Friday, 17 January 2020

WHEN IS A FILM NOT A FILM?


For today’s filmmakers it might seems strange that film distribution was ever difficult; streaming, downloading, DVD’s provide endless outlets for viewers to see one’s work. But nothing really equates to viewing a film in a cinema with all the ambiance created by a million screenings of a million films.

Let me tell you a story, a story of distribution of my film A CITY’S CHILD. The film was first off the rank after Liberal PM John Gorton decided the industry needed some support. The Experimental Film Fund was the first to receive funding and $6000 of that went towards production of A CITY’S CHILD.

It’s conception and realisation I’ll leave for another time, but I take you back to 1971; the film had completed and went on to screen at various film festivals around the world. That is also another story for another time; I’m dealing now with a year or so later when John Fraser, who at that time was with Greater Union a film distributor in Australia.
John, who supported and believed in Australian films, fought valiantly to have GU screen the film and eventually won, but it was a hollow victory.
GU, not wanting the film, decided to claim it as invalid under the quality clause of the New South Wales Film Quota Act.
“The Film Quota Act, full title the New South Wales Cinematograph Films (Australian Quota) Act was an act of legislation passed in September 1935 that came into force on 1 January 1936. Under the Act it was compulsory that in the first year of operation 5 per cent, of the films distributed in New South Wales must be Australian productions, the percentage to increase yearly for five years when it becomes 15 per cent.”

This despite being produced in Melbourne with an all Australian cast and crew, with Federal Government Investment (it was not initially a grant). Media reports on this forced GU to relinquish their claim and reluctantly they agreed to distribute the film. After a very limited release in suburban cinemas, the film was withdrawn. My eternal thanks to John Fraser for his efforts (he also helped Brian Trenchard Smith with the release of The Man from Hong Kong).

To achieve the cinema release, the Australian Film Development Fund allotted $5000 towards costs for the blowup from 16mm to 35mm; ColourFilm deferred payment of $5000 for lab work. The total $10,000 I personally paid back. I also personally funded the 16mm prints and freight to the various international film festivals, which then required a physical print. There was no Government funding for this.

I suppose if A CITY’S CHILD  were to be made today it may obtain distribution through the Art House cinemas, and I can understand the business heads at GU at the time not wishing to take the film, which they probably believed to be noncommercial, but their claim it was not Australian as a devious way to not screen local product, revealed who their masters were at the time. “Hooray For Hollywood”.

https://vimeo.com/363749594

However, now the film is available online, so you have a chance to evaluate it. I hope you enjoy it, if only for Monica Maughan great performance. Enjoy!

From the Sydney Film Festival:
The best and most mature of the Australian features is "A City's Child" produced and directed by Brian Kavanagh.
Set in a middle class suburb of Melbourne, the film, written by Don Battye, treats the loneliness of a thirtyish spinster who, following the death of her carping, invalid mother, builds a world of fantasy out of solitude and frustration.
Too often the director appears uncertain of what to do next with a resultant loss of dramatic tension and is prone to that all-Australian failing, the hammer-heavy delineation of obvious symbolism. But on the whole Kavanagh achieves an admirable blend of narrative elements and layman's sociology.
The subtle, knowing performance of Monica Maughan as the central character is a further asset. Miss Maughan constructs a cautious portrait of internal pain, of a woman alive but incapable of living.
Kavanagh's website also quotes this mention arising from the London Film Festival:
And Brian Kavanagh's intense view of a lonely spinster in Sydney, finding kinky consolation in the collection of dolls, " A City's Child," creates an errie atmosphere which remained with me long after most of the festival's other films had been and gone. Eric Shorter, London Daily Telegraph, December 1st 1971.
And this notice by Ken Quinnell in Nation magazine on 22nd January 1972:
There can be no mistaking Brian Kavanagh's exceptional talent as a director. Throughout, the precision of his camera placements, the flow of movement within the frame, and the exacting performances serve perfectly the underlying ambiguity of events and produce a masterpiece in miniature.



Monday, 30 December 2019



In 1969 I was Supervising Editor on Roger Miram's TV series, WOOBINDA - Animal Doctor. 


I met John Alaimo who was script editing some of the episodes. 

We became friends.

Some while later John directed a TV film, SILO 15 and he asked me to edit the film.
SILO 15 was filmed in Sydney and starred
Jack Thompson


and Owen Weingott



Based on the Award winning play by Gregory Marton
AWGIE AWARD WINNERS - 1968
Major Award Winner (Joint Winners) Colin Free Contrabandits: ‘Cage a Tame Tiger’
Major Award Winner (Joint Winners) Richard Lane You Can’t See ‘Round Corners (Television Serial)
Children’s Michael Wright Skippy: ‘The Poachers’
Radio Jocelyn Smith I-Day
Television James Workman Contrabandits: ‘Target Smokehouse’
TELEVISION – PLAY GREGORY MARTON SILO 15

Silo15 
One hour Australian TV drama of a crisis in a ICBM bunker. Two United States Air Force officers lose contact with the outside world and must decide whether or not they should launch a missile.





Tragedy at Missile Silo 15. When Air Force senior officer Captain Thompson,(Owen Weingott) and Lt. O'Donnell, (Jack Thompson) enter missile Silo 15, they are unaware of the drama they will experience when they lose contact with the outside world and must make the decision as to whether or not they must fire the missile. a decision that will end in tragedy....
Purchased by the BBC July 23, 1969. Transmitted on BBC 2 September 2, 1969 at 9:10pm.
Purchased by NET (PBS), CBC, Canadian Broadcasting Company, Texas A&M University, New York Public library.
Won the Award for Exceptional Merit ..1971 Philadelphia International Festival of Short Films
 📽
John continued on making many films, among them, in Spain, he Produced and Directed
THE UNFINISHED VISION 
a docudrama on ANTONI GAUDI.

Gaudi was a Barcelona-based Spanish architect. His free-flowing works were greatly influenced by nature. He is famous for being the face of Catalan architecture. Many of the signature remarks in Barcelona, for example, are his work.
His greatest masterpiece is sadly, unfinished. And that is La Sagrada Familia. The cathedral in Barcelona is still unfinished, and talks are it will be sometimes in the 2020s.



Gaudi was fond of nature, and his work is inspired by his love of natural design and modernism. His works have highly individualized and one-of-a-kind style.
This documentary focuses mostly on his unfinished work, the Sagrada Familia.

The story of the lost film.

Antoni Gaudi was a Barcelona-based Spanish architect. His free-flowing works were greatly influenced by nature. He is famous for being the face of Catalan architecture. Many of the signature remarks in Barcelona, for example, are his work.
This documentary focuses mostly on his unfinished work, the Sagrada Familia.
Antonio Gaudi….The Unfinished Vision
Barcelona, Spain 1973
Director/Script writer John Alaimo
Filmed on location in Barcelona Spain.
Selected to be shown out of competition at the Cannes Film festival 1974.
Chosen to be shown at the Spanish Institute’s Salute to Spain week in New York city, celebrating Spanish culture.  
Film was screened on November 15,1974.  Event was under the patronage of Prince Juan Carlos and Princess Sophia of Spain and United States president and Mrs. Gerald Ford.
Purchased and shown on Catalan TV3, 1974.

In 2009 the film received the prestigious designation of " Cultural Patrimony of Catalunya" making it an official part of Catalan culture.

WATCH THE FILM

 🎬
LAST WALTZ ON A TIGHTROPE

LOUISE FLETCHER, TONY MUSANTE TO WALTZ ON TIGHTROPE IN PITTSTON
The Morning Call
Oscar-winner Louise Fletcher ("One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest") joins Tony ("Toma") Musante in Pittston next week as shooting begins on a new public television drama written by Scranton University professor Dr. William Zahler Jr.
Interiors will be filmed at the studios of WVIA-TV (Channel 44), the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton area's public television station. The Commerce Department's Pennsylvania Film Bureau is working with WVIA to locate mansions in the area suitable for exterior shooting. The story, however, is not set there, but at an unnamed location not germane to the story.
In the one-hour telecast, Musante will play a down-and-out writer who re-enters the life of an eccentric former actress (Fletcher) after many years to investigate a mystery from her past. Producer/director John Alaimo says that any supposed resemblance to the film "Sunset Boulevard" would be strictly a surface one, and that "Last Waltz on a Tightrope" goes in different directions entirely. "It's a very good play, not abstract at all," he added."
One hour TV drama starring academy award winning actor Louise Fletcher best actress for the film, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest


and TV actor Tony Musante.

Program was purchased and aired nationally on PBS on April 14 at 10pm, 1986 and shown on all Pa state PBS stations over 100 station across the country.
 📽
John is currently in Pre-Production on a documentary on George Catlin,

the American painter, who specialized in portraits of Native Americans in the Old West.



John Alaimo, a good filmmaker and a good friend.







Friday, 27 December 2019

MAYBE THIS TIME


I'm happy to say that a long lost film I produced is now available for streaming. The reasons why the film was lost for so long are many and I will elaborate on them in the future. For now, MAYBE THIS TIME (1981) received seven AFI Nominations, including Best Film, Best Actress, and won Best Supporting actress for Jill Perryman.
The AWGIE Winning script was written by Anne Brooksbank & Bob Ellis. Directed by Chris McGill, DOP Russell Boyd, Music Bruce Smeaton. Editor Wayne Le Clos.
Enjoy the trailer.🎞
And watch the film.
PRIME VIDEO https://tinyurl.com/rzvp3jj
VIMEO https://vimeo.com/ondemand/maybethistime1981
UMBRELLA https://www.umbrellaent.com.au/on-demand/4379-maybe-this-time-1981-vod-only.html
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0080311/##

Monday, 7 October 2019

SHORT STORY/FILM A CITY'S CHILD.




A short story I wrote I was able to turn into a feature film in 1971.
A CITY'S CHILD is now available for Streaming. ON DEMAND

PRIME VIDEO https://tinyurl.com/yy7qlnl2
UMBRELLA ENTERTAINMENT https://www.umbrellaent.com.au/on-demand/4377-citys-child-a-1971-vod-only.html
VIMEO https://vimeo.com/ondemand/acityschild1971


Some notes on the story and film.
There is much to tell about the production of this film and I will do so over several Blogs. 
Meanwhile,
"Because of limited distribution, the film received few notices from reviewers, but these were inclined to be favourable, as in the Sydney Morning Herald 9th June 1972 after the film's screening at the Sydney Film Festival:
The best and most mature of the Australian features is "A City's Child" produced and directed by Brian Kavanagh.
Set in a middle class suburb of Melbourne, the film, written by Don Battye, treats the loneliness of a thirtyish spinster who, following the death of her carping, invalid mother, builds a world of fantasy out of solitude and frustration.
Too often the director appears uncertain of what to do next with a resultant loss of dramatic tension and is prone to that all-Australian failing, the hammer-heavy delineation of obvious symbolism. But on the whole Kavanagh achieves an admirable blend of narrative elements and layman's sociology.
The subtle, knowing performance of Monica Maughan as the central character is a further asset. Miss Maughan constructs a cautious portrait of internal pain, of a woman alive but incapable of living.
Kavanagh's website also quotes this mention arising from the London Film Festival:
And Brian Kavanagh's intense view of a lonely spinster in Sydney, finding kinky consolation in the collection of dolls, " A City's Child," creates an errie atmosphere which remained with me long after most of the festival's other films had been and gone. Eric Shorter, London Daily Telegraph, December 1st 1971.
And this notice by Ken Quinnell in Nation magazine on 22nd January 1972:
There can be no mistaking Brian Kavanagh's exceptional talent as a director. Throughout, the precision of his camera placements, the flow of movement within the frame, and the exacting performances serve perfectly the underlying ambiguity of events and produce a masterpiece in miniature.
Awards
Adelaide Festival gold award, 1972 (Goldern Southern Cross Award, Best Australian Film of the Year)
Australian Film Institute Awards 1971:
- Bronze Award (Brian Kavanagh)
- Best Actress in a Leading Role (Monica Maughan) (Hoyts Prize)
Selected for the London Film Festival, 1971
Also screened Edinburgh, Montreal and Chicago Film Festivals 1971, Sydney Film Festival 1972.
Also screened at Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane and Auckland Film Festivals"
https://www.ozmovies.com.au/movie/citys-child
Enjoy the trailer.

Thursday, 12 September 2019

GOOD NEWS.
back in 1971,  I produced the first Australian Feature Film from the then Experimental Film Fund created by the Liberal Gorton Government
 A CITY'S CHILD.
The film went on to screen at the London, Chicago, Edinburgh and other International Film Festivals including Adelaide where it won Best Australian Film. It also won for the star, Monica Maughan the first Acting Award from the Australian Film Institute.  
A CITY'S CHILD  will be Streaming in October.
In the meantime, a trailer for the film. Enjoy.
(The hair in the gate is not in the film. It has been put there to annoy you purists!) 😊
Keep watching here for Streaming release date.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_City%27s_Child