Previous winners of AFIRC Fellowship

2014 Winners – Andrew Nette/Dean Brandum and Dr Kirsten Stevens

Andrew Nette/Dean Brandum
Project: Policing Melbourne’s television mean streets. How the Victorian police and Crawford Productions shaped popular perceptions of police work and crime through their co-operation on Homicide (1964 – 1977) Division 4 (1969 – 1976) and Matlock Police (1971 – 1976).

The proposed research will examine material in the Crawford archives relating to Homicide, Division 4 and Matlock Police. These series have been selected due to their temporal proximity to each other and the fact they are illustrative of a certain period in Melbourne’s history, the mid sixties to mid seventies. Facets of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • The mechanics of how Crawford and the police cooperated in the production of their crime dramas Homicide, Matlock Police and Division 4.
  • How this relationship changed over the approximately ten-year period of the three shows.
  • The degree to which police involvement with the series’ production stifled the creative freedom of Crawfords’ writing-staff.
  • How this collaboration influenced the content of the three shows and, to the degree it is possible to discern, public perceptions of police, their work and interaction with the public.
  • To the degree that it relates to points above, how this collaboration influenced popular notions of criminality.

The AFI Crawford archive holds a significant amount of primary source documents relevant to this research. The nature and scope of these documents differs from production to production and over the historical period under consideration. Taken as a whole, the material provides invaluable insights into how the cooperation between Crawford and police was structured, its extent and nature, and, to some degree, how this was reflected in Crawford’s marketing of the productions.

Dr Kirsten Stevens
Project: From Film Weeks to Festivals: Event programming, specialty cinema and the spread of the urban film festival in Australia, 1980-2000

This paper examines the rapid spread of urban film festivals in Australia from the 1980s onwards. Up to the 1980s, film festivals in Australia were limited to only a few events in the country’s capital cities. Yet, by the end of the 1990s an exponential increase in the number and diversity of events had occurred. This paper draws on research conducted in the clippings and program files of the Australian Film Institute Research Collection to analyse this rapid growth of film festivals. It explores the festivalisation of film culture activities and examines the spaces and places that the proliferating events of the 1980s moved into. It asks: what changed to enable the growth of the film festival format at this time? What function or need did these new events respond to? And how has this boom affected broader issues of specialised film exhibition into the present? Interrogating Australia’s ongoing love affair with the film festival, this paper opens up discussions on an important but under-examined area of the country’s screen history.

2013 Winners – Dr Fincina Hopgood and Dr John Hughes

Dr Fincina Hopgood
Project: Using comedy and autobiography to create empathy for mental illness on screen

My research project investigates the portrayal of mental illness in contemporary Australian cinema, with a particular focus on how filmmakers encourage the audience to empathise with mentally ill characters. Key questions I wish to explore in this project are: How is mental illness represented on screen? What emotions are elicited from the viewer? How do recent screen portrayals of mental illness differ from the past? And what are the implications of these portrayals for mental health awareness in the community?

The research looks at recent Australian films that focus on mental illness including: Mental (P.J. Hogan, 2012), Mary and Max (Adam Elliot, 2009), The Black Balloon (Elissa Down, 2008), The Home Song Stories (Tony Ayres, 2007), Romulus, My Father (Richard Roxburgh, 2007), and Three Dollars (Robert Connolly, 2005). A key focus of this research is the influence of autobiography, or memoir, upon these portrayals of mental illness. In the case of Mental, Mary and Max and The Black Balloon, I am also interested in the filmmakers’ use of comedy to depict a sensitive issue that is still burdened with stigma and stereotyping.

Dr John Hughes
Project: Filmmakers’ cooperatives in Australia 1966-86

Many of Australia’s most celebrated filmmakers began their creative lives in the Filmmakers Co-ops. Australia’s ‘underground’ and activist cinema brought together an extraordinary diversity of creative ambition, that combined with the ground swell of social change in the 1960s and ‘70s to create the Filmmakers’ Co-ops as a forum and a vehicle for ‘minority’ voices denied expression in mainstream media.

The research project proposed here would seek to identify and annotate key holdings of the AFI Research Collection essential to an account of the filmmakers’ co-operative movement in Australia (1966-86). Using the catalogues of the Co-ops (Melbourne 1974; Sydney June 72: Sydney – Melbourne combined 75-7, supplements ‘78), and catalogues, leaflets and posters produced by the AFI, Filmnews, Filmmaker and the newsletters of other Australian filmmakers Co-ops (e.g. Filmmakers’ Co-operative Hobart, Media Resource Centre, Adelaide and WIFT in Perth), an annotated database would be created for the Collection. This research would support continuing projects on the co-ops, and be acknowledged in the variety of iterations of the project envisaged.

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