In addition to preserving Australia’s filmmaking past and present, the NFSA also recognises the importance of learning from filmmakers themselves.
In this series of interviews, some of Australia’s most influential film directors, producers and writers speak about their filmmaking journeys, discuss the importance of film preservation and share their advice for the next generation of Australian filmmakers.
WARNING: this collection may contain names, images or voices of deceased Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Mad Max 2 (1981) was filmed in around the areas of Broken Hill and Silverton. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) was slated to be filmed in the Broken Hill area as well but the production was moved to Namibia after unusual rainfall saw the normally barren landscape bloom into life - not a great look for a post-apocalyptic wasteland.
Mad Max franchise director George Miller talks with Paul Byrnes about his early career in Australia: from the 'experimental’ Mad Max (1979) and its blockbuster sequels, to his pivotal role in the golden age of the mini-series with The Dismissal (1983) and Bodyline (1984). He also touches on his first forays into Hollywood and conveys his continuing passion for telling Australian stories.
Wayne Blair was interviewed by Ray Argall on June 17, 2009, at the Belvoir Street Theatre in Sydney where Wayne was working as a resident director. Although born in Taree, Wayne describes himself as a Batjala Mununjali Wakkawakka man.
Wayne grew up in country Queensland and toyed with a career as a rugby player before realising his passion lay with acting. Wayne now works on both sides of the camera; he is well known as an actor and loved by the actors he directs, including the young performers he’s worked with on Lockie Leonard (2007–2010) and Double Trouble (2007).
Patricia Edgar was interviewed by Ray Argall on June 9, 2009 at her home in Melbourne.
Patricia displays the tenacity and energy that rallied politicians, business people and filmmakers to create the enduring legacy that is the Australian Children’s Television Foundation. Also on show was the sense of humour that made her such a passionate defender of programs peppered with Australian humour involving bodily functions.
Ray Argall spoke to Sue at her office in Northcote, Melbourne, where screenplays line the walls in many drafts. She took him through her scrapbooks of location photos, showing how important landscape and location is in her films (such as Road to Nhill, 1997, and Japanese Story, 2003). For Sue, the journey from page to screen and capturing the essence of a story is what she loves – she calls it 'chasing angels’.
Rachel works from the Blackfella Films office on Sydney Harbour in Gadigal country. She is an Arrernte woman from Central Australia. This interview took place in 2009.
Rachel came to filmmaking from Canberra via Alice Springs, and is part of a large family of filmmakers that still work together.
They’ve had a lot of fun over the years – burning down a house in Radiance (1998), making musicals One Night the Moon (2001) and Bran Nue Dae (2009), and covering 200 years of Australia’s Indigenous history in First Australians (2008).
Rachel balances her creative film work with serving on many boards that govern filmmaking and screen culture.
Ray Argall met Bob at his home office in Glebe, Sydney, where he was digitising footage from his latest project, Mrs Carey’s Concert (2010). The stories of his years in New Guinea filming First Contact (1983), Joe Leahy’s Neighbours (1988) and Black Harvest (1992) are every bit as captivating as those he tells about filming Leichhardt Council for Rats in the Ranks (1996). Bob introduced us to the camera that has captured his most famous works, a 16mm Aaton, and shares the passion for music that shines through his work, from Franklin River Journey (1980) through to Facing the Music (2001) and Mrs Carey’s Concert (2010).
Director Ray Lawrence discusses his iconic debut feature, Bliss, and why it is so important for Australian films to be preserved by the NFSA.
Editor and producer Anthony Buckley discusses some of the most iconic films he has worked on. From producing his first feature, Caddie, to recovering Wake in Fright years after its disappearance, he recollects key moments from his vibrant career.
Ray Argall interviewed Robin Hughes on 3 June 2009. Robin takes Ray down memory lane at Film Australia’s Lindfield studios where she worked as a filmmaker, a general manager and CEO. Walking past reels of 16mm film and Steenbeck editing machines, she talks about capturing events large and small, political and personal.
Ray Argall met with Sue at her office in Fitzroy, a hub for independent filmmakers in Melbourne. Sue has embraced the opportunities new media platforms offer and has extended her filmmaking into distribution, where she is taking her substantial back catalogue to a new audience. It’s a long way from getting bogged in outback Western Australia while making Japanese Story (2003). Sue’s career has taken her to some extraordinary places, from the Pilbara to The Highest Court, and brought untold Australian stories to light in Thanks Girls and Goodbye (1988) and Hunt Angels (2006).
Tom started his career in the early 1970s making advocacy videos with trade unions and inner-city communities (see Fig Street Fiasco and We Have To Live With It, both 1974). He remains committed to exploring new territory in his choice of film subjects. Tom talks in detail with Damien Parer about his extensive body of work, including Kemira: Diary of a Strike (1984), Homelands: View from the Edge (1993), Exile in Sarajevo (1997) and Gulpilil: One Red Blood (2002).
Ray Argall interviewed David Caesar on 3 June 2009. David took Ray out to the western suburbs of Sydney, where he shot his early features Greenkeeping (1992) and Idiot Box (1996).
They drove around looking for, but not finding, locations that are now buried by new development and freeways.
David discusses the wide open uniformity that attracted him here in the first place and talks about car culture and growing up in an automobile-dependent society.
Alister Grierson, director of the 2006 feature film Kokoda, talks about historical accuracy and representing war experience on film.
This clip comes from a 2007 Talkback Classroom forum on the topic of 'Australian history in the classroom'. Grierson was interviewed as part of the students’ Learning Journey in preparation for the Forum.
Talkback Classroom was a forum program run by the Education section of the National Museum of Australia. At each forum a panel of three secondary students, selected from schools Australia wide, interviewed a leading decision-maker.
They also participated in a ‘learning journey’, researching the issue being explored by the forum and interviewing relevant people in the community.
This project was developed in partnership with the National Museum of Australia.