Sunday, January 20, 2008

Maidens: four generations of a (white) Australian family


I made Maidens over 3 years (from 1975-1977) with a small grant from the Experimental Film Fund. While making my current documentary Island Home Country(in post production) I have thought about this earlier autobiographical film I made thirty years ago.
In a way Maidens reflects a "terra nullus mind" – a mind that perpetuates the white conceit that there were no Aborigines (left) in Tasmania. Returning to the island in 2004 to make Island Home Country I began to excavate into the hard crust of my early childhood memories of a peaceful island with the reality of colonisation and the attempted genocide of the island peoples. It's taken 30 years of digging into the crust of repression, to start to face my own white colonised mind
to be able to make this current film and along those foggy years to make To the Other Shore and co-make For Love or Money, films that pave the way to this film, really. Now I'm nearly 60, perhaps I have the maturity to reflect back and think forwards into what it is to come into country the proper way.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Australia's first Women's Liberation film

This is a still of me and screen mother Jovana Janson from Film for Discussion a film Sydney Women's film Group made in the early 1970s. The film was nominated for Best Documentary, Greater Union Awards, Sydney Film Festival 1974. SWFG was one of the first Australian groups to establish itself in the name of “Women’s Liberation”. Film For Discussion is a docu-drama shot in 1970, but not completed until 1973. The film sought to encapsulate in an experimental form issues that were under discussion within the Women’s Liberation Movement and so contribute to action for change. The link is to Ballad Films the website of Martha Ansara, my friend and colleague. Martha was a key person in my becoming a filmmaker. Alongside my Dad who was a film exhibitor. It was Martha who introduced me to the actual possibility of women making their own films. It doesn't seem that radical in 2008. But in 1969 it was! Go on this site and order a copy of the film and also see the body of Martha's filmwork.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Island Home Country's 'ghost of history'

The ghost of history.....in the final edit of the film I use an image of me from Woo Joung Kim's short film Mad Woman's Mountain. I play a madwoman - now for my film I re-use it...perhaps an image of an inner voice, a clue to the madness in the substrata  - of the history of colonisation here - in Australia...once you dig into this history it can drive you mad.

I am working on the very final draft of narration before recording when composer Sharon Jakovsky gets back from holidays. I can't believe I am four years into this film now and it's still not finished...I'm not sleeping, worried if I can finish...now using a credit card to complete...don't know why the film faced such a hard road with raising a budget. I think it's a great film for SBS also ABC; no luck with FFC, and AFC am not eligible as they reckon I am a developed filmmaker...so step by step 5th year now it's coming to completion! I hope with some film festivals and internet that people will begin to see the film and gradually it will find its audience.

The avalanche of documentary on the web can be overwhelming: how to navigate and get some kind of overview - that's the archivist - the librarian in me: here's a technorati link :