A Salute to Martha Ansara – November 8th, 2017.


and the

Australian Cinematographers Society (ACS)


A Salute to Martha Ansara
– filmmaker, cinematographer, feminist, writer, political agitator, mentor and then some …
Join Ozdox, ACS and Martha to celebrate her wide-reaching contribution to Australian film and take a trip through five decades of social and cinematic ferment: a reminder of valuable strategies of resistance and action, collectivity, creativity and fun.

With veteran filmmakers:

Alec Morgan, Calvin Gardiner, Jeni Thornley, Kit Guyatt,
Pat Fiske, Stephen Wallace, Storry Walton
… and comments from the crowd.

Wednesday, 8th November 2017, 6 for 6.30pm, AFTRS theatre
Entertainment Quarter, 130 Bent St, Moore Park NSW


Those were our days of wine and roses …
our wins and our setbacks …

For those who were there, walk with us down memory lane and reunite with old friends. For those who perhaps weren’t even born, it will be a chance to hear about the thrills, spills and chills of what has come before – the institutional and collective support we lobbied for and developed in order to make creative, inclusive and committed films.



Martha Ansara has led a busy life – she has worked on many films in various capacities – many of which will be discussed at this Salute. For this session, we asked her to make a list of her significant involvements, influences and associations – we had no idea the breadth of her engagement …

The Sydney Filmmakers Co-op • The Experimental Film Fund • Sydney Film Festival • Association for International Peace & Disarmament • Formation of the Australian Film Commission • Co-op Cinema, St Peters Lane • The Sydney Women’s Film Group • The Vietnam Moratorium • Film News • Our many Film Workshops • The Communist Party of Australia • Working with the ALP when it was the ALP • May Day • WomenVision Weekend • Prisoners Action Group • International Women’s Day • The AFC Creative Development Fund • Supreme Sound • The Builders Labourers Federation Green Bans • Springboks Demonstration • Feminist Filmworkers • Land Rights Movement •  Cuban Film Festival • The Australian Film & Television School • Colorfilm • Motion Picture Subcommittee, Australian Theatrical & Amusement Employees Association • Video Access Centres • The National Film & Sound Archive • The Women’s Film Fund • ABC support for independent documentaries • Women in Film & Television and WOW festivals • The Film & Television Institute (Fremantle) • The Australian Screen Directors Association • 10BA Tax Incentives • Battles over foreign imports • Australian Cinematographers Society • People for Nuclear Disarmament • Tribune • Wharfie •The Voyage of the Pacific Peacemaker • Documentary BBQs • ATA&EA Rank & File Group • Motion Picture Safety Code • Metro Screen • Mike Rubbo’s FA doco screenings • Women’s Film Unit, Film Australia • Australian National Documentary Conference • BUGA-UP • WA Greens • “Sweet FA” Campaign for Film Australia • Red Meets Green Event (WA) • Big March, 1988 Survival Day • Flickerfest • Cinema Papers • Metro Magazine • Hiroshima Day • TIAS Film Valuer • Balmain Resident Action • Australian Screen Directors Women’s Group • Filmmakers Oral History Group • Media Production, UTS – Mise en Scene classes, Lighting Workshops, Maltese Falcon marathon • NTEU • Creteil Films de Femmes celebrates Australian women • Archive Forum & the fight for the NFSA • dLux media arts • Essie Coffey’s Bush Queen Memorial Concert • NSW Greens • Film & History Conference • Anti-Iraq War March • Ozdox • Applied History, UTS • Ken Parks Anti-Censorship Event • Blue Sky Campaign Oz TVCs • Lecture on Alfred Hitchcock • Marrickville West Community Garden • Aust-US Free Trade Agreement Campaign • Australian Directors Guild • 50th Anniversary Australian Cinematographers Society • Top End Aboriginal Bush Broadcasting Association workshops • ACS Book Committee • Wolli Creek Bush Care • Antenna Documentary Festival • Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon • “Fair” Use is Free Use • Illawarra Content Creators • Make it Australian Campaign and so much more…

Pat Fiske is facilitating and speaking at this session. She is an experienced director and producer. She started making films in 1973. In 2001 she was awarded the prestigious Stanley Hawes Award for her outstanding contribution to the documentary industry in Australia. Some of the films she has directed are the award-winning documentaries:  Rocking the Foundations (Martha was cinematographer); Woolloomooloo; For All the World to See; Australia Daze, Following the Fenceline, Larrikin Lad and Footprints on Our Land. She has produced Business Behind Bars, Selling Sickness, River of No Return, Scarlet Road, Love Marriage in Kabul and Oyster. At present she is producing When the Camera Stopped Rolling and developing several other projects.  Pat was co-head of documentary at AFTRS from 2002-2008.

Jeni Thornley is a documentary filmmaker, writer and film valuer. Her poetic essay documentaries Island Home Country, To the Other Shore, Maidens and collaborative feature For Love or Money are landmark films in Australian independent and feminist cinema She was a founding member of Sydney Women’s Film Group (acting in/working on Film For Discussion with Martha Ansara), the International Women’s Film Festival and Feminist Film Workers. Active in Sydney Filmmakers’ Co-op and Film News, she also served terms as Manager Women’s Film Fund and Co-ordinator Documentary Development, AFC. Jeni is currently a Research Associate at UTS and developing an archival project, memory=film, based on her super 8 collection, recently digitized by NFSA. http://www.jenithornley.com/

Stephen Wallace has directed six feature films; STIR, THE BOY WHO HAD EVERYTHING, FOR LOVE ALONE, BLOOD OATH, TURTLE BEACH and recently A SUBURBAN LOVE STORY. He began his professional career ) in 1977 with his own low budget 50 min drama THE LOVE LETTERS FROM TERALBA ROAD (Martha was the camera assistant) and followed this with another hour long low budget drama CAPTIVES OF CARE 1981 (ABC). He also directed one hour dramas GORDON BENNETT (Ch 9), QUEST BEYOND TIME (Ch10) WOMEN OF THE SUN (SBS) and the 90 minute telemovies MAIL ORDER BRIDE, HUNGER, OLIVE and ENVY for the ABC. He has also directed for series television (WATER RATS, FLYING DOCTORS and PIG’S BREAKFAST). Martha was the DOP on his short film CONMAN HARRY. He was President (and a founding member) of the Australian Director’s Guild 1992-2001 and has been a member of the ADG Board continuously for 25 years. He also teaches screen acting, runs workshops and has his own theatre company, Impulse Theatre.

Alec Morgan is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Media, Music, Communications and Cultural Studies at Macquarie University. He is also a filmmaker whose credits include Lousy Little Sixpence, a seminal film that exposed the forced removal of Aboriginal children from their families, and the hybrid feature Hunt Angels, about early Australian film mavericks Rupert Kathner and Alma Brooks. Martha Ansara shot his first film Robin Campbell-Old Fella Now and they co-produced, with Essie Coffey, My Survival As An Aboriginal. Martha was also the cinematographer of Lousy Little Sixpence.

Kit Guyatt was a founder of the Brisbane Youth Campaign Against Conscription, He departed for Sydney after igniting a police riot in an anti-war demo in the late 1960s. He worked as a PA at the Commonwealth Film Unit where his film made from the outs he collected as an editing assistant eclipsed the official Great Barrier Reef documentary and was in distribution for decades. He used CFU equipment to make his own films including the anti-war President Johnson’s Visit and Balmain before leaving to make a short drama, The Phallic Forest and participating as one of the directors on the Vietnam Moratorium feature documentary Forever Hold Your Peace. He then worked as an editor, most notably on Tom Cowan’s Office Picnic, until, in pursuit of his deep environmental commitment, he left Sydney to build a house in the bush, working in the local timber mill and community radio station, and building an earlly solar power system. Pursued by a number of directors, he continued to edit the occasional film in his a solar-powered editing room. He also made sponsored documentaries and more recently qualified as a solar power installer, trading as Everen P/L until his retirement.  Kit worked with Martha as editor and other roles on Prisoners, My Survival as an Aboriginal, The Pursuit of Happiness, My Life As I Live It and Ordinary People.

Storry Walton has been a producer, director, writer and trainer. He produced and directed many television plays, serials and special event programs including the first live to air international satellite programs. He directed ABC documentaries on the arts and on rural issues. While based in London, he made programs for BBC-TV social documentary series, Man Alive.  He was Director of the first national film and tv training course and went on to be the Assistant Director and then Director of the (then) Australian Film and Television School. He was a Board member and Chairman of the Board of Studies at NIDA and held Board positions with The Sydney College of the Arts and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. He is a long-standing member of the Australian Media Industries Oral History Group in support of the National Film and Sound Archive.

Calvin Gardiner ACS started as an assistant cinematographer at Kingcroft Productions in 1967, then went freelance, working in the camera department of a number of feature films before joining his father, Jack Gardiner ACS, in the laboratory, Colour Transcriptions, later to become Cinefilm. After some years, he returned to cinematography and formed ACME Photo Video with Larry Wyner and then Engine, a highly successful post-production company, while continuing to shoot TVCs and drama-documentaries. Calvin has been an officer and prominent activist in the Australian Cinematographers Society, including chairing the 2008 ACS 50th Anniversary celebrations and initating and leading the ACS Book committee working with Martha on The Shadowcatchers: a history of cinematography in Australia, published by the ACS in 2012.

Session organized by Rod Freedman, Tom Zubrycki and Pat Fiske.