Does anyone in Australia shoot on film for feature productions, as in 35mm and S16? I've spoken to a few people in the industry and am told that it's all digital now. I've tried to get interested in digital but just can't - I must be dinosaur. Am only inspired by film. People say it's story story story but it's also tools. If digital is your choice, go for it but it doesn't do much for me - I don't even know why. I still have dreams of making a feature film one day but time is running out. I remember some of the fine, entertaining, creative, artistic films of broad appeal we made here, like Sunday Too Far Away, Gallipoli, Breaker Morant, and Mad Max I and II.
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Posted 18 October 2016 - 01:25 AM
I think the last major release feature shot on film in this country was The Rover in 2014, before that Felony, and Tracks both in 2013. Lack of a commercial lab doesn't help matters, we have Neglab in Sydney but they're not really geared up for major productions, and I know a few overseas productions that wanted to shoot film have switched to digital for that reason.
A filmmaker from WA called Kane George Jason whose camera I serviced a few years back released his 16mm feature Indefinite on the festival circuit in 2015 and won a swag of awards. He used Neglab and the film looks great. His production company is called Contempovision. He used to post on Cinematography.com.
There are still student shorts and the odd music vid shot on film, a lively experimental scene, I just serviced some Bolexes for another filmmaker from WA who shoots high speed surfing footage on film, but for larger productions it seems to be pretty much over in this country unfortunately.
I'd love to hear of any other film anecdotes, or stand corrected..
Posted 18 October 2016 - 06:18 PM
Hmm, that's a pity. Could be an opportunity. A market vacuum, no one supplying a product, with an audience there waiting, and all that. I believe 'the common man (and woman)' does care about real film, and knows enough to know that they're being short-changed by digital cinema. But, well, ..... who knows.
For general interest, should anyone care, here's some other great Australian movies, all beautifully photographed:
Picnic at Hanging Rock
We of the Never Never
The Man from Snowy River
Crocodile Dundee (yes, it was a good, well-made film)
Posted 18 October 2016 - 09:15 PM
Honestly I don't think the general public notices, certainly not enough to just see a movie because it's shot on film. The Kath and Kim movie from 2012 was shot on film at a time when it was going against the prevailing trend, but that didn't draw in audiences or really make any difference at all to what was a pretty average movie.
I think it's important to have film as an option for filmmakers who respond to its character, who can use it as a tool to make their art better, but unless you're Tarantino shooting 70mm Ultra Panavision as a roadshow release, just shooting on film isn't enough to create an audience.
As for Aussie film recommendations, I could add a few more:
Wake In Fright
Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
Mary and Max
Samson and Delilah
Posted 18 October 2016 - 11:03 PM
I agree Dom, I didn't mean to imply that shot on film alone would draw in an audience. I meant really fine films that have broad, popular appeal - that's a quality that can be designed into a production. It seems to be a quality we have somewhat lost though I think a lot of people in the industry can't see it or don't know what to do about it. Or they just don't want it, preferring an insular revolutionary progressivism because it's assumed everyone else is gleefully looking for that. But they're not. Times are a changin'. Because it's been done and done and then done again. 2003's Ned Kelly was, I thought, boring and unbelievable. Why not paint Kelly in a different light? Kelly as hero. Oh dear, not again.There's also a tension with truth going on there. Kelly was a criminal, not a hero, and a powerful movie would be honest about that.
I think we can do better over here. We once made really good, popular films. If I'm wrong, point me to a great film of universal timeless appeal and I promise I will watch it ... as long as it's not Lantana. As long as it's not a modern progressive theme of the overly-urbanized tradition that's been done a hundred times over. Can't swallow any more of it. Would choke.
Posted 19 October 2016 - 06:25 PM
The TV mini-series Catching Milat (2015) was excellent. It had wide appeal. It wasn't quirky, eccentric, it told a straight forward story well, it had pathos, human interest, dramatic tension, it was something anyone of any age or background could have watched and found something in it entertaining. I think some of our movies are too esoteric and aimed at too small a group - which to me seems to be the inner city left a lot of the time. That was what I was trying to say.
Posted 23 October 2016 - 01:27 PM
Someone told me Mcleods Daughters was the last Aussie series to be shot on film?
It's funny, when I was a kid growing up I watched a little bit of drama TV and always equated the US series 'The OC' to be the US equivalent of Australias 'Neighbours' (which is pretty wrong but whatever) but I always thought 'Why does the OC look like a movie and Neighbours look like it's a video?' .... well 15 years later I learn about film and digital etc and it all makes sense (and the other production elements that make each show visually what it is). I guess viewers in general thought wouldn't have picked a real difference.
I'm filming a short film on S16 next year before I leave Aus ... hopefully I can pull it off. My magnum opus if you will.
Posted 24 October 2016 - 06:43 AM
but I always thought 'Why does the OC look like a movie and Neighbours look like it's a video?' .... well 15 years later I learn about film and digital etc and it all makes sense (and the other production elements that make each show visually what it is). I guess viewers in general thought wouldn't have picked a real difference.
My party trick was being able to tell the difference between film and video on TV, but the difference was between interlaced video and film. Most broadcast video is now progressive-scan, not interlaced, which has much more to do with the similar look.
Digital per se hasn't much to do with it.
Edited by Mark Dunn, 24 October 2016 - 06:43 AM.
Posted 23 November 2016 - 08:47 PM
Anyone want to come to Australia to make a feature length movie on 35mm or 65mm film? I hear from a reliable source very close to the action that Kodak is thinking of opening a lab here, but they will need a major picture to come here and shoot on film to make that happen. Get the word out Aussies, to business people/investors/producers. Australia is a great place to film - it has everything. Great locations, stable climate, good infrastructure. Let's see if we can get film up and running here again, even if it's origination on film and then digital projection. Am I a dreamer? Of course I am. I think that's good by the way. Someone's got to be or nothing would ever get done. I'd like to see a film studio get established on Queensland's Sunshine Coast. Now that would be a great place to make a movie.
All the best Brenton with your new S16 project. May you enjoy yourself and find success.
Posted 24 November 2016 - 12:26 AM
Neglab in Sydney is now available for motion picture film processing of Super 8, 16mm and 35mm original negative. The proprietor is Werner Winkelmann.
Posted 11 December 2016 - 09:08 PM
It would be great to see some workshops/short courses in 35mm film acquisition/origination here. From a skills-base point of view it just seems, well, wise to consider the top-level testimonies that one can read on Kodak's website. Many of the world's greatest current filmmakers say that retaining some connection with the photochemical film process is of very great importance. I've spoken with several artists too (not all filmmakers) and the view so far is universal. Film is more artistic. It just is. Digital origination can also be artistic too, so I can see both sides of the argument. Of course there is a huge place for a fully digital production process which will never be threatened.
But for major feature productions it's now clear that film isn't going away - it looks like it is going to stay quite strong. Though, who in Australia now has the ability to shoot and teach film production with 35mm who is not over 75? I think it's worthy of comment. We are relatively-speaking an economically healthy nation and it's odd we don't have more choice for artists. I think it would be an artistically-wise choice ... if it could be done. It's like in Carousel, when Billy and Julie mull it over, thinking about it, and sing, "If I loved you". Okay, that last bit was a shot at humour, plus I desired to bring before the imagination the picture and the music of that scene, just for fun. That's if you like musicals.
Posted 11 December 2016 - 10:04 PM
The other thing we need here in Australia, pretty desperately actually, is to give up on pushing 'social issues' in feature productions. Just this morning I see that the ABC is promoting a new Australian movie, a sequel to Red Dog. The ABC couldn't resist putting a bit of a plug in for the standard Aussie-style social-issues propaganda which apparently the filmmaker, too, felt was necessary to add some punch to his picture. What needs to be realised is the level of sour taste that is in so many people's mouths at the moment regarding holier-than-thou social posturing. Equality and all that. Everyone knows all about them after decades of social engineering. Enough! We are bored of being told how to be good. You know what I'm talking about, this thing is good, this thing is bad, let's all get on board with this mantra. Believe me, something like at least half of Australia can't bear any more of this tiresome lecturing. It kills interest in films. Australians are told they are woman-bashing racists. How many decades can a people be lectured to? Sure, if you are a filmmaker with strong political feelings, make your movies, but don't expect your films to be broadly popular. We need to get the cheap propaganda out of our main sources of entertainment - that's if we actually believe ourselves to be entertainers. Keep the politics in the small, arty films - if that's what you want to watch and that's what you want to make. I'm tired of the ABC. They are overpaid bores. What do they make that is worth watching? What do they do for Australian filmmakers?
Posted 11 December 2016 - 10:38 PM
Let's say, for the sake of argument, you are a woman-bashing racist. You go the movies, and see a film that depicts Australian men of a certain type as woman-bashing racists. You look over to your wife, bored, or at least not touched in any way at all by what the film is trying to 'educate' you about, and say, "love, go and get me another ice-cream, darl". Being a repressed Aussie sheila, she submissively sidles away and does your bidding. You go home later that night and bash your wife, just for the heck of it. You are, after all, a woman-basher racist. You yell at the Indian neighbours over the fence for good measure, before going to bed. Has the movie somehow miraculously cured you of your woman-bashing racism? Well, no, it hasn't. In fact, you didn't even notice that the film had a lesson to teach you. Why? Because you don't think, and you have about the intellectual capacity of half a can of beer. So what about the 85% of the other people in the cinema who went to see the picture that night, who were plain, decent, intelligent souls, who are neither racists nor wife-bashers? Did they appreciate being lectured too, yet again, that Australians have a social problem that needs to be constantly addressed by over-charged entertainment types who curiously see themselves as a type of moral priesthood? And this covers lots of different types of lefty propaganda - not just wife bashing and racism. We're talking climate change and all sorts of other stuff. Well, if they're true-believer Guardian readers they might smile smugly to themselves as they cuddle their wives later that night. It feels good to feel good, to rail against the ugly unwashed. To hell with entertainment for any real thinkers and observers, though. Look, it's just all too cheap. Too easy. You want to know the truth? Most Australians are bloody decent people. We need feel-good stories, not feel-righteous stories. There is a huge, huge difference.
Edited by Jon O'Brien, 11 December 2016 - 10:42 PM.
Posted 12 December 2016 - 12:12 AM
If it wasn't obvious, the examples above were just that - examples. There are many other varieties of politically-correct 'virtue-signalling' ("Look at me - I'm a good person! I believe in all the right things") rampant in the arts now. The arts and many other institutions are run by politically like-minded people. Non-believers are eventually found out and are not re-hired. Like-minded friends are given jobs, a sort of political nepotism. If one holds a different view one learns to keep shut one's cakehole or lose one's job. Thus one view is over-represented, and the people of that view can never figure out why they never seem to know anyone of a differing view - it's because they can't speak up. The political side of the alleged tolerance is actually the intolerant side. 'Gender equality' I often find hilarious. I've been in so many workplaces where I'm nearly the only man there. Had heaps of women bosses. Been job-hunting and seen ad after ad with "employer of choice for women" in a little box down the bottom. Racism? Yes, I've seen it, experienced it, and it certainly exists, but it is blown out of all proportion by films and the media. Most people are not racists. Why continually lecture the 90% for the sake of the 10% who never listen anyway?
Posted 12 December 2016 - 12:42 AM
Well, it's called truth. I'm not digging any holes for myself or anyone else. I'm pointing out error. Heaps of Australians have been pointing this out for ages. I don't care about risks of being sidelined. Give it all ya got. I care about art and the health of an industry.
Posted 12 December 2016 - 09:29 AM