Adelaide-born Anthony Maras, director of Hotel Mumbai, made at Adelaide Studios, at its launch during the 2018 Adelaide Film Festival.

SOUTH AUSTRALIAN CORPORATION REVIVES
NATION'S FILM INDUSTRY 
with 'Sunday too far away', 'Picnic at Hanging Rock' and  'Storm boy' 


SOUTH AUSTRALIA, THROUGH THE CORPORATION SET UP BY DON DUNSTAN'S STATE GOVERNMENT IN 1972,  played the leading role in reviving Australian film making.

The South Australian Film Corporation, which prompted other states to set up similar bodies, had critical and commercial success with its earliest films such as Sunday Too Far Away (1975: Australian Film Institute best film, best lead actor and best supporting actor awards), Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975) and Storm Boy (1976).

The corporation, set up under visionary chief executive Gil Brealey, also helped launch the careers of actors and film makers such as Peter Weir, Jack Thompson, Scott Hicks, Rolf de Heer, Mario Andreacchio, Bryan Brown, Geoffrey Rush and Bruce Beresford.

In the 1980s, the corporation shifted to television production at a disused factory in Hendon, a northwestern Adelaide suburb. The Battlers mini series in 1994 was the corporation’s last as producer. It moved to supporting South Australian film and television with funds and making available studios. This was its role in the Nine Network’s McLeod’s Daughters, filmed in rural South Australia.

The corporation moved in 2008 to the Adelaide Studios at eastern suburbs Glenside. The project included new sound stages and mixing suites, as well as a major refurbishment of an historic 19th Century building as a high-tech film hub.

Adelaide still takes a leading role in film with its biennial October 11-day film festival that has become one of the most innovative in Australia.

 

ADELAIDE'S FIRST FILM SHOW AT THEATRE ROYAL IN HINDLEY STREET IN 1896

TEROWIE'S J.P. McGOWAN BIG PIONEER OF HOLLYWOOD FILMS;
Salvos' doco first South Australian-made film; Wests first cinema

First picture show in Adelaide at Theatre Royal in 1896; Salvation Army doco made in 1899

The first public film show in South Australia was at the Theatre Royal in 1896 – within a year of the Lumière brothers’ first film screening in Paris. There were also screenings at the Beehive building (1896) and the YMCA’s Victoria Hall (1897) in Galwer Place. Each of these first films in Adelaide, depicting dancers and American folk heroes, lasted just under one minute. In 1897, Wybert Reeve, manager of the Theatre Royal, became the colony’s first travelling “picture showman”, screening 30 short films in metropolitan and country towns. But the novelty of moving pictures lasted just over a year. From 1898 to 1905, only occasional picture shows were presented. But during that time, the first film to be made in South Australia, General William Booth boards SS Arcadia at Largs Bay (1899), was shot by Joseph Perry of the Salvation Army. Adelaide Town Hall was used occasionally in 1906-10 as a cinema under names such as Tait’s, Bruce’s, Peacock’s and Prince’s. The Black Eagle Hotel on the corner of Hindmarsh Square and Pirie Street in 1909 had an open air cinema called Paris on the site of the former Elite Skating Rink. Another open air cinema was on the present site of the Adelaide Hilton. In 1906, when cinema regained the popularity, local and interstate entrepreneurs would produce local shorts such as Happenings Taken at the Adelaide Show, Adelaide’s Fire Service and Animated Adelaide. These would be shown at night in a vacant hall.
 

Hindley St cyclorama and rink becomes Adelaide's first picture theatre, West's, in 1908

Adelaide's first permanent cinema was in Hindley Street on the site of the cyclorama and the Olympia skating rink. Cinema chain owner T. J. West bought the site and revamped it as West’s Picture Theatre. It opened in 1908. In 1939, West decided to knock down the theatre and build a modern art-deco one in its place. (The theatre is now the home of Adelaide Symphony Orchestra as the Grainger Studio  – named after Percy Grainger.) By 1912, several silent movie picture theatres were built, mainly around Hindley Street. The Empire Theatre opened alongside the newly-built 1901 Adelaide (Central)  Market in Grote Street. The style of picture theatre buildings was influenced by the American cinema industry. They were often ornate and the most flamboyant building in the streetscape. Two former cinema buildings survive as substantial shops along Rundle Mall. One is the five-storey Lotteries Commission building at 23-25 Rundle Mall which was a former Grand Picture Theatre built for sole proprietor Alfred Drake. He held a grand opening in November 1916 for the city’s mayor and other dignitaries before it was premiered to the public the next day with The Fool's Revenge. It closed in 1976, having also been known at different times as the Mayfair and Sturt cinemas.

J.P. McGowan: From Terowie to a pioneer actor and director of Hollywood film making

Terowie-born J.P. McGowan became a pioneering Hollywood actor, director and occasional screenwriter and producer from 1910. He is the only Australian life member of the Screen Directors Guild (now Directors Guild of America). After early years in the then-bustling South Australian railway town of Terowie, John Paterson McGowan grew up in the Adelaide suburb of Islington and later Sydney. He served in the second Boer War as a special dispatch rider. From South Africa, McGowan was recruited for a Boer War exhibit in the USA at the 1904 World’s Fair. He worked in live theatre and in 1910 joined Kalem film studios in New York City. That year he made his first film appearance in A lad from old Ireland. His horse riding ability enabled him to do many stunts. McGowan directed and often acted in the first 33 episodes of Kalem's 1914 adventure series The hazards of Helen. He married its star Helen Holmes. They left Kalem to set up their own company that made mainly railroad melodrama serials and features. McGowan moved silent film to talkies. While never a major star, over four decades he acted in 232 films —mostly strong roles like sheriff or villain—,wrote 26 screenplays and directed 242 productions. In 1932, he directed a young John Wayne in the 12-episode serial The Hurricane express. From 1938 to 1951, as executive secretary of the Screen Directors Guild, he fought for the director to be recognised within the film studio systems and emerging television industry. McGowan's adventurous stunt-filled partnership with Helen Holmes was celebrated in the bio-tribute, Stunt love, at the Adelaide Film Festival and at Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 2011.

FILM PRODUCTION COMPANY STARTED BY ADELAIDE BUSINESSMEN IN 1917

SOUTH AUSTRALIA'S SOUTHERN CROSS HAS USA AND UK HITS
with C.J. Dennis stories before local feature film making collapses 

Kelly Gang and Harry Krischock spark first film censorship in South Australia from 1914

The Story of the Kelly Gang, screened at Adelaide Town Hall in 1906, worried the South Australian authorities. The bushranger film, based on the national myth of the underdog fighting the system, became a popular genre. The Advertiser reported that the 1906 screening of The Story of the Kelly Gang “worked the audience up to such a pitch of excitement that . . . Ned Kelly and his followers were cheered again and again”. When a later version, The Kelly Gang, screened in 1914 the authorities acted swiftly. It was the first film banned in South Australia. The state government’s chief secretary believed scenes of a bank robbery, train derailment and locking of police in their own cells were “demoralising to the younger generation”. Censorship struck again in 1916 when Adelaide cinematographer Harry Krischock’s short film, Hunting Kangaroos by Motor Car, set off public anger. Concerned about films offending public taste, the South Australian Advisory Board of Film Censors was estabslished in 1917. Another Krischock film, Remorse, the first feature film made in South Australia, caused more problems that year. Although its central theme was a venereal disease warning, a hint of pornography drew the audience and admission was restricted to those over 16. South Australian Southern Cross Feature Film Company's first film, The Woman Suffers (1918), was approved by the state censors subject to certain scenes being eliminated. But the NSW chief secretary banned the film without giving reasons after a seven-week run in Sydney. Longford suspected commercial reasons were behind this banning.

South Australia's firm Southern Cross backs films by Raymond Longford from 1917

In its short life, South Australia’s Southern Cross Feature Film Company made some of Australia's most famous silent films, mostly directed by Raymond Longford. Adelaide businessman David Gordon was a prime mover in setting up the company in 1917. One hundred shares were offered at £1 a share. Southern Cross said it would make five dramas and three comedies over the next 12 months. Another report predicted making “six or eight five reelers” over 12 months. It offered cash for Australian stories but initially employed American Walter May Plank as film director. When Plank left Australia, Raymond Longford was called in. Longford’s first feature for Southern Cross was the successful The Woman Suffers (1918), followed by two hits in the UK and US, The Sentimental Bloke and Ginger Mick, based on the poems of South Australian-born C. J. Dennis. In 1920, the buoyant company paid a dividend of a shilling per share. In that year, Southern Cross Picture Productions Ltd was incorporated with a value of £37,600 and directors including E.J. Carroll, Snowy Baker and David Gordon. Carroll-Baker Australian Productions made films starring Snowy Baker and had a five-twelfths interest in Southern Cross Picture Productions. The company made The Jackeroo of Coolabong, Rudd’s New Selection and The Blue Mountains Mystery. Southern Cross financed an interstate film, Longford’s The Sentimental Bloke (1919), the most profitable Australian feature film to date. It also had success with Ginger Mick, another character created by South Australian-born poet C. J. Dennis.
 

Southern Cross film 'The Woman Suffers' (1918) , made in Adelaide, a feminist melodrama

Made in Adelaide and the first major production financed by South Australia’s Southern Cross Feature Film Company, The Woman Suffers (1918) was an important and controversial film in its time, and remains one of the most significant Australian silent features. Directed by Raymond Longford, it starred his partner Lottie Lyell and has been called Australia’s first feminist feature film. The film is a full-scale melodrama of town and country, with sumptuous settings and high fashions, entwined with a highly moral story on a familiar theme: ruination of a woman by a man. The film, in eight acts, includes many outrages – from the drunken wife-beater husband through to two young men who seduce and abandon women, causing one to suicide and the other to attempt an abortion. All the women in the film are sympathetically depicted. The Woman Suffers opened in March 1918 at the Theatre Royal, Adelaide, to good box office results and rave reviews. It opened in Sydney in August to good houses and ran for seven weeks but this came to an abrupt halt in October when the New South Wales chief secretary banned further screenings, without giving reasons. The Woman Suffers was popular in other states. Its success allowed Longford and Lyell to begin work on their next film, The Sentimental Bloke (1919), also for the Southern Cross Feature Film Company and based on the book by South Australian-born author C.J. Dennis. The Sentimental Bloke has been described as the crowning achievement of Longford and Lyell’s careers, and of all Australian silent films. 

'A Sentimental Bloke' (1919) by C.J. Dennis a big hit for Adelaide film firm Southern Cross

The silent film version of South Australian Auburn-born poet C.J. Dennis’s The Sentimental Bloke, financed by a South Australia’s Southern Cross Feature Film company, had its premiere in 1919 in Adelaide. Raymond Longford, who had signed a lucrative film deal with Dennis in 1917, directed the film for Southern Cross Feature Film, headed by Adelaide businessman David Gordon. Starring director Raymond Longford’s partner Lotte Lyell as Doreen and Arthur Tauchert as Bill, The Sentimental Bloke was a big hit and widely screened and praised in the UK and USA. A “talkie” version was made in the 1930s. This was followed by another C.J. Dennis creation, The moods of Ginger Mick. The Southern Cross Feature Film Company was at its peak in 1920 when it paid a dividend of a shilling a share.In 1925, major shareholder and entrepreneur E.J. Carroll suggested that Southern Cross Feature Film make an adaption of Dennis’s The Rose of Spadgers. But the other directors decided against it, with the company losing money by not being able to recoup film-making costs in the UK and USA. Southern Cross shut down soon afterwards. All copies of the film version of The Moods of Ginger Mick have been lost but a copy of The Sentimental Bloke in excellent condition was found in the USA. It had been catalogued incorrectly as “The Sentimental Blonde”.

Southern Cross Feature Film Company shuts down in 1925 after outside factors hit home

Southern Cross Feature Film Company, incorporated in Adelaide in 1917, made some of Australia's most famous silent films before it shut down in 1925. With Adelaide businessman David Gordon as a prime mover, the company was at its peak in 1921, after the success of its first feature, The Woman Suffers (1918) followed by even bigger hits with the C. J. Dennis creations The Sentimental Bloke (1919) and Ginger Meggs (1920), all directed by Raymond Longford. A signal of challenges for the South Australian film enterprise came in 1918 when the New South Wales government chief secretary suddenly banned A Woman Suffers. Longford believed this stemmed from pressure from “the Combine”, a powerful partnership of Australasian Films and Union Theatres trying to suppress local productions in favour of American films. In 1920, Southern Cross Feature Film Company paid a dividend of a shilling per share. The company’s structure changed in that year with more interstate links when it took a five-twelfths interest in what became Southern Cross Picture Productions. David Gordon joining directors including theatre and film entrepreneur E.J. Carroll and athlete-turned-actor Snowy Baker. Southern Cross Picture Productions made The Jackeroo of Coolabong, Rudd’s New Selection and The Blue Mountains Mystery . By 1925, the company was reporting losses, partly due to costs in Great Britain and the USA. The directors decided against Carroll’s idea to film C. J. Dennis’s The Rose of Spadgers and the company was wound up soon afterwards.

South Australian Film Corporation's Lottie Lyell Award 100 years after 'Woman Suffers'

The South Australian Film Corporation launched an award in 2018 to commemorate Lottie Lyell’s trail-blazing impact on the Australia screen industry and to give significant financial support to a female-driven screen project. The annual $20,000 Lottie Lyell Award will be for a female film practitioner, based in South Australia, to develop or deliver a work – feature film, TV series, documentary, script or game – that’s bold, ambitious and full of promise. The award marked a century since Lottie Lyell starred in Australia’s first feminist film The Woman Suffers, also the first feature made by Southern Cross Feature Film Co, the first production company founded in South Australia. Screen pioneer Lyell was a writer, producer, director, editor and art director, and an accomplished horsewoman who did all her own stunts. Together with her partner in work and life Ray Longford, she made 28 films. They had been working together since 1909 as actors in a touring theatre company. Longford directed her in the film of The Fatal Wedding in 1911. Their second film, The Romantic Story of Margaret Catchpole, established her as Australia’s first female film star. Lyell became Longford’s partner in the making of their films and in their private life. The Woman Suffers, filmed in Adelaide when Lyell was 27, was their 13th film together since 1911. The next year they made The Sentimental Bloke, the most successful Australian film of its day. She appeared in all of Longford’s films as director up until On Our Selection, made in 1920 ( he is credited as co-writer). Lyell died of tuberculosis in 1925, aged 35. 

BOOM DAYS FOR ADELAIDE PICTURE THEATRES FROM 1930s-50s

CLIFFORD, WATERMAN AND WALLIS CHAMPIONS OF CINEMA in days of showman Chic Arnold, big Saturday nights, matinees

Dan Clifford, Wallis and Waterman families stalwarts of South Australian cinemas

Dan Clifford and the Waterman and Wallis families have been significant in the South Australian cinema business, competing with outside chains such as Greater Union and Hoyts. Clifford owned 20 Star Circuit cinemas across South Australia. His main rivals were the five Waterman brothers'  Ozones (including Port Adelaide, Semaphore, Thebarton, Glenelg) plus the Windsor group. The Wallis group began with Hugh Wallis opening the state’s first drivein, the Blueline, at West Beach in 1956. 

Nine million tickets sold annually at 131 South Australian film theatres before World War II

At the start of World War II, South Australia had 131 permanent picture theatres. About nine million attendances at films during 1938 represented every one of the 598,000 South Australians going to the pictures 15 times a year. Saturday night fir=lms remained a regular weekly outing for many people into the 1950s. Most films were family entertainment because Australian censorship cut or banned any extreme violence or horror. Children attended Saturday afternoon matinees.
 

'Chic' Arnold brings vaudeville showbiz flair to promoting films at the Majestic in the 1950s

Tom “Chic” Arnold brought showbiz flair to Adelaide filmgoing in the 1950s with a string of colourful premieres during his time as manager of the Majestic Theatre in King William Street. Among his spectacular premiere nights was the opening of The greatest show in Earth when Arnold persuaded a visiting circus to parade its animals. Working as a vaudevillian in New York in 1927, Arnold saw the beginning of the end with the first talkie movie:The Jazz Singer starring Al Johnson.

1960s/70s take big toll on classic city cinemas: York, Rex, Savoy, Sturt, Wests, Metro, Majestic

Adelaide city lost a slew of stylish and elegant cinemas from the 1960s with the advent of television and suburban multiplexes. Among the cinemas lost in the city were the Rex (first with 11am-11pm showings), Savoy (presented newsreels), Sturt, York, the Metro, Wests, Curzon (showing foreign films) and The Majestic. The York, with 1,722 seats, was opened by the Greater Wondergraph Theatres chain in 1921. It was demolished in the 1960s to widen Gawler Place.

MPs' sexual morality concerns as South Australia's first drive-in cinemas open from 1954

Sexual morality concerned some South Australian parliamentarians in 1954 when debating laws relating to the looming phenomenon of drive-in film theatres. Labor MP for Hindmarsh, Cyril Hutchens, feared that “we shall see females attending in green French bathers, with their hair dyed red, and accessories to match. We should take all possible action to preserve the morals of our young people.” A young Don Dunstan disagreed: “If people are going to resort to motor cars for the purposes of immorality they are not likely to purchase theatre tickets and drive in beside other vehicles to do what they might otherwise do on some lonely country road”. The debaters were anxious that each vehicle at the drive had “capacity for three persons” – that is, room for a chaperone. The Act did provide that anyone who acted offensively could be asked to leave the drive-in. Starting with the 44-year run by the Wallis Blueline at West Beach from 1954, South Australian drive-in theatres, with operators such as the Shandon at Seaton, Elizabeth and Port Pirie, made the features of their cafeteries a big lure. Drive-ins survived black and white television but colour television, the video recorder and indoor multiplex theatres took their toll – along with daylight saving that made start times too late for families.The Blueline closed in 1998, followed by the Valleyline at St Agnes in 2003, leaving the Wallis Mainline Drive-in at Gepps Cross as the only one in the metropolitan area. The Riverland at Barmera survived until 2008 and the Coober Pedy outback theatre was still operatied in 2019 by community volunteers.

Stars, comets, rockets – but no explosives, please – at the Coober Pedy drive-in films survivor

A sky amassed with stars and the occasional comet or rocket –  plus a pre-show warning against the use of explosives ­– are part of the experience at Coober Pedy outback drive-in film theatre – one of the last two in South Australian in 2019. Coober Pedy drive-in, 850 kilometres from Adelaide, is among the world's most remote theatres. It’s been part of the opal mining town since 1965 and, in its early years, hosted eight sessions a week – one of the largest film turnovers in Adelaide – with productions in Greek, Italian and French reflecting the community’s multicultures. The drivein was prone to generate extra off-screen drama when miners, bored with a film, would create mayhem by letting off explosives under the screen. A “No explosives in the drivein” request is now screened before every show. Comets and rockets or missiles being tested from Woomera range flashing across the sky add to the unscheduled aspects of the screening. But the mass of stars against a deeply dark sky create an otherwise great viewing experience. The Coober Pedy drivein has been rediscovered as a valued community outlet. The theatre's monopoly on entertainment in Coober Pedy was lost in 1980 when the town received its first TV coverage. It opened sporadically in the 1980s before closing in 1995. Reopened briefly by a private operator, it returned to the control of community volunteers in 2000. The volunteer committee raised $120,000 to replace the cinema's 35mm film projectors with digital in 2015. Wallis Mainline at Gepps Cross, was the only other South Australian drive-in operating in 2019..

CLASSIC CINEMAS JOIN RAMPAGE AGAINST ADELAIDE BUILT HERITAGE 

ART DECO TREASURES PICADILLY, CAPRI AND CHELSEA SAVED
amid galaxy of film theatres lost in era of television, multiplexes 

The glamorous Regent in Rundle one of the biggest losses among city's cinema jewels

The Regent Theatre on Rundle Street was one of the most glamorous Australian picture palaces. It opened in 1928, with MGM’s Flesh and the Devil and Fox’s The Gay Retreat and a 16-piece orchestra. Its Wurlitzer theatre pipe organ was installed at a cost of £25,000. One of Adelaide's first airconditioned public buildings, The Regent's huge auditorium in Spanish-Moroccan style seated 2,300. A large crystal chandelier hung above the lounge circle, with smaller versions around the theatre.

 

Bob Wallis saves art deco Piccadilly and Chelsea in the wake of loss of the Metro

Bob Wallis of the South Australian cinema group managed to save the art deco Piccadilly theatre in O’Connell Street, North Adelaide, from demolition by taking it over in 1983. He changed its name from the Forum to the Piccadilly and created a screen-screen complex that reopened in 1990. Another art deco cinema saved  by the Wallis chain was the Chelsea – now the Regal – in Kensington. But an art deco gem lost in 1974 was the Metro Cinema at 88 Hindley Street, city, opened in 1939.
 

Theatre organ society preserves the Capri; Wests becomes home to Adelaide orchestra

Two Adelaide’s art deco cinema jewels –  Wests in Hindley Street and the Capri at Goodwood – have survived as musical havens. The Capri in Goodwood opened in 1941 as the Star Theatre. It is now owned and restored by the Theatre Organ Society of Australia (South Australian division). A feature of the cinema is the Wurlitzer theatre organ, used for recitals, concerts and at screenings. Wests building in Hindley Street has been kept alive as the home of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra.

 

Palace Nova, Mercury keep alive city cinema and legacy of 'art' and foreign language films

The Palace Nova complex in the East End and the Mercury Cinema in Morphett Street keep alive Adelaide’s art house and foreign film scene that started with the small Liberty (later Curzon) Theatre in Rundle Street. The Liberty opened in 1943. Seating 400, it was Adelaide's first art-house theatre, showing foreign films or “sizzlers”. In 1949, the Theatre Royal had shown a six-week season of foreign films chosen to appeal “not only to the intelligentsia but to all types of moviegoers”.

 

AFTER FEW FEATURE FILMS MADE IN THE STATE BETWEEN 1918 AND 1968

SOUTH AUSTRALIA LEADS A NATIONAL FILM REVIVAL IN 1970s
as 'Sunday too far away' first of state film corporation successes  

'Bitter springs', 'Robbery under arms', 'Kangaroo', 'The Sundowners' set in South Australia 1950-60

Only four feature films were shot in South Australia between 1918 and 1968. There were two English productions – Ealing Studios’ Bitter Springs (1950) and the Rank Organisation’s Robbery Under Arms (1957) – and two American – Twentieth Century-Fox’s Kangaroo (1952) and Warner Brothers’ The Sundowners (1960) starring Robert Mitchum and Deborah Kerr. Films made in Australia became a new attraction after World War II with Bitter springs, The overlanders, Smiley and Jedda, which starred two Aboriginal actors, proving popular. Bitter springs was greeted as a major achievement with prime minister Robert Menzies attending the world premiere at Wests Theatre in Hindley Street, Adelaide, on June 23 1950. Other Australian films, although with international actors, were The Shiralee and On the beach. The outdoor sequences of some of these films were captured at South Australia locations and the world premiere of Robbery under arms was at Port Augusta in 1957. Neville Shute’s novel was adapted to film in 1956 as A town like Alice.  It starred Virginia McKenna and Peter Finch. It was shown in Japan under the title Malay Death March: A Town Like Alice. (In 1981 it was adapted into a popular television miniseries called A town like Alice, starring Helen Morse and Bryan Brown.) The Alice refers to Alice Springs, named after the wife of South Australia’s postmaster general and superintendent of telegraphs, Charles Todd, who oversaw the building of the Adelaide to Darwin telegraph line, completed in 1872. South Australia administered the North Territory at that time.


 

Ludwik Dutkiewicz and Ian Davidson's 'Time in summer' (1968) gets to the Berlin Film Festival

Half a century to the day after The Woman Suffers premiered in Adelaide 1918, the next South Australian feature film, Ludwik Dutkiewicz’s Time in Summer (1968), appeared. Although it enjoyed a screening at the Berlin Film Festival but failed to attract commercial interest. The experimental narrative film, produced, written and photographed by Ian Davidson and directed by Dutkiewicz, explored the subjective experiences of a girl's first romance and her brother near death after a car accident. Christina O’Brien and Peter Ross led the cast. Davidson and Dutkiewicz also made Reflections (1964) and Transfiguration (1965) that received an AFI award for best black and white photography. Davidson was influenced  by  late 1940s films – William Wyler’s The Best years of our lives, Olivier’s Hamlet, The Third man and Kazan’s Boomerang – and by Jean Cocteau, Eisenstein, and modern authors William Faulkner and James Joyce. In the 1950s he was swayed by dramatists (particularly Lorca) seen in “visionary” productions in Adelaide and expanded his literary horizons in Mary Martin’s Bookshop that, under Max Harris, was a gathering place for exploring modernism. In 1955, Davidson met painter and multi-media experimental artist Stan Ostoja-Kotkowski and, soon after, brothers Wlad and Ludwik Dutkiewicz who founded the Arts Studio Players. Ludwik Dutkiewicz was featured in the documentary film Painting 1950-1955 South Australia, by Ostoja-Kotkowski. He belonged to the progressive Adelaide Group, that exhibited in Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne in the 1950s. 

Gil Brealey the spark for
South Australian Film
 Corporation to kickstart
 Australian film industry

Gil Brealey, television and film director, producer and writer, was the daring and imaginative hands-on force as founding director and chairman of the South Australian Film Corporation,set up by Don Dunstan’s state government in 1972. The corporation played the leading role in reviving Australian film making. Prompting other states to set up similar bodies, it had critical and commercial success with its earliest films such as Sunday Too Far Away (1975: Australian Film Institute best film, best lead actor and best supporting actor awards), Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975), Storm Boy (1976) and Breaker Morant (1980). Shine (1996) was a critical and commercial success. Geoffrey Rush won the American Academy award for best actor. The director, Flinders University graduate Scott Hicks, was nominated as best director for the Academy, Golden Globe and AFI awards. The corporation also help launch the careers of actors and film makers such as Peter Weir, Jack Thompson, Rolf de Heer, Mario Andreacchio, Bryan Brown, and Bruce Beresford. In the 1980s, the corporation moved into television production at a disused factory in Hendon, a northwestern Adelaide suburb. The Battlers mini series in 1994 was the corporation’s last as producer. It shifted to supporting South Australian film and television with funds and making available studios. This was its role in the Nine television network’s McLeod’s Daughters, filmed in rural South Australia. The corporation's new home from 2008 was the Adelaide Studios at eastern suburbs Glenside. 


 

Adelaide Studios at Glenside an integrated high-tech hub for film, television and digital

Adelaide Studios at Glenside is a creative hub for South Australian film, television and digital practitioners, building a strong reputation nationally and internationally. Managed by the South Australian Film Corporation for the state’s industry, the studios have attracted high-profile projects since opening in 2011. They include TV drama series ANZAC Girls and Foxtel’s Deadline Gallipoli, and feature films The Babadook and A Month of Sundays. The studios are integrated and flexible for producers specialising in independent projects. Adelaide Studios has two sound stages, a Dolby Premier 7.1 mixing theatre, automated dialogue replacement (ADR) and foley studios and a 100-seat screening theatre. ​It offers dry-hire edit suites and modern production offices with high-speed internet plus plugin and play. The studios are close to South Australia’s world-class post-production and visual effects businesses. Started in 1972, South Australian Film Corporation found immediate success with films it made such as Sunday too far away, Picnic at Hanging Rock, Storm Boy, The Fourth Wish, , Breaker Morant, Blue Fin, Robbery Under Arms, Under Capricorn, Sara Dane, Money Movers, Shine and the Ultraman TV series. In 1994, the corporation stopped its own production and became the state government’s agency to help the independent industry. Hundreds of films, shorts, documentaries and digital projects have been supported, including Ten Canoes, Samson and Delilah, Snowtown, Red Dog, Bad Boy Bubby, Rabbit Proof Fence, Look Both Ways and the original Wolf Creek.
 

Adelaide Studios' set construction workshop honouring Scott Hicks and Kerry Heysen team

Internationally acclaimed South Australian husband-and-wife filmmaker team, Scott Hicks and Kerry Heysen has been honoured in the name of Adelaide Studios’ set construction workshop opened in 2017. Both Flinders University graduates in 1975, Heysen (producer) and Hicks (director) have been behind South Australian films, including award-winning Shine, Highly Strung and The Boys Are Back.  Their films also include Fallen, The Lucky One, No Reservations, Heart in Atlantis and Snow Falling on Cedars (Academy Award nomination). In partnership with Heysen, Hicks’ film career has multiple facets. Hicks worked as crew member in the Adelaide film revival era attracting directors such as Peter Weir and Bruce Beresford. He won contracts to write and direct short dramas and documentaries. In the 1980s, Hicks worked three times with the INXS band, firstly on Freedom, filmed in and around Adelaide in 1981, featuring lead singer Michael Hutchence. He directed pivotal film clips for INXS in 1982-83 for their new label (WEA Australia): "Spy Of Love", "To Look At You" and "Don't Change”. Hicks made a 16mm film clip for South Australian band Vertical Hold who had a No.1 single in 1981. Hicks enjoyed success in American TV commercials – one in New York City’s Museum of Modern Art permanent collection. His documentary, Glass: a portrait of Philip in 12 parts, won acclaim at the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival. The Hicks-Heysen partnership has extended to producing wine at their Yacca Paddock Vineyard on South Australia’s Fleurieu Peninsula.
 

'Storm boy' remake puts film corporation, author Colin Theile and the Coorong back in focus

South Australia stars on three levels again in the 2017 remake of the 1976 film Storm boy. The 2017 production is a remake of the South Australian Film Corporation film, based on the 1964 book by South Australian author Colin Theile and again featuring the state’s scenic Coorong coast. The contemporary retelling of a young boy and his pelican friend Mr Percival was financed by Screen Australia, with support from the state government and film corporation. Australian actors Geoffrey Rush and Jai Courtney are leads in the film. Rush’s previous Adelaide film Shine won him a best actor Oscar. The new Storm boy was produced by Ambience Entertainment’s Michael Boughen and Matthew Street, whose Tomorrow When the War Began was the highest grossing domestic film of 2010. The film remake was shot around Adelaide (including the South Australian Film Corporation’s studios at Glenside) and regional South Australia but stayed true to the Coorong locations. It had the benefit of CGI technology and special effects, by Adelaide's Resin studio, to deal with the problem of training a pelican. Three pelicans shared the role in the original Storm boy while the main star, Gringo, became an attraction at Adelaide Zoo where he died in 2009, aged 33. Another 1970s South Australian Film Corporation production, Picnic at Hanging Rock, was remade by Foxtel but it didn't feature memorable South Australian locations such as Marbury School in the Adelaide Hills and Martindale Hall Georgian mansion in the Clare Valley.


 

ANDERSON, HELPMANN, MICHELL, SEMLER, STIGWOOD, LaPAGLIA

SOUTH AUSTRALIAN ACTORS AND FILM MAKERS' VERSATILITY
helps them make greater impact internationally in 20th Century

Judith Anderson's Mrs Danvers in 'Rebecca' one among many roles in stellar acting career

Judith Anderson’s role in Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca (1940) was nominated for the best supporting actress Academy Award. This was a highlight of Adelaide-born and -educated Anderson’s film work that was limited compared to her distinguished theatre career in New York and London. Educated at Rose Park, Francee Anderson first performed with Adelaide Repertory Theatre and made her professional debut in Sydney in 1915 at 17. Three years later, unable to get film work in Los Angeles despite a letter to director Cecil B. De Mille, she moved to New York and a long stage career. After her belated role in Rebecca, appearances followed during in 1940s films such as Lady ScarfaceKings row, and Otto Preminger’s Laura (1944) with Gene Tierney. Anderson got to work with Cecil B. De Mille as Memnet for his epic The Ten Commandments (1956). Anderson’s other 1950s film roles included Herodias in Salome (1953) and Big Mama alongside Burl Ives in Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a hot tin roof. Anderson began  n television in the early 1950s, starring in prestigious event dramas such as recreating her Medea in 1959 and productions of Macbeth in 1954/60, winning the Emmy award for both performances as Lady MacBeth. Anderson  frequent starred onHallmark Hall of Fame and in the TV special Lights Diamond Jubilee (1954), on all networks. In 1970, she had a role in the film A man called Horse. In 1984, besides appearing in Star Trek III: The search for Spock, Anderson started three years as matriarch Minx Lockridge on the NBC serial Santa Barbara.

Robert Helpmann leaps from Adelaide ballet into films spanning Red Shoes to the cult Patrick

With a stage-struck mother a driving force in his career, Robert Helpmann went from a childhood in Mount Gambier to became an international figure in ballet but also film, theatre, ballet and opera. He was consultant (1968) and artistic director (1970) of the Adelaide Festival of Arts. Legendary Adelaide teacher Nora Stewart was an early influence on Helpmann. Among Helpmann’s first ballet appearance was in the chorus at Adelaide's Theatre Royal for the 1924 premiere of Kenneth Duffield's first and only musical written in Australia, Hullo Healo. By 1926, Helpmann had joined the touring company of Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova. The high point of his dance career was the Sadler's Wells Ballet tour of the United States in 1949, when he partnered Margot Fonteyn in the lead roles of The Sleeping Beauty. After producing his own ballets, Helpmann appeared in many films, including the Powell and Pressburger ballet films The red shoes (1948), when he was also choreographer, and The tales of Hoffmann (1951). In 1942 he played the Dutch Quisling in the Powell/Pressburger film One of our aircraft is missing (1942) and later played the Chinese Prince Tuan in 55 Days at Peking (1963). After his return as co-director of The Australian Ballet, Helpmann continued in films, notably as the evil Child Catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968). Another family film role was the Mad Hatter in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1972). For the Australian Ballet, he co-directed and starred with Rudolf Nureyev in Don Quixote (1973). He also starred in the 1978 horror cult film Patrick. 

Keith Michell reigns as King Henry VIII on TV/ film in UK in 1970s after Adelaide theatre start

Keith Michell reigned on film and television in Britain and the USA after having his first grounding in theatre in Adelaide in the 1940s with several of Lloyd Prider’s Playbox group productions at the Tivoli (now Her Majesty’s Theatre) and roles with Adelaide Repertory Company. Born in Adelaide, the son of a cabinet maker, and brought up in Warnertown near Port Pirie, Michell studied at Adelaide Teachers’ College and Adelaide University. Adelaide’s Playbox Theatre group gave Michell rounded experience in stage musicals. Michell left in 1949 for England and joined the Young Vic theatre company, making his first appearance in London by 1951. An early role there was Bassanio in The merchant of Venice. His first London musical was And so to bed, playing King Charles II. He toured Australia with the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre Company 1952–53 and then appeared in Shakespeare plays at Stratford-on-Avon. In 1956, on television, he played Henry Higgins in Pygmalion and starred in the title role in Don Juan at the Royal Court Theatre and in several Old Vic Company productions. Michell began with a string of West End musicals, starting in 1958 with Irma la Douce, then as Robert Downing (with June Bronhill) in Robert and Elizabeth, and the lead in Man of La Mancha. He won awards for his lead television role in The six wives of Henry VIII in 1970 and the film Henry VIII and his six wives (1972). Other films included Dangerous exile (1957), The Hellfire Club (1961), Seven seas to Calais (1962) and The executioner (1970).  On American television 1988-93, Michell appeared on the Murder, She Wrote series. He was artistic director of Chichester Festival Theatre 1974-77, appearing in many of its productions. 

Dean Semler's lens work on Kevin Costner's 'Dances with wolves' wins the Oscar in 1991

Dean Semler’s 1991 Oscar for best cinematography in Kevin Costner’s Dances with wolves crowned a colourful career in Australia and Hollywood for the Renmark-born cameraman. Semler entered film industry as a camera operator with Adelaide television station NWS9 and this led to work on documentary and educational films for Film Australia.  He was the cinematographer for A steam train passes (1974), Moving on (1974), Let the balloon go (1976), and A good thing going (1978). His first film was Stepping out in 1980 and he was praised for “stunning work” on Hoodwink (1981). Semler was also cinematographer for Mad Max 2 (1981) with his panoramic shots of the Australian Outback deserts attracting international attention. Semler also shot the follow-up The Road WarriorMad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985). The acclaimed Australian miniseries Bodyline (1984) and popular late 1980s popular films, such as Cocktail  (1988) and Young Guns (1988), also had Semler behind the lens. In 1990, Semler was hired for Dances with wolves,  leading to the Academy Award for best cinematography. Semler worked  on the comedy City slickers and Last action hero in the early 1990s before working with Kevin Costner on his Waterworld. In the 2000s, Semler’s talents were employed on a varied list of films, including comedies (Nutty Professor II: The Klumps 2000, Bruce Almighty 2003), action films (The Alamo 2004). In the mid-2000s, Semler did the football comedy The longest yard (2005) and Just my luck  (2006). In 2006, he worked with Mel Gibson again for Apocalypto.
 

Robert Stigwood of 'Hair', 'Saturday Night Fever', 'Grease', Bee Gees fame a revolutionary

Port Pirie-born music mogul Robert Stigwood managed the Bee Gees at the height of their fame and guided musician Eric Clapton's solo career while producing film (Grease, Evita, Tommy, Saturday Night Fever) and stage (Hair, Jesus Christ Superstar) musicals to international success. Educated at Adelaide's Sacred Heart College, Stigwood began his working life as a copywriter for a local advertising agency before moving in 1955 to England. With Stephen Komlosy, he founded Robert Stigwood Associates, a small theatrical agency. Among its clients was actor and singer John Leyton whose unexpected success as a recording artist made Stigwood and associate Joe Meek into Britain's first independent record producers. Stigwood revolutionised the role of music managers in England by moving into music publishing and promoting concerts. But his biggest contribution to the British music scene was independent record production. Stigwood worked with a many ground-breaking acts on the pop charts, with Cream and the Bee Gees, and on the Broadway stage, producing counter-culture hits Hair and Jesus Christ Superstar. He also produced 1996 Hollywood film Evita, starring Madonna. It won an Academy Award for best music and a Golden Globe for best film. Stigwood had earlier backed the ground-breaking film of The Who's rock opera Tommy.  After the hit Grease, Robert Stigwood Organisation Films made Saturday Night Fever, one of the biggest hits in the history of the business. It introduced disco music and a young John Travolta while propelling the Bee Gees to global stardom.

 

Anthony LaPaglia: from Adelaide soccer goalie to netting Tony and Emmy awards in the USA

Anthony LaPaglia’ made a brave Hollywood gambit in the 1980s. Educated at Rostevor College and Norwood High in the 1970s, he became a soccer goalkeeper for Adelaide City and West Adelaide and was working as a shoe salesman for Florsheim. Rejected by NIDA in Sydney, LaPaglia enrolled in an acting course at South Australian Castings Agency but left half way through for Los Angeles. LaPaglia's earliest screen credit was a 1985 TV episode of Steven Spielbergs Amazing Stories. His first film was Cold steel (1987) followed by the title role in the telemovie Nitti: The Enforcer. He starred in the bio pic 29th Street, with roles in the vampire/Mafia story Innocent blood (1992), comedy thriller So I married an axe murderer (1993), legal thriller The client (1994), and comedy Empire Records. During 1997–98, LaPaglia appeared on Broadway in Arthur Miller's A View From the Bridge, winning a Tony Award. Before the play opened, LaPaglia met creator David Chase to discuss the role of Tony Soprano in The Sopranos. Spike Lee cast LaPaglia as a New York police detective in Summer of Sam (1999). During 2000–04, LaPaglia appeared in the sitcom Frasier, winning an Emmy Award for outstanding guest actor. LaPaglia made his Australian debut with Hugo Weaving in The Custodian (1993), followed by the romantic comedy Paperback Romance (1994). He also returned for Australian films such as Looking for Alibrandi (2000), Lantana (2001), Happy Feet (2006) and Balibo (2009). In 2002, LaPaglia co-starred opposite Sigourney Weaver in The Guys, about New York firemen who died in the World Trade Center. In 2015, LaPaglia returned to Adelaide to star in A Month of Sundays. 

CREATING PATHWAYS FOR SOUTH AUSTRALIAN FILMMAKERS IN A LOCAL AND GLOBAL CONTEXT

ADELAIDE FILM FESTIVAL BACKING LOCAL CONTENT/TALENT,
while the film corporation takes on a nurturing and enabling role

Adelaide Film Festival since 2003 scores world premieres plus strong Australian content

Adelaide Film Festival, over two weeks in October, has been listed by Variety magazine in its Top 50 Unmissable Film Festivals around the world. It has a strong focus on Australian content. The festival, started in 2003 by state premier Mike Rann, has presented the Don Dunstan Award for outstanding contributions to the Australian film industry to Andrew Bovell, Scott Hicks, Judy Davis, Jan Chapman, Rolf de Heer, Dennis O’Rourke and David Gulpillil. In 2017, the festival had the world premiere of South Australian-made zombie film Cargo, starring Martin Freeman with David Gulpilil and Adelaide actor Natasha Wanganeen, set in the South Australian outback. AnotheAustralian premiere  was Aboriginal  director Warwick Thornton’s period western Sweet country, starring indigenous actors with Sam Neill and Bryan Brown. A comedy drama about a family who reunite over the sale of the family home, F*!#ing Adelaide, created by Sophie Hyde and starring Adelaide actor Tilda Cobham-Hervey, had its world premiere, as did After the apology, a documentary about indigenous child removal, by Larissa Behrendt. The 2018 festival presented 17 world premieres and 30 national premieres and a strong lineup of films from Australian emerging directors. Besides featuring Adelaide director Athnony Maras's Hotel Mumbai and Jennifer Kent's The Nightingale, the festival presented Australian premieres of Venice award winners: including the Coen brothers' The Ballad of Buster Scruggs  and Mexican film Roma, by Academy Award-winning director Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity).
 

Four films from Peter Sellars' 2002 Adelaide Festival lead to funding for local productions

The controversial term of American Peter Sellars as director of the 2002 Adelaide Festival had its spinoff benefit for South Australian film making. Sellars commissioned five films to be made for his festival. Four of them, Australian Rules, The tracker, Beneath clouds and Walking on water, won awards. That success prompted the state government to provide the Adelaide Film Festival with a $1m production fund. The festival board selects project to be premiered at the event. The Investment Fund has backed more than 50 projects, including features, documentaries, short films and media. These have won almost 150 awards. Adelaide remains one of the few festivals with an investment fund. In 2011, the Museum of Modern Art in New York hosted a week-long festival of Adelaide Film Festival Investment Fund films. The program included Look both ways, Ten canoes, Samson and Delilah, Stunt love, Boxing Day, Last ride, My year without sex and Mrs. Carey’s concert. Also in 2011, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation TV arts and entertainment and Adelaide Film Festival joined to create the Hive Production Fund that supported The boy castaways by Michael Kantor, I want to dance better at parties by Matthew Bate, and Tender by Lynette Wallworth. Adelaide independent film Girl Asleep took out the $100,000 prize at Western Australia’s 2017 CinefestOZ festival, beating Spin out, The death and life of Otto Bloom and Jasper Jones. Directed by Rosemary Myers, written by Matthew Whittet and produced by Jo Dyer, Girl asleep is a journey into absurdities of the teenage mind.
 

South Australian film creatives get access to Charlie's workspace in the heart of Hollywood

South Australian film producers, directors and writers have the chance to work at Charlie’s on Raleigh Studios in the heart of Hollywood under a two-part offer from the South Australian Film Corporation, Australians in Film and Adelaide Hills’ Bird in Hand Winery in 2019. One aspect of the offer is an eight-week Los Angeles residency at Charlie’s for a South Australian to receive mentoring, networking opportunities and access to Australians in Film’s industry program. The other part is opening access to a workspace at Charlie’s all year round for South Australian creatives. Charlie’s is a hub for business, collaborating and networking for the Australian screen community in Los Angeles. It's where Australians in Film holds its industry education programs. Founded in 2001, Australians in Film is a Los Angeles-based non-profit screen organisation supporting its members to develop careers and education include the Heath Ledger scholarship, Mentor LA, Village Roadshow/Animal Logic Entertainment Internship, Greg Coote Fellowship, Gateway LA and The Writers Room. Australians in Film is based at Charlie’s, a shared workspace at the historic Raleigh Studios. Charlie’s has become an unofficial Australian creative embassy for screen professionals visiting and working in the USA. Named after Charlie Chaplin, Charlie’s is in the heart of Hollywood where Chaplin and Douglas Fairbanks made films and played cards. South Australian Film Corporation has joined Screen Queensland, Create NSW, The Australian Film, Television and Radio School and Film Victoria in funding access to Charlie’s.

Aboriginal filmmakers supported by South Australian corporation strategy 2015-20

The South Australian Film Corporation’s first Aboriginal Screen Strategy (2015-20) supported Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander filmmakers. The strategy was designed to grow and support the stories and creative voices of the Aboriginal screen sector and to develop skills and knowledge in filmmaking through production, mentoring and partnerships. The corporation set up Pirrku Kuu (The Story Room) at Adelaide Studios in Glenside as a hub for Aboriginal filmmakers’ work. The strategy was guided by corporation’s Lee-Ann Buckskin and then-chief executive Annabelle Sheehan. The film corporation’s Aboriginal advisory committee members for the strategy were • Erica Glynn (Arrente), director of TV’s Black Comedy, graduate of Australian Film Television and Radio School, whose short film My Bed, Your Bed was an international success and her documentaries include A Walk with Words with Romaine Morton and Ngangkari about traditional healers of the Central Desert region. • Major Sumner, an honoured Ngarrindjeri elder from the Coorong and Lower Lakes in South Australia. • Derik Lynch (Yankunytjatjara), who grew up in small town camp in Alice Springs. starred alongside of Trevor Jamieson in the theatre play Namatjira that toured England and Rotterdam; screen credits include Black Comedy and Deadline Gallipoli. • Natasha Wanganeen (Narungga), with film credits including Rabbit Proof Fence (2002), Black and White (2002), Australian Rules (2002) and, on television, Redfern Now (2013) and ABC’s The Secret River 2013).

Fleurieu festival gives short-film makers the chance to express variations on a theme

Budding filmmakers have the chance to showcase their creativity at the Fleurieu Film Festival (2015-19, with the next scheduled for 2021) while celebrating the premium food and wine of the peninsula south of Adelaide in February at a McLaren Vale winery. More than 100 submissions were received from Australia, France, the USA and Russia for the 2018 community festival, with Australian actor Australian actor Erik Thomson who lives on the peninsula, as its patron. A shortlist of 10 films is chosen a particular annual theme. The 2019 theme was: “Climate change – hot topic/kool films”. The City of Onkaparinga and Resilient South were partners with Fleurieu Film Festival on that theme. The 10 films shortlisted for the 2019 festival at S.C. Pannell Winery included one from Aldinga local and director, producer and writer Barry Mitchell. His film Legacy was also submitted to the Elements Film Festival in Vancouver, Canada, and Colorado Environmental Film Festival in Golden, Colorado. Other finalists were Birthplace, directed by Sil Van Der Woerd and Jorik Dozy (Netherlands); Climate Change and The Community, directed by Craig Cooper and Onkaparinga Council’s Studio 20 Youth Centre (South Australia); Harvest, by Brodie Winning (South Australia); Mea Culp, by Tom Parolin (South Australia); Semblance, by Stephanie Jaclyn (South Australia); The Devil’s Bureaucrat, by Gina Cameron (South Australia); Who’s A Fly Bird, by Bianca Tomchin and Mathew Harvey ( NSW); Ursula, by Rick Davies (South Australia); Wind Giants, by Nick Thompson. 

ADELAIDE'S WHOLE NEW 21st CENTURY CREATIVE IMAGE WAVE IN SPECIAL EFFECTS AND GAMING

TECHNICOLOR MILL FILM VFX JOINS LOCAL RISING SUN, RESIN
as Mighty Kingdom et al carry on the pioneer gaming of Ratbag

Rising Sun Pictures in Adelaide creates special effects for biggest film directors, franchises

Rising Sun Pictures, based in a Pulteney Street, Adelaide, studio, has its special visual effects featured in the films of some of the world’s top directors, including Steven Spielberg and James Cameron, and for blockbuster film series such as Harry Potter, Hunger Games and X-Men. Its film portfolio also includes Peter Rabbit, The Great Gatsby, Thor: Ragnarok, Gravity and Tomb Raider. Completing its first Chinese film project in 2018, Rising Sun added Captain Marvel to its superhero firm work. Rising Sun Pictures is named after an Adelaide suburban hotel where Emmy Award-winning cinema photographer Tony Clark (now managing director), Wayne Lewis and Gail Fuller, all in their later 20s in pre-Google/Facebook 1995, had a vision that South Australia could be their base for contributing to the coming huge impact of computer graphics in film making. Rising Sun Pictures, competing with special-effects houses world, has brought in more than $220 million to the South Australian economy and employs more than 200. Its growth has been boosted by streaming services such as Netflix and Disney. Rising Sun sees more potential in combining its Adelaide lifestyle advantages with embracing emerging technologies like virtual and augmented reality. The company boosted the  program it runs with the University of South Australia by added an undergraduate courses in visual effects and expanded its graduate certificate. Rising Sun Pictures registered for City of Adelaide's revolutionary Ten Gigabit Adelaide infrastructure with vastly improved internet connectivity, upload and download.

Resin studio in Adelaide proves small is beautiful with world-class film VFX and animation

Adelaide’s Resin boutique studio was the primary visual effects (VFX) seller for the Storm Boy 2019 film remake, creating a digital double of the famous pelican Mr Percival, along with ocean and storm VFX. It did all of the visual effects shots and titles for Kriv Stender’s Red Dog, and has contributed to other films such as Electric Dreams, Where the Wild Things Are, Rogue, Forbidden Lies and Netflix series Tideland. A core expertise in visual effects, character and creature animation allows its boutique size to expand to meet the world-class needs of feature films. The core is built around a foundation of design, technical knowhow and over a decade’s experience across on-set effects. It enables Resin to cross all facets of visual effects, character and creature animation including pioneering work in augmented reality where Resin it won best new app in the national awards. Resin, started in 2004 by Grant Lovering and Lincoln Wogan in commercial work, has collaborated with the world's leading agencies and production companies for brands including Disney XD, Electronic Arts, Lennox, Mitsubishi, Bridgestone, Michellin, Yalumba, Jacob's Creek, News Ltd and SA Tourism. Resin expanded with studios in Melbourne and Brisbane in 2018. But it is keeping its headquarters in Adelaide where revolutionary high-speed internet, courses in VFX and post production at universities and private institutions, and a growing reputation for world class VFX work help it compete internationally. South Australian Film Corporation’s uncapped 10% post-production rebate from 2017  has been another boon.

Technicolor Mill Film to base a major global visual effects studio in the Adelaide city centre

Global entertainment giant Technicolor’s 500-person visual effects (VFX) centre in Adelaide will make South Australian an international film production hub. Technicolor’s Mill Film's  $26 million 3000-plus square metre studio, at the Myer Centre in Adelaide's city centre,  will deliver visual effects for major film studios and streaming services, later expanding into virtual and augmented reality. Mill Film will comprise an Adelaide Centre of Excellence and VFX Academy, for 500 staff – from technologists to artists – at full strength in five years. A French company, Technicolor employs more than 15,000 globally with bases in Paris, London, Los Angeles, Montreal, New York, Vancouver, Bangalore and Shanghai. In 2018, Technicolor and its brands – MPC, MR. X, Mikros, Mill Film – worked on 40-plus titles for major studios including A Wrinkle in Time, Predator, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, The New Mutants and 14 episodic projects from Mr. X including new seasons of American Gods, Carnival Rows, Narcos, A Series of Unfortunate Events and Vikings. Its film credits include Jungle Book, Wonder Woman, The Shape of Water, (nominated for 13 Oscars), The Martian, Blade Runner 2049 and Pirates of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. Mill Film Adelaide is set to attract talent from around the world. The state government provided up to $6 million support, with expected economic benefit of around $252 million over 10 years. Technicolour saw Adelaide offering a pool of proven creative talent, universities to develop talent, and internet infrastructure to move large amounts of data.

From the early Ratbags, Adelaide builds Mighty Kingdom with hits in international gaming

Based in the Adelaide CBD, Mighty Kingdom’s Lego, Shopkins and Disney games entrenched itself in the global gaming market with nearly eight million customers worldwide each month. Mighty Kingdom burst onto the international stage in 2015 with a No.1 game developed for an award-winning toy manufacturer. Shopkins: welcome to Shopville was developed for the Moose company to promote Shopkins, a miniature toy line for girls. But Mighty Kingdom, founded in 2011, draws on a legacy from one of South Australia’s first game developers, Ratbag. Mighty Kingdom general manager Dan Thorsland is one of the “ex Ratbags” community of scientists, researchers, educators and thinkers who went on to be become some the world’s best game developers beyond the shutdown of Ratbag in 2005. Now moved from the Myer Centre to being anchor tenant of Game Plus in Pirie Street, Adelaide, Mighty Kingdom had 35 full-time staff in 2018 when it signed what was believed to be an Australian-first deal with Lego. Mighty Kingdom had 19 projects listed on its website in 2019, all targeting a global audience.  One the state’s fastest growing companies, Mighty Kingdom won a $480,000 grant from the Labor state government’s future jobs fund. Besides the strength of the gaming community in Adelaide with developers working together, Mighty Kingdom is confident the City of Adelaide’s Ten Gigabit Adelaide high-speed network, enable businesses and organisations to access exceptional 10Gbps data speeds and a range of cloud-based services, is another major boost.

Academy of Interactive Entertainment (AIE) and Game Plus link Adelaide digital gaming sector

The AIE (Academy of Interactive Entertainment) campus in Grenfell Street and Game Plus working area in Pirie Street are two pillars of Adelaide CBD’s close-knit creator digital sector. AIE is a non-profit award-winning career-focussed educator in 3D animation, game design and visual effects with around 100 students graduating each year.  Its campus neighbours major film and computer game studios such as Rising Sun Pictures, Six Foot Kid and Mighty Kingdom. The games developer Mighty Kingdom is the anchor tenant at Game Plus, a not-for-profit co-working centre for game developers in Adelaide’s CBD. In 2019, Game Plus was already at 95% of its 60-person capacity and housed more than 20 companies. The not-for-profit space was partly funded by the former Labor state government, which provided $450,000. Known for its Lego, Shopkins and Disney games, Mighty Kingdom has firmly positioned itself in the global gaming market – with close to eight million customers each month worldwide. Another of Adelaide’s gaming industry’s quiet achievers is Team Cherry who have sold more than 2.8 million copies of their debut game release Hollow Knight. Another is Last Minute Entertainment, a modest team of four – James Buttfield, Jess Kempf, Stefan Scuteri and Stephen Gregory – who released its debut title Tiki Trials in 2019 on Steam, a distribution platform for PC games. The Last Minute team met studying at AIE – with many of their classes taking place in Game Plus – and went on to enrol in the school’s incubator program, which provided them with a free work-space at Game Plus and hardware to help develop the game.

Biggest film enterprise in South Australia follows Mortal Kombat game theme in 2019

Mortal Kombat, a 1990s video game franchise, became the blockbuster theme for the South Australia’s biggest film project in 2019. The enterprise, using the South Australian Film Corporation’s Adelaide Studios in Glenside, was for USA-based New Line Cinema, a subsidiary of Warner Bros. Generating 580 jobs and involving 1500 extras at locations around South Australia, the film makers benefit from the state government’s 10% rebate on money spent in the state, with $70 million expected to be injected into the economy. Mortal Kombat also draws on South Australian expertise in production, post production and visual effect (VFX) for its action/adventure theme. South Australia has been able to span all those skills with animation companies such as Rising Sun Pictures and Resin studio and game-making companies such as Mighty Kingdom. The film will be led by producer James Wan, who has worked on Aquaman and The Conjuring, as well as award-winning filmmaker Simon McQuoid. Todd Garner will also be a producer, while Larry Kasanoff, E. Bennett Walsh, Michael Clear and Sean Robins to be executive producers, with screenplay by Greg Russo. Walsh said South Australia was the perfect location for the film and the team were excited at the opportunities it would create for the state. Director Simon McQuoid said the movie would go back to the “core essence” of the characters of the popular martial arts video game. A Deloitte Access Economic report estimated the contribution to the South Australian economy from 18 screen projects in 2017-18 was $119.5 million. 

FLINDERS UNIVERSITY FILM GRADUATES A PROMINENT THEME 

SOUTH AUSTRALIAN 21st CENTURY FILMMAKERS AND ACTORS
keep putting themselves in the national and international picture

Mario Andreacchio led way from Adelaide to China and other global film co productions

Mario Andreacchio is an Adelaide independent outsider film maker who has blazed new ground in international links from the 1980s and into the 21st Century. Through his Norwood-based AMPCO (Australian Motion Picture Company) Films, he has directed feature films, TV specials, telemovies, children's miniseries and documentaries. After working with investors from Germany, France, the United Kingdom, South Africa, Canada and Japan, Andreacchio threw himself into the first Australian co-production with China: the children’s film The dragon pearl in 2011. Australian actor Sam Neill played a lead role but Andreacchio impressed the Chinese by making a dragon the star of the film. Adapting to the Chinese ways of doing things, Andreacchio has joined other Chinese co productions including romantic comedy Tying the knot and action film Shimalaya. Born to Italian migrants in South Australia’s then-coal mining town of Leigh Creek, Andreacchio studied experimental physics then psychology before switching to film at Flinders University and ending at the Australian Film Television and Radio School. Andreacchio ventured into featured films in the 1980s with Captain Johnno (1988) winning an International Emmy. Another successful children's film, Napoleon, the adventures of a golden retriever pup and parrot friend Birdo Lucci, was a venture with Japanese company Herald Ace. Sally Marshall is not an alien (1999), an Canadian-Australian co-production, had strong reviews and was the second highest grossing Australian film of the year. 

Director Justin Kurzel, producer George Pank Adelaide film makers scoring world goals

Justin Kurzel (director) and George Pank (film lawyer, producer) are Adelaide products playing different roles in international film-making in the early 21st Century. Kurzel and his musician/composer brother Jed were born in Gawler. After 1990s study at the National Institute of Dramatic Art in Sydney, Kurzel did music videos for rock band The Messhall, founded by his brother. In 2005, Kurzel made his first short film Blue tongue. Six years later, he wrote, directed and released The Snowtown murders about South Australian killings. He won the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Award best director 2011, the Gold Hugo at the Chicago International Film Festival, Film Critics Circle of Australia award for best directing. In 2015, Kurzel directed a successful adaptation of Shakespeare’s MacBeth, followed by adapting computer game Assassins Creed. George Pank, a Flinders University graduate, shared an Oscar in 2016 as a producer of documentary Amy about singer Amy Winehouse. Pank, who graduated in law, screen studies and politics, had a key role in films like Oscar winner Slumdog Millionaire and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly as legal and business affairs consultant. Although he's worked on the business and legal side, Pank credits Mike Walsh Flinders University associate professor and senior lecturer in screen and media) with giving him film creative knowledge. After producing successful Banksy documentary Exit through the gift shop, Pank brought his skills home for the Australian film All This Mayhem about skateboarding brothers Tas and Ben Pappas.

Bruna Papandrea and Reese Witherspoon partnership peaks with 'Big little lies' Emmys

Bruna Papandrea, who grew up in a housing trust home in Elizabeth, can claim to be one of Adelaide’s greatest Hollywood achiever with her producing role in the Big little lies series that won six Emmy awards in 2017. Papandrea moved to New York City in the 1990s after starting a career in film production. She briefly returned to Australia to produce the 2000 film Better than sex, nominated for the AFI best film award, before going to London in 2001. She served as a production executive at  Mirage Enterprises and returned to New York to work for GreeneStreet independent films as a creative director. She was executive producer of the 2006 romantic comedy Wedding daze before joining another independent Groundswell Productions in Los Angeles in 2006. She produced Smart people (2008), Milk (2008), The Marc Pease experience (2009) and All good things (2010) and zombie comedy Warm bodies (2013), starring Adelaide’s Teresa Palmer. In 2012, Papandrea and actress Reese Witherspoon founded the Pacific Standard company in Beverley Hills, focusing on films made by and about women. Their first projects were Gone girl and Wild (2014), from book rights bought by Papandrea and WitherspoonIn 2016, their partnership but they completed work on HBO's Big little lies. The series’ six Emmy awards was the biggest haul for the team of Australians who wrote, produced and starred in it. Big little lies won best miniseries and Paradrea was on stage with Nicole Kidman to collect her best actress award. In 2015, Papandrea received the Australians in Film International Award.

Anthony Maras's major work 'Hotel Mumbai' builds on his previous short film successes

Hotel Mumbai, directed and co-written by Adelaide’s Anthony Maras, was one of the biggest film productions to come out of South Australia, released in 2019 with a world premiere at Toronto International Film Festival. Hotel Mumbai delves into the story of the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks. The thriller focuses on the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. Maras did copious research to produce the film. Hotel Mumbai was mostly shot at Adelaide Studios and partly funded by the Adelaide Film Festival where it had another premiere. English actor Dev Patel, known best for starring in Slumdog Millionaire and Lion, was a lead in Hotel Mumbai along with Adelaide's Tilda Cobham-Hervey. Anthony Maras’s earlier short film The Palace was a multi-award winner. It won best short film at other film festivals and awards ceremonies including the 2012 Beverly Hills Film Festival (also best director), 2011 Sydney Film Festival 2011, Melbourne International Film Festival (best Australian short film), 2012 Flickerfest International Festival of Short Films (best Australian short film), 2011 IF Awards (rising talent), 2012 Shorts Film Festival, 2012 Australian Film Festival and 2011 Adelaide Film Festival (audience award). It won best screenplay in a short film at the 2012 Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) awards. This marked Maras’s third AACTA Award, having won best short fiction film for his Spike Up. He was nominated for the same award for his first film Azadi. Maras was an associate producer on Last ride (2009), debut feature of Palme d'Or-winning director Glendyn Ivin and starring Hugo Weaving.  

Gary Sweet establishes himself as a mainstay actor in a string of Australian TV series

Adelaide actor Gary Sweet, who joined the Australian Film Walk of Fame in 2011, is best known for television roles in series such as Alexandra’s Project, Police Rescue, Cody, Big Sky, Bodyline (as Don Bradman), Stingers and House Husbands. Sweet, who grew up in Adelaide suburban Warradale and attended Brighton High School, obtained a degree as Sturt Teachers’ College where he took up drama. His first role was in low-budget horror film Nightmares. In the 1980s, Sweet became recognisable and a Logie award winner as Leslie “Magpie” Maddern in the Crawfords television series The Sullivans. In 1984, Sweet had his first major role as Don Bradman in the Network Ten miniseries, Bodyline, aboutf the 1932–33 Test cricket series between England and Australia. In the the award-winning 1987 Australian TV movie The Great Bookie Robbery, Sweet played Chico White, the inside man trying to infiltrate the bank robbers. In 1994, he appeared in The Battlers with Jaqueline McKenzie. In 1990-96, Sweet’s time in drama series Police Rescue as Sgt. Steve “Mickey” McClintock won him several major television awards, including the Australian Film Institute’s best actor in a lead role in a television drama, the Variety Club Heart Award for TV Actor of the Year (1993), and two TV Week silver Logie Awards for Most popular actor and most outstanding actor (1992, 1994). In 2007, Sweet starred in the SBS miniseries The circuit and ABC television series Rain shadow with Rachel Ward. Sweet also has appeared in many stage productions, including David Williamson’s The club. 

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