Femflix

Femflix

The Femflix project captured the unique voices of 90s feminist screen culture. Screen culture in its various forms, including live action shorts, digital interactive works, and animation, was a rich site for feminist practice during this period, distinguished by the emergence of the internet, and queer, indigenous and postcolonial critiques. Developed by the Contemporary Art and Feminism research cluster, the exhibition included an animation program, curated by Deborah Szapiro; a live action short film program, curated by Jacqueline Millner and Jane Schneider; digital movie posters by The Twilight Girls; and a new contemporary video installation by Elena Knox that draws on the insights of the 90s. Read more...

FILMMAKER INTERVIEWS

The exhibition Femflix: Australian feminist screen culture from the 90s entailed over a year of research, uncovering archives, digitising long-forgotten films, and thinking about the ongoing relevance of the themes and strategies of that era for contemporary artists and audiences. A major part of that research was interviewing some of the filmmakers about their experiences as women filmmakers in the 90s, and getting them to reflect on how those experiences shaped their future careers. Another key topic of interest was the filmmakers’ diverse takes on feminism and thoughts on how feminist approaches have changed over the years and in different artistic contexts. The filmmakers we interviewed include producers, directors, and cinematographers, working in a variety of modes, from independent experimental film, to commissioned TV work, to large-scale commercial cinema. These interviews give us a unique and fascinating insight into the feminist screen culture of the 90s, as well as into the ongoing concerns and possibilities for feminist filmmaking. We are indebted to these women for their generosity in sharing their views and openly engaging in wide-ranging discussion, all in their own homes.

INTERVIEWS
Samantha Lang, Tina Havelock-Stevens, Ruth Cullen, Janet Merewether, Jackie Farkas

Production credits:
Directed by Jacqueline Miller & Jane Schneider
Edited by Zac Millner-Cretney



Samantha Lang is a film director/writer and visual artist who has worked in Australia, France and the US over the last 20 years. Her films have screened at major international festivals such as Sundance, Toronto, Locarno, and have received recognition at the highest level. In 1997 her debut feature film, The Well, was nominated for a remarkable eleven Australian Film Institute (AFI) Awards and went on to screen at over 30 festivals worldwide. It was accepted into Official Competition at the 50th Cannes International Film Festival where it was nominated for the prestigious Palme d’Or. In 2000, The Monkey’s Mask premiered at Toronto Film Festival and was followed by a third feature, L’Idole (2003), which Sam co-wrote with renowned Roman Polanski collaborator Gerard Brach (Repulsion, The Tenant, Frantic). Filmed on location in Paris, the French language picture was released internationally in 2003. In Australia, Sam’s films have been awarded many times including at the Australian Film Institute Awards and the Sydney Film Festival. In 2015 her film Carlotta was nominated for five AACTA awards and won three. As well as being a creative practitioner, she has mentored, supervised and lectured postgraduate film students, as well as emerging film directors. Most recently she was elected as President of the Australian Director’s Guild and was on the taskforce at Screen Australia that rolled out the Gender Matters Initiative to redress gender and diversity imbalance in the sector.


Tina Havelock Stevens is a Sydney based interdisciplinary artist who works across video installation, sound, music, documentary, live performance and print. Her work has won awards and screened nationally and internationally in exhibitions, film festivals and on television. Havelock Stevens emerged from the post punk scene drumming with legendary Sydney band Plug Uglies. She has played with Crow, supporting Sonic Youth and Pavement, and with Chicks on Speed. Havelock Stevens studied film, sound and philosophy at UTS and has a Post Grad Dip from AFTRS. She has written, directed and shot various one hour documentaries broadcast for television and festivals and formed, recorded and played with post rock band The Mumps. Her continuing solo performances under the moniker White Drummer use rock n’ roll drum-kits in live durational spectacles and video installations. In 2013, she was commissioned by MONA FOMA to perform White Drummer Submerge where she drummed on full kit underwater. From 2014-2016 White Drummer has performed internationally in Detroit and the Mojave Desert, and in MONA, Performance Space, Gertrude Contemporary, National Portrait Gallery and Alaska Projects, Sydney. Havelock-Stevens is currently working on Nothing City, Nothing Place, an experimental video on the breakdown of architecture and community in Millers Point, Sydney.


Ruth Cullen is one of Australia’s most acclaimed documentary filmmakers. She is especially known for her fearless and empathetic character portrayals and her willingness to venture into new worlds. In 2014, her groundbreaking documentary series The Dreamhouse (Series Director & Writer) aired on the ABC to wide acclaim.
Other films include: the television series About Men (Series Director) and the documentaries Painted Lady (Prod/Director) and The Tightrope Dancer (Prod/Director) which explore the world of the artist and adventurer Vali Myers. She also made Becoming Julia – fast cars and a sex change (Prod/Director) which follows a macho Aussie farmer through his sex change into Julia. Becoming Julia premiered to a standing ovation at the Sydney International Film Festival.
Other directing work includes the television series High Steaks(Series Dir.) and Heat In The Kitchen (Series Dir.) which launched the television careers of chef Luke Nguyen and food critic Matthew Evans (Gourmet Farmer). In 2010 she won the AFI/AACTA Award for Best Documentary for You Only Live Twice – the incredibly true story of the Hughes Family (Producer). Her films have screened all over the world including the prestigious IDFA (Amsterdam), Montreal, Los Angeles, Sydney & Melbourne, Film Festivals. She has worked as an industry consultant to Screen Australia and as an Executive Producer in Arts for the ABC. She is the former Head of Documentary at AFTRS and is currently a board member of The Antenna Documentary Film Festival.


Dr Janet Merewether is an award-winning Australian documentary filmmaker and academic. Her film, digital art and documentary works produced by Go Girl Productions and Screen Culture include Jabe Babe – A Heightened Life and Maverick Mother, which have won numerous Australian and international prizes including TIDF, ATOM, IF and AFI awards, enjoying retrospectives in Taipei, Berlin and Boston. Her films have screened at New York Film Festival, MoMA New Directors/ New Films and numerous international festivals. She completed her doctoral degree at the University of Technology Sydney in 2008 on the subject of innovative hybrid documentary, and continues to explore new directorial strategies in media art and feature documentary. Her first feature documentary, Reindeer in my Saami Heart, released this year, has been nominated for two ATOM Awards for Best Documentary – Biography, and Best Indigenous Resource.


Jackie Farkas is a Sydney based cinematographer. She first became a devotee of the moving image back in the 80s whilst studying architecture. She went on to study at AFTRS graduating in 1992 with a major in cinematography. While at film school, she directed The Illustrated Auschwitz and Amelia Rose Towers. The Illustrated Auschwitz, her first year film, won numerous Australian and international awards including the Golden Dove from the Leipzig Film Festival. Amelia Rose Towers won AFI awards for direction and cinematography plus a bear hug from Francis Ford Coppola when she collected the Grand Prix at the Tokyo Film Festival of International Cinema Students. Farkas’ career as a director of photography (DoP) has included countless shorts, features and stylized documentaries. Highlights include second unit director and cinematographer on Jane Campion's Holy Smoke, DoP on the multi-award winning stylized documentary Jabe Babe, and DoP on the visual FX feature Hunt Angels that picked up 3 AFI awards including best cinematography for a documentary. Farkas has personally won twenty international and national awards and has had her work screened in over 40 international and national festivals.


EVENTS

Wednesday 10 August  Event details
Officlal Exhibition Opening                        

6pm, SCA Galleries

Sydney College of the Arts, Rozelle

Femflix was formally opened by Samantha Lang, President of the Australian Directors Guild, and featured Racket Racquet Dual Duel by Tina Havelock Stevens. VNS Matrix celebrated the 25th anniversary of their Cyberfeminist Manifesto by premiering an updated manifesto.

VIEW THE EXHIBITION CATALOGUE

Wednesday 17 August Event Details

Screening: Jabe Babe: A Heightened Life

Q&A: Dr Janet Merewether with Dr Marée Delofski      

6-8pm, SCA Auditorium

Sydney College of the Arts, Rozelle

Janet Merewether's Jabe Babe: A Heightened Life won the 2005 AFI Award (Australian Film Institute) for Best Directing in Documentary, the 2005 IF (Inside Film) Discovery Award for Best Australian Documentary and a 2006 Merit Award at the 2006 Taiwan International Documentary Festival.

This hybrid documentary presents the 'tall story' of 31 year old Jabe Babe, who measures six foot two inches (188cm), works as a dominatrix and has a life-threatening genetic condition called Marfan Syndrome. Merging fiction and non-fiction forms, the film provokes questions about society’s desire for sexual, visual and genetic conformity.

Wednesday 24 August  Event details
Sydney launch of Women and Animation Australia (WANDAA)

6-8pm, SCA Auditorium

Sydney College of the Arts, Rozelle

WANDAA (Women and Animation Australia) is a voluntary, independent project celebrating the work, ideas and stories of women past and present involved with animation in Australia. The WANDAA project aspires to encouraging conversation, participation and inclusion as it evolves into a comprehensive online resource of interviews, informative links and an extensive database of individuals, films and projects.


PRESS

'New exhibition to celebrate overlooked era of Australian feminist film', SBS Australia, 3 August, 2016

'Exhibition Celebrating Australian Feminist Films to Open in Sydney', Women in Hollywood, 5 August 2016

'Forgotten films capture the unique voice of 90s feminism in Australia', FBi Radio, 10 August 2016

Femflix, 'The Thousands', 10 August 2016

'Rediscovering the overlooked work of Australia’s ‘90s feminist filmmakers', Daily Life, 11 August 2016

'The Art of Feminism', Altmedia, 18 August 2016

'The Australian feminist films of the 90s were revolutionary. We can't let them disappear', The Guardian, 19 August 2016


The Femflix project acknowledges the support of

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