

stand out as particularly well-

Director: Simon W incer. Producers: Robert Evans, Alan Ladd, Jr. Executive producers: Richard Vane, Joe Dante; Graham Burke, Greg Coote, Peter Sjoquist, Bruce Sherlock. Scriptwriter: Jeffrey Boam. Director of photography: David Burr. Production designer: Paul

w ell-fed and laid. He's come down a notch o rth ree since Brisbane, obviously, but is content to becom e a big fish - pretty literally, as it happens - i n a small pond.

nothing is added to what we knew

Previously, the film signalled Jack’s

conceived: the video-theatre scene,

Peters. Editor: 0. Nicholas Brown.

from Vertigo about the sexual

identification with neocolonial

in which fresh-faced kids are gath­

Composer: David Newman. Cast: Billy

Vicki-Ann is a brisk, motor­

Zane (Phantom /Kit W alker), Kristy

mouthed, over-groom ed beautician,

obsession that can lie within it. What drew me into the film

power, although he is not seen to

ered to watch Jack’s selection, and

do anything more harmful to the

a scene in which a local policeman

Swanson (Diana Palmer), Treat Williams (Xander Drax), Catherine Zeta

a fervent devotee of the cult of the fem inine as prescribed in mainstream

was the relations drawn between

villagers than drink, shoot his gun

ignores Jack’s abuse of his new wife.

the story of sexual obsession and

in the air and screen violent action

When we discount the - 1 think -

the Papua New Guinea milieu.

movies in his outdoor village video­

misconceived analogy, what we see

Why is the plot there? In some

theatre (the last is bad enough).

is not a picture of the motive-force

Robert Evans and The Ladd Company.

of neocolonialism, but, instead, a

Australian distributor: UIP. Australia.

waitress at Albert's, the local Chinese

1996.35mm. 100 mins.

restaurant, strange and vacant, daggy

ways, Jack, Sal and Stevie are in

The last scene is supposed, I

Papua New Guinea to pay homage

think, to clinch the analogy between

picture - often surprisingly observant

to a line of fictional Caucasians who

sexual obsession and neocolonial

- of snow-bound European

have lost their Protestant work ethic

self-interest. But no, Virginia,

- like virginity, never to be regained

sexual obsession isn’t analogous to

self-absorption.

© Robert N ery

1 F ar East (John Duigan, 1982),

Jones (Sala), James Remar (Quill), Cary-Hiroyuli Tagawa (Kabai Singh). Paramount Pictures in association with

C

inema history is rich with adaptations of comic-strips

ago: perm, pastels, and stand by your man. If only she had one. Dimity is a

and child-like. She spends her free tim e fishing and cycling around

for the picking - painfully na'ive in their

once lost - in the tropical vegetation.

neocolonial self-interest. Mad, sad

Turtle B each (Stephen Wallace,

Storaro-lit pictorialism of D ick

But the filmmakers had something

Jack is not a good neocolonialist

1992), B angkok H ilton (mini­

Tracy (Warren Beatty, 1990), the

better in mind. In the last scene, for

at all, who is more likely to be an

series, Ken Cameron, 1989),

gay-dungeon gothic of Forever

example: Jack stares at a local

accountant or MBA with Protestant

Traps (Pauline Chan, 1994).

Tcheky Karyo (centre) during the filming of To Have and To Hold.

wom en's m agazines several decades

Sunray, mooning. They're both ripe

and -books, whether it be the

separate w ays and desperate for something, anything, to happen.

(Joel Schumacher, 1995), the Terry Southern-led sparkle of B arbarella

W hen Ken Sherry pulls in next door to their neat, humble little house,

(Roger Vadim, 1968) or the cool

resplendent in open-to-the-w aist pais­

elegance of Jeu de M assacre (Alain

ley and high-heeled boots, Vicki-Ann can't get a casserole to him quickly

Jessua, 1967).

enough and presumes long and loud

Comics have one key (dis)advantage over novels: they come with images. One can conjure evocatively from Hardy’s prose what Casterbridge looks like, but five different readers will imagine five different towns. Not so with comics, where every key detail is carefully rendered by pen and ink. In the case of The Phantom comics, one is dealing with several of the best artists in strip and longform history, especially Ray Moore and Sy Barry. But what makes The Phantom unusual is that the comics

are still going strong, Creator Lee Falk is still writing and the work of

42

life; and he's more than willing to take on the role to the extent that he gets

that she'll have him to the altar in no time. W hile less enthusiastic initially, Dimity's more than a little curious and, when she gets to chat with Ken over his beef in black bean sauce at Albert's, she's a sucker for his reptilian charm, not to mention the appeal of winning him over to spite Vicki-Ann. From here on in it's w ar, the sisters pitted in a com ical all-out battle to win Ken Sherry (quaintly, this is the w ay both wom en refer to him - as "Kensherry" - an identity rather than a person), w ithout ever really pausing to consider w h at m akes him w orth having.

C IN EM A PAPERS • OCTOBER 1996


K

Love Serenade Albert (John Alansu) - nudist (What were they called once? "Jaybirds?"), Glen Campbell fan, Dimity's boss and Vicki-Ann's long-time unsuccessful suitor - plays omniscient onlooker and Dimity's confidante as the battle esca­ lates and then drastically changes course when Dimity makes a startling discovery about Ken. Ken simply enjoys the sex, the food and the fray, lacing his seductions and then his rebuttals with hilariously-appalling platitudes (although he hasn't written original poetry, like John Laws, this is a man who still gets a lot of mileage from The Desiderata). For a while, you could be forgiven for assuming Love Serenade is a period piece, with its nondescript land- and townscape, determinedly anachronistic characters, and sound­ track, dominated by Barry White and sundry disco hits of the 1970s. It's not until Ken laments the absence of com­ pact discs in the radio station’s library that we're sure of the contemporary setting, and then the clues become more obvious: the desolation of the townscape with its tawdry main street, arid roadsides, decaying parks and sheer lack of people and activity. The buoyant 1970s are well and truly

over, financially if not culturally, and Sunray is abundantly illustrative of the declining rural economy and the encroaching emptiness of life in towns which are dependent upon a healthy primary industry for growth. Not even Vicki-Ann's resolutely decorative front yard and sparkling kitchen can dispel the sense of stagnation; Ken Sherry, Vicki-Ann, Dimity and Albert are caught in a time-warp by a mix of choice and circumstance, and the avenues out, for those who want them, are limited. But this is nota snide or cynical portrait of rural life, nor is it a tract in the annals of the gender war(much as some will cry: "chicks' film!"). It's an effective light romantic comedy, engendered with hearty affection, beautifully-idiosyncratic humour, and cleverly-wrought surrealism. It's not

scored by a feminist sensibility. It's a rare pleasure to see a newfemale director succeed with this type of material. Barrett's script is understated and fairly sparse, and, together with her assured direction, it allows the actors plenty of scope for fleshing out their roles, and carefully avoiding caricature. The performances are a uniformly-strong complement. Rebecca Frith brings just the right mix of prissiness and suppressed angerto Vicki-Ann, Miranda Otto plays Dimity as a spacey but intriguingly wilful ingenue (ratherthan a hapless clown, which Dimity could have become in lesser hands), John Alansu makes a highly-engaging eccentric of Albert; and George Shevtsov is simply delectable as Ken Sherry, oozing unwarranted arrogance, injecting

the Melbourne International Film Festival, he brought the house down just by walking on stage.) Mandy Walker also deserves resounding praise for her photography, which deftly renders the isolation and faded charm of small-town Australia; as do Steven Jones-Evans for his produc­ tion design and Anna Borghesi for her costume design, both of which, again,

is [ ...] a distinctive, delightful first feature, well deserving of the acclaim and the Camera D 'O r it won at this year s Cannes Film Festival.

L o ir e S e r e n a d e

zany, whacky, overblown stuff - more a quiet appreciation of the absurdities of romantic attachment and the cultural accoutrements of the chase, under­

CINEM A PAPERS • OCTOBER 1996

every scene with casual malevolence and looking alarmingly, hilariously right (When Shevtsov appeared after the screening at the closing night of

perfectly render the stultifying setting and enhance the film's overall tone. There are several slow scenes, and the surrealism which takes over

in the third act might have been intro­ duced earlier and been more smoothly integrated with the narrative to stronger effect and greater audience satisfaction; those expecting a consis­ tent or straightforward structure will be frustrated to some extent. But Love Serenade is, nonetheless, a distinctive, delightful first feature, well deserving of the acclaim and the Camera D'Or it

won at this year's Cannes Film Festival. The only thing more puzzling than its final scene is its exclusion from the 1996 AFI Awards nominations for Best Film, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay. Oh well, whether or not it is clear to me, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should ... and I look forward immensely to Shirley Barrett's next feature. © G race W addell

43


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filter that one just wants to rip from the camera and crush into pieces. As well, Burr’s interiors, and the shadow-prone faces, are often badly underlit. That might be okay if there were some consistency, but here an interior wide-shot of Diana Palmer (Kristy Swanson) at a function has her face impenetrably murky and dark, but the next shot, a close-up, catches her in glowing golden light. In the end, T h e P han tom lies in the middle-bracket of comic-book adaptations, infinitely more engag­ ing than B arb 'W ire or F orever, but nowhere near the inspired storytelling of the early Superm an movies. It just never quite makes it. © Paul V ietti

DATING THE ENEMY Director: M egan Simpson Huberman Producer: Sue Milliken. Executive producers: Phil Gerlach, Heather Ogilvie. Scriptwriter: M egan Simpson

the new designers (especially Kari

The Phantom’s pants aren’t striped

aborting the ailing, fuel-depleted

The rest of the cast singularly

Huberman. Director of photography:

Leppanen) is among the best.

and his purple tunic has a pattern.

plane. The bridge sequence is, of

fail to convince. T he P han tom really

Steve Arnold. Production designer: Tim

The dilemma facing scriptwriter

Wait till they find out The Ghost

course, revisited Indiana Jo n es , but

needs, if not real stars, at least actors

Jeffrey Boam was whether to stay

Who Walks takes off his mask in

whizzing through it neither covers

with charisma, who are either con­

close to the originals on which the

front of Sala (Catherine Zeta Jones)!

up its origins nor creates tension

vincingly bad or worthy of rescue.

Ferrier. Costume designer: Terry Ryan. Editor: M arcus D'Arcy. Sound recordist Leo Sullivan. Sound editor: Julius Chan. C ast Claudia Karvan (Tash), Guy

script is ostensibly based (“The

Most fans of T he P hantom

Singh Brotherhood” and “The

believe absolutely in the world cre­

surprise ideas, such as the ripping

failing to deliver effectively the lines

M att Day (Rob), Pippa Grandison

Sky-Band”, 1936-7), so as not to

ated by Lee Falk. They don’t want

of the fabric roof).

Boam has given them. They are yet

(Colette), Christopher M orsley (Paul),

(a pity as there are some good

Still, actors can’t be damned for

Pearce (Brett), Lisa Hensley (Laetitia),

disappoint the fans, or accept the

revisionism. But the reality is that

realities of the marketplace and

they aren’t enough to recoup the

largely “B” cast. The above-the-

of American scriptwriting having

modernize the tale.

$60 million budget, and that is the

line/below-the-line ratio seems out

run bone-dry. It is hard to think of

Australian distributor. Total. Australia.

filmmakers’ bind.

of whack. Billy Zane is a pretty lack­

an American film of the past decade

1996. 35mm. 104 mins.

This bind has clearly left Boam and director Simon Wincer some­

Wincer is also hampered by a

further evidence of a whole vein

Heidi Lapaine (Christina), John Howard (Davis), Scott Lowe (Harrison).

lustre The Phantom, never really at

which succeeds with its campy,

what perplexed, the film adopting

not at the heart of the film’s failure

ease with the film’s jokiness, though

parodic dialogue, yet the list of

neither position with conviction.

to fully engage: that is the fault of a

he is much better in his Kit Walker

failures would near fill this magazine.

The opening sequence could pass

weak script, which cobbles together

guise. Treat Williams gives a very

(Try David Hogan’s B arb •'Wire,

for a film set today (El Jungle

bits of T he P hantom stories without

spirited rendering of Xander Drax’s

based on the D ark H ou se comics,

routine recently seen in Prelude to

grunge), before cutting to a stylized

ever get a feeling for them. For

corny lines, and for that he deserves

and get really depressed.)

a Kiss (Norman René, 1992), but

However, such quandaries are

1940s New York and ending in a

example, the hide-out in the “The

a bonus, but the characterization

pirate hang-out largely of centuries

Singh Brotherhood” is inside a sub­

does little for a sense of grand

photography of David Burr. The

past. The comics do this dramatic

merged volcano, a swirling vortex

adventure, excitement and fun.

film has been shot through a yellow

switching through time, but here

of water drawing passing ships

the film is set in one time zone. Needless-to-say, fans of the

down into the volcano’s cone. To escape up through the vortex

comics come with all sorts of narra­

one must use a cute little steel

tive and visual expectations: how

submarine. In the film, the hide­

The Phantom is dressed; that he will

out’s location is, for no reason,

tell someone querying Devil’s status,

referred to as the “vortex”, but it

“That’s not a dog; it’s a wolf”; that

is now an uncharted island. The

he and Diana will visit the Sands of

submarine is still used to escape

Keela-Wee; and how he will be

up to the surface, but why: the

helped by Guran, esteemed member

hide-out is at sea level? The plot also-runs parallel to

of pigmy Bandur tribe; etc. One can quibble about some of the film’s changed details (for

the three-stones narrative of Indiana Jo n e s a n d the T em p le o f D oom

what purpose has Guran become

(Steven Spielberg, 1984). Boam,

tall and slim?), but others are

who wrote Indiana Jo n es a n d the

understandable (tests, for example,

L ast Crusade (Spielberg, 1989), does

revealing that the mask hiding The

T h e P han tom a disservice by often

Phantom’s eyes was disturbing,

inviting comparisons with the Indy

not mysterious). But one shouldn’t

films, because this is not in the class

underestimate the wrath of commit­

of the series’ first two. Wincer tries hard to energize the

ted fans. In the Australian editions of T he P h an tom , the Letters pages

script, but this has led him to rush

have been running hot with deeply-

several sequences, such as the truck

troubling reports from the U.S.: that

crossing the rickety bridge and

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

Another major problem is the

D

ating T he E n em y is a disap­

pointing attempt to match

Hollywood romantic comedies, clumsily utilizing the ‘switch’

perhaps to best effect in the Blake Edwards comedy Sw itch (1991). Claudia Karvan and Guy Pearce


play the ‘star-crossed’ lovers: Tash is

much emphasis on the stereotypes

approach. The comedy is forced

neighbour’s youngest son, Ste, is

dowdy and scientific, Brett is sexy

and not enough on the gender. In

and cliched, the subject matter tired

regularly beaten up by his drunken

other tradition is the heart-of-gold,

and modern. When they meet at a

this film, the so-called ‘battle of the

and treated dismissively. One can’t

father and drug-pushing older

triumph-against-the-odds variety in

mutual friend’s place on Valentine’s

sexes’ is more over wardrobe and

help but feel if the filmmakers

brother. When he runs away from

which everyone is determined to

Day, they cannot help but be swept

not on actual lived experiences.

injected a bit of subtlety into the

home, Sandra invites him to stay

make the best of life. B eautiful

story, and concentrated more on

with them. They do not have a

Thing clearly fits into the second

category.

away in each other’s arms, despite

The film is a comedy, and most

bother to raise any hopes at all. The

their acknowledgment that they

of the laughs come from the scenes

creating inventive humour, D ating

spare room, she tells him, so he

are total opposites. If the audience

where each character discovers what

The E nem y would be a more

will have to share a bed with Jamie.

is not yet convinced of their

it’s like to be trapped in the oppo­

memorable film.

The inevitable happens.

© M onica Z etlin

I was tempted to write “thank goodness” at the end of the last

differences, the film is at pains to

site sex’s body - scenes of Karvan as

constandy remind them in a series

Brett-in-Tash playing with her

of juxtapositions. Tash is a scientific

breasts and trying on sexy lingerie;

journalist: she dresses in plain,

or Pearce as Tash-in-Brett wearing

Director: Hettie MacDonald. Producers: Tony Garnett, Bill Shapter. Scriptwriter:

frumpy outfits, which match her

scanty sarongs and discovering she

Jonathan Harvey. Based on his stage

plain, no-nonsense attitude. She’s

can lift dining-room chairs. It is not

play. Director of photography: Chris

Leah (Tameka Empson), obsessed

quite literally unwatchable. When

messy. Bren is an MTV-style jock:

exactly progressive humour, but it

Seager. Production designer: Mark

with Mama Cass music, and her

you live in the midst of all that,

flash clothes, flash manner and all

got the desired audience reaction

eye-rolling West Indian mum.

you may not want to pay for the

ambition. He’s neat. This is what

at the preview I attended.

the film sets up in an overwhelmingly

This stuff can be amusing, but

saccharine and “Hollywood-ized”

it’s also faintly disquieting. The film

prologue sequence. It’s not gaudy

is trying to make a serious point

enough to be kitsch, and far too

about relationships, and why a

clichéd and forced to be convincing.

couple like Brett and Tash

Time passes, and the doomed relationship fails under the cracks of

should - or shouldn’t ■ stay together.

paragraph. However, I think it’s a

The teenage lovers are

BEAUTIFUL THING

Stevenson. Costume designer: Pam Tait Editor: Don Fairservice. Composer: John

bit harder to call than that. On the

surrounded by a loud cast of eccentrics who keep the laughs

one hand, as someone who grew

coming and the plot rolling along.

up in the UK witnessing its steady

There are the other neighbours,

ruination, I find Mike Leigh’s work

Altman. Cast Scott Neal (Ste Pearce),

Sandra gets a middle-class, neo­

privilege of watching it all over

Glen Berry (Jamie Gangel), Linda Henry

hippy boyfriend called Tony (Ben

again.

(Sandra Gangel), Tameka Empson (Leah),

Daniels) who objects to her refer­

Ben Daniels (Tony). Australian

ring to men’s girlfriends as “birds”

me to see Harvey and MacDonald

because it is disempowering. And

shy away from the really difficult

distributor: REP. UK. 1996.35mm. 87 mins.

On the other hand, it bothers

' he hysteria stirred up by the

dedicated sitcom viewers will recog­

issues. On-screen sexuality between

Wood Commission reminds

nize Anna Karen, who played Olive

the two boys is reduced to hugs

us that teenage sexuality, and

in On the Buses, appearing here as

and tentative touches, lest it alienate

Brett’s ambition and sleazy manner. They fight during a record launch whilst on a yacht in Sydney Harbour, and Tash’s wish that Brett could feel how she feels becomes remarkably prescient. For the next day, in a type of D r W ho- like transmogrifica­ tion, Tash and Brett swap bodies, or, more precisely, Tash’s mind goes into Brett’s body, and Brett’s mind into Tash’s body. In this X-Files age, such unmoti­ vated and unexplained mind/body swapping could go down quite smoothly; however, the filmmakers have set themselves up with a diffi­ cult proposition. Guy Pearce, the actor, has now to play Brett in his body an d Tash’s mind in his body; Claudia Karvan, the opposite. Confused? In actual fact, the mind/body swapping isn’t really all that hard to follow. But the acting

However, the plotting is awkward

especially homosexuality, remains

is. While it’s good to see Karvan

and dances around these serious

explosive and threatening for many

given a bigger, funnier rôle to play -

issues: Should Brett stop his philan­

people. However, only a very hard­

particularly distinguished about

logue saturated with insult jokes,

and she proves that comedy suits

dering and egotistical ways? Should

hearted cinemagoer would not be

B eautiful Thing. It looks like it

but racism never rears its ugly head.

a karaoke-singing neighbour.

audiences no doubt. The housing

Cinematically, there is nothing

estate is multi-racial and the dia­

her - it is somewhat disconcerting

Tash lighten up? What does each

won over by Hettie MacDonald’s

was shot for television and is as

And when Jamie and Ste’s relation­

to see Pearce essentially reprise his

want from a

working-class British comedy,

dialogue-driven as most adaptations

ship becomes known, Harvey

rôle in T he A dventures o f Priscilla,

relationship? These questions are

B eautiful Thing, adapted from

from stage. But the script is full of

swiftly inserts a deus ex m achina-

Q ueen o f the D esert (Stephan

brought up and then resolved by

Jonathan Harvey’s stage play of the

energy and all the character actors

like final scene before we have to

Elliott, 1994). As Tash’s mind in

deflecting attention to another

same name. Harvey clearly did

make the most of the larger-than-

deal with the real possibility of

Brett’s body, Pearce often becomes

‘madcap’ episode of mistaken

intend some political protest for gay

life roles. The principals are strong,

homophobic violence. Even more

an over-the-top queen, as if the

identity. The most interesting and

male sex in England by making a

too. Glen Berry and Scott Neal as

unpleasant, like so many films of

visual motivations behind being a

engaging moments come when

teenage romance about two boys

Jamie and Ste move deftly through

this type, much of the humour

woman trapped in a man’s body

Tash-in-Brett sleeps with Brett’s

under the age of consent. But giving

some potentially toe-curling

comes in the form of the characters

consist solely of mincing, limp-

bimbo (female) admirer - essentially

audiences a good time seems to have

moments as the boys “explore their

tearing strips off each other for our

wristing and posing in tank tops.

a lesbian experience, and Brett

been even more important.

sexuality”, and Linda Henry as

amusement.

Karvan also plays the rôle of Brett’s

sleeps with his best friend (as Tash,

mind in Tash’s body with too much

of course). These (unspoken) homo­

emphasis on the butch.

Ste (Scott Neal) and Jamie (Glen Berry) go to the same school

Sandra is all grit and tart bravado. There seems to be two

Harvey has said he wanted to write a script in which it was possi­

sexual experiences are, however,

in London’s East End district of

traditions of working-class drama

ble for characters to be out, gay and

Director Megan Simpson

the catalyst for the two characters to

Thamesmead. Jamie’s mother,

in Britain. One is the totally-

working-class. So, the final result?

Huberman has said this film is a

reunite, realize they should commit

Sandra (Linda Henry), a raucous

depressing slice-of-life drama, like

Did I enjoy B eau tifu l Thing ? I

’90s approach to the gender battle,

and promptly change back to their

barmaid with ambitions to run a

all those black-and- white films from

laughed, I cried, I had a thoroughly

playing with sexual stereotypes to

rightful bodies.

pub of her own, knows he is playing

the early 1960s in which foolish

good time. Did I find it believable?

truant. But she does not know he is

young hopes are invariably dashed,

Not for a single moment.

being queer-bashed. Meanwhile, the

or Mike Leigh’s films, which do not

investigate modern relationships. One could argue that there is too

46

In the long run, the film suffers from its defiantly mainstream

© C hris B erry

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


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\ he is just being journalistic and

r e v i : 1v

| sloppy. The same charge can be i levelled at Thomson’s puzzling

i

| presumption that a rugged \ adventurer can’t look boyish.

Not only is Thomson often glib,

Busch made mistakes (perhaps even

B ooké R eviewed

by

© S cott M urray

THE MOVIE BOOK OF THE WESTERN Edited by Ian Cameron and Douglas Pye, Studio Vista, London, 1996, 320 pp., illus., index, hb, rrp $45

knowingly) and then get on with

! his opinionation blurs into arro-

whatever interests him. Bur Britton is

j gance. At one point, he posits how

i

just one of many who are exceed­

| he could improve Touch o f Evil

ingly defensive on this point; it

\ (1958):

I

seems to come with the territory of

If only Quinlan were more

admiring Pursued.

\

Where Britton does excel is in

reasonable, more matter-of-fact

actually writing about the film,

(as well as corrupt) ... if only he

rather than the screenplay. He is an

were like Nixon, say, T ouch o f

academic writer genuinely, not

Evil might be a great movie, a

tokenistically, interested in images

portrait of deranged duty and

ne dilemma for those who

(though, unfortunately, rarely in

warped idealism, [p. 243]

highly value Raoul Walsh’s

sound).

O

Pursued (1947) is explaining away

Leaving aside the time-warp problem

This cannot be said, however, of

of Welles basing a film on Nixon’s

the mistakes in the narration spoken

all that many other writers in this

by Jeb Rand (Robert Mitchum):

exceedingly handsome and compact

elephant stamp of approval. Wood

from boredom, laziness or impa­

namely, that Jeb recounts episodes

book, with excellent black-and-white

continues:

tience in its maker, so that he will

he couldn’t possibly know about. In T he M ovie B o o k o f the W est­

stills. By and large, the authors adopt

The ridicule is, of course, a defence

not bother to develop or stick with

against the embarrassment, and it

a mood of intrigue.

ern, Andrew Britton gets into some

analysis. (Other chapters include: Richard Malby’s “John Ford and the

gaffes (“Notes on Pursued”). On

Indians”, which, like the whole

p. 196, he writes:

book, ignores John Farrow’s H on do,

[Jeb] is not in any sense the narra­

on which Ford worked; Deborah

tor of the film; he is merely the

Thomas’ “John Wayne’s Body”;

figure with whom the audience

Robin Wood’s “Drums Along the

identifies.

Mohawk” and “Duel in the Sun” -

Britton knows whom the audience identifies with, his argument is untenable. After all, the film has a narration (Britton admits to this) and it is spoken by Jeb (ditto). When Jeb starts recalling a past event, the film flashes back; then it returns to Jeb still narrating, before flashing back again. Quite simply, Jeb is the narrator and Britton is kidding himself by arguing other­ wise. And the strain of the pretence shows, for on p. 205 Britton lets it slip and writes, “Jeb’s narration at this point [...]”. Why doesn’t Britton just admit that Walsh and scriptwriter Niven

decline decades before the decline

the strategies of Lit 1 instead of film

tortuous tangles trying to justify the

Leaving aside the question of how

a double only Wood could contem­ plate; V. F. Perkins’ “Johnny Guitar”; and Brad Stevens’ “Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid”.) Many of the chapters, while interesting in part, are unenlivened by the breath, smell or frissons of cinema. Edward Gallafent’s “Four Tombstones 1946-1994”, for example, examines four diametri-

occurred, who is Thomson to bestow greatness on a film on the condition it is reworked to his own, better, plan? Write and direct your own

is embarrassment, above all, that

Leaving aside the tortured grammar

movies, Mr Thomson, and leave

makes melodrama so interesting.

of the second sentence, one has

Welles out of it.

Ridicule is not “of course” anything; it may be a genuine response to a conviction that the film on view is crap; embarrassment might have nothing to do with it. And where did God write in stone that embarrass­ ment is the most interesting aspect (“above all”) of melodrama? Prove it. It is probably not surprising to discover that within a few lines Wood claims special insight into Freud (“which explains why Freud”), attacks feminists for being stupid (“unjustified feminist anger”) and asserts:

to ask how Thomson knows this of Welles? Quite simply, he doesn’t; it is merely an unsubstanti­ ated speculation. One could easily argue, as others have, that the per­ ceived casualness of the filmic style is deliberate and highly calculated, and that Welles was evolving a form far removed from the apparent classicism of his earlier works, a style that would be pushed even further in M r Arkadin (1955). Equally, why should Welles “stick with a mood of intrigue”?

THE BOOK OF THE FILM AND THE FILM OF THE BOOK A BIBLIOGRAPHY OF AUSTRALIAN CINEMA AND TV, 1895-1995 W ayne Levy, Academia Press, Melbourne, 1995,240pp, illus., index, pb

W

ayne Levy, a lecturer in film and television, with a passion

for movie memorabilia, has com­ piled a fascinating tome which details

Surely, a film can have as many

a) All books that have been made

mood changes as the director wants.

into feature films, documentaries

Not so, according to Thomson:

or television programs in Australia;

cally-different Wyatt Earp films,

Hysteria must be seen as a form of

all described in a flat, neutral,

active, if impotent, protest; if it

The courtroom scenes are absurdist

b) All books by Australian authors

non-committing way.

lacks revolutionary effect, it has

humour from a different film

that have been the basis for feature

revolutionary meaning.

altogether.

films or television programs pro­

There are some writers, too, who see writing on Westerns as a chance

“Adust”, Mr Wood? Who commis­

to trumpet their own sense of impor­

Like Robin Wood (see above),

sioned you to dictate how people

tance. One is Robin Wood (“Duel in

Thomson is criticizing on the basis

think?

of a self-proclaimed rule (mustn’t

lets, etc., that have been published

mix styles), which he never bothers

in Australia about Australian

the Sun: The Destruction of an Ideo­ logical System”): Melodrama as a genre, and the ‘melodramatic’ as a stylistic choice, are now widely accepted

ROSEBUD THE STORY OF ORSON WELLES

modes of artistic expression

duced in Australia or overseas; and c) All books, study guides, book­

feature films, documentaries or

to justify. He continues: And there is no handicap greater

television programs.

David Thomson, Little, Brown and

than that of Welles himself as the

This is a massive research undertak­

Company, London, 1996, illus., index,

tough sailor hero, Mike O’Hara,

ing, the sort done by a passionate

“Black Irish,” who is said to have

and committed buff, and invariably

by intellectuals as legitimate

hb, rrp $45

avid Thomson has added to the

more valuable than what usually

long list of books and biogra­

War and to be a typical rugged

cinema, but general viewers

D

killed a man in the Spanish Civil

comes out of academic research

phies on Orson Welles. This has the

adventurer such as John Wayne or

persist in finding them embar­

projects.

distinction of rejecting the inaccurate

Gary Cooper might have played.

rassing and ridiculous, [p. 189]

cliché that Welles started with a mas­

But Welles looks boyish or even

reader cannot find the odd flaw (and

within the classical Hollywood

48

ordinary, more amiable, more

That is not to say any keen-eyed

Now, ignorant “general view­

terpiece and went steadily downhill

epicene - as a sailor, his walk

the proof-reading is often variable),

ers”, bow down to these wise,

(cf Callow, Learning, et al). But,

makes us seasick. In the fight

but the merits are many. It is not

all-knowing “intellectuals” who

despite the rave reviews on the back

scenes, he is positively unathletic.

only an invaluable reference work, it

have graciously, if belatedly,

of the dustjacket, this is a minor

decided that melodrama is a

work filled with wayward judge­

“legitimate” mode of expres­

ments. For example, Thomson

sion. Hollywood must be

writes (p. 277):

How, in all seriousness, can Thom­

is great fun, as one tracks various

son blame Welles because his playing

leads to many unheard-of novels and

of O’Hara doesn’t match what char­

films.

acters have said about O’Hara’s

Who would know that two Eric

breathing a collective sigh of

T he Lady from Shanghai [1948] is

past? Reputation and ‘reality’ rarely

Rolls books have been filmed, or

relief for finally gaining this

very far from a good film. Ir suffers

correlate, and Thomson knows that;

which Katharine [misspelt as Kather-

C IN E M A PAPERS • OCTOBER 1996


ine] Susannah Prichard novels were,

ANNIE HALL

HARD-BOILED

NIXON

Peter Cowie, BFI Publishing, London,

GREAT LINES FROM CLASSIC NOIR FILMS

Edited by Eric Hamburg, Bloomsbury,

or who wrote the B an an as in P yja­ m as books and the novelizations of

There is an interesting selection, too, of paperback book covers, from T he A dventures o f Seaspray: T he M an w h o w as T o o Rich to the

German D er Flying D octors. Generally speaking, Levy lists a book’s first publication, but not always. For instance, to take an entry of obvious personal interest, Raymond Radiguet’s D evil in the Flesh is listed under the 1982 Mar­

ion Boyars reprint, not the 1932 first English, or the original 1920 French. Like all reference works of this kind, they are never absolutely com­ plete, and Levy welcomes comments

London, 1996, 563 pp., illus., rrp $19.95

1996, 62 pp„ illus., £6.99.

Jo h n so n & F rien d s ?

T

Peggy Thompson and Saeko Usukawa,

his recent addition to the BFI

Studio Vista, London, 1995,124 pp., illus.,

Film Classics series looks at a

rrp $24.95

film that in many ways epitomizes

HISTORY OF FILM

decade that author Peter Cowie notes in the foreword, “have not yet

David Parkinson, Thames & Hudson, $22.95

THE FILM FAN'S GUIDE TO BRITAIN AND IRELAND

JANE AUSTEN'S SENSE AND SENSIBILITY

Publishing, Edinburgh, 1995,288 pp.,

ward paraphrasing of the story, Cowie annotates Annie H all in terms of Allen’s Jewish-intellectual

DEREK JARMAN

humour, filmmaker influences

A PORTRAIT

references. His discursive, ‘crib’

Introduction by Roger W ollen. Thames

Emma Thompson, Bloomsbury, London,

and Hudson. London, 1996,175 pp, illus,

1995, 288 pp., illus., rrp $34.95 (he).

index, rrp $49.95.

approach is a disappointment, how­ ever, lacking a ‘line’, apart from his

ica since World War 2. Tell us w hy

THE TWO DEAD GIRLS

JANE EYRE

ROSS GIBSON'S CAM ERA N A TUR A

THE BAD DEATH OF EDUARD DELACROIX

Ronald Bergan, W arner Books, London, 1996,404 pp„ illus., index, rrp $16.95

pp, rrp $3.95

Cruthers, The Moving Image, No. 4,

BAD BOY BUBBY

St Kilda, 1996, illus., pb, rrp $19.95

Rolf de Fleer, Currency Press, Sydney,

A

fter taking a cue from Charles

list which was flawed for many rea­

S

originally published as Burning

Patience, now re-titled to match the secon d film adaptation.

ized novel is now well under-way.

sons: one was the huge gap between what the people who filled in ques­ tionnaires felt, and what archivists and critics outside Australia believe. Ross Gibson’s feature, D ead to

showcased in many significant over­ seas seasons of Australian film. Gibson’s earlier documentary,

Jim Kitses, BFI Publishing, London, 1996,

$34.95

Paul Loukides and Linda K. Fuller (editors), Bowling Green Unviersity Popular Press, Ohio, 1996,301 pp, rrp SUS19.95 (pb), SUS35.95 (he).

the W orld, remains ignored and the­

atrically unreleased in Australia, but

GUN CRAZY

Chris Van Allsburg, Houghton Mifflin

86 pp, illus, rrp £6.99.

ELIZABETH TAYLOR Donald Spoto, W arner Books, London,

THE BRITISH CINEMATOGRAPHER

FETISHISM AND CURIOSITY

Duncan Petrie, BFI Publishing, London,

C am era N atura, is perhaps better

Laura Mulvey, BFI Publishing, London,

regarded around the world (as is his similarly-titled essay).

THE CAMERA ASSISTANT A COMPLETE PROFESSIONAL HANDBOOK

It is, therefore, important that

Douglas C. Hart, Focal Press, Boston,

Deane Williams has written a mono­

1996,421 pp., illus., index

tions of Gibson’s work outside academic circles, where his films are already held in high regard.

Steve Stewart, Companion Press, California, 1996, 212 pp, rrp US$9.95

Books Received

COSÍ Louis Now ra, Currency Press, Sydney, 1996,116 pp, illus., rrp $17.95

C o m piled by © P aul K a lin a

of the book first published in the UK in 1982, wittily written by the producer of T he A dventures o f Priscilla, Q ueen o f the Desert.

RIDING THE RAP

accompanied by an audio cassette of Van Allsburg’s text read by Robin Williams.

Elmore Leonard, Penguin, London, 1995, 294 pp., rrp 313.95

STRANGE DAYS

KATHARINE HEPBURN AN INDEPENDENT W OMAN

James Cameron, Penguin, London, 1995, 187pp., rrp 314.95

Ronald Bergan, Bloomsbury, London, 1996,192 pp, illus, index, $39.95 (he)

SUMNER LOCKE ELLIOTT W RITING LIFE

LILIAN'S STORY Kate Grenville, Allen and Unwin, 3ydney,

Sharon Clarke, Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 1996, 292 pp, illus., index, rrp

1996, 280 pp., rrp $12.95

$24.95

Stefan Kussy, ABC Books, Sydney, 1996,

FINAL CUT DREAMS AND DISASTER IN THE MAKING OF HEAVEN'S GATE Steven Bach, Pimlico, London, 1996,432 pp, index, rrp $27.95.

THE SCREENPLAY

andsome first American edition

hris Van Allsburg’s original chil­

MALLE ON MALLE

TV AND VIDEO PROJECTS

Edited by Philip French, Faber and

Maplin, Newnes, Oxford, 190 pp, illus

116 pp., illus., rrp $12.95

CAMPY VAMPY TRAMPY MOVIE QUOTES

Al Clark, Silm an-James Press, Los Angeles, 229 pp., illus., credits, pb

C

FILM SPEAK A GUIDE TO TERMS USED IN FIL-LUMS AND PITCHAS

graph on C am era N atu ra , which may help turn around the percep­

Company, Boston, 1981, 30 pp., illus.,

1996,188 pp, index, rrp £14.99

known locally than his feature, but only marginally. It is also highly

RAYMOND CHANDLER IN HOLLYWOOD

dren’s story’ and illustrations,

1996, 560 pp., illus., index, rrp $14.95

1996,182 pp, illus., rrp £14.99

rrp 319.95

JUMANJI

1996,93 pp, illus., rrp $17.95

THEMES AND IDEOLOGIES IN AMERICAN POPULAR FILM

Geoffrey O'Brien, W .W . Norton and Company, N ew York, 1995, 281 pp, illus.,

1996,118 pp, rrp 314.95

Dickens, Stephen King’s serial­

BEYOND THE STARS 5

A fascinating read.

Antonio Skarmeta, Bloomsbury, London,

national collection of the Top 100 Australian films, it came up with a

than 200 films, from T he T h ie f

o f B agdad and T he 3 9 Steps to

MOVIES IN THE M IND OF THE 20TH CENTURY

karmeta’s brilliant novel,

Stephen King, Penguin, London, 1996, 90

xamines the locations of more

THE PHANTOM EMPIRE

IL POSTINO THE GREEN MILE

E

447 pp, rrp 39.95

pp, rrp $3.95

A HAUNTED LIFE

illus., index, rrp £18

Charlotte Bronte, Penguin, London, 1996,

Stephen King, Penguin, London, 1996, 92

ANTHONY PERKINS

Brian Pendreigh, M ainstream

R em ains o f the D ay and B raveheart.

THE GREEN MILE

and maybe we’ll believe you.

its attempt to catalogue a

THE SCREENPLAY AND DIARIES

(Bergman, Chaplin), visual inven­ tion, and cultural and political

the funniest pictures made in Amer­

hen the NFSA embarked on

ON LOCATION

their own”. In a rather straightfor­

able work come into being.

W

extensive tape transcripts.

London, 1995, 264 pp., illus., index, rrp

hope further editions of this invalu­

Shooting Script by Ross Gibson & John

by J. Rivele, Christopher

Wilkinson and Oliver Stone, together

assumed a shape and a flavour all

declaration that Annie H all is one of

Deane W illiam s, with C a m e ra N a tu r a

ontains the original screenplay

with essay, Watergate documents and

American cinema of the 1970s, a

and clarifying information. Let us

MAPPING THE IMAGINARY

C

R

e-print of Steven Bach’s monu­

Faber, 1996, 256 pp., illus., index, rrp 319.95

P

aperback re-issue of this

A

collection of project articles published in E lectronics T he

M aplin M agazine.

fascinating book.

UP IN THE AIR MICHAEL POWELL

COLLECTED FILM SCRIPTS

Michael Cimino’s H ea v en ’s G ate,

James Howard (with a foreword by

with a revised epilogue by the author.

Deborah Kerr), BT Batsford, London,

Derek Jarm an, Vintage, London, 1996, 225 pp, rrp 317.95

mental study of the making of

1996,157 pp, illus, index, rrp $29.95.

AGAINST TYPE THE BIOGRAPHY OF BURT LANCASTER

THE DAWN OF CINEMA 1894-1915

FOUR ROOMS Allison Anders, Alexandre Rockwell,

WHAT I HAVE WRITTEN MICHAEL REDGRAVE

John A. Scott, M cPhee Gribble,

M Y FATHER

M elbourne, 1993, 229 pp, rrp $14.95

J. Barrett Hodsdon (editor), Museum of

Robert Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino,

Gary Fishgall, Scribner, N ew York, 1995,

Contemporary Art, Sydney, 1996,140 pp,

Faber and Faber, London, 1996, 212 pp.,

Corin Redgrave, Fourth Estate, London,

464pp., illus., index, rrp $34.95

illus, rrp $9.95.

illus., rrp $16.95

1996,176 pp, illus., index, rrp 316.95

C IN E M A PAPERS • OCTOBER 1996

R

e-issue of the novel adapted by director John Hughes.

49


legal ease

Completion Guarantees Lloyd Hart looks at the legalities o f completion guarantees or many years I have been fo rtu n ate to act for the com p letio n guarantor, Film Finances Inc. This article may re fle c t Film Finances In c ’s practices but, fortunately for them, they have no responsibility for what I say here. In Australia today, both public and private sector financiers require a completion guarantee on most films, shorts excepted. The guarantee enables the producer to say to poten­ tial financiers, “I know I won’t stuff up, but you don’t know that, so we have a third person here whose job it is to see the film is delivered and costs met if something goes wrong.” Broadly, for a fee, a completion guar­ antor guarantees the financiers that a film containing named elements such as script and stars will be made on time and on budget. If the producer exceeds the budget, the guarantor agrees to pay the over-budget expenses, or overages, sub­ je c t to certain excep tio n s. W here production is abandoned, the guarantor agrees the financiers w ill get back monies provided by them. Should a dis­ tributor not be obliged to pay and does not pay advances because of late deliv­ ery, the guarantor may have to pay the financiers of the film an amount equal to the advances they miss out on. As a producer, you may be able to negotiate a rebate on the fee, payable if there is no call on the guarantee. This is like a good behaviour bond for produc­ ers; a track record o f com ing in on budget helps. To ensure that it can honour its guar­ antee that the film will be completed, the guarantor enters into an agreement with the producer under w hich the latter undertakes to make the film in accor­ dance with its budget and schedule, to use a named cast and crew, to take out adequate insurances with a reputable insurer, to provide cost statements and reports on progress regularly. If the pro­ ducer seems likely to go over budget, the guarantor can give instructions to save costs. Where those instructions are not carried out, or the producer is insolvent, the guarantor may, in extreme circum­ stances, take over, or appoint someone else to take over, production of the film. Given the gut-wrenching nature of this option for everyone, and the reality that bad m anagem ent is by no means the only cause of overages, take-over is an uncommon and last resort. Generally, the guarantor accepts liability for costs

50

arising from miscalculation and events beyond the reasonable control of the producer, such as bad weather. It usu­ ally does not take responsibility for the producer’s acquiring all the necessary rights for distribution concerns, for the quality of the film other than technical quality or for insured risks. Commonly, a guarantor will not agree to meet the costs of: •Residuals or deferred paym ents to artists not included in the budget;

financier of the budget; that is, for oth­ ers. It follows the guarantor does not cover interest payments for production funds that are behind schedule; or •For the default of a distributor result­ ing in advances not being paid. Effectively, the guarantor guarantees the producer’s performance: •If a court injuncts the production of the film for defects in the right to make it or for defamation. (Whether the pro­ ducer has acquired the rights to make

in that the guarantor only guarantees the plans to make and deliver the film that are promised at the outset.); •For the obligation to ensure delivery at a particular time which may be post­ poned for the period of events of force majeure such as natural disasters, strikes or lockout. (As these occurrences are some of the very risks the financiers seek to have protection from, the guar­ antor will usually be liable if the events go on for a long time or cause an aban­ donm ent o f the p ro d u ction . A distribution agreement may build in this exception by delaying the delivery date for periods affected by force majeure.); •For insured risks or risks which should have been properly insured, such as Film Producers Indemnity insuring key cast and crew against accident, sickness and death during the critical periods of their contribution to the film, Negative insurance, Faulty Stock and Processing insurance and Public Tiability insur­ ance. (The guarantor insures its own risk w ith insurers and som e o f the above e xcep tio n s may have been requested by those insurers.); •For effects of radiation or nuclear con­ tamination. (This sounds bizarre and perhaps reflects some hair-raising expe­ rience of an insurer or a hair-removing episode for someone else.); and •For the effects of war, including civil war, and insurrection.

•The altering or enhancing the film at the request of a distributor other than to meet technical standards of a distri­ bution agreement. “Enhance” in this context means to redraw the blueprint laid out in the financing agreements by, for example, making a black-and-white film in colour; and • Censorship authority requirem ents, p articu larly as the categ ories vary throughout the world. Nor may the guarantor be liable: •Unless the budgeted cost is made avail­ able and spent. The guarantor is not a

•For cu rrency flu ctu atio n s. T he financiers may contribute the budget in different currencies. Again, the guar­ antor is not responsible for making sure the budgeted cost is available;

As between the guarantor and the pro­ d ucer, as opposed to betw een the guarantor and the beneficiary of the completion guarantee, the guarantor will not pay overages on the music budget, legal fees or rates of payment of cast and living expenses. The reasons that guarantors are only responsible for technical and not artistic quality are obvious; the artistic quality is the very thing the backers are risking once the film is completed. It is like ask­ ing the guarantor to guarantee a great box-office result. Artistic quality is too subjective to leave to those who may be motivated to have second thoughts about a deal or to panels of experts who can legitimately differ (and how!). This is reflected in distribution agreements w here the d istrib u to r - having had approval of various elements such as the script, director, key cast and budget must accep t the film if it m eets the approvals and is of first-class technical quality.

•If the producer later takes on extra obligations under a distribution agree­ ment. (This is similar to enhancement

At times, financiers or distributors make some ingredients such as a particular actor “essential

the film or has avoided actionab le defamatory content are matters of legal opinion which the financiers can assess before finally committing. Clearly, they are not production matters calling on the particular expertise and experience of the guarantor.);

^

C IN E M A PAPERS • OCTOBER 1996


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documentaries

Billal and Rats in the Ranks Freda Freiberg looks at new works by Tom Zubrycki, and by Bob Connolly and Robin Anderson illal is Tom Zubrycki’s ninth documentary in 15 years. From the start of his filmmaking career, he has d ocu­ mented the struggles of com m unity and union activists, and displayed sympathy and support for the rights and opinions of minority groups in this country. At first sight, Billal seems to mark a departure, for its characters are not political activists engaged in pub­ lic protests or dissident campaigns. Pursuing a tendency already evident in his last film, H o m ela n d s, Zubrycki seems increasingly to be focusing on the domestic front, on the damage to the family wrought by migration, commu­ nity conflict and social change. While H o m e la n d s focuses on a fam ily of refugees from El Salvador, Billal focuses on a family of refugees from Lebanon. But, unlike the plight of the family in H om elan ds, the plight in this family is not connected to their political engage­ ment in the civil war of their original home, but rather to the results of ethnic strife in outer suburban Sydney. In a sparse voice-over n arration, Zubrycki relates early in the film how he originally intended to make a broadlybased social-issue film (he originally trained as a sociologist) focusing on teenagers from Lebanese families who lived in a housing estate on the fringes of Sydney and were about to leave school. His decision to narrow the focus onto one family was provoked by the

news that one of the Lebanese boys, Bil­ lal, had suffered critical injury as a result of being run down by a local Anglo-Australian boy, following an outbreak of ethnic-based gang warfare. W ith 16year-old B illal lying in a com a in hospital, fighting for his life with serious brain damage, Zubrycki recognized the dramatic potential of the situation and chose to concentrate on the plight of Billal and his fami­ ly’s trauma. Although the issue of eth­ nic conflict is stressed early in the film, as the cause of Billal’s injury and the potential cause of future community strife (Billal’s brothers and mates initially threaten retal­ iatory action), the issue of the effects o f brain-dam age assumes priority in the long run. The film documents the m edical and param edical treatment the victim under­ goes: two operations on the brain, physiotherapy and speech therapy sessions. It also documents the abnormal behaviour changes displayed by the victim as a result of build-up of w ater on the brain: his loss of inhibition, compulsive over-eating, verbal and phys­ ical aggression, sexual harassment. Most important, we observe the emo­ tional wear and tear the injury inflicts on the victim and his family. Initially, there is the disavowal of the permanency of the damage, the hope for a complete recov­

Bob Connolly; Robin Anderson and M ayor Hand. Rats in the Ranks.

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ery, exacerbated by poor communication on the part of the medical authorities. The father, though unemployed, avoids the hospital, as he apparently is too dis­ turbed and distressed by the sight of his disfigured son; it is the mother who is left to carry the major burden of support, constantly sitting by her son’s bedside or in the waiting room - before, during and

family, tension between family members increases: the father alternately with­ draws or erupts; the mother develops psychosomatic physical ailments (insom­ nia, backache); the brothers becom e aggressive and censorious. The tension in the family and his unwelcome pres­ ence in the midst cause Billal to cut short his long-aw aited weekend visits and

after surgery - succouring and comfort­ ing him on all occasions and through every ordeal. His brothers are initially attentive but eventually lose patience and sympathy, so finally stop visiting, leaving him increasingly alone for long periods. Due to the emotional strain on the

return prematurely to the confines of the after-care hospital. This film , how ever, is not one of those fly-on-the-w all docum entaries which erase the presence of the film ­ makers and pretend that their presence does not affect the events shown. The family’s co-operation was clearly gained at a price: the film was expected to advance their cause, to present their grievances. And it clearly shows the film’s bilingual interpreter, Alissar Gazal, becom ing the family advocate, social worker and confidante. She urges the housing authorities to find them a new home, away from the site of the trau­ m atic accident and closer to B illa l’s hospital; she befriends Amal, B illal’s mother, and becomes her confidante; and it is she, rather than a member of the hospital staff, who finally tells the fam­ ily that Billal’s condition is permanent and irremediable, so that they do not continue to harbour unrealistic hopes. B illal him self views the film as an avenue of self-prom otion, and an opportunity to be a star. His ^ perform ing to the cam era, especially when leering and

In these various ways, the film raises ethical issues involved in the making of documentary film, displaying the gaps and limits of honest, responsible documentary filmmaking.

C IN E M A PAPERS • OCTOBER 1996


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festivals

45th Melbourne and 43rd Sydney Film Festivals Raymond Younis, and Monica Zetlin and Kate Dermody report back on Australia's two oldest film festivals term s). W hat both films lack in p ro­ fundity, they make up for in solid scripting and characterization, on the wo hundred and twenty five films one hand, and exuberance and a know­ or so from 32 countries featured in ing effusiveness on the other. It is the 43rd Sydney Film Festival. If striking, however, that both do not reg­ the Festival is a sound guide, Aus­ ister particularly strongly two or three tralia has had a very good year, whereas weeks after the Festival. other countries which are noted for their film industries (e.g., France, Germany, L ife (Lawrence Johnston) and The Italy and Poland) did not do very well. Q Itu iet R oom (Rolf de Heer), similarly, have their moments, and their flaws. was certainly gratifying to see films from Jo h n s to n ’s film suffers - perhaps Cuba (Juan Carlos Tabio’s E l Elefantey unavoidably - from the fa ct that it la Bicicleta (The E lephant an d the Bicy­

marriage upon a young girl. The film focuses on her point of view and, for the most part, it is engrossing. But some of the girl’s thoughts come across as con­ trived or seem unconvincing. And, once again, overstatement is an (occasional) problem, but the use of sound, colour and rhythm is often thought-provoking. Other highlights included C old Fever (an Icelandic road film which honours the Japanese cinema, especially the work o f O zu), P illo w B o o k (G reenaw ay’s hom age to the m acabre and textu al

The Dead. Human bodies are seen as books and the cinema screen is seen as a face upon which numerous images (or characters) can be inscribed simultane­ ously. Throughout, Greenaway meditates on textu ality as an expression and embodiment of creativity, love, desecra­ tion and celebration. Bodies becom e ‘pillow books’ ; the cinema becomes a ‘pillow book’; signatures breathe life into bodies, pages, images. Throughout, the myth of the God, who fashions form out of clay and signs with the name that gives

cle)), Iceland (Fridrik Thor Fridriksson’s C o ld F ever), Iran (Jafar Panahi’s B adkon ake Sefid {White B alloon )), Norway (Hans Petter M oland’s K jaerligheten s K jotere (Zero Degrees Kelvin)), Palestine (Rashid Masharawi’s Haifa) and Vietnam (Dang Nhat Minh’s Nostalgia fo r Coun­ try land), even if most of their films were not among the most memorable ones. The Festival highlighted a number of thoughtful, energetic and innovative Aus­ tralian films. What I H ave Written (John Hughes) was the most thoughtful and certainly one of the m ost stylish. It employs colou r and decolourized sequences, stillness and motion between fram es, in order to evoke a highly ambiguous set of relationships which are based on betrayal, treachery, misunder­ standing and enigmas. The relationship between fiction and truth is also explored in tantalizing ways, though the concern with form does not always cohere with the content, and though the film occa­ sionally seems self-indulgent and pretentious. But it is a bold and articu­ late film, for the most part. L o v e Serenade (Shirley Barrett) and L o v e an d O ther C atastrop h es (EmmaKate Croghan) are, respectively, strong on performances and on style. The first film deals with a sexually-irresponsible disc jockey who meets his match in a small town, the second with a tangle of relationships, both homo- and hetero­ sexual. The first film is conventionally directed, the second is m ore daring, combining traces of Hartley, Tarantino and popular culture with a rather dis­ arming affirmation of youthfulness. Love Serenade is sustained by its vivid char­ acterizations and its eccentricities, L ov e a n d O th er C a ta stro p h es by its skilful interweaving of pluralistic strands (in sexual, cultural, intellectual and other

aspects of Japanese calligraphy) and Secrets an d Lies (Mike Leigh). The first film charts the journey of a young Japan­ ese disbeliever who travels to Iceland to conduct funeral rites for his parents. The subject sounds solemn but the film is full of humour, largely because of Icelandic eccentrics of one sort or another. It is a touching evocation of a life in which the importance of ritual and myth are redis­ covered. Having said this, however, the total absence of irony in relation to such things will worry some viewers. Pillow B ook is a marvellously-rich and challenging film. It is structured in terms of 13 books and ends with The Book Of

it life, is linked to the activities of the lover, the calligrapher and the director. The proliferating signs and the signature that give them life are evoked in sensu­ ous, brutal and com plex ways which reward repeated viewings, though Green­ away’s som ew hat odd or perverse attitudes towards bodies and cinema have not diminished with the passage of time. Secrets and Lies was a much-awaited film which delivers only to a degree. It explores the effects upon a white family once the members learn that the mother had had a black daughter many years before. The film is not concerned really with interracial politics. It is concerned

Sydney

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follows Eternity (1995), one of the most striking and brilliant films of the past two years. It explores with honesty and com­ passion how a group of male prisoners gradually discovers friendship, love and the need for com panionship, even as they encounter bitterness, wrath, illness and death. Much depends on how these men in te ra ct, but the rhythm is not always controlled and the film betrays its roots in th eatre. O verstatem ent, particularly in terms of personal philoso­ phies, does not help much at all. De Heer has established himself as a gifted stylist. The Q u iet R oom is a sen­ sitive study of the impact of a dissolving

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


D aniel O ’ B rien

with personal and family crises and in ways of resolving such things. As one would exp ect, the perform ances are forceful and the script is solid. But all of Mike Leigh’s talk of “real cinema” and love of gritty realism cannot disguise the fact that this is conventionally directed and produced (in style and structure). It often seems like little more than filmed theatre and it is difficult to see how such backw ard-looking films - in terms of style - are going to suggest future direc­ tions fo r a cinem a th at has often registered its most glorious moments

singers, dancers and musicians in action. The heights o f passion record ed are quite unforgettable, though not all view­ ers w ill be able to sit through it all. [Flam enco is not exactly light entertain­ ment! And 100 minutes of Flam enco p erform ers in full cry can be quite exhausting.) Finally, the Festival featured many useful discussion sessions with invited filmmakers (Fridriksson, W exler, John­ ston, H ughes, Z u b ry ck i, C roghan, Connolly and Anderson, etc.), forums (e.g., on violence and digitized docu­

Welles emerges as a sad figure who came to see movie-making in terms of two percent creativity and 98 percent hustling. in terms of its ability to reinvent and rev­ olu tion ize itself. H ow sty listically im poverished this film seem s when placed beside recent Cannes prize-win­ ners! And how conservative its aesthetics seem! (Perhaps the Cannes judges are making a statement.) A number of notable documentaries were shown, including Thomas Lennon and Michael Epstein’s B attle O ver C iti­ zen K an e, Torbin Skjodt Jensen’s C arl T b. D r e y e r M in M etier , K rzysztof Wierzbicki’s Krzysztof Kieslowski I ’m SoSo and Carlos Saura’s F la m en c o . The first explores William Randolph Hearst’s conflict with Welles and the film. Welles emerges as a sad figure who came to see movie-making in terms of two percent creativity and 98 percent hustling. The fourth film captures a long sequence of C I N E M A P A P E R S • OCTOBER 1 996

m entary), New Indian Cinem a, new com edies, w om en’s shorts, shorts by major directors (Buñuel, W eller, Kies­ lowski, Truffaut, Deren), not-so-new d irecto rs (K aurism àki, M el B roo k s, Geoffrey Wright) and directors whose status is uncertain (Fassbinder, Wenders, Weir, Lucas). Also, the Festival featured a Rossellini retrospective. There can be little doubt that some of Rossellini’s films and some aspects of his films have dated quite a lot. But films like Viaggio in Ita lia [V oyage in Italy , 1953), R om a Città Aperta [Rome, Open C ity, 1 9 4 5 ) and P aisà [P a isa n , 1 9 4 6 ) remain vital documents in the history of neo-realism in particular, and in the history of metaphysical film in general. His focus on crises in relationships, soci­ eties and w orlds, his privileging of

melodrama and elliptical structures of articulation in order to evoke the realm of the extraordinary, or as he called it, the “spiritual”, and his persistent con­ cern with the dialectic of imprisonment and emancipation make him one of the key modernist filmmakers in Italy, espe­ cially in the first half of the century. This is a cinema in which the great human­ ist heritage o f the R enaissance is reconciled with Rossellini’s conviction that dissolution, disintegration and death can n o t but raise fundam ental and inescapable questions about purpose and meaning on a universal scale. Certainly, there is a strand of didacticism in a num­ ber o f these film s, and certainly the melodrama is not always controlled, but these films have a vitality, a passion, and a raw, unpolished dynamism that are dis­ tinctive and unforgettable.

Festival’s being the province of only an exclusive, serious few. Consequently, the programming of the Festival has also changed over the years. Som e changes w ere the result of shifting tastes and attitudes, while others were political, or concerned prob­ lems such as the difficulty in dealing with distributors. Festival highlights this year included Todd Haynes’ intelligent, and frighten­ ingly ambiguous, film Safe (1994), From th e Jo u r n a ls o f J e a n S eb e rg (M ark Rappaport, 1995), the refreshingly con­ temporary Chinese films Sons (Zhang Yuan, 1996) and In E xpectation [Rainc lo u d s O v er W u sh an , Z hang M ing, 1995) and the Iranian cinema. The large contingent of Australian films, including Cannes success L ove Ser­ en ade (Shirley Barrett, 1996) and L ov e a n d O th er C a ta stro p h es (Emm a-Kate Croghan, 1996), also enjoyed large audi­ ences, as did the p rem iere o f L ife (Lawrence Johnston, 1996) with Scott Hicks’ film Shine (1996) being selected as best feature (in an informal vote con­ ducted at the Festival). No Festival is complete without the annual post-Festival gripes about ticket­ ing, venues and programming. In recent years, criticism has tended to focus on the number of films that have later been given a general release, with questions arising about the actual role of a film festival when some of the film s are in distribution only weeks afterwards. Tait Brady spoke to C inem a Papers about his involvement with the Festival and, in the course o f the interview , answered some of the criticism s that have been directed at the M elbourne International Film Festival. W h a t h a s b e e n th e d ir e c tio n o f t h e F e s tiv a l in t h e p a s t, w h a t w ill it b e a n d , as th is y o u r la s t F e s tiv a l, h o w w o u ld y o u s u m u p y o u r in p u t as d ire c to r? W h a t d o y o u th in k y o u 'v e c h a n g e d o v e r t h e y e ars?

You have to look at the big picture of the history o f the Festival. It w ent D ir e c to r T a it B r a d y in t e r v ie w e d b y bankrupt in 1984 and that was the last M o n ic a Z e tlin a n d K a te D e r m o d y year of the old management. The real his year’s Melbourne International transition took place in 1985 when a Film Festival concludes more than new, younger group assumed control a decade of changes that occurred of running the Festival. The things they after new management took over addressed then - that the audience had in 1985, after which a new direction andshifted enormously and also the sur­ focus for the Festival was envisaged.rounding exhibition and distribution Instrumental in this change was outgo­climate - had begun to change as early ing Festival director Tait Brady. The pastas 1980. ten years have witnessed a succession of I think one of the calling cards of the venue changes that include the Astor, the Festival up till then had been its exclu­ State Film Centre, the Hoyts and Village sivity. That was a specifically Melbourne city cinema complexes, the Capitol and issue; at no other film festival in the the Forum . T ick et systems have also world do you go around saying, “We go evolved, but most significantly there has to the Toronto Film Festival because it’s been a generational change in the Fes­ exclusive; it’s the only place we’ll see the tival audience to encom pass a core films.” audience aged in their twenties and thir­ Exclusivity and access are not just ties who eschew the attitu de o f the issues at festivals, but have to do with M e lb o u rn e

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specialist films. As more arthouse cine­ mas came along, I think those factors had an impact on the image of the Fes­ tival. I distinctly remember Women on th e Verge o f a N ervou s B rea k d o w n [Pedro Almodovar, 1988] was the first foreign-language film to open in mul­ tiple prints and that was in 1988. They had also identified in 1985 that you had to make ticket prices lower and more accessible. They addressed this issue with the introduction of a three-session ticket. I took it just one step further and introduced the single, affordable ticket with bonus sessions. The audience had dwindled over the years so we had to encourage people to come back. That took, as all transitional things have to, a bit of time, but by the third year, 1990, it was finally, visibly successful. The numbers grew enor­ mously from then over 1991, ’92, ’93. D o y o u h a v e a n y th in g b a c k y e t o n th is y e a r's F e stiv al?

Yes, but we’re still cross-checking it. W e thought the numbers would be down this year because of our reduced capacity, principally in the main the­ atre, and they are. But the interesting thing is, despite all the complaining about going into the city and all that, the subscription audience was really firm. What is down is the single-session tickets. And there are so many factors that have changed this year; we have

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changed; it’s very difficult to analyze what it is. The key element that picked the Festival up after 1988 was locating at the Astor in St Kilda. But we had to find a new location this year and change is always a problem. D o y o u th in k th is y e a r's F e s tiv a l w a s a d v e rtis e d w e ll e n o u g h ? P e o p le d id s e e m c o n fu s e d a b o u t s e ss io n tim e s , v e n u e s a n d so fo rth .

Yes, we’re having trouble deciphering that. In terms of whether it was adver­

ences from the Herald Sun and inform­ ing regular Festival-goers, but we simply didn’t have the advertising budget to spend as much in The Age as we would have in the past. Also, I think one of the disappoint­ ments of this year was the failure of T h e Age to respond to the Festival. T h ey ’ve now got two great film review ers who basically had their hands tied in having to do capsule reviews of about six films each. People

you scrutinize the ads in the paper, what at first appears a dazzling choice of films is in reality about ten films on four screens each. How many European films do we see here that aren’t French? T h e re has b e e n a re a l s h ift to w a r d s a lo t m o r e A s ia n c in e m a b e in g p r o ­ g r a m m e d in th e F e s tiv a l, w it h less E u ro p e a n c in e m a . H as th is b e e n a d e lib e ra te c h a n g e in fo c u s a n d h o w h a v e a u d ie n c e s re s p o n d e d ?

Again, to go back a few years, the

[A ] film festival can only really w o rk if it has not only public but industry support, and a kind of unofficial market atmosphere. tised or promoted, I think there are a couple of things there. We made a very deliberate decision to shift our news­ paper sponsorship to the H erald Sun. The Herald Sun offered us one and The Age didn’t. But it was part of our desire, besides getting a better offer, to build a wider audience. We felt that there was a wider audience out there for the Fes­ tival and numbers had really hit a ceiling a couple of years ago. So, the decision to move from the Astor to a more cen­ tral location was also an attempt to gain a new, wider audience. There may have been a gap between reaching new audi­

need the recommendations, especially if they’re unsure about films. D o y o u th in k th e F e s tiv a l a ttr a c ts a u d ie n c e s b a s e d o n in d iv id u a l film s o r p r o g r a m m e s , su ch as th is y e a r's Ida L u p in o R e tro s p e c tiv e a n d th e R ee l D a n c e p ro g ra m m e ?

Both. There are people who come to the Festival and take a punt and they’re the best type. But people here are very selective, and it may have become a bit passé to them with so much more choice in films in Melbourne now. I’d actually challenge that idea by saying if

groundwork was really laid in 1985, ’86, ’87. They identified then that the real cinema wasn’t in Europe any more, it was in Asia. And at that point there was a surge in the American Indepen­ dent scene, which had always existed, but in the 1980s it really seemed to take o ff with films like S tran ger T han P arad ise [Jim Jarm usch, 1 9 8 4 ] and She’s G otta H ave It [Spike Lee, 1986]. I just saw this as the correct represen­ tation in the programming. W e’re not here to play mediocre art films to sate an audience. The Festival is meant to represent the C I N E M A P A P E R S • OCTOBER 1996


legal ease elements” because they do not want to risk it in the absence of p 5 0 that person. The guarantor may guarantee the presence of the actor pro­ vided that the Film Producers Indemnity insurance on that actor requires the insurer to com pensate if the actor is not there through death or sickness. The guarantor’s main risk is that the actor may walk out on the contract or does not turn up - most unlikely, but possible. My focusing on exceptions should not detract from the presence of core obligations to meet overages and com­ pensate if production is abandoned. Film Finances Inc has paid overages often enough for me to know that the guar­ antor really is in a risk business, financiers can save themselves headaches and producers are avoiding pain further south, anatomatically speaking. It is in the guarantor’s best interests to keep a close eye on the film to antic­ ipate trouble. In doing so the guarantor is often able to give production advice for the producer’s benefit. Despite occasional reservations of budget-conscious producers, and those who are a bit scared of expert scrutiny (most of us), completion guarantees are a practical, workable and necessary film service throughout the world. ©

documentaries slobbering up close, is som e­ times embarrassing to watch. His confid ences to the film crew, in solo interviews, betray not only his loneliness and frustration but the harbouring of p ath etic fantasies - of identification with Sylvester Stallone and Tom Cruise, as well as professed inten­ tions to resume his education, have a career, marry and have children - that are nourished by his self-perception as star of this film. The film also demonstrates discom­ fo rt on the part of the docum entary filmmaker in certain situations, as when Billal begs Zubrycki to drive him back to the hospital to escape the fractious cli­ mate in the family home, and Zubrycki squirms out of his rôle of committed par­ ticipant in the family drama by reverting to the traditional attitude of the docu­ mentary filmmaker as the uninvolved ‘objective’ recorder. His outsider status is underlined in the following scene shot from outside the home, as the dramatic action proceeds apace indoors, unviewed by the camera. You can call it tactful dis­ cretion, or you can call it a tactical retreat from com m itm ent and involvement. E ith er way, it is the film m aker who squirms, in an uncomfortable position and less-than-flattering rôle. The presence of the camera crew not only incites Billal to act up, it also

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inhibits the free expression of his moth­ er’s views, for she will not acknowledge to the camera that there have been prob­ lems in her marriage. She has confided otherwise to her confidante, the inter­ preter, but on film she does not think it proper to break the facade of domes­ tic harmony and feels the need to play the role of loyal and devoted wife. The interpreter discreetly indicates the gap betw een her on-film and off-film accounts of her marriage, without pro­ viding details. In these various ways, the film raises ethical issues involved in the making of documentary film, displaying the gaps and limits of honest, responsible docu­ mentary filmmaking. In displaying the ethical dilemmas and limitations of the medium, when practised conscientiously rather than pruriently, the film gains an added dimension of veracity, over and above its com pelling account of the impact of brain-damaged injury on the young victim and his family.

appear slovenly, overweight, and ill-atease w ith their bodies and their behaviour. His confident and cheeky oncamera performance, part larrikin and part slimy bastard, is seductive; and, unfortunately, his more scrupulous, less stridently ambitious deputy, Kate But­ ler, cannot match it. She is not without charm and personality, but it would seem that the eye behind the camera (and the editing process) was m ore drawn to the figure of the macho male. The star performance of Larry Hand is not the only reason that this docu­ mentary has the riveting power of a Hollywood action movie. We are also gripped and transported by its tight nar­ rative construction and slick editing. The action is largely confined to moves and counter-moves connected to the elec­ tion, interspersed by very brief glimpses of public functions in the municipality. Tension and suspense are maintained until the end, by a succession of conflicts and a withholding of resolution. There are internal factional conflicts (princi­ B illa l pally a split w ithin the Labor Party Director: Tom Zubrycki. Producer: Tom caucus), conflicts of loyalty, and inter­ Zubrycki. A sso c ia te p ro d u c e rs: Ray personal conflicts based on disputes and Thom as, Alissar Gazal. E d ito r : Ray differences in the past and competing Thomas. D irector o f photography: Joel ambitions in the present. Right up to the Peterson. Composer: Jan Preston. Sound: end of the film, the outcome of the elec­ Tom Zubrycki, Robert Sullivan, Gary tion rem ains u n certain; but, in true O ’Grady. F am ily L iaison /In terp reter: Hollywood style, the film finally deliv­ Alissar Gazal. M ade in association with ers a resounding resolution. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Even though, as Trevor (Kate’s mate) a n d w ith the p articip ation o f the Aus­ remarks at one stage, it’s only an elec­ tralian F ilm F in an ce C orp oration . 86 tion for the mayor of Leichhardt - a mins. minor, low-level position compared with that of state Premier or Prime Minister fter their very successful New - we are surely meant to see the events Guinea trilogy, First Contact, fo e portrayed as representative of the oper­ F e a h y ’s N eig h bou rs and B la ck ations of the political process at all levels. H arv est, it’s pleasing to see the ConOn the eve of the election, when Larry nolly-Anderson partnership turn their is still desperately plotting and machi­ acute anthropological eye and ear onto nating, he confides to the camera that he their own backyard. They have pro­ has to “go through a lot of shit - but duced a tightly-constructed, suspenseful that’s politics!” Sometimes accompanied narrative out of footage shot over seven by a montage of imposing portraits of former mayors, the use of classical music months in 1994 in the precincts of the (from a Bach violin concerto) as theme Leichhardt Tow n Hall, its municipal music in the film helps to elevate the offices and surrounding spaces in the lowly proceedings into the realm of lead-up to the annual mayoral election. The heat and intensity of the horse-trad­ high-level classic drama. ing, faction in- and out-fighting, R a ts in t h e R a n k s mud-slinging and number-crunching Directors: Bob Connolly, Robin Ander­ make the tribal wars of New Guinea look low-key in comparison; and out­ son. P rodu cers: Bob Connolly, Robin going mayor Larry Hand emerges as the Anderson. E x ecu tiv e p ro d u cer: Chris Oliver. D irectors o f ph otog rap h y : Bob equal of Jo e Leahy in his m asterful Connolly, Robin Anderson. A dditional manoeuvrings and manipulation of his less-sophisticated underlings in the ser­ photography: Tony Wilson. Editors: Bob C onnolly, R obin Anderson. S ou n d vice of maintaining his own position and power. recordists: Bob Connolly, Robin Ander­ son. A Film Australia and Arundel Films It is evident that the filmmakers find Co-production in association with the such power-mongers attractive, for they are endowed with star quality. Larry Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Channel 4 and La Sept ARTE. A Film Hand is unquestionably the star of this film. In dress, manner and mind, he is Australia National Interest Program. Dis­ trim and taut, sharp and shrewd; in com­ tributor: Film Australia. Australia. 1996. parison with him, the other councillors 16mm. 97 mins. ®

a

festivals best in national cinemas, and, if that comes from Thailand, so P®® be it. I sincerely believed the best films were in the three Chinas and Iran. You’re always trying to get a bal­ anced programme. There is absolutely nothing to show from Hungary and Poland. Hungaro Film, Film Polski and Goskino - all the state film bodies - no longer exist. However, people were still asking me for years why there weren’t any Czech films. Latin America has been a real prob­ lem because the d istribu tion is so disorganized; quite often the films had been bought by other parties that had no interest in Australia. Often Spanish television had bought the rights to Argentinian and Chilean film s. We only got S afe through six months of perseverance because all remaining w orld rights had been sold to an Argentinian company. Indian film is something that also gets asked about, but m ost of the films belong in the 1970s and are com pletely outdated [commercial ‘masala’ movies]. T h is y e a r s a w th e p r e m ie r e o f m a n y n e w A u s tra lia n film s . W a s t h a t a n o th e r p r o g r a m m in g d e cis io n ?

Australian film has really evolved over the last few years so it would be incor­ rect to credit me, because again, just like the collapse o f Com m unist Europe, these factors just happened. Films like D eath in B runsw ick [John Ruane, 1991], P r o o f [Jocelyn M oorhouse, 199 2 ] and Strictly B a llro o m [Baz Luhrmann, 1992] seemed to her­ ald som ething o f a renaissance in populist Australian cinema that has really changed how people think about Australian films. So, suddenly, audi­ ences wanted to come to those movies, and the Festival just played its part, as it should, as a promotional stepping stone. Because this year’s Festival was later, we were also able to get films like Peter Duncan’s Children o f the R evo­ lution, which was only just finished in time for Opening Night, and River Street [Tony Mahood, 1996]. Also, we actually had six o f the eight main American distribution companies out here in the first weekend for Children o f the Revolution and River Street, but they also saw Clara Law’s Floating Fife, which at that point no one had bought. And a film festival can only really work if it has not only public but industry support, and a kind of unofficial mar­ ket atmosphere. These days it’s actually the Australian films that sell out first and you need to program m e some national cinema. © Tait Brady has n ow taken up a position with P alace Films. C I N E M A P A P E R S • OCTOBER 1996


organization, nor is W IF T - or any of

larly knows the ABC, for instance, and have them represent the whole of the organization. It is a real strength-in­ numbers exercise.

film m a k e r s c a n g a th e r , s w a p id e a s

them, for that matter. M y personal view is that the only option is the whitewash-wall one. You talk the City Council into lending you a building for a few years, rate and rent free. T h en , you get some m oney to make the place habitable, put up some partitions, create some tiny offices and a big meeting space, and see who comes. You put in a professional manager and gradually get things you need, like pho­ tocopier, a fax and a bit of furniture. T h ere was a d ifferent school of thought which argued going for the chrome-and-steel edifice first up, with the internet and all sorts of plugged-in things. In the current budgetary situa­ tion , that is simply never going to happen. But if we start with a physical place, hopefully around the comer from a nice café or pub, where people can get a cheap little office they can call home, with some shared simple facilities, it will be an enormous leap forward. Jo n a th o n D aw son [H ead o f the Pacific Film School] sees, as does his academic staff, a real opportunity for a post-graduate/graduate intermix in such a place. The School has gear and mixing suites and all that kind of stuff - or will have. There is no reason why that shouldn’t be available to p ost­ graduates and to people who have never been to the School. Enriched by some money from AFC and ourselves, it could become a resource connected to that stream. N ow , if I cou ld wave the magic wand, that is exactly what I would do tom orrow. I think it would make an incredible difference. In M elbou rne in the late ’60s and early ’70s, there was a real focus, prin­ cipally through the P rod ucers and D irectors Guild and the M elbourne Filmmakers Co-op, which died but was kind of rebirthed as Open Channel. I don’t think there is going to be a similar intellectual focus here in the near fu ture. But if we can give it a physical focus, we can start to build the other. I hope so, anyway. It would be my dream if Film Queensland were the Film C en tre’s first tenant. We should be out there as well. In these days of interconnected­ ness of computers and so forth, I don’t see any reason why the state govern­ m ent’s peak film body shouldn’t be

a n d g e a r. H o w is t h a t p ro g re s s in g ?

part of its community.

Finding a Voice _____

two in the next financial year, then we will have multiplied " the number of local working producers in town by about four.

Other Programmes TEFAY:

Our problem here is that we

don’t have any experienced producers, writers and directors. W e have only two feature directors - Donald Crombie and Jackie M cKimm ie - and one p ro d u cer - T o n y K avanagh, who moved up from M elbourne with Fire and is now doing M edivac. So, w e’ve put up a couple o f p ro­ grammes that are rather innovative. One, which Ross has already spoken about, is taking our emerging produc­ ers over to the international markets. A nother is called Producer Business Loans. We will lend a producer, over a period of 2 years, up to $ 3 0 ,0 0 0 per year to cover legal costs, buy options, pay w riters to develop treatm en ts, cover phone bills and so on. At the same time, they are able to access our other development programmes to be able to develop their projects further. We have had a lot of grass-roots writ­ ing programmes for writers. W hen I came up here about 3 years ago, I was surprised with the amount of talent; it just needed the right environment in which to grow. So, we brought in some more experienced people, like Charlie Strachan from Sydney. W e guarantee him a salary per year to make himself available to our writers as a consultant script editor. W e help directors through our Short Film Investment Funding programme. Maybe 60 people apply with their pro­ jects. Those who get short-listed by d irecto rs like Jo h n R u ane, Ja c k ie M cK im m ie or Laurie M clnnes take their projects into a workshop situa­ tion. The ones who get close to coming up w ith som ething innovative and interesting actually get their projects fully financed.

The Film Centre R o ss , y o u r v is io n fo r Q u e e n s la n d h a s a lw a y s b e e n fo r a F ilm C e n tr e w h e r e

W e are at the point of trying to define a Film Centre. The AFC, to DIM SEY:

Documentaries

its credit, has offered money to help look at the thing. I’m not sure how much I can say with accuracy, except

O n e im p o r ta n t lo c a l d e v e lo p m e n t h a s

that the industry has been energized

ta r y -m a k e r s g r o u p , Q D o X .

and has m et to put forw ard ideas. H ow ever, th ere has been a lack o f cohesiveness. There is no natural focus in Brisbane yet. BIF isn’t a firebrand C IN E M A PAPERS • OCTOBER 1996

b e e n t h e fo r m a tio n o f t h e d o c u m e n ­

D ocu m entary -m ak ers are more isolated than others. So, if you get maybe 10-15 people together, you can nom inate a person who particu­ D IM SEY :

O n e d is a p p o in tm e n t m u s t b e F ilm Q u e e n s la n d 's in a b ility , s o fa r , to c o n v in c e g o v e r n m e n t to s e t u p a G o v e r n m e n t E x e c u tiv e P ro d u c in g U n it.

It would have the rôle exactly analogous to what we set up at Film V ictoria, of receiving requests from g ov ernm ent d ep artm ent fo r film s, making sure they are tendered out to private enterprise, and keeping a watch on budgets and so forth. It would have a couple of marvellous effects. One is it would significantly increase the amount of work going to that level of industry here which finds it hard: that is, between the top-layer D IM S E Y :

com m ercials and dram a-m akers, of which there are a couple, and post-grad­ uates. It would really help, particularly people like those in Q DoX. Another benefit of the Government Executive Producing Unit would be to make sure that the writing work is ten­ dered out equally to p ro fession al writers who make a living working in this state. I’m not pretending that the proposal is my brain-child. It has actually been around for a couple of years; it has just never taken root, and maybe that is because my predecessors and myself have been unable to explain its bene­ fits adequately.

10BA D o y o u se e th e m o o te d r e b irth o f 10 B A h a v in g a n y e ffe c t o n th e Q u e e n s la n d in d u s try ?

I think it will have a very ben­ eficial effect on the Australian industry. You only have to look at the amount of money that goes into the Section 51 raisings, which almost without excep­ tion are big-budget American pictures, at a very marginal gain for the investors. I don’t know if you have looked at any of those prospectuses, but they are not like the deal of the century. I d on’t know the figures accurately, but I sense somewhere between $50 and $100 mil­ lion a year in Section 51 raisings. Now, presumably some of that could be siphoned o ff for 10B A if it were more attractive. It would also take the pressure off the FFC. The FFC might like to be the only game in tow n - it is only natu ral but there must be an attractiveness to having some of that pressure taken off its being the only source of finance. The FFC could have a supervisory rôle of some sort in relation to a rejuve­ nated 10BA. If 1 0B A did com e b ack in , Film Queensland would be very active in D IM S E Y :

talkin g to p o ten tial b rok ers and financiers up here and getting some action going through our clients. I hope the government takes it seri­ ously. It was in the Prime M inister’s policy speech, so I assume they are tak­ ing it seriously. O f course, if we resurrect 10BA, we have to get it right this time. W h at happened last tim e, as you know , is that 10B A was effectively killed by a relatively small group of dis­ affected p rod u cers who found it difficult to deal with the realities of financing. I was perfectly happy with it. I made two pictures under its weak­ est form, in its dying days. By the way, the deal required in the 120/20 scenario was tougher than is now required by the FFC. You had to get a better hard-cash distribution deal than you do now for the FFC. So much for 10BA being a push-over! I recommend anybody who wants to think about 10BA to look back over the years that 10BA operated. Some of the greatest films to come out of Australia in the modern era were made in that 10BA period between 1982 to 1988. As for safeguards, they are easily put in place. One idea is to licence p ro­ ducers; if you do the wrong thing, you lose your 10BA licence. Another is a simple budget inspection. Interestingly, the prospectuses that went through the Exempt Prospectus route - that is, had to be approved by state authorities were virtually rort-free. The budget and the recoupment arrangements had to bear inspection by people who knew what they were doing. We must also reintroduce the Exempt Prospectus procedure. In the old days, it was less than $3 million and proba­ bly should now be less than $5 million. 10BA must benefit independent pro­ ducers if it is going to work. It was an enlightened way of empowering stand­ alone produ cers to access finance which otherwise could only have been financed by established, well-funded organizations. That was the magic of it and it has to be reinstituted to per­ form that trick again. © 1 D im sey and T e fa y w ere interview ed separately, then the edited interview s intercut. 2 T h e A d v en tu res o f P riscilla, Q u ee n o f th e D es er t (Stephan Elliott, 1 9 9 4 ), M u r ie l’s W ed d in g (P. J. Hogan, 1994) and D e a th in B ru n sw ick (John Ruane, 1991).

3 Strictly B a llr o o m (Baz Luhrmann, 1992), C o si (Mark Joffe, 1996) and S hin e (Scott

Hicks, 1996). 4 In the period 1970 -1 9 9 5 , Australia made many more unreleased theatrical features and tele-features than ones which had a cinema release (cf A u stralia o n th e S m a ll S c re en : F ilm s a n d M in i-series o n T e le v i­ s i o n , 1 9 7 0 - 1 9 9 5 , O x fo rd University-

Press, November 1996).

59


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technicalities

Digital Convergence at Trackdown Studio Dominic Case examines a new digital force in sound post-production I'm interested in th e differences ttention in this indus­ b e tw e e n w o rk in g in m usic and in try has been focused television and in film . Can you ta lk on the disappearing a b o u t th a t in te rm s of th e w a y you boundaries between approach th e job, and in th e film, video and digital eq u ip m e n t th a t's used? imaging. Meanwhile, M ARCUS: W e’ve gone very heavily other technologies digital technology using ProTools, have been quietly coming into together with and rather we have considerable success, although lessexcellent lock-to-picture facilities. fanfare. Sound post-p rod u ction As hasa music facility, we have an sooner excellent live room which, when we embraced the digital world and use it for dialogue recording, has a par­ even more com pletely than its image ticularly nice sound. W e’ve got a new cou n terp art, taking its cue from the music-recording business. Trackdown Digital is perhaps typical of the smaller sound studio undertaking a widening range of projects. Founders, Managing Director G eoff W atson and C h ief Engineer Sim on Leadley, have recently been joined by Simon’s cousin, M arcus Leadley, as Studio M anager. Recent projects have ranged from: the Bananas in Pyjamas CD (which earned a G old CD aw ard); com plete sound for Yoram Gross’ Blinky Bill television series, now screening in more than 80 countries; sound design for a CD-ROM of Blinky Bill-, and a number of film and television productions, such as Richard Dennison’s Chile: Journey o f Origin. I spoke to M arcus and to Sim on about the role of the new digital tech­ niques in the studio’s gradual transition from rock ’n’ roll to film and television post-production.

a

MARCUS: Trackdown was started by G eoff W atson and Simon Leadley 15 years ago. In the early days, it was basi­ cally a band rehearsal space - it was called The Studio - in Kent Street in the city. There’s a strong association with a particular era in Australian music: bands like The Church, DiVinyls and Midnight Oil all rehearsed in this space. There were lots of parties. Gradually, the facility developed and moved to Bondi Junction where it became Trackdown, operating as a 16-track recording studio mainly for bands, but then devel­ oped into television, because people came along requiring different services. By this time, we’re up to about 1984. Eventually Yoram Gross Film Studios came to Trackdown with the idea of doing post-sync for its children’s ani­ mation series, Blinky Bill. W e moved into the back of Yoram Gross Film Stu­ dios about six years ago. W e ’re an autonomous unit, operating within the building.

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

nice space and they’re not working in an ashtray carpet. W h a t ab o ut your facilities in te rm s of o u tp u t for film - six-track Dolby and so on?

M A R C U S: In term s o f the actual equipment in the studio, I’ll let Simon answer that, because he’s the one who put it all in. But we’re putting in a lot o f new equipm ent - a new video machine in the studio, for example. W e’re just getting rid of our 24-track

for a long, long time, but since being here I’m totally won over by the oper­ ating environm ent, and what I have heard sounds great. I can’t say other­ wise: excellent clarity, everything in exactly the right place. W h a t do you say to producers and sound people w h o say, "O h, w e w o n 't go th ere . T h a t's a m usic studio and a m usic desk"?

MARCUS: I know there’s a tendency for people to want to stay on the same ground, but com e and have a look. W e’ve done some very diverse work. We edited the pop music tracks for [The

Adventures of\ Priscilla, Queen o f the Desert, and recorded and mixed the music track. Guy Gross, our resident composer, wrote the underscore. W e’ve just completed a series for Juniper Films that’s principally going on SBS. It’s all set in Indonesia. We’re taking a mixture of indigenous music and other sound effects, dialogue and so on, and putting together what are essentially very complex pieces of audio. Many of the sounds are recorded in situ, so we’ve had to use de-noising techniques and so on. W e’ve become quite expert in that. W e’ve actually done a few forensic jobs. They’ve come to us to de-noise audio tapes that were needed in a trial - and that was very successful. People are often amazed at how much tech­ nology w e’ve got here. W e can de-noise things in Pro-Tools, and there are advanced EQ facilities. Noises are mostly at a certain frequency, so you can apply a certain filter, or push the freq u encies around to cover it, or sometimes simply cancel it out alto­ gether. It’s a very nice set of cards we have up our sleeve. Basically, we can press a button and people say, “Oh, look, it’s gone quiet.” D i g it a l M a g i c

desk. The Yamaha 0 2 R is a 40-chan­ nel desk which is really good in the music environment. It has all on-board compressors and so on, and it works digitally between the desk, ProTools and AD AT, so we can easily develop 24 or 32 track mixes on a really clean high-quality system. The environment has been redecorated so that media and film professionals are comfortable in it. It’s not a rock ’n’ roll environment, but ro ck ’n ’ ro ll people still like it because they feel they’re getting a really

gear because we’ve no use for it. Inter­ estingly enough, we had three potential buyers for our machine; in the music arena, there’s a resurgence of interest in the analogue system. People claim there’s a certain sonic quality that can’t be got digitally. W e say that’s not really the case. Rather than letting the media influence the quality of sound, it seems better to influence the sound before you record it, so then you get back what you put down in the first place. I was completely committed to analogue

A t th e "Fade to Black" conference recently, Phil Ju d d said th a t people te n d to confuse th e w o rd "d ig ita l" w ith "m a g ic ", b u t th a t in fac t digital tracks often m ean sim p ly th a t you can hear th e noise m o re clearly th an before.

M A R C U S: T h a t’s true. O f cou rse, there’s no magic. Computers don’t save time, but you can do so much more, and the automation is fabulous because you can take so m uch m ore care in

61


technicalities building up and developing a sound mix than you ever could before. Can you te ll m e a b o u t th e differences in tech n o lo g y th a t you are using as you m o ve across fro m m usic to p ost­ production m ixing?

S IM O N : D igital technolog y had a much bigger impact on music in the first case than on film and television. The techniques that are being applied now [in post-production] came out of that area. Fairlights are music-based, but they realized that the systems could be applied to the post world. As well, we were among the first people in Aus­ tralia to get involved with Digiworld, for music. We realized that the system was perfect for post-production. We have had a close working relationship with Digiworld and we became beta testers for ProTools in the very early days. In particular, we had experience in the 2 5 -fra m e aspects th at they weren’t so familiar with over there [in the U.S.]. D u b b in g T im e s

SIM O N : The major thing that made us change over to digital techniques in a big way was the dubbing times. We were doing the Blinky Bill television series for Yoram Gross. The first series was done in the conventional way. It was laid up on ProTools, transferred to tape, then transferred to 24-track, digital to digital, so then it was a nor­ mal multi-track mix. At the end of the series, I realized that the bulk of the working time was being wasted in the dubs, which is more or less a mechan­ ical process. By getting to a system where we completely eliminated the transfer process, we were able to cut down the time to one-tenth. We had been spending ten hours of transfer per episode, and we were able to cut that down to less than an hour. It really does make a difference. Also, with all the tools at your fin­ gertips, right down to the final mix stage, someone can say, “I really don’t like that door slam. Have you some­ thing a little heavier or thicker?” In the old days, somebody would have to run out, grab a couple of door slams on 35mm (mag), listen to them, and then get the dubbers up, hopefully getting it all done while everyone else is sitting round twiddling their thumbs. Digi­ tally, we can get it, test it and say, “Yes, that’s fine”, without any break what­ ever. Of course, we’re not alone in this. Places like Spectrum have ProTools, so they can clean up dialogue and so on. In a way, we’ve moved back to what we had before multi-track, when you had everything on 35 mm, and could treat everything as a separate item . W hen we went to 24-track, we were unable to do that; we were unable to move things up or down. So, it’s a step

62

back in one respect, but it’s an enor­ mous leap forward in another respect.

it’ll all be done in software. This will be a major move forward for studios

time.” I say, “Forget that, you’re going

W e ’ve developed from our music work, and then our television work,

such as ourselves: we can literally call up a patch, and become a Dolby-mix-

same time.” Instead of something that

then on to Priscilla and Frauds, for which we did the music and the music

able room . It means that things like commercials and television documen­ taries which couldn’t afford - or don’t

ished on a 2 4 -track many generations later, this doesn’t occur, so you’ll get a much better product at the end of the

editing. It was all recorded 24-track Dolby SR, mixed here at Trackdown in Dolby surround and transferred to ProTools as separate tracks, thus allow­ ing us to do any editing in four-track, before laying it all up to picture. Thus, any editing that needed to be done was easily achieved. The final playout was done onto DA88, or AD AT - whatever the project was using. W e’ve just got the new Yamaha Dig­ ital console, and everything - every microphone, every channel - is digital. Dialogue or post-sync - anything we

have the time for - D olby can now go ahead and have Dolby sound. All the changes mean that we can probably spend more time on sound for a documentary. One of the things with having a couple of Avids in close proximity to us here is that it has made it possible fo r us to tran sfer files directly from Avid almost painlessly. T ha t's w h a t everyone's m oving to n o w , b ut th ere's som e tim es som e anguish in g etting files across properly, isn't there?

to get a much better product, but in the might have started on a Nagra, and fin­

day - and we can alter things right up to the final mix. That can be a prior­ ity. T h e m ixers still need tim e to consider. Craft is an im portant part and you can’t rush that. I’ve been looking at the process. If you spend eight hours on a mix, that’s eight solid hours in front of the com­ pu ter. Y o u ’ve probably done the equivalent of two or three days’ work the old way. But when you walk out you ju st w ant to go and bang your head somewhere. W hat we are doing

I w a s com pletely com m itted to an alogu e for a long, long time, but since being here I'm totally w on over by the operating environm ent, and w hat I have heard so u n d s great. I can't say otherwise: excellent clarity, everything in exactly the right place. record - goes directly into ProTools. It’s then edited or matched to the orig­ inal dialogue, or w hatever w e’re working on. We can do all that with­ out having to leave the digital domain. It’s been a major step forward for us. There was a bit of soul-searching. The 24-track machine is being sold, but, because of the success with the new system, we’re really pleased. T here are differences b e tw e e n a desk for music and a desk for film and te le ­ vision?

SIM ON : That’s right. But the beauty of the Yamaha is that you can config­ ure it in any way you like. W hile it’s specifically not a surround console it’s not lined with pan pots and things like that - 1 understand from the Japan­ ese that they’re going to feature these things in the software that comes along with the desk itself. The software will allow you to put surround pots on the thing and configure it as a film-mixing console as well. At Trackdown, although we do film for television, we wouldn’t pretend to be a film-mixing suite as such: how­ ever, we do mix music for film. That’s appropriate to what we can do. But succeeding versions of the Yam aha software will be more and more filmfriendly. I believe that even Dolby is bringing out software plug-in modules for ProTools which will allow you to have a Dolby decoder and encoder, in software. So, you won’t have to go and hire in a box for a particular project;

SIM O N : W e do it weekly now and, if you know what you’re doing and it’s all in-house, it actually works very well. W e did a job from Lightworks recently where they gave us an EDL and we picked up the original sound again from the DATS. That was pain­ less, to o , but that was doing it the conventional way. That’s obviously a m ore p re h isto ric way o f doing it, where you have to do everything in real time. W ith the new way, we just basically take in a hard disk, tell it to give us all the files we need, and then convert the edit into a ProTools ses­ sion, laid up exactly how the editor has done it. Then we can go straight in and sweeten it without any more to do. It really is fast. It really helped having the Avids in the same building [with Yoram Gross Film Studio] when we were finding out how to do this. Before, having to go somewhere else like Fram e Set and M a tc h , if you cam e b ack and found y o u ’d done something wrong, you’d have to go all the way back for a new session and red o it - and th a t’ d c o s t a lo t o f m oney. H ere we cou ld try a few things and see if it w orked b efo re doing the whole job. S a v in g T i m e a n d M o n e y

SIM ON : I’d like to sell this system as saving time and money, but I think that we can aim to get a much better qual­ ity product in the same time. People say, “O h, you’ve got all this digital gear. W e can get done in h alf the

here is building in breaks to accomplish things, like backing up disks and so on. People are amazed th at we charge them for the time that takes. In the old days, they had to pay for transfer time and so on. This is the equivalent, and it’s still using tim e and people and equipment. Isn't th e re a ten d en cy to do a lot m o re in th e process sim p ly because you can do more?

SIM O N : Things are d ifferent now. W hen you ’re tracklaying - say the sound of a door slam - you can actu­ ally change the level and bring it into perspective while you’re working on it. The final m ix can take a lo t less time, because you’re effectively doing a lot of the level-setting and pre-mix­ ing in the tracklaying stage. O f course, this means that people have to be a lot more ‘on the case’ at the tracklaying stage. I t ’s no good saying, “W e’ll fix it at the m ix.” You really have to be con cen tratin g on things as y o u ’re doing th em , and making the right decisions. It’s inter­ esting: I see everything as a process o f continu ou s refin em en t tow ards an end. As soon as you start w o rk­ ing on som ething, you apply little trim s at every stage. If you n o tice som ething, you can adjust it right aw ay, and i t ’ll p ro b ab ly be rig h t. If you have to leave everything to the mix, everyone’s concentrating so hard you can often lose sight of the big picture. ©

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


THEY HAD IT A ll.

Th e t a len t ;

THE EXPERTISE,

THE EQUIPMENT,

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i w y / f t

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technicalities

O

ur understanding of how we see colours is comparatively recent: the system of three primary colours was first proposed in 1 802 by Thomas Young, but his theories took most of the century to gain general acceptance. In 1 8 5 9 , James Clerk Maxwell took what might be regarded as the first colou r p h o­ tographs: three identical shots o f a coloured ribbon, through red, green and blue filters. The resultant images were then p ro jected through the same coloured filters and superimposed on a screen. Apparently, the results were somewhat underwhelming: many of the original colours could be recognized by those who had seen the original ribbon, but critics of the theory remained uncon­ vinced. The theory was spot on, but Maxwell was tripped up by photographic plates which were sensitive only to blue light. The red and green separations may well have turned out useless, but for the impurity of the dyes in the ribbon, and in particular to some ultra-violet reflec­ tions from the red dyes, which scientists of the tim e would have been quite unaware of. Orthochromatic (sensitive to blue and green) and panchromatic (sensitive to all visible colours) emulsions began to be available in the 1870s, but at greater cost than normal photographic plates. When cinematography started in the 1890s, blue-sensitive emulsions still predomi­ nated. This had several interesting effects on the development of the cinema. Arti­ ficial light was lacking in blue, and so of little use. This single fact sent filmmak­ ers to bright, rain-free climates, where even interiors were filmed on sets in enormous muslin-roofed tents. Photo­ chemistry thus gave Hollywood (and, of course, Australia) a natural advantage. Turning to the actors, their faces, like all non-blue tones, were reproduced darker than normal, and blue-eyed silent screen stars were seen with emphatically dark lips, and bright (almost vacant) eyes. Although colour processes in pho­ tography were in existen ce (though scarcely in use) at the turn of the cen­ tury, most early “coloured” films were quite artificial, and bore no physical rela­ tionship to the colour of the original scene. As early as 1896, Edison, Paul and M elies w ere all d istributing hand-

64

coloured films: each frame of an other­ wise black-and-white print was painted by a team of “factory girls” in an assem­ bly-line process, each applying one colour, frame by frame. Later, as films became longer, this was less practical, and tinting and toning processes were introduced, whereby various scenes in the film were printed onto coloured film stock or chemically treated to give an overall sepia or blue effect to the image. This technique was in widespread use during the 1920s, but fell out of favour when sound-on-film arrived. Black-and-w hite camera negative today is panchromatic: all colours are reproduced in appropriate shades of grey, according to their relative brightness. However, the balance between the reddominant tungsten light and bluer daylight remains slightly uneven, and

unrealistic results. In a gross exaggera­ tion of the effect in early silent films, flesh tones com e out dark grey, and blues much lighter than expected. Sur­ prisingly, but logically, bright yellow titles on a black background would be totally invisible on a print made this way. The solution is to use a black-andwhite panchrom atic em ulsion to duplicate the colour image. A pan fine grain (similar to an interpos, but on a black and white film) can be made, and this positive image subsequently printed back onto a black-and-white or a colour dupe negative. Now the image is black and white, but the colour information is all reproduced equally. Depending on requirements, the colour dupe negative can be intercut with colour material to show m onochrom e sequences in a colour print, or the black-and-white neg­

The eye is quite biased in its sensitivity to colours. Unlike photographic em ulsions with their tendency tow ards blue sensitivity, hum ans see blues as darkest of all colours. In white light (consisting of all colours equally), the blue com ponent contributes only ten percent of the sensation of brightness. most stocks are slightly slower in tungsten light than in an equal level of daylight. The eye is quite biased in its sensitiv­ ity to colours. Unlike photographic emulsions with their tendency towards blue sensitivity, humans see blues as darkest of all colours. In white light (con­ sisting of all colours equally), the blue component contributes only ten percent of the sensation of brightness. The mid­ dle of the spectrum - yellow and green - appears the brightest. At night, the rod cells in the eye take over from the colour-sensitive cone cells. Rods do not allow us to discriminate colours at all, but are predominantly sensitive to green light. Although night scenes in colour films are normally graded blue (to sim­ ulate the effect o f m oonlight), in black-and-white filming it is best to use a green filter on the camera to match the night vision of the eye. Black-and-white print film is a dif­ ferent proposition from panchromatic negative. Designed for printing in the laboratory from a monochrome nega­ tive, and fo r handling under yellow safelight conditions, it is still only sensi­ tive to blue light. When the negative is simply black and white, this is fine; but printing directly onto black and white from a colour negative produces quite

ative can be used for conventional blackand-white prints, giving no clue as to the colour negative origins of the images. The “colour drain” or desaturation effect is possible this way: from a colour negative, both a panchromatic fine-grain positive and a conventional colour inter­ pos are printed (using a register pin step printer). These are printed back onto a colour dupe negative stock, also in a reg­ istering printer, one after the other, in superimposition. The proportion of the two exposures determ ines the final result: 90 percent colour, 10 percent

from the black-and-white pos will give a slightly desaturated result; the oppo­ site will give a black-and-white image with just a hint of some of the strongest colours from the original. With care and considerable testing (and a good mea­ sure of luck), it is probably possible to gain exactly the same effect as Clerk Maxwell did more than 130 years ago. T h a n k s f o r R e a d in g a n d D o n 't G o A w a y

fter two years as Technical Editor of Cinema Papers, Dominic Case has taken up the position as A tlab ’s Group Manager, Technology and Ser­ vices. Case writes:

A

Cinema Papers has offered me a won­ derful excuse to uncover some of the things that are happening on the tech­ nical side of the industry, and to relate them not only to the films that they are used on, but also to the people who work with them. The arrival of new tools - or new applications of the older ones - has served to highlight the extraordinarily arcane and com plex nature of the steps that we must go through - with whatever technology to bring a story to the screen. It has been fascinating. The past few years have seen extraordinary changes - par­ ticularly in post-production - on a scale perhaps unparalleled in any other industry. It seems safe to say, however, that “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!” For myself, I would note that the film processing laboratory is of course based on the original technology of the cinema - photochemistry - but is linked in every d irection w ith the newer fields of electronics, digital dat and cyberspace. My new role at Atlab will be to maintain and develop those links: the bridges between the nine­ teenth and twenty-first centuries. Although no longer as T ech n ical Editor, I hope to continue contribut­ ing to Cinema Papers. Contributions, arguments or suggestions for stories will always be welcomed. Thanks for reading. Don’t go away. ©

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F C C Funding Decisions 1

Features The Sound of One Hand Clapping The Sugar Factory The Interview

Children s Television 67 67

The Adventures of Sam Ocean Girl 4

j Diana & Me ■ Heaven’s Burning

! K. c. 1 Siam Sunset | Sound of One Hand Clapping

67 67 67 68 68 68 68

Features in Production 67

Nauru - Recreating Eden

j Scream

j Left Luggage 68 69 69

| Otherzone | Prick j Tales From Afar

69

! Television Production ! Adrenalin Junkies

70 70 71 71

1 Television Series j Big Sky j Murder Call j Return to Jupiter • The Wayne Manifesto

!

Documentary

1 Changing Heart

i

j j Boy

1 Good Guys, Bad Guys

Shorts

69 69 Exile 69 Gorilla Girls (aka Lady Gorillas) 70 70 House Taken Over 70 Indulgence

: Devils •

68 68 68

! The Big Red ! Blackrock 1 Thank God He Met Lizzie

Features in Post-production

| Angkor ] Paradise Road

Features in Pre-production

i Dead Letter Office

67 67 67

1

Production Survey

! | 1

| Kangaroo Palace | Simone de Beauvoir’s Babies j Spellfinder II: The Land of The Dragon Lord ! The Territorians ! 3-4 Ever 1 Whipping Boy

1 71 71 71 71 71 71 71 71

71 71 71 71

1

i i i 1 1

i i

¡^production H

WAI TI NG FOR OSCAR • MANI FESTI NG WAYNE

F FC Funding Decisions At a special telephone link-up on Friday 28 'June 1996, the F F C Board approved lunding for the ieature film, Tht Sound of

One Hand Clapping

W

ith his distinctive 'voice' and

unusual view of life, Harris takes us through his story: a harrowing

journey of humour, grief, resolution and redemption. Harris, as a child of five, sits underneath his house am ongst the cobw ebs making 'su g a r' by pounding wrapping them into bags. Harris, at seventeen, falls in love with Helen and, when a tragic accident leads to a breakdown, he ends up at The Cottage. Thrust up against the lives of other

THE SOUND OF ONE HAND CLAPPING

innocent victims, Harris begins to make sense of his own guilt, grief and the

m in s )

E P Executive Producer

A S Associate Producer L P Line P ro d u c e r D D irecto r .

The F F C has agreed to participate in financing this series by way o f a, production loan secured against returns. OCEAN GIRL 4 ( 2 6 x 2 4

D: R ic h a r d F l a n a g a n

THE INTERVIEW (100

P: R olf d e H eer

m in s )

EP: S t e v e V iz a r d , A n d r e w K n ig h t ,

P ointblank P ictures

J onathan M. S hiff P roductions Ds: M a r k D e F r ie s t , C o l in B u d d s

EP: J o n a t h a n S h iff

J a c k ie O 'S u l l iv a n

D: C r a ig M o n a h a n

W: R ic h a r d F l a n a g a n

P: B ill H u g h e s

J effrey W a l k e r

Pre-sale: S o u t h e r n S t a r , P a l a c e

Ws: C ra ig M o n a h a n , G o r d o n D a v ie

Pre-sale: N et w o r k T en

onja, daughter of a migrant family broken by alcoholism and violence, returns to her home in the central highlands of Tasmania to confront her past and to put the pieces of her life back together. The Sou nd o f One H and Clapping deals with the power of memory and the possibility of reconciliation.

S

Two features have Veen . funded under tjae 1996 Film'Fund.

he Interview is a reality-based

T

PC: M

justice. To that end, it is a head-on collision between the processes of police investigation, the law and morality.

Children d Television THE ADVENTURES OF S A M (1 3 x 3 0

m in s )

arzena

G o d e c k i , D a v id H o f l in ,

Dist: T e l e m a g e s , T he D is n e y C h a n n e l , B e yo n d D is t r ib u t io n

highly suspenseful, psychological

drama about a terrible miscarriage of

m in s )

t the heart of O cean Girl 4 is the revelation of Neri the Ocean Girl's greater purpose and why she w as sent to Earth from Planet of the Oceans. N ow almost a young woman, Ocean Girl discovers sh e 's the inheritor of a quest involving the dual destinies of both worlds - a quest on which the survival of two planets depends.

A

Documentaries

S outhern S tar Entertainment m in s )

P C Principal Cast S E Story Editor W D W riter-director D I S T Distributor

NOTE:-Production Survey form a now adhere to a reviled form at. Cinema Papers regreta it cannot accept inform ation received in a differentform at. Cinema Papers doea n o t accept reaponeibility fo r the accuracy. o f any inform ation aupplied by production companiea. Thia ia particularly the caae when inform ation changea but the production company makea no attem pt to correct what baa already been aupplied.

NAURU - RECREATING EDEN

Imagine Films

EP: R on S a u n d e r s

(55 MINS) V itascope

D: R o b e r t C a r t e r

W: K en K e iso

D: L in d s a y F r a z er

Ps: J e n n y W o o d s , A n t h o n y B u c kley

Pre-sale: A B C , B e t a -T a u r u s

W: R o b e r t C a r t e r

Dist: S o u t h er n S t a r

Developed with the assistance of:

Developed with the. assistance of:

N SW FTO , AFC

F il m A u s t r a l ia , A B C

P:S a n d r a F u llo o n EP: N ic k F r a z er Pre-sale: S B S , B B C Dist: B B C W o r l d w id e

Information is supplied as:. and adjudged as o f „ | 1 September 199fy gg g

Featured in F re-production DEAD LETTER OFFICE Production company: A r t is t S e r v ic e s Production: 20/1 -7/3/97 Scriptwriter: DEBORAH COX

D IA N A & ME Production: S e p t e m b e r - N o v e m b e r 1996 [ S ee FFC F u n d in g D e c is io n s for c r e d it s ]

HEAVEN'S BURNING Production company: Duo A rt Pre-production: 12/8-27/9/96 Production: 30/9-22/11/96 Post-production: 25/11/96-4/4/97

Principal Credits Director: C r a ig La h if f Producers: A l C l a r k , H e len L e a k e Executive producers: C r a ig La h if f , G e o r g in a P ope

N

auru is a tiny island in the Central Pacific that w as once called

paradise. Now, after a century of resource exploitation, it's mined to the very edges. Forthe Nauruans, time is running out Nauruan phosphate, their only source of income, is at an end. The island they call home is the most

D: C r a ig H a n d l e y

Production Survey

P Producer C o-P Co-Producer

S W S crip tw rite r

secret of his p ast

A rtist S ervices

THE SUGAR FACTORY (95

i l f E Y

sandstone rocks into fine grains and

Featured (1 0 0

he A dventures of Sam follows the incredible journey of 14-year-old Sam as he sails through Asia and the Pacific in search of his brother, Tom. Set in the 1850s, when the world w as abuzz with the discoveries of explorers in strange and faraway places, the story opens as Sam mounts a daring escape from detention in a boys' home in Sydney. He soon discovers that Tom has set sail with a less-than-reputable seafarer bound for China.

T

environmentally-ravaged nation on earth. N A U R U - Recreating Eden documents an ambitious master plan by Australian scientists to restore the island, the Nauruans struggle for survival and their mutual goal of recreating Eden.

Scriptwriter: Louis N o w r a Director of photography: B r ia n B r e h e n y Sound recordist: Toivo L e m b e r Editor: J o h n S c o n Production designer: V ic k i N ie h u s Costume designer: A n n ie M a r s h a l l Composer: C a r l V in e

Planning and Development Casting: A n n a L e n n o n - S m it h , L iz M u l l in a r C o n s u l t a n t s

Casting assistant: D a n ie l S h ip p

Production Crew Production manager: L e s l e y P a r k e r Production co-ordinator: T r is h F o r e m a n Production secretary: J u lie B y r n e

COT A TIME CODE PROBLEM?

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production Production Survey

BLACKROCK

Palm Beach Pictures (Blackrock) Pty Ltd Distribution company: POLYGRAM

Production company:

continued

Production: 26/8-4/10/96 Principal Credits

Location manager: MAURICE B u r n s

Director: D a n n y de M o reta

Unit manager: M ic h a el G ill

Executive producer: R ic k K a b r ie l

Production runner: SCOTT H eysen

Co-producer: T on y E st e p h a n

Production accountant: D e b o r a h W ild e

Scriptwriter: D a n n y oe M o reta

Insurer: R ic h a r d H y d e , W e b s t e r H yd e Completion guarantor: A d r ie n n e R e a d , F il m F in a n c e s Legal services: B ryc e M e n z ie s ,

machine that can cure A ID S and cancer can also be used destructively.

A

R o th - W a r r e n Travel co-ordinator: T o n y M il e s ,

OSCAR AND LUCINDA

S t a g e & S creen

Production company: M e r id ia n F il m s Distribution company: Fox SEARCHLIGHT Production: S e p t e m b e r - D e c e m b e r 1996 Budget: $16 MILLION Director: G il l ia n A r m st r o n g Producers: T im WHITE, ROBIN DALTON Scriptwriter: La u r a JONES Government Agency Investment: FFC

Freight co-ordinator: T on y B o r k o w s k i , S u n C o u r ie r s

Camera Crew Camera operator: B r ia n B reh en y Focus puller: J ohn F o st er Key grip: D a v id S h a w Gaffer G r a e m e S helton Best boy: D a v e S m it h

On -set Crew 1st assistant director: A d r ia n

PiCKERSGlLL

ased on the novel by Peter Carey, a story about fate, love, gambling and faith.

B

Continuity: C h r is O 'C o n n ell Boom operator: M er c a A rlotta M ake-up: B ev erley F r e e m a n , C h r is t in e M iller Hairdressers: B ev erley F r e e m a n , C h r is t in e M iller

S IA M SUNSET Production company: ARTIST SERVICES Production: 11/11-13/12/96 Scriptwriters: M a x D a n n , A n d r e w K n ig h t

S pecial fx supervisor: P eter S t u b b s

GLENN BOSWELL,

S tunt co-ordinators:

R ic h a r d B oué

SOUND OF ONE HAND

Unit nurse: J e n n y B ic h a rd S till photography:

Catering: D + M L o c a t io n C a t er in g

A rt Department

CRONIN RlCCO P e a r s e

Art director: T o n y Art department runner:

S et decorator: S a r a h A b b e y Props buyer:

CLAPPING

LlSA TOMASETTI

Production company: A r t ist S e r v ic es Production: 7/10-22/11/96 Producer: R olf de H eer Writer: R ic h a r d F l a n a g a n Script editor: D eb o r a h C ox Cast

SARAH ABBEY

Standby props: L ero y P l u m m e r

K erry F ox

Action vehicle co-ordinator:

[ S ee FFC Fu n d in g D e c is io n s .]

P hil M c C a rt h y

W ardrobe Wardrobe supervisor: K a t h y H a in

Featured in production

Post- production Assistant editor: S t ru t t s P s y r id is

THE BIG RED (working title)

S ound editors: L iv ia Ruzic, C ra ig C a rt er

Production companies: S c a la P r o d u c t io n s ;

Laboratory: A t la b

U n t h a n k F il m s

Lab liaison: S im o n W ic k s Gauge: 35 m m

Production office: S yd n ey Production: 16/9-9/11/96

S creen ratio: 2.35:1

P rincipal Credits

Government A gency Investment

Director: STEPHAN ELLIOTT Producer: FlNOLA DWYER Co-producer: A n t o n ia B a r n a r d Executive producers: N ik P o w el l ,

Development: S A F C Production: FFC, S A F C

M arketing Cast R u s s e l l C r o w e (C o l in ), Y ouki K udoh ( M id o r i ), R a y B a r r et t (C a m ), K e n j i I s o m u r a (Y u k io ), R ob ert M a m m o n e ( M a h o o d ), A n t h o n y P h ela n ( B is h o p ), M a t t h e w D y k t in s k i ( M offe ), P etru G h eo rg h iu ( B o o r j a m ), C olin H ay ( J o n a h ), S u s a n P rio x ( S h a r o n ),

Scriptwriter: M ic h a el T h o m a s Based on the novel: T he D ead H ea rt

K. C. Production: J u n e - A u g u st 1996 Budget: $20

MILLION

J u s t in e C l a r k e (T if f a n y ).

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?

International Sales: T he S a m u e l G o ld w yn C o m p a n y

he story of Teddy, a streetwise New Yorker, who finds himself out of his depth Down Under, entrapped by a sunkissed Outback Valkyrie.

he romantic myth is exposed for Guy when he is plagued by memories of an old girlfriend on his wedding day.

T

Featured in podt-production

Production company: S t a m e n F il m s Distribution companies: R E P (A u s t r a l ia ); B ec ker G ro u p (I n t e r n a t io n a l ) Budget: $2.25

MILLION

ANGKOR

Production: 25/7/96 - 11/9/96

Principal Credits

Production companies: PRO F il m s N o . 4 ( S y d n e y ), FIT P r o d u c t io n (P a r i s )

Director: C h er ie N o w l a n

Distribution company: REP Budget: $4.9 MILLION

Co-producer: C a r o l H u g h es

Pre-production: 20/5-1/7/96

Production Crew

Catherine Knapman Production co-ordinator: Libby S harpe Producer's assistant: Valerie W illiams Production secretary: Robin Clifton Unit Manager: M arc ASHTON Production runner: A lice Lanagan Insurer: H. W. W ood A ustralia Pty Ltd Completion guarantor: Film Finances Inc Legal services: HART & SPIRA Travel co-ordinator: HELEN LlNTHORNE Production manager:

S criptwriter: A l e x a n d r a L ong

Production: 1/7-16/8/96

Director of photography: K a t h r y n M il l is s

Post-production: 16/8/96-14/2/97

STEPHEN VAUGHAN SURESH A yyar Production designer: CLARRISSA PATTERSON S ound recordist:

M artin M cGrath Focus puller: Katrina Crook Key grip: Brett M cDowell Assistant grip: TlM DUGGAN Gaffer: David Parkinson Best boy: Greg RAWSON

Costume designer: E die K u rzer Composer: M a r t in A r m ig e r

Sam Rickard Art department co-ordinator: Sandra (Heidi) Oosterman

P lanning and D evelopment

Line producer: P h il W a r n e r Executive producers: R ic h a r d B e c k e r , J e a n P ie r r e R a m s a y Scriptwriters: LOUP DURAND,

Greg MURPHY

D a v id A m b r o s e , C h r is t in e M il l e r ,

N a t a sh a B ro ckmeler

T o m H eg a r t y

Location manager: BEVAN CHILDS,

B a s e d on th e n o v e l by L ou p D u r a n d

R o b in C lifton

Director of photography: JOHN STOKES

Unit manager: B ob G r a h a m

Sound recordist: P a u l B r in c a t

Production accountant: K a t e D r in d iv ill e

Editor: M in h -T a m N g uyen

Insurer: ROLLINS H u dig H a ll

Production designer: G e o r g in a G r e e n h ill

Completion guarantor: F il m F in a n c e s

Costume designer: MARGOT WILSON

Camera Crew

Planning and Development

Focus puller: A d r ia n S effrin

Casting: M a u r a Fa y (A u s t r a l ia );

Clapper-loader: JASMINE CARRUCAN

N ic k N ic h o l so n (T he P h il ip p in e s ) Dialogue coaches: S ok S. F l o r e s (C a m b o ­

Gaffer: JONATHAN HUGHES

d ia n );

Best boy: D a r r y n F ox

D a v id C l e n d in n in g (F r e n c h )

Electrician: G a rt h A llen

Production Crew

On-set Crew

Production manager: O li La p e r a l J nr (T he P h il ip p in e s )

1st assistant director: P. J. VOCTON 2nd assistant director: J ohn M a r t in

Production manager: VlCKI POPPLEWELL Production co-ordinator: D a le A rthur

Continuity: A n d r e w U pton Boom operator: BRENT SHEPHERD

A ssistant co-ordinators: A m a n d a C r it t e n d e n , J o s e p h in e M a s s ic o t t e

Make-up assistant:

Cleacwizzyl M olineaux Chiara Tripodi, Trish Glover Still photography: PHILIP MASURIER Unit publicist: Tracey M air Publicity, M aria Farmer Public Relations Catering: Clare Pollard, Camera Cooks

Hairdresser:

A rt Department

Producer's assistant: D a n i R o g e r s Production secretary: J oel " A w e l " G a la n g Location managers: ULYSSES FORMALESS, J oel C a l l e , V e r o n ic a S ive Transport managers: NlCK A r g u e l l e s , Rafael Ta m a y o Unit managers: A n t o n io ' J et ' S. B ofill J n r , G r a h a m " B r ic k s " E llery

Art department co-ordinator:

Unit assistants: J o s e L o p e z , R on W y n d -

Stefanie Kleinhenz Beth PlCKWORTH Propsperson: MICHAEL La CONO Props buyer: S am COOK Standby props: CHRIS Darvall

Art department runner:

Construction Department Construction manager:

D a v id H a n n a y Supervising producer: R o c k y B est e r

Production Crew

1st assistant director:

A rt Department

CARL S chultz

Producers: J e a n P ie r r e R a m s a y ,

Casting: Liz M u l lin a r C a s t in g

On-set Crew

Art director:

Director:

Production co-ordinator: RUTH WATSON Production secretary:

Camera operator:

CHARLES ROTHERHAM 2nd assistant director: Karen M ahood 3rd assistant director: A ndrew Power Continuity: CARMEL TORCASIO Boom operator: MICHAEL TAYLOR Make-up: Jan (Ziggy) Zeigenbein Make-up assistant: Beck Taylor Hairdresser: Jan (Ziggy) Zeigenbein Assistant hairdresser: Beck TAYLOR Still photography: ELISE LOCKWOOD Unit publicist: One Globe Promotions

P rincipal Credits

Editor:

Camera Crew

JACKLINE SASSINE Standby wardrobe: Gabrielle Dunn Wardrobe assistant: Sara M athers

T he S a m u e l G o ld w yn C o m p a n y , FFC

Cast

Richard Roxburgh (Guy), Cate i Blanchett (Lizzie), Francis O'Connor ! (Jenny), Linden W ilkinson (Poppy), \ John Gaden (Dr O'Hara), Genevieve 1 M ooy (M rs Jamieson), M ichael Ross (Mr Jamieson).

Casting: Liz M ullinar (Christine King) Extras casting: Kate FlNSTERER

W ardrobe

by

|

THANK GOD HE M ET LIZZIE

Wardrobe supervisor:

Director of photography: MlKE MOLLOY Editor: M a r t in W a ls h Production designer: OWEN PATTERSON Financed by:

T

E s s ie D a v is (D et . G ilh o o ley ), J e s s ic a N a p ie r (R a c h e l ), H eath L ed g er (T o b y ),

Producer: J o n a t h a n S h t e in m a n

A ndelija (Angi) Velickovic Set dresser: Glen JOHNSON Props buyer: A dam S later Standby props: George Zammit

D o u g la s K e n n e d y

K a t e F it x p a t r ic k (G l o r ia ).

M arketing

International sales agent: Becker Group

Planning and Development

Art department runner:

S t e p h e n W oolley

International sales agent: BEYOND

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

(R ic k o ), C h r is H a y w o o d (D et . S gt . W il a n s k y ), R e b e c c a S m a r t (C h e r ie ),

ham,

J ody H e w it s o n , S yd M c D o n a ld

Production assistant: R o w e n a N. R a n g a n it Production runner: A d a m CLARINGBULL Financial controller: T im K e e n , B r u c e A it ken ( S y d n e y );

W ardrobe

J e a n M a r c O r a n g e r (P a r i s )

Wardrobe supervisor: T ra c ey R ic h a r d s o n

Production accountant: R o b e r t T h r e a d g o ld

Government A gency Investment

S tandby wardrobe: N in a P a r s o n s

Accounts assistants: C y n t h ia " C h o w ie "

Production: FFC, NSW FTO

Post- production

M arketing

Assistant editor: N ic k C ole

One Globe Promotions International sales agent: Beyond Films Publicity: One Globe Promotions

M usical director: M a r t in A r m ig e r

Government A gency Investment

B r is b a n e

Cast

D evelopm en t:

Base-office liaison: VERONICA Sivs

Laurence Breuls (Jared), Linda Cropper (Diane), S imon Lyndon

A u s t r a l ia n F il m C o m m is s io n

(A u s t r a l ia ); C ielo M a r o u e z

Production: AFC, NSW FTO

(T he P h il ip p in e s )

Marketing consultant:

C a d iz , R h o n d a F o r t e sc u e Paymaster: M a r il y n " L y n " A. P ig a

Laboratory: M o v ie la b S hooting stock:

KODAK AUSTRALIA

Insurer: F IU A Completion guarantor: F il m F in a n c e s Legal services: R o b e r t R eeve Travel co-ordinator: A ir f a r e C e n t r e ,

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68

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Camera Crew

Construction Department

Unit publicity: F io n a S e a r s o n , D DA

P rincipal Credits

Telecine: D ig it a l P ic t u r e s

Camera operator: H e n r y P ie r c e

M ike A shton Scenic artists: SALVADOR "I dol" A ranjo, David "C ooky" Coor Construction foreman: MARIO CASTILLO Carpenters: SANDY STATO, Ignacio Cepres, Daniel Cepres, Reynante Vislenio, Danny De Foxes, M ichael Rees, Kevin Stafford, Tim Horner Set finishers: S ean A. A raujo, Fermin M anlolo, M ichael Tanay Greensmen: ERNESTO A nteza, Ernesto Bayona, Philippines S ervices Company, R SV P Films

Cast

Director: M ike Carroll Producer: S ean Caddy Executive producer: Ken HAWKINS Director of photography: Helen Carter Editor: S imon W hitington Technical supervisor: Gerald Thompson

Off-line editing: ISLAND FILMS

Construction manager:

Focus pullers: J org e R o s a l l e s , Ca m e r o n C lar ke Clapper-loaders: J a s o n B in n ie , T o n y J im in e z Camera assistants: R o b e r t D a l a w i s , A rtu ro M e n d io l a Camera type: AR RI Key grips: R e y n a l d o " R e n e " B a l ic a s , R obby V an A m stell Grips: R o b ert o B a l i c a s , G err y C a s a o l , V ic k A z a n a Gaffers: G r a h a m R u t h e r fo r d , L on M a y d r a l g o Best boys: E r n e st o " B o y " E n r iq u e z ,

S

SCREAM

R o g ie V il a r o s a d Generator operator: G e s a r CALONGE

On -set Crew 1st assistant directors: MICHAEL FARANDA, R ic a r d o " C a r d in g " D e G u z m a n 2nd assistant directors: T e r e s a J a m i a s , T o d d Fe l l m a n

Françoise Piraud Opticals: Photon Stockman End titles: Optical & Graphics Laboratory: Star Lab (The Philippines); Atlab (Australia) Lab liaison: Rick Hawthorne, Gary Keir, Ian Russell Neg matching: KAREN PSALTIS

3rd assistant directors: L ea n D e V e r a ,

Gauge: 3 5 m m

R o b er t B r o w n

S creen ratio: 1:1.66

Production assistant: R oel M a c a b e n t a

Shooting stock:

KODAK

Kodak Video Post (The Philippines); Videolab (Australia) Off-line facilties: PrePost (The Philippines); En-Cue Productions (Australia)

S cript supervisor:

Print stock:

Carolina Haggstrom Boom operators: DONALD S antos,

Video transfers:

R od C o n d o r Make-up: M a r g a r e t S t e v e n s o n M ake-up assistants: R a m o n C h a n g , N o r m a T o r r e s , S a s h La m e y ,

Government A gency Investment

R em y D esa m pa r d

Production: FFC, Film Queensland

S pecial fx supervisor:

J uan "Gapo" M arbella J nr Special fx: DANTE MARBELLA, Erwin Nebres, Gilbert Danela, J oel Dionlay, J uancho M anaco, Pepito Gellego, Rodolfo Torrente Stunts co-ordinator: RENATO M orato Stunts assistant: Christopher M orado Safety officer: Renato M orado Unit nurses: Regina A. Gariando, Therapea S ervices Still photography: EDWIN Fornoles, Veromnica S ive Unit publicist: A nna W heatley Catering: S moking J esters, Reyneth Lapid Runners: Ryan Heffernan, J un H ollero

A rt D epartment Art director: K en JAMES Assistant art director: A lic e A r g a n o Design assistant: T oto C a st ill o A rt department assistant:

J ennifer W ong Set decorator: REBECCA COHEN Dressers: ARMANDO "B ogs" Raysay, Ramonnic Dao Propsmaster: ALOT MENDIOLA Props buyers: Robert W ood, Daniel M app M oroni, Paul Hurrell Props makers: W alter Chong, Edgar Tamayd, B oy Cartalla Standby props: Harry Zettel Armourer: Lyndon Salvalosa Assistant armourers: NELSON RaCTIS, Eddie Fernandez Action vehicle co-ordinator: B ill D a g u g o d , B oy L ib e r a t o

W ardrobe Wardrobe supervisor: R a m o n La r a A lonzo S tandby wardrobe: Lyn A s k e w

M arketing

Marketing consultant: JANE ALSOBROOK International sales agent: REP International distributor: REP Publicity: Fiona Nix Cast

Jacques Perrin (Pascal), S igrid Thornton (Shelley Kincaid), Gary Sweet (Eddie), J ames Tolkan (Price), B ernadette Lafont (Madelaine), David Clendinning (Charles), Val Victa (Ieng), Dody Lacuna (Keo), Dinna Padilla (Rath), Grant Piro (John), J osua S acro (Kutchai), A lvin Bernales (Ouk). fter fleeing an unhappy marriage, Shelley Kincaid returns to Cambodia to find her brother who has been accused of deserting the army in Vietnam. At a time when the Khmer Rouge are coming to power, Shelley is plunged into a maelstrom of conflicting emotions and dangerous lies.

A

PARADISE ROAD

Production Company: Village Roadshow Pictures Production Office: S ydney Locations: Penang, Port Douglas P rincipal Credits Director: Bruce B eresford Producers: Greg Coûte, S ue M illiken

Graham Burke, A ndrew Yap Scriptwriter: Bruce B eresford Director of photography: PETER JAMES Editor: Tim WELLBURN Production designer:HERBERT Pinter Costume designer: TERRY Ryan Executive producers:

P roduction Crew

W ardrobe assistants: R odolfo " B o y e t "

Unit production manager: A nne Bruning

Neg matching: CHRIS ROWELL Sound mix: D AT S t u d io s S ound design: P a u l A n t h o n y S m it h , L ia m W e st o n Duration: 11 MINS

Casting: Vast - Peter Yates

Cast

Production Crew

A m o s S z e p s ( B o y ), C a m e r o n M c A uliffe

Jacqui Harrison M ia HARGRAVE Financial controller: PETER WHITE Insurer: ClNESURE Legal services: Hart and S pira Travel Co-ordinator: S how Travel

Production manager:

(D a r r e n ), M ic h elle F o r n a s ie r (Y oun g W oman)

Production assistant:

Production:... DECEMBER 1996.

P rincipal Credits Director: G a r y Y oung Producer: T. C. FIELDS

Post-production supervisor:

NESTOR SANTIOYO,

Assistant editor: «AREN FLEMING

P lanning and D evelopment

Production company: T he F il m Fa c t o ry

Post- production

A u d i G a n i b i , S t ev e G o r d o n Electricians:

G len n C l o se

et in World W ar 2 Sumatra, European women imprisoned by the Japanese seek solace from the horror of their imprisonment by forming a vocal orchestra.

young man becomes the symbol of his gender as he tries to deconstruct the female psyche.

A

Executive producer: GARY YOUNG

Camera Crew

Scriptwriter: GARY YOUNG

Camera assistant: D a r r y l W ood

Cast

Camera type: M it ch ell M K II, A rri III

Production company:

Key grip & Motion Control: C h a r lie K ir off

E go T r ip p P r o d u c t io n s

D on B ec h el l i , T ed M il l e r , A l B eq u et t e , R ich G o ye t .

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 thatthere has been a trail of killings of anyone who disturbs the mummy.

M otion Control Electronics: P a t r ic k W a l s h

Pre-production:

On -set Crew

N o v e m b e r 1 9 9 5 -J u n e 1996

A

Helicopter Pilot: T err y

A NICE GUY

P rincipal Credits Director: JAM ES COWEN

A n im a l L ogic Laboratory: Film gauge: 3 5 m m

MOVIE Lab Blow up to

Producer: R a c h e l M c La r e n 70 m m

Executive producers: JAMES COWEN,

( la r g e S c r e e n F o r m a t )

M atth ew P utland

Screen ratio: 1:2.34

Scriptwriter: J a m e s C o w e n

Shooting stock:

KODAK 5245, 5298 Digital Pictures

Director of photography: T im M c G a h a n S ound recordist: M a r k PlDCOCK

Video transfers by:

DUST OFF THE W IN G S

THE INNER SANCTUARY

Production: J uly 1996 Post-production: A u g UST -S e p t e m b e r 1996

3D Animation & Digital Compositing:

on th e f o l l o w in g :

IDIOT BOX

Lee

Post- production

S ee p r e v io u s is s u e s for d e t a il s

HOTEL DE LOVE

DEVILS

Off-line facilities:

Editor: JAM ES COWEN

Network 8 & Digital A rts

Production designer: M a t t h e w P u t l a n d

he Changing Heart is a largeformat film to be screened at the new Desert Life Park & Botanic Gardens near Alice Springs. The film follows the evolution of Central Australia from the beginnings of time until recent history.

T

Costume designer: H ea t h e r P u t l a n d

P roduction Crew Production manager: T a m a r a G erlic Unit manager: B en S t e e n d y k

Camera Crew Camera operator: T o n y O 'L a u g HLAN Camera assistant: S h a n e F letch er Camera type: ARRIFLEX S R 11

Shorts

RED HERRING

On -set Crew 1st assistant director: VERONIQUE GOLLEGE

RIVER STREET

Continuity: TEENA ECONOMIDIS

BOY

ROAD TO NHILL

Production companies: T o m a h a w k

TRUE LOVE AND CHAOS

Special fx make-up: S t e v e n B oyle S pecial fx: M ic h a e l & P eter S p ie r ig S till photography: A a r o n H a r w o o d

P ic t u r e s , S t r e e t w is e F il m s

A rt D epartment

Budget: $15,000

Awaiting Release

P rincipal Credits

Art director: MATTHEW PUTLAND Assistant art director: R a c h e l M c La r e n

Director: G len n F r a s e r

S tandby props: J a n in e N utley

Producer: J u l ia n S a g g e r s

S ee previous issues for details ON THE FOLLOWING:

P ost- production

S criptwriters: C h r is W h eele r , G len n

Film gauge: 16 m m

Fr a s e r

S hooting stock: KODAK 7293

Director of photography: R od T u r n b u l l

CHILDREN OF THE

S ound recordist: R ic h a r d S t r a n g e l o v e

REVOLUTION

Editor: M a r t in C o n n o r

W

hen hell freezes over! A puppet look at life in hell.

Production designer: M a t t h e w B r u n n e r

FIRST STRIKE (FORMERLY the

Language designer: M a r t in E g an

story of c .i .a .)

FLOATING LIFE

Camera Crew Camera assistant: C h r is M a l j e r s Grips: D a m ie n H e c k e n d o r f , G len D a y

LUST AND REVENGE

Gaffer: D erek N ea le

Principal Credits Director: E m m a F r e e m a n

P roduction Crew

UNDER THE LIGHTHOUSE

Production manager: L e o n a r d C o st er

DANCING ZONE 39

Documentary

Unit manager:

ANGELA M a ie r

Production assistant: B rid g et t e G o w e r

On-set Crew 1st assistant director: T o n y D a v is o n

CHANGING HEART

STING PRODUCTIONS

Production: 9 th - 12th A u g u st

Best boy: S h a n e A r m s t r o n g Runner: P a u l E lliott

THE QUIET ROOM

EXILE Production Company:

Producer: W e n d y C o h en

FREEMAN MICHAEL WOOD

S criptwriter: E m m a Director of photography:

Sound recordist: A l an S cott Production designer: B r ia n H oy Costume designer: S t e w a r t L u ke

P roduction Crew

Continuity: JODIE G ero

Production manager: B rid g e t t e C o w e r

M ake-up: S h a r o n O h e n o j a

Production assistant: NICOLE K o u m a n t a k is

S till photography: A n g e l a M a ie r

On -set Crew

Catering: ELISABETH DOUST

1st assistant director: W e n d y C o h en 2nd assistant director: SUSAN PRUGONESKI

Production company:

P ost- production

D ig it a l A r t s F il m & T e l e v isio n

Film stock: E a s t m a n 7298

Continuity: Jo CARMICHAEL

Pre-production: J a n u a r y -F e b r u a r y 1996

Gauge: S u p er 16

Boom operator: KYLE W a r d

N a r S erran o

1st assistant director: COLIN FLETCHER Make-up supervisor: NlKKI GOOLEY

Production: M a r c h - A u g u st 1996

Screen ratio: 1:1.85

M ake-up: C a r m e l W a t k in s

Seamstresses: NlDA Lazard,

M arketing

Post-production:

Equipment hire: L e m a c

P ost-production

N a t i N a t e o , N o r een M a l ib a g o

Distributor: Twentieth Century Fox

S e p t e m b e r - D e c e m b e r 1996

Processing: MoviELAB

Gauge: 3 5 m m

M e d in a , C h r is t e l l e C o r o n e o s ,

On -S et Crew

S u s a n H u n t er Cutters: N o r ber t o " B er t " Y a m b a l l a ,

COT A TIME COPE PROBLEM? YOU NEED A BRAINSTORM! \

Brainstorm SR-15+ Time Code Tool Kit Everything You Need to Reshape, Distribute and Analyse Time Code. a u p i o

s o u n d

c e n t r e

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

fR EE C ALL1800 675 168

69


production Production Survey

Laboratory liaison: SlMON WlCKS, A n t h o s S im o n Gauge: 16 m m S creen ratio: A c a d e m y

continLied

S hooting stock: KODAK 7231

Government A gency I nvestment Cast A n g ie M il l ik e n , C h r is t o p h e r C a B a r d i .

19th Century Queen is confronted by the dilemma of compassion versus obligation of rule.

A

he Lady Gorillas is a down-and-out basketball team from the country town of Goondi, scheduled to play a lean, mean team at the top of the ladder. The Lady Gorillas' coach Graham has no reason to think that once, just for once, the Lady Gorillas might win.

GORILLA GIRLS (a k a La d y G o r il l a s )

HOUSE TAKEN OVER

Production company: F -R eel P/L Budget: $190,000 Pre-production: A p r il 1996 Production: 29/4-9/5/96 Post-production: 15/5/96 ...

Production Company: A xle Films Budget: $185,000 Pre-production: 8-26/7/96 Production: 29/7- 7/8/96 Post-production: 8/8-28/10/96

P rincipal Credits

Principal Credits

Director: F io n a C o c h r a n e

Director: Liz Hughes Producer: KATHY S helper Scriptwriter: Liz Hughes

Producers: F io n a C o c h r a n e , L o u is e H u b b a r d

Production managers: C h ar lo t t e S e y m o u r ,

Based on the story titled "H ouse Taken Over" Written by: J ulio CORTÁZAR Director of photography: M ax Davis Sound recordist: Paul Finlay Production designers: ANNY M okotow, Eric den Hartog Costume designer: A nny M okotow Composer: Paul S chutze

L e v e r n e M c D o n n e ll

Planning and D evelopment

Unit manager: A r p a d M ih a ly

Shooting schedule by: A ndrew M offat Budgeted by: Kathy S helper

Scriptwriter: D ia n n e D e m p s e y Director of photography: M a r t in M c G rath

Sound recordist: C h r is Iz z a r d Editor: D e n is e H a r a t z is Production designer: M a r g a r e t E a st g a t e Composer: Z yd ec o J u m p P roduction Crew

Production: AFC

n ageing brother and sister are deprived of their aristocratic old residence when an unnerving 'presence' takes over, forcing them empty-handed from their home.

Production company: S t r e e t w is e F il m s Budget: $300

Production Crew

Camera Crew

B a r r y K a y ( B illy ' s D a d ), J o h n F l a u s (P u b l ic a n ), J eff B l ak e (W a it e r ), C ra ig C l a r k e ( B oy 1), G r a h a m

Cast

W o r d s w o r t h ( B oy 2).

A n g e la M a ie r (J a n e t ), K r ist i S treet (D ia n a ), C a m e r o n M c A u liffe (D r u n k e n G u e s t )

ive days of the working week can cause a woman to form curious attachments.

F

illy leaves his home in remote Western Tasmania and comes to the city. Belle is an alcoholic country singer on a downhill spiral. Although they never actually meet, their paths cross many times in a single day.

PRICK Production companies:

Priapic Productions; Naked Eye P rincipal Credits Director: CHRISTOPHER STOLLERY Producer: CHRISTOPHER STOLLERY Co-producer: Richard Sydneham Line producer: Rupert Reid Scriptwriter: Richard Sydneham Director of photography:

LEFT LUGGAGE

OTHERZONE Production company: S e r p e n t in e F il m s Budget: $205,000 Post-production: 13/3/96-31/1/97

P rincipal C redits

Director: D a v id C ox Producer: S a r a h Z a d eh Scriptwriter: D a v id C ox Director of photography: P a u l R. C ox Sound recordist: L e o n ie D ic k e n s o n Production designer: G e o r g in a C a m p b e l l Costume designer: L in n e t G ood Composer: O llie OLSEN

1st assistant director: MICHAEL SPARKS

P un nin g and Development

David J ames, Richard Sydneham, M ichelle Fornazier.

P ost- production

Art director: A nny M okotow, Eric den Hartog Art department assistant:

Emmanuel M arshall Standby props: Ian S pence W ardrobe Wardrobe supervisor: A nny MOKOTOW Standby wardrobe: Ruth Bracegirdle Construction Department

(G r a h a m ), M ik e B is h o p (R e g ),

Construction supervisor: Eric DEN Hartog Studios: Fontana Films

H elen M u t k in s ( S o n ia ), P e n n y H a n b y

P ost- production

(K y l ie ), H a n n a h B a r r y (T a n i a ).

Laboratory: Atlab

S h a r i G a t e s (L u c y ), D e n is M oo re

( B elle ), J il l ia n M u r r a y ( B illy ' s M u m ),

Production company: R o a r F il m Budget: $145,000 Production: 11/5-18/5/96 Post-production: 22/5-30/7/96

Helen Clarke

( B r o o k ), D ia n a T a u p e t a (H e s t e r ),

Cast K a n e M c D o n a l d ( B il l y ), H elen J o n e s

areen Ngyen, researcher, has developed the Ameth scarf, a device which enables human souls to be down-loaded and stored. Her murder by Nam Meloque, head of the global telecommunications 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.

K

M ark Rogers

A rt Department

E a s t m a n ( M a r g a r e t ), S h an t i G u d g eo n

Production: A ustralian Film Commission Marketing: A ustralian Film Commission

Cast

M arie Hoy (Zheng), S telarc (Nam M eloque), M ax Fairchild (Cutts), B ruce Naylor (Chicken sticks), Karen Hadfield (Natalie), Jacqueline M itelman (Kareen).

Catering: Edwina S tanham,

Standby wardrobe: J o d ie M c M a h o n

L e v e r n e M c D o n n e l l (J u d y ), M er r id y

Government A gency Investment

W a t e r v ie w P r o d u c t io n s

Assistant editor: ANTHONY DAVISON Sound mix: D A T STUDIOS Sound design: P a u l A n t h o n y S m it h Duration: 3 MINS

Government A gency I nvestment

Jack Tulloch Post- production Sound editor: Neil M cGrath Laboratory: Atlab S ydney Laboratory liaison: A nthos SlMON Film gauge: 16 m m Transfers: COMPLETE POST Editing facilities: The Facility

Best boy: L ee T h o m p k in s o n

1st assistant director: L o u is e H u b b a r d Continuity: J u lie F e d d e r s e n Boom operator: R o d n e y B eu t h in Make-up: S a n d r a R oyce Choreographer: B a s k e t b a l l -

Cast

A nimals

Gaffer: A n d r e w D a le

Gilbert & Tobin

Production: Film VICTORIA (IFF)

W ardrobe Wardrobe: M a r ie F it z g ib b o n

Grip: D a m ie n H e c k e n d o r f

On -set Crew

Government A gency Investment

P ost- production Edge numberer: Oliver Streeton Sound transfers by: Eugene W ilson Sound design: Philip Brophy Animation: David Cox Laboratory: ClNEVEX Film gauge: 35 m m Development:

Gaffers: D a v id P a r k in s o n , G reg R a w s o n

il so n

A rt Department

A ustralian Film Commission Production: Film Victoria (IFF)

Non-linear editing:

Sound transfers by: E u g en e W Mixer: D a v id H a r r is o n Laboratory: ClNEVEX

W ardrobe Wardrobe supervisor: LINNET GOOD

Art director: CORAL TULLOCH Pros: M arie Fitzgibbon

RICHARDS STRANGELOVE

P ost- production

W ardrobe

Kathryn Symmons Catering: Two CAN Do

Construction: JOHN DE LA ROCHE,

Camera assistant:

M oneypenny S ervices

Art director: L o u ise M c C a r t h y Standby props: J o d ie M c M a h o n

A rt D epartment Art director: Georgina CAMPBELL Assistant art director: Paul M acak Armourer: J ohn Fox

Construction D epartment

Insurer: Tony Gibbs, H. W. W oods Legal services: A nn S later,

A rt D epartment

On -set Crew 1st assistant director: CAMERON M ellor Continuity: AUDREY Hutchinson Boom operator: George Goerss Make-up: Vanda Leigh Still photography: J ohn DE LA Roche,

Camera Crew

Key grip: B rett M c D o w ell

1st assistant director: A ndrew M offat Continuity: Jo WEEKS Make-up: Ruth Bracegirdle Technical adviser: Dominic Case Still photography: J uli Balla,

On -set Crew 1st assistant director: Karen M ahood Continuity: Tara Ferrier Make-up: Lloyd J ames Safety officer: Peter Culpan Still photography: ROCCO FASANO Catering: Eat Your Heart Out

Animal handler: Luke Hura, Luke' s Canine & Animal A ctors P/L

Camera type: A a t o n 16 m m L e m a c

On -set Crew

Focus puller: Kieran DOOLAN Clapper-loader: NlCOLE Swann Camera type: A rri "Exquisite" 35 Key grip: FREDDO Dirk Assistant grip: RUSSELL CROWE Gaffer: J im Hunt, A ndy M oore

Sound recordist: K y l a W a r d Composer: P a u l A n t h o n y S m it h Editor: G l en n F r a se r Production designer: S o n ia S hort

P roduction Crew

Safety officer: P eter C u l p a n Still photography: JACQUELINE MlTELMAN Catering: H elen C la r ke Runner: N ic o l a s L ee

Roth W arren

Gaffer: Ted Nordsvan

A n t h o n y D a v is o n

- Gianna Rosica

Camera Crew

Best boy: A dam W illiams Electrician: GRAHAM Brown

Director: G l en n F r a s e r Producers: A n g e la M a ie r , G l en n F r a se r Scriptwriter: G l e n n F r a s e r Director of photography:

Production manager: LiZ W atts Unit manager: A nthea Hodge Production accountant:

M a t t h e w N ic h o l so n

Co

Insurer: H. W. WOOD Legal services: S hana Levine -

Camera Crew

P rincipal Credits

Camera operator: M ax Davis Focus puller: CAROLINE CONSTANTINE Key grip: A dam Good Gaffers: Ian Bosman, David Holmes Best boy: Peter Holland

Production manager: Libby Porter Production co-ordinator: LlSETTA M oscardo Assistant unit manager: BARBARA A gar Production accountant: A lan DREDGE AND

Camera assistant: LAURIE BALMER Key grip: Barry Hansen Assistant grip: Phil S parks

A

INDULGENCE

P roduction Crew

\

Chris Bartlett Insurer: W illis Corroon Richard Oliver P/L Legal services: PiGGOT W ood & Baker Travel co-ordinator: S how Travel

I n g r id M a s o n (I r e n e ).

Camera Crew Focus puller: P eter S tott

P roduction Crew Production manager: Jason Byrne Director's assistant: Guy TAYLOR Producer's assistant: CHRIS TRUSSELOT Production secretary: CAROLINE HEALEY Production assistant: Richard O'Neil,

M a x P h ip p s ( B r o t h e r ),

Legal services: R oth W a r r e n

2nd unit Cam op: K a t h y C h a m b e r s

Kathryn Symmons Budgeted by: Kathryn S ymmons

Cast

Production manager: ELISABETH Doust Location manager: COLLEEN Diamantis Catering: IRENE M aier Gauge: SONY Hl8 Equipment hire: JON M atthews

Insurer: HGA

Shooting schedule by: Cameron M ellor,

Director: S t e p h e n T h o m a s Producer: K a t h r y n S y m m o n s Scriptwriter: S t e p h e n T h o m a s Director of photography: E llery R ya n Sound recordist: GEORGE G o e r s s Editor: J a n e USHER Production Designer: CORAL TULL0CH Composers: J en ANDERSON, M ic h a e l T h o m a s

Pu n n in g and D evelopment Casting: Fa it h M a r t in & A s s o c ia t e s Storyboard artist: CORAL TULL0CH

A ndrew Robertson

P rincipal Credits

Script editor: A d r ia n M a r t in Casting: P ro t o t ype C a s t in g Storyboard artist: D a v id C o x , J ohn P o w er Budgeted by: S a r a h Z a d e h

Sound recordist: ANDREW MACNAULTY Editor: Nash Edgerton Art director: A lice LODGE On -set Crew Continuity: VICTORIA SULLIVAN

Still photography: W

endy

MACD0UGAL

Cast

n the dog-eat-dog post-feminist world of big business, two men fight to survive.

I

COT A TIME CODE PROBLEM? YOU NEED A BRAINSTORM! Brainstorm SR-15+ Time Code Tool Kit Everything You Need to Reshape, Distribute and Analyse Time Code. A U D IO SOUND CENTRE

70

FREECALL1800 675 168 C I N E M A P A P E R S • OCTOBER 1996


TALES FROM AFAR

!

Production company: The A ustralian

i

i

Cinema Ensemble Pre-production: 4/12-12/12/95 Production: 13/12-16/12/95 Post-production: 17/12-31/12/95

\

P rincipal Credits

\

Scriptwriter: Roger S impson Director of photography: Craig Barden Editor: Peter Carrodus Production designer: Tel Stolfo Costume designer: SANDI ClCHELLO P u n n in g and D evelopment

A

A rt D epartment Art director: ANGELO SALAMANCA P ost- production

P ost-production Government A gency Investment

Production: A ustralian Film Commission - Commercial Television Production Fund M arketing

International distributor: Beyond Distribution Pre-sale: Nine Network A ustralia

Off-line facilities: The S alvation A rmy Video Club

Cast

Cast

M arcus Graham (Elvis M aginnis)

Tracey M ahood racey M a h o o d 's account of her life on a cattle station as a jillaroo, and later as a journalist in El Salvador, has passion without prejudice, conviction without bias. Gripping story-telling.

T

Television Production

P rincipal Credits

Director: Geoff B ennett Producers: M ichael Caulfield, S imone North Executive producer: MlKAEL BORGLUND Scriptwriter: Tony Cavanagh Script editor: Louise Home Director of photography: IAN THORNBURN Production designer: Peta Lawson Composer: ROGER M ason

taff in the emergency department of a large hospital have become addicted to the adrenalin rush they experience while dealing with life-anddeath emergencies.

S

GOOD GUYS, BAD GUYS (t e l e - f e a t u r e )

Production company: Beyond/Simpson le M esurier P/L Distribution company: Beyond Distribution Pre-production: 27/5-19/7/96 Production: 22/7/-16/8/96 Post-production: 19/8-1/11/96

Government A gency Investment Development: S.A. Film CORPORATION

hildren's fantasy adventure series.

THE T E R R IT O R IA L (tele - fea tu re )

Director: Rob M archand Producer: Ewan Burnett Executive producers: A ndrew Knight,

S teve Vizard, Rebecca Gibney Scriptwriters: A ndrew Knight, Deb Cox Director of photography: Kim Batterham Sound recordist: J ohn McKERROW Focus puller: Trish Keating Clapper loader: Louise W illiams Production co-ordinators: Kim Travis,

M agnus M ansie Producer's assistant: SUSAN Combey Production secretary: Jana Burn Location manager: TlM S cott Cast

Jacqueline M cKenzie (Catherine), J ohn Polson (Richard), J eremy S ims (Jack), J onathan Firth (Terence), Rebecca Gibney (Heather), J erome Ehlers (Simon), J osephine Byrnes (Anne) 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-nightclubs. In London,they confront sex, destiny, love, failure and varying degrees of success. Kangaroo Palace is their story.

I

SIM O N E DE BEAUVOIR'S BABIES in i-s e r ie s ;

4x60

m in s

)

Production company: ARTIST SERVICES

Network pre-sale: A B C Producer: Denise Patience Director: Kate W oods

( tele - featu re ) Production company: J N P Films

Principal Credits Producer: Hal M cElroy Scriptwriter: JENNIFER Rowe essa Vance and Steve Hayden are opposites in everyway: she 's hyperactive, emotional, a workaholic and a lateral thinker, while he's a laconic, emotionally-repressed, very masculine man with a dry wit and practical streak.

T

Network: Ten P rincipal Credits Director: Dl Drew Producer: Ray A lchin Executive producer: James Davern Scriptwriter: Peter Yeldham Government A gency Investment Commercial Television Production Fund Cast love story between four people and two countries

A

S ee previous issues

for details on:

RETURN TO JUPITER ( series ; 13x 30 m in s ) Production company: Film A ustralia Production: 11/3-14/6/96 Network pre-sale: ABC P rincipal Credits

Directors: Robert Klenner, Paul Faint Producer: Terry JENNINGS Executive producer: Ron SAUNDERS Scriptwriter: DAVID OGILVY Director of photography: Lou IRVING Production designer: Kazuo Sasaki Editor: Chris S purr Other Credits

ACADEM Y

Special effects: PHOTON STOCKMAN

BEAST

Government A gency Investment Production: FFC

BEVERLEY HILLS

Cast

FAMILY ROBINSON

T

3-4 EVER ( m

Production company: SOUTHERN STAR Distribution company: Nine NETWORK Production: JANUARY 1997

Production: 15/4/96-11/5/96

he story of a young Aboriginal policeman and the city detective he is forced to work with while investigating a series of murders in the outback.

BLINKY BILL'S EXTRAORDINARY EXCURSION

Production company:

J ustin Rosniak, A nna Choy, Robyn M cKenzie, Daniel Taylor, M itchell M cM ahon ive children set off a moon of Jupiter and encounter many adventures along the way.

F

G.P.

i n i - s e r ie s )

Vertigo Productions/Fandango

Other Credits

W H IP P IN G BOY

Rebecca Gibney

Robert B runing Productions Network presale: SEVEN

Commercial Television Production Fund

(m

he orphaned Danny, Paulie 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.

MURDER CALL ( series ; 26x 55 m in s )

T

Production company:

Production company: A rtist S ervices

P rincipal C redits

Director: Steve J odrell Producers: Roger S impson, Roger Le M esurier, Ros Tatarka Executive producers: MlKAEL BORGLUND, Kris Noble Associate producer: A ndrew W alker

( s e ries )

( m in i - ser ies ) P rincipal Credits

Commercial Television Production Fund

Sound editor: Peter D. S mith Mixer: PETER D. SMITH Mixed at: S.A. Film Corporation

Production company: Film A ustralia Network presale: Nine Production: 5/96-3/97 Principal Credits Director: NOEL PRICE Producer: Noel Price Executive producer: Ron Saunders Associate producer: ZOE WANG Scriptwriters: M ark S hirrefs,

C

KANGAROO PALACE

G overnment A gency Investment

Edward M cQueen-M ason

Production: 9/4/96-14/5/96 Principal Credits Director: M ichael Offer Producer: Robert Bruning Scriptwriter: Ted Roberts Government A gency Investment

[Selected Entries Only.]

Production company: Liberty/Beyond Distribution company: Beyond Production: 14/6-12/11/96

Cast

Gary S weet.

Heather M itchell

E

(t e l e - f e a t u r e )

P ost-production Post-production supervisor:

Director of photography: Danny BATTERHAM Production designer: NICHOLAS M cCallum Costume designer: JULIE MIDDLETON Editor: PlPPA ANDERSON Government A gency Investment Production: FFC, Film Victoria Cast

lvis M aginnis comes from a dubious family background and the fact he's a former cop only makes matters worse. It's hard to tell the Good Guys from the Bad Guys anymore. But then again, perhaps it always was.... Good Guys, Bad Guys. Nothing is what it seems.

ADRENALIN JUNKIES

group of women in their thirties make a pact to have children.

J ohn Thomson

Laboratory: ClNEVEX

Video gauge: Hl8 Screen ratio: 1.1.35

Principal Credits

Producers: Sandra Levy, J ohn Edwards

OFTHE DRAGON LORD

Peter Hepworth Director: A ngelo S alamanca Casting: Kelly O'S hea Producer: The S alvation A rmy Casting consultants: Liz M ulunar Casting Executive producer: A ngelo SALAMANCA i Consultants Director of photography: B ryson SHERWOOD ] Budgeted by: Ros Tatarka Sound recordist: B ryson S herwood P roduction Crew Editor: Nadia Cossictt Production manager: SUE EDWARDS Production designer: ANGELO SALAMANCA Production accountant: MARGOT Brock P u n n in g and D evelopment Insurer: Rollins Hudig Hall Researcher: A ngelo SAUMANCA Completion guarantor: Film Finances Inc Camera operator: BRYSON SHERWOOD Camera assistants: M ajor J oe W ilcox, J ohn Griffin

W ardrobe Wardrobe supervisor: Ruth MUNRO

SPELLBINDER II: THE LAND

Script editors: JUTTA GOETZE,

Camera Crew

Scriptwriter: DEBORAH Cox Script editor: JUTTA GOETZE

HALIFAX F.P. THE W A YN E MANIFESTO

SR L

Distribution company:

HOUSE GANG

SBS (Aust) RAI Uno (Italy) Budget: $3.2 MILLION

( series ; 26x 25 m in s )

KLINE'S BOTTLE

PACIFIC DRIVE

Production company: ARTIST SERVICES Production: 24/6-20/12/96 Network pre-sale: A B C Distribution company: SOUTHERN STAR

PLACE OF THE DEAD

Directors: Paul M aloney, S ophia

Pre-production: 3/6/96 ... Production: 30/7/96 ... Post-production: 23/9/96 ...

NEIGHBOURS

P rincipal Credits

P rincipal Credits Director: Franco Di Chiera Producer: David ÜGHTF00T Co-producer: Jane Ballantyne Executive producers: Rolf De Heer,

PLASMO POLICE RESCUE

Domenico Procacci Scriptwriters: J im Carrington, M aura Nuccatelli Sound recordist: Des Kenealy Editor: Edward M cQueen M ason Production designer: Ian J0BS0N Composer: Graham Tardif

THE SILVER BRUM BY SWEAT TABALUGA: THE LITTLE GREEN DRAGON US AND THEM

P lanning and Development Script editors: Rob George, David Farrell Casting: A udine Leith Shooting schedule by: David Lightfoot Budgeted by: David Lightfoot

On -set Crew 1st assistant director: David W olfe-Barry Continuity: JULIE FEDDERSEN Make-up: B everly Freeman

Other Credits Script editor: Galia Hardy Production manager: SHARON MILLER Government A gency Investment Production: FFC, Film Queensland

WATER RATS

Cast

W HITE LIES

Production Crew Production manager: S cott M cDonald Production co-ordinator: Heather M uirhead Location manager: Nadine S choen

Turkiewicz, Ian W atson, David Cameron, Steve M ann Producer: A lan Hardy Executive producer: Ewan B urnett Scriptwriter: David M cRobbie Director of photography: M ark W areham Production designer: M ichael Ralph

Television series BIG SKY ( series ; 26x 55

m in s )

Production company: SOUTHERN S tar Xanadu Distribution company: NETWORK Ten

J effrey Walker (Wayne), Nick W aters (Dad), Rainee S kinner (M um), Cassandra M acgrath (Charlene), Brooke Harman (Rosie), Tracy Louise S mith (Violet). welve-year-old W ayne W ilson stumbles into funny and embarrassing situations and singlehandedly makes them worse.

T

COT A TIME CODE PROBLEM? YOU NEED A BRAINSTORM! Brainstorm SR-15+ Time Code Tool Kit Everything You Need to Reshape, Distribute and Analyse Time Code. A U D IO SOUND CENTRE CI NEMA PAPERS • O C T O B E R 1 9 9 6

f REECALL1800 675 168 71


AUSTRALIAN MOVIES LEAD'THE PACK • ETOTH SCHEStlNGER AND T,HE RO CK SP-LIT THE CRIl-ICS t 1 t Angels and Insects 8

P h i l i p H ass

B itter H erbs and H on ey M o n iq u e S c h w a r t z

The Cable Guy

7

B e n S c h il l e r

C old C o m fo rt F arm J

S c h l e s in g e r

ohn

T h e Confessional R o be r t L epa ge

T h e C o o lb aro o Club R o g e r S ch oles

T h e C raft David W illiam son’s Brilliant Lies R ic h a r d F r a n k l in

Eye F o r An Eye S c h l e s in g e r

ohn

Girl 6 S p ik e L e e

Independence Day R o l a n d E m m e r ic h

Jan e Eyre F ra n co Z e f f ir e l l i

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Love and O th er C atastrophes E

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* Martin writes: "Critic mythologised in film."

A panel o f eight film reviewers has rated a selection of the latent releases on a scale of 0 to 10, the latter being the optimum rating (a dash meant! not seen). The critics are: B i l l C o llin s (F x on Foxtel); B a r b a r a C re e d (The Age); S a n d r a H a l l (The Sydney M orning Herald); S t a n J a n ie s (The Adelaide Advertiser); A d r ia n M a r t in (The Age; "The Week in F ilm ”, Radio N ational); T o m R y a n (The Sunday Age); and E v a n W illia m s (The A ustralian). NB: P a u l H a r r is has gone AW O L; D a v id S tra t to n is overseas.

72

CI NEMA PAPERS • O C T O B E R 1 9 9 6


Twister

Thorn Birds Halifax FP

Striptease

Law of the Land

Nutty Professor MARK

Singapore Sling

The Cable Guy

Frontline

Mission Impossible

Liftoff II

Shine

Home & Away

River Street

Colombo

COSI

Spellbinder

Brilliant Lies

Matlock

Children of the Revolution

Cracker

Lillian's Story

Conspiracy

Jack

Beaurepairs TVCs

Matilda

Courage Under Fire Casino Batman Forever Braveheart Speed Pulp Fiction

The best in digital editing for features, episodic television, m ulti cam era, documentaries, commercials, music videos, and information programming.

A Country Practice Q AN TASTVC The Late Show Skytrackers Funky Squad Discover Australian W ines

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The Cosby Mysteries


1 ill

IU111UKKU111, you could see a now golden age of film making. A time when images float free from the imagination. When there are fewer boundaries between dreams and reality. A time when what you can see; you can accomplish. And now there is a new family of films on the horizon. Beginning with fast Kodak Vision 500T and lower contrast Kodak Vision 3Z0T film. These new color negative products take everything Kodak knows about making film and puts it in a golden can. They provide everything you depend on in Kodak films, but with sharpness and grain youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll find incredible. Kodak Kodak Vision is the new gold standard in motion picture film. Uncompromising quality. Uncompromising consistency. To set your imagination free. CAPTURE YOUR VISION.

Kodak, Eastman, Vision and T-Giain are trademarks.

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Cinema Papers No.112 October 1996  

Cinema Papers No.112 October 1996  

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