Goes to Susanne Chauvel Carlsson

The NFSA has chosen Susanne Chauvel Carlsson as the recipient of the 2012 Ken G Hall Film Preservation Award for her commitment and active engagement with the archive to preserve, research, and exploit the Chauvel family history in film.

I believe it is of prime importance for filmmakers and/or their family to preserve their work, which is after all a part of our history. Films mirror the time in which they were made, the values and attitudes of that period, so we can learn much from them.

Susanne Chauvel Carlsson

Susanne Chauvel with book manuscript

Born in 1930, Susanne Chauvel Carlsson is the daughter of Charles and Elsa Chauvel. A determined supporter for the collection and preservation of their work, Sue has tirelessly continued to research both her family and her father’s film industry history. She published Charles & Elsa Chauvel: Movie Pioneers in 1989, and is currently writing another book, The Life and Cinema of Charles Chauvel. She has contributed articles to The Australian Women’s Weekly, Metro, Cinema Papers and other publications, and keeps a blog (chauvelcinema.com) where she explores the locations where Chauvel’s films were made.

‘Probably the main motivation in writing the biography has been the number of inaccuracies that have surfaced over the years, from people who had not known the Chauvels,’ says Sue. ‘I believe it is time to tell the full story, to the best of my ability. Inevitably some details will be lost over the years, but as I lived with Charles and Elsa Chauvel for 29 years and witnessed the making of all their major films, I am in a unique position to give first-hand insight into their characters and their story.’

After her mother died in 1983, Sue realised the importance of collating the large amount of photographic and other film-related material she had. Elsa Chauvel had already donated the original films to the NFSA and, over the years, Sue has continued to contribute material and share her research with the NFSA.

‘I sent the major part of her photographic collection to the John Oxley Research section of the Queensland State Library, Brisbane. I have tried wherever possible to identify some of the photographs in the NFSA collection. I still have a large amount of documentation that I am trying to collate and preserve; it has been tremendously valuable to me while writing my father’s biography.’

Susanne Chauvel and her parents

‘My parents’ story proves what can be achieved by sheer perseverance and tenacity, and their dedication to the integrity of their work. As old-fashioned as the methods and perhaps the interpretations of story seem today, the films are still a testimony to a desire to put Australia on the world map in filmmaking.

‘I feel honoured to receive the Ken G Hall Film Preservation Award. Although Ken and my father were rivals at the time, five of my father’s feature films were made at Ken Hall’s domain, the iconic Cinesound Studios, with staff trained by Hall.’

By arrangement with the Licensor, The Charles Chauvel Estate,
c/- Curtis Brown (Aust) Pty Ltd.

Ken G Hall Film Preservation Award – previous recipients

2011 David Hannay For assisting the NFSA in saving master material from productions in danger of complete destruction, working actively with the Archive to locate and preserve original film components, and lobbying on behalf of archival interests, both in Australia and abroad.
2010 Patricia Lovell AM, MBE For three decades of involvement in the industry and her tireless work in promoting the need for preservation to film industry colleagues, politicians and the community at large and her firm belief in the value and importance of the NFSA.
2009 Ian Dunlop OAM In acknowledgement of his major contribution to the preservation of films of Australian Indigenous communities through his own work and his preservation and protection of the work of others.
2006 Paul Cox In acknowledgement of both his unique creative career and his long-term support of the NFSA.
2005 Phillip Noyce For his outstanding contribution to the art of film and to the cause of film preservation, particularly through the authentic treatment of archival footage in his 1978 film Newsfront, his long-term commitment to the preservation of his works through the NFSA, and his championing of the NFSA’s Kodak/Atlab Cinema Collection.
2004 Graham Shirley In recognition of his contribution to Australian film preservation. He is one of Australia’s most distinguished audiovisual archivists and historians.
2003 Tom Edward Nurse (posthumously) For a lifetime’s work in film laboratories throughout the world, but particularly in Australia and South East Asia. He was responsible for establishing the design of, and the working arrangements for, the specialist film preservation copying laboratories at the NFSA.
2002 Judy Adamson For her renowned research which has resulted in the preservation of much of our film heritage. She has been instrumental in conducting and collecting oral histories from the film industry and in documenting the history of government filmmaking in Australia.
2001 Murray Forrest For encouraging producers to offer negatives and print materials to the NFSA for safekeeping, resulting in the survival of many films over the years that may otherwise have been lost.
2000 Anthony Buckley AM For his vision and active support from the 1960s for the establishment of an autonomous NFSA, his consistent work in locating and facilitating the transfer of hundreds of important films into the NFSA’s care, for his service to the NFSA as a member of its Council and his role as a producer and director of feature films and television series that highlight Australia’s film history.
1999 Joan Long AM (posthumously) For creating a public awareness of Australian film history through productions such as The Passionate Industry (1973), The Pictures that Moved (1969) and The Picture Show Man (1977), for her dedication and commitment during the 1970s and 1980s to the development of a national archive for film and sound, and her role as Chair of the NFSA’s first Advisory Committee.
1997 Kodak Australasia Pty Ltd For its substantial long-term support for the NFSA including The Last Film Search project (1981), Slice of Life bicentennial project (1988), the Roger McKenzie Collection (1992) and the Association of South-East Asian Nations seminars (1995-1997).
1996 Peter Weir AM For his significant personal and financial commitment to the preservation of Australia’s film heritage including his support for the Last Film Search and the re-release of the classic 1955 film, Jedda.
1995 Alan Rydge and Rupert Murdoch For the joint corporate sponsorship by Greater Union and News Corporation for the NFSA’s Operation Newsreel, a major collection and preservation program of Cinesound and Movietone newsreels.