Eras Journal – Allen, J: Abstract

Abstract of Allen, J., “Australian Visions. The Films of Dahl and Geoffrey Collings”.

In November 2002 the Australian Graphic Design Association (AGDA) conferred the Hall of Fame Award posthumously on the creative partnership of Dahl Collings (1910-1988) and Geoffrey Collings (1905-2000).

Honoured for their achievements in graphic design, it may be easy to overlook the fact that the Collingses’ oeuvre also included successful documentary filmmaking. This article is extracted from the biographical thesis Two Sights: One Vision. Dahl and Geoffrey Collings. It aims to reveal their filmmaking activities, introducing an informative and factual foundation for future critical analysis of their films together with a contextual evaluation of their contribution to Australian documentary filmmaking history.

It traces Dahl and Geoffrey’s filmmaking activities over a thirty-six year period, commencing with the influential contact with the founders of the British documentary movement. Their first attempts at documentary Alquezar (1936) and Tiare Tahiti (1938) were followed with work on Harry Watt’s classic feature film The Overlanders (1946). From 1946-1950 Geoffrey worked for the Film Unit of the Department of Information (DOI) and then with the United Nations. ‘Let’s Make Films Work for Australia’ was the motto of their independent company Collings Productions and through their filmmaking lenses they painted portraits of Australia for Qantas Empire Airways, often reflecting their artistic background and always their love for Australia.