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Continuing the trend towards an appreciation of our screen heritage, BIG SCREEN 2001, a celebration of Australian Cinema (AFC & ScreenSound), is a selection of Australian films which will tour 20 regional centres including Northern Territory & Tassie this year. The program in each centre will be held over a weekend & will include a selection of Australian feature films (including Innocence, Better Than Sex, The Shiralee & Storm Boy), short films & documentaries; archival films shot in, or of specific relevance to the region; & Q&As with visiting filmmakers & actors. For tour dates visit

With Indigenous filmmakers like Ivan Sen, Catriona McKenzie & Sally Riley making the most interesting short films in Australia at the moment, it’s appropriate that the AFC’s Indigenous Unit & SBS Independent have embarked on the next stage in the development & production of Indigenous Drama. Two 50-minute & five 10-minute films will be commissioned under new Drama Initiatives: the Fifty/Fifty Initiative is aimed at supporting Indigenous filmmakers with at least one screen credit to work in the longer 50-minute format & the Indigenous Drama Initiative 3 will support new & emerging filmmakers. Ivan Sen’s first feature Beneath Clouds is in pre-production with shooting to commence in western NSW. Ivan & producer Teresa-Jayne Hanlon have gathered together the crew behind Ivan’s successful short films Tears & Dust.

After intense lobbying from local industry & filmnet, the Victorian government has announced that Cinemedia will split in two, with Film Victoria to oversee new productions & Screen Culture Victoria to look after the Centre for the Moving Image (see page 10). In a culture of decreasing production & funding, the film & TV industry has been fiercely critical of Cinemedia’s direction, but let’s hope that policy makers continue to promote digital arts/artists as an important & evolving aspect of screen culture.

Popcorn Taxi in Sydney continues its impressive lineups & premieres of Australian films with a screening of The Goddess of 1967, the new feature by director Clara Law. The film stars Rose Byrne (Two Hands), Rikiya Kurokawa, Nicholas Hope (Bad Boy Bubby) & Elise McCredie (Strange Fits of Passion) & is beautifully captured by cinematographer Dione Beebe (Praise, Holy Smoke), Valhalla Cinema, April 18, 7.30pm.

WA’s Screen Industry Taskforce Report outlines recommendations designed to increase the state’s share of film & television production from 2 percent to 10 percent over the next 10 years. Potential initiatives from the report include the development of a ‘screen precinct’, providing studios, theatres, & commercial media & information technology premises, as well as the establishment of a Screen Training Academy through a partnership between TAFE & the secondary & tertiary education sectors.

The AFC has released an online database of film festivals, listing where Australian features & short films, documentaries & animations have been screened internationally, with detailed breakdowns of each festival’s screening programme & submission deadlines, aimed at helping Australian filmmakers target the best festivals for their current & future work.
Online film journal Screening the Past is being edited by Adrian Martin & the March/June/September issues will explore the thorny issue of Auteurism. The current issue includes articles on Lois Weber, Hitchcock, Eastwood, Tarkovsky, Fassbinder, & Campion; & Cassavetes, Jarmusch, Michael Mann, Akerman, & Bigelow are lined up for future editions.

FTO & SBS Independent have joined forces to announce a funding opportunity for emerging documentary makers across NSW. They are looking for proposals for a third Australia By Numbers, a series of half-hour documentaries about the private worlds & secret places that lurk behind our postcodes. Deadline April 27. Download guidelines from, contact Courtney, 02 9430 3816.

The AFC & ABC received 116 applications for Documentary Online, an initiative set up to encourage adventurous projects that exploit the possibilities of the internet for documentary. From the applications, 11 projects have been shortlisted for further development & 4 will ultimately be selected for web-streaming & hosting on ABC Online. The successful projects include Escape to Freedom (Sohail Dahdal/David Goldie explore the complex challenge Australia faces in responding to the plight of refugees); Fishbone (Gina Williams/Ivon Green on the adventures of Milli, the “Chat Queen of Bassendon” as she meets up with her internet chat friends of the past 6 & a half years, “The Fishboners”); Homeless (Trevor Graham/Rosa Hesp/Rob Wellington’s experiential website telling the stories of 6 individuals trapped in a state of homelessness in their booming global cities); & Restless (Heather Croall’s look into the lives of Ziggy & Rachel, 2 dancers with Down Syndrome & members of Restless Dance Company).

Queensland’s Pacific Film & Television Commission has announced an initiative for new/emerging writers, who are invited to submit short drama scripts (under 20 pages) for possible development. Financial assistance is available & successful applicants will work with a mentor who will help develop the script. Producers & directors will be attached at a later stage. Guidelines & application forms, Tessa Mitchell, 07 3224 5574, [email protected]. Closing May 14.

Sydney Asia Pacific Film Festival (August 9-18, Reading Cinemas Haymarket) has announced a new national film competition as part of its 2001 program, SHORT SOUP, open to short films made by or about Asian-Australians. Winning films will be screened on Eat Carpet throughout the festival alongside the best new cinema from Asia. Other highlights of the festival include Australian premiere of ScreenSound’s brand new print of 70s classic The Man From Hong Kong. For competition details, visit

In a bid to raise money for her local school (is this where education funding is heading?) filmmaker Pene Patrick is organising a short film fest, Fleeting Images, screening at Treasury Theatre, Melbourne, September 1. Films must be 16/35mm or DVD, less than 20 mins, preview cassette due June 30. Submission deadlines & guidelines, Susan Morgan-Elliss, 03 9848 3250, [email protected]

RealTime issue #42 April-May 2001 pg. 22

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