Film Australia was a company established by the Government of Australia to produce films about Australia in 1973. Its predecessors were the Cinema and Photographic Branch (1913–38), the Australian National Film Board (1939–1955, under different deparments), and the Commonwealth Film Unit (1956–72). Film Australia became Film Australia Limited in 1988 and was consolidated into Screen Australia in 2008.
Administration of the Film Australia Collection was transferred from Screen Australia to the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia on 1 July 2011.
The mission of the organisation changed through its earlier incarnations, but from 1973 its aim was to create an audio-visual record of Australian culture, through the commissioning, distribution and management of programs that deal with matters of national interest or illustrate and interpret aspects of Australian life.
In 1913 the Cinema and Photographic Branch (also known as the Cinema Branch) was created in Melbourne under cameraman Bert Ive, after he had been appointed government photographer and cinematographer. The Branch was administered by a number of Commonwealth government departments during its existence, changing the focus of the photographs and films, including the promotion of Australian merchandise, tourism, and immigration. When it came under the Commonwealth Immigration Office in 1921, the Cinema Branch was expanded, and by the end of the Silent era (1927 onwards), it was making a film a week. Lyn Maplestone, production manager from 1926, directed many of the films made by the Branch in the 1930s.
The Cinema and Photographic Branch wound up in 1938,Ive died on 25 July 1939, and Australia was at war with Germany two months later. The Cinema Branch moved into the new Department of Information (DOI), becoming the Australian National Film Board (also referred to as the Film Division, created in order oversee coordination of government and commercial filmmaking, and to engage film production in the war effort and based in Sydney). From 1950, the division came under the Australian News and Information Bureau, until 1955, and from 1956 until 1972 it was the Commonwealth Film Unit.
By the late 1940s all film production took place in Sydney, and the Melbourne branch closed in 1954, after continuing to process some non-theatrical film until this time.
Stanley Hawes was the Producer-in-Chief from 1946 to 1969.
In June 1973 the unit was superseded by Film Australia,which became Film Australia Limited in 1988.
The operations of Film Finance Corporation Australia, Australian Film Commission, and Film Australia were merged as Screen Australia in July 2008.
Administration of the Film Australia Collection was transferred from Screen Australia to the National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA) on 1 July 2011, and the Film Australia Library became the Film Australia Collection.
The Australian Children's Television Foundation became distributors for Film Australia's children's catalogue, with the exception of Boffins , maintained by the NFSA.[ citation needed ]
In 1973 Film Australia gained its first female producer, Suzanne Baker, who in 1977 became the first Australian woman to win an Academy Award, for Best Animated Short Film, for Leisure , animated by Bruce Petty.[ citation needed ]
Some of Michael Thornhill's first films were short documentaries made for the Commonwealth Film Unit, including The Esperance story (1968) and Cheryl and Kevin (1974). One of Film Australia's most successful films is A Steam Train Passes .It has won many awards and is generally regarded as Australia's finest railway film.
Film Australia also created one of Australia's most successful children's television programs, Johnson and Friends , which ran for four series. The program sold to over 50 territories and ran from 1990 until 1995. This venture also lead to the creation of further children's programs, including The Girl from Tomorrow / Tomorrow's End , Boffins , Escape from Jupiter / Return to Jupiter and Spellbinder / Land of the Dragon Lord .[ citation needed ]
Before becoming Screen Australia, Film Australia was one of the nation's leading producers of television documentaries and educational programs. Film Australia produced programs under the National Interest Program: a contract with the Australian Government to devise, produce, distribute and market productions that deal with matters of national interest or illustrate and interpret aspects of Australian life. Additional funding for a ten-part series on Australian history was provided by the Government from 2005.
Film Australia was the executive producer of these productions, drawing the creative and technical talent needed to produce them from Australia's independent documentary production industry. The company also provided support to the Australian documentary sector through a range of services and facilities, under its Community Service Obligations.
The Film Australia Library manages over 5000 titles and 150,000 photographs, reflecting a century of Australia's history. This unique archive of footage and stills is made available to the production industry. Film Australia Digital Learning creates projects targeted to the developing market for educational resources, primarily for delivery online. It draws largely on the materials in Film Australia's Library, and creates opportunities for documentary filmmakers and multimedia producers in education and new media production.
Film Australia Distribution markets both National Interest Program productions and independently produced documentaries to Australian and international broadcasters, and to libraries, schools, universities and community groups.
Film Australia Studios in Sydney is a purpose-built film and television production facility and provides screening venues, a sound stage, sound post-production facilities, a film laboratory, production offices, editing and transfer suites. These are used by many Film Australia and low-budget independent film and television productions, and by long-term tenants who operate production facilities and service companies.
Film Australia’s Digital Resource Finderis a quick, convenient and easy-to-use search engine for teachers and educators. It features FREE FOR EDUCATION video clips from Film Australia’s remarkable archive—one of the nation’s largest and most historically significant collections. Clips are matched with print-friendly two-page resource sheets that include background information and engaging student research and classroom activities written by leading teachers.
A newsreel is a form of short documentary film, containing news stories and items of topical interest, that was prevalent between the 1910s and the mid 1970s. Typically presented in a cinema, newsreels were a source of current affairs, information, and entertainment for millions of moviegoers. Newsreels were typically exhibited preceding a feature film, but there were also dedicated newsreel theaters in many major cities in the 1930s and ’40s, and some large city cinemas also included a smaller theaterette where newsreels were screened continuously throughout the day.
The Australian Film Institute (AFI) was founded in 1958 as a non-profit organisation devoted to developing an active film culture in Australia and fostering engagement between the general public and the Australian film industry. It is responsible for producing Australia's premier annual film and television awards, as of 2011 known as AACTA Awards.
Wrong Side of the Road is a 1981 low-budget feature film made in South Australia in 1980. It is distinctive for being one of the first attempts to bring modern Australian Aboriginal music to a non-indigenous audience.
Michael Thornhill is a film producer, screenwriter, and director.
The Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), at Federation Square, Melbourne, is Australia's national museum of film, video games, digital culture and art. During the 2015–16 financial year, 1.45 million people visited ACMI, the second-highest attendance of any gallery or museum in Australia, and the most visited moving image museum in the world. In May 2019, ACMI closed to the public to begin a $40 million redevelopment.
The National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA), known as ScreenSound Australia from 1999 to 2004, is Australia's audiovisual archive, responsible for developing, preserving, maintaining, promoting and providing access to a national collection of film, television, sound, radio, video games, new media, and related documents and artefacts. The collection ranges from works created in the late nineteenth century when the recorded sound and film industries were in their infancy, to those made in the present day.
The Australian Film Commission (AFC) was an Australian government agency with a mandate to promote the creation and distribution of films in Australia as well as to preserve the country's film history. It also had a production arm responsible for production and commissioning of films for the government. It was established by the Whitlam Government in 1975 as the successor to the Australian Film Development Corporation set up by the Gorton Government. The AFC had offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra and Brisbane.
Film and TV financing in Australia refers to government assistance to TV and cinema in Australia. Over the past 30 years, government assistance has involved a mixture of government support, distributor/ broadcaster involvement and private investment. To a significant extent, government policies have shaped the form and scale of financing.
Screen Australia is the Australian Federal Government's key funding body for the Australian screen production industry, created under the Screen Australia Act 2008. From 1 July 2008 Screen Australia took over the functions of its predecessor agencies the Australian Film Commission (AFC), the Film Finance Corporation Australia (FFC) and Film Australia Limited.
Dr. Diongu Badaturuge Nihalsingha was an accomplished Sri Lankan film director, cinematographer, editor, producer. He was noted for his versatility : as a film cameraman, as a film director, as a (pioneering) television director, as an administrator, and as a teacher. He is a pioneer who introduced professional television production to Sri Lanka, commencing with Sri Lanka's and South Asia's first color teledrama, Dimuthu Muthu. He was the founding Chief Executive Officer and General Manager of Sri Lanka's National Film Corporation and a distinguished alumni of the then University of Ceylon, Peradeniya. He is the only Sri Lankan who has been conferred Life Fellowship of the Society of Motion picture and Television Engineers USA, the oldest film organisation in the world, established in 1915. The Society determines film and television standards worldwide.
The Dungog Film Festival was an annual event held in the Hunter Region town of Dungog. Dungog Film Festival was a not for profit arts organisation that was dedicated to celebrating and promoting Australian screen industry. The festival was committed to education and nurturing the health of the Australian film and TV industry through a range of dynamic initiatives. Some proceeds of the festival have gone towards preserving the James Theatre. The festival aimed to support the Australian Film and TV Industry in a non-competitive environment that exclusively showcased Australian screen content.
Australian Screen Online (ASO), also known as Australian Screen or australianscreen, is an online database operated by the Australian National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA). It has both a promotional and educational function, providing free worldwide online access to information about Australian cinema and the television industry in Australia.
Martha Ansara is a documentary filmmaker whose films on social issues have won international prizes and been screened in Australia, the UK, Europe and North America. Ansara was one of the first women in Australia to work as a cinematographer, is a full member of the Australian Cinematographers Society (ACS) and was inducted into the ACS Hall of Fame in 2015. Martha is a Life Member of the Australian Directors Guild and a founding member of Ozdox, the Australian Documentary Forum. She has also worked as a film lecturer and film writer and has been active in the trade union, women's and peace movements.
Joan Long was an Australian producer, writer and director best known for Caddie (1976). She was awarded as a Member of the Order of Australia in 1980 for her services to the film industry.
dr. Andrew Pike, OAM is an Australian film historian, film distributor and exhibitor, and documentary producer and director. Pike formed Ronin Films, an Australian film distribution company, with his first wife, Dr Merrilyn Fitzpatrick, in 1974. With Ross Cooper, he co-authored the book, Reference Guide to Australian Films 1906–1969 and has produced and directed many documentaries since 1982. Pike has been honoured with numerous awards including a plaque on the ACT Honour Walk in Canberra City, appointed of the Order of Australia (OAM) and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Canberra.
Amrit Gangar is an Indian film scholar, historian, critic, curator and writer from Mumbai, Maharashtra, India.
Jennifer "Jennie" Boddington was an Australian film director and producer, who was first curator of photography at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne (1972–1994), and researcher.
Raymond Charles Argall is best known as a cinematographer and director for both film and television. He has also worked as an editor. His multi-award-winning feature film Return Home (1990) is regarded by many critics as an Australian cinema classic. Argall served on the Board of the Australian Directors Guild (ADG) for sixteen years, holding the position of president from 2006 to 2015 and secretary from 2015 to 2017. In 2016, Argall launched a business restoring archival films through his production company Piccolo Films. In 2018 the ADG presented him with its prestigious Cecil Holmes Award.
Ian David Darling is a documentary film director and producer.
Bert Ive (1875–1939) was a British-born Australian cinematographer, who was the first long-term cinematographer and still photographer in Australia. During his career as a film photographer for the federal government from 1913 to 1939, he frequently travelled across Australia to photograph the country's landscapes, industries, people and famous events. His motion pictures and still photos were used to promote Australia to the rest of the world.