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Product Placement. There’s more to it than meets the eye. Stephan Elliot. A roller coaster career. Tackle Happy. A diary of naked shenanigans on tour. Grunge Movies. Getting down, getting dirty. Barry Divola, Olivia Rousset, Maya Stange, Adrian Martin, Madeleine Swain, Paul Harris. 9770311363019

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Blockbusters. Joe Queenan can barely contain his excitement now the REAL movie season has arrived.

40.Film Chopper Angst Tackle Happy Judas Kiss

Film Festival Preview Special: Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Barry Divola’s handy hints for navigating the celluloid onslaught. N ijinsky Dances Again. Michaela Boland goes on location in Adelaide with Paul Cox’s latest project.

44.R eading You Aint Heard Nothin’ Yet The Unruly Life of Woody Allen My Movie Business Taxi Driver Screenwriting. A Manual Magnolia The Shooting Script Reel Resource 2000 Film Architecture From Metropolis to Blade Runner

46. Video Gravesend LA Without a Map The Last Yellow Cirque du Soleil - Quidam


Product Placem ent. Mike Houghton finds there is more to product placement than meets the eye.


Grunge M ovies. Adrian Martin gets down and dirty and discovers a new Australian film does good grunge.


The Interview . Michaela Boland rides into Stephan Elliot’s roller coaster career.


Tackle Happy. A diary of naked shenanigans penned by Simon Morley of Puppetry of the Penis during the troupe’s round Australia tour.


47. DVD Birdy Blue Streak The 7th Voyage of Sinbad 1

05.E ditorial. 06.N ew sfront. Industry news 08.Fresh Air. Letters and your email reports. 19.The G etting of W isdom . Maya Stange argues no-one’s got anything to say and no-one can hear them anyway. 23.The Box. Paul Harris defends research and development. 34.To M arket,To M arket. Robert Slaviero reckons the wogs have arrived. 39.Snapshot. Olivia Rousset reviews Cannes entrant Stop. 49.Supplem ent. Buying a digicam. 54.GST. Checklist for TV and film producers. 55.lnProduction. What’s going on in the industry? 58.The Sum Of Us. Local reviewers rate releases.

Fox Studios Australia P rojects p as t, p re s e n t a n d fu tu re

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Ill» - B For further information please contact Studio Operations. Driver Ave M oore Park NSW 1363 Australia. Tel 61 2 9383 4135 Fax 61 2 9383 4007 www.foxstudios.com.au






















































Welcome to Wood Wood


->The festivus issue: as Seinfeld fans w ill recognise, festivus is


the Christmas you celebrate when you don’t believe in Christ


but want to get in on the fun regardless.


For this issue we've appropriated the tag to encompass the

robdtdniche.com.au GLENN A MOFFATT

general jolliness surrounding the arrival of both the winter


blockbusters and arthouse film festival season. Point being: get



into it, even if it’s your first time.


Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane film festivals. He has gone

Non-believer Barry Divola has done a full investigation of the


beyond the palaver to find the festivals’ hottest treats.


Nobody requires guidance through the blockbusters. From the


box office bonanza that was Gladiator, to John Woo’s take on


email: subscriptionsldniche.com.au


the Mission Impossible franchise, we now await the release of The Patriot and The Perfect Storm, among others. As the exhibition sector switches into high gear it’s worth noting these titles have more in common than almighty box office clout. They all have close links with the Australian production industry.


An industry sufficiently robust to nurture the on-screen talents of Russell Crowe [Gladiatori, and Mel Gibson and Heath Ledger (who portray father and son in The Patriot) before their transition to Hollywood. An industry sufficiently sophisticated to produce the immensely talented cinematographer John Seale (Oscar winner for The English Patient) and editor Richard Francis-Bruce (three-time Oscar nominee for The Shawshank Redemption, Se7en and A ir Force One). Seale and Francis-Bruce worked under director Wolfgang Petersen on The Perfect Storm. Due for release in July, The Perfect Storm, about a boat in a big storm, stars George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg. Then there’s M:l-2 which was shot in and around Sydney during 1999. M:l-2 was action director John Woo’s first experience of working in Australia and it was a troubled shoot. Cinematographer Andrew Lesnie, was eventually replaced by American Jeffrey Kimball after his expertise was found to be ‘with a different film technology than the one Woo was using on M:l-Z: that’s according to a Fairfax newspaper report, in which the normally very gracious director was critical of the work ethic and expertise of Australian crews. Woo told journalist Phillip McCarthy that Australia had great potential to become a second Hollywood, but essentially we had a long way to go. By virtue of using the Fox Studios, M:l-2 was eligible for the payroll tax rebates which formed part of the original deal signed by the New South Wales Government when the studios were first proposed. A handy advantage, especially when domestic production does not appear to be enjoying the spoils which are supposed to flow from increased international production.


Director Stephan Elliot said as much during an interview for this issue of Cinema Papers. And with persistently soft international sales and local box office languishing under 5 percent, we’ve got a long way to go, baby. Michaela Boland


Dog's The Dish. Arthouse distributor Sharmill Films w ill distribute Paul Cox's Serenades and Nijinsky, which is currently in production. Following its profitable post-completion purchase of The Wog Boy, Twentieth Century Fox has secured Australian distribution rights to Shirley [Love ■

Serenade) Barrett's comedy a ’A

*C 1 |

Walk The Talk. BVI general manager Alan Finney said the current trend towards filmmakers

to showcase underground films,

financing projects independently, then

including several rejected by MIFF,

securing distribution upon completion,

MUFF w ill run from July 20-26. The

was a safer option for distributors. The

Complete Post on the move After 20 years in the post production

program w ill include new titles

risk is transferred to filmmakers who

MUFF takes on MIFF

can then request a higher price which distributors are willing to pay if they

Melbourne's Lumiere cinema has

see value in the film.

launched a parallel event to the

business Melbourne's Complete Post has opened a facility in the Sydney suburb of Darlinghurst.

Ushering in the digital era

soft porn opus Pearls Before Swine _L -and a retrospective of Australian films including the cult grunge movies

Melbourne international Film festival

Pure Shit [1975) and Going Down

called MUFF - the Melbourne

(1983). Organisers are currently

Underground Film Festival. Designed

seeking “approved event” status from the Office of Film and Literature

With Flame, Digital Studio, and Avid suites available, the push into Sydney

including Richard Wolstencraft's flat

Classification, to screen

Star Wars: Episode 2 w ill be shot

was driven by market forces and what

using predominantly filmless cameras

unclassified titles.

the company calls "logical

when it commences production at

Cinema manager Paul Caultier says

progression and growth” .

Sydney's Fox Studios in June.

Meanwhile, computer graphic artist

According to a report in Screen

Daryl Munton has returned from LA to

International, utilising six 24-frame

oversee the company's new in-house

high definition Sony camcorders w ill

3D computer graphic imaging

save director George Lucas time by

department in Melbourne. After

eliminating the need to transfer large

several years spent working at

amounts of film footage into a digital

Rhythm and Hues, Industrial Light and

format for post production.

Magic, and Sony Imageworks, Munton

Meanwhile, Kodak is hoping to

says, “Working on films of the scale of

capitalise on extensive exposure

Contact and Star Wars, The Phantom

through product-placements of its

Menace has been a great experience. I

digital cameras in Mission Impossible:

m liliii


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MUFF w ill be “a tribute" to MIFF which has been distinguished by a lack of critical discourse in recent years. With a Freudian slip he says, "They should be stroked it’s happening.”


'Say goodnight to Uncle Chop' Palace Films is planning to release 120 prints of Andrew Dominik's

I B B B f i : vM M

directorial debut, Chopper, about the

look forward to the day when

2[MI:2). The marketing exercise, with

Complete Post can deliver on a project

an advertising campaign featuring

like that. It may take a while but that’s

Ml:2 star Tom Cruise, is designed to

the master plan.”

usher Kodak digicams into the

released, through arthouse cinemas

mainstream consumer market.

and multiplexes, in Victoria and

life of notorious criminal Mark H m B

"Chopper" Read. The greatest


concentration of prints w ill be

Tasmania, (see review p.40)

Local film s secure distributors Buena Vista International (BVI) has made its first foray into domestic distribution with the recent purchase of director Vince Giarrusso's Mailboy.

AND. . . 1



Village has re-opened its showcase

B e s t pRooocr p l a c e m e n t Of

T o M C A u iS E




P lC T y f l t '

Produced by Fiona Eagger (Romper Stomper), Mailboy screened in

t o

. . .



Rivoli re-opens


Directors' Fortnight at Cannes. It was

cinema in the Melbourne suburb of Camberwell. Built in 1940, the Rivoli has been owned by the Village Roadshow group of companies for several decades. It re-opened as an eight-screen

financed as a SBS/Showtime million

multiplex in May without any obvious

dollar movie. BVI, which has secured

Village branding.

domestic theatrical and video

National marketing manager for

distribution, is planning to release

Village cinemas, Anthony Goldman,

theatrically in Victoria and New South

says the decision to emphasise the

Wales ahead of the other states.

Rivoli brand, which entailed

Roadshow, distributor of The Castle,

designing unique carpet, fittings and uniforms from other Village Cinemas,

has taken up what is believed to have been a 'first look' option on Working


“I get paid because I’m worth it”: Tom Cruise in response to questioning whether US$20 million per film was a fair asking price. He added, “ and they should pay me that much.”

was about capitalising on the Rivoli’s strong name in the surrounding area.

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funding, has bought five feature scripts for development and has long

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term plans to build a studio facility in



Melbourne. The company's key executives are

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Ronald Flynn (CEO and executive



producer), Joseph R Porche (chairman



and executive producer) and Keith A


Formerly American-based, Flynn claims a producers' credit for the 1997 _____!_':i\m:>4ìs?An telemovie Trials of Life and said he financed / Know What You Screamed Last Summer. The company was named ‘Gold Coast' after the company heads visited Australia and found, “there is so much gold here,” Flynn said.


The name also resonates in the US where California is the real gold coast. Flynn added that Australia was awash .GRAND'PRIZE

with skilled and available crew, DPROÇTECHNIQU —

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Guyot (associate executive producer and production affiliate).


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technicians and actors, but local filmmakers were not sufficiently aware of the international

Productions but does not dismiss outright the possibility of working with them. Flynn said he was, "very confident in a distribution deal with Joel". According to Flynn the company is not looking for investors because finance is already in place and two features w ill be in production by August. "The financials are the easiest part of what we do. The hardest part is finding the right players." The Director, a $5 million feature length re-make of Patrick Hughes' short film of the same name, is due to commence production mid-June, with casting to commence early June.

marketplace and too reliant on

Hughes is currently working on the

government grants, to take full

second draft of the script, on which



advantage of the situation.

E n in g e n , f l |

in t h e mood for love

Under the headline “Three high fliers who have contact with all the stars" the company brochure lists names including Tina Turner, Stevie Wonder,



Aaron Spelling, and local industry

Flynn w ill seek Pearlman’s advice. "We've just finished the first draft. At the end I absolutely wanted more, we’d like to see more happen within that 90 minutes," Flynn said.

figures BVI Australian managing CAMERA

director Alan Finney and Joel Pearlman from Village Roadshow.

Let the Games Begin

"These are the people that we feel have some really good pull here in

It might be school holidays in New

Australia," said Ronald Flynn.

South Wales but the Olympic period

“There's a lot of big people working

(September 15 through October 1)

with us it's just a matter of getting it

is shaping up to be an anxious time

started up."

for exhibitors and distributors.

Finney, who did not attend the launch,

Research from Atlanta in 1996

turned down a position on the Gold

shows entertainment pursuits,

Coast Productions board and has no

including video rental and cinema

formal association with the company.

box office, dropped off drastically

Pearlman also has no formal

during the first Olympic week and picked up marginally during the

association with Gold Coast

second as people became bored watching TV. August is traditionally a popular month to release Australian films,

J _'¥ì '-'u> V ’jV ? J~<i J ; ;ifL Ü L iiT i 'T

after they have premiered in the Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane

m m sm ? _ _

festivals, but leading into the Olympics could truncate a film ’s season.

Local Cannes Stop, a short film made in

Gold Coast Productions A Melbourne Company

At presstime Roadshow was planning to release M r Accident (Yahoo Serious) and UIP is scheduled to release The

Queensland, was the only Australian

Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle

film to be selected for official

Melbourne is home to a new feature

(Rene Russo) and The Road to El

competition at Cannes

film production company following the

Dorado (Chevy Chase) on September

(see review p.39).

launch of Gold Coast Productions in

14. With El Dorado releasing in New

Mailboy [d. Vince Giarrusso) screened

early May. The company, which claims

South Wales a week earlier than the

at Cannes in Directors’ Fortnight.

to have $48.5 million in investment

other states, on September 7. CINEMA PAPERS JUNE / JULY 2000 [7 ]

mail-> Filn »an any'

|§ || ped


Kim Dalton

ila'ip Miller

emaii->Emails from Cannes wal reel ie si

thews and Rod Bishop, its covi

roversies on the way. Please be nanimous arid kind enough to -einstate the founding credits of Sr Peter andmyself. After allrwithoi you wouldn't have the tradition to] carry on. Good luck opthe good si

yhflippe Mora

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Natalie M iller owns the Longford Cinema and Sharmill Pilms, is co' Cinema Nova an

Shane McKechnie

Specialist Courier & Freight Services to the Film & Television Industry •

L o c a l • In te r s ta te • In te r n a tio n a l (A ir, R o a d , S e a , R a il) • T r u c k H ir e , C o n ta in e r H ir e • C u s to m s C le a r a n c e • P a c k in g , C r a tin g & S to r a g e • C a r n e ts • O n S ite C o -o r d in a tio n & A f t e r H o u r s A s s is t a n c e

Ph: (02) 9666 9699 Fax: (02)96666906 Mobile: 0418 611799 Email: mckechni@ozemail.com.au

ScreenSound Australia, the National Film and Sound Archive, is the

publicity material. We also deliver a range of professional technical

treasure house of Australian audiovisual history. ScreenSound collects

services such as in-house video, audio and B&W film restoration and

and cares for Australia's moving images and sound, dating from


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Many film makers also deposit copies of their materials with us,

We make this footage available for all Australians to share. Contact

knowing they will be stored in the best possible conditions.

ScreenSound if you are searching for that special part of Australia's

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See the 380,000 items on our website www.screensound.gov.au.

T here a r e S c r e e n S o u n d A u s t r a l ia O ffice s o r A c c e s s C e n t r e s in m o s t c a p it a l c i t i e s . Canberra:



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Access Centres in other cities - check the website www.screensound.gov.au. Email: enquiries@screensound.gov.au

P r o u d l y p r e s e r v i n g A u s t r a l i a ' s S c r e e n a n d S o u n d H e r i t a ge

->When the average person thinks how much fun it would be to work as a film critic, he invariably forgets that film critics have to go see movies like Magnolia. One frigid day in January, I finally broke down and bought a ticket to see the latest over-praised film by the director of Boogie Nights. Since the Academy Awards were fast approaching, since Paul Thomas Anderson's film was likely to be nominated for a few honours, and since the friend 1was with had no interest in Galaxy Quest, I figured I’d blow off an afternoon

After a crop of long and bleak films, Joe Queenan is ready for entertainment

and take in a film I otherwise had no interest in ever seeing. When the ticket taker outside the screening room handed back my torn stub, I said that I had an important meeting that evening and didn't want to miss my train and needed to know what time the film ended. He said that it ended at 6.30pm. It was then 2.50pm, scant minutes before show time. I asked the young man if he was joking, and he said no, he was not. So I dropped the ticket stub on the floor, left the theatre and went home. Right then and there I decided that I didn't want to be a film critic any more. I am not going to blame Paul Thomas Anderson or his interminable film for the decision I reached that day. Other directors (Oliver Stone, Mike Leigh, whoever directed The Green Mile) and other interminable films [The Hurricane, The Cider House Rules, Topsy-Turvy, On Any Given Sunday] also contributed to my decision. This was something that

I above: Scenes from The Patriot featuring Mel Gibson and Heath Ledger as father and son.

had been building up for years on end, as films got longer and longer, with less and less reason for being so. At last I could take it no more. So I stopped going to the movies. In all honesty, I must admit that I stop going to the

I .

movies all the time. Born into a family much given to apocalyptic, but ultimately half-hearted, pronouncements (“ I’Ll never vote for that weasel Nixon again!" "That's the last time I root for those bums!"), I frequently issue public announcements to the effect that I w ill never shop in a particular store again, that I have accepted a phone call from such and such a person for the very last time, that my work w ill never again grace the pages of this or that underhanded, cheap, immoral, late-paying, badly designed, back-stabbing worm-ridden publication. Sometimes I keep these promises. Sometimes I don’t. In the case of motion pictures, I decided three years ago that I would not set foot in the cinema again until Hollywood stopped making Meg Ryan movies. But then Donnie Brasco came out of Hollywood and I reneged on my promise. Two years ago, Movieline dared me to stop seeing American movies for the rest of my life, limiting my cultural intake to foreign movies. I took up the gauntlet and spent the next two weeks watching French movies about frigid [10] CINEMA PAPERS. JUNE / JULY 2000

Disposable films like Gladiator and The Patriot and M.7-2 form a sort of cultural litmus test, separating those who genuinely love movies from those who go to see them as a sort of cultural chore.

Topsy-Turvy is as fine a movie about the making of The Mikado as any of us are likely to ever see - they do not generate much excitement among the general populace because so few people go to see them, and because most of the people who do go to

kleptomaniacs and Chinese films about sexually

knitting. In the US serious, thoughtful, emotionally

see them are the kinds of people who don’t really

repressed Beijing park police. By the time that

wrenching, unwatchable movies are always released

like movies.

ordeal was over, I was literally prostrate in front of

in the fall and winter so that they can get their

Disposable films like Gladiator and The Patriot and

the cineplex ticket office, begging the cashier to let

Academy Award nominations. The winter is the time

M.7-2 form a sort of cultural litmus test, separating

me see The Avengers, even though I knew it would

of year when everyone in Hollywood tries to pretend

those who genuinely love movies from those who go

suck beyond belief. My latest attempt to permanently secede from the

that they are in The Cider House Rules or The

to see them as a sort of cultural chore.

English Patient business, when everyone knows that

The question of whether these movies are any good

cinephilic subculture lasted roughly four months. In

they are actually in the Adam Sandler and Meg Ryan

or not is entirely beside the point; what matters is

that time, I saw only one film - the earnest but wan

business. At least, that’s where all the money comes

that their release officially confirms the opening of the Movie-going Season, during which Good w ill

Wonder Boys - which did not make me feel like my


self-imposed exile from the movie house was a

There is something lugubrious about the fall and

invariably triumph over Evil, the good-looking guy

foolish decision. Then came Gladiator.

winter movie season, and not just because that’s

w ill get the great-looking girl, and Tom Cruise w ill

Because I have a 13-year-old boy and am, in fact, a

when Woody Allen releases his films. It is more a

once again be cast in the correct role.

13-year-old-boy, I saw Gladiator a minute-and-a-

general sense that 'Real Hollywood’ has gone off

By the end of the summer, after a blitzkrieg of John

half after it was released. Although it is not much

somewhere on sabbatical to get next year’s flashy

Travolta and Jim Carrey movies, we w ill all again be

better than the gladiator movies I saw as a child, a

summer models ready, and in the meantime

ready for something a bit less frothy, and once again

kind of pro-pagan Ben-Hur, Gladiator is the type of

everyone w ill have to make do with films about the

films like Magnolia w ill surface. At which point, I will

ebulliently silly film that always opens the official

unmaking of a marriage or the making of The

again make my annual vow to never go to the movies

movie season, when Hollywood gets back to its

Mikado. Even when these films are good - and

again. Until Gladiator II gets released. • CINEMA PAPERS. JUNE / JULY 2000 [11]


>W hat the hell is i film festival meant to be in 2000? We’re living in an era where Pamela Anderson hypes her Barb Wire movie in Cannes, and “out of competition” can mean that any old blockbuster gets a look-in. Meanwhile, Sundance, originally an alternative venue for filmmakers, is becoming establishment, a one-stop shop for the moguls arid scenesters. Now satellite tests such as Slamdance claim to be the new voice of “true alternative”, whatever that is. At the same time, films as smart and lyrical as American Beauty, as inventive and off-the-wall as Being John Malkovich, and as breathlessly audacious as Magnolia have hit the multiplexes. And don’t forget that last year a pseudo­ documentary style horror movie that was shot on shaky digital video, and cost leas than $100,000 to make, took over 200 million dollars worldwide. > In this sort of world, wherem any of the lessens taught by independent film have been absorbed by the bigger fish in the pond, where should film festival films be pitched? Sex, drugs and rock’n’roll? > O K , that’s an exaggeration. But if film festivals plastered these words across their advertising, maybe they’d havetg .. start turning crowds away and choosing bigger venues, in 2000 Australian film festivals aren’t havens of sticky carpet, used needles and discarded ear plugs, but they wouldn’t exactly be hauled up before consumer affairs if they trumpeted the racier, rockier, and... um... reefier material they have on offer. And believe me, they are on offer. « [12 ] CINEMA PAPERS. JUNE / JU.Ly.2000

-^If you haven’t been getting much sex lately, then buy a ticket and watch other people do it, or at the very least talk about it a lot. Both Better Than Sex (staring David Wenham and Susie Porter and opening at the Sydney festival,) and A Pornographic Affair (S,M,B) are about a man and a woman who get together through lust but find their relationship turns into something else entirely. Although the latter is French, don’t go expecting a Betty Bluestye bonk-fest - the two characters talk to the camera a lot, but we hardly ever venture into the hotel room where the deed is done. The real steam among this year's sex-related films is issuing from the documentary department, where at least three films focus on the porn industry. In a way, it's a case of fiction creating a buzz for fact. 1997’s Boogie Nights pre-empted the interest, and with Wadd (M - see below) we get to see inside the real world of John C. Holmes, on whom Mark Wahlberg's well-endowed Dirk Digglerwas loosely based. The Other Hollywood (S) throws a wide net over the porn industry. "It's like a big, super-dysfunctional family", says one participant, summing up the strange dynamics in a place where "double penetration" is a term heard on location more often than “cut". At 7:30 in the morning you're up and on the set," says an actrine called Chloe. "At 9:30 you're having anal sex." Infections, enemas, and AIDS tests are all discussed matter-of-factly, and a huge range of characters is introduced, from distressingly bright-eyed ingenues to cynical old-timers who can see the reality of their situation. It’s hard to know who deserves more sympathy, or pity, or derision, depending on your bent. One thing’s for sure, you won't be (ahem!) rooting for director/actor Max Hardcore, a thoroughly abominable piece of work who couldn't spell misogyny, but certainly is a master of it. Whereas The Other Hollywood is encyclopaedic on its subject, The Girl Next Door (M,B) chooses to focus on just one person, Stacy Valentine, and follows her story from unhappy Oklahoma housewife to porn queen. She sees her career as a get-out-ofjail-free card from a bad marriage, and claims that it's not the money that primarily attracted her to porn, but the fact that she is very good at sex. She looks like a Barbie doll that has become grotesquely over-inflated in all the appropriate places, and although the phrases "bim" and "bo" tend to align themselves from the outset, there's a certain

Better Than Sex (top); A Pornographic Affair (bottom left); and Boogie Nights, which pre-empted the interest in porn.

Skin flicks

sadness to her brittle bravado. Warning: don't view this one after a heavy meal, as in-your-face footage of cosmetic surgery is not conducive to good digestion. •

Wadd: The Life and Times of John C. Holmes > lt’s just as well Paul Thomas Anderson didn’t decide to do a straight biopic of porn actor John C. Holmes when he made Boogie Nights, because the true story is almost too hard to believe. You would think there’s enough of a tale in a guy who became a pioneer and virtual pop star of the adult film business, largely thanks to his 13 and a half inch penis. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. Wadd, named after one of Holmes’ best known characters, Johnny Wadd, will keep you shaking your head in bewilderment as one revelation is peeled away to reveal another. Unless you’re very familiar with the genre - and scout’s honour, I’m not - this will be a real eye opener. Holmes’ story has enough twists and turns for ten people - abusive family, the strangest of marriage situations, porn stardom, drug addiction, pimping, burglary, implication in murder, contraction of HIV. Meticulously told by an Altman-esque cast of colourful characters ranging from those involved in the porn game to LA police detectives, you can’t help but think it’s all been fabricated, like one of the many tall tales Holmes used to tell. Instead, you’re left marvelling at the fact that this skinny, moustachioed guy who happened to be blessed in the trouser department, survived as long as he did. It’s a testament to Wadd that by the end of the film, Holmes’ dick has faded into the background, and it’s the man’s story that leaves you astounded. • CINEMA PAPERS. JUNE / JULY.2000 [1 3 ]

->There are not quite so many drugs on offer among this year’s crop of films, but a couple of them definitely revel in the culture. Who would you get to narrate the story of marijuana’s troubled history with criminalisation? Willie Nelson or Cheech and Chong could have done the job handsomely, but noted herb-fancier Woody Harrelson got the gig on Grass (S,M,B). His narration style is flat and featureless - perhaps he was, you know, really getting in character - but the subject matter is a rich blend of stuff. It’s obvious where the film-maker’s allegiances lie on the decriminalisation issue, but they don’t have to argue their case to legalise it at all, as the airing of anti-weed propaganda over the years is so histrionic and hilarious. From the pulpy hysteria of Reefer Madness to Ronald and Nancy Reagan's freaky "Just Say No” campaign, we get taken on a journey of misinformation, and end up with a red-eyed view of history that’s destined to become a cult classic. Meanwhile, in the post-summer of love, drug culture of the 1970s, a bloke called Fuck Head (FH for short), is ricocheting in slow motion from one situation to the next, trying to do some sort of good, but earning his nickname in the process. This is Jesus Son (S,M,B), a picaresque tale based on a book of short stories by Denis Johnson. Billy Crudup, with his goofy grin and wide eyes, wanders through the lead role encountering a swag of strange characters - Holly Hunter, as a woman whose men keep dying on her; Denis Leary, who plays Joe Buck to Crudup’s Ratso Rizzo; and most impressively, Jack Black, as a pill-popping hospital orderly. The story is rambling and fractured, offering more questions than answers, but it makes sense when you realise the teller is an addict. In fact, this doesn’t feel like a 90s movie about the 70s; it feels like a 70s movie. And when Dennis Hopper turns up as a guy nursing four bullet holes from two wives, you almost believe it really is. • [ 1 4 ] C IN E M A P A P E R S . J U N E / J U L Y .2 0 0 0

“The Sex Pistols should have na|fpe|ed, and did.” ^ o lW fy d o n

Film Festival has a spotlight on films associated

sense he is aware of selling out, he refrains from

-^The release, in 1995, of Nick Hornby's book High

with the Beat movement, which always had ties

letting the camera’s eye waver.

Fidelity, about a thirtysomething bloke so pre­

to bebop and jazz, as the rhythms, improvisation

Crazy {S) utilises music in very unusual

occupied with pop music that he fails to see his

and verve of the music provided inspiration for

circumstances. It revolves around interviews with

relationship going down the drain, resounded

their writing.

Dutch soldiers and officers in UN peace-keeping

through popular culture like guitar feedback

But just as is often the case in the music world, it’s

forces that have seen action in Cambodia, Lebanon,

through a Marshall amplifier. Well, resounded

from the edges that you find the real rough gems.

Rwanda, and the former Yugoslavia. These first-hand

through the bit of pop culture inhabited by

Benjamin Smoke (M) is a tragi-comic doco about a

tales are as revealing as they are shocking. If you

thirtysomething blokes, anyway.

cult musician from Georgia who also happens to be

think you’ve got bad news fatigue, and feel that

Now the concept of obsessive fandom, and the

an HIV positive drag queen. Naturally, R.E.M.’s

you’ve become desensitised by endless reports from

notion of music not just being background noise,

Michael Stipe is a fan and has produced some of his

the trouble spots of the world, this is guaranteed to

but an integral and defining soundtrack to a

songs. Filmmaker Jem Cohen patched together this

shake out the complacency.

person's life, was being discussed and portrayed in

lo-fi home movie that proves outsiders usually have

Only one soldier is of the “ I just did my job and it

books and films. Indeed, the screen version of High

the best stories.

didn’t affect me" school. The others have been pro­

Fidelity (S,M,B) w ill hit the festival circuit, pre­

Chris Wilcha goes one step further in The Target

foundly marked by the atrocities they saw. They have

empting its release later in the year. This w ill be

Shoots First (M). In a cross between a video diary

reacted in various ways - whether it’s by descending

the first chance for those who cherish the novel to

and an instructional film for corporate climbers,

into depression and alcoholism or writing a book.

see if they’ve ruined the whole thing by shifting the

he follows his own progress through Columbia

The ace up the sleeve of director Heddy Honigmann

action from London to Chicago, or whether the

House, a huge American mail-order record club.

is that she got each subject to nominate a song or

combination of actor John Cusack and director

Hired as a young gun consultant on the emerging

piece of music that they associate with their

Stephen Frears can translate it successfully.

grunge/alternative scene of the early 90s, Wilcha

experiences. From Puccini to U2 and Guns ‘N’ Roses,

In other films with a beat, punk gets the definitive

presents a mole’s eye view of how youth culture is

we hear these songs while the camera lingers on the

treatment in Julien Temple's The Filth And The

co-opted, repackaged and sold as a commodity.

men's faces, the emotion playing through their eyes

Fury (S - see below]; country music and its

The remarkable thing is Wilcha starts to become

as they recall their particular war.

attraction to many Aboriginal musicians is

indoctrinated himself, as he gets promoted to a

Your eyes w ill not be dry by the closing credits -

investigated in Buried Country (S); The Brisbane

position of some responsibility, but even though we

guaranteed. •

The Filth and the Fury > Malcolm McLaren called The Sex Pistols his sculpture, his art project, his “little artful dodgers”. The members of the band have always said that McLaren, their manager, was full of shit. This doco from Julien Temple lets them have their say, and then some. The Pistols in particular and punk in general have been discussed and dissected over the years in many different ways, but often it has been either too intellectualised or too cartoonish. The Filth and The Fury, which takes its title from a tabloid newspaper headline the day following the band’s infamous appearance on daytime television, manages to strike exactly the right balance between the two. Director Temple was there at the time the Pistols exploded onto the scene, and he even directed the 1980 film The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle. With Filth he makes the clever move of not just seeing punk in isolation, but placing it in context. We see London in the second half of the 1970s in all its glory - the riots, the unemployment, the racism, the poverty, the garbage piled in the streets because of an ongoing strike. As lead singer John Lydon says, “The Sex Pistols should have happened, and did.” Juxtaposing the noise, the energy, and the anger with other music, fashion and advertising of the time, you can see his point. The sad tale of Sid Vicious is played out to great effect too, including some remarkable interview footage with the pitiful bloke himself. “Where would you like to be?,” an interviewer asks him after his incarceration following the death of girlfriend Nancy Spungen. “Under the ground,” Sid replies, without an ounce of irony. All current interviews with the band members are filmed in semi-darkness, as if they are in some sort of witness protection program. It’s a nice touch to what is a definitive document and an exhilarating ride through the punk era. • The Filth and the Fury is screening at the Sydney Film Festival.

(above left to right): Johnny Rotten and Sid Vicious on stage in The Filth and the Fury, Country music and its attraction to many Aboriginal musicians is investigated in Buried Country, A thirtysomething bloke in High Fidelity.


A Mockingbird as your grandfather, in a straight but

developed and maintained electric chairs, gas

at times touching film about tagging along on his

chambers and lethal injection devices for death row

documentaries over feature films, I am.

lecture circuit; Belfast, Maine (S) will leave you with

prisoners, before championing the cause of a

I’d contend that fact is stronger (and stranger) than

half your day gone (it’s over four hours long) as you

Holocaust denier.

watch men pulling in lobster pots for 15 minutes at

With the rise of "reality’’ TV in the guise of Cops.

it appears I'm favouring the festival

fiction in many festivals because the strikeout possibility is higher with fiction films and because

a time.

Popstars and their ilk, it’s interesting to watch

docos don’t get as much exposure in the general

There are a couple of films this year that can be

Cinema Verite: Defining The Moment (M.B), and find

marketplace. And unless they're picked up by

described as doco on doco. It’s a bit like looking at

television, festivals are one of the few venues for

something in a mirror by using another mirror. For

how the seeds were sown, but the product was *

perverted. This Canadian production can be a bit on

viewing them. Add to this the fact many recent films

instance, A Brief History of Errol Morris (S) is a

the parochial side, but along the way they interview

are semi-biographical - Man On The Moon about cult

doco about Errol Morris, the doco maker (or as he

many of the giants in the field, including Karel Reisz

comedian Andy Kaufman, The Hurricane about boxer

prefers to call himself, non-fiction filmmaker) well

(We’re The Lambeth Boys), Bob Drew {Primary,

Rubin Carter, Boys Don't Cry about the sexually

known for The Thin Blue Line and Fast, Cheap And

Albert Maysles (Salesman) and D. A. Pennebaker

ambiguous Brandon Teena, Erin Brockovich about,

Out Of Control. In turn, Morris’s latest film, Mr.

(Don’t Look Back). As Wolf Koenig points out, filming

well, Erin Brockovich. These are flesh and blood

Death: The Rise And Fall Of Fred A. Leuchter, _/r(S)

cinema verite is like having a $50,000 necklace of

characters whose stories are so extraordinary that

is showing at the same festival. A former private

pearls, but without the five cent string, there’s no

filmmakers were compelled to tell them.

detective, and student of philosophy and music (at

structure and the whole thing falls apart. Getting

Among the featured docos this year. Long Night’s

Juilliard, no less), Morris is an obsessive, whether

back to those mirrors within mirrors, film-makers

Journey Into Day (S,B - see sidebarjwill leave you a

he’s training his camera on someone accused of

Fred Wiseman and Barbara Kopple are profiled

blubbering mess; A Conversation With Gregory Peck

horrible crimes, or a guy who specialises in mole

here, with their latest films - Belfast, Maine and A

(S,M) will make you want to adopt the star of To Kill

rats. Mr. Death follows the story of Leuchter, who

Conversation With Gregory Peck - also on show. •


> A young black South African policeman Is ushered into a room. He is partly responsible for the killing of innocent black men when the country was still under apartheid. There are half a dozen women in there mothers of the men and boys who died. Even Spielberg wouldn’t be able to pump up the soundtrack or use Tom Hanks to wrench any more emotion out of Long Night-s Journey into D ayjQ It’s die real deal. One mother offers forgiveness and prays for him; another tells him teat she will remem­ ber his face until the day she dies, and she wfi! never forgive or forget This award-winning doco is technically uneven and tee pacing goes awry in places, too. But given the sub­ ject matter, it just can’t fail. Deborah Hoffman and Frances Reid took their cameras into theTruth and Rec­ onciliation Commission (TRC) hearings to film people trying to come to terms with tee aftermath of apartheid. Both black and white citizens were asking for amnesty from their crimes under the old regime; The resulting drama and emotions teat untold will hit you in tee heart and the gut The filmmakers focus on a handful of situations including the magnanimous parents of murdered American student Amy Biehl who reconcile with those responsible for their loss and Eric Taylor, the white cop who killed a'black activist In the name of Christianity, then felt remorse after seeing Mississippi Burning and reading Nelson Mandela’s autobiography. It’s not all Disney endings, however. Hatred and recriminations still bubble, and the filmmakers aren’t shy about showing them. But ultimately the whole process is seen to b e a necessary step in the heafingigf a country. With the current situation in Zimbabwe, one wonders if any lessons wji! lie learned from it in the near future. • Long Nights Journey into Day is screening at tee McAxiuri^, Brisb^lSdncI Sydney film festivals. [1 6 ] CINEMA UAHE-RS JUNE / JULY.200G



2 !

Feature focus All Men Are Liars: a ground-breaking A jstralian film - not!

Flickti onary Like going into a restaurant, reading the menu and thinking “Oh, everything kDoks good!”, one should beware the lure of the film festival blurb-writer, More than once, even the most astute viewer has been sucked in to seeing “hilarious comedies” that aren’t funny, “atmosp heric masterpieces” that are boring, and “a grouncf-breaking new Australian film” that in fact turns out to be All Men Are Wars. Here’s a reference guide to help you in the dark.

W hat they say

W hat it m eans

The first 20 minutes of this documentary are wordless, using an interplay of images to create a chilly ambience.

Nothing happens. You will fall asleep.

The gritty realism of the film is reflected in the director’s brave decision to work without a script.

There is no story.

The gritty realism of the film is reflected in the director’s brave decision to work without a script and not use boom microphones.

There is no story and you can’t hear what anyone is saying.

The gritty realism of the film is reflected in the director’s brave decision to work without a script, not use boom microphones, and to utilise real people instead of actors.

There is no story and you can’t hear what anyone is saying, but it doesn’t matter because none of them are any good anyway.

Norway’s most well-known comic actor/director returns with the latest hilarious instalment in his series about the inept owner of a herring factory.

Hilarious if you happen to be Norwegian. Otherwise, mystifying and terrible.

It is Christmas Eve in a remote Mongolian village, and young Gurt is hoping for a goldfish.

Go and have some lunch.

A group of unkempt but casually groovy inner-city twentysomethings look for love and meaning in their lives while dealing with sex, drugs and house-sharing.

You’re watching a new Australian film.

German romance.

Long, tortured silences occasionally broken up with face slapping and furious smoking of cigarettes.

French comedy.

Alienation. Isolation. Hoping for transformation or escape. t may not sound ike much of a loot, but these are the major themes of many of this year’s festivals’ feature films.

New Waterford Girl (S) - a Canadian girl longs to escape from her dead-end burg. She befriends the new kid in town, a tough cookie who teaches her how to fight the sleazy local boys. Oi! Warning (S) - a German boy longs to escape from his dead-end burg. He becomes a skinhead and discovers sex, comradeship, tattoos and violence. The Lady Of The House (S) - a middle aged woman living a reclusive existence in the country, takes stock of her life when she allows a film crew to use her home. Crane World (S) - a middle aged Argentinian man who used to play in a one hit wonder band from the 70s, takes stock of his life when he becomes a crane driver. Gigantic [S,B] and Idle Running (S.M) are both about young men who really need to strike out on their own, and leave the listless, go-nowhere existence they have been leading with their misanthropic


mates, in order to try to find some purpose in themselves. Gigantic is German, and has the cool imprint of Tom Tykwer [Run Lola Run) as co­ producer, but director Sebastian Schipper is obviously a fan of Hal Hartley. People yell at each other in bars about how shitty their lives are; the CINEMA PAPERS. JUNE / JULY.2000 [1 7 ]

music is simple and melancholy; there's a choreographed dance sequence to a T. Rex song. It's cute, episodic twentysomething angst that's a bit too easily sign-posted. Call it ‘Good Wilhelm Hunting’. Idle Running is from Slovenia and is similar in intent and characterisation, but quite different in execution. Professional student and cynic Dizzy can rant and rave, too - about how he hates art, Greenpeace, and the hole in the ozone layer - all the while dragging lustily on cigarettes and getting fall-down drunk. When a studious geek becomes Dizzy’s roommate, and his strange relationship with his girlfriend flounders, he has to make some big decisions for the first time in his life. It's less flashy than Gigantic, but leaves a more lasting impression. Tube Tales IS) tries to wave the flag for young Britannia, but ends up flapping in the breeze. It's a series of short films made from scripts sent in to London weekly mag Time Out, and each is set around the city's underground train system. The three stories that work are all directed by actors Ewan McGregor, Jude Law and Bob Hoskins. All three are touching, simple stories about people living in their own world, yet being crammed into a crowded city and confronting others as a result.

(top left clockwise): 0/7 Warning; The Lady of the House; Return of the Idiot; Gigantic, (below): The Legends of Rita.

Unfortunately, there are nine shorts in Tube Tales, and a 33 1/3 percent satisfaction rate isn't great. Perhaps they should have called it Mind The Gap, or perhaps Running Out Of Steam. Again and again in this year’s features, you’ll find main characters who are alternately dispossessed, listless, angry and lonely. Ratcatcher(S,M - see sidebar) is grim but touching; Janice Beard45 WPM (M - see sidebar) adds humour to the mix. The extremes of isolation are tested in The Return Of The Idiot (S,M), where a man who has spent his whole life behind the walls of an asylum is let loose


on friends and family, and turns out to be the only

is |

one who can see through their desires and conceits. And in the re-invention stakes, The Legends Of Rita (S) is not just about a terrorist who leaves the movement and is given a new identity and a new life - when she is found out, she has to go through the process yet again, and become someone else twice removed from her original identity. The theme song for all these people could be Eric Carmen's maudlin 'All By Myself’, or even more a p p r o ^ A Gilbert O'Sullivanis tear-jerker 'Alone AgaraNatbra’lly)’. ¿hey’r^ p W n q by tia^H ^lyes in the dark, alone with « a i r th lW n is . ho.ping to be moved, enlightened, chany 2 d l l r lanspotted Eo another place. Which, comero^think of it, isn't a bad metaphor for attendm S ilrh feistival-s.^*

You saw it here first WarWPDe a total bore at your next dinner party? The following films are coming to cinemas in the second half of 2000, but you can see them all before general release at this year’s festivals. High Fidelity (Buena Vista - Aug/Sept) - S The Filth And The Fury (Dendy - June 29) - S A Room For Romeo Brass (Dendy - Aug) - S, M, B Jesus’ Son (New Vision - Aug) - S, M, B A Pornographic Affair (Newvision - July) - S, M, B Better Than Sex (Newvision - undated) - S The Wonder Boys (REP - July 27) - M


Janice Beard 45 WPM


>This is the story of a girl who plays up her life story, and a boy who plays his down. Each has their own reasons. At the film’s centre is Janice Beard (played with a fine mix of mousiness and spunk by Eileen Walsh), a dowdy, ditzy 23-year-old who moves to London from Scotland. Janice’s mother is agoraphobic and hasn’t left the house since Janice was born, mainly due to the fact that her husband died in the delivery room from stress. Despite less-than-competent secretarial skills, Janice scores a job in a car company that is about to launch a new model. There she has to cope with the gaggle of girlie secretaries, led by the pouting Julia (Patsy Kensit), and a crush that she develops on office boy Shaun (Rhys Ifans) who may not be all he appears to be. One of the more commercial films of this year’s festival crop, and although it sometimes borders on the wacky, it’s a real charmer that consistently wins points from warm performances and a cruisey script. Those involved with the recent catastrophe that was the atrocious Mad Cows should watch this and take notes. A caper following the exploits of a fish-out-of-water leading lady doesn’t have to be an un-watchable mess after all. • Janice Beard 45 WPM is screening at The Melbourne Film Festival.

>This is not a foreign language film, but it has sub-titles. And after about 15 seconds you can tell why. Set in Glasgow, the accents are thicker than haggis, and the dialect is only a second cousin to everyday English. It’s the 1970s in a housing commission area near a canal, a world of squalor, rotting garbage, rats, grey skies and brutality. James, a scruffy 13-yearold, is our guide, and a tragedy befalls him in the first ten minutes which weighs on him for the rest of the film. He only has two lifelines - his friendship with a girl who puts out for the local lads in a sad bid for love and acceptance; and an afternoon bus trip he takes to a new housing estate under construction near a lush field. The grimness is interspersed with characters desperately clinging to each other, searching for some solace, but there’s sweetness and gallows humour on display too. Any rays of hope have an air of magic realism about them, leaving us to wonder if they’re real or imagined. Director Lynne Ramsay makes us smile at the end, but it’s a pretty sad smile. •

C ultural debate anyone? Why are we so scared to speak out?

the getting of wisdom.maya Stange ->lt is a wonderful thing as an actor,

intelligently and articulately ripping

herself as a politicised individual at the

why artists were not more involved in

to be asked to write something.

an Australian film to shreds because

opening of Melbourne’s casino.

the Republic debate. In fact,

Anything. How often are actors called

of a perceived failure to reach its

Ironically, this example provides a

prominent actors and directors had

on to discuss, debate or vent our

potential as cinematic art, when

cause of hope, actors like Griffiths and

been vocal on the issue, but it didn't

opinions? I could ask the same about

the same reviewer, often in an

Sacha Horler are tapping into one of

seem to have much impact outside

directors, and producers, and to a

adjacent paragraph, w ill play the

the only traditions around: a tradition

their own circle except perhaps

lesser extent, writers. Individuals in

"It's just entertainment" card and

of idiosyncratic, opinionated women

amongst a small inner-city audience.

our community are not called on as

thereby assume the role of a

that links these actresses - via the

We are simply not looked to by wider Australia on these issues.

thinkers, as social and political

cheerfully obliging media bunny for

likes of Judy Davis - back to Australia's

commentators, or to comment on

a truly B-grade and innately

early (by world standards)

Historically, artists have been cultural

greater philosophical and moral

unambitious import.

emancipation movement.

leaders, thinkers, commentators, dissenters, and social critics.

issues. We are not given this space,

What I am saying is that criticism in

This is but a small glimmer of hope. It

and nor do we take it. I think that the

this country rarely speaks to a film in

is still true to say that the opinionated

How strong is our current role in

problem lies with the level of criticism

relation to its social context, or with

artist, of any trade, is unwelcome. Is it

Australian culture?

and debate among our critics and our

an understanding of the film as a

any wonder then that social change in

Where are our Spike Lees, our Ken


social document. Our critics act as

this country has become the domain of

Loachs, our Tim Robbins or Mike

Criticism is absolutely vital to

though our filmmakers have nothing

the media barons and their lackeys, the

Leighs? Australia at the moment is

filmmaking, and indeed to any form of

to say. And on the other hand, our

politicians, devoid of the imaginative

rich soil for ferocious debate. I think it

Utopian ideas that only inspired

is a perfect time to be more vocal,

creation. Criticism should contribute

filmmakers often act like they don't

to our creative process, telling us

have anything to say either.

where we have made breakthroughs,

Thank God for people like Lynden

and alerting us to where we have

Barber, who writes with a knowledge

failed. It should give our audience a

of film that rivals the filmmakers

sense of why a particular film is

themselves. He provides empathy

interesting or culturally important,

without condescension and, most

beyond whether it would be an

importantly, understands the

Our critics act as though our filmmakers have nothing to say. And on the other hand, our filmmakers often act like they don’t have anything to say either.

amusing way to spend a Friday night.

responsibility of the critic within our

The reviews in the paper w ill tell us to

industry: to provoke, to challenge, to

leaders and artists can advocate?

more involved, and more critical of

see it or not to see it, but they won't

offer ideas, to move us forward.

Let me turn to the republic

the world we inhabit, both in what we

tell us much more than that.

Criticism is a generative act as well as

referendum as an example. Was there

say in the public forum, and in what

Let me be clear and distinguish this

a deconstructive one and the critic has

ever a debate that so clearly needed a

we make.

attack from the usual whinge. I am

a duty above and beyond the review.

visionary, powerfully imagined

The factors that create a brand of

not calling for a more "intellectual”

They have the potential to create a

contribution? It was often said that a

apolitical actor, or artist, are

critical paradigm; the Freudian,

space in which filmmakers are

change to a republic was "merely" a

inextricable from a larger social

feminist and cool, post-modern

allowed, or required to take the

symbolic act and I say yes, it is

problem but we must take the lead

brands of film theory found in

political and social ground.

symbolic. Symbols are what artists

and work together, and together with

university cinema and cultural studies

We are, however, also responsible for

deal with (along with advertising

those that have the public space, the

departments. These schools of

our own cultural marginalisation; our

executives). It is our bread and butter

critics, so that the next time the

criticism turn in on themselves like a

directors and producers behave as if

work: imbuing image and action with

republic debate comes around, or for

snake. They necessarily bring their

tabloid terrorists or box-office bullies

meaning. And it is only because our

that matter any issue of national

own discourse to the reading of a film,

are lurking in the shadows, ready to

artists were not in the public spotlight,

conscience, the contribution of the

and often completely misunderstand

pounce on the first sign of pretension.

charging that symbol with meaning,

artistic community is not reduced to

the intentions of the filmmaker, while

As for our actors, well our

that blandness and conservatism won

the sight of Les Murray retreating

simultaneously alienating a lot of

disempowerment is institutionalised.

the day.

behind his pay-cheque. •

potential audience members.

Fear of causing displeasure, fear of

I was watching Robert Dessaix on

Nor am I calling for a more literate or

unemployment, or worse, perhaps, the

television the other day, trying to

Maya Stange is currently in NYC

broadly educated reviewer. There is

fear of suffering the indignity of polite

explain to a panel of bemused French

filming XX/XY. She made her feature

no lack of cleverness here. But how

smiles, glazed looks and patronising

men that there is debate among

film debut portraying a lead character

often have we been particularly

giggles such as those that greeted

Australian artists, but that there is no

in 1999 opposite Martin Donovan in

unnerved to read a reviewer

Rachel Griffiths when she empowered

forum for them. They had asked him

Bill Bennett’s In A Savage Land. CINEMA PAPERS. JUNE / JULY 2000 [1 9 ]

After a devastating experience with a recent film shoot in Hawaii, Paul Cox is working on the project he has wanted to make for a quarter of a century. Michaela Boland went on location.

-> lt’s an unremarkable day in suburban Adelaide and in a downstairs kitchen in the Norwood Town Hall a dozen older women are preparing lunch. A fortnightly elderly citizens’ event is being held w ith an accordion player fo r entertainm ent, as the sm ell of bolognaise floats up the worn back stairw e ll to where a very different type of industriousness is underway. The world-renowned, yet often derided filmmaker Paul Cox, is hard at work on his latest undertaking, Nijinsky; a feature length docu-drama based on the diary of the man considered the greatest male dancer of all time, Kiev-born Vaslav Nijinsky (18901950). Written in St Moritz in 1919 during a traumatic period in his life, the diary, titled Cahiers, reveals the dancer in the grip of madness. Cox, who has been wanting to make Nijinsky for 25 years, is now three months into what w ill probably


be a 12-month labour of love. With the Nijinsky family's approval for the project, he has been gathering shots for the past decade. It is being

requirement of having a distributor attached. But

embarked, in recent years, on a drive to make that

constructed in a similar vein to Cox’s 1987

Film Victoria "just looked at the treatment and they

state a haven for low budget filmmakers. It eagerly

examination of the painter van Gogh: Vincent - The

looked at Paul and said ’no” ’.

accommodated Cox.

Life and Death of Vincent van Gogh.

"The argument is that Paul Cox has had his time.

Originally a $4 million project with full ballet re­

Spoken word diary entries w ill overlay a pastiche of

He’s had lots of money over the years, blah blah

creations, Nijinsky’s budget has been pared back

images designed to represent and illustrate diary

blah... but I’ve always maintained that people like

closer to $1 million. “ I think this is a far wiser

extracts read by Sir Derek Jacobi [Gladiator, I,

Paul Cox are invaluable to our filmmaking

choice," says executive producer Lucas.


community and in fact reflect the maturity of the

"His approach w ill be longer lasting. This one allows

Neither strictly a documentary nor a feature film,


him to make a really pure Paul Cox film."

Nijinsky has been financed as a documentary by the

Lucas, whose company MusicArtsDance films

Dutch and Australia’s Film Finance Corporation (FFC).

specialises in arty films, disapproves of the

SBS and German financiers classify it as a feature.

prevailing funding culture which he sees as

Netherlands and moved to Australia in 1963. He

Film Victoria rejected Cox’s funding application

obsessed with discovering the 'next bright thing’ at

entered the film industry as a stills photographer

altogether, which is why the Melbourne-based

the expense of nurturing experience.

before moving into making 16mm films and later

auteur is filming in Adelaide.

Cox adds that Film Victoria sent him a letter saying

bigger budget features.

Executive producer Kevin Lucas believes it was

more or less: "We're very pleased to have somebody

His films are, for the most part, intensely personal

Cox, who turns 60 this year, was born in the

because Cox supplied his usual ‘developed

of your status living in our state but we wish your

and made on small budgets. A self-proclaimed risk

treatment’ of Nijinsky but not a completed script per

international reputation would bring international

taker, who considers himself "too much of an

se. Other financiers had signed up on the strength of

money” .

oddball and an outsider to actually count anywhere",

his previous films.

"That was the reason for not funding me so I told

Cox despises modern movies. But he has embraced

"It’s in a classic indefinable category which sort of

them all to get fucked and for four or five years I

technology, with an IMAX title to his credit, The

makes it interesting,” Lucas enthuses. With the FFC

didn’t work there at all, I worked overseas."

Hidden Dimension (1997).

considering it not a feature film, it escapes the

The South Australian Film Corporation has

His first feature, The Journey {1970) was "a sombre


narrative exploring the loneliness of a middle-aged

and knee high red leather boots. Dressed to

man haunted by the past"*. And indeed themes of

represent Nijinsky’s Blue God, Deon Hastie stands

loneliness and aging distinguish some of his best

just five and a half feet tall. His naturally curly black

films including Man of Flowers (1983) and A

hair is cropped tight around his brilliant blue painted

Woman's Ta/e (1991). Other titles include Golden

face and body, which is clothed in a gold-rimmed

Braid [ 1990) where actor Chris Haywood's character

stretch velveteen T-shirt and shorts.

falls in love with a lock of hair. My First Wife (1984.) is

Beyond the dressing room, in the Town Hall’s

widely regarded as Cox’s most personal film.

auditorium two spotlights have been set up on the

Starring Wendy Hughes and John Hargreaves in a

floor in front of the stage. Two figures, who later

poetic exploration of emotions, the director admits it

turn out to represent critics (one played by Nijinsky’s

was inspired by the collapse of his first marriage.

producer Kevin Lucas) are poised as though in deep

Haywood has featured in at least eight Cox films.

discussion. Neither fully face the camera.

Today he’s working his way through the backstage

Cinematographer Hans Sonneveld is peering

dressing room asking the assembled cast and crew

through the lens. Cox is fussing between the camera

if they want a cup of coffee.

and his actors. There’s not a director’s chair in sight.

Adelaide based troupe, the Leigh Warren Dancers

With the shot composed, the dance troupe emerges

are on set. Brilliantly costumed and made-up to

from the stage wings, they break the concentrated

represent key roles performed by Nijinsky during his

silence which has hung heavily over the auditorium

career, the nine male and female dancers are

throughout the morning. Cox needs quiet to

required to pose as the dancer on camera and are

concentrate on set, even though no sound is being

involved in a series of walk-throughs.

recorded because the entire film w ill be overlaid

Leigh Warren is Petrouchka. His white painted face

with music and the diary passages.

peeps out of a white blouse above red pantaloons

Haywood clambers onto the stage to guide the CINEMA PAPERS. JUNE / JULY 2000 [21]

Alida Chase choreographs David McAllister and Vicky Attard in Spectre de la Rose

dancers down onto the floor. He explains they'll be

Choreographer Leigh Warren and dancer David McAllister.

I shadowy nymph in the south of France.”

required to walk though the two-shot one by one.

After wrapping in Adelaide, the group w ill return to

Cox calls "action", the camera comes to life with a

Europe to complete the location shooting.

clunking mechanical w hirr and the dancers file past

Paul Cox’s next film, due for release later this year,

the critics. Cox comments, "Very good” then adds,

is called Innocence. Another low budget endeavour,

"We'll do it once again".

exploring first love re-visited, it stars Charles (Bud)

Cox bought the camera being used for Nijinsky

Tingwell, with husband and wife Terry Norris and

"years ago" in Germany. “ It had Leni Riefenstahl on

Julia Blake.

it, so it was probably from one of her films," he

Kevin Lucas describes making Innocence in 1999 as

explains. Made before the World War II and used to

like "a tiny little catharsis" for Cox.

shoot Vincent, Cox says it’s like "an old Rolls Royce".

Before Innocence he was employed to direct Molokai: The Story of Father Damien, a Belgian

Chris Haywood’s role on set is difficult to define.

production shot in Hawaii.

"I don't have (a role)," the actor says.

Starring Derek Jacobi, Kris Kristofferson, Peter

"I am part of a collaborative group putting Coxy’s

O’Toole and David Wenham as the priest Father

dreams together and titles are not necessarily

Damien, Molokais budget was pegged close to

applicable in this production," Haywood explains.

AU$10 million when production commenced in 1998.

"People just do whatever is needed to be done. You

Written by John Briley [Gandhil, it is the story of a

make suggestions about how the set should look or how it should be lit or what we should be doing... Coxy’s very generous in his collaborative nature. Of course he runs it, he makes this film but he asks people to make suggestions. "Officially I play Oscar who’s just this guy who walks in and walks out. I’m principally here to assist Cox because in the past I’ve done exactly the same thing on a number of films and it’s, I suppose, a bit of a go-between between departments and Cox.

“The argument is that Paul Cox has had his time. He’s had lots of money over the years, blah blah blah... but I’ve always maintained that people like Paul Cox are invaluable to our filmmaking community and in fact reflect the maturity of the community.”

"The formality that would go with normal filmmaking is not an important part of the production process. -We left Melbourne two weeks ago and no-one knew what we would shoot when we got here but every day we’ve shot the most extraordinary stuff. We

Belgian priest who became a national hero after

my life thank-you very much and the true story w ill

knew we'd have to shoot the ballet, we knew we had

going to Hawaii to work with lepers, circa 1864.

be revealed one day.

to record some elements of the story but beyond

Three weeks into the shoot Cox was sacked as

"It was like being in Vietnam, in a war zone. I was

that there was nothing. Locations were literally

director after the producers decided they didn’t

sacked a few times and when they couldn’t sack me

arrived at the day before, I know that happens in

like the rushes. Work stopped for a few days

I took them to court. Then they took me to court.

other productions, but without the panic and the

before Cox was reinstated at the crew’s insistence.

Then they finally fucked the film all together and had

normal circus that goes with it.”

But the drama didn’t stop there. During editing Cox

a big premiere in Belgium and because I didn't go I

discovered the producers were simultaneously

was again targeted because I refused to be part of it. Then the film flopped, of course, like nobody’s

Alida Chase, a former principal dancer with The

cutting their own version of the film which they

Australian Ballet, has been employed as the dance

went on to premiere in The Netherlands.

business, then they actually asked me to re-do it the

consultant on Nijinsky.

Legal action and dramas played out in the

way I had conceived it in the first place, which I did. Then they dared to bring out the old version again in

"I’m giving a dance person’s point of view on the

international press followed before Cox was re­

content and style," she explains.

instated as director. His version of the film

Holland recently where I crashed the press

Chase has been researching Nijinsky for 18 months

premiered last year at the Toronto Film Festival

screening, so it made a big scandal in Holland."

through books. "That's all there is, there’s no

"I wrote a book about it called The Making, The

Lucas describes Cox’s Molokai period as, "a crisis of

footage, only one tiny little clip of him at the end of

Un-making and The Re-making of Father Damien

the soul, of any sense of logic and rationale. And a

the second world war shortly before he died."

but my lawyers told me I’d go to jail for a while so I

miserable and horrible experience” . He’s doing his

She was one of a group of four, led by Cox, who

have not (published it)," Cox says dryly.

utmost to ensure Nijinsky comes to fruition. Never

toured the UK, France, Holland and Russia earlier in

Kevin Lucas says the director endured an

again w ill Cox relinquish control of a project.

the year shooting key scenes. With a handful of

excruciating period with Molokai which so far

So, is Cox happy with the way Nijinsky is

costumes, working eight hours a day, Chase found

doesn't have an Australian distributor.


the experience "quite intense".

Cox says, "It was terrible, absolutely. We put

"Happiness is for fools.” *

"I was Petrouchka lost in the forest and I was the

everything into that film and that was two years of

* Australian Film 1900-77, Pike & Cooper, p 299


In defence of research and developm ent Not glamorous, not sexy, just essential

the box.paul Karris ->Late in 1999 the Australian Film

superhighways to ruminate on the

Commission announced it would

various questions that were being

cease funding the Australian Film

hurtled at our tiny staff of two back in

Institute's research and information

the prehistoric era when research

centre from December 2000. The

facilities, such as they were, seemed

move was part of a broader re-focus,

rudimentary at best.

"on the AFC’s core function of

But from little acorns, as the saying

development - project development,

goes, a one-stop source of information

practitioner development and industry

gradually developed to the point

development... it is not the role of the

where it could be favourably

AFC to fund the provision of services

compared on a proportionate basis

to the education sector".

with the American film industry’s

A joint AFC/AFI working group is

invaluable Margaret Herrick Library at

currently reviewing the centre's future

the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts

with findings due in coming months.

and Sciences. The British Film

Twenty years ago I was employed by

Institute’s library provides a similar

the Australian Film Institute to work

function in the UK. They both act as

as a research assistant in what was

vital repositories and resources for

then known as the George Lugg Library, basically a back room full of

film related information.

AFI research & information

from a range of local journals not

Subsequently acquired by the AFI, the


; The Australian Film Institute's

previously indexed on established

dusty tomes, moulding back copies of

Research and Information centre has

film journals and sundry books piled

faithfully serviced the film

library’s holdings have since grown

The service, available on the net at

up in unruly, tottering stacks.

community’s need for information

into a unique resource comprising

www.afi.org.au, has been of particular

The library's bread-and-butter work in

relating to all aspects of the industry

books, journals, news clippings,

interest to international researchers.

those days was for the film society

on both a local and international level.

searchable databases, stills,

Many of the books which have been

movement, festivals and in-house

The problem here is that the Centre,

screenplays, cast and crew

published in recent years on

work on behalf of AFI's exhibition

like the once mighty BHP, is a quiet

directories, press kits and the nation’s

Australian cinema carry glowing

activities and the National Film

achiever which carries out its vital

largest collection of news clippings

endorsements in their forewords

Theatre of Australia.

work in a backroom atmosphere, not

The phone would constantly ring and

unlike a war room or concrete bunker

visitors dropped in with the most

from a British World War II movie

arcane inquiries: Do you have the text

where the boffins, moving markers

of Abbott and Costello's Who’s-On-

around on a large-scale map,

First routine? We did. Can I obtain

determine the future outcome of

information on the features directed

civilisation, not on the battlefield but

“The phone would constantly ring and visitors dropped in with the most arcane inquiries.”

by Michael Curtiz in his native Hungary

frorrra remote command post.

which are currently being microfilmed

acknowledging the invaluable help of

prior to his Hollywood career? That

And that’s just the problem.

and digitised (the Australian Film

the Centre.

was tougher but do-able. Where can a

R and I is not a sexy high profile

Commission has contributed $54,000

Besides the academic community the

student filmmaker obtain the services

activity like the Institute’s awards or

toward the project).

centre is regularly used by the film

of an arm ourer? The Encore Directory

exhibition and tends to get taken for

Although based in Melbourne the

industry and national media.

had not yet been invented to easily

granted. But from their 'concrete

Library serves the film national

The diverse range of requests for

solve this problem. How can I find a

bunker’ truly dedicated staff performs

community and boasts a large and

information reflect the scope and

print of Victor Turin's Turksib? If you

its tasks without much fanfare on a

diverse client base.

scale of the entire film community.

don’t understand that last one then

modest budget.

To illustrate just one important aspect

If anything a service such as this,

maybe you need the services of R and

The comprehensive collection dates

of how the library fosters 'industry

which has been described by the

I yourself. It all seems quaintly nostalgic and ~

back over a quarter of a century. It

development’ you need to look no

National Library as a national

was originally under the stewardship

further than the online indexing

heritage collection, needs an

vaguely esoteric as we enter a new

of the Victorian Federation of Film

service which has been created to

injection of funds, not the threat of

millennium traversed by information


enable clients to browse material

cutbacks. •


The vagaries of placing products Tom Cruise and Kodak have teamed up for a M:l-2 product placement bonanza. But Mike Houghton warns indie producers the rules of the game favour big media conglomerates over independents every time.

->Andreas Bangerter knows what he likes in a movie - a taut, time-driven plot and a dapper hero who's always in control. Why?

James Bond* S

Another nifty campaign involved Heineken and Austin Powers: The Spy Who


Shagged Me. Not only did the beer appear in the film, but Heineken’s ad agency arranged Austin Powers nights in hip clubs across the US, the aim being to

Because Bangerter markets Omega

attract publicity and have trendsetters photographed quaffing their brew. By

watches, and he's learned the first rule of

combining cinema and nightclubs, the marketers hope to snare lucrative

successful product placement - 'Don’t just

Generation Xers who - due to attitude and lifestyle - are getting harder to reach

stick it in, make it relevant'.

through traditional advertising.

"First, we were happy to get a watch on

Which explains why the placements are often dropped during the shoot or

someone's wrist," he says, "until we

editing. Income from placing products is tiny next to the cost of a typical

realised we were the only ones who noticed

Hollywood film (about US$55 million), so Product Placements can be dropped at

that the actor was wearing an Omega. So

a whim. For example, Omega paid to put its watches onto the wrists of Will Smith

we started insisting on close-ups in which

and Gene Hackman in Enemy of the State, only for Hackman to decide at the last

the brand name was visible."

minute that his character should wear a cheaper brand (all of Omega’s money

Getting close-ups that didn’t draw attention

was refunded). Luckily, the actors improvised a joke in which Omega man Smith

to themselves, however, meant specialising

chided Hackman for wearing a cheap watch, producing a free plug that drew

in the action/thriller genre, where plots are

much more attention than if both men had been wearing Omegas.

frequently time-driven, necessitating

Which raises a crucial point - that product placements are hugely affected by

'insert' shots of watch faces.

context. Take Mercedes' appearance in the Tom Cruise movie The Firm. The offer

The second stage of refinement was to search out scripts with heroes who

of a flashy car is a major motivator for Cruise’s character to join a Mafia

conveyed similar ‘personalities’ to the Omega brand. An eventual multi-movie

controlled law firm. It therefore makes perfect sense for the protagonist to ooh

tie-in with James Bond was seen as a perfect match.

and ahh over the car, and for the camera to dwell on its duco. It also made sense,

"We wanted to ensure that the watch was worn by people who were cool and in

Mercedes thought, to pay a rumoured US$1 million to change the car concerned

control of their destinies,” says Bangerter. “And that the watch appeared in

from a BMW (in John Grisham’s novel) to a Merc.

situations that communicated these qualities - for example, James Bond could

Wacko for the land where anything goes but it’s a far cry from the situation in

be wearing a tuxedo one minute and scuba diving the next while wearing the

Australia, where paid product placements struggle for acceptance. Our biggest

same Omega watch.”

(perhaps only) placement agency, Showcase, is primarily concerned with

But the relationship with Bond went beyond cinema. Witness recent newspaper

providing free Ford vehicles to film and TV productions. Paid product placements

ads and in-store promotions showing a tuxedoed Bond sporting an Omega, with

in Australian film are almost non-existent.

the tagline, 'James Bond’s watch’. Because the Bond brand is recognised by

"No agency in Australia is making money from product placements alone," a

almost everybody, whether they watch the films or not, the placement served as

local agent (who asks not to be named) told Cinema Papers. "After five years, I’m

an excuse to link Bond and Omega in mainstream advertising. According to

about to completely restructure my business.”

Bangerter, the integrated Bond campaign "increased Omega sales from the very

Australia is a m irror image of the US, where marketers are keen to place

first day” .

products in films. Here, what little impetus there is for product placements comes from producers. Not because they understand or like them, they’re just struggling to finance their project. ” l get an awful lot of young producers expecting the corporate coffers to

It all started in the 1940s, when an ad agency came up with the idea of giving Hollywood studios diamond necklaces to adorn their stars with - according to Mary Gabriel, writing recently in Variety. It wasn’t until 1982, however, that product placement attracted attention as a sales booster on a par with TV or print. That’s when the Hershey company paid to have a packet of Reece’s Pieces strategically placed in a fridge opened by ET. According to Gabriel, the product’s sales increased by 66 percent. More recent examples of product placement spotted by Gabriel include: • A bottle of the anti-depressant Zoloft caressed by Bruce Willis in The Sixth Sense (clever, because Willis’ character is trying to determine his wife’s state of mind from the contents of her medicine cabinet, so the placement isn’t incongruous); • Robert DeNiro watching a TV commercial for Merrill Lynch investments in Analyze This; and • Roman Polanski’s camera, in the upcoming The Ninth Gate Angering on a Shell logo while one of Satan’s minions fills up. (Shell, apparently, aren’t too worried about who their brand is associated with - or maybe it’s a word play on ‘Shell’ and ‘Hell’.)


magically open,” our consultant says. "It doesn’t happen like that.” "We’ve had several approaches from production companies talking about product placements, asking us to act almost as agents for them,” says a senior executive in one of Australia’s leading ad agencies (who, surprise, surprise asked not to be named). Predictably, most such pitches fail. But the solution isn’t for producers to sell

Looking for Alibrandi

The Castle

Wog Boy


« S U B II

¡M È I



A product placement consultant who also asked

distribution and appeal.”

Nor is product placement particularly lucrative for

not to be named (it’s a secretive business) says

Because this isn’t the case with most Australian

the middle people. “Few Australian consultants

he’s constantly approached by small time

films, producers lack the clout to get sponsors

make money from PPs alone,” he says.

producers “hoping I can persuade a big

aboard. Plus, Brady doubts that the Australian

In the US, says another consultant (who yet agian

corporation to cough up money to enable them to

arms of multinationals have the autonomy to

asked not to be named), every major studio has a-

produce their film. It breaks my heart to have to

make such unconventional marketing decisions.

.department of up to 10 people “who read scripts

tell them they won’t get the sort of money they

“ My impression,” he says, “is that producers

and assess opportunities, then go to product

(Want). Otherwise I’d be out there doing it myself.”

don’t try [to secure PPs] much any more,

placement agencies and say there’s an

Truth is, in Australia most products are placed in

because it hasn’t flown in the past.”

opportunity for a soft drink or maybe a ear.

‘contra’ deals. The Showcase agency supplies

A senior executive in one of Australia’s biggest ad

Studios in Australia don’t have such

productions with the use of Ford cars that

agencies blames marketing managers for not


production companies would otherwise have

grasping product placement opportunities.

However, the consultant expects the Australian

to hire.

“Most clients are short term-biased because the

scene to change. “ Marketers are now a lot more

According to Palace Films’ Tait Brady, the reason

marketing manager is 30-something and wanting

open about product placement - in the past they

is lack of bums on seats.

to climb the ladder, and you do that by achieving

hid it. Now production companies know we’re

“If Hollywood’s making Lethal Weapon Five with

a damn good result a short period, then moving

here they come to us.”

Mel Gibson and Danny Glover then Pepsi or

on. Most of them are only in the job for three to

Fine sentiments, but the consultant still insisted

whoever knows it’s going to have international

four years.”

that we not use her or her company’s name. .

out’ and insist on scripts extolling Alka Seltzer, or include incongruous close-ups


"Channel Nine have been the masters of cross-promotion for 20 years - articles

of credit cards and car badges. No, according to our consultant, producers need

in Women's Weekly would focus on Channel Nine stars, while The Midday Show

to "reject product placements that conflict with their creative vision” - for the

would interview people who were featured in that month’s Women's Weekly

good of their movies and the products they pitch.

(Kerry Packer owns both the Women's Weekly and Channel Nine).’’

“The moment you notice a product placement," he says, "it’s failed.” Instead, producers need to be attuned to moments in their scripts where the

The recent fad of ’lifestyle’ progams on TV has also led to product placement by stealth, our exec says.

product and plot may dovetail, as happened with Mercedes and The Firm.

"A heck of a lot of TV programs don’t include product placement, they are product

And it’s not only producers who have to wise up - businesses and their ad

placement. A homemaker show may use a brand of paint that also happens to

agencies need to shed the notion product placements are ‘sneaky’. Why, you may

place commercials with the station - thus giving the client a value- add to their

ask, did so many of the interviewees in this story not want themselves or their

paid advertising. No money changes hands, but the effect is the same.”

companies named? Because, says our advertising exec, "Product placement is a

Meanwhile, recent Roadshow teen flick Looking for Alibrandi prominently

secretive area. The public feel that they pay their money at the box office and that

features a single by Killing Heidi, who are signed to the company’s own recording

the ads should stop the moment the lights go down." But things may be changing. Traditional advertising is losing young people,

“ I get an awful lot of young producers expecting the corporate coffers to magically open,” our consultant says. “ It doesn’t happen like that.”

they’re psychologically resistant to hackneyed ad formats and they are hip to interactive media like the web and computer games, where old ad formats don’t work. To cement the loyalties of Gen X, therefore, conservative businesses are being forced to experiment with new forms of advertising, including product placement. Consequently, more of the offers producers put to his agency are being seriously looked at by clients - especially after locally financed hits like



The Castle and The Wog Boy. "You’re buying a raffle ticket," the exec says, "but not a very expensive raffle

label. The band, their CD and the movie can then receive wide and favourable

ticket. You’re talking the equivalent of one or two national TV spots ($20-$30,000)

exposure on the company's radio network Austereo, (Fox, MMM, 2Day). And with

for incidental placement. Get your product into a hit movie and you've won lotto."

media conglomerates growing ever bigger, opportunities for cross-promotion

Well, almost. As mentioned, the most successful product placements are

w ill increase.

‘organic’ to a script - they stand out, but not gratuitously. Like the running gag in

On the upside, product placements well used could mean more money for

The Castle, where the son reads out ads from the Trading Post as if they're

Australian films, without overt spruiking occurring on screen . The downside is

snippets from a lifestyle magazine. No money or barter seems to have been

only certain films suit product placements. Expect period films to disappear in a

involved there, but it shows combining a script-driven placement with box office

future in where product placements dominate film funding.

appeal can happen in Australia.

Over time, producers could gravitate towards films whose settings and

But producers hoping to get low budget films off the ground have little to

characters are more PP-friendly. The danger is banality - exemplified by the

celebrate. According to our consultant, product placement w ill really take off as

Bond franchise. Fleming's original Bond was a brooding, vengeful character -

a means of cross-promotion - ie, multinational media groups like News Ltd and

and Sean Connery and Timothy Dalton's Bonds reflected some of this. Today’s

Village Roadshow using films to promote other aspects of their businesses.

Bond - beloved by BMW, Omega and others - seems to have no more

It's been happening in TV for yonks, the exec says.

‘personality’ than the luxury brands he flaunts.* CINEMA PAPERS. JUNE / JULY 2000 [2 5 ]

->ls Australian grunge - as they like to say in teen movies like Clueless (1995) and Buffythe Vampire Slayer (1992) - ‘so five minutes ago’? In the mid 90s, the publishing industry tried briefly to convince us all that a new, local artistic movement had been born, due to the handy coincidence of novels by Christos Tsiolkas (Loaded], Justine Ettler (The River Ophelia] and Andrew McGahan [Praise]. By the time two of these books had made it to the screen (in Loadeds case, as Head On, 1998), the 'movement' had already dispersed. The authors who had been lumped with the tag moved on to other projects in other styles. The American B-movie maestro Roger Corman, on a

With some surprise, Adrian Martin discovers a new Australian film does good grunge. But then there’s all the others...

quick trip through Australia, announced his intention to make a feature version of the Melbourne drugsand-garbage, black-and-white short Happy Little Vegemites - but it didn't materialise. In the meantime, grunge quickly filtered through to the realms of fashion, design and advertising in consumable form. Remember the ephemeral controversy about ‘death chic' photo-spreads in youth magazines, a downmarket crib of Bill Henson's tawdry-glamorous art-snaps of wasted, naked junkies? And then the whole grimy carnival seemed to disappear altogether, at least in the eyes of the mass media, hungry for the next trend. Or maybe grunge

ng dow just went underground for a spell - since I suspect that the subterranean impulse to get down and dirty never really goes away. If we consider grunge as a cultural force or sensibility reaching beyond a few contemporaneous novels and the films made from them, it becomes clear pretty quickly that Australian cinema has a sterling record when it comes to documenting and refracting the many varieties of low-life. From Bert Deling’s Pure Shit (1977) to Daniel Nettheim's Angst (2000), byway of Going Down (Haydn Keenan, 1983), Dogs in Space (Richard Lowenstein, 1987), and countless other features and shorts, Australian cinema has put a rough-hewn face to the collective cries of the young, the homeless, the socially outcast, the rebels, burn-outs and punks. It may not be a history of Australian cinema that we are used to reading about in those official, respectable surveys that prefer literary adaptations, satirical comedies, and all that solid work from the old school of Weir, Armstrong, Beresford and Schepisi - but our national grunge manifestations do constitute a significant, and underrated, contribution to world cinema.

Grunge comes from many places and has many . precedents. Like everything, it has a tradition, a history - and what a fine, filthy history it is. Many generations of bohemians have had their grubby imaginations stoked by the low-life visions of the poets Baudelaire and Pier Paolo Pasolini; novels

Some grunge fictions are about nothing more scandalous than bong water and dirty dishes in a never-touched, share-house sink.

including William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch, Hubert Selby's Last Exit to Brooklyn, Charles Bukowski

of escape; anarchist politics; nihilist philosophy.

backwoods American movie as enduringly

Women and Kathy Acker’s Blood and Guts in High

Some grunge fictions are about nothing more

intractable and disquieting as Harmony Korine’s

School; the gutter-and-stars lyricism of Jean Vigo’s

scandalous than bong water and dirty dishes in a

Gummo (1998), lodged somewhere between

1930s films [Zero de Conduite and L'Atalante)-,

never-touched, share-house sink - an ever-popular

documentary freak-show and art-film poem. Grunge fictions - especially in cinema - exploit a

Basquiat’s painting; E. M. Cioran’s philosophy of

topic with young adults, as the continuing life of John

despair and decay; the early albums of Leonard

Birmingham’s He Died With a Falafel in His Hand

particularly intense experience of time. They exist in

Cohen or the golden era of punk music.

(first as a book, then a play, and, later this year, a

the eternal, suspended, heightened present tense -

Even without these artistic and intellectual milestones,

movie from Richard Lowenstein] makes abundantly

what cultural theorists like to call the Timinal’ zone,

no generation can be unfamiliar with the temptations

a breathlessly drawn-out instant between the staid

of sensory excess, amoral detachment and unfettered

clear. Other grunge tales are much darker, scouring the

experimentation that comprise this most fatally

David Lynch-like territory of sexual perversion,

popularity, within the grunge genre, of stories that

attractive mode of cool’; grunge, after all, is the

morbid death fantasies, and addiction - equally

happen in very tight time-spans, such as the

prerogative of youth. As Nick Cave said it is the duty of

popular material with audiences, as the movie of

passage from dusk to dawn - usually with a party,

past and an unknowable future. Hence the

the old to find grace, and of the young to find disgrace.

Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting proved. Grunge beats a

a crime, or some all-night binge in between. This is

The grunge condition covers a multitude of sins: sex

track that extends from the mildly grubby fun of

the pattern used in Going Down, Human Traffic

and drugs and playing in bands; angry, alienated

yesteryear’s TV cult, The Young Ones, or Withnail & I

(1999) or Ian Pringle's The Prisoner of St

youth; high-spirited recklessness; twisted fantasies

(why is British grunge so often twee?), to a

Petersburg (1990), a more whimsical and CINEMA PAPERS. JUNE / JULY 2000 [27]

Sample People

Love Serenade

I grunge. It has a lot to do with what some decadent

romantically inclined youth film starring our own

even if the main character on a bender is completely

grunge icon, Noah Taylor.

unlovable. Just ask Martin Scorsese, who has been

French poets once charmingly referred to as

Along with this eternal present tense comes an

depicting the catastrophe of the present moment

nostalgie de la boue - literally, a ’yearning for the

equally passionate commitment to personal

according to this principle from Who's That Knocking

mud’. For someone to want to yearn for the mud

experience that sometimes borders on the

at my Door (1968) to Bringing Out the Dead (1999).

generally means that they were not born in the mud.

solipsistic. It is easy to find grunge an 'apolitical'

A commitment to a first-person present-tense mode

So the art, fiction and music of grunge has, for many

form, since it so rarely gets outside of the immediate

carries in-built aesthetic challenges. Grunge films

decades, recorded the adventures of middle-class

perceptions, sensations and self-justifications of its

can too easily become monotonal and unvaried, like

guys and gals who go forth and slum it in style - the

ragged heroes. John Curran’s screen version of

Terry Gilliam’s disastrous screen adaptation of

Nick Cave syndrome.Tfctey.de-class themselves,

Praise (1999) drew this criticism in some quarters -

Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las

going downwardly mobile. They drop out of

for ignoring certain painful realities of Queensland's

Vegas (1998). Or else they break down into a flurry of

university. They get smashed and take all the drugs

underclasses (including its indigenous community)

plotless, twinkling, disconnected fragments - one of

they can. They beg, scam and steal for money. They

and focusing solely on the doomed love affair of its

the big problems with another Australian share-

watch films, soak up paintings and read weighty, philosophical books voraciously - but in a carefree,

main (white) characters - but this seems to me an

house movie occurring in a fixed time period, Fresh

excessively polemical argument to load upon such a

-4/r (1999), which tried in vain to mimic the look and

magpie fashion, ripping off only those few words,

finely wrought and affecting film.

style of a new-fangled ‘zine’. Using a voice-over

images or sounds needed to inspire and fuel their

Grunge sometimes does try for a certain, sidelong

narration - the least successful element of Praises

own art, which is often conceived in a state of angry

reflectiveness. Occasionally a ringing prophet of

voyage from page to screen in McGahan’s own script

reaction or negation. And they live in an amoral haze

doom - usually some battle-scarred fiend from an

adaptation - often leads to a heavy-handed

of promiscuous, bisexual, polymorphously perverse

older generation - wanders into the frame for a

underlining or spelling-out of points, and can

relationships - that is, if they’re really lucky.

moment for or two, as in Pure Shit or Head On,

actually detract from the desired effect of intimacy

In the cinema of the 1980s and 1990s, the films of

offering some broader historical perspective and

and immediacy.

French enfant terrible Leos Carax [Boy Meets Girl,

social conscience prompt. But it is all too easy for

There is a social class dimension to the saga of

Bad Blood, Les Amants du Pont-Neuf, Pola X\

viewers to dismiss these fuddy-duddy ramblings in eager expectation of the next overdose, beating, getaway or sex scene. Film, more than any other medium, glorifies the immediate and the visceral,

And they live in an amoral haze of promiscuous, bisexual, polymorphously perverse relationships -

indelibly capture the cool glamour of bohemian

on their lounge room wall, and the video shop in

grunge right down to the last dirty fingernail. Here,

which Dean (Sam Lewis) works proudly displays

the grunge lifestyle is a full-blown existential choice

Australia’s own Body Melt (Philip Brophy, 1994).

- the only 'true', authentic path is to be down and

To spin the flip side of this argument, it is true that

out, to eat with the bums, to find the strange,

exactness of detail is not always an essential, or

shadow world hidden at night under bridges and

even important ingredient in a film. Fresh A ir got

amid back streets. Australian cinema has rarely

some of its inner-city incidentals exactly right - such

gone this far into amour fou romanticism, except,

as the arty Super 8 movies made by its protagonists,

fleetingly, in Michael Rymer’s Angel Baby[ 1995).

which distilled a portion of Sydney subculture in less

Our movies are happier to embrace the grunge

than thirty seconds - but that didn’t really help the

lifestyle as an accident, a trap or a necessity,

movie overall. When I first saw Dogs In Space at the

sometimes just a phase in someone's life, at other

time of its release, I was disappointed, because I felt

times a curse: films full of the pathos of

that Lowenstein had collapsed too many, very

dispossessed, socially marginalised souls, from

different aspects of Melbourne's ‘Little Bands'

Esben Storm’s 27 A (1973) about alcoholism, to

phenomenon into one cosy story - and then plonked

Lilian's Story (1995), about madness. Or else - as in

Mr Mainstream Michael Hutchence right in the

much British cinema of bitter, kitchen-sink

middle to play the hero!

extraction - grunge seeps into the very fabric of

Nowadays, detached from that particular historic

mundane, quotidian life, and particularly into the

moment of the Australian avant garde, I enjoy Dogs

mucky, body-fluid transactions of sexuality. This is an aspect of the Jane Campion legacy (evident from her early shorts) subsequently passed on to filmmakers including Monica Pellizzari (Fistful of Flies, 1996) and Shirley Barrett [Love Serenade,

For some reason that is hard to pinpoint, Australian films are notoriously bad on cultural exactness

1996) - that droll tendency to present a character's sexual development as (in Ruth Watson’s words) "more grubby than gracious” . Grunge movies raise the unavoidable problem of cultural exactness in Australian cinema. If you presume to make a film about youth subcultures, about the bubbling

Z e i t g e is t ,

or about radical,

shocking, new forms of art and expression, you ju s t. have get the details right. The music that the characters listen to, the books they read, their culture-vulture patter, their speech idioms, the clothes they wear: all this has to be correct, or else a filmmaker's no doubt sincere burning ambition to 'bear witness’ goes straight down the gurgler. Now, for some reason that is hard to pinpoint, Australian films are notoriously bad on cultural exactness. From the embarrassing old rocker in Back of Beyond [ 1995) mumbling “ gotta go, gotta gig” at every opportunity, to the instant punk stardom of the hero of Bad Boy Buddy (1994), screaming at mesmerised, zombiefied, copy-cat pub

crowds; from the hilariously simple-minded

In Space for itself, not as a quasi-documentary but a

philosophy lectures offered by a floundering Jimmy

vivid, compact, grunge fairytale. Interestingly,

returns in a never-ending cycle. In local theatre, the

Smits in Gross Misconduct (1993), to the sight of

abroad where the exactness issue did not figure,

plays of Raimondo Córtese (such as Features of

Sam Neill as a literature professor in My Mother

Armond White in the American magazine Film

Blown Youth, a share-house melodrama of

Frank (2000) banging on about ‘subtext’, as if his

Comment rallied to the defence of Dogs in Space,

postmodern good and evil) are currently mixing the

sole preparation for academic life was to read a bad

twinning it with another extravagant grunge fable,

toughness of street-talk and bad teen manners with a heightened, symbolic floridness reminiscent of

But surely grunge w ill have its day again. It goes and

how-to-write-a-screenplay manual; from the

Dominique Deruddere’s Belgian adaptation of

irredeemably foppish ‘modern’ artist with the

Bukowski, Crazy Love (aka Love Is a Dog From Hell,

Pier Paolo Pasolini. Haydn Keenan may yet,

immortal name of Cliff Ingersoll in Duet For Four

1987). Angst, too, does not fixate on the truth of

hopefully, make another film. On the film culture

(1982), to the drippy fashion sense of the attitude-

every single detail - the goth girl, May (Abi Tucker),

front, I recently received an email bulletin from the

stoked ‘rave crowd’ in Sample People (2000)... The

is little more than someone who wears the right

distinguished Melbourne scholar, William Routt,

record, I’m afraid, speaks for itself.

Took’ and watches The Crow - but its breezy combo

hoping to edit and publish one, possibly two volumes

The cultural exactness of Angst is what makes it so

of low-life blues, self-realisation and romantic

on ‘Australian trash cinema’. Everything is to be

refreshing. The grunge factor in this film is fairly

comedy puts it well beyond such strictures.

covered in it: transgressive classics; no-budget

gentle, in contrast to Two Hands (1999), which took a

Angst, like Human Traffic, signals a contemporary

shockers that never saw the light of a projector;

more spectacular, Tarantino-type approach to the

moment in cinema when tales of reckless youth

ignored horror, action and soft-porn features from

criminal milieu of Kings Cross. These characters,

eschew the presence of hard drugs, overly painful

the 10BA days, as well as before and beyond that

who treat the Cross as a diverting but still everyday

sex, naked social exploitation, and numbing tragedy.

neglected period; home-grown masterpieces that

place in which to live, rather than’as a mecca of

Even the teen street urchin in Nettheim’s film who

were (in Raymond Durgnat’s memorable phrase)

mud-yearning, are hooked on gruesome videos

steals the share-house’s beloved VCR turns out to

"shot on a shoestring and blown up to Super 8” .

rather than any harder stuff. Their tastes are

be not so menacing or predatory, after all - just a

Promises of contributions to Routt's project are, I

satisfyingly correct, for a change: they discourse

boy looking for a pal.

believe, pouring in. And the working title of this

wisely upon the trashiest masterpieces of

We seem very far from the initial shock of Larry

Cronenberg and Raimi, have a Dario Argento poster

Clark's sensationalist exposé, Kids (1995).

much-needed magnum opus of critical literature? Pure Shit. • CINEMA PAPERS. JUNE / JULY 2000 [2 9 ]

■H i

Ì -^Stephan Elliot is talking about his career. He w ill start at the beginning and roam across his four feature films, one by one. He'll even talk about the behind-the-scenes documentary Killing Priscilla directed by Lizzie Gardiner during the making of Elliot's upcoming movie, Eye of the Beholder. But first he wants to get one thing straight. T m getting really pissed off with the comeback line from the documentary. People have seen the doco and they just want to base the whole line on, ‘He's had a failed career, this is his one big chance to

Stephan Elliot, director.

come back and make it - all that crap, and it's really pissing me off now. I've made four movies; Frawma broke even, Priscilla made money, Woop Wm^.% didn't, Eye made money. Now because oft'Hat fucking documentary I’m (copping] the failed career that everything was resting on'.and it’- s.^ really peeving me off. There, I ve^said it,T T ip i'f much better.” This is vintage Elliot. At 36, he’s b'ipn in the movie' business for almost 20 yeare He loves a b'attle^and speaks his mind, which rehd|r§;him as;a breath-of

t e l l release df h it fourth featuri, Stephan E Irot tells Michaela Boland Mbout his roller coaster career. S h th e Ä v ^ jö f t h ii

fresh air blown from a selircensoring industry where everyone fears offendingV-anyohe les|^they find themselves working tcfgjethe'r next week, despite the myriad jealousies and gripes everywhere undeT the surface. "It's the nature of this in d u s t^ h a t ¿everybody’s sor . cautious of offending anyone. EVehytq^^jlrThe £§ media is so controlled," Elliot says.2 He cites press junkets, where d fs ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ s transport minibus-loads of jo u rn a u ^y info a«location for endless rounds of contrived press .,,, conferences and strictly supervised ten minute-'--‘one-on-ones’ with a key actor or the film ’s dire^td'c,-; as forums for control. "They're filled with lies,” he says. And now distributors are beginning to treat loose cannonElliot as a liability. "They don’t like sitting me in a room with a journalist without a publicist but then when you do speak your mind you get massacred."

Susie Porter in Welcome to Woop Woop.

Elliot believes journalists lie in wait for him to drop

The Adventures o f Priscilla,, Queen of tke Desert.

clangers, which he inevitably does, but if there were a greater number of outspoken filmmakers his comments would receive less attention. "Which would be good," he says. In an interview a few days later he'll turf a tabloid journo out of the room for trying to goad him into making comments which w ill get him in hot water. This journo has done it before, he hasn’t forgotten her and, sure as shit, he's not going slip up a second time. Stephan Elliot was just 2k years old when he started directing his first feature, Frauds, a $5 million(ish)

who’d made bigger films=and^ili was-Xabulou^Tn

I the Fox Studios. But "they wanted a $10,000 location

confused magical crime th rille r starring Hugo

re-teaching m e n o w t o ^ ^ ^ a l^ ^ ^ M g e t film."

fee, these are no budget movies. So we went down

Weaving, Josephine Byrnes and Phil Collins.

Working on The Right Hand Man (Di Drew 1987),

to a park and shot there because we don’t have

After entering the film industry straight from school,

Elliot says, really messed with his head.

any money."

he had spent several years as an assistant editor,

Bennett, on the other hand, "taught me how to

Frauds was eventually selected to screen in

did a short stint at North Sydney Tech and had a

steal and how to do things without location permits.

competition at Cannes but only after a period of

handful of first AD (assistant director) credits as

That certainly became a much more fulfilling way to

bitter wrangling between Elliot and his investors,

under his belt. He describes his early years in the industry as "that

make a movie" and stood him in good stead for his


current sideline project where he is "director's

On the first day of the shoot, he was instructed to

great 10BA period" when the industry was

friend" on Rebel Penfold-Russell’s debut feature,

request Josephine Byrnes use an American accent

flourishing, even if the films being made were not

Willfull, which is being shot in and around Sydney

and to give the film a happy ending. Then, upon

so flash. He praises director Bill Bennett: "B ill was really

during May and June.

completing the film he ventured to LA seeking

good because I'd worked with some bad directors

Elliot recently wanted to shoot some footage around


Describing W illfull as ‘no budget movie making’

approval. Penniless, without an agent or manager I and carrying his director’s cut he met with Caralco.

C IN E M A P A P E R S , J U N E / JU L Y 200 0 [ 3 1 ]

Ewan M cGregor in Eye of the Beholder.

Elliot directing kd lang in Eye of the Beholder.

“They went into a huddle, (then) walked out and said 'it's OK we can save this' and basically they fired me. Then they attacked the movie. The film that was finished as Frauds is an extremely damaged movie.” Elliot then destroyed what remained of the negative, "I had to get rid of it. It was a horrible fucking process. It was trial by fire on the first film and in the end I was close to a nervous breakdown. I had no support and these people were locking me out of the cutting room. _They were pouring glasses of wine over my head. It got extremely ugly and by end of it I threw the towel in and said I’m never going to make another movie." But it doesn't stop there, "With this highly damaged movie I had to go to Cannes and do the whole smiley Cannes thing. It’s really hard having to put up a brave face for a film you really don’t believe in. Everything about that film reeks damage to me,” he says.

“ It was trial by fire on the first film and in the end I was close to a nervous breakdown. I had no support and these people were locking me out of the cutting room. They were pouring glasses of wine over my head. It got extremely ugly.”

But producer Al Clarke had different plans for Elliot's future. He offered him the chance of complete creative freedom directing The Adventures of

But faced with extensive travel, a tiny budget and a

Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.

27-day shoot Elliot’s fragile confidence was rattled.

Elliot laughs dryly recalling "people walking around

"I had written Priscilla on a whim, when I was trying

“ Even going into pre-production I was very nervous

smiling saying ‘I’m so excited you've come to see us'.

to get Frauds up. I had this dumb idea and I just

and wasn’t sure whether I could do it but there’s

When I hear the words ’so excited’ I’m out the door".

churned it out,” Elliot says of the box office

that point where you cross the line and think ’Oh

"I held my ground and said ’I don’t want to go into

gangbuster starring Terence Stamp, Hugo Weaving

fuck it let’s go for it'.”

this world, it might be more comfortable but it’s not

with Frauds I didn't trust any of them, not one."

and Guy Pearce as three drag queens who bicker

"We went hell for leather. I honestly expected the

why I wanted to make movies' but your head gets

their way across the Simpson Desert.

film to end up on video. I went in with no

screwed. By the time I’d flown around the world and

According to the Australian Film Commission’s 1998

expectations, only a lot of wounds and then off it

everything started going off, including Academy

report, Get the Picture, Priscilla is the sixth highest

went, and it’s still going on. I could take the fuckin’

grossing Australian film of all time, after the

thing out now and shoot it, I’ve had enough of it

Awards and Golden Globes. You can’t help but get fucked up by that".

Crocodile Dundee films, Babe, Strictly Ballroom and


The result of getting fucked up can be seen on the

The Man from Snowy River.

Much as he may loathe the fact, Priscilla made

big screen in Welcome to Woop Woop. Starring Susie

Funded to the tune of $2.7 million through the Film

Elliot’s name.

Porter and Jonathan Schaech, Woop Woop is a

Finance Corporation and Polygram, Priscilla earned

"Post Priscilla I got offered the world, absolutely

bizarre, inflated tale of a New Yorker who finds

$16 million, and more if CD sales video distribution

everything that was being made. Five picture deals

himself in the Australian outback in the arms of a

are included.

and three picture deals but after what I went through

voracious sex kitten. It was a critical and financial


disaster, with local distributors Roadshow screening it for two weeks on 96 screens, then cutting back to 35 screens in week three. It remained in cinemas for seven weeks in total. Eliot refuses to apologise for Woop Woop. He says it w ill become a cult classic yet; "That is spreading now, I had (a) Gucci designer run up to me screaming in my face (that) he’s doing the whole

“ It just gets down to that suddenly you’ve got this luscious career then, there you are again in your underpants and back we went again to no budget film making.”

next summer’s campaign based on Woop Woop. So it’s going off in a really weird way.’’

Eye is Elliot’s passion project, he gave it 200 percent

“ Woop Woop came from absolutely nowhere. Eye of

of his energy and his own money, after being ripped

the Beholder was what I wanted to do next. I had

off by financiers he describes as "crooks". He

written it (but) I was dragged through every studio in

retained creative control and authorised the final cut

town being offered all this money. Everyone was

but it’s not the film he wanted to make. That film

saying 'What do you want to do?’’’

vanished when the money dried up.

Elliot, the brash song and dance director, would

"I did what I could under the circumstances." Which

hand them a script for the dark surrealist th rille r

included doubling as every key actor in the film,

Eye of the Beholder. In short, "nobody wanted to

including Ashley Judd.

know about it".

"There’s a shot in Chicago, we had no money by that

After being handed the script for Woop Woop at a

stage, I was in a wig and a coat with an operator who

party, and signing on, the studio wouldn’t let Elliot

was upside down in the doorway and couldn’t reach

alter the film ’s plot. So instead, "I just put as many

the camera’s ‘on’ switch. I had to go to the other side

gags into it as I possibly could and then began to

of the camera, turn it on, walk into shot as Ashley,

take it the John (Pecker) Waters route. I got

walk out of shot and go and turn the camera off

completely outrageous towards the end, I was losing

again," the shot made it into the film.

control but my attitude was that it was too dark."

"It just gets down to that suddenly you’ve got this

Many of Elliot’s gags were cut during editing but at

luscious career then, there you are again in your

least one memorable one remained: "'Part my beef

underpants, and back we went again to no budget

curtains?’ There was worse, oh much worse," Elliot smirks.

filmmaking." Was the journey worth it?

Now Eye of the Beholder is poised to open in August,

"At the moment no."

safely pre-Olympics, on approximately 100 screens.

So w ill Elliot mellow?

The behind-the-scenes shenanigans are well

"Inevitably with age, I guess you have to - you can’t

documented in Killing Priscilla. With hindsight he

keep fighting. But I’m just a fighter and I fight and I

wouldn’t have allowed the doco to be made but he

fight and I fight. It’s getting a little tiring, I need a

adds that it could have been worse,

Bex and a lie down.’’ «

The w ogs have arrived But it took some convincing

->ln my time as managing director of

needed little persuasion on the

conducted extensive interviews across Australia and to all forms of media,

Fox Film Distribution, I have been

advantages of releasing the film

fortunate enough to be involved with

through Fox. It was the start of a great

but the major attraction was, of

some of the biggest films ever

relationship - I think it was a 'wog'

CQurse, Nick who worked the media

released in Australia, including the


and exhibition community into a frenzy

highest grossing film of all time -

After a lengthy contract negotiation,

creating "event” status for the film.


which lasted more than two months,

His popularity in Australia is

One of the highlights of this time

we were set to go and planned our

extraordinary and this was, I think, the

would also have to be The Wog Boy.

release for February 24, 2000.

key factor for the film 's success. Nick

With the film passing $11 million, and

Our challenge was to create a

G can now claim to have conquered

breaking records along the way, it is

campaign from scratch and ensure

the stage, small screen and film - a

now one of the Top 10 grossing

the film was treated as a 'major

great achievement.

Australian films of all time.

release. With Nick bursting with ideas

Everyone likes a winner, as they say,

History w ill show what a great success

on how the materials should look and

and once the film opened to huge box

story this whole venture was but at the

our own marketing team behind it we

office the media were all over The

time the so-called experts in our

came up with a strong poster, press

industry were not convinced this

ad and TV commercial. All simple but

project would get off the ground.

very effective concepts.

When I first met with producer John

We knew we needed a big advertising

Brousek and star/ co-producer/ co­

spend to ensure awareness for the

w riter Nick Giannopoulous, i was

film in what would be a crowded

amazed to learn how difficult it was

market place. We were up against

for them to raise finance in Australia

Oscar contenders and major releases

to produce the film.

such as The Green Mile, American

After researching Nick's history I

Beauty, Man On The Moon and head-

We were up against Oscar contenders and major releases such as The Green Mile, American Beauty, Man On The Moon and head-to-head with The Talented Mr Ripley. As we saw it, however, The Wog Boy was great counter-programming to these titles.

learned that his stage plays had

to-head with The Talented Mr Ripley.

grossed more than $24 million in

As we saw it, however, The Wog Boy

addition to the success of his top-

was great counter-programming to

rating TV sitcom Acropolis Now which

these titles.

Australian film in history ($2,033,549)

Wog Boy, which then generated even

ran for five years.

Our sales and marketing team did an

- breaking a 12-year-old record held

more publicity for the film. This success and attention also proved to

I'd heard that The Wog Boy had been

extraordinary job on this film, turning

by Crocodile Dundee II. Mick Dundee

secured by Beyond Films for theatrical

what was perceived as a "little Aussie

had been replaced by Zorba Dundee!

be a shot-in-the-arm for the

distribution rights but, as it happened,

film " into a blockbuster release - not

The film held the number one spot for

Australian film community as a whole

two weeks, an all too rare

and should hopefully silence those

Beyond’s distribution arm folded

an easy task for any Australian film.

shortly thereafter and G.O. Films and

We had always planned advance paid

Beyond were looking for a sub-

previews the weekend before opening,

release, and proved to have great legs

audiences don't want to see Australian

distribution deal. With Fox having

based on our belief that word-of-

(hairy of course).

films. Australian audiences don't want

secured the video rights, through

mouth was a key factor to its success.

Reviews for the film were interesting,

to see bad films - where they are

By the time the previews hit, the film

a real mixed bag, but not unexpected

produced makes little difference, in

entertainment, Steve Johnston, it

was on a roll and when it opened, not

given the film's commercial nature. At

my opinion.

opened the door for us to start

only did the film compete, it KO'd

the end of the day, reviews proved to

"Every wog has his day,” was a fitting

negotiations for theatrical distribution.

everything in its path.

make little difference, as audiences

tag line for the film and, I think, might

I started negotiating for theatrical

The weekend previews established

made up their own minds and flocked

even apply to some managing

rights even before I saw the film,

themselves as the fifth largest preview

to the film. Word-of-mouth from

directors. •

thinking even if it was a stinker, it

weekend in Australian cinema history

cinemagoers, on how enjoyable the

would have box office potential.

($1,536,098) and word-of-mouth was

film was, silenced the critics.

Robert Slaviero has been managing

Thankfully what we got was a terrific

excellent as expected. Opening on a

What would ultimately make the

director for Twentieth Century Fox

Aussie comedy which turned out to be

record number of screens for a locally

difference for us with this campaign

Film Distributors Pty Ltd since

a total crowd pleaser.

produced/funded film (198), it was the

was the driving force of the publicity.

1 October 1996. He’s spent 21 years

John Brousek and Nick Giannopoulous

biggest opening weekend for an

Key cast and production people

in the film business.

managing director of home


| achievement for any Australian

who bemoan that Australian

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fn ich e Y

Tackle Happy!



- ^ lf 1999 was annus horribilus for Mick MoLloy, 2000 is fast shaping up as


The s q ^o n was extended hut then canplJ^fd becausfb (drops for another comedy

penis excitus.

festival ishow, which had m ovedipto|he theatre,.pro.vqd%po expensive for M ollo' s

MoLloy, one half of the former commercial radio duo Martin Molloy and the

company to work around.

subsequent anchor of The Mick Molloy Show, which enjoyed a spectacularly short

After a fruitless attempt to g^ain<entry to the Sydney-Film Festival (the reason given

season on late-night Channel 9 last year, is director and producer of Tackle Happy.

was that Tackle Happy hadtalready enjoyed a theathical:rele“as§hsWsorifs at

Molloy's first feature-length home video, Tackle Happy tracks the trials and

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So, on May 4, 2000, fackTeMpppy opened head-to-head with Ridley Scott’s

Film critic Madeleine Swain may think Tackle Happy is a bit limp (see review

Gladiator. Screening four sessions each-day, it earned $7000 on opening weekend.

p. 42) but a bunch of sell-out houses at the 600-seat Capitol Theatre during the

Ahem, the a l n j j ^ ^ l ^ ^ f t ^ a m e d $7,817,000 in opening week.

Melbourne Comedy Festival convinced Molloy Tackle Happy had legs.

A tour of other capital cities is planned Michaela Boland

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STOP 1999.16mm colour. 7min. Director Anthony M ullins W rite r/ Producers Kier Shorey, David M egarrity, Anthony M ullins Director of Photography Dan M acA rthur Production Company Collidescope Funded by PFTC Key cast David M egarrity

->A year ago I helped my flat mate

"We’re going on A Current Affair',

Main Cameron spread thousands of

we’re a four-minute slow news story.

dollars worth of borrowed designer

We’re trying to get sponsorship for

clothes on our apartment floor. My job

suits and stuff like that,” says actor

was to help her decide what to take to

and co-writer/producer David

Cannes, and what to leave behind for


me to wear inappropriately and

All aged around 30, Megarrity, Kier

whenever possible. Her graduate

Shorey and Anthony Mullins work as a

short film from AFTRS - Milk - was

writing and producing co-operative,

the only Australian film accepted into

Mullins directs. With only one media

official competition at Cannes.

studies degree between them, this is

Well dressed but short of spending

their third short film.

money she left for France. At the very

Megarrity has appeared in all of the

least she was bound to return with a

films. "This is the first film we actually

few more names to put on her

rehearsed, and strictly speaking, we

fortnightly dole form.

devise the action together," he says.

"In some ways Cannes was everything

"It’s an interesting way to work

I expected it to be; red carpet, tacky

because funding bodies aren't set up

palm trees and glitzy frocks, it's the

to deal with, dare I say it, 'collectives’.

Gold Coast of Europe," she noted

They are quite director focused."

afterwards. "But it does somehow feel

Nonetheless Megarrity and Shorey are

like the real thing very temporarily.

fighting their way to Cannes, and

Then you come home and go back on

justifiably so, as they have a feature to

“When we got the call we thought It was a prank. I liked Stopbut I didn’t t was that good,” he confesses.

the dole."

pitch. "It's called Distant Sun and is

you often come across those portable

Despite the hype, and the quantum

sort of autobiographical - about a guy

traffic lights... we just thought it was a

i film, it is let down by one gag too

leap from short filmmaking in

in a band,” says Megarrity, who first

cute idea. We were trying to do a gag

j many.

Australia to competition at Cannes,

met Mullins playing in a band when

film but also with a layered story,”

I Stop seems an odd choice for Cannes,

there are real gains to be made, as

they were in their early 20s.

explains Megarrity.

Cameron found out.

Megarrity was surprised to hear of

Stop is more than a gag film, but the

| funny. However, the filmmakers have

frustration. While it is a gently funny

it’s not brief nor is it hysterically

"With a film in competition doors

their official selection in the world’s

message isn't very clear. Is it a fable

I a strong understanding of film

open. Everyone's looking for new

premier film showcase event. "When

about man against machine?

| language and the funny moments do

talent, so until you prove to them that

we got the call we thought it was a

Megarrity claims it has several

you are a complete idiot, they want to

prank. I liked Stop but I didn’t think it

themes, one being a pisstake of new

| selectors warmed to its sheer I ridiculousness and the cliched

have originality. Perhaps the French

see your film, meet you, and be the

was that good," he confesses.

age thinking. "The character has to

first one to sign you up."

Stop is a fish-out-of-water comedy

shed certain things before he can get

Cameron returned home with

about a man and a surreal traffic light

to where he needs to go. Like his

| (necessary when your location | requires ’middle of nowhere’).

investors seriously interested in her

in the classically Australian middle-of-

reliance on technology."

directing a feature, yet not much has

nowhere. The fish is a quintessential

The traffic light becomes the enemy in

come of it since but she isn’t too

loser who typically he thinks he’s got it

his battle to maintain balance, and

concerned "They’re people that will

all going on. A lemon tie-wearing,

somehow, when changing from green

Australianess of the landscape

Whether they win or not, doors are now open. 1 Cameron's advice to the trio: "Just

now open their door to us - it’s about

mobile phone-wielding, Commodore­

to red it sends everything awry - the

make the most of it, enjoy it, it's a little


driving young businessman, he is late

car, the mobile phone and the man all

bit of glory when you’ve worked really

The same opportunity this year goes

for a meeting. He pops in a meditation

break down.

hard to make a film ” . And on the

to a group of Brisbane filmmakers

tape into the car stereo to wind down

This is a highlight, playing a suburban

fashion front? "They should just buy op

with their short film Stop - again the

and stops at a light with no purpose.

man pushed to the edge with vigour,

only Australian film to be selected for

What ensues is a silly comedy of

Megarrity ends up wrapped around

tie they can walk up the red carpet.

official competition at Cannes.

errors - a man’s rigid common sense

the offending traffic light beating it

You’re allowed to be a bit eccentric, be

Paycheck-to-paycheck kind of people,

up against the nonsensical.

with his shoe. In this moment director

they are having wardrobe problems of

"It was Kier’s original idea. You have

Anthony Mullins takes us inside, then

their own, but not without a solution -

to do a lot of driving in Australia and

deftly outside, this man’s ridiculous

| shop suits. As long as they have a bow

| the boy with a hole in his suit, they’ll love that. 'Oh it's the crazy arty types’, I they’ll whisper knowingly."« CINEMA PAPERS. JUNE / JULY 2000 [39]


p! _____________ -




"extended member" did take place in a fashionable South Yarra hotel while he was in the company of police, as depleted in the film. While that stunt was relatively harmless, Read's D ir e c to r

shooting of "Sammy the Turk” left

A n dre w D o m inik

police with a real dilemma. Like

C ast

everyone else who had dealt with

Eric Bana as C hopper Read, Sim on Lyndon, Vince Colosim o, Kate Beahan, D aniel W yllie,

Read, even the coppers found him

David Field, Kenny G raham

too dangerous.

E x e c u tiv e P r o d u c e r s

Which leads me to applaud another

A l C lark and M ichael G udinski P ro d u c e r

fine effect the film has reproduced

M ichele B ennett

from the Chopper books, ie every time

D is tr ib u to r


you find yourself starting to sympathise

C o u n tr y o f o rig in

with Read, he does something which

A u stralia

totally repulses you.

R a t in g


That’s the enigma of the man.

D u r a tio n

We all know that jails are full of

94 m ins

“ innocent" men. No one ever did the crime. ->First time screen writer and

Not so with Chopper.

director Andrew Dominik has done an

If he’d been around in George

excellent job in taking us back to the

weren’t involved, but also wanted a

those hard days of the 1970s and 1980s

slice of the take.

in Melbourne. Back then Pentridge Jail

It was in this climate of distrust that

below: Eric Bana as Chopper & Kate Beahan as Tanya.

Washington's day, Read would not only

the underworld or just pure fantasy.

tree, but that he bundled up the

say that HE chopped down the cherry

housed some of the most fearsome

Chopper was able to operate as a

Many simply can’t make up their mind.

branches and sold them as firewood,

crooks in its notorious "H for Hell"

standover man.

So what if his facts aren’t altogether

and then biffed the copper who came

Division. Murders, savage beatings,

Some of Melbourne’s best crooks

right? For as Chopper says himself, you

along to arrest him.

fires, riots, stabbings, and hostage

didn’t know who to trust, and Read was

can’t let facts ruin a good yarn.

The humour is raw, make no mistake,

stand-offs were commonplace.

simply a loose cannon.

Chopper feels it’s true without

this film is not for those with queasy

Chopper Read emerged through all of

In Chopper, the filmmakers have

necessarily being accurate.

tummies. And, however, grossly it

that as a key figure, heading the

altered history slightly with their

What also makes Chopper different is

depicts Read's life, the real-life

famous Overcoat Gang which

screen presentation of the life and

here we have a crook who puts his

experience is even worse. But this is as

terrorised prisoners. And once you

times of Chopper Read; the most

hand up and says: "Yes I am a nasty

close as many of the audience will get

were out of the nick, some of the

important thing they've captured,

criminal, I have shot people, tortured

to see the Melbourne underworld,

places around town weren’t too much

through the fine performance of Eric

people, done heinous things" - and

warts and all.

better. Chopper, of course, knew those

Bana, is the ultimate enigma of the

then seeks to justify it all.

It’s a great insight into the dynamics at

places; frequented them, and in the


We’re supposed to cheer because the

work in the city’s underbelly, where life

criminal sense, fed off them.

Read should be regarded as a

only people he ever hurts are rotten

is cheap, and a crook’s death sentence

They did pack guns at places like

loathsome low-life criminal, yet the

drug-pushing scum - or simply nasty

is likely to be handed out by a smiling

Bojangles nightclub in those days. Now

way he tells it - both in his prolific-

criminals, not unlike himself.

"mate”. Unless the target is Chopper of

it's more likely to be a pouch of

selling books and now on the big

Read was a police informer which

course, because he always gets in first.


screen - the ordinary punter on the

allowed him more freedom than most

The Chopper Read faithful w ill enjoy

The Great Bookie Robbery, carried out

street can’t help empathising with him.

criminals. This is highlighted in the film

this film. •

in the old Victorian Club in April 1976,

At least partly.

where Chopper makes monkeys out of

made sure an underworld war existed

The attraction with Chopper is that he

the well-cast detectives he was dealing

in Melbourne for nearly a decade.

takes us into this scary, dangerous,

with. They turn a blind eye to a lot of

Media Relations Pty Ltd. He was a

Those involved in the multi-million

pathetic underworld from the safety of

his antics in the hope of getting “good

senior crime reporter with the

dollar raid were continually looking

our armchairs. People either regard

information" from him.

over their shoulders for those who

Read’s stories as a great insight into

For example, Read’s flashing of his

Melbourne Sun during the 1970s and 1980s.


Jim Tennison is managing director of

below: Eric Bana as Chopper & Kate Beahan as Tanya. Vince Colosimo as Neville Bartos. Simon Lydon as Jimmy Loughnan, Eric Bana as Chopper and Dan Wylie as Bluey

Angst Director Daniel N ettheim Producer Jonathon Green W riter Anthony O'Connor Cinematographer Tristan Milani Country of Origin Australia Distribution UIP Cast Sam Lewis, Jessica Napier, Justin Smith, Abi Tucker, Luke Lennox

->lt appears the masculine rights of aDove: Jessica Napier as Jade, left: Justin Smith as Ian.

passage' theme w ill never find itself 'coming of age'. Rather, as a narrative device, rights of passage has continued

However, as the tide of a new

envelopes. Taking the ‘art reflects life’

to provide audiences with a range of

generation slowly washes in, it brings

trope to its is extreme, Angst traverses

street kid and some stuffed toys and

eternally youthful archetypes (Jimmy

with it a renewed framework for

a fine line between cliché and humour.

you pretty much have the whole

premise, a shared house, a westie, a

Dean, Holden Caulfield and the whole

viewing the modern condition.

A young man is working in an inner city


cast of The Outsiders) that set

Daniel Nettheim’s directorial angst has

video store. In between making

The video boy, Dean, is played with

themselves up in opposition to the

managed to produce a feature film of

harassing phone calls to late

considerable post-adolescent charm

mainstream. In fact, it is precisely the

the same name. According to the

returners, the young video addict is

by Sam Lewis. Jessica Napier’s Jade is

conflict implicit in such a youthful

Oxford dictionary, ‘angst’ refers to ‘the

dreaming up pithy one-liners for his

effectively frustrating as the indolent

opposition that makes these boys

feeling or outlook of dread’. The film

first feature... sound familiar? Well

and ’justifiably’ unemployed ex-

interesting in the first place.

explores this outlook though the

then, you won’t be surprise to discover

girlfriend-cum-flatmate. Ultimately, it

With impressive films such as Flirting

confusion faced by early

that the 23-year-old Angst

is the confident direction of the

and The Year My Voice Broke

twentysomethings, living and growing

screenwriter, Anthony O’Connor, did in

ensemble cast combined with Tristan

representing a tender, albeit provincial

up in inner city Kings Cross. Grubby

fact work in a Kings Cross video store

Milam's cinematography that makes

experience for its male protagonists,

with grunge, bongs and post-modern

while he was writing a screenplay

this film less of an ordeal than its

Australian cinema has had its fair

references to C-grade horror flicks,

about a young man who works in a

name would suggest.

share of coming of age stories.

Angst doesn’t really push any

Kings Cross video store. Add to this

• Emma Crimmings

are not exactly working with little

who witness them in the, er, flesh, do

anythings. Tackle Happy is an on-the-

their routines and the fly-on-the-wall

road, behind-the-scenes look at two

accompanying material make for

Tackle Happy Director/Producer M ic k M o llo y

Cast S im o n M o r le y , D a v id F r ie n d , S te v e C u rry

Country of Origin A u s tr a lia

Running Time

chaps who like to tour the country

scintillating cinema? In a word: no.

wearing nothing but gold lamé capes

This is tedious, repetitive stuff. There

and silly hats, performing their

are moments of interest - Morley’s

theatrical extravaganza: Puppetry of

overnight prison date springs to mind

the Penis. Simon Morley and David

- and most mouths w ill be agape at

Friend possess the unenviable (by

the sight of such tricks as "the pelican"

7 4 m in s

most, one would hope) ability to enact

or "the wristwatch" but the laughs

->One would be tempted to make the

visual tricks with their genitals. Think

quickly dry up. A 10-minute gag on

immediate observation that - like the

shadow puppets. Without the light

Funniest On Tour Videos might have

protagonists in this documentary - a

source. Or fingers.

been amusing - but a 70-plus minute

little goes a very long way. Except that

While undoubtedly a thrilling

feature? I'd rather play with myself.

the chaps with the malleable members

experience for the curious audiences

• Madeleine Swain


Baker-Denny provides a more than serviceable performance here, and

.lu rla s K iss is a s lin k a n d w a ll-

Judas Kiss D ir e c to r

Sebastian G utierrez C ast

Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Gil Bellows, Carla Gugino, Simon Baker-Denny, Greg Wise, Til Schweiger, Philip Baker Hall, Roscoe Lee Brown, Hal Holbrook, Lisa Eichhorn, Joey Slotnick P ro d u c e rs

Beau Flynn, Stefan Simchowitz, Jonathan King D is tr ib u to r

Palace C o u n t r y o f o r ig in

US R a tin g

MA D u r a t io n

97 m ins

->The question on many people's minds w ill be: can Judas Kiss do for Simon Baker-Denny what LA Confidential did for his fellow Australian ex-pat actors, Russell Crowe and Guy Pearce? Baker-Denny

above: Gell Bellows as Lizard Browning, Simon Baker Denny as Junior Armstrong, Til Schweiger as Ruben Rubenbauer & Carla Gugino as Coco Chavez, left: Simon Baker Denny as Junior Armstrong

of course had a brief taste of the limelight in the same film, but his much more modest contribution was naturally overshadowed by the impressive firepower of the other two. The answer is probably not. For

unfold through the point of view of a

although Baker-Denny provides a

female protagonist. But Coco Chavez

more than serviceable performance

(Carla Gugino) is no “ devil is a woman"

here, and Judas Kiss is a slick and

Barbara Stanwyck or Linda Fiorentino

well-constructed film, above all it is

type of femme fatale; nor is she the

an efficient genre piece. And that’s

girl next door and she is all the more

about as far as it goes.

interesting because of it. The up and

First, banish all thoughts of Oscar

coming Gugino gives her the works -

Wilde from your mind, Sebastian

movie - it has to be self-referential to

! novel spin on the car chase scene.

Gutierrez’s film has nothing

the point of no return like Scream 3.

: Judas Kiss is nothing if not stylish and

whatsoever to do with David Flare’s

It’s not enough that Judas Kiss

the cinematography is full of subtle

steamy, sassy and smart. BakerDenny plays her lover Junior - doing so with admirable edge - and Gil

similarly entitled recent play. This

reminds the viewers of a thousand

pleasures, particularly in the very

Bellows from TV’s A lly McBeal is cool

instead is your standard heist drama,

40s’ film noirs, it must also include

outer reaches of the frame. The film

enough to freeze meat as the brains of

although as writer/director Gutierrez,

smart-mouthed dialogue in the

| follows the fortunes of a group of low-

generously has Detective David

regulation post-Tarantino fashion and

| life (naturally) fortune hunters who

Friedman (Alan Rickman) tell us at

reference Jim Thompson from time to

one point: “ nothing is what it seems".

time (hence the Rickman line above).

| billionaire boss of a computer

Emma Thompson. Two of England’s

There’s the rub. It must be te rrib ly .

Gutierrez avoids shooting himself in

i company. Of course things do not go according to plan...

finest Shakespearean thesps as hard-

formulate a plan to kidnap the

j the kidnapping gang. The only really false note lies in the ambitious casting of Rickman and

difficult to actually make a simple

the foot, though, by keeping his twists

genre picture these days. It has

and turns coming with admirable

Where Judas Kiss differs from The

it their all (as one would expect) but

boiled American cops? They both give

become almost de rigueur to tip your

fluidity and by his refusal to give in to

Underneath or the myriad other

their performances are just too self

hat to all your predecessors. You can’t

the frenetic pacing directors often feel

cleverly plotted heist flicks of recent

consciously studied.

just make a straightforward horror

is necessary - he even manages a

! times is that we see the scenario

• Madeleine 5wain CINEMA PAPERS. JUNE / JULY 2000 [43]

->The charming thing about the

dropped 'e' between friends?), but

movies is that nothing is definitive.

delivers an unauthorised biography as

Film appreciation is always subjective,

salacious and unnecessary as one by

except in the case of Adam Sandler

Kitty Kelley.


Yes, Marion, we know Woody is

Andrew Sams' You Ain’t Heard

manipulative, arcane, slightly creepy

Nothin’ Yet: The American Talking

and sarcastic. And we know today’s

Film, History and Memory, 1927-1949

biographies must take on the false

(Oxford University Press $35

fiction of actually being there. But we

paperback, $69.95 hardcover) is every

also know, you wouldn't have a book

bit as ambitious as its title, almost

contract if you came to praise him.

definitive in its history and fabulously

And you only concentrate on his sins


M o v ie

IRVING B u s in e s s

Moe> m < i

subjective in its memory.

because he's a talent and you have a

Sarris, the well-established

warped sense of karma.

commentator for New York magazine

That's why I regret spending my hours

The Village Voice, possesses a

reading this admittedly well-

student's knowledge, a fan's love and

researched trash. Karma suggests I’ll

So when Irving admits directors

a journalist's rigour. These three

have to pay one day for my collusion

Wayne Wang and Michael

screenwriter could, or should, assume

attributes don't often find themselves

with your sordid snipes. Besides, my

Winterbottom were attached to direct

the role of teacher anyway?

who’s to say any Australian

in such a readable writer.

time would have been better spent

Sarris has assembled a withering

listening to Allen's stand-up or

sentimentalist Lasse Hallstrom, you

previous manuals (he quotes William

: The Cider House Rules before soft

Dawson amalgamates ideas from

number of essays in this volume.

watching Zelig again.

wish they completed the job and made

Goldman early) without actually

Some, such as those included in the

John Irving's My Movie Business

a finer, more interesting film that

copying them. He also liberally drops

chapter 'The Hollywood Studios', are

(Bloomsbury RRP$29.95) makes two

would have denied Irving his Oscar.

his own wonderfully wacky

maddeningly brief and I sense these

major assumptions. The first is that

The latest BFI Modern Film Classic,

catchphrase methods (the 'hat rack’

serve to distract him from the material he really wants to explore:

; you have already read the book or seen the film of The Cider House Rules. The

Taxi Driver (bfi publishing $19.95,) by

method?; the 'telephone booth’?) and

AmyTaubin (another writer for The

snippets of practical knowledge.

the actors, directors, the creatives.

even bigger assumption is that you

Village Voice], tackles something that

There are some handy rules on styles

Each exploration overflows with

stayed awake during it and care to

could never be over-analysed, a

and structure but nothing revelatory

decades of passion and experience but

entertain further discussion on it.

Martin Scorsese film. Yet somehow it

beyond two quite novel notions. The

the resultant idiosyncratic mix of fact

If you do, this slim book's title

comes up short, in both length and

first, that writers consider

and feeling means this could never be

promises something that isn't there.


screenwriting from the marketing

a crucial history, which is not such a

It's a rambling, self-congratulatory

It helps to have the ever-available

point of view, is most un-Australian.

bad thing if it makes it so dynamic.

look at Irving's own work, his

thoughts of Scorsese and screenwriter

The second, that you start with a great

You Ain’t Heard Nothin’ Yet doesn't

grandfather and his noble stand on

Paul Schrader on hand but this

title and the rest w ill follow, is pure

quite reach the heights of his seminal

abortion and the failings of the film's

Modern Classic isn't as exploratory or

bunkum. It's breezy and accessible

work, American Cinema, but Sarris

distributor, Miramax, to be true to the

fulfilling as a number of recent

but if you're the type who needs a

shows again that he's flying in a higher

book. It rarely touches on Irving's


manual to write a personal, individual

atmosphere than most film writers.

‘movie business' other to say he 'loves

Jonathan Dawson's Screenwriting. A

screenplay, you shouldn't be writing a

Conversely, Marion Meade, the author

Lasse's (Hallstrom) version' of Cider

Manual (Oxford University Press


of The Unruly Life of Woody Allen

House, Hotel New Hampshire was a

$29.95) is rather self-explanatory. It's

Don't even attempt to use Paul

(Weidenfeld & Nicholson $45), is a

'brilliant screenplay' and Robin

about as necessary as new, larger

Thomas Anderson's Magnolia The

biographer who sure knows how to

Williams had too much body hair to

popcorn bucket.

Shooting Script (Bloomsbury $35) as a

plumb the depths. The latest to air the

play the teenager in The World

One thing in it's favour: it is

teaching aid. It w ill scare you witless.

dirty washing of one of cinema’s finest

According To Garp.

Australian, but the writer's credentials

Anderson is a rare talent allowed by a

directors, I wish she was the last.

Irving is not a particularly thoughtful

are noticeably thin and lacking

studio (New Line Cinema) searching

Meade attacks her subject with all the

chap and he admits he's only seen two

industry experience (he's Associate

for their next auteur to get away with

anthropological fervour of her

films in a cinema in ten years. That's

Professor of Film, Media and Cultural

wordy, dense dialogue. Few others

namesake, Margaret (so what's a


Studies at Griffith University). And

have that luxury, particularly any 30


WRITTEN & DIRECTED BY ANDREW DOMINIK year olds. This shooting script is just

a distributor' or you can market and

w w w . c h o p p e r t h e m o v ie .c o m

that, a photocopy of Anderson's work

distribute your film or video yourself')

with typos, lashings of dialogue and

but it remains a comprehensive and


descriptions, and the scenes that

worthwhile resource.

didn't make it to the final cut.

Film Architecture From Metropolis to

Interestingly, they include a couple

Blade Runner (Prestel $65) is pitched

featuring Tom Cruise’s character.

to a specialised market. And this


Presumably Bloomsbury aims to cash

beautiful large format book's cover

Dir: B enoit M a ria g e

in on the market that previously made

doesn’t quite tell the whole story.

do with A4 photocopies or devious

It's the catalogue for an exhibition

screenplay re-writes from the finished

staged in the US and Germany. The

movie. But attempts to add value to

subjects are films featuring cityscapes


this screenplay, including a pedestrian

from the future, near or far. Beginning

Dir: J o h n T a to u lis S tars Z o e C arides

GUINEVERE Dir: A u d re y W e lls

S tars S tep h en R ea & S a rah P o lley

interview with Anderson and photos

with the films of Weimar Germany of


from the set, don't add much. The

the 1920s (but only two F.W. Murnau

D ir: Lars V o n T r ie r

value is in the writing, and in that

selections) moving through to two

regard, Anderson is perhaps one to

Jacques Tati films (which he also

savour rather than learn from or

designed) and Blade Runner, Batman

S ta rs B jo rk & C ath erin e D en u eve

SERENADES D ir: M o jg a n K hadem


and Dick Tracy, the catalogue focuses


Once you've digested all the

on a disparate bunch of films loosely

D ir: C lara L a w

screenplay tips from those two books,

bundled up as expressionist cinema.


it’s time to make the thing. And if

In attempting to elevate set design as

Dir: S tep h en Jo h n sto n

you're in Victoria, Reel Resource 2000

an equal player in the creative

(ATOM $29.50 $5 postage), w ill help

partnership it aims high. That aim is

you no end.

too niche for a broad market.

S tars R ose B yrne

GOLDEN BOWL Dir: J a m e s Iv o ry

S ta rrin g J e re m y N o rth a m & U rna T h u rm a n

Billed as a ‘film, video, television and

Despite some splendid photos,


multimedia resource guide', this

preliminary sketches and visual

D ir: D avid M a m e t S ta rrin g A lec B aldw in & S arah - J e ssica P a rk e r

handy, coil-bound guide has a terrific

contextualisation, the accompanying

number of tips, glossaries, checklists,

essays are too dry and academic for

contacts, contracts and forms.

the casual reader. It would look nice

Some of the contact listings aren't

on your coffee table. Just hope your

definitive and some tips are charming

guests don’t query you about the text. •

in their commercial naivete [eg 'select

• Michael Bodey

ph (03) 9817 6421 fax (03) 9817 4921







T itle

The Last Yellow

D ir e c to r C ast

Julian Fanno

M ark Addy, Charlie Creed-M iles,

Jam es Hooton, Samantha M orton P ro d u c e r D is tr ib u to r

Nik Powell

Siren E n tertainm ent

C o u n t r y o f o r ig in R a tin g


M D u r a t io n 94 m ins

The Full M ontys Mark Addy (with a magnificent mullet) puts in a touching performance as thirty­ something loser Frank, who returns home from a day at the pub to find himself locked out by his cranky Mum. He moves into shabby lodgings with the equally cranky Len (Kenneth unable to go 10 minutes without

Cranham) and his two sons: slightly

clobbering each other or someone

daft Kenny (Charlie Creed-Miles) and

nearby, and it’s this pervasive sense

severely disabled Keith (James

of simmering conflict that gives the

Hooton). It's not too long before Frank

film much of its energy. Certainly T itle

there are hints of influence from the likes of Scorsese and Tarantino, but there is enough promise here to make Stabile a name to watch.

LA W ithout a Map

D ir e c t o r C ast

Mika K aurism aki

David Tennant, Vinessa Shaw, Vincent Gallo, Julie Delpy

E x e c u tiv e P r o d u c e r D is t r ib u t o r

Siren Entertainm ent

C o u n t r y o f o r ig in R a tin g T itle D ir e c t o r

Rocky Oldham Colum bia T rista r

C o u n t r y o f o r ig in R a tin g

Gravesend D i r e c t o r Salvatore Stabile TonyTucci, M ichael Parducci,

Tom Malloy, Tom Brandise E x e c u tiv e P r o d u c e r s

Toni Ross,

M ark Ross, Daniel Edelm an D is tr ib u to r

Siren Entertainm ent

C o u n t r y o f o r ig in R a tin g


MA D u r a t io n 85 m ins


G D u r a tio n 90 m ins

with a loaded gun and a double homicide on their minds. First-time director Julian Farino seems to be aiming for Mike Leigh territory: a small ensemble of broadly-drawn characters in dingy

David M allet C a s t Over 50 perform ers D is t r ib u t o r

C ast


M D u r a tio n 107 m ins

Cirque du Soleil - Quidam

P ro d u c e r

T itle

Deepak Nayar

and Kenny are on a bus to London

->A new English-language venture

surrounds, struggling with imperfect

from the Finnish brothers Kaurismaki

lives. However, Farino lacks Leigh's

(Mika and Aki have directed some 20

talent for injecting hope into the

film s each], LA Without a Map, which

gloom. It’s not difficult to see why this

->Since its foundation in Quebec in

was screened at the Melbourne

has gone straight to video: too goofy

1984-, Cirque du Soleil has performed

International Film Festival in 1999,

to call drama, too grim to work as

a dozen different shows to 23 million

revisits two fam iliar territories:

comedy, it seems sure to leave viewers unsatisfied either way.

patrons in 120 cities, including a highly

Hollywood-bashing and the bumbling

successful Australian tour of

Brit abroad. The screenplay, adapted

Farino’s apparent desire to create

Saltimbanco in 1999. Now they want to

from the book by Richard Rayner,

both a black comedy and a frank study of love, loneliness and violence

be everywhere at once so they’ve set

follows the misadventures of Richard

-^The background story of Gravesend

up Cirque du Soleil Images, the wing

[David Tennant), a young undertaker

makes the film pretty tough going.

is the sort that Hollywood loves. A

of the company that has produced this

in a small English town who is

There are moments of real warmth,

$5000 inheritance prompted 19-year-

video from the European leg of their

smitten with visiting Californian

and Adrian Johnston’s jaunty, jazzy

old Salvatore (Sal) Stabile to drop out

Quidam tour (as well as an IMAX film,

actress/ waitress Barbara (Vinessa

score does much to lighten the mood,

of film school and just do it - expand

Journey of Man).

Shaw). No sooner has she left town

but the bitterly sad story ultimately

his no-budget short into a micro-

The obvious question is: how can a

than he finds himself on a plane for

proves too much to overcome.

budget feature. The outlaw production

video capture the full sensory

Los Angeles to track her down.

was shot in the middle of the night,

experience of a live circus performance?

This is an amiable comedy with plenty

tapping into city power lines for

The short answer is, it can’t, but the

of odd gags and peculiar cameos to

lighting. Catered by Stabile’s

imaginative use of 15 cameras, and

pass the time. Johnny Depp even gets

girlfriend, the numerous fist-fights in

lighting redesigned for filming, makes

to re-play his Dead Man role... in the

the script occasionally developed into

the most of a tough job. The footage

movie’s poster. Vincent Gallo and

real ones. Finally a rough cut was

also brings home the reality behind

Julie Delpy appear as a pair of

presented at the Hamptons Film

the spectacle - this is an ensemble of

gormless airheads, while everybody

Festival, where Stabile acquired the

sweating, puffing individuals, not just a

else in the film maintains a showbiz

services of a top-notch agency and

pack of performing fleas going

career solely as a means of getting

$60,000 for post-production. Now

through the motions.

laid. The none-too-subtle message

he has a two-picture deal with

Some w ill find the narrative thread

about LA's vacuity is summed up well

Spielberg's company, Dream

pretty corny, when it’s not just plain

by James Le Gros' wildly caricatured

Works SKG.

obscure. Those with a taste for "magic

screenwriting agent Takowsky - "I’m

The humble budget is obvious, of

and wonder" in their entertainment

loud, I’m boisterous, I’m VERY w ell-

course, but this lends a verité feel

may have a better time of it.

known. Talk to me!” It’s a film better

well-suited to the rough, prosaic

Of course there are dazzling physical

suited to the video marketplace.

dialogue. It’s a scrappy film in both

performances, but it’s all wrapped up

senses of the word - the four friends

in a rather chintzy package. This

we follow through a fateful Saturday

one’s really for existing fans of the

night in Gravesend, Brooklyn, are

Cirque's work.


iiiiliiii JÜJUJ

S fiftK t m m m

mm m




• Video reviews by Alister Shew

The inclusion of current interviews

enormous diamond] in the ventilation

with Cage and Parker looking back on

shaft of a half completed construction

Birdy would have proved most

site. Cut to, two years later, our felon

interesting given the careers that both

is released from prison and goes to

Cage and Parker have forged for

reclaim his jewel - only problem, the

themselves since making the film.

completed construction site is now a

However, the inclusion of anything

police station.

interesting or thought provoking

If you like that whole Adam

within the special features section

Sandler/Chris Rock style of comedy

doesn't appear to have fitted into the

than this movie w ill probably do it for


you - Lawrence makes a likable

Unless you're a huge fan and have a

enough star and Dave Chappelle

much-loved video of Birdy that is

makes for a goofy sidekick.

completely worn out and desire the

T itle

Birdy D i r e c t o r Alan P arker C a s t Nicolas Cage, M atthew Modine P r o d u c e r Alan M arshall D is tr ib u to r

Colum bia T riS tar Pictures

C o u n t r y o f O r ig in D u r a t io n

original widescreen format, so

save yourself the forty bucks and hire

there’s none of those annoying

it for a week from the local video store

stretched and cropped images that

for $3. • Shane Stephens

you can get when transferring to video. The Dolby digital sound goes

116 m inutes P r ic e $60

down a treat [especially in the many ■^Birdy (released in 1984] is the story


car chase sequences] and DOP

of two young men, Birdy (Matthew

David Egby's slice and dice action

Modine) and At (Nicolas Cage), who

shots look fab.

form a long-lasting friendship which

It also boasts two behind the scenes

develops through 1950s Philadelphia,

featurettes [though the second one

the horrors they face in the Korean

from HBO rehashes much of the

War and Birdy's therapy.

same commentary]. While these

Given the recent spate of films

reveal little about the filmmaking

concentrating on the psychological

process, they do contain interview

effects of war [Thin Red Line, Saving

snippets from the stars and director.

Private Ryan), Birdy stands up quite

Hip Hop and Rap fans w ill also be

well. Although slow in parts, the slick

satisfied by the inclusion of music

direction of Alan Parker [Mississippi

vids from So Plush, Jay Z, and

Burning, Midnight Express), a faultless

Tyrese. • Cec Busby

performance by Nicolas Cage - who , 15+



script make for a worthwhile watch. Unfortunately, other than fantastic

T it le

Blue Streak D ir e c t o r Les Mayfield

C ast

M artin Lawrence, Luke W ilson,

picture quality the DVD version

Dave Chappelle P r o d u c e r N eil M oritz

provides little else. The 'special

D is t r ib u t o r

features’ section includes a

P ro d u c e r

Charles H Schneer

D is tr ib u to r

Colum bia Pictures

C o u n t r y o f O r ig in D u r a t io n

US R a tin g PG

85 m inutes P r ic e $60

->The 7th Voyage of Sinbad is a classic example of stop-motion animation. First screened in 1958, it was the first film of its kind to be made in colour. The jerky movements | of the models do not hold a candle to the special effects of the modern era

j but the cheesiness the outdated I special effects gives to such films especially a film that does not take itself too seriously in the first place | creates a charming effect. The special features of this DVD production are extensive. There are interviews with producer Schneer and the creator of the visual effects Ray Harryhausen which prove interesting, placing the film in perspective and giving insight into the laborious nature | of special effects work in the 1950s and early 1960s. An interview with

plays the less crazy Al to Modine’s offthe-wall Birdy - and an interesting

The 7th Voyage of Sinbad

Nathan Jurgan C a s t Kerw in Mathews

This DVD version is presented in its

long-lasting picture quality of the DVD,

US R a tin g M

T itle D ir e c to r

Colum bia TriS tar Pictures

C o u n t r y o f O rig in D u r a tio n

US R a tin g M

91 m ins P r ic e $60

breakdown of the 28 scenes so that

Harryhausen regarding another of his many films, Jason and the Argonauts, provides further understanding of the effort required to produce special effects 40 years ago. There is also a chronicle of the film career of Harryhausen, which details his lifelong passion with special

you can watch each individually -

->The premise for this so called

which may appeal to students and fans

comedy, starring Bad Boys' Martin

had on the genre. Also included are

of the film. It also includes the trailer

Lawrence, is fairly simple. Lawrence

three trailers of classic animation films and a featurette from the 1950s

effects and the influence his work has

(the point being?) and a short text-

is a master jewel thief who gets

format filmography of Nicolas Cage,

sprung mid heist. Being a tricky

THIS IS DYNAMATION - fantastic, I'm

Matthew Modine and Alan Parker.

fellow, he cleverly stows the loot [an

sold. • Shane Stephens


— * •:


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S ubscribe to GST N E W S ! ( www.afc.gov.au/resources/online/gst/newssub.html ) Continuing on from our GST Seminar Series, a range of written material is available on the AFC's website— seminar materials, FACT sheets, ATO rulings on film industry issues, and business skills manual for the film industry. • GST NEWS is an on-line email service that will keep you in the GST information loop and advise you when these materials become available on the website. • To subscribe, simply go to the above address, type in your name and email address in the spaces provided and click the submit button.

• It takes five seconds to get yourself in the GST information loop! • You can unsubscribe at any time you choose. • Subscription to GST NEWS is FREE!

Contacts URL email Tel Toll Free

www. afe.go v. au / réso u rces/o n Iine/gst/ gst@afc.gov.au (02) 9321 6444 1800 226 615

GST Start-Up Assistance Offic The GST Startup Office has provided funding to the AFC to deliver the major information program to the film industry about the GST.


Choosing the righ digital video cam era Choosing a digital camcorder (that is, one that supports DV or a related format) can be particularly complex. There are so many models with so many different features it is easy to get confused. Here Wayne Cosshall focus’s on the important features and main issues so you can make an informed choice.

->The glass at the front

Thankfully the lens can usually be supplemented by screw-on wide-angle or

A camera’s Lens determines much about how it can be used. It has four important

telephoto adaptors that shorten or lengthen its focal length.

characteristics: maximum aperture, range of focal lengths, focusing range, and

The focusing range of the lens determines how close the lens w ill focus.

sharpness and contrast.

Most digital camcorders allow you to focus pretty close to the front of the lens.

In traditional cameras, the aperture is the diameter of the pinhole through which

For people with a special interest in filming the minutiae of this world, such as

light travels on its way from the lens to the film. Likewise, in today’s digital camcorders, the aperture of the lens determines how much light is let through

insects, this is important. Adaptors can allow you to focus closer than the lens would allow by itself.

and the exposure of the recorded images. The wider the maximum aperture, the

The design of the lens also affects its quality, usually defined by sharpness and

more light can enter the camera, and (all other factors being equal] the lower the

contrast. A better lens w ill produce nice crisp detail. The contrast of a lens

light levels in which you can shoot.

determines how much snap it gives to edges and colours.

The problem with having a large maximum aperture is this increases the size of

Most digital camcorders are limited to the built-in lens, possibly supplemented

the lens, making the camera heavier and larger. The aperture of a lens also

with add-on wide-angle, telephoto or close-up lenses. However, some advanced

determines a feature called depth of field (DoF). When you're using your

cameras allow you to change the lens. Interchangeable lenses add options, even

camcorder, a single point w ill be in perfect focus - the DoF determines how far in

including microscopes and telescopes, but also add to the bulk of the camera.

front and behind this point appears sharp. Smaller apertures (confusingly denoted by larger numbers, like F.11 or F.16} give greater DoF. Large apertures,

->The sensor in the middle

F.2.8 or F.4-, give narrow DoF.

After the light passes through the lens, it’s converted into a video signal by the

By ensuring that distracting details are out of focus you make them less

image sensor and associated electronics. The sensor in all digital camcorders is

noticeable, and draw the viewers' attention to the main subjects. A lens with a

called a CCD or charge-coupled device. A CCD is simply a two-dimensional array

wide maximum aperture gives you this choice. A lens with a small maximum

of light-sensitive elements. Unlike digital still cameras, the resolution, or number

aperture offers less choice.

of elements in each direction, is fixed for digital camcorders by the resolution of its format.

The focal length of the lens determines the angle of view the camera sees. Short focal lengths give a wide-angle view. Long focal lengths let you zoom in on

However, there are still two characteristics of the CCD that affect the camera’s

details or distant objects. Weigh up if you really require a long zoom range

quality: the size of the CCD elements and how colour is handled.

because having one magnifies not just your subject, but any camera movement

The size of the CCD elements determines their sensitivity to light. The larger the

too. Thus long-range zoom should only be used with a tripod - great for wildlife

elements the more light they capture and the better the CCD tolerates low-light

or sport, but not for the typical corporate video.

conditions. However, the larger the elements, the larger the CCD and the higher its cost.

Lenses with a great range of focal lengths also tend to be larger and heavier.

C IN E M A P A P E R S .J U N E / JU L Y 2000 [ 4 9 ]


The way colour is handled is interesting. CCDs are insensitive to colour by themselves. They need filters placed in front of them to see red, green and blue (through which all other colours can be expressed). One way to do this is to a place red, green or blue filte r over each CCD element in a pattern, so that one element sees red, its neighbour sees green, and the next one blue. Indeed this is the system used in almost all consumer level and some semi-professional digital camcorders. The problem with this approach is that

tm B M m m ä m


■ ¡I

l i


If there was a collective bugbear filmmakers have had with MiniDV, it has been in relation to its audio capabilities. Mark Tarpey has had extensive experience as a sound recordist in just about everything from doco to auto stories, including The Golden Mile and For The Defence. Considered one of the best in the field, Tarpey describes how he negotiated the audio limitations particular to MiniDV and some DVCarri models; during a shoot for an Australian Volunteers Abroad production. The original VX1000 mini microphone jack on the unit was particularly small and fragile, he said. Given the nature of the shoot (covering five countries) Tarpey decided on a transmitter system which, “Worked well as long as there was no interference. Mind you no matter who or what I work with I always have a DAT backup”. Currently working more with DVCpro, asked what is the best model or format for ‘recording sound’, without hesitation Tarpey said, “none of them” . • Emma Crimmings

For all film travel

Canon says its MV200I has an in-camera editing function that can work with up to 20 scenes.

Sony says its DCRTRV900 offers an advanced photo mode with PCMCIA, floppy disk, Memory Stick and Flash Media support.








and freight needs.... Call Stacie & Screen. SYDNEY Contact: Ken O ’Brien S tage & Screen Fox Studios Australia 28 Driver Avenue, M oore Park 1363 Ph: (02) 9383 4544 Fax: (02) 9383 4577 Email:

MELBOURNE Contact: Tony Miles S tage & Screen Suite 4 8 -12 Sandiiands St South M elbourne Vic 3205


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5 OFASIA'S BEST FILMS RELEASING EVERY 6 WEEKS JULY 6 TO DEC26,2000. Festival launches on July 6 with Zhang Yimou's award winning new film THE ROAD HOME. Later releases include The Emporor & The Assassin by Chen Kaige, Takeshi Kitano's Kikujiro and Ang Lee's epic Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. PHONE

93 49 5 2 0 1 FOR M O R E



since we only actually measure red at, say, every third element, the resolution at which we sample colour is one third of the actual video signal. Since the video signal requires all three colours at each element position, the camera has to guess the colours at the intermediate positions. This guessing is called interpolation - it works well, but it can cause some colour problems. Professional and some amateur digital camcorders use three separate CCDs, one for each colour. This eliminates all guessing but increases the bulk and price of the camera. It is the preferred technology creating broadcast-quality video.

->The tape at the back The tape is the storage medium for your video. There are a number of digital videotape formats, including MiniDV, Digital8, DVCam and DVCPro. MiniDV is what most people mean by digital videotape. Aimed at consumer, prosumer and low-end professional use, it is capable of recording excellent video and sound. The tape is tiny, so MiniDV cameras can be exceedingly small. Digital8 is a new format from Sony that is aimed purely at consumers. It uses the same tape as Video8 and Hi8 analogue video cameras but records digitally at

Canon says its XL1 comes with an interchangeable 3x zoom lens in addition to its standard 16x zoom lens.

twice the speed of the analogue formats. It is meant to be cheap and pretty good. Digital8 cameras can play older, analogue Video8/Hi8 tapes - useful if you're an experienced operator. DVCam is a professional version of MiniDV produced by Sony. DVCPro is also a professional format, but from Panasonic. Both w ill only be encountered on very high-end prosumer and professional cameras. They offer advantages, but at a large price jump. For most purposes, MiniDV is the way to go. It offers near broadcast-quality video in a small, sturdy package. You have the maximum choice of cameras and features, as over 60 manufacturers support MiniDV. It also has good support for sound, offering two channels of 48kHz, 16-bit sound (better than CD quality) or four channels of 32kHz, 12-bit sound. Not all cameras support the four-channel option, but when available it offers you the possibility of recording ambient (background) sound plus individual channels for, say, an interviewer and a guest. This would let you choose how to mix the sound at the editing stage, rather than while you’re recording.

Canon says its XM1 has a fluorite lens that provides higher resolution, particularly at long focal lengths.

pother bits Since holding a camcorder is likely to introduce camera shake, most digital cam­ corders feature a stabilisation technology, whether optical or digital. Some form of camera shake removal is necessary on all handheld digital camcorders.

Documentary filmmaker, Glendyn Ivin has been involved in a number of productions that he suggests have the limits of his gear. “I did a film on bicycle couriers {Neverland)... to do things with the Camera that in retrospect probably such a gooci idea. Nevertheless we got the footage and the camera still works. d u can do things with MiniDV that you could only have dreamed about with the older formats/’ he says. In addition to his veryiirst digital camera, a Sony MiniDV VX1000, Ivin recently purchased Sony’s DVCam DSR-PD100P. When asked why he has two cameras, Ivin says, “I bought the PD100 because I was able to record the material I had just edited back onto digital tape, as the PD100 has analogue and digital inputs whilst the VX1000 only has output. But more importantly, I needed another camera and I didn’t

Sony says its DCRVX1000 has many broadcast-style features and manual options for flexible shooting.

want to outlay money for a Digital VCR. “It is, important to know what is out there, in terms of formats and,new models. However, if you are in the middle of a really great story w ith.._ rich and colourful characters, then as long as the camera works... that’s all you need.” • E m m a Crimmings

Sony says its DCRTRV820 is the first camcorder to feature a built-in video printer.



output to a video recorder. This is important as most people have a VHS video recorder. If you are going to edit on a Mac you do not need to use any fancy special effects that the camcorder may offer. These are far better done in a video-editing program on your Mac. Effects on a camcorder are often complex and have the disadvantage of changing your original footage. The control arrangement of the camcorder you choose should suit your needs. Some camcorders seem to fit people with large hands and others people with small hands. If the camcorder's controls are hard to reach it w ill bug you for a long time. Ensure that it is easy to switch to manual focus and that the focus control is convenient. Many people should use manual focus far more often than they do. There is nothing Sony says its DCRPC100 is the first megapixel CCD camcorder.

worse than having the autofocus hunt or lock onto the

Canon says its MV20I features a progressive scan CCD.

wrong subject in the middle of an important shot. Likewise the exposure controls should be easy to operate. It is desirable to be able to set the aperture manually for depth 'SMÈMM

One of the Australia’s most respected cinematographers* Jenni Meaney has been responsible for capturing the ‘vision’ for some of the country’s most celebrated documentaries including Grey Nomads, The Mystique o f the Pearl, Miracle Babies, Tenth Dancer and Auto Stories. "I have watched DV revolutionise documentary. Five toTen years ago documentary was pretty much a closed shop, however as a direct result of DV technology a new generation has emerged and with it a reinvigorated media. Mind you this democratisation also has its drawbacks... it’s a bit like internet in that there is a lot of crap out there,” she says. Having shot with most of the consumer and professional formats/models on the market, Meaney suggests the rules are the same, “practice>|hoof as much as you can arid get to know the camera and its limitations. Also watch your rushes with a critical eye and even more importantly talk to editors as they are the ones. who make sense of your material in the end” . • Emma Grimmings

of field control. Also, the size of the camcorder should suit your needs. Small, light camcorders are great to carry but are prone to shake and often have a less convenient control layout. Larger, professional camcorders are bulky to carry but the weight reduces camera shake and their controls are usually large and fall to hand easily. Manual exposure controls, or at least the ability to deliberately under- or overexpose, can be very important to introducing mood into your shots. It can also be important when panning across a range of brightness. For less critical shooting, most camcorders offer a backlight compensation control, which adds more exposure if you are filming into a bright light. This avoids your subjects becoming silhouettes. Consider carefully the sound capabilities of camcorders. The smaller the camera the more likely it is that its builtin microphone w ill pick-up noise from the tape mechanism. If you are interested in great sound, ensure the camcorder has connections for external microphones and headphones. Then look into external microphones that suit the type of shooting you do, such as radio

Optical stabilisation involves having sensors monitor the image and move an

microphones for people talking and gun microphones for long-distance recording.

element within the camera lens to keep the image still. This system works

Digital camcorders can consume a lot of power. They all come with rechargeable

extremely well, especially for high-magnification work.

batteries, but there are several battery technologies. Older camcorders may use

Digital stabilisation involves cropping the image on the CCD into a smaller one

nickel-cadmium batteries, which are pretty poor. Newer camcorders use NiMH

and selectively taking the image from different parts of the CCD as the camera

or lithium batteries, and these are the way to go. They offer greater capacity and

bounces around. This also works, but can result in slightly reduced resolution in

can be recharged at any time, even when only partly drained. Depending on your

those cameras that do not feature a larger-than-necessary CCD.

shooting pattern and whether you tend to stray far from power, you may wish to

Much is made of fold-out LCD screens that allow you to shoot without having the

obtain some additional batteries.

camcorder up to your eye. They are certainly convenient in some situations, such

Alternatively, some cameras come with a mains power adaptor that allows you to

as when shooting at ground level or over your head in crowds. They are also

shoot indefinitely while tethered to a power point.

great for reviewing your footage after shooting.

Increasingly, digital camcorders are providing the option of capturing still images.

However, they have three disadvantages.

While you can grab single frames from any digital camcorder using FireWire,

First, they consume a lot of power so you w ill drain your battery faster.

having a still photography feature w ill help you if you intend to do this often.

Second, they cause you to hold the camera in a way that makes camera shake

Camcorders that feature progressive scan CCDs can capture sharper still images

more likely. (Camera shake is minimised by pulling the camcorder in tight to the

and stop movement better. Also, some cameras allow you to connect a camera

eye when shooting handheld, not at arm's length as you tend to when using the

flash unit for still photography.

LCD panel. As an alternative, try tilting the LCD panel up so that you can hold the

Lighting can also be important. Some cameras provide the ability to mount a

camcorder to your chest and look down into the LCD. This should provide a more

bright video light on the camera, allowing you to film in dark conditions.

shake-free hold, although it will take you a little practice to get panning down pat.)

This can be great for reportage-type shooting, but produces unsatisfactory

Third, they tend to wash out in the bright Australian sun.

results if your aim is more cinematographic. In such cases, separate lighting on

Make sure that any camera you buy also has a quality viewfinder, then you can

stands is better.

choose whether to use it or any optional LCD screen. Sooner or later you w ill want to transfer your video to your FireWire-capable Mac, so you can edit it. So make sure that the camcorder allows you to download

Camcorder conclusions Once you understand something of camcorder technology and know the type of

digital video from the camera to a Mac via FireWire (also called IEEE-1394, ¡Link

shooting you intend to do, shortlisting the camcorders which might be right for

or DV in/out) for editing. But also ensure you are able to upload video to the

you is much easier. Play with them in a store and hire the most likely candidate if

camcorder after you have edited it. This allows you to use the camcorder's

necessary before deciding.*

circuits to record your DV onto VHS tape by hooking the camcorder's video

Reprinted with permission from Australian Macworld.


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GST for film and television producers ->The GST is now days from implementation. All organisations in the television

and the extent to which (if any) GST may be recouped as an input tax credit.

and film industry need to be aware of the issues raised by the GST and should be

Sale or license of communication and distribution rights - by granting the

(if they are not already) planning for its implementation. Some of the basic

communication and distribution rights in the film you w ill be a supplier and you

features of the GST that should be kept in mind are:

w ill need to determine the GST payable and the extent to which the GST can be

• GST is more than a tax on goods and services, it is a tax on taxable supplies

passed on to the recipient. This can be particularly difficult when the payment for

and taxable importations. •The definition of ‘taxable supplies' is extremely broad and covers just about

those rights is made in instalments. Paying Royalties - royalties are generally paid as consideration for some form of

every conceivable transaction.

assistance provided by another person in the production of the film. In these

• Some supplies are GST-free and some are Input Taxed. In each situation GST is

circumstances the payment of the royalty w ill be part of the price of the taxable

not payable in respect of that taxable supply. GST-free supplies allow the

supply from that person to you. As a recipient you need to determine whether

supplier to claim input tax credits while Input Taxed supplies do not.

GST has been paid and the extent to which (if any) GST may be recouped as an

• The supplier is the party responsible for the payment of the GST to the Commonwealth. Unless the supplier can contractually pass on the GST, it w ill be

input tax credit. Obtaining financial investment - how financial investment is structured w ill

out of pocket to the extent of the GST payable.

determine whether you are a recipient or the supplier of a taxable supply. You

• GST paid in respect of creditable acquisitions may be claimed by the person

w ill be a recipient of loans provided to you. However, loans are Input Taxed

acquiring those goods or services as input tax credits.

financial supplies and as such no GST is to be charged to you and no input tax

• In order to claim input tax credits, you must be registered for GST purposes.

credits may be claimed by you. If investment is in the form of advances obtained

• If your organisation's turnover is less than $20 million, you w ill be able to lodge

for the assignment of rights, you are likely to be the supplier and you need to

a GST return every three months. However, if your turnover is greater than $20

determine the GST payable and the extent to which the GST can be passed on to

million, you are required to lodge a GST return monthly.

the recipient.

• In order to claim an input tax credit, you w ill need to hold a tax invoice from the

Conclusion: You should think of the GST as a tax on supplies. It is a broad tax

supplier of the creditable acquisition which specifies the price paid for the supply

which w ill capture more events than you might otherwise realise. The impact of

and the Australian Business Number of the supplier.

GST on you as a producer should be principally a cash flow issue, as the majority

As a producer, you need to consider the GST aspects of your daily transactions.

of GST which you pay in respect of your inputs w ill be claimed as input tax

For example: Acquisition of concepts from developers - as the purchaser of rights from the

credits. You should consider each of your day to day transactions in order to

developer you are a recipient and need to determine whether GST has been paid

recipient or whether GST needs to be passed on where you are a supplier.

and the extent to which (if any) GST may be recouped as an input tax credit.

Please note that the above information has been provided as a guide only. The

determine whether you can claim input tax credits on GST paid by you as a

Development of concepts with screenwriters - if you engage an independent

impact GST w ill have on particular transactions can only be fully ascertained by

screenwriter you w ill be a recipient and need to determine whether GST has

examination of the individual transaction. You should seek professional advice on

been paid and the extent to which (if any) GST may be recouped as an input tax

how the GST w ill affect transactions you are involved in.

credit. Further, if you grant any rights in the concept to allow the screenwriter to develop the screenplay you may be a supplier and need to determine the GST

Dan Pearce [Melbourne 03 9321 9999] and Heath Watt [Sydney 02 9234 4444]

payable and the extent to which the GST can be passed on to the recipient.

work in Holding Redlich's Technology Entertainment and Communication Law

Production of films - in producing films you w ill mainly be a recipient of supplied

Group. They advise various parties in the film and television industries, including

goods and services and therefore need to determine whether GST has been paid

producers, distributors, broadcasters and creative principals. •



Feature films In pre-production TEMPE TIP Production company: GIV Productions Distribution company: Becker Group Principal Credits

Director: Michael Ralph Producer: David Rowe Line producer: David Lightfoot Executive producers-. Richard Brezzo, Phil Davey, Johnathon Shteinman Scriptwriter: Michael Ralph Director of photography: David Foreman ACS Editor: Adrian McQueen-Mason Composer: Sean Timms Sound recordist: Toivo Lember Synopsis

Everyone dreams of finding a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. But you don't expect to find it in Tempe. For Max Franklin the search started in a hole in his own backyard.

Producer's Assistant: Michele Ryan Location manger: Robin Clifton Unit manager: Simon Lucas Assistant unit manager: Brad Roberts Unit assistant: Mardi Thompson, Pat Lacey Production assistant: Katie Gordon Production runner: Kane Sarich Production accountant: Lyn Jones Accounts assistant: Tracey McKeown Insurer: HW Wood Australia P/L Legal services: Nina Stevenson & Associates Cam era Crew

Camera operator: Robert Agganis Focus puller: Adrien Seffrin Clapper-loader: Brett Tracey Key grip: Greg Molineaux Assistant grip: Andy Rennie Gaffer: Miles Jones Best boy: Mark Newnham, Mark Watson On-set Crew

Director: Ernie Clark Producer: David Rowe Line producer: David Lightfoot Executive producers: Richard Brezzo, Phil Davey Scriptwriters: Louis Franklin, Rob George Director of photography: David Foreman ACS Editor: Adrian McQueen-Mason Composer: Sean Timms Sound recordist: Toivo Lember

First assistant director: Jamie Crooks Second assistant director: Tom Read Third assistant director: Annabel Osborne Continuity: Karen Mansfield Boom operator: Nicole Lazaroff Make-up/hair supervisor-. Trish Glover Make-up/hair artist: Sherry Hubbard Special effects: Paradox Fx Stunts co-ordinator: Reel Stunts Unit nurse: Patsy Buchan Still photography: Simon Cardwell Unit publicist: Catherine Lavelle, CLPR

Production Crew

Art Departm ent

Dale Fairbairn

Art director: Richard Hobbs Art department co-ordinator: Anthea Hodge Art department runner: Sinclair Whalley Set dresser: Marta McElroy Draftsman: Robin Auld Props buyer: Lisa 'Blitz' Brennan Standby props: Ben Walker

MOLOCH Production company: GIV Productions Distribution company: Becker Group Principal Credits

A rt departm ent

Art director: Ray Pattison Post-production

Post-production supervisor: Ted McQueen-Mason Synopsis

Four university students on a 4WD holiday in the hope of finding gold instead find the town of Moloch and its secret inhabitants.

In production WILLFULL Latent Image Production: 5 May - 4 July Principal Credits

Director: Rebel Penfold-Russell Executive producer: Sheridan Jobbins Scriptwriter: Harry Cripps Director of photography: Steve Arnold Production designer: George Liddle Editor: Nicholas Beauman Composer: Antony Partos Sound recordist: Andrew Belletty Planning and developm ent

Casting: Alison Barrett Casting Extras casting: Michele Ryan Production Crew

Production manager: Dennis Kiely Production co-ordinator: Cassandra Simpson

W ardrobe

Wardrobe supervisor: Julie Middleton Wardrobe buyer: Suzanne Middleton Standby wardrobe: Andrea Hood Wardrobe assistant: Penny Mackie Anim als

Animal handler: Dimity Bjork Horse wrangler: Ware's Liverty Stables Construction Departm ent

Construction manager: John Rann Leading hand: Marcus Smith Carpenters: Chuck Morgan, Rick Locke, Ross Cairnes, Kelvin John Henwood, Ian Grant, Robert Arthur Studios: Max Studios Post-production

Post-production supervisor: Sylvia Walker-Wilson Assistant editor: Simon Klaebe Shooting stock: Kodak Cast

Anna Lise Phillips, Anne Looby, C Thomas Howell, Charles Tingwell, John Eaden

STAR WARS EPISODE IITHE RISE OF THE EMPIRE Production company: JAK Productions/ Lucasfilm Ltd Principal Credits

Director: George Lucas Producer: Rick McCallum Cast

Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Samuel L Jackson, Liam Neeson, Ian McDiarmid Synopsis

Set 10 years after Star Wars Episode One, The Phantom Menace, Darth Sidious, takes over the Republic, turns it into an empire and controls everything. The Clone Wars reach their pinnacle as the Jedi Knights struggle to defend the galaxy from the forces of evil. Meanwhile, Anakin Skywalker falls in love with Queen Amidala but begins to succumb to the Dark Side of the Force.

CRACKING ON Centaur Enterprises Pty Ltd Budget: 1.7m Duration: 110 min Principal Credits

Director: John Meagher Producers: John Meagher, Margie Wentworth Scriptwriter: John Meagher Director of photography: Ray Henman Production designer: George Mentis Editor: Baz Lieffler Sound recordist: Paul Kalinski, Terry Turk Planning and Development

Script editors: Dez Watermann, Margie Wentworth Casting: Matthew Nix Casting consultants: Bedford & Pearce Extras casting: Elete Storyboard artist: Jarrod Graham Shooting schedule by: Kerry Lamming, Anne Robinson, Margie Wentworth Budgeted by: Margie Wentworth Production Crew

Production managers: Kerry Lamming, Margie Wentworth Production secretary: Robert Luppino Location managers: John Meagher, Raelene Metilitzky Unit assistant: Jessica Tandurella Production assistant: Jessica Tandurella Production runner: John Cross, Rebecca Anderson, Rob Williams, Andrew Thompson, David Trumpmanis Assembly editor: Rodney Vincent Financial controller: Jeff Pails Production accountant: Margie Wentworth Insurer: FIUA Legal services: John McDermott Cam era Crew

Camera operator: Ray Henman Camera assistant: Pirn Kulk, Melissa Griffith, Patrick Gallagher, Nick Pollack, David Smallwood Camera type: JVC500 Camera maintenance: DigiHire Key grip: Pip The Grip Gaffer: Leroy Page, Joel Clinger On-set Crew

1st assistant director: Sy Milman 2nd assistant director: Anne

Robinson, Angus Stevens Continuity: Louise Kerry, Jessica Tandurella, Jutta Waiblinger Boom operators: David Trumpmanis, Bill Nielson Head Make-up Artist: Nikki Dargie Make-up assistants: Jacqui Buffett, Claire Hassen Stunts co-ordinator: Eric Halil Stunts: Leroy Page Catering: Petra Klein, Anne Robinson, Margie Wentworth Art director: Jarrod Graham Art department runner: John Meagher Set dressers: Jarrod Graham, George Mentis Armourer: Stockade


David Phillips, George Sais, Rose Frasca, Mathew Mariconte, Peter Demlakian, Ronan Me Cheseny, Windy Saengsuwan Synopsis

Dusk is an Aussie yarn about a son, a scam and a solution.

TILL HUMAN VOICES WAKE US Production company: DND Productions/ Key Entertainment Investors: AFFC, Key Entertainment, Film Victoria International sales: Key Entertainment/Tomorrow Films Australia/NZ Distribution: Globe Film Co

W ardrobe

Production Crew

Wardrobe: Brett Grant

Writer/Director: Michael Petroni Producers: Shana Levine, Dean Murphy, Nigel Odell, David Redman, Thomas Augsberger, Matthias Emcke Executive Producers: Andrew Deane, Beau Flynn, Yoram Pelman, Stefan Simchowitz, Gareth Wiley Associate Producer: Justin Pearce Line Producers: Nigel Odell, David Redman Production Manager: Lucy Maclaren Director of Photography: Roger Lanser Production Designer: Ralph Moser Editor: Bill Murphy First ad: Karan Monkhouse Art Director: Adele Flere Costume Designer: Jeanie Cameron Production Co-ordinator: Anna Molyneaux Sound: John Wilkson, Perry Dwyer, Michael Slater, Scott Findlay Casting Director: Maura Fay & Associates

Construction D epartm ent

Construction manager: Chris Lindeman Post-production

Post-production supervisor: Barry Leiffler Editing assistant: Rodney Vincent Sound editor: Barry Leiffler Recording studio: Digital Edge Mixer: Greg Dunn Music mixer: Greg Dunn Mixed at: Digital Edge Film/Video gauge: Mini DV-to35mm Off-line facilities: Leiffler Post Cast

John Meagher, Colleen Cook, Peta Johnson, Matthew Mariconti, Lisa Peers Synopsis

When a happily married middleaged couple realise the passion has faded, they agree to date others. So hubby sets out on a mission to find a girlfriend without lying!

DUSK Production company: Dusk Productions Budget: $500,000 Production: April 3 to June 10, Post Production: June 16 - Nov Duration: 90 mins


Unit publicist: Andrew Mackie Cast

Guy Pearce, Helena Bonham Carter

Principal Credits


Director: Iqbal Barkat Producer: David Phillips Line producer: Desmond Hundy Scriptwriter: David Phillips Director of photography: Vincent Tay Production designer-. Toby Parker Editor: Paul Rodrieguez Sound recordist: Oliver Neumann

The story of a man (Guy Pearce) who is haunted by the presence of a dead childhood sweetheart (Helena Bonham Carter) when he returns to his rural hometown after a long absence.

Planning and Development

Extras casting: Kerry Lamming Storyboard artist: Bridgett Dolan Shooting schedule by: Chris Maclldowie Budgeted by: Desmond Hundy Production Crew

Production manager: Linda Hone Production co-ordinator: Robert Luppino Location manager: Manjoosh Joshi Unit manager: Jane Bowden Assistant unit manager: Matt Jenkin Production runner: Natasha Newton Assembly editor: Micheรกl Zadro Legal services: Tress Cocks & Maddox

In post-production THE MAGIC PUDDING (ANIMATED) Production company: Energee Entertainment ICON Entertainment Budget: US$7 Million Post Production: June - August Duration: 80 mins Principal Credits

Director: Karl Zwicky Animation director: Robbert Smit Producer: Ed Trost Executive producenGerry Travers Scriptwriters: Greg Haddrick, Harry Cripps, Simon Hopkinson Based on the story titled: The Magic Pudding by Norman Lindsay Editor: Richard Hindley Composer: Chris Harriott


Sound designer: Phil Judd Sound recordist: Phil Judd Production Crew

Production manager: Kylie Andrews Financial controller: David Barty Production accountant: William Creamer Accounts assistant: Jeanette Gayler Paymaster: Candy Ng Legal services: Morris Averill Post-production

Editing assistant: Danielle Akayan Musical director: Chris Harriott Animation: Energee Entertainment Film/Video gauge: 35mm Marketing: Sarah Winkler International sales agent: ICON Entertainment International International distributor: ICON Entertainment International Publicity: Sarah Winkler Cast: John Cleese, Geoffrey Rush, Sam Neill, Hugo Weaving, Jack Thompson, Toni Collette -Meg Bluegum, Mary Coustas Synopsis

Based on Norman Lindsay’s classic children's story, the Adventures of Albert the Cantankerous Magic Pudding:. An adventure story about fun, food and friendship.

LA SP A G N O LA Production company: Wild Strawberries Pty Ltd Post Production: Unti^H November 2000 Principal Credits

Director: Steven Jacobs Producer: Anna-Maria Monticelli Co-producer: Philip Hearnshaw Scriptwriter: Anna-Maria Monticelli Cast

Lola Marceli, Lourdes Bartolomé, Alex Dimitriades, Alice Ansara, Simon Palomares, Helen Thompson Synopsis

A comical story of a Spanish mother/daughter relationship; their love, revenge, prejudice and survival in a small industrial town during 1960.

THE EN CH AN TED BILLABO N G Production companies: TEB P/L, Imagine If Productions and R Productions P/L Distribution company: Columbia Tristar Budget: 10.3m Animated CGI feature film and 3D IMAX film Principal Credits

Director: David Waddington Producers: Rob McKenzie, David Waddington Executive Producer: Jack Wegman Scriptwriter: Michael Wagner Production designer: Wayne Bryant Editor: David Waddington Composer: Craig Bryant Sound designer: Juliett Hill Planning and Development

Casting: Bedford & Pearce Video Master by: FMTV Cast

Chloe Lattanzi, Daniel Deparis,

I Tommy Dysart, Joan Brokenshire, Suzy Cato, Jenny Seesman, Mathew King, Rhona Rees Synopsis

A boy learns to believe in an enchanted world and the characters that live there and in doing so he learns about himself.

THE M ER C H A N T OF F A IR N E S S Clandestine Pictures Pty Ltd Post Production: Until August Duration: 95 mins Principal Credits

Director: Shane Luther Producer: Shane Luther Line producer: Adam Dolman 'Scriptwriter: Shane Luther Director of photography: Tim Spicer Production designer: Martine Simmonds Editor: Cindy Clarkson Composer: Tamil Rogeon Sound designer; Keith Thomas Sound recordists: Tim Symonds, Joan Kelly Script editor: Annette Blonski Casting: Faith Martin Legáis: Emily Slade, Holding Redlich Shooting Stock: Kodak Laboratory: Cinevex Camera Equipment: Panavision Sound Equipment: Pink Noise Development Investment; Australian Film Commission Cast

Shane Luther Julian, Sara Zwangobani Danielle, Antonia Strakosch Beth, Ezekial Denn McCoy Brad, Kestie Morassi Katrina, Cameron Nugent Aiden, Andrew Curry Luke, Norman Yemm Patrick, Sam Marsland Timmy, Marg Downey Synopsis

Everyone wants someone else's life. Julian just wants his own back. A childhood friend is obsessed with him, a gang of losers have embraced him as their best mate and a teenage temptress won't take "maybe" for an answer.

MOULIN ROUGE Production company: Bazmark Productions Distribution company: Twentieth Century Fox Principal Credits

Director: Baz Luhrmann Producers: Baz Luhrmann, Martin Brown, Fred Baron Scriptwriters: Baz Luhrmann, Craig Pearce DOP: Don McAlpine Cast

Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor, Richard Roxburgh, John HjLeguizamo, Garry McDonald Synopsis

A young man casts aside the shackles of his middle class society to become a writer and join the ranks of the free-living artistic underworld of Paris.

N IJ IN K SK I Illumination Films and MusicArtsDance films Distribution company: Sharmill Films and WTV (US) Budget: 1.2 Million ProductionSjJqnuary 2000-May


I Principal Credits

Director: Paul Cox Producer: Paul Cox, Aanya Whitehead Executive producer: Kevin Lucas, William Marshall Scriptwriter: Paul Cox Based on the diaries of Vaslav Nijinsky Composer: Paul Grabowsky Planning and Development Researchers: Leonie Verhoeven, MargotWiburd Dance Consultant: Alida Chase Shooting schedule by: Aanya Whitehead Budgeted by: Aanya Whitehead Production Crew

Insurer: Cinesure Completion guarantor: Film Finances Ltd Legal services: Marshalls and Dent On-set Crew

Choreographer: Alida Chase, Leigh Warren Unit publicist: Catherine Lavelle Wardrobe

Wardrobe Designer: Jilly Hickey Government Agency Investment Development: South Australian Film Corporation Production: South Australian Film Corporation, Australian Film Finance Corporation, SBS Independent Synopsis

Vaslav Nijinsky was probably the greatest dancer of all time - the God of the Dance - and his 'Cahiers' (Diaries) must be one of the most extraordinary and moving literary works ever writtenMhe film uses the words of Nijinsky, written in 1919 in St Moritz where he had retired, suffering extreme mental agony.

I Unit manager; Justine Hatcher Unit assistant: David McLachlan Production assistants: Liberty Meltzer, Kif Saint Production runner: Kristine Hanger Insurer: Holland Insurance FIUA, QBE Legal services: Malcolm McBratney Camera Crew

Focus puller: Travis Trewin Aron Leong Clapper-loader?Evan Burrows Camera type: Arri (from Lemac) Key grip: Adam McPhail Assistant grips: Liam Connor, Mark French, Evan Oldman Gaffer: Glenn Jones Best boy: James Thompson Electrician: Luke Dillon On-set Crew

First assistant director: Christy Beard t Second assistant director: Daniella Rigby Third assistant director: Marco Sinigalia Continuity: Cheryl P o tte r^li Rachel Grierson Boom operators: Luke Hayward, Clint Brice, Megan McCormack Make-up: Tiffany BeckwithSkinner Make-up assistant: EmmaLouise Downie Cherie Southeren Hairdresser: Tiffany BeckwithSkinner Safety officer: Christy Beard Unit nurse: Vickie Gest Still photography: Carlos Van Jager Martin Smith Unit publicist: Tom Betts Catering: Justine Hatcher, David McLachlan, Eagle Boys Art Department

Production company: Spudmonkey Films Pty Ltd Post Production: April-October

Art director: Suzie Blackshaw Assistant art director: Tim Allan Set dressers: Peter Wright, Michelle Manson, Clint Brice Propsperson: David Mackie Standby props: Mark elder

Principal Credits


Director: Stuart McBratney Producers: Jon SilveSMichel Bouskila, Stuart McBratney Scriptwriter: Stuart McBratney Based on the original screenplay titled Spudmonkey By: Stuart McBratney Director of photography: Andrew Strahorn Production designer: Georgina Greenhill Editors: Rachel Grierson, Cheryl Potter Composers: Stuart McBratney, Troy Menyweather Sound recordist: Chris Crome Sound assistant: Leigh Coleman

Wardrobe supervisor: Lani Evans Wardrobe assistantsrJoanne Wright, Danielle Morton


Planning and Development


Film/Video gauge: Super 16mm Shooting stock: Kodak Video transfers by: Beeps Pty Ltd Video special fx: Beeps Pty Ltd Video master by: Beeps Pty Ltd Cast

Greg Powell, Alistair Tomkins, Samantha Fitzgerald, Damien Garvey, Kathryn Lister, Vernon ' Johnson, Liz Perry, Erroll O’Neill, Paul Purnell-Webb, Louise Boothby

Script editor: Tom Betts Casting: Stuart McBratney Casting consultant: Steve Kanaris Extras casting: Hm Wood, Daniella Rigby Storyboard artist: Stuart McBratney Shooting schedule by: Christy Beard Budgeted by: Jon Silver Vickie Gest


Production Crew

Director: Robert Connolly Producer: John Maynard Scriptwriter: Robert Connolly Director of Photography: Tristan Milani Production Designer: Luigi

Production manager: Vickie Gest Production co-ordinators: Daniella Rigby, Justine Hatcher Producer’s assistant: Carl Baker Location manager: Carl Baker

Contemporary comedy about a pizza delivery boy who achieves his dream of drumming in a successful rock band, only to be replaced by computerised drums.

THE B A N K Arenafilm Pty Ltd Production period: From Jul 24 Principal Credits

Pittorino Editor: Nick Meyers Sound Designer: Sam Petty Casting: Mullinars Storyboard Artist: Tam Morris Cast: David Wenham

Telefeatures In p re -p ro d u c tio n IH AKA Production company: Screentime/ South Pacific Pictures Distribution company: Colombia International Pre-production: From 8 May Principal Credits

Director: Peter Fisk Producer: Ian Bradley Line producer: Glenda McKechnie Executive producer: Des Monaghan Scriptwriter: Paul Thomas Production designer: Murray Picknett Director of photography: Nino Martinetti Planning and Development

Casting: Maizels Casting Casting consultants: Suzie Maizels Synopsis

A streetwise Maori cop and a sophisticated Sydney cop team up to solve a three-year-old murder mystery.

MY HU SBAN D , MY K IL L E R Production company: Screentime/Columbia Tristar Pre-production: 5 June Production: 17 July Post Production: 14 Aug Duration: 90min ; Principal Credits

Director: Peter Andrikidis Producer: David Gould Supervising producer: Tony Buckley Executive producers: Des Monaghan, Fran McConnell Scriptwriter: Greg Haddrick Based on the book titled: My Husband, My Killer by Sandra Harvey and Lindsay Simpson Director of photography: Joe Pickering Production designer: Michael Philips Planning and Development

Casting: Susie Maizels Production Crew

Production manager: Sam Thomson Location manager: Annelies Norland On-set Crew

First assistant director: Russell Whiteoak Marketing

Publicity: Tracey Main

In p o st-p ro d u c tio n A R IA & P A ST A Production company: Passionfruit Productions Budget: $1,300,000 Post Production: 15 May - 30 August Principal Credits

Directors: Bruce Beresford, Lewis Fitz-Gerald Line producer: John Izzard

Executive producers: Philip Gerlach, Bruce Beresford Associate producer: Augustus Dulgaro Director of photography: Tom Gleeson Editor: Denise Hunter Sound recordist: Leo Sullivan Planning and D evelopm ent

Researcher: Kate Wild Production Crew

Production supervisor: Philip Gerlach Production manager: John Izzard Producer's assistant: Renee Redford Production secretary: Peta Thomson Production accountant: Sheralee Meldrum, Moneypenny Insurer: Cinesure Completion guarantor: Film Finances Legal services: Tim Benjamin Travel co-ordinator: Travelcorp Base-office liaison: Augustus Dulgaro M arketin g

Publicity: Augustus Dulgaro, Peta Thomson at Total Film & Television Singers: Ben Heppner, Sir Thomas Allen, Derek Lee Ragin, Dmitri Hvrorostovsky, Renata Scotto, Marilyn Horne, Cecilia Bartolli, Bryn Terfel Synopsis

Aria and Pasta is an eight-part lifestyle series which takes a look at the lives and careers of eight of the world's most popular opera stars. Each episode culminates in the preparation of the stars' favourite pasta dish.

THE LOVE OF LIONEL’S LIFE Liberty & Beyond Productions Pty Ltd Distribution company: Beyond International Post Production: 3 April - 26 June 26 P rincipal Credits

Director: John Ruane Producers: Tony Cavanaugh, Simone North Co-producer: Des Power Executive producer: Mikael Borglund Associate producer: Peta Lawson Production designer: Adam Head Sound recordist: Bob Clayton Planning and Development Casting: Suzie Maizels and Associates Casting assistant: Michael Boland Production Crew Production manager: Lori Flekser Production co-ordinator: Jo Friesen Producer's assistant: Naomi Wenck Production secretary: Kate Kennedy Location managers: Chris Betts, Harry Yates Unit manager: Matthew Jones Unit assistants: Gavin Evans, Simon Buckley Production runner: James Muller

Production accountant: Nadeen Kingshott Insurer: Willis Australia Ltd Completion guarantor: Film Finance Corporation Cam era Crew

Focus puller: Jo Erskine Clapper-loader: Melinda Rickman Grip: Grant Nielsen Dolly grip: John 'Axel' Dolan Grip assistant: Andrew Sandford Gaffer: Graham Rutherford Best boy: Andrew Saul Generator operator: Matt Fergus On-set Crew

First assistant director: Bob Howard Second assistant director: Vera Biffone Third assistant director: Rebecca Kelly Assistant script editor: Kairen Waloch Continuity: Joanne McLennan Boom swinger: Phil Stirling Hair/ Make-up supervisor: Lynne O'Brien Make-up artist: Michelle Ritchi Stunts co-ordinator: Chris Anderson Safety officer: Lana Darby Still photography: Greg Noakes Unit publicist: Deb Withers A rt D epartm ent

Art director: Brent Taylor Art department co-ordinator: Jennifer desChamps Art department runner: Rod Brennan Scenic artist: Adam Smigielski Standby props: Stuart Polkinghorne Armourer: Bob Parsons W ardrobe

Costume designer: Melody Cooper Standby wardrobe: Carina Calderone Wardrobe assistant: Jay Mansfield Askew Post-production

Editor: Andrew Macneil Assistant editor: Brad Lindenmayer Director's attachment: Peter Wright Cast

Matt Day, Alex Dimitriadis, Nadine Garner, Steve Vidler, Graeme Blundell, Carol Burns, Chris Betts, Heather Mitchell, Catherine Miller, Paul Denny, Joelan Reti

Duration: 13 x 30 minutes Principal Credits

Exec Producers: Mike Searle, Jennifer Wilson Producers: Mike Searle, Nigel Swetenham, Jennifer Wilson, Melanie Ambrose, Linda Searle, Caroline Bertram Synopsis

As with series one, ANIMAL X SERIES 2 investigates animal stories from around the world. From ghostly phenomena to lake monsters and mysterious sightings to unknown creatures.

AUSTRALIANS AT WAR Series documentary Production company: Beyond Productions Pty Ltd in association with Mullion Creek Productions. Production from 1 April Duration: 8 x 55 minutes Principal Credits

Supervising Producer: Stephen Amezdroz Producer: Michael Caulfield Directors: Geoff Burton, David Goldie, Steve Best, Tim Clark Writers: Geoff Burton, David Goldie, Steve Best, Tim Clark


In p ro d u ctio n

ANIMAL X -S E R IE S 2 Series Documentary Production company: Storyteller Productions Production from 1 May

LANTANA Production company: Jan Chapman Films Principal Credits

Producer: Jan Chapman Director: Ray Lawrence Writer: Andrew Bovell Synopsis

Crossing the genre boundaries of thriller, mystery and romantic drama, Lantana centres on a number of characters at a crucial time in their lives. They are connected by a series of coincidences involving misperception, infidelity and false assumption. The search for meaning by Leon, the main character, drives the narrative.

in Australia, 21 year old Gemma meets and falls in love with Michael Tyler, a fugitive posing as an undercover cop. Years later, after he is arrested, it is discovered that her six year old son has leukemia and must undergo treatment using the blood of a compatible donor. Gemma travels to Australia to find Tyler, the father of her son as her blood is not a perfect match, but he has escaped from prison and, unbeknown to Gemma, the police use her to track him down. Thinking that Gemma has betrayed him, Tyler takes her hostage. But as trust grows and their romance is gradually rekindled, Gemma realises there must be a way to save both her son and the man she loves.

SUBTERANO Production company: Becker Films Pty Ltd

D o c u m e n ta rie s

Principal Credits

Producers: Richard Becker, Barbi Taylor Director/Writer: Esben Storm Distribution: REP, MBM, Becker Films




Australians at War examines the effects of war on the lives of Australians and how this nation has been shaped by those experiences.

Subterano is a virtual holographic game in which Ektoman, a godlike killer, hunts his victims through a subterranean maze. Thirteen souls, trapped in a carpark, are being preyed upon by a bizarre and deadly array of remote controlled toys. When the toys attack and the killing starts, they realise someone is playing the game for real.

Producer: Priscilla Collins Director: Erica Glynn Writer: Kate Gillick Presale: SBS

BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE 10: THE FORGOTTEN SPECIES Short Documentary Storyteller Productions Production from 1 April Duration: 56 minutes

Production company: CAAMA Productions Pty Ltd Duration: 52 minutes Principal Credits

Principal Credits

Executive Producer: Mike Searle Producers: Mike Searle, Bill Clough, Sam McDonaugh, Linda Searle Director: Mike Searle Writer: Mike Searle Synopsis

Episode ten in the BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE series looks at the forgotten species; India's lions, elephants, crocodiles and rhinos - all critically endangered and over-shadowed by their African cousins.

R ecent funding decisions F e a tu re s


Lionel Burke is content with life in a small Queensland town. He’s got his mates, his job at the mine, his dependable dog Fuggly, and a dream to re-open the town’s theatre. And romance? Not likely in this town. But an unusual correspondence with Lena leads to an impromptu meeting. And a friendship that turns a small town upside-down.

kills its victims then takes them to its lair to be devoured later.

ROGUE Production company: Rogue Film Productions Pty Ltd Principal Credits

Executive Producers: Gary Hamilton, Mikael Borglund, Michael Gudinski Producers: Martin Fabinyi, Julia Overton Writer/Director: Greg Mclean Synopsis

An idyllic wildlife tour in far Northern Australia turns into terror when a massive crocodile stalks a party of tourists. Panic mounts when Kate, the leader of the tour, realises by the size and ferocity of the animal that they are in fact being hunted by a 'rogue' crocodile, an extremely territorial animal that savagely

Feature Le n gth D o c u m e n ta ry


MALPAS tells of the relationship between indigenous and nonindigenous women living in remote communities in the deserts of Australia. It will illuminate the unique work of the Ngannyatjara, Pitjantjatjara, Yankuntjajtjara Women's Council (NPYWC), by putting the spotlight on the longstanding relationship between its Malpas (partners).



Production company: Journocam Productions Duration: 52 minutes

Production company: Living Pictures (Australia) Pty Ltd

Principal Credits

Principal Credits

Producer: Adrian Herring Director/writer: Hart Cohen Presale: SBS

Producers: David Flatman, Sue Flatman Director: David Flatman



Australia - Land Beyond Time traces the four billion year journey of this ancient southern land - the world's oldest continent and largest island. It reveals the ingenious strategies life has evolved to survive the Earth's most challenging extremes in this great Antipodean ark, isolated from all other landmasses for more than 30 million years.

MrStrehlow's Films, a documentary about the life and work of TGH Strehlow, tells the story of provenance and the legacy of the extraordinary Strehlow Collections. Special attention is paid to the origins of the collection, controversies surrounding ownership and current strategies of repatriation and the use of filmwork by Aboriginal people.

POLES APART Production company: Rymer Bayly Watson Productions Duration: 52 minutes

T e le v isio n D ra m a THE RUBICON

Principal Credits

(2x2 hour television miniseries Production company: Southern Star John Edwards Principal Credits

Producers: John Edwards, Lavinia Warner Director: Rowan Woods Writers: Christopher Lee, John Collee Presales: Seven Network, BskyB Synopsis

White on a backpacking holiday

Producers: Judy Rymer, Robert Dein Director: Judy Rymer Presale: SBS Synopsis

A story about politics, money and cultural leaps of faith seen through the controversial history surrounding a single work of art, Jackson Pollock's 'Blue Poles', and involving two nations Australia and the U.S.


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Erratum issue 132 Apologies to director Khyentse Norbu who was described as a Buddhist monk when he's actually a lama, p 18. Bruce Beresford was incorrectly credited with having directed Peter Weir's Picnic at Hanging Rock, p 39.




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Cinema Papers No.133 June 2000  

Cinema Papers No.133 June 2000  

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