Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Last Days #1

Years end.

After blissful and bitter times in our studio in Fitzroy, we're moving to exciting new digs in Brunswick. This new space, Bird, is a gathering of some damned fine folks. It's a space dedicated to the kind of filmmaking we love and the kinds of film we love and the ways of working that we want to make possible. So, our old studio was boxed up - posters, unmade scripts, old archives, hard drives, reels and tapes and negs piles of paper of inexplicable use and meaning - and shipped over the beautiful new space. We unpacked some boxes. We finished our doco. We did some accounts. We made a catalogue of all that had been lost and overlooked in the chaos of recent years. We looked at neglected notebooks and embraced neglected friends. We washed the clothes we'd worn in the final weeks of grading, mixing and dancing. We drank more than we should and finally saw our families once more.

2010 was a bitch of a year. But it was beautiful, too. It was a horror and it was extraordinary. What can you do with a year like that except thank the gods you got to experience it. And the final days of the year were just as beautiful and strange as all the days before...

Empty Bird.

Detail #1. Shelf of 236 Brunswick St, prior to the move.

Detail #2. Shelf of 236 Brunswick St, prior to the move.

Detail #3. Shelf of 236 Brunswick St, prior to the move.

Detail #4. Shelf of 236 Brunswick St, prior to the move.

Detail #5. Shelf of 236 Brunswick St, prior to the move.

A poster on my wall.

A sky outside my window.


A celebratory drink.

Some rain.

And rain.

The handsome men of Bird. (L-R Jono Hill, Tim Mummery)

Rosebud's vision of her dad Glendyn. (C - Glendyn Ivin)

AFI awards after party as the good folks of Animal Kingdom swept the pool. (L-R Bec Smith, Peter Sciberras, Amiel Courtin-Wilson)

A moment away from shooting Hail for Amiel.

Damned fine folks. (L-R Peter, Amiel, Adam Arkapaw, Bec)

Empty Bird reprise. The future looks bright.

Monday, December 6, 2010


The elegant fury of post production. Bouncing from sound spotting sessions to pick up dialogue recordings to file backups and transfers to archival acquittals to title design to colour grading to release meetings to artwork development. A thousand miles an hour sprints, dives and dances all carefully orchestrated so no one drops a mark in front of the posts. Thank fuck for post coordinators and post producers or we'd still be in the bar or sleeping in the sound mix.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Greatness #2

People can be great. They can be capable of greatness. And they can choose to ignore it or shun the people who strive for it.

Giorgio Mangiamele, who arrived in Melbourne a young man - a post war migrant in a deadened city of 6 c'clock closing, extreme cultural conservatism and intense hostility to anything non-Anglo - went on to struggle through the production of a handful of remarkable films. To my mind, he was pretty damned great.

He made as many films as he could, off his own back, taking risks in trying to get his films made that would make most of us these days look sheepishly at our toes for lack of adventure and backbone. Yet, for the most part, you'd be hard pressed to find filmmakers in Australia who know the first thing about him, even though he made a handful of bold experiments in neo-realism and character drama in the 50s and 60s (Il Contratto, The Spag, 99%, The Brothers) and then, as his interests became more interested in the mutability of the narrative form, in more experimental films - 'Clay' being his gateway film from the neo-realism, embodying, as it does, a meld of realism and formal experimentation - prior to more rigorous experimental works made in Papua New Guinea in the 70s and 80s (Sapos, The Caring Crocodile, The Living Museum').

I love sequences of imagery, moments, little exchanges of perfection within his films without necessarily adoring any one of his films above another. Yet, like a journeyman boxer, he kept stepping into the ring, taking his licks, winning hard fought bouts only to rest for period before turning up again for more. This, to me is the good stuff. Those who never lay down. Those who don't turn back in the face of how fucking tough it must have been for them. Instead, they let their voice flourish, grow, evolve, and they find their own way - DIY style, punker than punk - to go on making films, telling stories, playing with form, image, sound, assemblage. All the good shit. That, to me is greatness. Not one flashy film by some enfant terrible or a perfect point of confluence (though that, too, is great). I prefer the brawler and scrabblers, the grifters and gleaners. Those who fought hard long before they land their first punch and fight long and courageous well after they've landed their last glancing blow. That is greatness.

Greatness #1

Greatness is relative but, to my mind, people, in general, are great.

For instance, the person who saw these weeds - and a glimpse of something possible in between them - then went home, cut out their stencils and returned to do this is great:

This guy who collects vintage halloween pics and blogs about them is also great.

My friend Taki who decided, from his home in Melbourne, to go off and inflitrate the US corporate controlled tea party movement (only months after he decided he wanted to make films on Palm Island and camped on the beach with his gear until stories, people and films started coming to him) then stared off into space on a Washington talk show while one of the crazed-neo-hyper-conservatives ranted at him about the resulting film, is really great:


How many films can be written about the secret lives of men, of their fathers, their sons, their friends, their lovers. Of their disappointments and desires, their dreams and their demons? I know of so few - so addled are we with diseased ideas of who we are and should be - yet I look around me and see these stories everywhere...

You see them in retreat, in repose, in silence and stillness. Yet on screen, they are always hurtling, defeating, evading. The world, at it's best, makes little sense.

All the above photos are from David Alan Harvey's series 'The Divided World'