Prepared for and presented at the OPEN CHANNEL Launch, SHED 4, celebrating just over 3 decades of public access video and independent film production and development in Victoria.
Tonight we enter the fourth decade of one of Victoria’s most enduring cultural institutions… Peter Lane, Chair of C31, and I have just spent several weeks in its archives, watching and listening to what it has to inform the present and future OPEN CHANNEL by.
OPEN CHANNEL’s first decade grew from Melbourne Access Video and was about public access to video production and the means by which to share stories that would otherwise be unrepresented. This included indigenous and women’s issues, occupational health and safety, stories from various union struggles, nuclear disarmament… people at the margins, including kids and the disabled. The Video Newsreel, a national video cassette distribution, was one such way these stories were shared.
The second decade saw about getting those voices broadcast, hence the involvement of OPEN CHANNEL in the establishment of community television in Australia. It also saw OPEN CHANNEL members build a fully equipped, multi-camera production studio in Fritzroy. The 80s were busy with community service announcements, festival showreels, documentaries, film clips and educational drama.
We leave the peroxide and gel haired 80’s for the 90’s, to find a significant upsurge in documentary production, largely in association with SBS and the ABC. It also saw a downturn in studio use as video production tools got smaller and more affordable, computers became more accessible and people started setting up their own pre and post production studios in their homes.
In our fourth decade the studio is gone entirely, but we have perhaps the largest remaining industrial space left in Melbourne, SHED 4, and program activities that are both a result of the legacy of the prior decades and what lies ahead.
SHED 4 is a production, rehearsal and events space for hire. We welcome to SHED 4, Urban Art Agenda #1, an exhibition of international stencil art, which is opening tonight as part of the Melbourne Design Festival and will be in residence here until July 15.
Photo: Adis Hondo
Today, tonight, I have the great pleasure to announce new partnerships with Crumpler and 3RRR, our new media partner.
They will contribute greatly to new OPEN CHANNEL programs that are based on the traditions of great story-telling, the new technologies that afford greater access to our stories and the passionate and talented people who turn them into the films, parts of which, we will see through the evening.
This includes such initiatives as Raw Nerve, in association with the Australian Film Commission… and we congratulate Stuart Moulds who is here tonight, on recently winning Best Director at the St Kilda Film Festival for ‘Stalled’ which was produced as part of the 2005 Raw Nerve program.
It includes the Short & Sharp Pitching competition – partnering this year with the inaugural Human Rights Arts & Film Festival. Short & Sharp will be hosted by Cinema Nova, our screen venue partner.
We are developing projects and collaborations with the Docklands community, including Talking Docklands, a VIDEO QUILT in collaboration with Digital Harbour and the AFTRS, who are also our partners in hosting our free monthly seminar series, FRAMED.
With our training and equipment & facilities partner, Channel 31, this year we will run a new CERTIFICATE III in Screen course, Producing for Television.
Photo: Adis Hondo
We continue to bring you a mix of our regular initiatives such as OPENAccess and Love Your Work, as well as new programs activities such as VIDEO SLAM and our new production advice and support service, OPENAdvice. A new website, in response to our member and stakeholders surveys, is brewing on our servers along with a fresh slate of Raw Nerve productions due for completion in September.
Later this year we kick off our new OPEN CHANNEL Alumni Forum. If you know of someone with a prior association with OPEN CHANNEL, do let us know, tonight if possible, as we are still trying to locate many, many people.
And this brings me to the people… The list is endless… so, in tribute to our members, our alumni, and the people who have cared so much to keep OPEN CHANNEL truly OPEN for everyone, we have produced a short highlights from the archive… which would not have been possible without the assistance and consultation with Peter Lane, Campbell Manderson, SKA TV and Joe Varga, Channel 7 Melbourne.
It was a near impossible task to choose from such a vast collection… from the earliest videos made by anyone in Australia outside of broadcast, perhaps in the world… Through the evening we will screen further materials from the archive including old OPEN CHANNEL showreels and community service announcements.
Before we roll, I’d like to thank our tech and camera crews, all drawn from our VIDEO SLAM in May… Thanks Tintin and her bro, Dale, Eytan, Helen, Jarrod and Ben… and of course, the vivacious and terribly gracious Julia Zemiro…
Without further adieu, warts and all, I give you OPEN CHANNEL highlights from 1974 to 2007… from Brimsley Road Community School, the first community test and pirate television broadcasts in Australia and… well, you’ll see for your self.