OnScreen news – filmSHORTS

Australians in NY

25 feature films, along with new media works on the internet, will feature in the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) celebration of arts in October, which will focus on Australia. Paul Byrnes has selected some impressive Oz films from the 90s including The Boys, Dead Heart, Feeling Sexy, Floating Life, Looking for Alibrandi, Mabo: Life of an Island Man, Praise & Rats in the Ranks to screen in Killing the Koala. Hopefully the Big Apple will learn there’s more to Oz culture than Crocodile Dundee.

Facing the Music: another hit for Connolly/Anderson

Like the landmark Rats in the Ranks, the documentary Facing the Music (see Kirsten Krauth's review) is doing well locally, getting a cinema release at the Valhalla in Sydney, and winning the audience’s Best Documentary award at the Sydney Film Festival. The film follows Professor Anne Boyd’s fight to save her music department at Sydney University. Commissioned by Film Australia & distributed by Ronin Films, Facing the Music begins Melbourne & Brisbane seasons on August 2-3 & has been invited to a number of international film festivals.

Kaleidoscopic shoots

Metro Screen (Sydney) is calling for entries for its annual film & video festival, Kaleidoscope. It’s a good opportunity for emerging filmmakers to strut their stuff in front of industry judges & audience. Categories include best film, screenplay, cinematographer, director, sound design, female/male actor & editor. Open to any short film under 8 minutes. Entries close September 7, screening Chauvel, October 5. Michelle Hardy, 02 9361 5318, entry forms

Columbia Pictures hits Pentridge Pris

Producers of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon are shooting their followup, Double Vision, in Melbourne. A Taiwanese thriller, in Chinese Mandarin and English, the film features Tony Leung Ka-Fai (see our interview), David Morse & 3 Australian teams on special effects: The Makeup Effects Group, Phenomena & Kevin Chismall. The film is expected to feature in the 2002 Silk Screen programme of Asian cinema.

Asian film spotlight returns to Sydney

The 2nd Sydney Asia Pacific Film Fest starts in August, screening features from Asia & shorts from local Asian-Australian filmmakers in SHORT SOUP (winning films will be screened on SBS’s Eat Carpet). In 2 seminars, crew from Philip Noyce’s The Quiet American will talk about filming in Vietnam and festival guests Garin Nugroho & Im Sang Soo will discuss the trend towards digital filmmaking in Asia. 15 new features will screen including 2000 Cannes Grand Jury Prize winner Devils on the Doorstep (China), The Land of Wandering Souls (doco about laying high speed internet cable through Cambodia) & Chicken Rice War (Romeo & Juliet, Singapore style). Readings Cinemas, August 9-18; Canberra, August 23-26.

CREATE’s film/TV/multimedia training package

CREATE Australia’s new training package means that, for the first time in Australia, skilled people working within the film, television & digital media industries can acquire nationally recognized qualifications on the job. Training ranges from basic entry level to tertiary level diplomas. For further info visit the CREATE website

Hothouse blooms in SA

The SA Film Corporation announced recently that Kanesan Nathan, Matthew Phipps & Jessica Wallace (see Teri Hoskin's review) have been selected for the Hothouse Scheme, which gives emerging filmmakers an opportunity to focus on their projects by providing rent free office space & facilities & a living allowance of $10,000. This year the scheme has expanded to include the possibilities of attending conferences/courses or employing script editors to help with scripts.

Tony Ayres, Walking on Water

The followup to Ayres’ exquisite & highly successful documentary on William Yang, Sadness, Walking on Water stars Vince Colosimo & Maria Theodorakis & explores the sometimes funny aspects of dealing with death & grief. The film has just completed shooting & will have its world premiere at the 2002 Adelaide Festival.

Calling Western Sydney filmsters

Penrith Valley Video Festival is seeking films to screen in one of the most popular events in Sydney’s west. Festival director Rachel Morley said: “The PVVF is about communities sharing and building upon the tradition of video-making. It aims to bring together schools, neighbourhood centres, student videomakers, community groups & established industry professionals to create a cultural festival that puts Penrith on the filmmaking map.” More than $4000 is up for grabs in cash prizes for 3 categories: Open Top 3 & U18s (videos under 10 mins) and one minute Short Shorts which must explore issues in the Penrith area. All entrants’ films are screened at EVAN Theatre, Panthers Club, October 10, with winners announced in the evening.

A Queensland first for Blurred

Hard to believe but Blurred is the first feature ever to be written, directed & produced by Queensland filmmakers, according to PFTC News (July/Aug). First time director Evan Clarry’s comedy about 9 youngsters at Schoolies Week on the Gold Coast is looking to secure funding from the FFC in the next few months. The screenplay was developed through the Low Budget Feature Initiative, where emerging Qld writers/directors get to work with professional producers & script editors.

WA’s first youth film festival

Imagine Your Australia. That’s the theme for the Centenary of Federation Youth Film Festival, which is open to all filmmakers between 12-25 years in WA. Supported by ScreenWest, the theme is open to interpretation & there are 3 categories: Years 8-10, 11-12 & tertiary/open. Films can be any genre & will all be screened September 23-29 in prominent venues around Perth. 08 9328 9343, email

Docklands complex for Melbourne

As reported by The Age (June 28), over the next 2 years the Victorian government will build a $40 million film & TV complex in the Docklands area. The site is aimed at revitalising the VIC film industry & bringing many industry professionals back from interstate. The government hopes to attract international productions while being affordable & accessible (unlike Fox Studios) to local, smaller budget projects.

Lack of access to cinema in rural communities

According to Karen Meehan (Dramatic Online, May 11), a recent report by Sharon Baker (NSW Film & Television Office) reveals that “in over 50% of rural communities in NSW people have little or no access to cinema.” The bottom line threshold for a commercial cinema operation is 15,000 people, cutting out many small towns. Flicks in the Sticks, organised by Bruce Tindale (Arts OutWest), is a workshop-already held in a number of small towns-that aims to give communities the tools they need to screen films locally. For further information contact Bruce Tindale, 02 6338 4657, email

Indigenous scholarships at AFTRS

The Australian Film Television & Radio School, in joint venture with the Department of Employment, Workplace Relations & Small Business (under a Career Development Strategy) is seeking applications for an Indigenous Scholarship. Awarded to the best overall applicant, the one-year scholarship in film (commencing January 2002) will offer one of the following specialisations: directing, editing, producing, sound, scriptwriting, design, documentary or cinematography. Recent recipients include director Rachel Perkins (Radiance, One Night the Moon): “It opened up a whole new world that I hadn’t known about in terms of looking at other people’s films, learning about adaptation, learning about scriptwriting, having contact with industry professionals in a way that you could directly talk to them & ask the stupid questions that you would never ask professionally on set. Being exposed to a whole range of experiences, being taken out of my context as an Indigenous filmmaker & just being a student within a non-Indigenous environment was quite good for me as well.” Applications close September 11, 02 9805 6444, email

One Night the Moon soon to be released

Rachel Perkin’s latest film, written by John Romeril, with music by Paul Kelly, Kev Carmody & Mairead Hannan, will be distributed by Dendy Films and released on November 8. Starring Paul Kelly, David Field, Chris Haywood & Ruby Hunter, the film is based on the true story of a young girl who went missing in the outback in 1932 (see Jane Mills' review). The film screened at the Brisbane and Melbourne International Film Festivals.

Film Australia wins award for Mabo Project

Mabo-The Native Title Revolution, an extensive multimedia resource produced under Film Australia’s National Interest Program, has been awarded Best Secondary Teacher Reference Category from The Australian Awards for Excellence in Educational Publishing and the 2001 ATOM Award for Best Multimedia in the General Category. Combining CD-ROMs with a website & online database, the project brings together documentary video with audio & text from a variety of primary/secondary sources. Developed & produced with assistance from the Multimedia 21 Fund-Cinemedia, the CD-ROM was directed by Trevor Graham whose award-winning film Mabo-Life of an Island Man inspired the project. The website was developed in collaboration with the Aboriginal Research Institute at the University of South Australia & established as part of the Indigenous Online Network.

RealTime issue #44 Aug-Sept 2001 pg. 26

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

1 August 2001