Calling all students! AFI membership offer

Want to attend free advanced screenings of Australian film and TV? Want to chat with actors, filmmakers and producers? AACTA membership offers all this and more! Join now for a special 2-for-1 student offer. This is your chance to become an industry insider, and even vote in the AACTA Awards – Australia’s version of the Oscars! Join today:

AFI membership


Martin launches Mise en Scène and Film Style

Associate Professor Adrian Martin.
Associate Professor Adrian Martin.

Adrian Martin, an Adjunct Associate Professor in Film and Screen Studies at Monash University, launched his book, Mise en Scène and Film Style: From Classical Hollywood to New Media Art, on February 26.

Associate Prof Martin’s presentation,  Using Multimedia Like We Mean It: Audiovisual Demonstration in Film and Media Studies Today, was delivered before the Monash  academic community and invited guests at the Caulfield campus.


Dr Belinda Smaill acknowledges the work of Associate Professor Adrian Martin.
Dr Belinda Smaill.

The function also was a  farewell to Associate Prof Martin, who has worked with the Film and Screen Studies academic staff for some time.

Associate Prof Martin is renowned internationally as a film critic, who has been a prolific writer for more than 35 years.

Associate Professor Adrian Martin (from left), Dr Belinda Smaill and Associate Professor Therese Davis.
Associate Professor Adrian Martin (from left), Dr Belinda Smaill and Associate Professor Therese Davis.
Book launch of Associate Professor Adrian Martin at MADA.
Book launch of Associate Professor Adrian Martin at MADA.


CFP – Cinema at the End of the World

International Conference
16–19 November 2015

Call for Papers

Every day hundreds of people travel back and forth between southern countries,

including Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, New Zealand, Indonesia, Timor Leste

and South Africa; and with these people travel cultures, experiences, memories

and images. The Cinema at the End of the World International Conference takes

on a transversal South-South approach to the study of visual culture in transnational,

transcultural and geopolitical contexts. It seeks to create conditions for the

generation, sharing and circulation of new knowledge that is both southern and

about the South as a specific kind of material and imaginary territory (or territories).

It does so through the study of the southern hemisphere’s screen cultures,

addressing the broad spectrum of cultural expression in both traditional and new

screen media, including film, television, video, digital, interactive, and online and

portable technologies.

Proposals are invited for papers that explore intersections of screen works from

countries south of the Equator and one or more of the following themes:

Cross-Cultural Translations, Transformations and Mutations

Settler Culture and Modernity

Indigenous and Localised Media Practice and Theory

Representations of Trauma and Violence

Landscapes and Urbanisation

Plenary speakers:

Patricio Guzmán (TBC)

Lúcia Nagib (University of Reading)

Mariano Mestman (University of Buenos Aires)

Fernão Ramos (University of Campinas, Brasil)

Felicity Collins (La Trobe University)

The Inaugural Conference of the

South of the West: Southern Screens Research Network

Presented in association with:

School of Media, Film and Journalism, Monash University

Monash Art Design and Architecture

School of Languages, Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics, Monash University

Screen Studies Association of Australia and

Aotearoa/New Zealand Australian Centre for the Moving Image

School of Media, Culture and Creative Arts, Curtin University.

The Conference Conveners will accept proposals for papers until 28 February 2015.

Abstracts of no more than 250-words and a 100-word biography should be sent to with “CEW Abstract” included in the title

A Special Issue of Critical Arts will be dedicated to articles that emerge from

conference presentations.

For more information contact: or

deane. williams@

Monash University, Caulfield,

Melbourne, Australia

Download Flyer: CEW Call for Papers (1)


CFP – New Directions in Screen Studies

Call for Papers

New Directions in Screen Studies: A National Conference for Postgraduates and Early Career Researchers in Screen Studies

New Directions in Screen Studies is a two-day conference for postgraduates and early career researchers (ERCs) in Screen Studies. The conference is a forum for new researchers to showcase their work before their peers and develop professional links across campuses around the country and beyond.

Where: Monash University, Caulfield Campus, Melbourne

When: Thursday 18 – Friday 19 June 2015

Deadline for Proposals: Monday 2 February 2015

As well as papers from postgraduates and ERCs, the conference will feature four keynote presentations from established academics and screen practitioners:

  • Professor George Kouvaros, University of New South Wales. Books include Famous Faces Yet Not Themselves: The Misfits and Icons of Postwar America (Minnesota UP, 2010) and the forthcoming publication Awakening the Eye: Robert Frank’s American Cinema (Minnesota UP, 2015).
  • Professor Angela Ndalianis, Head of Screen and Cultural Studies, University of Melbourne. Books include The Horror Sensorium: Media and the Senses (2012), Science Fiction Experiences (2010) and Neo-Baroque Aesthetics and Contemporary Entertainment (2004).
  • Documentarian John Hughes, Honorary Fellow at the University of Melbourne. Films include Indonesia Calling: Joris Ivens in Australia and The Archive Project.
  • Dr Romaine Moreton, Research Fellow/Filmmaker in Residence, Monash University. Films include The Farm and The Oysterman.

The organising committee is currently seeking proposals for papers. We are particularly interested in papers focused on topics in the areas below. However, this list is in no way prescriptive – we are primarily interested in showcasing new areas of research in Screen Studies, so we are very happy to consider proposals outside these areas.

  • Transnational frameworks in screen studies
  • Sites of spectatorship, including film festivals, non-traditional spaces and site-specific screen practices
  • Gender and gender identity
  • Contemporary understandings of film style, genre and/or narrative
  • Celebrity studies
  • Intermediality and cross-platform storytelling

Presentations should be 20 minutes in length. We are also happy to receive proposals for panels of three presenters. A selection of presenters will be invited to develop their papers for articles to be published as part of a special dossier in Senses of Cinema.

Proposals of no more than 300 words, clearly stating the paper’s title and the author’s name and affiliation, should be sent as a Word document attachment to:


Under Construction Seminar Series 2015

2-4 pm in Room H805/06.Caulfield Campus. First Monday of every month during Semester

Next Session: 2nd March 2015

Under Construction is the School of Media, Film and Journalism seminar series run by postgraduates for postgraduates. Meeting on the first Monday of every month during semester, this series provides a great opportunity to interact with other postgrads and hear about all of the exciting work that is being done within the school.

The idea is to share ideas in a laid-back setting in which we can get to know each other and each other’s work. If you’d like to test-run a conference paper, your confirmation presentation, a journal article, or just share some of the ideas from your research, then this is the place to do it.

We are currently accepting proposals to be part of next year’s series. Presentations run for between 20 and 30 minutes and can be as formal or informal, detailed or general as you like. There will be two presenters per session and discussions are a big part of the gatherings.

To get in touch with us, just send us an e-mail at

The Under Construction team is made up of Felicity Chaplin, Matteo Dutto, Dan Edwards, Belinda Glynn and Shweta Kishore.


Symposium – Digital Media as Method

The Digital Media as Method symposium was convened by Deane Williams. Held November 13-14 2014, it featured leading international researchers/practitioners in a critical consideration of new methods in digital humanities.


“Dissolves of Passion”? Materially thinking through editing in digital videographic film and moving image studiesUntitled

Dr Catherine Grant, University of Sussex

Focusing on a number of videographic explorations of matters of film editing (including several of my own), my talk will ask what such practical, digital and audiovisual modes of research and presentation — ones which themselves evidently turn on editing — might add to the study of a cinematic feature that (with a number of key exceptions) has not received much sustained attention to date in written film scholarship.

‘Restless Media’

Professor Ross Gibson, University of Canberra Ross

In one of his last essays, the great historian Greg Dening captured his understanding of how he was always striving to activate the past that continues to push through the present in a myriad directions, from many different perspectives, serving variable interests. For the past is no gone thing. As an historian, Dening explained, you must work and wait for the past to reveal some of its vitality; and you must acknowledge that, as you minister to the past, you are committed to an ‘unclosed action’ and you must find communicative forms that serve this necessary openness.[1]

Dening worked mostly with the book-form and in the realtime performance of lectures; but as it happens, his identified need for restless but rigorous postulation is especially well served by digital media. (Given time, he would have set high standards for the digital humanities.) Prompted by Dening, I want to ask to what extent have digital media changed our ways of accounting for the world; and in counterpoint, to what extent have the digital media turned up at precisely the time when the world has indicated the need for them?

[1] Greg Dening, “Performing Cross-Culturally”, The Australasian Journal of American Studies, 2006, Vol. 25, No. 2, p.6.


Visiting scholar Thomas Elsaesser on Film Theory in the Digital Age

Affect and Appropriation: Film Theory in the Digital Age

October 13, 2014. Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Federation Square.

Presented by The Research Unit in Film Culture and Theory, Monash University and the School of Culture and Communication, Faculty of Arts, University of Melbourne.

Thomas Elsaesser is Professor of Film and Television Studies at the ThomasUniversity of Amsterdam and visiting Professor at Yale University. For more than forty years he has been a leading figure in the fields of Early Cinema, Quality Television, Digital Cinema, Harun Farocki, and New Hollywood Cinema. He is General Editor of the series Film Culture in Transition, published by Amsterdam University Press, and in 2008 received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society for Cinema and Media Studies.

His books include New German Cinema: A History (1989, reprinted 1994), Weimar Cinema and After (2000), European Cinema: Face to Face with Hollywood (2005), The Persistence of Hollywood (2012) and German Cinema – Terror and Trauma: Cultural Memory since 1945 (2013). He has also edited and co-edited some twelve other volumes. His books have been translated into German. French, Italian, Czech, Hebrew, Hungarian, Korean, Chinese, Japanese and Lithuanian. He is also author of hundreds of articles in journals such as American Film, Cinema Journal, Cinetracts, Discourse, Film Comment, Framework, Hors Cadre, Iris, Kinoschriften, Medienwissenschaft, montage a/v, New German Critique, October, Persistence of Vision, Positif, Screen, Sight and Sound, Trafic, Wide Angle as well as in several other foreign language journals.


MFJ academics with Thomas Elsaesser



International Screening and Q&A – New Directions in Indigenous filmmaking and performance

“New Directions in Indigenous filmmaking and performance: screenings and Q and A”. Presented by Dr Romaine Moreton and Lou Bennett

European Association for Studies of Australia (EASA) International Conference: Encountering Australia: Transcultural Conversations
Wednesday 24 September 2014, Monash University Prato Centre, Italy.

Dr Romaine Moreton

In this session, keynote speaker Dr Romaine Moreton, Goernpil Bundjulung filmmaker and scholar, joined with Yorta Yorta Dja Dja Wurrung performer Lou Bennett to present a program of works that represent new artistic directions in Indigenous filmmaking and performance and raise crucial issues about Indigenous cultural heritage and revitalisation of language.

Dr Moreton screened her new short The Oysterman (2013). She also presented her “chapter” from Warwick Thornton’s new film The Darkside (2013) – an experimental anthology of Indigenous ghost stories.


Lou Bennett

Lou Bennett,
best known for her work as a former member of the internationally acclaimed trio Tiddas and Artistic Director for Black Arm Band, will speak to her roles in the hugely successful Australian musical film The Sapphires (2012), as a musical performer on the film’s soundtrack, cultural consultant and translator of the film’s key Yorta Yorta song “Ngarra Burra Ferra.” Lou introduced excerpts from the film and speak to the historical and cultural importance of “Ngarra Burra Ferra” in the context of her PhD research on the relevance of Aboriginal language retrieval, reclamation and regeneration through the Arts to community health and well-being.



Film and Screen Studies involves historical, textual and critical approaches to film and television, and related video and new screen technologies. Film and Screen Studies subjects cover Australian, Asian and European national cinemas, earlier and contemporary popular Hollywood and its institutions, alternative film and video, documentary film, Australian television, popular television genres, online screen forms, and video practice.

Emphasis is given to a variety of historical, critical and theoretical methods of analysis appropriate to the study of the moving image, including formal, semiotic and psychoanalytic approaches, institutional, reception and cultural studies approaches, consideration of issues to do with the intersection of ideology and culture, the representation of gender, race and class, and questions concerning the relations between film and television and new technologies.

FSS Program Map (2014)

What can you expect from a Film and Screen Studies unit?

While detailed information on all of our subjects can be located within the current handbook, here are some ideas of what to expect in units offered at first, second and third year.

ATS1304 – Introduction to Television Studies

Employing textual criticism, critical theory and theories of political economy, this unit introduces students to a variety of approaches to the study of television. Students will consider the phenomenon of television through a critical approach to the forms specific to broadcast television through an understanding of recent theories relating to popular culture. These include issues of history, genre, context , consumerism and audiences. Attention will also be given to the cultural and economic forces that shape and are reflected in the structuring of television programs and networks. As part of their assessment, students create a critical audio commentary that closely examines one scene from a television series.

(Audio Commentary by Julia Kaddatz)

ATS2535 – Storytelling in Film and Television: From Classical Narrative to Art Cinema

This unit analyses texts that are representative of the stylistic diversity found in film and television. Students are encouraged to develop awareness of film and televisual form and style, and of how communication is organised within certain structured ways. The areas of film and television used to exemplify topics will be major innovatory phases including the development of film form in the continuity editing system 1895-1920, Russian formal experiments in the 1920s, alternative formal systems in Asian film, and post-war developments, including Italian neo-realism, European art cinema, avant-garde film, Third World filmmaking, and contemporary Hollywood and World film and television. As part of their assessment, students use the knowledge developed in this unit to produce entries for a Directory of Contemporary Cinema.

Here are some examples of work produced in 2014:

Barbour, Amanda. Godzilla, dir. Gareth Edwards

Batsakis, Joanna. Jealousy, dir. Phillipe Garrel

ATS3969 – Film and Television in the Digital Era

This unit provides an opportunity for students to critically reflect on the key critical approaches and concepts in film and television studies with a focus on new technologies and digital cultures. Students will look at the theoretical and critical issues arising from changes to the field in the digital era as they apply to a wide range of new screen medias. Assessment for this unit includes a creative research project that provides students with advanced training in research skills and methodologies in preparation for Honours and employment in creative industries.

(Video project by Gena Furze, Honeylyn Lisson, Kelly Jung Eun Kim and Elly Caldwell)

What our students say

“I think people underestimate the DSC_0245-2academic credibility of Film & Screen Studies. Visual culture has the capacity to reflect not only who we are, but also how we want to see ourselves. For example; as far as Hollywood is concerned, if anyone is going to save the world they will probably be American. Through cinema you can see social change. While the course has an academic foundation there’s room for creative licence. Lecturers encourage you to pursue films or subject matter which appeals to you, thus you are not bound by the curriculum and have the freedom to explore your own interests.” (Mandy Barbour, current student)



Honours studies in this area will advance students’ knowledge and competencies in the discipline of film and screen studies.

Students are required to complete 48 points of study including a thesis, a compulsory coursework unit and one elective coursework unit. Students may also be required to attend a short methodology course. The coursework units and the thesis topic are chosen in consultation with the film and screen studies honours coordinator.

Recent thesis topics have included:

Bad Men: American Masculinity and Post-Masculinity in Popular Quality Television and Online Audiences

Women Horror Filmmakers, Gendered Spectatorship and a New Wave of Filmmaking

Surf Movies: Innovation, Evolution and Nostalgia

Representations or Reality: Constructing and Deconstructing Stereotypes of Aboriginal Men in Australian Cinema

Changi(ng) History: Memory and the Experience of a Nation

Hornbags and Heroes: The Suburban Grotesque in Australian Film and Television

Searching the Soul of Neoliberalism: Postfeminism, the Pursuit of Happiness and Redeeming Ally McBeal

Investigating Women: Neurodivergence and New Femininities in Homeland and The Bridge

Narrative Form and Interactivity in the Modern Videogame

Good Witches and Bad Bitches: Maternity and Women’s Villainy in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

“Somewhere between a waitress and a mother”: Mad Men and Mothers

Teen-Machines: Teen TV and the representation, consumption and regulation of teenage sexuality

Syd’s Field Day: Industrial and Theoretical Approaches to Screenwriting

Love Our Way: The Secret Life of Spirited Women in Contemporary Television.

Storytelling in Contemporary American Cable Drama

What can you expect in coursework units?

While detailed information on current coursework units can be located within the current handbook, this is what students completed in 2014:

ATS4280 – Contemporary Film Theory

This is primarily a reading unit that will consider aspects of film theory since 1975. A major portion of the unit will be devoted to the debates around modernism and post-modernism as they relate to film studies. Other areas of investigation include: textual analysis, feminist film theory, historical poetics, historical reception studies, queer film theory, and the impact of the cultural studies and Cinema books of Gilles Deleuze. Film texts for exploration will include those from Australian, American, European and Asian cinemas. As part of their assessment, students produce entries for an Encyclopaedia of Contemporary Film Concepts. 

Here are some entries produced:

Harris, Paul. Fandom Studies

King, Lauren. Feminist Sitcom

Wham, James. Hong Kong New Wave

What our students say

“Completing an Honours degree in DSC_0263-2Film & Screen Studies has been a tremendously rewarding experience. Thanks to the dedication and proficiency of Monash’s teaching staff I have gained a wealth of knowledge and practical experience in academic writing and research. In addition to the educational benefits, my lecturers, tutors and supervisor have continuously strengthened my passion for film academia and have inspired me to pursue a career in the field of study. The coursework was both equally engaging and enlightening and the close working relationships with my Honours tutors and supervisor have been invaluable to my career.” (Jack Clarke, past student)


Higher Degree Research and Postgraduate Study


Film and Screen Studies offers supervision in the following areas:

  • alternative film and video
  • American film
  • Asian film (Indonesian, Thai, Japanese, Chinese, Hong Kong, Indian)
  • Australian film and television
  • documentary film studies
  • European film (especially French cinema)
  • film aesthetics (form, style, narrative)
  • film and television genre studies
  • film history
  • histories of film theory and criticism
  • international film cultures and institutions
  • teen film and television
  • women and cinema
  • women and television
Our recent submissions and completions:

Chaplin, Felicity (PhD). La Parisienne in Cinema. Supervisors: Adrian Martin and Phillip Anderson

Edwards, Daniel (PhD). Alternative Visions, Alternative Publics: Contemporary Independent Chinese Documentary as a Public Sphere. Supervisors: Olivia Khoo and Deane Williams

Frost, Craig (PhD). “Want to play a game?” torture porn, violence, media convergence and spectatorship. Principal Supervisor: Therese Davis

Honig, Michael (PhD). Ghosts of modernity: the J-horror cycle. Supervisors: Deane Williams and Constantine Verevis

Kannas, Alexia (PhD). All the colours of the dark: Genre, modernity and the Italian Giallo Film. Supervisors: Adrian Martin and Deane Williams

Lew, Catherine (MA). Spectacular Bodies, Anatomical Curio and One-Armed Wonders On Screen: A Focus on Representations of Disability in Asian Cinema. Supervisors: Olivia Khoo and Belinda Smaill

Loreck, Janice (PhD). Difficult subjects: women, violence and subjectivity in distinguished cinema. Supervisors: Belinda Smaill and Claire Perkins

Masukor, Sarinah (PhD). Alternate Weathers: How the films of Nuri Bilge Ceylan think about nature and technology. Supervisors: Adrian Martin and Claire Perkins

McQueen, Sean (PhD). Biocapitalism and Schizophrenia. Supervisors:  Andrew Milner, Claire Perkins, and Alison Ross

Monaghan, Whitney (PhD). Not ‘just a phase': Queer girls in contemporary screen media. Supervisors: Therese Davis, Claire Perkins and Olivia Khoo

Letizi, Roberto (PhD). The void of experience: moments of musical rupture in cinema. Principal Supervisor: Deane Williams

Soehadi, Gaston (PhD). Teguh Karya: A Film Auteur Working within a Collective. Supervisors: Olivia Khoo and David Hanan

Stevens, Kirsten (PhD). See it at a festival near you: the film festival as exhibition practice in Melbourne, 1952-2012. Supervisors: Adrian Martin and Constantine Verevis

Tutton, Charles (PhD). The digital apparatus: reimagining cinema in new media. Supervisors: Deane Williams and Constantine Verevis

Woodyard, Andrew (MA). The Romantic Comedy Genre. Supervisors: Deane Williams and Belinda Smaill

Postgraduate Activities

Under Construction Seminar Series

Under Construction is the School of Media, Film and Journalism seminar series run by postgraduates for postgraduates. Meeting on the first Monday of every month during semester, this series provides a great opportunity to interact with other postgrads and hear about all of the exciting work that is being done within the school.

New Directions in Screen Studies: A National Conference for Postgraduates and Early Career Researchers in Screen Studies

New Directions in Screen Studies is a two-day conference for postgraduates and early career researchers (ERCs) in Screen Studies. The conference will be held in 2015. It will provide a forum for new researchers to showcase their work before their peers and develop professional links across campuses around the country and beyond.

Peephole Journal

Peephole is an online film journal devoted to creative screen criticism. It regularly features articles by current and previous students at postgraduate and honours level. 

What our students say

“Moving overseas to undertake a PhD DSC_0265can be a great challenge. But when given an offer from one of the most respected Film and Screen Studies research units in Australia, with great support for research students and brilliant supervisors, it just made sense to pursue my passion for Australian Indigenous cinema and undertake a PhD at Monash. Research can often feel like a very solitary endeavor, especially if you have just arrived from overseas. The new coursework component of the graduate research program ensured that I had a chance to meet with other graduate students and with staff members on a regular basis, while developing at the same time all the skills needed to start my research journey” (Matteo Dutto, current student)


“Completing my PhD with Film anDSCF2422d Screens Studies at Monash University was an incredibly rewarding experience. The PhD program not only provided me with the support and guidance I needed to make the most of my doctoral study, encouraging my research and development as a higher degree scholar, it also provided a chance to interact with other post-graduates working in similar fields. Film and Screen Studies at Monash fosters a great sense of collegiality and community in its post-graduate students and, as a result, my time as a PhD candidate there was both enjoyable and rewarding for the friendships and research connections I made. Through the program I was also granted the opportunity to travel overseas to conduct research and present my work at an international conference, an experience that remains one of the highlights of my candidature. I got so much out of completing my PhD with Film and Screen Studies at Monash – I would recommend Monash to anyone interested in a PhD in Film, TV or screen media!” (Dr Kirsten Stevens, past student)


India In Flux: Living Resistance presented at MIFF

 Shweta Kishore.
Shweta Kishore.

India In Flux: Living Resistance at Melbourne International Film Festival 2014 is the first public presentation of a curated Indian documentary film programme in Australia.

Co-curator Shweta Kishore said the project was motivated by the desire to expand knowledge and appreciation of Indian screen cultures amongst Australian audiences.

“The programme presents a stirring vision of social resistance and struggle, authored by filmmakers who work in multiple geographical and production settings,” Ms Kishore said.

“The curation takes a historical approach to documentary cinema and includes imaginative expressions of cinematic language as well as new ways of relating to the traditional documentary subject, the ‘victim’ or subaltern.

“Comprising of six feature length and one medium length documentary film, the curation is interested in works that devise original cinematic idioms to engage with their political concerns.”

Ms Kishore said the programme extended to two filmmaker events, Currents of Dissent, a panel discussion with filmmakers Deepa Dhanraj and Anand Patwardhan, and film critic Meenakshi Shedde, about the structures and issues that are central to this cinema and its practitioners.

“The second event, a Documentary Directing Master Class with Anand Patwardhan offers an intensive engagement with the conceptual approach and film techniques of one of the world’s foremost political filmmakers’,” she said.

“As documentary cinema is in the midst of global churning and new players and agendas attach to the form, the capacity for this practice to maintain autonomy lies in plurality; dispersal of production sites and distributed modes of production and exhibition.

“Indian documentary cinema in its pluralistic dispersed and improvised mode of operation represents a valuable model for the survival of independent cinematic vision.”

Film titles: Children of the Pyre, Invoking Justice, Jai Bhim Comrade, John and Jane, My Name Is Salt, Quarter number 4/11, Tomorrow We Disappear, Vertical City

The programme is curated by Shweta Kishore, PhD Candidate, School of Media, Film and Journalism and supported by Monash University.


The Journey from AIDS to HIV

The School of Media, Film and Journalism hosted a fascinating preview of Transmission: The Journey from AIDS to HIV on Wednesday, July 16 at Monash University’s MADA building at Caulfield.

Staffan Hildebrand offers insight into his extraordinary film.
Staffan Hildebrand offers insight into his extraordinary film.

Film director Staffan Hildebrand has collected film material, captured between 1986-2013, on HIV/AIDS. The film captures the difficulties during the 1980s and progresses to 2013, which highlights the improvements in HIV treatment and longevity.

Hildebrand answered questions after the preview, which highlighted the depth of work and its target audience for AIDS 2014.

Hildebrand has been filming the HIV/AIDS epidemic since 1986, and is the founder and producer of the Face of AIDS film archive housed at the prestigious Karolinska Institutet in Sweden.

Staffan Hildebrand  (left) with Associate Professor Mia Lindgren.
Staffan Hildebrand (left) with Associate Professor Mia Lindgren.

Transmission: The Journey from AIDS to HIV was commissioned for AIDS 2014, the meeting of the  International AIDS Society to be held in Melbourne, 21-25 July 2014.

This film is a centerpiece for the conference that will engage delegates, HIV/AIDS professionals and the general population by exploring how the Australian response  was coordinated
across political and ideological boundaries and driven by the community but why today,  young people continue to be at risk of HIV.

Staffan Hildebrand (left) with producer Daniel Brace.
Staffan Hildebrand (left) with producer Daniel Brace.

It introduces us to many of the characters who have been influential over the three decades of the fight against HIV and AIDS.

It contains original never before seen historical footage from the Face of AIDS archive, along with new interviews from contrasting countries in the Asia Pacific region and how there is the real possibility of the virtual elimination of the transmission of HIV, and the hope that a cure or vaccine might yet be found.

Yet there are still a range of challenges that need to be overcome.

The Face of AIDS film project raises important questions about the role of documentary and life stories in medical research.


Face of AIDS and HIV: an international film archive

The School of Media, Film and Journalism is proud to host a special preview of Transmission: The Journey from AIDS to HIV.

The screening will be introduced by Staffan Hildebrand and followed by a Q&A mediated by Associate Professor Mia Lindgren on Wednesday, July 16 from 6pm to 7.30pm at Monash University’s MADA building at Caulfield.

Staffan Hildebrand with the 700 hours of unedited documentary  film material captured between 1986-2013 on HIV/AIDS.
Staffan Hildebrand with the 700 hours of unedited documentary film material captured between 1986-2013 on HIV/AIDS.

Staffan Hildebrand has been filming the HIV/AIDS epidemic since 1986, and is the founder and producer of the Face of AIDS film archive housed at the prestigious Karolinska Institutet in Sweden.

In addition to several feature films, all box office hits in Sweden, Staffan’s
documentary films on HIV/AIDS have featured at many international AIDS conferences and form an important record of the global impact of HIV/AIDS.

Transmission: The Journey from AIDS to HIV was commissioned for AIDS 2014, the meeting of the  International AIDS Society to be held in Melbourne, 21-25 July 2014.

This film is a centerpiece for the conference that will engage delegates, HIV/AIDS professionals and the general population by exploring how the Australian
response was coordinated across political and ideological boundaries and driven by the community but why today,  young people continue to be at risk of HIV.

It introduces us to many of the characters who have been influential over the three decades of the fight against HIV and AIDS.

It contains original never before seen historical footage from the Face of AIDS archive, along with new interviews from contrasting countries in the Asia Pacific region and how there is the real possibility of the virtual elimination of the transmission of HIV, and the hope that a cure or vaccine might yet be found.

Yet there are still a range of challenges that need to be overcome.

The Face of AIDS film project raises important questions about the role of documentary and life stories in medical research.

These and other questions about this historic collaboration between a filmmaker
and the medical sciences will be discussed in a Q&A following the screening.

To view the event flier, click here.



Monash’s hidden boutique cinema

By Ye Yuan

On the sixth floor of the B building, not accessible via the commonly used escalators, lies a mysteriously hidden boutique cinema.

Stepping on to the sixth floor was like walking into another dimension. The usual student clutter of desks and computers is replaced by fibrously painted white studios either filled with rows of easels or strangely beautiful objects.

The Grandmaster.
The Grandmaster.

It’s a perfect fit for Monash Film department’s newly renovated cinema, where Associate Professor Deane Williams plans to hold monthly showcases of alternative films that are hard to find in commercial cinemas.

For its opening screening this week, Associate Prof Williams chose the recent martial arts filmThe Grandmaster, by famed Hong-Kong second-wave filmmaker Wong Kar-wai. “In film studies, Wong Kar-wai’s a big name,” says Prof Williams.

“We use quite a few of his films in our teaching. “Everyone’s talking about this film as a ‘back to form’; My Blueberry Nights, his previous film, was not received so well and did poorly at the box office.”

Mostly known for his portrayal of drama and romance, this is Wong’s first dabbling in the realm of martial arts.

The Grandmaster.

“In recent years, one of the things people have been saying is that martial arts films have become a bit predictable and what Wong’s done … was turned it into a very epic and highly stylized choreographed film, which seems to be less about the fighting then about the way in which they are represented,” Associate Prof Williams said.

“One of the key scenes is … it’s not a fight scene, the Grandmaster Yip Man is trying to knock a cake out of his hand … so it’s more about the choreographing, the shooting and the very complicated special arrangements that he constructs with his camera and editing.”

Critics have found many technical pleasures in the film.

Peter Travers of Rolling Stone magazine said: “You leave this deeply flawed, deeply beautiful film with no doubt that you’ve seen an indisputable cinematic grandmaster in action.”

However, martial arts fans might be sorely disappointed as the film is less about the action and more about the artistic depiction of the action.

The new film venue at Monash was previously used as a video promotions studio. With the arrival of the digital age, the room’s function was rendered obsolete, and it had been out of use for five or six years before being rediscovered and revamped by the film department.

Films to be shown will usually run as supplementary to course content, providing students with further insight on key issues.

Future screenings on the list include the Pussy Riot documentary, Made in America and Sweet Grass 


Remapping Indigenous Filmmaking

Event – Remapping Indigenous Filmmaking: Beyond the Remote-Urban Divide

Monday, May 19 from 1-2.30pm @Caulfield Campus – H Building, Room H8.05

Dr Therese Davis and Dr Romaine Moreton present findings from their recently completed Screen Australia Research and Publication Partnership Program project and launch the new Australian Indigenous Film and Television Digital Bibliography.

Abstract: Colonialist classification systems of Indigenous identity have a long and contentious history in Australia. In recent years official use of race-based and blood-quotom systems have been replaced by the remote-urban divide, famously illustrated by Australian historian C.D. Rowley in The Remote Aborigines (1972) as a way of dividing ‘remote’ Indigenous Australians from those who live on the ‘settled’ side of the ‘frontier’.

Image: Romaine Moreton on the set of her short film The Oysterman.  Picture: Heidrun Lohr
Romaine Moreton on the set of her short film The Oysterman. Picture: Heidrun Lohr

The ‘Rowley Line’, as it is known, has been described as a geographic representation of the ‘frontier within the Australian psyche’ that continues to shape non-Indigenous Australia’s understanding of Indigenous Australia and perpetuate colonialist fantasises of Indigenous spatial and temporal distance from the modern world.

This project analysed the impact of the remote-urban divide on the production and receptions of Indigenous screen content from government inquiries and media polices to funding determinations, film and television programming, marketing, press reviews and audience expectations.

Their analysis of the complex network of Indigenous screen producers that crosses state and national boundaries and includes a broad range of filmmaking methods provides a dynamic countermap of Indigenous filmmaking and its place in the contemporary media landscape.

The seminar will be followed by a launch of the Australian Indigenous Film and Television Digital Bibliography a unique online resource where students, teachers, researchers, filmmakers and members of the public can access a wide range of sources of information about Australian Indigenous Film and Television hosted by Monash Arts online.

Biography: Romaine Moreton was recently appointed as a Research Fellow/ Filmmaker-in-Residence in the School of Media, Film and Journalism at Monash University. She is from the Goenpul Jagara people of Stradbroke Island and the Bundjulung people of northern New South Wales.

She was awarded a PhD from the University of Western Sydney in 2007. She is also an internationally recognised writer of poetry, prose and film. She wrote and directed the award winning short The Farm (2009), screened on ABC-TV in the “New Blak” series and The Oysterman (2013) to be broadcast in 2014 as part of the “Flashblack” series.

She has published articles on Indigenous film and television in Screening the Past and Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies.

Therese Davis is Head of the Film and Screen Studies program. She is the author of The Face on the Screen: Death Recognition and Spectatorship (Intellect, 2004) and co-author with Felicity Collins of Australian Cinema After Mabo (Cambridge University Press, 2004). Therese DavisShe has published widely on Australian Indigenous film and television in journals such as Camera Obscura, Studies in Australasian Cinema, Screening the Past, Continuum and Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies.

Davis and Moreton are currently working together on the ARC funded project “Australian Indigenous Film and Television: New Frames of Understanding” (2014-16) with Associate Professor Chris Healy from Melbourne University.

Click here for the Australian Indigenous Film and Television Digital Bibliography


Special screening of The Grandmaster

Associate Professor Dean Williams.
Associate Professor Dean Williams.

In a new special screening season, Monash University’s Film and Screen Studies presents The Grandmaster by Wong Kar-Wai.

The Grandmaster is Wong’s latest film, a highly stylised and narratively sophisticated recent return to form, following the unfair and universal panning of his previous “American” feature Blueberry Nights  (2007) Wong’s film is a biopic of Ip Man, the founder of wing chun kung fu and mentor to Bruce Lee.

Monash Film and Screen Studies Associate Professor Deane Williams will provide a scholarly introduction to the film.

The Grandmaster will be shown in B6.31 from 4pm to 6.30pm on Wednesday, May 7.

For further details contact: and


Monash cinema experts in Seattle

Three Monash Film and Screen Studies academics presented at the SCMS (Society for Cinema and Media Studies) 2014 Seattle Conference recently, showcasing the latest research in their field.

Associate Professor Con Verevis.
Associate Professor Con Verevis.

Associate Professor Con Verevis convened a panel titled “Contemporary Issues in Cinematic Remaking.”

The panel – chaired by Sean O’Sullivan (Ohio State University) – consisted on three presenters: Frank Kelleter (Freie Universität Berlin) on “The Remake as Pop-Art: Gus Van Sant’s Psycho and the Franchise That Knew Too Much,” Kathleen Loock (Freie Universität Berlin) on “Hollywood’s Franchise Era and the Logic of Remaking,” and Associate Professor Verevis on “New Millennial Remakes.”

The panel respondent was Jennifer Forrest (Texas State University, San Marcos).

Associate Professor Verevis will continue his work on new millennial remakes – and discussions with colleagues Kelleter and Loock – during a visiting fellowship at Freie Universität Berlin in June-July of this year.

Dr Belinda Smaill delivered a paper titled “Animals, Labour and the New Documentary Cinema of the Long Take.”

Dr Belinda Smaill.

This research is a component of a larger project on animals, ecology and documentary film.

“My paper contributed to the evolving field of Environmental Film and Media Studies that was specifically represented at SCMS by a new network of scholars in the form of a  “special interest group” (of which there are many at SCMS – providing a way for scholars to meet),” Dr Smaill said.

“With more than 1500 delegates, this was a substantial conference that offered an opportunity for exposure to key debates and new work in the field(s).”

And Dr Claire Perkins organised a pre-constituted panel titled “Indie Reframed: Women and Contemporary American Independent Cinema”.

Dr Claire Perkins.
Dr Claire Perkins.

“This panel previewed research to be published in the forthcoming edited collection of the same name, co-edited by Claire with fellow panel presenters Michele Schreiber (Emory University) and Linda Badley (Middle Tennessee State University),” Dr Perkins said.

“The collection seeks to examine and promote the work and experience of female practitioners in the male-dominated indie sector, where industry and criticism alike continue to cultivate “maverick” auteurs as the face and brand of the discourse.”

Dr Perkins’s contribution to the panel examined the case of Seattle-based filmmaker Lynn Shelton, director of films including Humpday (2009), Your Sister’s Sister (2011) and Laggies (2014).

Internationally renowned indie scholars Chris Holmlund (University of Tennessee) and Yannis Tzioumakis (University of Liverpool) acted respectively as chair and respondent for the panel.


Composing for the Australian screen

A public lecture by renowned Australian composer Mary Finsterer followed by a screening of the historical drama South Solitary (2010), directed by the award-winning Shirley Barrett, starring Miranda Otto, and with music by Finsterer.

In this lecture, Finsterer will speak to the collaborative nature of composing music for film and her personal experience of working on South Solitary, a unique Australian woman’s story set in in the wake of World War 1 on a remote lighthouse island off the coast of Tasmania.

Very much ‘a women’s film’, South Solitary was produced by a team of women in key creative roles, including production, direction, script, editing, cinematography and music.

The lecture will be followed by a screening of the film and a Q and A with the composer.

Mary Finsterer is recognized as one of Australia’s most original orchestral composers.

Professor Mary Finsterer.
Professor Mary Finsterer.

Her work has won many international awards, including the prestigious Paul Lowin Orchestral Prize in 2009 for her work inspired by Jorge Luis Borges, In Praise of Darkness.

Finsterer has also composed for many electro–acoustic events and films, including composing alongside Marco Beltrami for the blockbuster movie Die Hard 4.

Mary Finsterer  is currently a Vice-Chancellor’s Professorial Fellow at Monash University.

The music for South Solitary has been released on the CD label, ABC Classics/Universal.


Cultural specificity in Indonesian film

 David Hanan writes of his work on Indonesian film

My work on Indonesian cinema has focused on cultural specificity.

In contrast to Karl Heider’s 1992 book I do not attempt to define a “national culture” but see Indonesia as a multi-ethnic, society where even filmmakers working in the early 1950s, making films after the achievement of independence at the end of 1949, saw themselves as also working at a sub-national level, and set out to address the specificity of regional societies and regional cultures.

In this short talk I will take two examples of films made in and about the matrilineal society of the Minangkabau in West Sumatra, Djayakusuma’s Harimau Tjampa (“The Tiger from Tjampa”, 1953) and Asrul Sani’s Para Perintis Kemerdekaan (Pioneers of Freedom, 1979), illustrating the way in which traditional cultural elements from the particular society are incorporated in the first film, and how regional history at a time of change in the society is projected in the second.

Both films address the issue of how dialogue and solidarity is achieved, even within a conflicted community, via pre-national local traditions, some of which were incorporated within state ideologies by Sukarno and others.


David Hanan.
David Hanan.

David Hanan pioneered the Film and Television Studies program at Monash, being the sole Lecturer in the area between 1978 and 1989.

Between 1990 and 1994 he was the Head of the growing FTV section, within the Department of Visual Arts, at the time of the appointment of two more lecturers.

He has researched film in Indonesia since 1983, and his work has included the subtitling of some fifteen Indonesian films, initially at the request of the Indonesian National Film Council, including seven films for screening in a retrospective at MOMA in New York in the mid 1990s, and a film screened in a retrospective at Cannes in 2012.

In 1985 he became Company Secretary of the new organisation formed to renew the Melbourne International Film Festival, and also its South East Asian consultant, and from this position he was involved in numerous cultural relations projects with Indonesian filmmakers, resulting in growing industry links with Australia.

In 1998 he was asked by SEAPAVAA (South East Asia Pacific Audio Visual Archive Association) to be the editor of a book in which local critics, archivists and film programmers would write about film in their own countries, and this resulted in the first book to address the history of filmmaking in the SE Asian region, Film in South East Asia: Views from the Region (Vietnam Film Institute, Hanoi, 2001).

At Monash over the last decade he has introduced the first video production unit, “From Film Theory to Video Practice”, and also established a DVD distribution centre in the Monash Asia Institute, which distributes Indonesian films internationally, to schools and to universities worldwide.

He has supervised 11 postgraduate research theses, a substantial number of them being PhDs by postgrads from Asian countries.

His students hold or have held lecturing positions in Film Studies at the University of Colombo in Sri Lanka, Jadavpur University in Calcutta, Shanghai University, Universiti Sains Malaysia in Penang, the University of Kuala Lumpur, Universiti Teknologi Mara in KL and Griffith University in Brisbane.

He is currently completing a lengthy book on cultural specificity in Indonesian cinema.