Australian Documentary: Notes on the State of the Art of the Art of the State in the 1960s
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This paper surveys some Australian documentary programs produced by state agencies (e.g. Commonwealth Film Unit, ABC Television) in the 1960s. Among the films considered are Cecil Holmes' I, the Aboriginal (1964),Therese Denny's A Changing Race (1964), Ian Dunlop's People of the Australian Western Desert (1965), Gian Carlo Manara's Living on the Fringe (1965), Bob Kingsbury's One Man's Road (1967) and Stefan Sargent's The Change at Groote (1968). To consider this state supported output, the paper sketches the range of documentaries made in Australia in the 1960s at the Australian Broadcasting Commission and the Commonwealth Film Unit. It then asks who made those documentaries? What styles of documentaries were made? What technologies were employed in the making of the films? What topics did the films address? And why was their production supported? It also examines the relationship of these films to international developments in documentary practice in the 1960s? It suggest that, as the decade progressed, the classical approach to documentary- off-screen voice of God commentary over illustrative images -- which from the early 1950s to the early 1960s had become the mode of a hegemonic view of Australian society, was increasingly challenged by a variety of documentary forms which included observational, lyrical and interview based approaches.
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