Ways of researching film at the State Library Victoria
Australia has a rich history of film culture. The first film shot in Australia was the 1896 Melbourne Cup and the world's first first full length silent feature The Story of the Kelly Gang was exhibited to huge crowds in Melbourne in 1906.
For much of the silent era Australia made many films but by the 1950s and 60's feature film production was almost non-existent. In the 1970s film production in Australia increased and maintained regular output, mainly thanks to ongoing financial support from the Australian government.
This page is to assist those researching Australian and or New Zealand film.
When using the default search be aware that for many Australian films and the people involved in them there may not be any results (as the amount of books published on Australian cinema is quite small). By checking Australian film reference books you may uncover information about your research within listings about other books, newspapers, and magazines.
For a broader range of resources, instead of the default "Everything but Articles" option, choose "Articles". This will search full text newspapers and magazines. You can then use the "Refine results by" option to narrow to more relevant results.
You may want to limit results by using search filter function and removing the Pictures resource type from the search parameters under 'Refine results by'.
By using the Trove digitised newspaper database you can locate many of the major papers, which are digitised until the mid 1950s (except the daily newspaper The Canberra times held until 1995). Much of the Trove film related material will be advertisements, as well as the occasional film review and production report.
For more details on searching Australian Newspapers check the State Library Victoria Newspaper Research Guide.
State Library Victoria holds many unique objects and files relating to film in Australia. Some of these items include:
From the 1970s, the Australian Federal Government has provided substantial funding for Australian feature films, shorts, and experimental and art cinema and television.
For Australian documentary, government funding goes back to the 1940s. Without government funding the Australian film industry would be a shell of what it is today.
The major government funding and development body is Screen Australia (founded in 2008). This body handles film and documentary development, production funding.
They publish The screen guide, a database of production details about Australian film and documentary (from 1970 onwards).
Screen Australia has plenty of information and data on Australian film/tv on their site including box office, budget statistics, ratings etc. For this information search the Fact finders section of the website.
The State Library Victoria has a number of items published by Screen Australia.
Before Screen Australia, film development was handled by the Australian film commission (1975-2008), production funding by the Film finance corporation of Australia (1988-2008) (aka Australian film finance corporation), and documentary development and production funding was through Film Australia (1973-2008) (previously the Australian national film board and the Australian Commonwealth film unit).
State level funding and administration bodies fulfill a very important function for all levels of filmmakers.
Victoria's development and funding body is called Film Victoria. The other state and territory film development bodies are:
A number of reports by these bodies are held at the State Library Victoria and other institutions.