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The Archive Box / Archive Project

Film by John Hughes

Year: 2006, 273 mins
Code: JH-ArchivePt1
ISBN: 978-1-921895-18-0

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The Archive Box provides an in-depth encounter with the stories, sources and contexts of Melbourne’s Realist film movement, including the feature documentary The Archive Project.

Part 1: The Archive Project feature documentary (96 mins, 2006)
The Archive Project
examines the work a small group of dedicated film enthusiasts active in Australia in the early Cold War years. The Melbourne Realist Film Unit forged an Australian response to threats to freedom of speech and sought social justice through an engagement with European and American documentary, feature and avant-garde cinema. Their enterprise and creative ambition was not welcomed by governments of the day.
In their body of work – their films and equally importantly their exhibition practices – lays an important foundation of Australia’s contemporary independent film culture. Their story is told through the first person account of a filmmaker today, digging through archives.

Part 2: The Realist Film Unit’s films (52 mins 1946)
This disc contains the surviving films of the Melbourne Realist Film Unit in full. The films are enhanced with options for commentary tracks and alternative sound tracks. A menu section entitled New Theatre Performances includes introductions that cite contemporary reviews. There is also a text based 'index' providing supplementary documentation.

Part 3: Supplementary oral history extras (with info booklet)
The main feature of this disk is its illustrated oral histories.

Oral Histories on the New Theatre, the Melbourne Realists, the Australian National Film Board, ASIO and blacklisting, and the Margaret Walker Dance Group.

Margaret Walker, 5 minutes, 48 seconds
Philip Adams, 9 minutes, 30 seconds
Richard (Dick) Mason, 6 minutes, 20 seconds
Dot Thompson, 5 minutes, 18 seconds
Don Munroe, 5 minutes, 20 seconds

The film also contains seven caches of photographs and a text based selection from Realist Film Association publications.

Director: John Hughes
Producers: Philippa Campey, John Hughes
Feature editor / co-director: Uri Mizrahi
DVD authoring, after effects and animated menus: Tim Patterson

John Hughes is one of Australia’s most respected documentary (and drama) film directors, his work having won many awards. The films are usually Australian in orientation, examining art, cultural politics and history.  The work is often intensely research driven; the films are serious investigations into their material. Also they have cinematic creative flair.  His credits are numerous, starting in the early ‘70s with short films such as Nowhere Game, through to acclaimed documentaries in the ‘80s such as Film-Work, to the narrative feature What I Have Written in the ‘90s, and onto the recent award-winning documentaries The Archive Project (2006) and Indonesia Calling: Joris Ivens In Australia (2009).

Hughes was honored with Film Australia’s coveted Stanley Hawes Award, for Achievement In Documentary in 2006, and the inaugural Joan Long Award from the Australian and New Zealand Film History Association (2006).

Winner, The Audio/Visual History Prize, 2007 NSW Premier’s History Awards.
Best Feature Documentary, 2006 Film Critics Circle of Australia Awards
Best Tertiary Education Resource, 2006 ATOM Awards.
Winner, The Film and History Association of Australia and New Zealand’s 2006 Joan Long Award for Achievement in Australian Film History.
2006 AFI Award Nomination for Best Editing and Best Sound in a Documentary.
Writer/Director John Hughes was also honored with Film Australia’s coveted Stanley Hawes Award, for Achievement In Documentary in 2006.

…Here one of the country’s most respected doc filmmakers… works his essay magic on a forgotten part of Australian film history…There’s real politics, real style and real heart in this work and essential viewing for those interested in Australian politics, society and screen culture. Highly recommended.” - Perth Revelation Film Festival Review, 2007.

Salient words given the present climate of political paranoia. This is a powerful, relevant and original documentary — the product of serious detective work in the archives of Australian film.” - Natalie Craig, Sydney Morning Herald, January 2006.

John Hughes has a unique film style.He layers images and texts using a Dadaist technique to provoke a critical reading of the film.  This makes his films complex to watch because they work outside a familiar film language and do not meet our expectations.  Hughes likes to challenge the viewer on all levels.” – Catherine Gough-Brady, Dox Magazine, Winter 2009.

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