Calling old film buffs

Image of the Kid Stakes

Where are the members of the Sydney University Film Group from the 1950s?

David Donaldson, who later became the first director of the Sydney Film Festival, intends to organise a reunion of audience members from that era to celebrate 60 years since SUFG’s restoration of the now-iconic Australian film, The Kid Stakes.

Donaldson told SAM that in 1953 the prints of The Kid Stakes had been cut up into two-reel comedy shorts for the newsreel theatres. The materials were ‘rescued’ by a working party of members of the SUFG and presented in a revival season in 1954 in the Union Hall at Sydney University. Some of the 1927 cast were on stage for the presentation.

The existing version of the film is the 1954 re-edit done by John Jackson Morris, a member of the group. From the proceeds of that successful re-presentation, a new negative was made which the National Library of Australia was persuaded to acquire for posterity.

In Sydney for a panel at the recent Sydney Film Festival, David told SAM he hoped to flush out some of the 1954 audience “to record memories and influences of that student group effort”.