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AMONGST EQUALS

Australia, 1991 (MIFF 1991, Documentaries)

Director: Tom Zubrycki

Illegal screenings of the unfinished Amongst Equals have taken place in a variety of forums across the country since January when controversy erupted in the media. But the issue remains unresolved and Amongst Equals will be shown in an innovative form for the first time at this festival. This new cut of the film incorporates aspects of its problematic production, underlining sequences where the sponsor demanded cuts thus specifying what can and cannot be said according to the official voice which claims a monopoly on the labour movement's past - the ACTU. The film, conceived and scripted by Tom Zubrycki, was funded in 1988 through the Australian Bicentennial Authority and produced by Film Australia. It was designed to be a "critical appraisal of the trade union movement in Australia suitable for prime time television". The film has not been completed because of a protracted dispute between the ACTU and the producers over the content of the film.

In January 1991, journalists in Melbourne and Sydney took up the story and the ACTU was accused of misusing public funds and of censorship. The trade union movement itself was divided on the issue, with many unions actively supporting the film's completion against the official ACTU position. Prominent figures in the arts, journalism and the union movement came out in support of the project and sponsored illegal screenings of the unfinished work under the slogan "see the film the ACTU wants to ban - decide for yourself. Here's your chance. (J.H.)

Tom Zubrycki will be present for discussion after the screening.

(Also note his new film Bran Nue Dae is also screening at this year's Festival)

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