1995, 55 Minutes
In its first 80 years, filmmaking in Australia had at best been sporadic. With the takeover of our movie screens by Hollywood during the First World War, producers were faced with a rear-guard battle against extinction. In the 50s and 60s it almost happened. But tucked away in tiny makeshift editing rooms and rundown studios a small group of filmmakers kept the torchlight flickering.
With the political momentum of the late 60s they took up the fight. Passionate film buffs like Phillip Adams, Barry Jones, Tim Burstall, Bruce Beresford and Tony Buckley lobbied government and for the first time won assistance. In 1969 when Prime Minister John Gorton gave our film industry its life-saving injection - a tiny $100,000 - no-one ever imagined that it would have led to Crocodile Dundee grossing $80 million on the world market. What Gorton started became known around the world as the Australian film renaissance. It in turn fostered the brilliant talents that are household names today: actors Mel Gibson and Judy Davis; directors Peter Weir and Gillian Armstrong; producers George Miller and the McElroy brothers; and cameramen Russell Boyd and Dean Semler.
This was the era when our cinema was reborn, with classic films made one after the other - Picnic at Hanging Rock, Caddie, Newsfront, The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, Sunday Too Far Away and later Mad Max, My Brilliant Career, Breaker Morant and Gallipoli - all produced in Australia, to international acclaim.
Throughout the one hundred years of Australian cinema our moviemakers have brought our life, our issues, our literature, our myths and legends to the screen. With our great film talents - our celluloid heroes - we can continue to look at ourselves, laugh at ourselves, and cry with ourselves for the next 100 years.
A Film Australia National Interest Program. © 2011 National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.
Director/Writer: Robert Francis
Narrator: Bryan Brown
Running Time: 55 Minutes
Classification: M. Consumer advice: Medium level sex scenes, Medium level violence, Low level coarse language.
Curriculum Links: Creative Arts, Studies of Society and Environment, Film, Cinema and Screen Studies, Australian History.