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Australia, 1951 (MIFF 1991, Retrospectives)

Director: Ron Maslyn Williams

Mike and Stefani had its World Premiere at the first Melbourne Film Festival, January 1952, (one of just 4 features shown at the first fest! - though at 64 minutes it is only just a feature if at all.) Remember that this was a time when the Australian industry was almost nonexistent. The other two short documentaries on this programme were also part of the first festival in which the Film Division of the Department of the Interior (as Film Australia was known then) contributed more than half of the Australian content of the festival.

A unique example of truly inspired "sponsored filmmaking", Mike and Stefani holds up well today, but was barely seen by audiences of the day. Director Ron Maslyn Williams and cameraman Reg Pearse went to Europe to film a story of displaced persons for the Australian migration programme. The film was made in refugee camps of the United Nations aid organisation. They selected a family (which was extended by adding a brother for dramatic purposes) through which they told the story of the processes of application and selection for migration to Australia. The result is a moving story using the dramatised story with historical footage creating a very powerful effect. The music score by Robert Hughes adds a substantial emotion to an impressive piece of filmmaking.

See also...

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Journey of a Nation

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Suicide Trail

A clever parody of Have Gun Will Travel, as we learn the dangers of driving and drinking late at night. ... More »

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