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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...

The Valley of the Yarra

Originally made in 35 mm Ferrania colour as a general release film. In the 1950s Film Australia made a surprising number of colour films. The 1956 production report, which lists all films in any ... More »

Capacity Smith

Directed by Colin Dean, who also wrote and directed Melbourne Wedding Belle, Capacity Smith is one of Film Australia's most successful fiction films. Proving the theory -there are no good stories ... More »

Inland With Sturt

Film Australia filmed the Australian Broadcasting Commission's major contribution to the Jubilee Year, a re-enactment of Sturt's 1829 Expedition down the Murrumbidgee and Murray Rivers. The ... More »

Melbourne Southern City

"London on the Thames, Paris on the Seine... Melbourne on the Yarra..." an auspicious opening for a film on Melbourne. In 1956 with the Olympic Games on the doorstep the DOI produced several films ... More »

Whatever Happened to Green Valley

Peter Weir makes a spoof current affairs documentary. Playing a TV reporter himself, he demonstrates how the reporting of Green Valley, a housing commission estate, had been subjected to very harsh ... More »


Made as part of the Why Can't They Be Like We Were Series. ... First shown on the Mike Walsh Show with an audience and panel discussion. Amy is a young Aboriginal girl living in the city with her ... More »

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