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#1 Jon O'Brien

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Posted 17 October 2016 - 11:58 PM

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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#2 Dom Jaeger

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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..


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#3 Jon O'Brien

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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 Irishman

The Man from Snowy River

Crocodile Dundee (yes, it was a good, well-made film)


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#4 Dom Jaeger

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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 

Walkabout

Dead Calm

Muriel's Wedding

Shine

The Castle

Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

The Boys

Two Hands

Lantana

Chopper

Mary and Max

The Proposition

Snowtown

Animal Kingdom

The Badabook

Samson and Delilah

 


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#5 Jon O'Brien

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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.


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#6 Jon O'Brien

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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.


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#7 Brenton Lee

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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.


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#8 Mark Dunn

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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.

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#9 Jon O'Brien

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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.


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#10 Jon O'Brien

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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.


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