HomCastMPActionCall for Papers

To be held in association with the Universities of Deakin, La Trobe, Melbourne, Monash, RMIT and Swinburne; and in partnership with the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, the Australian Film Institute, and the Centre for the History of Emotions.

Wednesday 22nd–Friday 24th February 2017

Venues to include: ACMI, Deakin Edge, Federation Square, State Library of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia.

Confirmed keynote: Lesley Stern, Professor Emerita University of California, San Diego.

Selection of the best papers to be published in Senses of Cinema.

Screen media form the connective tissue of Melbourne’s cultural life. From key moments in early cinema, such as the production of the world’s first feature film The Story of the Kelly Gang, to the broadcast of national events like the Melbourne Cup and AFL Grand Final, to early video game developers such as Beam Software setting up in the city, there is barely a section of Melbourne that is not illuminated by screen culture. This three-day symposium, organised by the cross-institutional Melbourne Screen Studies Group, will chart this vibrant activity through presentations, panel discussions, industry events, and screenings.

We are inviting submissions for research papers, panels, and non-traditional research presentations for this exciting event. Industry and medium specific presentations are welcome, as well as those that adopt a broader view of Melbourne’s screen cultures and make comparisons with national and international examples. Proposal topics might include, but are not limited to the following, areas:

  • Melbourne on Screen
    From dramas like Romper Stomper to suburban soap opera Neighbours and the superhero adventure Ghost Rider, the diversity of Melbourne’s landscape, architecture, and people allow the city to tell any number of screen stories. We encourage papers that consider how Melbourne is depicted on screen for local and international audiences, as well as proposals that explore how the city is used as an anonymous space. Related topics might include multiculturalism and migration, celebrity, authorship, special effects/affects, authenticity, emotional histories of Melbourne screen culture, Melbourne as a city of affect, and tourism.
  • Screen Cultures in Melbourne
    Melbourne offers a fertile example of how a city can engage with screen culture, from historic movie palaces and film societies to public screenings and events. Proposals that examine screen cultures, including the institutions that support them, are welcome. Explorations of the interrelated roles of gaming and advertising in citizens’ everyday and screen-related experiences of place and aesthetics are encouraged, as are proposals that address the documentary and experimental forms. We also invite proposals on photography, pre-cinema screens and the use of mobile screens, especially framed in relation to film culture, narrative and/or aesthetics. These proposals could range from research papers to practice-led approaches to capturing Melbourne’s screen memories and experiences.
  • Seeing Difference
    As a city, Melbourne’s identity has been actively cultivated through references to difference, political action and alternative culture. Screen texts as diverse as Annie’s Coming OutHead On, and Please Like Me are suggestive of the variety of ways in which difference has helped bring Melbourne to the screen. We invite proposals that consider these intersections between politics, identity, and difference.
  • Early and Silent Melbourne
    Melbourne is home to many milestones and major works of early and silent cinema, including the 1896 Melbourne Cup carnivalthe 1900 multimedia work Soldiers of the Cross, and, of course, the 1906 feature film The Story of the Kelly Gang. Proposals are invited that chart this energetic early period in Melbourne’s screen life.  
  • Melbourne on Page and Screen
    Melbourne has inspired artists in a range of forms. We encourage papers that consider how Melbourne-set stories have made the transition from page to screen such as Miss Fisher’s Murder MysteriesOn The Beach, and The Slap, as well as texts that utilise transmedia paradigms.

Conference Organised by the Melbourne Screen Studies Group

Proposals of 250-300 words for individual presentations or full panels (3 or 4 papers, 250-300 words per paper with lead author nominated) should be sent to by September 1st 2016, along with a 150-word bio. Queries can also be directed to this address.

Soul of the Documentary: Framing, Expression, Ethics by Ilona Hongisto

hongistoBook Launch
by Prof. Angela Ndalianis (Screen Studies, Melbourne University)

Deakin City Centre, 550 Bourke Street, Melbourne
Thursday December 17, 4.00pm–5.00pm (following MSSG seminar)

Book Description:
In Soul of the Documentary: Framing,Expression, Ethics (Amsterdam University Press, November 2015), Ilona Hongisto stirs current thinking about documentary cinema by suggesting that the work of documentary films is not reducible to representing what already exists. By close-reading a diverse body of films – from The Last Bolshevik to Grey Gardens – Hongisto shows how documentary cinema intervenes in the real by framing it and creatively contributes to its perpetual unfolding. The emphasis on framing brings new urgency to the documentary tradition and its objectives, and provokes significant novel possibilities for thinking about the documentary’s ethical and political potentials in the contemporary world.

Documentary does not simply document what is; it presses reality to reveal what is to come. This thrillingly original and well-argued book brings a shot of energy to studies of documentary cinema, film theory, and the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze. Ilona Hongisto shows that documentary cinema is an active space of becoming, whose power lies not in indexicality but in capture, the selection of certain aspects of the real to actualize. Her analysis of the aesthetics of the documentary frame, which captures and expresses according to the distinct operations of imagination, fabulation, and affection, will inspire scholars and filmmakers alike.
––Laura U. Marks, School for the Contemporary Arts, Simon Fraser University

With this book, Hongisto breaks new ground. She introduces a fresh vocabulary to explore our experience of documentary reality as a becoming, a transit zone between what is and what is not yet. There is a deep purpose here: to reconsider how we engage with and understand documentary film, and perhaps cinema itself.
Bill Nichols, author of Introduction to Documentary and a regular consultant with filmmakers

Ilona Hongisto is an Academy of Finland Postdoctoral Fellow in the department of Media Studies at The University of Turku, Finland, and an Honorary Fellow at the Victorian College of the Arts, The University of Melbourne.

Paperback copies of the book will be available for purchase at the launch ($30.00 cash only). An open access version is downloadable from:;keyword=Hongisto

Documentary Film Studies Panel

Melbourne Screen Studies Group, Presentation
Thursday December 17, 2015, 3.00–4.00pm
Deakin City Centre, 550 Bourke Street, Melbourne

Monash University and University of Melbourne
Chair: Constantine Verevis (Monash U)

1. Framing as Immanent Evaluation: Capturing Change in Post-Soviet Eastern Europe —  Ilona Hongisto
This presentation maps the work of the frame in capturing the transition of Eastern Europe after 1989. With examples from longitudinal documentary projects from the region, the paper argues for the centrality of the frame in capturing and expressing the sociopolitical changes that took place after the fall of the Soviet Union. The argument belongs to a larger project of moving away from the index and re-theorizing documentary cinema from the point of view of “the aesthetics of the frame”. This, I will argue, enables considering the work of the documentary as immanently entangled to the real as process.

Ilona Hongisto is an Academy of Finland Postdoctoral Fellow in the department of Media Studies at The University of Turku, Finland, and an Honorary Fellow at the Victorian College of the Arts, The University of Melbourne, Australia. She is the author of Soul of the Documentary: Framing, Expression, Ethics (Amsterdam UP) and her work has also been published in such journals as Cultural Studies Review, Transformations, Journal of Scandinavian Cinema and Studies in Documentary Film.

2. Regarding Life: Animals and the Documentary Moving Image
Belinda Smaill
Documentary is increasingly the preeminent format for rendering nature, especially animals, onscreen. This presentation outlines the substance of a forthcoming book that identifies a new documentary terrain. There is a tide of new filmmaking wrestling with the pivotal ecological debates of our time: species loss, food, production, and the problem of science. This project adds to our understanding of the documentary genre by bringing together examples from a broad array of moving image contexts, including wildlife film and television, advocacy documentary, avant-garde non-fiction and developments in new media. Regarding Life explores how films render humans and animals and what political ends.

Belinda Smaill is a Senior Lecturer in Film and Screen Studies at Monash University. She is the author of The Documentary: Politics, Emotion, Culture (2010) and co-author of
Transnational Australian Cinema: Ethics in the Asian Diasporas (2013).

3. Utilitarian Filmmaking in Australia 1945–1980
— Deane Williams
This presentation will outline the Australian Research Council funded research project
Utilitarian Filmmaking in Australia 1945 – 1980 successfully proposed by Ross Gibson, Mick Broderick, Joe Masco, John Hughes and myself to commence in 2016. Focused on the post-WWII decades prior to the proliferation of video in the late-1970s, this project will map, analyse and work to compile an archive of what we are calling Utilitarian Cinema (clientsponsored, instructional and governmental filmmaking existing outside the conventional theatrical contexts by which cinema is usually defined). After a brief overview this presentation will outline some of the key challenges for the project and some of the first steps to be undertaken.

Deane Williams is Associate Professor in Film and Screen Studies at Monash University. His books include (with Noel King and Con Verevis) the three volume Australian Film Theory and Criticism (2013-16), (with Zoe Druick) The Grierson Effect (2014) and Australian Postwar Documentary Films (2008). His new book The Cinema of Sean Penn: In and Out of Place has just been published by Wallflower Press

Imaging Screens – MSSG Seminar Presentation

Melbourne Screen Studies Group (MSSG) Seminar Series/ 2015
Friday 6 November 3:00 – 5:00pm
Deakin City Centre 550 Bourke Street Melbourne
R.S.V.P or

Imagining Screens

A presentation by staff from the School of Communication and Creative Arts in the Faculty of Arts and Education at Deakin University.

The Disrupted Screen: Digital Television in Australia (Toija Cinque)
The up-take of internet integrated television is increasing and smart television use is rising. Broadcasting as audiences and industries have known it faces further transformation. The presentation explores issues having arisen over how to safeguard local content in a globally interconnected media world where protection is diminishing.

Toija is a writer and Senior Lecturer in Media and Communications.

The Last days of Sunlight (Simon Wilmot)
Lamalama elder Sunlight Bassani is sick and dying and wants to finish the quest he began as a young man, to get his people back onto their country. To do this he must negotiate with white people through a process he doesn’t fully understand while maintaining cohesion within the Lamalama in the face of the unmaking and remaking of identity and authenticity that this quest is forcing on them.

Simon is a filmmaker, Senior Lecturer and Head of the Film and Television discipline.

Screening Objects (Lienors Torre and Rose Woodcock)
Screening Objects looks at the relationship between screens and objects from two artists’ perspectives. This research references personal work and the work of other artists.

Lienors is an animator, glass artist and Lecturer in Animation & Motion Capture.
Rose is an animator and Lecturer in Animation & Motion Capture.

Filmnews Digitisation Project

Filmnews was published from 1975 to 1994. Over time Filmnews came to represent the voice of the independent Australian film and video maker, while maintaining a broad brief, covering the areas of media production and practice, media policy, film culture and theory. It carried well-informed interviews with individual filmmakers (famous and obscure, local and foreign) side by side with critical interviews with policy-makers, film bureaucrats and broadcasters, side by side with analyses of institutions, funding regimes and media policies, side by side with sophisticated but accessible articles on current film theory debates.

Complete sets of this newsprint periodical are very hard to find these days and they are crumbling. The Filmnews Digitisation Project will create an archival resource providing a wealth of material for those researching Australian cinema, the history of independent media, cultural policy and Australian film and video in particular.

$20,000 needs to be raised for this project. Donations can be made at

Audience Transformations: Tracking And Theorising Reception In A Fragmented Media Landscape

Date: Friday; 11 September 2015
Time: 3-5pm
Venue: Conference Room at Deakin City Centre campus (550 Bourke Street)

Screen Studies scholars from Swinburne University of Technology will lead a discussion on different approaches to audience studies, a research area that has been complicated in recent years by screen convergence, streaming platforms, and transmedia paradigms. Researchers from three departments (Media and Communications, Swinburne Institute of Social Research, and Law) will give brief presentations on the many questions and debates that dominate screen studies today.

The presentations in the first group will complicate our understanding of fan culture and identity. Dr Liam Burke will discuss different approaches for studying the non-fan audiences of cult texts. Dr Dan Golding will consider how audience data for videogames is gathered and the continuing rhetorical uses of the videogaming audience. Alexandra Heller-Nicholas will discuss how Abel Ferrara’s Ms. 45 is a privileged artefact from the specific perspective of feminist cult film fandom. Professor Jason Bainbridge will look at the mainstreaming of fan culture and the increasing importance of material culture in virtual spaces. This first section will conclude with an open discussion about the different strategies and practices for understanding fan culture.

Dr Claudy Op den Kamp will open the second group discussing digitisation efforts in which little or no attention is given to public domain titles including Warner Bros.’ online distribution model and The Criterion Collection’s DVD distribution policy. Dr Ramon Lobato will focus on streaming platforms and audience geography, reflecting on streaming culture as a research problem for screen scholarship. Professor Jock Given will discuss the range of research methods used for an ARC Linkage project supported by the ABC and Screen Australia to quantify the changing ways Australians are watching and engaging with audiovisual stories. This presentation will lead into more general discussions around tracking and theorising reception in a fragmented media landscape.

Liam Burke
Sean Redmond

Book Launch – The Films of John Hughes: A History of Independent Screen Production in Australia by John Cumming

Untitled-1Dear Colleagues,
You are invited to:

The Films of John Hughes:
A History of Independent Screen Production in Australia
by John Cumming

Book Launch

‘John Hughes ­ an underrated, canny maverick of our national scene.’

John Cumming¹s superb book is not only about the prodigious, exploratory, challenging films, videos and TV programs made by John Hughes it is also about what it takes to keep moving and changing with the times, how to negotiate with institutions and collaborate with sympathetic minds from other art forms, how to research and teach and theorise on the spot.
Adrian Martin

The book will be launched by
Lesley Stern, Professor Emerita
University of California, San Diego

Where: Bella Union, Level 1, Trades Hall,
Cnr Victoria and Lygon Sts (enter via Lygon St)

When: 6pm, Monday 27 July

Bookings are essential.

The Films of John Hughes: A History of
Independent Screen Production in Australia

The Films of John Hughes is available to purchase from The Education Shop and copies will also be available at the launch.

The Stardom and Celebrity of David Bowie – a 2-day symposium

David Bowie during the ‘Heroes’ album sessions. Photograph by Masayoshi Sukita, 1977. Courtesy of The David Bowie Archive. Image © Masayoshi Sukita

David Bowie during the ‘Heroes’ album sessions. Photograph by Masayoshi Sukita, 1977. Courtesy of The David Bowie Archive. Image © Masayoshi Sukita

The Stardom and Celebrity of David Bowie is a 2-day symposium that brings together artists, academics, and cultural commentators to reflect on the influences of and on David Bowie in rock, pop, film, art, fashion and performance.

When? 17th-18th of July @ ACMI.

Bowie’s cultural and artistic currency is presently at an all-time high with the release of his first album in almost a decade, The Next Day (2013), reviewed in The Independent as possibly “the greatest comeback album ever”.

The release of a series of momentous music videos that recall and reflect upon his artistic career, the record-breaking David Bowie is global exhibition tour, and the recently released ‘Sue (Or in a Season of Crime)’ from Nothing Has Changed (his forthcoming compilation album spanning 50 years of recorded work) continues to ensure David Bowie’s status as an agent of change and inspiration.

Experts in the field of Popular Culture, Celebrity and Media Studies will include Keynote speakers:

Professor Will Brooker, Professor of Film and Cultural Studies at Kingston University;
Dr Kathryn Johnson, Curator of David Bowie Is and Director’s Researcher, Victoria and Albert Museum;
Robert Foster (Songer-songwriter, author and founding member of the Go-Betweens).

Also featuring a number of national and international academics and art practitioners, the conference will include keynote presentations, panel discussions, performances and workshops.

The conference has been organised by ACMI, Sean Redmond and Toija Cinque from the School of Communication and Creative Arts at Deakin University, and Angela Ndalianis from the School of Culture and Communication at The University of Melbourne.

Batman: 76 Years as a Transmedia Text – a free public lecture by Will Brooker

Batman: 76 Years as a Transmedia Text

Professor Will Brooker
Film and Television Department, Kingston University

Melbourne School of Design-B120 1 [Singapore theatre], University of Melbourne
1:00 to 2:30pm
Wednesday 15/07/2015

Free public lecture

Since 1940, one year after his inception, Batman has occupied multiple media texts: from 1943 onwards he has also existed across multiple media forms. This talk takes us through 76 years of Batman as a cross-platform cultural icon, tracing his journey from comics through newspaper strips and film serials to television, movies and video games. It argues that these different Batmen exist in a dialogue, rather than a simple process of adaptation, and explores the way in which they continue to inform each other, right up to the Arkham video games, the Gotham TV show and the forthcoming Batman v Superman blockbuster.

Will Brooker is Professor of Film and Cultural Studies and Head of the Film and Television Department at Kingston University, London. Professor Brooker’s work primarily studies popular cinema within its cultural context, situating it historically and in relation to surrounding forms such as literature, comic books, video games, television and journalism. In addition to the numerous essays and articles on film and fan culture that he has published, his books include Star Wars (2009),  Alice’s adventures: Lewis Carroll in popular culture (2004), Using the force: Creativity, Community and Star Wars Fans (2002), and the edited anthologies The Blade Runner Experience (2004) and The Audience Studies Reader (2003).  He is also a  leading academic expert on Batman and the author/editor of several books on the topic, including Batman Unmasked (2000) Hunting the Dark Knight (2012) and Many More Lives of the Batman (in press, August 2015).

Professor Will Brooker’s public lecture is sponsored by the School of Culture and Communication at The University of Melbourne and the School of Communication and Creative Arts at Deakin University.

For bookings go to: