Artist Film Workshop (AFW) + National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA)

AFW hosts an ongoing screening series at Arena (2 Kerr St, Fitzroy) with films in the public collection of the NFSA. The program showcases experimental, narrative and documentary films programmed by members of AFW. The cost is $20 which will gain you entry into three consecutive NFSA screenings held on the last Thursday of each month

No. 34: Joyce Wieland SHORTS 

2 Kerr St, Fitzroy

Thursday the 30th November, 8pm for an 8.30pm start

$20 membership for 3 consecutive months | $60 annual memberships (10x screenings)


***Final NFSA Screening for 2017!***

A selection of films from the filmmaker Joyce Wieland. Wieland is sometimes regarded as Canada's 'first feminist artist', her work offers an eccentric blend of nationalism, feminism, political satire and eroticism. In addition to experimental film she was also a painter and quilt maker (her work 'Passion over reason' famously hung over the bed of former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau). She is also known for her work with former husband, the experimental filmmaker Michael Snow. LB

Dripping Water - 10mins - 1969
‘Play sound loud’. – J.W.
‘You see nothing but a white, crystal white plate, and water dripping into the plate, from the ceiling, from high, and you hear the sound of dripping water. The film is ten minutes long. I can imagine only St. Francis looking at a water plate and water dripping so lovingly, so respectfully, so serenely. The usual reaction is: Oh what is it anyhow? Just a plate of water dripping.’ But that is a snob remark. The remark has no love for the world or anything. Snow and Wieland’s film uplifts the object, and leaves the viewer with a finer attitude toward the world around him, it opens his eyes to the phenomenal world. And how you can love people if you don’t love water, stone, grass.’ – Jonas Mekas.

Rat Life and Diet - 16mins - 1973
A film about draft dodgers during the Vietnam War escaping to Canada, this is a pro-Canadian film in the face of U.S. Imperialism. "When [Joyce] Wieland claimed she 'couldn't make aesthetic statements in New York any more,' this was not because other artists in the U.S. did not share her political views [...]. Circa 1971, it seemed that politicized artists in the U.S. had no choice, however, but to make art that was critical, angry, and oppositional. In Canada, Wieland foresaw the possibility of making art that was equally politically-engaged, yet profoundly different because it was affirmative and utopian, and because it was participating in a larger project to reinvent the nation. Rat Life and Diet in North America announced the emergence of a different kind of political art." -- Sloane Johanne

Cat Compilation (1969-73 - with shorts from other filmmakers) - 28mins A compilation of five short cat-centred films originally assembled for the Intercat Film Festival: 'Minnaloushe' by Andrew Sugerman; 'Meeoow' by Joan Shulof and John Bollinger; 'Cat Film for Ursula' by Standish Lawder; 'Fishes in Screaming Water' by Pola Chapelle; and Canadian Joyce Wieland's structural film 'Catfood' (1968). In Catfood, a cat is presented eating fish to a background of oceanic sounds.

all prints 16mm courtesy NFSA

No. 33: Films by James Broughton, Gregory Markopoulos & Ken Jacobs 

2 Kerr St, Fitzroy

Thursday the 26th October, 7.30pm for an 8pm start

$20 membership for 3 consecutive months | $60 annual memberships (10x screenings)

Gregory Markopolous - Twice a Man

Gregory Markopolous - Twice a Man

James Broughton
This is It (1971), USA, 10 mins
James Broughton’s creation myth, This Is It, places a 2-year-old Adam and a bright apple-red balloon in a backyard garden of Eden, and works a small miracle of the ordinary.

Gregory Markopoulos
Twice a Man (1963), USA, 47 mins
A reworking of the myth of Hippolytus, in which a chaste youth rejects the incestuous advances of his mother – who has summoned him to request that he break off a homosexual relationship – and is saved from death by a caring physician.

Ken Jacobs
Blonde Cobra (1963), USA, 33 mins
A man fondles objects, looks at himself in the mirror, poses in different clothes, smiles and makes faces at the camera while his voice on the soundtrack speaks of his despair, makes impressionistic statements and little songs. A reworking of a film and sound tape by Bobby Fleischner and Jack Smith.

16mm prints courtesy of the NFSA

No. 32: Kidlat Tahimik - Turumba (1980) 

2 Kerr St, Fitzroy

Thursday the 28th September, 7.30pm for an 8pm start

$20 membership for 3 consecutive months


Blurring the lines between documentary and fiction, Turumba is a brilliantly crafted satire of globalisation in a small Fillipino town.

Made by the grandfather of the Independent Philippine Cinema, Kidlat Tahimik, in collaboration with local craftsmen and artists, Turumba portrays the community of Pakil, a small town in Laguna province about 100 kilometres from the capital Manila.

Famed for the annual Turumba procession and musical tradition, the film focuses on a family who earn their living creating paper-mache icons, renowned across the Philippines, for the annual festivities. Upon receiving a commission to mass produce paper-mache figurines for the 1972 Munich Olympic games, the film traces the changes to the town as the Filipino hamlet becomes a sweat shop, observing the effects of global trade on the centuries old traditions, reflecting the broader histories of colonialism and exploitation in the Pacific.
– George Clark, Circuit

16mm print courtesy of the NFSA

No. 31 - Through A Different Lens: Joanna Margaret Paul / I Am An Open Window

2 Kerr St, Fitzroy

Thursday the 24th August, 7.30pm for an 8pm start

$20 membership for 3 consecutive months

A selection of films from the filmmaker Joanna Margaret Paul. The program is from Circuit in Wellington. It will also include a program of contemporary films responding to Paul's work, I Am An Open Window.

For full details of the programs and an essay about Paul's work by Peter Todd please visit here.

No. 30 - AFW Shorts

2 Kerr St, Fitzroy

Thursday the 27th July, 7.30pm for an 8pm start

$20 membership for 3 consecutive months

soda - chetwin

Come and celebrate our 30th screening in the series by enjoying a program of films by members of the Artist Film Workshop - a full program and notes will be made available on the night. Refreshments will be served, with critical analysis, strip-tearing, and self-aggrandisement all present.

No. 29 - Ben Rivers Shorts

2 Kerr St, Fitzroy

Thursday the 29th June, 7.30pm for an 8pm start

$20 membership for 3 consecutive months

ben rivers

“Ben Rivers’ practice treads the line between documentary and fiction, and his camera often turns to individuals and communities who have in some way retreated from society. He typically spends weeks, often months, with the people he films, using the resulting footage as a starting point for his exploratory visions of alternative existences in marginal worlds.” - LUX

We The People (2004), 1 min, 16mm
Astika (2006), 8 mins, 16mm
The Coming Race (2007), 5 mins, 16mm
Sordal (2008), 6 mins, 16mm
I Know Where I’m Going (2009), 29 mins, digital file
Sack Barrow (2011), 21 mins, 16mm

16mm prints and digital file courtesy of LUX. Special thanks to Ben Rivers for the loan.

No. 28 - My Life Without Steve

2 Kerr St, Fitzroy

Thursday the 25th May, 7.30pm for an 8pm start

$20 membership for 3 consecutive months

Gillian Leahy - My Life Without Steve
1986, colour, sound, 52mins

'An essay film, staged as a short drama deploying a first person, diary film narration over exquisitely designed object oriented “still life” tableaus, Gillian Leahy’s My Life Without Steve (1986) was a sensational hit in the mid-1980s. It won the Grand Prix and the Irwin Rado Award for Best Australian Film at the Melbourne International Film Festival, and the General Category of the Greater Union Awards (today’s Dendy Awards) at the Sydney Film Festival. The film screened widely and generated passionate debate.

The film is recognisable today as an example of “stasis” or “slow cinema” – think Jim Jarmusch’s Stanger Than Paradise (1984) or Todd Haynes’ Safe (1995), a slow cinema characterised by minimal movement, distanced framing, restrained emotional expression, and an estrangement of affect. The film is moving, but often not through the usual means of sutured emotional identification with character and story. It’s more Maya Deren, with a horizontal narrative dimension and a vertical poetic or associative one.' - John Hughes

Full text

No. 27 - 7,8,9 Three films by Hollis Frampton

2 Kerr St, Fitzroy

Thursday the 26th April, 7.30pm for an 8pm start

$20 membership for 3 consecutive months

Hollis Frampton - 'Palindrome' (1969)

Hollis Frampton - 'Palindrome' (1969)

These films are mainly related by the period in which they were made. Hollis Frampton (1936-1984) was recognised by New York critic P. Adams Sitney in his famous 1969 essay 'Structural Film'. In many ways these films demonstrate his investigation of the essential qualities of the medium, and its relationship to language.
16 mm prints courtesy of the NFSA.

States (1967)

This film attempts to essentialise matter in its relation to the 16mm film medium, structurally the films is edited as a palindrome - it runs the same forwards as backwards.

Artificial Light (1968)
A film Frampton made with a group of New York artists 'talking, drinking wine, laughing, smoking, informally'. Running the same footage through a series of manipulations which oscillate between the film's content and its formal properties, the repetitions approach what Sitney called 'the logic of the paradox'. As another more recent review of the film relates on its imdb listing: 'why on earth would he film the same thing over and over again?.. it's obvious Frampton had no idea what he was doing. If he did, this could be his revenge on the bullies from his school'.

Palindrome (1969)
One of the most perfect films ever made (according to Stan Brakhage). Frampton's interests in the tone row and serial composition are employed against film ends from the cutting room floor of the dye-transfer lab in downtown Manhattan where Frampton had worked for 10 years.

No. 26 - When I Will Be Dictator

2 Kerr St, Fitzroy

Thursday the 30th March, 7.30pm for an 8pm start

$20 membership for 3 consecutive months

When I Will Be Dictator Yaël André (2014) Belgium, 90 mins

Assorted from years of found footage, Yaël André stitches together a pseudo science-fiction narrative, scouring for mystery and purpose within seemingly banal and grainy 8mm relics. André’s philosophical treatise on the power of shared images playfully refracts the nature of authorship and personal expression.


Digital projection courtesy of the filmmaker.

No. 25 - Two Laws: A Film in Four Parts

2 Kerr St, Fitzroy

Thursday the 23rd February, 7.30pm for an 8pm start

$20 membership for 3 consecutive months

Two Laws

Two Laws: A Film in Four Parts (1981)
16mm, colour, 2hrs 10mins, Australia.

Made by the Borroloola Aboriginal Community with Carolyn Strachan and Alessandro Cavadini.

Borroloola Tribal Council made Two Laws in collaboration with two white Australian filmmakers, Carolyn Strachan and Alessandro Cavadini. The concept of two laws – being colonial and Indigenous law – can also be spoken about as two ways of storytelling. The film delves into what two laws stand for, two ways of being and two ways of perceiving.

The narrative of Two Laws challenges the conventions of documentary, and occurs more like a conversation. It is loosely constructed and provides the space for stories to occur, rather than being confined to a strict linear structure. Two Laws in this respect is very organic and, at the time that it was made, belongs to an era of 'making films that would express rather than merely observe Aboriginal culture’ (Film Quarterly). Along with Strachan and Cavadini, Two Laws was made by peoples belonging to Mara, Yanula, Garrawa and Gurdandji language groups. It is in four sections: Police Times, Welfare Times, Struggle for Our Land and Living with Two Laws.

No. 24 - An Exploration of Dance Ethnography

2 Kerr St, Fitzroy

Thursday the 24th November, 7.30pm for an 8pm start

$15 membership for 3 months

Trance and Dance in Bali

Trance and Dance in Bali

An Exploration of Dance Ethnography

As ethnography method and textual style originates in anthropology, cases of dance ethnography appear in the first anthropological studies from the late 19th century, included in elaborate descriptions of rituals. Dance is an indicator of social and cultural circumstances, often identifying points of conflict and driving transitions. Dance ethnography has revealed political and religious control of dance, in colonial and postcolonial settings as well as in many other contemporary situations of social inequality that can be said to lead to resistance or social critique, as in the revitalisation of ethnic dance or the making of alternative expression through dance.

A specific program has been selected to observe the diverse and enriching tradition of dance. Each film is set in a different country, and is taken between 1951-1981.

Three Dances 1978 8min dir. David Roberts

David Gulpilil performs three Aboriginal dances - Emu, Kangaroo and Fish

N!Owa T'ama = Melon Tossing 1973 15min prod. Center for Documentary Anthropology

Woman and girls from three separate Kung bands gather to play a long and intense game in which undertones of social and personal tension are apparent. The melon tossing game is unique in the complexity and stability of its music and in the frequency with which it is played. Gunda joins the game and dances spectacularly. He uses a dance step commonly encountered among Kwesan peoples

Trance and Dance in Bali 1951 22min prod. Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson

The Balinese ceremonial dance drama in which a struggle between a witch and a dragon is played out to the accompaniment of comic interludes and violent trance seizures.

Northern Games 1981 26min dir. Ken Buck

In the northern summer, Inuit (Eskimos) gather together from all over the Arctic Circle. They meet to participate in the Northern Games, the traditional games passed on through generations of Inuit. Most of the events are based on the skills and physical endurance so necessary for survival in the Canadian Arctic. Not only do they come to compete in such contests as canoe racing, harpoon throwing and the good woman competition but also to meet friends and relations, to sing, feast and dance the age old drum dances.

No. 23 - Social Observation: Martin/Lawder/Jennings

2 Kerr St, Fitzroy

Thursday the 27th October, 7.30pm for an 8pm start

$15 membership for 3 months

Standish Lawder - Necrology (1969)

Standish Lawder - Necrology (1969)

Automatic/Single/Continuous, dir. Lynsey Martin (1982) 9 mins
Originally filmed at a busy city intersection on super 8 at three different times of the day this is a formal exercise in which chance is a structural element. The title refers to automatic exposure by the camera/the three single takes/the continuous recording of a scene with the camera analogous to the human eye.

Approximately Water, dir. Lynsey Martin (1972), 3 mins

Leading Ladies, dir. Lynsey Martin (1973), 5 mins

Whitewash, dir. Lynsey Martin (1975), 3 mins

Necrology, dir. Standish D. Lawder (1969), 12 mins
A grim commentary by American film-maker Standish Lawder on modern urban society, consisting of one disturbing shot of faces in the rush hour in New York City, transformed at the end into comedy.

The First Days, dir Humphrey Jennings (1939) 23 mins
This film seeks through observation to capture the mood of Britain during the first months of the war. It is not descriptive nor does it make a statement of small impressions, while lacking the density of later British documentaries, has intimations of films to come like London Can Take It and Listen To Britain.

No. 22 - Experiments in Voyeurism: Dwoskin & Brakhage

2 Kerr St, Fitzroy

Thursday the 29th September, 7.30pm for an 8pm start

$15 membership for 3 months

Stephen Dwoskin - Take Me (1969)

Stephen Dwoskin - Take Me (1969)

Take Me, dir. Stephen Dwoskin (1969) 30 mins

One of Stephen Dwoskin's obsessive, erotic films, with a woman daubing her body with paint, and interacting with the camera, expressing both sexual rapture and melancholy.

Flesh of Morning, dir. Stan Brakhage (1957) 21 mins

This was the last of a series of four psychodramas (see also The Way to the Shadow Garden and Reflections in Black) made by Brakhage during 1955-1956. It is a subjective study of the act of masturbation which is not fully shown but represented by the splintering of the image, 'creating a semi-abstract collage of parts of bodies, close-ups, sudden unidentifiable movements' (Amos Vogel). This is the original version as completed by Brakhage in 1956. In 1986 he replaced the original percussion soundtrack with an electric track.

Desistfilm, dir. Stan Brakhage (1954) 7 mins

Free flowing camera movements follow five boys and a girl through various activities at a drunken party, culminating in the teasing of a Pan-like youth and the breaking off of the girl and one of the boys into a couple as the others look on accusingly.

No. 21 AFW+NFSA - Space Image Landscape Film

2 Kerr St, Fitzroy

Thursday the 25th August, 7.30pm for an 8pm start

$15 membership for 3 months

Still: Ken Kobland - Landscape and Desire (1980)

Still: Ken Kobland - Landscape and Desire (1980)

Particles in Space, dir. Len Lye (1979) 4 mins
This companion to Free Radicals is concerned with the energy of free movement and was created by scratching on the film surface. The rhythms of African drums provide a musical counterpoint.

Image Plus, dir. Mary Callaghan (1978) 7 mins
A montage of found and staged images and voices assembled to suggest the role of woman as both consumer and object of consumption; a group of young women counterattack.

Landscape and Desire, dir. Ken Kobland (1980), 43 mins
The landscape of America is viewed from cars, buses and rooms, in images shot mostly on super 8 colour stock, often optically printed to convey the sense of time and motion involved in travel. Exhibits in a bird museum become a metaphor for the sense of suspended motion the film constructs. The filmmaker has stated that the project began as a film of a Samuel Beckett story, The Lost Ones, although this remains only as an inspiration for the final film.

Film By Samuel Beckett, dir. Alan Schneider (1965) 22 mins
A nihilistic one-character play without words (and almost completely silent) written for the film medium by Samuel Beckett. Directed by a Beckett specialist from the stage, Alan Schneider.

No. 20 AFW+NFSA - Strand, Lelouch, Rouch

2 Kerr St, Fitzroy

Thursday the 27th July, 7.30pm for an 8pm start

$15 membership for 3 months

Still: Claude Lalouch - Iran (1971)

Still: Claude Lalouch - Iran (1971)


Mosori Monika (USA), dir. Chick Strand. 1969, 20 mins A documentary about two contrasting cultures. Spanish Franciscan Missionaries went to Venezuela in 1945 to civilize the Warrau Indians, who live on the Orinoco River Delta in relative isolation. On the surface the relationship between the Indians and the missionaries is simple, however the lifestyle of the Warrau Indians has been permanently altered.

Iran (Switzerland), dir. Claude Lelouch. 1971, 18 mins A mood piece directed by Claude Lelouch. Iran is shown as a country in transition. On the one hand it has modern cities, the oil industry and cosmopolitan city dwellers, and on the other hand it has mud villages, and is home for ethnic minority groups and families steeped in the tradition of making rugs.

Les Maitres Fous (France), dir. Jean Rouch. 1954, 30 mins A documentary about the West African religious sect called Haouka. Hitherto secret rituals of the sect are candidly recorded by Rouch with many images of violence as animals are sacrificed and sect members enter frenzied trances and mutilate themselves with fire. The rituals of the sect are parodies of the military and diplomatic ceremonies of British colonial rule, and Rouch questions the psychic effect of western civilization on African cultures.

No. 19 AFW+NFSA - Indonesia Calling / Film-Work

2 Kerr St, Fitzroy

Thursday the 30th June, 7.30pm for an 8pm start

$15 membership for 3 months

Joris Ivens - Indonesia Calling (1946)

Joris Ivens - Indonesia Calling (1946)


Indonesia Calling, dir. Joris Ivens (1946) 22 mins

Internationally recognised filmmaker Joris Ivens was in Sydney having been contracted by the Netherlands government to make a film about the return of the Dutch to Indonesia. Instead with the assistance of others he clandestinely made a film shot around the Sydney Harbour about the refusal of the seamen and waterside workers to man and load Dutch ships and arms to be used against the Indonesians in their fight for independence. The filmmakers employ a pointed montage approach which culminates in the dramatic halting of a Dutch ship in mid-harbour.

Film-Work, dir. John Hughes (1981) 44 mins

This film recalls the work of the Waterside Workers Federation Film Unit. Financed by several trade unions, the Unit produced eleven (mainly documentary) films between 1953-58. There are excerpts from four of the films ("Pensions for Veterans", The Hungry Miles", "November Victory" and "Hewers of Coal") and interviews with the Unit members, Keith Gow, Norma Disher and Jock Levy.

No. 18 AFW+NFSA - Films from the London Filmmakers' Co-op

*Artist Film Screening Society returns in 2016 at our new space at Arena!

2 Kerr St, Fitzroy

Thursday the 26th May, 7.30pm start

Light Reading (Liz Rhodes) (1978)

Light Reading (Liz Rhodes) (1978)


Little Dog for Roger (Malcolm Le Grice) 1968, 16mm, 13 mins

9.5 mm home movie footage was transfered to 16 mm using unconventional means like contact printing sections under glass and pulling the strip through a printer by hand. Factors like frame slip, dirt, scratches and soft focus normally considered as 'error' are consciously employed as part of this exercise in transforming the original material.

Clouds (Peter Gidal) 1969, 16mm, 9 mins

A project in anti-illusionism as the passage of an aeroplane in an indistinct sky is repeated, sometimes in negative, to disorienting effect with each fragment divided into 3 (non-continuous) shots.

Threshold (Malcolm Le Grice) 1972, 16mm, 14 mins

Concerned with the transformations that occur when film images are copied in a printer. There are five elements involved - pure colour, edge-fogged film, a frontier-guardpost, computer generated images and a six frame interchange.

Light Reading (Liz Rhodes) 1978, 16mm, 21 mins

This film combines structuralist and feminist concerns. A woman's voice searches for clues interrogating language itself. No answers are given. 'She' is alternately writing, reading and attempting a story whose structure eludes her. 'She' becomes implicated in the film's emerging structure.

No. 17 AFW+NFSA - Final Cinema: Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet

*Please note that this will be the final Screening at AFW Goodtime Studios

Thursday 25th February – 7.30pm start

History Lessons(1972)

History Lessons(1972)


The Bridegroom, the Comedienne, and the Pimp (Straub/Huillet) 1968, 16mm, B&W, 24 mins

A mysterious, structuralist burlesque and, following Godard's "fin du cinéma," a suggestion of a profound new beginning for the medium. Film history is the subject, and 25 minutes is all Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet need -- the hieroglyphs are graffiti on a wall ("Stupid old Germany"), an extended tracking shot from right to left constitutes the Dark Ages, the camera just recording the sidewalk of a Munich neighborhood past cars, gas stations, storefronts, and the occasional hooker, with Bach eventually filling the soundtrack. Vérité tawdriness gives way to theatricalized stasis, the camera now parked on the first row, at around a 30° angle, for a performance of Rainer Werner Fassbinder's Anti-Theater abbreviation of Bruckner's Sickness of Youth. Fassbinder slouches tersely, Hanna Schygulla and Lilith Ungerer are the zonked muses, the performers are dwarfed by the stage -- a bald proscenium, with the entrance a jumbo door out of a dollhouse, Mao scrawled in the back, conversations boiled to abrupt declarations of theme ("The only way out: To get married. Deliberate social integration"). Sudden Hollywood action-scene editing, a protracted wedding, then pastoral vistas as another (or is it?) narrative is parachuted in: Straub and Huillet sample and mould raw material after raw material, each element emphasized for its uniqueness and woven into the larger fabric of radicalized progression. The interracial newlyweds (Ungerer and Jimmy Powell) drive home to find Fassbinder, her pimp, waiting inside to take her back to the streets; she disarms and coolly shoots him before reciting lines from St. John of the Cross to the idyllic nature outside her window. Filmic subversion can prompt political revolution, and transcendence -- film to Straub-Huillet remains an instrument of change and a tool of contemplation, their heightened, final track both caps the medium's baptism and crystallizes its purposes, sorting light from darkness. --- Fernando F. Croce

Introduction to an Accompaniment to a Cinematic Scene by Arnold Schönberg (Straub/Huillet) 1972, 16mm, Colour, 17 mins

This film was commissioned for screening as a short documentary in a late night television program on new experimental music and film. It is interventionist in its approach to the relationships between music, politics and the conventions of television documentary. Two letters written by Schoenberg to Kandinsky on the subject of anti-Semitism are presented in conjunction with materials of very different origin - a quotation from Brecht, some news and archival footage and a newspaper report. Straub and Huillet locate their film at the point where Schoenberg's hostility to politics contradicts his Jewishness and his revolutionary aesthetics and music. The film's materialist construction challenges the normative idealist approach of such documentaries.

Geschichtsunterricht = History Lessons (Straub/Huillet) 1972, 16mm, Colour, 85 mins

Four interviews with contemporaries of Caesar's (a banker, a former soldier, a lawyer and a writer) are conducted by a young contemporary German replacing Brecht's narrator, a contemporary of Caesar's. The interviews place Caesar's exploits in direct perspective undermining his heroic, legendary image. They are linked by long takes filmed from a car being driven through the old quarter of Rome. Straub and Huillet have no desire to transport the viewer into an illusion of the past. This is distanciated history through a materialist play on codes of acting and cinematic construction in which no one language dominates the other. Straub and Huillet, like Brecht's unfinished novel upon which the film is based, invite you to establish meaning from the plurality of takes.

No.16 AFW+NFSA  Z to A: Su Friedrich's Ties that Bind Sink or Swim

Final Screening for 2015

Thursday 10th December – 7.30pm start


Ties that Bind (Su Friedrich) 1984, 16mm, B&W, 55 mins

The Ties That Bind is an experimental documentary about the filmmaker's mother, who was born and lived in southern Germany from 1920-1950. Through a mixture of personal anecdote and social history, she describes the rise of Nazism, the war years, and the Allied occupation, during which she met her future husband, an American soldier. The film creates a powerful dialogue between past and present, between mother and daughter. But it is more than an interview of a mother by a daughter—it is a profound search for a definition of history, and a challenge to our own responsibility for the present.

Sink or Swim (Su Friedrich) 1990, 16mm, B&W, 48 mins

Through a series of twenty six short stories, a girl describes the childhood events that shaped her ideas about fatherhood, family relations, work and play. As the stories unfold, a dual portrait emerges: that of a father who cared more for his career than for his family, and of a daughter who was deeply affected by his behavior. Working in counterpoint to the forceful text are sensual black and white images that depict both the extraordinary and ordinary events of daily life. Together, they create a formally complex and emotionally intense film.

No.15 AFW+NFSA Cities & Bodies

Thursday 29th October 2015 – 7.30pm start

Cost – $15 membership for 3 consecutive monthly screenings



2/60: 48 Kopfe aus dem Szondi Test (Kurt Kren) 1960, 4 mins

Kren´s 48 heads refer to a psychological procedure known as the Szondi Test. Running four minutes and shot at various speeds, Kren´s film fragments faces in extreme close-up: eyes, chins, hairlines, foreheads, with an occasional block of images using full-face. (Regina Cornwell, The Other Side: European Avant-Garde Cinema 1960-1980)

Manhatta (Paul Strand / Charles Sheeler) 1921, 7 mins

This portrait of New York, a precursor of the European experimental city symphony films, has been acknowledged as the first American avant garde film.

T.O.U.C.H.I.N.G (Paul Sharits) 1968, 12 mins

This film has been described by Adams Sitney as representing the viewing experience as erotic violence. Rapid still images of a young man in positive and negative, mixed with images of surgery and sexuality, turn him into a kind of icon of violence.

Rain (Joris Ivens) 1929, 11 mins

A lyrical impression of a rain storm in Amsterdam. This model 'city poem' observes, as Ivens puts it, the changing face of the city during the rain. It was filmed over a period of four months (weather permitting) but edited into a single passing shower.

Very Nice, Very Nice (Arthur Lipsett) 1961, 7 mins

Impressions of the absurdity and triviality of everyday life in modern urban society and its underlying anxieties.

Les Astronautes (Walerian Borowczyk/Chris Marker) 1960, 13 mins

Using collage and pixilation techniques, similar to his early Polish collaborater, Jan Lenica, Borowczyk produces a satirical look at competitive space travel.

The Act of Seeing with One's Own Eyes (Stan Brakhage) 1971, 32 mins

An extended silent film 'poem' about an autopsy performed in a coroner's office in Pittsburgh. 'Brakhage enters with his camera, one of the forbidden terrific locations of our culture, the autopsy room' (Hollis Frampton).

Warning: Contains graphic images of medical procedures.

No.14 AFW+NFSA Maguerite Duras' Destroy She Said

Thursday *1st October* 2015 – 7.00pm for an 7.30pm start

*October date due to Goodtime Studios venue availability*

Cost – $15 for 3 consecutive NFSA screenings


Destroy She Said (Marguerite Duras), 1969, 98mins. Duras' first film as director is a psychodrama based on her own play written in the wake of the 1968 events in Paris. Five people isolated in a hotel become enmeshed in a ritualistic game. Two women in the group absorb part of each others' personality in a manner comparable to that of principal characters in Bergman's 'Persona'. Duras' method, which she followed in subsequent films, was to write the scenario and film quickly in a matter of days, stripping the work to its basic elements.

No.13 AFW+NFSA – John Huston & Luis Buñuel

Thursday 27 August 2015 – 7.30pm for an 8pm start

Cost – $15 for 3 consecutive NFSA screenings


Let There Be Light (John Huston) 1946, 58 mins. Sponsored by the Army with the aim of facilitating the employment of emotional causalities of combat by showing that they were not insane. Hidden cameras were used to film individual and group therapy at a New York Hospital. For reasons never made clear the Army then banned the film. It was finally released in 1980.

Las Hurdes = Land Without Bread (Luis Bunuel) 1932, 27 mins. Bunuel's one documentary is as startlingly original as his fiction. His uncompromising revelation of the desperately poor Las Hurdes region in northeast Spain, near the border with Portugal, anticipated the social documentary movement in Europe by overdetermining it. Bunuel sought to push his audience beyond pity, perhaps commenting on what is now known as "poverty porn". An academic narration over Brahm's majestic Fourth Symphony is designed to disconcert or anger the viewer, or even make her laugh.

No.12 AFW+NFSA – Gotot Prakosa

Thursday 30 July 2015 – 7.30pm for an 8pm start

Cost – $15 for three consecutive NFSA screenings


Meta Ekologi (1979) 16 mins. A performance piece involving noted dancer, teacher and performance artist Sardono Kusuma and his group in a Jakarta mudpool. Humorous minimalism is used in evoking the theme of ecological 'dialogue' between humanity, earth and water, referring to the peasant working the land in a rice paddy.

Genesis, Genesis (1981) 11 mins. A film in which the filmmaker uses time-lapse animation of objects (including eggs, apples and yams) to evoke Indonesian mythologies referring to 'class and character' to quote the filmmaker.

A=Absolute, Z=Zen (1983) 10 mins. A mix of animation of montage of drawings and photographs to form what the filmmaker described as "a combination of visions on 'Mudhra Buddha Borobodur' projected through the eyes of Japanese Zen Buddhism as a reflection upon the nature of consumerist society".

Compilation 15 mins. A compilation of five hand-made (direct onto film) animations by Indonesian experimental filmmaker, painter and performance artist Gotot Prakosa. In 'Meta Meta' (n.d.) Prakosa depicts dreams he had as a young boy. 'Impuls' (n.d.) and Dialog '(n.d.)' are both early abstract animation. In 'Non KB' (1979), KB refers to Keluarga Berencana, the Indonesian for family planning. 'Koen Faya Koen' (1979) is an ironic reflection on the creation of the world. The title in Arabic refers to Muslim mythology.

PLUS – Arthur & Corinne Cantrill's Zap (1972) 2 mins

No.11 AFW+NFSA– James BenningLandscape Suicide

Thursday 25 June 2015 – 7.30pm for an 8pm start

Cost – $15 for three consecutive NFSA screenings

Landscape Suicide is a formal reflection on the relationship of the violent acts of two well-known but very different American murderers – a junior high school co-ed Bernadette Protti & the Wisconsin grave robber and psychopath Ed Gein – and the environments in which these acts took place. A dialectic is brought into play between the formally elegant and slightly surreal compositions, narrativity, the characterisation of the actors and the ‘reality’ of their responses to questions drawn from transcripts. Despite the nature of the material the effect is neither exploitative nor analytic in the conventional sense but, as an experiment in narrativity, curiously meditative.

(Total running time 96 mins)

No.10 AFW+NFSA – What is you? What is me? Are we close? Are we far? The nature, affect and effect of intimacy...

Thursday 28 May 2015 – 7.30pm for an 8pm start

Cost – $15 for 3 consecutive NFSA screenings


Italians at Home (1990) Ettore Siracusa (Australia) 30 mins. Two men sit in a darkened room watching slides of houses and portraits of Italian immigrants. They are researching a photo book entitled Italians at Home. This fictional text is the means of exploring notions about cultural identity, nostalgia and biography, looking and desire.

Human Remains (1998) Jay Rosenblatt (Denmark) 30 mins. Human Remains confronts the nature of evil by creating intimate portraits of five of this century’s most reviled dictators – Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Franco and Mao. This darkly poetic film is based entirely on fact, combining direct quotes and biographical information.

Le Temps Perdu (1964) Michel Brault (France/Canada) 27 mins. Filmed at a summer cottage outside Montreal, Le Temps Perdu composes candid observations of a group of French Canadian adolescents whose behaviour and conversation reflect their charm and awareness of poignancy.

(Total running time 87 mins)

No.9  AFW + NFSA –Abstract Colour

Friday 1 May 2015 – 7.30pm for an 8pm start

Cost is $15 for three consecutive NFSA screenings

Friday 1 May 2015 – 7.30pm for an 8pm start

Cost is $15 for three consecutive NFSA screenings

Kreise = Circles (1933) Oskar Fischinger (Germany) 3 mins. Fischinger’s first colour film made in Gasparcolour, a process he helped to develop. It was used as a commercial for the Tolirag Theatre and Advertising Agency and includes their motto ‘Alla Kreise erfasst Tolirag’ (Tolirag reaches all circles).

Mood Contrasts (Seeing Sound) (1954) Mary Ellen Bute (USA) 8 mins. Abstract animation utilising oscilloscope generated images superimposed over backgrounds, shot through glass bricks or cut-glass plate. Compared in counterpoint to Rimsky-Korsakov’s Hymn to the Sun & Dance of the Tumblers.

Bridges Go Round (1958) Shirley Clarke (USA) 7 mins. Two versions of the same film: a poetic close-up view, using multiple superimpositions of a giant metropolitan bridge, first with a soundtrack of electronic music, second with a jazz soundtrack.

Inferential Current (1971) Paul Sharits (USA) 8 mins. An experimental film involving the mapping of an image of the linear passage of '16mm frames' and 'emulsion scratches' onto actual 16mm film. The word 'miscellaneous' is extended to a length of 8 mins (sound) by fragmentation, looping and overlaying.

N:O:T:H:I:N:G = Nothing (1968) Dir. Paul Sharits (USA) 36 mins. An experimental film based, in part, on the Tibetan Mandala of the Five Dhyani Buddhas which involves a journey toward the centre of pure consciousness.

Neuron (1972) Dir. Robert Russett (USA) 5 mins

Nightcats (1956) Dir. Stan Brakhage (USA) 8 mins. Cats at night become haunting, demoniacal, symbolic.

Dresden Dynamo (1974) Dir. Lis Rhodes (United Kingdom) 5 mins. This film is the result of experiments with the application of Letraset and Letratone onto clear film.

(Total running time 80 mins)

No.8  AFW + NFSA – Dancing Frames

Thursday 26 March 2015 @ 7.30pm for an 8pm start

Cost is $15 for three consecutive NFSA screenings


Bruce Conner was among the first to use pop music for film sound tracks. His films have inspired generations of filmmakers, and are now considered to be the precursors of the music video genre. When told of his impact on music videos and status as 'the father of MTV' Conner would reply, 'not my fault.'

Breakaway (1966) Bruce conner with Antonia Christina Basilotta (Toni Basil) 4 mins

Looking for Mushrooms (1961) Bruce conner with Terry Riley, 3 mins

Vivian (1964) Bruce conner with Conway Twitty

Dancer, ethnographer, philosopher, and visual poet Maya Deren collaborated with (and later married), Japanese composer and performer Teiji Ito, on a number of films including Meshes of the Afternoon

The Very Eye of Night (1959) Maya Deren with Teiji Ito, co-directed by Hirokazu Koreeda, 13 mins

Toshio Matsumoto, is a pioneer of avant-garde experimental movies, multimedia, and video in his homeland and abroad. Making prominent use of music and mandala-like formal structures, Matsumoto’s deeply immersive and frequently psychedelic avant-garde films are trance inducing and quietly intense adventures in perception.

White Hole (1969) Toshio Matsumoto with Joji Yuasa, 7 mins

Atman = Atomanu (1975) Toshio Matsumoto, music by Toshi Ichiyanagi, 12 mins

Norman McLaren is famous for his innovative and prolific animated experiments and his hand-drawn sound onto film. Many of his short films won international film festival awards. He has influenced artists, filmmakers and musicians, from Picasso and Truffaut to Lucas and Linklater.

Begone dull care (1949) Dir. Norman Mcclaren music by Oscar Peterson Trio, 8 mins

A Phantasy (1948) Dir. Norman Mcclaren, music by Maurice Blackburn, 7 mins

No.7  AFW + NFSA – Guy Sherwin, Arthur Lipsett, James Broughton, Stephen Dwoskin, Peter Tcherkassky

Tuesday 24 February 2015, 7.30pm for an 8pm start

Cost is $15 for three consecutive NFSA screenings


Railings Guy Sherwin – 7 mins. An experimental film wholly consisting of a series of shots through some metal railings. The edge of the film frame also appears in some shots as a form of punctuation like the railings. As in other Sherwin films, the soundtrack is derived from sampling the sound that the image makes on the optical track, making use of the unique properties of sound reproduction on film.

At the Academy Guy Sherwin – 4 mins. An experimental film wholly consisting of academy leaders. Printed in such a way that the image of the leaders gradually builds up in layers superimposed, slightly out of phase, moving from one up to twelve layers. A fusing of adjacent frames results.

Musical Stairs Guy Sherwin – 10 mins. An experimental film consisting of a series of progressions involving a set of metal steps. The soundtrack is the result of Sherwin’s experiments with optical sound developed from pictorial rendering (sampling the sound that an image makes on the optical track).

Sound Track Guy Sherwin – 8 mins. Consisting of a series of shots of parallel railroad tracks taken from the window of a moving train. The soundtrack is a rendering on the optical track of the visual image.

21-87 Arthur Lipsett – 9 mins. This impressionistic montage of images and everyday sounds shows the individual reduced to the anonymity of a number – his/her humanity reduced by contemporary technology.

This Is It James Broughton – 9 mins. Broughton described this film as “a little Zen poem – a kind of homemade fable about the eternal now and the eternal child”. Another film-maker commented “One of the major mindless delights of the decade”.

Chinese Checkers Stephen Dwoskin – 14 mins. One of Stephen Dwoskin’s obsessive, erotic films. Two women play a game of Chinese Checkers, with each move expressing an increasingly intense emotional and physical relationship between them.

Outer Space Peter Tcherkassky – 10 mins. In this film, prolific Austrian avant-garde filmmaker and theorist, Peter Tscherkassky reinvents a 1981 Barbara Hershey horror vehicle, leaving the original’s crystalline surface intact only to violently shatter its narrative illusion. Sounds of crickets, static and distorted music give way to explosions, screams, and garbled voices. The actress’s face multiplies across the screen as the frame is invaded by sprocket holes, an optical soundtrack, and flashes of solarized imagery.

Parallel Space: Inter-View Peter Tcherkassky – 18 mins. “PARALLEL SPACE: INTER-VIEW was made using a still camera. The photograph produced by a 35mm camera corresponds exactly to the size of two film frames. If the negative of a photograph is projected sideways, two film frames are seen: first the upper and then the lower half of the original photographic image is projected. Its temporal and spatial unity disintegrates into pieces which then start corresponding with each other.” – Source: Canyon Cinema website.

“Photographic processes – the material transformations involved in recording, developing, printing, and in the case of film, projecting function as metaphors for psychological processes. What Tscherkassky does is to take various tropes of ’60s structural filmmaking (derived from Landow, Kubelka, Frampton, Gehr and Sharits) and run them through a Lacanian psychoanalytic sieve. In both form and psychological content, PARALLEL SPACE is deeply reflexive.” – Amy Taubin

No.3  AFW + NFSA – Elections, electricians, partners, & the country – six films linked by feelings of technical domination

Friday 26 September 2014, 7.30pm for an 8pm start

Cost is $15 for three consecutive NFSA screenings

Dennis Tupicoff – Animated Movies

After graduating from Queensland University in 1970, Dennis Tupicoff worked as an archivist and teacher before making his first animated film in Toowoomba. He moved to Melbourne and the Swinburne Film and TV School animation course in 1977. Since then he has continued making independent films as writer, director, producer, and (often) designer/animator.

My Big Chance (1977) – 2 mins. A short animated film about an encounter between an employee and his boss. The boss’s cliches about the future of the business are illustrated by images on the screen. The future for the company and the right people is bright, but this employee is fired.

Dance of Death (1983) 9 mins. Satire linking game shows and television violence.

The Needy and the Greedy Dir. Liz Burke (1995) 18 mins. Four characters- a horse trainer, a jockey, a bookie and a punter- tell their stories in this documentary about horse-racing and gambling. A witty, inventive film that touches upon notions of nostalgia, memories and lost pleasures by focusing on the special place that horse-racing holds within Australian culture.

Bouddi (1970) Dir. Arthur and Corinne Cantrill, 8 mins. Described by the filmmakers as ‘a camera calligraphy of the coastal bush near Bouddi, NSW’. The single frame stream of imagery – bark, insects, flowers, rock forms – and accompanying Aboriginal dance music can be seen as a metaphor for growth, summer, and the intensity of light.

Straight and Narrow (1974) Dir. Everley and Tony Conrad, 10 mins. An optical hallucinatory effect is created with alterations of vertical and horizontal lines.

Document: Dennis O’Rourke (1945 – 2013)

Wanting to make documentary films, Dennis O’Rourke moved to Sydney where the Australian Broadcasting Corporation employed him as an assistant gardener. He later became a cinematographer for that organisation, and so much more.

Ileksen: Politics in Papua New Guinea (1974) 59 mins. 1977 saw the first general election held after Papua New Guinea gained its independence from Australia in 1975. Looks at the election campaign, election day, and the formation of a government.

No.2  AFW + NFSA – Diary, Home Movie, Travelogue – Informal Visions in Experimental Cinema

Thursday 31 July 2014 @ 7.30pm for an 8pm start

Cost is $20 for three consecutive NFSA screenings

A collection of short films that capture the intimate side of film making through their informal style. These films focus on the relationship between internal and external space and meld rhythmic and formal elements with personal or candid dialogues.


Arabesque for Kenneth Anger (1961) Dir. Marie Menken, 5 mins. Originally an abstract painter and collage artist, Menken uses hand-held camera techniques to create rhythmic patterns of light, color, form and texture, composing dynamic visual poems. Made as a thank-you to Kenneth Anger for helping Menken with her filming, Arabesque for Kenneth Anger is a study of a Moorish palace, the Alhambra in Granada.

Julur (1977) Dir. Gotot Prakosa, 9 mins. One of a number of films made by Indonesian experimental filmmaker, painter and performance artist Gotot Prakosa while he was studying and teaching at the Jakarta Institute of the Arts in the 70s and 80s, Jalur is a documentary that compresses the journey by car from Jakarta to Bandung into 9 minutes. The filmmaker describes it as ‘the expression of the trip, as though it were a meditation, a trip in which you ignore everything around you.’

Ming Green (1966) Dir. Gregory Markopoulos 7 mins. An experimental portrait of Markopoulos’ New York apartment, edited entirely in camera, with black sections intercutting images of the interior and exterior to create a rhythmic flashing which serves to animate and bring to life the still shots of empty spaces.

Leading Light (1975) Dir. John Smith, 10 mins. Shot in a single room over the period of a day, Leading Light shows the changes of light and shadow on objects in the room. Smith follows the movement of the light using jump cuts, creating a kind of stop-motion that animates the static interior.

Reminiscences of a journey to Lithuania Dir. Jonas Mekas (1971-2), 82 mins Shot in three parts, Mekas’ film juxtaposes early footage of his life in Williamsburg as a new immigrant in the 50s with documentation of his return to his Lithuanian hometown ofSemeniskiai after 27 years of exile and a visit to Vienna, home of friend and fellow filmmaker Peter Kubelka. Bringing together these three strands in a series of diaristic episodes shot in his distinctive intimate style, this is a major work by one of the pioneers of post-WWII experimental film.

No. 1  AFW + NFSA – Inaugural Screening

Thursday 29 May 2014, the screening begins 7.30pm at Goodtime Studios

Cost is $20 for three consecutive NFSA screenings

A collection of experimental documentary shorts that share a concern for broadening the terms of ethnographic cinema and the role of women in film. There is a marked focus on everyday life and its revolutionary potential. The second half of the program looks at the practice of filmmaking, documenting the story of the medium itself.


Effacement (1980) Solrun Hoaas (Australia) 14 mins. Solrun Hoaas' first film is a poetic tribute to Noh mask maker Taniguchi Akiko. The film emphasises the relationship between the mask maker and her mask. It experiments with the visual and dramatic potential in Noh and in the mask, moving toward abstraction as the mask appears and re-appears.

Response de Femmes (1978) Agnes Varda (France) 8 mins. In 1975, Antenne 2 asked seven female filmmakers the question: “How does it feel to be a woman?” They had to answer with a film. Agnes Varda made the cine-leaflet “Response de femmes”, setting up a series of visual tableaux and engaging her participants in dialogues about issues raised by the women's movement.

Reassemblage: from the Firelight to the Screen (1983) Trinh T. Minh-ha (USA) 39 mins. sound and image is somewhere between fiction and documentary.

Endangered (1988) Barbara Hammer (USA) 18 mins. Building upon each other, slowly heightening the sense of urgency. Against this mood there is a reassuring image of a silhouetted woman working at the film projector. A strong, competent, fearless woman. Woman documenting, warning, saving.

The Train Rolls On (1971) Chris Marker (France) 33 mins. Documentary by the French worker-film-maker group, SLON (led anonymously by Chris Marker), about the Russian film-maker Alexander Medvedkin and his followers who operated a 'film-train' in the early 1930s, travelling around the Russian countryside showing and making films about daily life. Forty years later, Marker and the SLON group brought Medvedkin to Paris and filmed him at a railway depot while he recounted his story.