Just whose Indigenous filmmaking?

Kirsten Krauth, OnScreen Editor

This year’s Adelaide Festival premiered a number of films hotly contesting a range of issues including, implicitly, whether white Australians can make truly representative films about Indigenous subjects. Australian Rules has been particularly controversial but this subtext is also read in Rolf de Heer’s The Tracker and Phil Noyce’s Rabbit Proof Fence. In our Watchdog column, Jane Mills takes a critical look at the latter and its relationship with Hollywood filmmaking. Director Phil Noyce and Indigenous filmmaker Darlene Johnson (director of the insightful making-of documentary Follow the Rabbit-proof Fence, screened Channel 9, Sunday Feb 3, which should be seen alongside the film) offer their perspectives on the issue. In WriteStuff, Hunter Cordaiy interviews Christine Olsen, who adapted the original story to screenplay, about the film’s evolution and the commitment and obsessiveness that was part of the process.

Ivan Sen is Australia’s finest maker of short films with a series of outstanding and award-winning works including Tears, Dust and Wind behind him. Now he has won the award for best debut feature film at the 2002 Berlin Film Festival for Beneath Clouds, which continues Sen’s exploration into young Indigenous people living outside cities. In an incisive report Mike Walsh looks at the new film in the context of the earlier works and what Sen has to say about his work.

 

Keeping track

In Sydney and Melbourne it can be hard to gauge what’s happening in film in other states. OnScreen keeps up with reports on the WA Screen Awards, digi-docs (digital documentaries at the Adelaide Fringe) and the South Australia Zoom Awards. Plus there’s my take on the My Queer Career Awards which featured a strong field of shorts screened as part of Sydney’s Mardi Gras Festival. We also introduce a new mini-review section, critical bytes that encourage you to see new Australian and international independent films doing interesting things on celluloid. This time we include Walking on Water, The Tracker, The Circle, Mulholland Drive, Promises, No Man’s Land and Paul Cox’s eagerly awaited Nijinski, based on the dancer’s diaries and featuring Adelaide’s Leigh Warren Dance Company.

 

Digital profiling

RealTime+OnScreen is the only Australian publication that regularly profiles digital artists and keeps you up to date with events and conferences. This time we turn our attention to WA artist Michelle Glaser. Juvenate, on which she collaborated, was co-winner of the prestigious Mayne Multimedia Award at the Adelaide Writers Festival. We visit Tasmania’s Maria Island for the Solar Circuit gathering and continue to look at works that cross the film/digi boundary including the already mentioned Digi Docs conference. Emma-Kate Croghan (Love and Other Catastrophes) takes her Desire to the web and David Varga looks at opportunities for filmmakers using DVD distribution. We also introduce a new section where artists describe their digital works-in-progress, a snapshot of ideas in development in the digital arts arena.

 

Exit

And with that smorgasbord, I bid you adieu. This is my last OnScreen. I’m leaving RealTime for a position at the Australian Film Commission. It’s been a wonderful 4 years (with 2 as OnScreen editor) and I’d like to thank, in Academy Awards style, Managing Editors Keith and Virginia, for offering me the opportunity to commission some of the finest writers working in the arts in Australia, and for keeping the standards of RealTime so high. Thanks also to Gail Priest, Designer and Sales Manager, for always being positive, capable and willing to lend advice and a hand with anything. And thanks to all the OnScreen editors and writers who continue to make this section of the magazine an insight into what’s happening in film, screen culture and digital media nationally. Where else can you get this critical information, and where else can you get it free? I look forward to receiving it on my desk at the AFC.

RealTime issue #48 April-May 2002 pg. 14

© Kirsten Krauth; for permission to reproduce apply to realtime@realtimearts.net

1 April 2002