‘The Circulation of Ideas’: An Interview with Tom O’Regan

This is the latest in a series of interviews we are publishing examining a key period in Australian screen culture. For more information, see the “Introduction to Australian Film Theory and Criticism Project Interviews” in Screening the Past #23.


Tom O’Regan is now Professor of Media and Cultural Studies at the University Queensland, Brisbane. He is the author of The Film Studio (with Ben Goldsmith) 2005, Australian National Cinema (1996), and Australian Television Culture (1993) and with Albert Moran edited both An Australian Film Reader (1985) and The Australian Screen (1989). He has also co-authored the reports Cinema Cities/Media Cities: The Contemporary International Studio (2003) with Ben Goldsmith and The Future for Local Content? Options for Emerging Technologies (2001) with Ben Goldsmith, Julian Thomas and Stuart Cunningham.

Tom has been the Head of the School of English, Media Studies and Art History at UQ from 2005-2008, Director of the Australian Key Centre for Cultural and Media Policy (1999-2002, Griffith University) and the Centre for Research in Culture and Communication (1996-1998, Murdoch University). In 2002 he was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Humanities. From 2002-2003 he was the Australian UNESCO-Orbicom Professor of Communication.

Tom has been a major influence on Australian film and cultural studies in particular in his terms at Griffith and Murdoch Universities and as editor of the journal Continuum 1987-1995. Despite hailing from rural Queensland Tom is renowned for his incisive critical faculties and a breadth of knowledge that ranges across multiple disciplines and for his immense contribution to Australian film theory and criticism.
Deane Williams interviewed Tom in his office at the University of Queensland.

DW: Did you do your undergraduate years at Griffith?

TO: I was in the first intake at Griffith University, I deferred for a year to go there and be in its first intake. I deliberately went to Griffith in its first year to be part of an experiment. Another reason was that it was offering film studies and communication. I was interested then in film and television, and I’ve always been interested in film and television. I guess if I had some notion about what I was going to do eventually, I think it would have been to become a journalist but that was never definite. Indeed if the Commonwealth Public Service had accepted me in their graduate intake I probably would have gone there. I tried to get into the Australian Film, Television and Radio school at the end of my three years at Griffith, using some video work but that was unsuccessful. I had become involved in a bunch of experimental video productions with my lecturers at the time – Ian Hunter and Dugald Williamson – and was much exercised by what it meant to “make films politically”. Some of this work was later represented in the Australian Journal of Screen Theory as “Countertext to Three Days in Szczecin”.[1]  In retrospect, it was a kind of film criticism using the film text. But it also had the force of countering things so it was scarcely “appreciative” (although truth be told I gained some new grudging respect for that British tradition of docu-drama out of it, but I was too doctrinaire to see this at the time). I went on and did an honours degree that was partially a production thing and I sort of saw myself as having that kind of career trajectory on the edge of production and then I got a masters scholarship; I was surprised I got a first class honours – I didn’t expect that and I thought: well, I haven’t finished with academia after all.

I was fascinated with the dynamic circulation of ideas that was Griffith at that stage, I mean it was an incredibly dynamic and exciting place to be at that time and I guess doing a masters was a means of remaining close to it and furthering the kind of “counter-text” sort of work I had become involved in.

DW: Who was there at that time?

TO: When I first went there it was incredibly small because they were just hiring staff. So each year new people were added and it just grew. To begin with there was David Saunders, Jonathan Dawson and Colin Crisp – and Stuart Cunningham was my first tutor. (I appeared in my first and only television commercial courtesy of Jonathan Dawson where I performed as a womble.) Over the next couple of years people like Albert Moran, Mick Counihan, Sylvia Lawson, and Ian Hunter all came and had a decisive influence on me. So I really saw myself like some people who go on and take some of those research higher degrees, as someone who was doing production by an alternative route. And like a lot of them as things happen, as their research develops they discover they are actually doing something more akin to criticism and review.

Over the course of my masters and then PhD (when I converted to the PhD) I sort of moved progressively more towards analytic work. But in retrospect, the kind of things I was producing at that time (like another “counter-text,” this time to The Last Tasmanian) was really a form of textual criticism and an experiment in doing these things rhetorically.[2]

The most important influence upon me as an undergraduate was David Saunders. Although Jonathan Dawson and Colin Crisp were important in the beginning too. David’s publications never do justice to the depth and breadth of his intellectual engagements and his determination to draw upon different intellectual currents and traditions. Colin opened the world of French cinema to me. He introduced us to Jean-Luc Godard, and we had to read the script for Pierrot le Fou in our first year. At the end of my first year it was a real question as to whether I would do “Forms of Communication” or “Society and the Media”. Colin was in charge of “Society and the Media” and David Saunders was in charge of “Forms of Communication”. I went with David. At the same time in that first year I met Dugald Williamson before he went to France; he had come in as a PhD student to look at French Poetic Realist cinema – the Marcel Carné years of French poetic realism and Jean Gabin – and he was engaged with that set of ideas through that. I went with “Forms” because it seemed more theoretical and cutting edge (and paradoxically more producer-focused); while “Society and the Media” seemed more film historical and oriented to appreciating the trajectories of film production. So it was a hard choice between them. Dugald later returned to a position at Griffith and taught into “Forms of Communication”.

Some time in my second or third year Ian Hunter was appointed. Ian Hunter then was a film scholar – he’d written the big critique of Picnic at Hanging Rock (“Corsetway to Heaven”; Hunter, pp. 264-265) – and he was this incredibly dynamic person with wide-ranging and (to me at least) fascinating and unpredictable interests. It was a time where there was a certain sort of commitment to critique and to taking things apart no matter where they were from and who made them. It was quite rigorous. David and Ian were a remarkable combination. That’s how I got to be engaged by Chomsky’s work on grammar, by Habermas and hermeneutics, by Hindess and Hirst, and by Foucault and Jacques Donzelot.

The School in Griffith decided early on that instead of appointing someone more permanently they would keep open a position which could enable them to have a succession of international scholars coming to Griffith for a period of a month or two months and so on as visiting scholars. So over that period you were afforded reasonably close connection with scholars like Paul Willemen, Colin McCabe, Paul Hirst, Tony Bennett, Dieter Freundlieb, some Italian semioticians, that had this interest in film like Paolo Fabbri. I can’t recall whether it was two or three a year but they were an interesting lot of people. Some of them were in film, some were in political philosophy, some were in the German hermeneutic tradition. Most were from Britain and Thatcher’s Britain at that. There was this sense of connection and interconnection with what was happening in the rest of the world at that time. It often felt we were becoming more connected with what was happening outside Australia than what was happening inside Australia.

One of these people, Paul Willemen was very important to me and to the group of us writing on Australian film. He was interested in our work, he was critical of some of the moves in the Griffith turn to theory and he was resolutely engaged with film making (and film criticism). He encouraged my interests and he got me my first international publication by shepherding my work and that of other Australians he met through his time in Australia through the journal he was then associated with, Framework. We played pool together in Brisbane and from him I got the bad habit of drinking espressos and long black coffees at 11pm at night!

DW: And these were principally brought out for graduates?

TO: No. That was what was interesting. There were hardly any graduate students to begin with at Griffith. So these people were really being brought out to intersect with a largely undergraduate population and the staff who were using them to think about curricula and their own research interests. The result, however, was that as an undergraduate you were treated effectively as a cross between an undergraduate student and a graduate student. And this is what attracted me to Forms of Communication in retrospect, I mean I just thought it was a more exciting place to be in some ways. David Saunders and Ian Hunter were not only fine, charismatic teachers but they seemed to be pursuing a certain kind of unfolding intellectual agenda where you got the sense that they did not know in advance where they would be taken.

DW: And other people have said this as well, it looks like right from the beginning since Griffith was set up and everything just kind of grew and everything went into this river of motion.

TO: Yeah, Griffith could have gone in a variety of different ways. Ultimately Forms of Communication became a more developed position, a line and it became an orientation to things and a particular way of approaching things which felt to me a bit prescriptive. By the time I was into my third or fourth year as a postgraduate I started think it was a bit doctrinaire and I felt I had to find my way back re-evaluating some of the things that were discarded amidst our enthusiasms along the way. Forms of Communication produced a certain style of engagement in things marked by close textual reading, particularly of the work of critics! When interests and the points of focus shifted you could feel that the things you were interested in before were no longer interesting. When I first started my masters I wanted to look at the vocabulary of film and the intersection of technology and film – what is a camera? What is an edit? What is a shot? – that sort of thing which Edward Branigan later wrote so compellingly about. But in no time at all that seemed stale in comparison to the kind of things being discussed – questions of discourse and institution, the politics of representation and so on. I remember that Dugald Williamson had his PhD thesis half written on French poetic realism when he left for France but when he came back it was no longer as relevant and he ended up writing his thesis on, “Reconsidering Film Theory”.

But while his story and my story are different they are useful ways of thinking how a group of people at that time were prepared to undertake a kind of intellectual adventure that was Griffith and to a certain extent Murdoch University in Perth – to be open to change in terms of their perceptions about what it is that needed to be done research-wise and how. It’s that same preparedness to leave behind which I ultimately did when I explicitly moved to doing a PhD on Australian film and television.

When I started to do that I found I had something more in common with some of the other staff who I already counted as friends, particularly Sylvia Lawson, Albert Moran, and Mick Counihan. I found they had so much to tell me. They also had wonderful libraries of materials which they gave me some access to. It was through Mick Counihan that I discovered Hansard and the delights of the Federation of Commercial Television Station (FACTS) annual reports. In so many of these things it is really about when you are in a position to be receptive to other people, their perspectives and their outlooks. You can have wonderful people around you and never know just how special they are. Sylvia Lawson, Mick Counihan and Albert all became closely involved in my supervision.

I had started off with Dugald and Ian Hunter. But Ian and Dugald had their own doctorates to do. They gradually became less involved. I guess it was also that some of the things that they were interested in I wasn’t quite as interested in anymore and I had a different kind of a view of some of the topics, I stabilized it down into a film and television topic.

DW: And then Sylvia and Albert came in or…

TO: Yeah, Sylvia and Albert, I mean Albert technically was never my supervisor but Sylvia, Albert and Mick Counihan were really the ones who had the most input. Like Mick, Albert shared research archives with me and he was just very good at being able and ready to have a very useful and wide-ranging discussion around a whole range of different things, whereas Sylvia in many ways taught me how to write, she’s a wonderful, wonderful sub-editor and such an elegant writer.

When I was appointed at Murdoch University to my first full time academic job[3] , it was initially a bit of a mismatch. Actually they were looking for someone who might be involved in organising their turn to production but in effect I’d started to move away from seeing myself in production: I had started to realise that the things that I needed to work on at least in the short were more conventionally limited to article writing and developing a thesis which would “mix up” history, policy analysis, film criticism and the like. This started off as a short term fix but it became longer term and it meant that I would identify strongly as a screen studies or later media studies academic. Murdoch was just getting its Communication program up and running again after its closure for a few years so it felt a bit like Griffith in the late 1970s with new interesting appointments being made and intellectual powerhouses like John Frow, Horst Ruthrof there, soon to be joined by the likes of John Hartley, Ien Ang, Toby Miller, Alec McHoul, Rita Felski…. At the same time John Fiske and Graeme Turner were at WAIT now Curtin University and there was a lot of interchange among the campuses.

DW: But you did have some kind of productions experience that you could bring…

TO: It was very low-level stuff, and I wouldn’t be able to work with that in any kind of sustained way now.

DW: But at the same time Tom, is this… I’m just trying to get a broader context as well, is this around about the same time that you started publishing or started writing stuff?

TO: Cathy Greenfield and I worked on two publications which appeared in the Local Consumption imprint of a class mate of ours, Peter Botsman. They were classic “forms of communication” pieces that still hold up today. One was entitled ‘The Construction of a Literary Political Subject’ and another ‘Problems with Post-Freudo-Marxist Analysis’ – the first was on a Paul Foss reading of Luce Irigiray, the other on Kay Iseman’s reading of the novelist Katharine Susannah Pritchard through psycho-biography (O’Regan and Greenfield, 1981, pp. 93-168; O’Regan and Greenfield, 1982, pp. 141-168). I’d also had a piece I wrote “On Screen” published in Intervention (O’Regan 1981, pp. 44-62).[4]  I remember Paul Willemen telling me it was so different an account of it than he remembered from being involved in it! Through publishing those different things I learnt my first real lesson in academic collegiality from Meaghan Morris and Paul Foss. Rather than feeling that they’d been denounced from our (Cathy and my) detailed line-by-line critique of Paul’s work (and by implication the Working Papers in Sexuality agenda), they were grateful that their work and their effort were being taken so seriously, they wanted to engage with us both, they made it clear to us that what connected us all was that we were interested in some of the same things. From them I learnt that it is important to establish an arena of dialogue, establish an arena of debate, a space for a set of ideas and have these ideas taken seriously. So while people can then come along and be ferociously critical of your work you are still believing in the conversation and the benefits of that conversation to advance the thinking and debate a bit further no matter how personally hurtful it could be. I hope I’ve never lost that lesson. This formed the basis of my long term admiration of Meaghan and Paul. Paul and I later found some common ground when we intersected around the work of Eric Michael. Not for the last time I learnt that writing and getting published could lead to connections other than one had expected; and that one could find grace and graciousness amidst such damning criticism.

But none of these were really the turning point for me publication and career wise. That came out of a different trajectory.

By 1982/3 I’d converted to a PhD, the scholarship had run out, I had little money, and I seemed to be no closer to completion with an unwieldy and somewhat sprawling thesis. There was not much tutoring available and I missed out on some of jobs that were going – there were always other better candidates that fitted the job description. There were structural problems with my thesis and problems with its register and tone. I even asked the philosopher, Paul Patton, to help me with it – he kindly read it and provided some really useful feedback. I was also a bit ill at the time and was going through the “end of the thesis obsessions” coupled with the usual emotional upheavals and identity crises associated with one’s late 20s. Partly to get better but also because I wanted to I’d gone back to the family farm in central Queensland. What I was doing was spending time there and getting some money together to enable me to come down to Brisbane and work on the thesis. That really wasn’t a particularly synergistic relationship but it was around one of those times coming down I was speaking to Sylvia about the experience of watching The Man From Snowy River in Rockhampton and knowing what was going on at some of the venues where it was screened around the region and how some ordinary people were talking about and connecting with that film. There was all this holier than thou criticism coming out against it and what I wanted to talk to Sylvia about (because I knew she wanted to talk about the film) was how it seemed to miss the point. Sylvia told me just write it down and let’s see what we’ve got. And if it is OK, we’ll see if Filmnews would publish it. I said no one’s going to like this and she said well give it a go and we’ll see.

DW: So it was more about… The Man From Snowy River came out of somewhere else and went into the thesis or informed the thesis? (O’Regan 1982, pp. 8-9).

TO: Yeah, it was really from somewhere else.

DW: Or informed the thesis.

TO: When I wrote it I thought it was my saying goodbye to academia. I was seriously thinking of making a go on the farm and convincing my father that we could work together long term. Instead it turned out to be my academic meal ticket as that article swung the people at Murdoch to think I was a good bet. This seemed to me the most extraordinary thing. It turned out to be the breakthrough piece for me which in the contemporary terms of research quality frameworks and ERA’s was just a work of occasional criticism in an unrefereed publication. After it came out and got the response it did I realised that I had to find a way of including it and doing more of this sort of writing in my thesis – and that it might help me finish.

DW: It’s always often the way isn’t it?

TO: But one of the experiences I had out of that was it felt like the writing was easier, it wasn’t as turgid, it wasn’t this kind of sub-Althusserian tortuous prose as Morris once described my writing. Mind you, my writing didn’t immediately improve overall. I just occasionally would show glimmers of some competence.

DW: But also at this time there’s the Australian Screen Studies Association as well, which you seemed to be involved in right from the beginning.

TO: Not really. I was more one of those people that took advantage of the work that others had done. I attended some of those conferences, I was published in those journals. I went to the Australian Screen Studies Association conference at the University of New South Wales where the “Countertext to Three Days in Szczecin” was shown and that was when I was an undergraduate. Then I went across to the Perth conference Brian Shoesmith organised to present one of my videotapes on The Last Tasmanian (that was late 1980). I met Manuel Alvarado there for the first time and a couple of other people whose names escape me. It turned out that that conference when combined with The Man from Snowy River coming out in 1982 was how I got offered the job in Perth in early 1984.

DW: Oh okay, were there deals done at the conference or…

TO: No. It was not as explicit a job market as say the Society of Cinema Studies annual conference. I didn’t realise that people were looking. But after that conference I was interested enough in Perth to throw my hat in for a lectureship that I did not get in 1981 (so they kept my name on file and my CV) and after that in early 1984 I was appointed to a tutorship at Murdoch without an interview … I was surprised by this. But this is one of the virtues of a tutorship: you can take a punt with people. The Murdoch people had taken the time to read my stuff, seen me in action and that was enough for them. I would always be grateful to them.

DW: But I guess these things followed closely on each other. There was your interest in film history and there’s the “Writing on Australian Film History” paper (O’Regan, 1984).

TO: That was an occasional paper series put together by Peter Botsman. It was published after I came to Murdoch in December 1984.

DW: But also the “Two Discourses on Australian Film” article (O’Regan 1983, pp. 163-173).

TO: “The Two Discourses on Australian Film” came out of Albert and my conversations. The missing bit here is the Framework article, “‘Australian Film Making: Its Public Circulation” also published in 1983 (O’Regan 1983 – 2, pp. 31-36). The “Australian Film Making: Its Public Circulation” existed before the “Two Discourses” article and Albert basically said it’d be interesting if we put together the stuff he was collecting on the discourse on Australian documentary together with what I’d put together. This research on the terms of criticism of Australian film was actually the basis of a closer engagement with Sylvia because that went in and looked at some of what Sylvia was writing at the time and assessing its significance. I’d be the first to admit that I was a lousy historian (in fact Sylvia pointed out just what I had not done and probably ought to do!). I’d never been properly trained in it but I was interested in the public circulation of ideas – ideas in the public sphere – and in some sense that’s one of the things that brought me to it, it was the discovery of that fundamental sociological understanding that comes out of that strand of American sociology – the Chicago School – that it’s not whether it’s true or not, that is important, it is whether it is taken to be true that makes something significant and the object of study. Once I had understood this I was able to think in terms of the public careers of ideas and how they move. This was a really important move for me because it meant that I didn’t have to immediately take the moral high ground in terms of being obliged to criticize something; it meant I had to abandon my almost excessive reflex of normative thinking. I gained through this a sense of the historical imagination and I gained an appreciation of journalism. I got interested in how controversies marked themselves. How ideas, projects, things came into being and then sometimes just as quickly disappeared… that was the way I ended up coming into an historical understanding.

So in one sense that is how I became an historian of sorts.

You know, Adrian Martin was right about me and the weakness of what I was doing in these pieces when he wrote that great essay on the film culture and criticism in Australia since the 1960s (“No Flowers for the Cinephile: the Fates of Cultural Populism”) for Paul Foss’s edited bicentennial book, Island in the Stream: Myth of Place in Australian Culture (Martin, pp. 117-138). He rightly takes me to task for being selective in what I focused upon and for not really attending to the full record. What he helped me understand was that what I was interested in was less a description of what was in circulation at the time as in the career of ideas that ultimately became successful and why they might’ve become successful. Of course, I wrote it in a way that does not make this point clear and so I appear to be making too large a claims about a general circulation of ideas at the time when what I was really doing was concentrating on a tendency at the time.

DW: But at the same time there seems to be an emergence particularly that comes out of your work directly in a discourse theory that Foucault’s work appears and takes Australian film history and gives it a bit of a shake…

TO: That’s right, I was and probably still am a Foucauldian, that’s a dimension that unless people have gone back to that, they wouldn’t understand or unless they read my “Two or three things I know about meaning” which I published later in Continuum (O’Regan 1984, pp. 327-374). which was my little kind of ‘fessing’ up to certain things.

DW: Okay, but it also seems that in some ways it provides a way for people to come into Australian film history from different places but then it seems to me to get lost more recently when the revival is still there as being the moment.

TO: Yeah maybe. I remember Adrian Martin pointing out to me that my approach in “Writing an Australian Film History” was fine if you just focused on the institutions and the policies and the discourses but where were the films? When I wrote “Writing an Australian Film History” it was basically my thesis’ first chapter. One of the reasons that my thesis wasn’t published was that the Dermody and Jacka two volumes were coming out and came out not long after I finished. And I knew it would require something very different on my part on Australian film. I would need to develop something to set alongside their huge and comprehensive undertaking. I tried in a half hearted way to get the thesis published. But by then Brian Shoesmith had enlisted me to work with him on developing Continuum. So like many who write a thesis, you feel as if you have got to move beyond it, you’re just tired of it. My thesis took about a year in its examination and a lot of to-ing and fro-ing and it was one of those things that by the time that it all was dusted off it was like all these other things had started to happen and the thesis was like yesterday’s news.

But I’ve digressed. You are really asking me a question about how I came to do Australian film and television history. I came to do it through a series of ideas about trajectories of public debate which led to policy and things being created in the world. I did not come to history out of any sense of the priority of the historical cultural object (although I discovered that as a priority later). Rather I came to discover through my writing on film and television that I really had a fundamental commitment to Australian film and television. But that wasn’t how I came into it. How I initially came into it was being interested in how the necessity of doing certain things has its basis in certain kinds of public ideas and debates and in certain kinds of public circulation which create a sense of things being self-evident. I even wondered whether it was possible to produce a typology of these kinds of public circulations covering different fields. When I first wrote “Australian Film: Its Public Circulation” it was to be the first of a series of studies about the public circulation of various things and I’d even mapped out another one on the Queensland abortion debates under Bjelke Peterson and Australian content debates in television! And that was because I was reading Jacques Donzelot’s The Policing of Families (Donzelot, 1979)[5] . I remember thinking this was going to be an interesting project to put together but I think it was Anne Friedman (a close friend of Sylvia’s) who told me “Tom, it’s worth doing but it’ll be too hard to do as a thesis in a timely way” and Sylvia backed her up. That made the Australian film stuff expand and I threw out a lot of stuff on Australian television on the Australian content on television debates of the 1960s and early 1970s. And again it was about things that become public knowledge, get to be taken for granted, get repeated and then furthered. This involved thinking about ways in which “discourse” and “institution” were interconnected in bringing things into being, how institutions were created and those kind of things.

TO: So where were we up to?

DW: You were talking about the public circulation of ideas and about…you just mentioned the abortion debates under Bjelke Peterson…

TO: Yeah, I was thinking in this period about the relationship between discourse and institution and some people were saying discourse equalled institution and I was saying no, not quite although they were closely connected… this is where my intellectual debt to Paul Willemen came into it. That’s only partly right: I think there’s a gap there. I was going back to the Foucault of The Archaeology of Knowledge and Discipline and Punish, re-reading him to see how he was reworking that and how he had conceived of those relationships and so on. And that took me out of how Ian Hunter and David Saunders and those people were conceiving of it at the time, so I was starting to conceive it differently. I was doing my bit of rebellion, I think. But there was never much difference really between us.

DW: Was this still while you were at Griffith?

TO: Yes… and I mean that was the intellectual trajectory that was set into place that effectively shaped my intersection with the Murdoch experience, I just followed the logic of these ideas.

DW: And can you see a major difference between the Griffith scene and Murdoch scene?

TO: Curiously, I was always seen to be part of the Griffith push while at Murdoch which was kind of interesting. Indeed it could be a bit disconcerting as I was hearing it reported back to me every so often that I was about to leave; or even sometimes I had left! Even though I ended up staying fifteen years and became a citizen of Fremantle! But that makes it sound like I didn’t fit in there when I really did. Murdoch was a really dynamic experimental place. It afforded lots of connections with folk in Comparative Literature and Asian Studies including anthropologists and historians. And it had a strong political economy focus which cut across my School and the then School of Social and Political Theory that had on staff people like the future Premier of Western Australia Geoff Gallup (and Kim Beazley had not long departed for the Federal parliament!) so there was a strong interest in government and policy although not a particularly Foucauldian interest until Gary Wickham arrived. Right from the beginning Brian Shoesmith who was at the WA College of Advanced Education later Edith Cowan University brought me into the committee that was organising the Film and History conference, he saw that I had an interest in publishing and so we did the monograph The Moving Image: Film and Television in Western Australia, 1896-1985 (O’Regan and Shoesmith, 1985), and the conference proceedings of that which became History on/and/in Film. And that conference was a great opportunity: we brought over Marc Ferro, Kristin Thompson, all the Australian film studies crowd were there.

Brian even came up with the suggestion that we might think about an exhibition on film and television in Western Australia to go with the conference. I was really interested in doing that and so we followed that through and that was The Moving Image: Film and Television in Western Australia, 1896-1985 and that was 1985 and so that was an intense year. Almost as soon as I arrived I ended up going into that kind of thing. It was a place where there were just so many opportunities to do that kind of thing. This history project was actually something that had already occurred to me to do when I was in Brisbane. This was the beginning of that regional film history kind of thing. We were doing it about the same time that Bobby Allen and Douglas Gomery published their terrific Film History: Theory and Practice book (Allen and Gomery, 1985). So their emphasis upon regional film and television history confirmed what we were doing. Again it was an experiment. Sort of like well actually let’s try thinking about it this way, let’s look at how it works from this side of things, what kind of issues come up there? The exhibition allowed me to also work with John Hartley on a study of television sets, their promotion and domestic architecture. By that stage I’d stabilised the thesis which I still hadn’t completed when I came to Perth and it was going to be on Australian film. I still called it The Politics of Representation, so I kept the title I had come up with when I was looking at a variety of public controversies with lasting effects but the contents were all about Australian film. So in effect having made that decision I started to think in terms of trajectories of Australian film and the geography of film production and reception. I’d thought at the time there was something quite interesting to be done in Queensland around Queensland film and television and about the ways it’d enable you to understand the national picture through a piece of that picture and enable you to foreground things that you wouldn’t be able to if you just continued to take a Sydney or Melbourne view. And so in effect The Moving Image: Film and Television in Western Australia, 1896-1985 for me started as what you do when you’re not doing a Queensland film history. But it was also a tremendous opportunity to learn about and understand Perth and Western Australia. I think a lot of people who go into new places become local historians in order to try and substitute for their lack of history in that space. So I was not being unusual. Then as now I kept thinking about the continuities and differences between WA and Qld; between Brisbane/Gold Coast and Perth. Perth and Murdoch was very important to me in that way.

DW: Yes exactly…and so was Toby Miller there before you?

TO: No. I was at Murdoch for a few years before Toby turned up as a Masters and then research higher degree student. He’d been to ANU, worked in the public service in a senior capacity at a young age and was looking to either have a break from that or try academia. I think Toby saw coming to Perth as a bit of an adventure to begin with. And so Toby’s initial thesis was actually not on film at all, it was on Packer cricket. Toby did a couple of years in Perth and then went to the East Coast – Sydney and then to Griffith in Brisbane. Griffith and its Institute for Cultural Policy Studies was the lasting, shaping influence on Toby. He then came back to Murdoch and Perth for a tutorship and to work on his PhD. He came back in the early 90s. John Hartley had been instrumental in getting him a tutoring job at Murdoch. And it was at that point that we went back over his thesis and I told him look mate I don’t think you’re doing a topic on Packer cricket, look at what you’ve been publishing, what papers you’ve been giving, I think that’s telling you what you should be doing for your thesis. And I’d actually suggested he was doing a thesis on sport and sport on film and television. I laid out for him what I thought the different articles he had written were saying and how they could be reworked into a sport and television trajectory.  He came back a few days later and said Tom I’ve been thinking about what you’re saying, I’m not doing it about sport, I’m doing it about television. I’ll show you what I mean: and he laid out another lot of his articles and said if I put this one and this one together, and then go this one etc. Toby wanted to become known more as a theorist so I said you’ve got to get someone else involved in this that has more analytical stature than I did. I told him we had to ensure that we had a sufficiently theoretically based understanding. It’s not that I don’t think my theory’s that good but I just thought that he’d need some additional perspectives other than I’d bring to bear and that’s when Horst Ruthroff was brought into the supervision.

DW: So I’m just trying to pick up where Continuum comes in.

TO: Continuum was initially a joint thing with Brian Shoesmith. We established the journal together in the wake of the History and Film Conference experience. Cathy Robinson of the Australian Film Commission was over for that and we were engaged in sustained dialogue. Brian floated that idea. Cathy was responsible for screen culture at that stage although she seemed to be the AFC person who closed Filmnews later but there are other histories to that which I’m not that party to although I think it was an unwise decision. Cathy underwrote Continuum through the AFC and the proposition we put to her was that with the Australian Journal of Screen Theory having folded there was a gap. We had an agenda about how we would do things, we had a bit of a track record with the History and Film conference, and the History of Film and Television in Western Australia thing, with its accompanying exhibition and monograph …and so it made sense that our first issue was going to be on Australian Film in the 50s. And so that’s how really Continuum started, as a place for dialogue and debate about screen studies. The problem that we had as editors emerged over the late 1980s and early 1990s it was screen studies was undergoing a transformation as a variety cultural studies was making its appearance in various ways, the jobs seemed to be happening in the communication and cultural studies space, and the kind of places that started off in a screen studies realm seemed to mutate towards various kinds of screen production, where people were doing that in lieu of or not seeing film studies necessarily as connected with the production thing. In publishing The Australian Journal of Cultural Studies morphed into the journal Cultural Studies and with that change came a sharp shift away from Australia/UK/US to a more USA-centric journal. So we were expected to become and partly did become a cultural studies journal. In addition students were now in a different head space. They were always trying to maximise their production units and that kind of thing at the expense of screen studies and ones colleagues at least in the technology and innovation universities were becoming production colleagues as much as screen studies academics. So all of that stuff was happening around that time around the country and we actually were having trouble putting those first few issues together.

For Australian Film in the 50s I was able to use Albert, Sylvia and Stuart Cunningham’s good offices to identify other people that I did not know about. Sometimes things did not work out. When Lesley Stern arrived at Murdoch I quickly dragooned her into doing an issue on performance but really that did not work out. I don’t think either Brian or I were particularly good editors to begin with. I had not worked out how to practically support editors and how things needed to become events for the people writing to make special issues work. So the Performance issue did not work out quite in the way anticipated. The Asian cinema thing was really a Chris Berry and Vijay Mishra thing. And I ended up playing a significant role in that and all through that period I played a significant role because Brian got sucked into administration in his University. Something that I’m currently doing. He became more of a partner who looked after the subscriptions and things like that as I became increasingly involved in the production side of it and the negotiation side of it. Eventually Continuum found its territory but to give you an idea of what might happen. We approached the Institute for Cultural Policy Studies at Griffith to do an issue…we were thinking it could be an issue in film policy or broadcasting policy or something along those lines but they came back with a bloody proposal to do it on museums! So we ended up with this Space Meaning Politics issue which was about museums and it was kind of like SHIT! But that’s a measure of the sort of thing that was happening in the field which could be unexpected. It’s not just where the field is going or where people’s interests are, it’s where you can find the people that will mobilise an issue from and that can carry off an issue. For instance Nick Zurbrugg came to us with a proposal for the Electronic Art in Australia issue. He and I went back a ways as. I knew Nick from Griffith. He was part of that Griffith connection, but he was in the literature area which was almost antithetical to the forms of communication area from memory. But I knew Nick could carry it off and carry it off well. Nick was always someone you could talk to and bounce ideas off. He once generously got me to look after his house and cat while he was on an overseas trip. The thing with Nick was fortuitous in that we were thinking along these lines: I certainly wanted to see us do something in that zone of practice and experimentation in screen practice and I wanted a way to mark the more extensive move into the gallery of screen forms and the energy and vitality of a screen practice scene. I also wanted to know a bit more about it.

We really wanted to mark what seemed to be this whole movement towards various forms of production materials that weren’t quite film. You’d later call it computer art and then you’d call it something else like Electronic Art and you’d call it then something else like Digital Art and so we worked that one up as a proposal together. Once the journal was established with its identity as to what it was, we were able to get and continue to get stuff being offered to us – a lot of those things started to come through and we were able to then assemble things in a way where people were able to have a space to dream a bit. This makes Electronic Arts in Australia such an amazing documentation of this period.[6] It’s like a snapshot. It was my first and only Australia Council grant. But it’s what is also special about Adrian Martin’s issue Film: Matters of Style.[7]

DW: But I guess the person who was around quite early was Stuart Cunningham…

TO: Yeah, Stuart was my first tutor at Griffith University and his was the first PhD I examined. He’d done an honours degree, he’d done it on Sylvia Plath’s poetry and he was History and Literature basically and that was his first appointment and he then started doing a PhD as many people were doing at Griffith at the time. That was the way people would go into it, you weren’t required to have it as your ticket of leave. He had a succession of contracts and then he decided that instead of doing the PhD at Griffith he would go overseas to do it and so he did the masters at McGill in Montreal first and then he went to Wisconsin – Madison and he did all the course work for the PhD there but he ended transferring his PhD to Griffith and he ended up getting a Griffith PhD and that was Chauvel study.

DW: Oh sorry, sorry, I was thinking that you supervised but you examined it.

TO: No, I’d left by then it was an examiners relationship but Stuart was always someone that was part of the discussion and dialogue and in some senses we were both fellow travellers because he was taken by the Ian Hunter, David Saunders kind of thing and then found his own way to be distinct from it and connected with it which I did and he was going to write the book on Godard and that was going to be his first study leave in god knows how long but he took the job at the Communications Law Centre instead and this whole trajectory which has been his policy trajectory followed. I am pretty sure Stuart has never taken study leave in any traditional sense. The Continuum thing is probably important to this story of policy analysis in a way because what those of us who were involved in it and to a certain extent I was a shaping influence for the first sixteen issues. But there are other people involved in that. I brought Toby Miller and Alec McHoul in as editor later and Brian was always there. The journal had come out of a notion of doing SITE analyses, and really it was this kind of notion that around a particular issue, or conjuncture, or institutional configuration or whatever, things had to be understood in a multi faceted way. Therefore it was going to be the site which was important. And when you looked at a site you would see that it might involve a number of disciplines if you were really going to have a chance of making sense of it. I didn’t quite have that language at that stage to say it but it was the kind of thing where we’re actively looking for things that were sufficiently complex to be worth investigating for their contradictions, their contestations, the “power-knowledge” relations. To some extent that was the view of the film industry I had in “Writing an Australian film history”. You need to think of it as a complex of things, you need to think of it as a media complex, you need to think of it as…it is a variety of statuses. That is probably why, later, the work of Bruno Latour became important to me: he could have been talking about the quality of sites when he wrote in We have never been modern of quasi-objects which were simultaneously, natural, social, discursive and ontological (Latour, 1993).
That sort of understanding is probably there right from the “Writing on Australian Film History” on but it was in the practice of Continuum and its selection of objects and writers as well.

DW: But was it those kinds of methodologies that were brought to bear on what you said were the gaps in the 1950s issue or the Asian Australian film or whatever?

TO: It was a sense that in order to talk about texts you really had to put together some of the industry history, the politics surrounding it, acknowledge the politics of culture limiting the ways in which we frame criticism. All those things had to be wrapped up and thought about in one place, and so you can see something of this in the Eric Michaels issue. I did so much photocopying of Eric for the authors because I basically press-ganged all of them to write on Eric’s work. I told them you are interested in this for the following reasons. And that’s how I got Bob Hodge, Alec McHoul, Tim Rowse, Keyan Tomaselli, Ron Burnett. Jay Ruby and Deborah Bird Rose to come to the table as people who knew Eric and wanted to write about him. Jay Ruby didn’t have to be pushed because Jay had taught Eric but Tim took a bit of negotiation, with Bob Hodge I had to show the whole of the oeuvre, with Ron Burnett, I had to do a little bit of pushing as he wanted to go in a certain direction. Keyan Tomaselli was a natural because of his longstanding work with and on the San in Southern Africa. But each of them came from some identifiable really different places and that was the strength of the issue. That was my argument about the significance of Eric’s work – it mattered to a variety of disciplinary configurations. That was the Continuum issue that I was probably most proud of.

DW: Across your body of work, it seems that you can see right from those early writings and those issues of Continuum, you can see when Australian National Cinema comes out which is kind of like a magnum opus in a way, it just kind of all appears as a very kind of accumulation of all those ways of thinking about things before you get more interested in policy stuff or cultural policy stuff.

TO: Yes. Australian National Cinema does draw all of these different strands together. But it’s a book that really comes out of my Murdoch experience too. There’s bits and pieces in there that have echoes of having been an interlocutor with the likes of Ien Ang and John Hartley; of Rita Felski and Horst Ruthrof, of Alec McHoul and Krishna Sen, of John Frow and Vijay Mishra, of Dona Kolar-Panov and Steve Mickler, of John Darling and Jeff Malpas over a sustained period. They each gave me a part of the picture and contributed to the shape of the book and the kinds of questions it asks. From John Hartley a sense of the uses of film and television; from Ien, Krishna, Vijay and Dona a greater sense of dynamics of cultural diversity, ethnicity and Asia; from Rita a sense of the importance of the public spheres and feminist counter public spheres; from Horst and Jeff an understanding of the power of constraints and limits; from Alec an appreciation of the ways people ordinarily make sense of things, from Steve a fine grained sense of the politics of representations of Aboriginality and so on. Clearly the book owed itself to many of the preoccupations of the Murdoch agenda of the late 1980s and 1990s. As for the turn to cultural policy that was the offer to run an ARC Centre, the Australian Key Centre for Cultural and Media Policy, which Tony Bennett had been the driving force in creating. It was the offer I felt I couldn’t refuse even though I had misgivings that I was not quite ready for it. I knew if I did not take up the offer I would always wonder and perhaps regret it. It’s only now I guess after, almost a decade, that I ask what would’ve happened if I hadn’t gone that route and taken that job. I had some things planned before I took the Australian Key Centre for Cultural and Media Policy job that literally took a back seat. My next major study was going to be on Australian television. I wanted to go back to Australian television culture and historicize it. It seemed to me that I was one of the few people who really understood that Australian television was a television service, that it was rolled out in geographical space, that it had certain characteristics, that it differed depending on where you were and there was a politics there that wasn’t quite the politics you got if you were looking at it in terms of say cultural diversity or monopoly. But that stuff that you talk about as the policy period was always there from the beginning. I always felt that Australian film was a creature of policy. I mean the problem in a sense with my policy studies period as Director of the CMP from 1999 to 2002 and my later Administrative period (2005-2008) was that it left very little space for other forms of publication or other ways of doing things. That was partly due to how I tried to manage the key centre. I tried to manage it in a way not unlike how I did Continuum. I asked how can I work with people to facilitate something that they will principally do and through this lead to sustainability of the centre. So there was a certain way in which I put a lot of the stuff that I might have done in my own right on hold. Things that I was quite close to working up into a fully developed proposals like a project on great directors, Australian films. That project which I was trying to get the MCA to turn into an exhibition with a book through the Power Institute. I could’ve also gone into the studies of national cinema kind of thing, more of a comparative, international comparative thing because around that same time or not long before there’s the Adrian Martin issue Film Matters of Style where I’ve got that massive essay on Hollywood in it which came out of being at Madison, Wisconsin and Latrobe for half a year (O’Regan 1992, pp. 302-351).

DW: I think that of all those national cinema books, the Routledge national cinema books, it seems the most organic rather than someone getting a contract on national cinema and saying, shit what am I going to do? It seemed to make perfect sense in terms of a trajectory of where your ideas were going at that time.

TO: Well you see but that kind of fits…I mean one of the things that I always felt about it was that if this was going to be a Routledge book that there was one way of writing it which would be the normal way of writing it, which would consign Australia to people having no reason to engage from it apart from their interest in Australian cinema. Maybe a couple of people who had some broad interest in national cinemas would just go and look at it. So I thought well what will really engage? What will engage is if I show how Australian cinema is a way of thinking about national cinemas. In other words, if it is using Australian cinema to take people through national cinemas. I wanted to turn Australian cinema into an obligatory point of passage for people, to use a Latourian phrase, such that they’d have to go through Australian cinema in order to understand national cinemas. I wrote it like that. As a result I got the review from hell in Cinema Papers where its “academic” qualities were lambasted; but I got by and large a very positive response outside of Australia and to some extent the book has then had some of the functions I had hoped for. It was really very influential in the Scandinavian countries, there was even an attempt at one stage to try to translate it into Chinese but that never happened unfortunately, but it’s well cited for its theorisation of national cinemas. But that’s the way I think you have to approach Australian stuff for international publics. Otherwise you turn it into a work that may be of interest to Australianists but the mainstream of the film studies community doesn’t see that it’s of interest to them and for them. So you need to work with that indifference and see if you can turn it to advantage. Otherwise you are going to be almost ghettoising Australian screen studies to being a certain kind of experience and circulation. That was something I was very alive to. Part of that was that the book came out of a teaching experience in Western Australia. Perth is never going to be a centre for Australian studies in the way that Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and Brisbane are. I was teaching courses in Australian cinema and I mean you talk about where trajectories of students are going and the way they influence things. The people who were doing this course at Murdoch, there wasn’t necessarily a large cohort who were doing it who were interested in production so there were more people doing the production courses at Murdoch than there were doing the Australian Cinema course. And in response I tried to adjust the course and its curriculum in a way that says: “this gives you an overview of the industry that you’re trying to work in. This gives you a sense of the directors”…I then taught it though a whole series of clips, as many as eight clips per session, three hours sessions, which shows bits and I’d take them through this, why this is significant, a lecturing kind of thing within that.

But even though I’d made these adjustments to the curriculum the students who really appreciated it the most tended to come out of the marketing and the media degree who claimed that it was one of their best marketing courses that they’d done and not the production students. This was news to me but what I think they were thinking about when they said that was it allowed them and gave them permission to see the connection between what is done in a promotional sense and meaning; and also that marketing isn’t just a matter of how you sell something like advertising. It’s this other informal world which might be film criticism, it might be the ways it’s being positioned through a whole series of other networks which were not transaction based networks in a straight forward sense like film criticism is, like various forms of newspaper articles are, like a whole range of that kind of stuff is and they were able to see that. For their part production students were often more interested in ideas for their productions and, for better or worse, they did not tend to see Australian filmmaking as something they could learn from as much as from Hollywood or other kinds of cinema. This also points to another facet of teaching at Murdoch. It is that at Murdoch you were always dealing with graduate students who were not necessarily doing Australian cinema theses. Catherine Simpson did but I wasn’t around for her to graduate. It would tend to be people like Toby Miller, Lelia Green, Sally Stockbridge, Steve Mickler and Dona Kolar-Panov. Dona wrote Video Ethnicity and War which came out of something I promoted from the first classes that she had with me as an undergraduate when I said that the charting of ethnic video dynamics was really important. Dona’s thesis started off as an attempt to try and chart among the Balkan communities of Perth, the video dynamics in play. She initially envisaged it as kind of triangulation of diaspora, host society and home country and all that kind of stuff and that was my SBS television research as well which I brought her into and she helped me inestimably with.

DW: But there also seems to be as part of that, there seems to be a strong influence on Australian film theory and criticism, is production. It seems to be a weird kind of distinctiveness about Australia at that time of production and you saying the production students not doing your subject and those kinds of things and your own experience with production. Everyone we’ve spoken to there’s this whole production element, it’s weird.

TO: That’s probably true and that’s still the case, the two books you’ve got there – The Film Studio and Cinema Cities, Media Cities both written with Ben Goldsmith are production studies. OK, they’re about infrastructure, but basically they’re about production, they’re about trying to understand changing circumstances of production through the examination of particular kinds of physical infrastructure, changing kinds of interests in production and servicing productions, which might produce different kinds of films. I mean, what’s different about that from the Australian National Cinema is that in the Australian National Cinema, the circle, the dots are joined up to form a circle, whereas in the film studio works it’s up to someone else to do that and us if we can find the time and energy to do it. Australian National Cinema went back to the ways the films themselves were represented in criticism, to how they engaged with representational practices alongside the policy, public discourse and public reception aspects. What you see in my collaborative work over the 2000s is that I’ve turned pretty explicitly to what might be called the “production of culture” perspective. A lot of this is horses for courses in that you end up doing things that you think needed doing. In the 1990s I thought we needed to take stock of how we were making sense of Australian cinema. In the 2000s we need to take stock of this weird phenomenon of globally dispersed film and television production. The other thing it is, well, its serendipity. You come across stuff right under your nose. And you know it’s being made sense of in some really partial ways. So you burrow into it to try and make sense of it. Writing Australian National Cinema I felt there needed to be an appraisal of international production in Australia which had just then got underway. So undertaking a major research project with Ben Goldsmith and Sue Ward on the Gold Coast and film studio infrastructure made sense because it seemed that this is what would lead to an understanding of contemporary Hollywood, its priorities and its dynamics – and its impact on Australian film and television production. In my later period of the late 1990s and 2000s it actually kind of appears as though I’ve abandoned screen studies for some policy wonking and industry analysis. But actually these moves were driven by the same kind of need to understand why film making looks the way it does? What are the conditions under which it is produced? Why does it look this particular way rather than another way?

Works Cited

Allen, R.C. and Douglas Gomery, Film History: Theory and Practice, New York: Knopf, 1985.
Donzelot, J. The Policing of Families; trans. by Robert Hurley, New York: Pantheon, 1979.
Goldsmith, B. and Tom O’Regan, The Film Studio: Film Production In The Global Economy, Lanham, MD.: Rowman and Littlefield, 2005; Goldsmith, B. and Tom O’Regan, Cinema Cities, Media Cities: The Contemporary International Studio Complex, Sydney: AFC, 2003.
Hunter, I. “Corsetway to Heaven: Looking Back at Picnic at Hanging Rock,” in Cinema Papers, March-April 1976, pp.264-265.
Latour, B. We Have Never Been Modern, Trans. by Catherine Porter, Cambridge MA.: Harvard University Press, 1993.
Martin, A. “No Flowers for the Cinephile: The Fates of Cultural Populism, 1960-88”. P. Foss, ed., Island in the Stream: Myths of Place in Australian Culture, Leichhardt, Pluto Press, 1988, 117-138.
O’Regan, T, “On Screen” in Intervention, No. 15, 1981, 44-62.
O’Regan, T. “Ride the High Country – The Man from Snowy River and Australian Popular Culture”, Filmnews. September 1982, 8-9.
O’Regan, T. “Australian Film Making: Its Public Circulation”, Framework. nos.22/23, 1983, 31-36.
O’Regan, T. “Writing on Australian Film History: Some Methodological Comments”. Occasional Paper n.5, Sydney: Local Consumption Publications, December 1984.
O’Regan, T. “Too Popular by Far: On Hollywood’s International Popularity”, Continuum: The Australian Journal of Media & Culture, Vol 5, No 2, 1992, 302-351.
O’Regan, T. “Two or Three Things I Know about Meaning”, Continuum. Vol 7 No 2, 1994, 327-374.
O’Regan, T. and Cathy Greenfield, “The Construction of a Literary Political Subject” in P. Botsman, C. Burns & P. Hutchings eds., The Foreign Bodies Papers, Sydney: Local Consumption Publications, 1981, 93-168; O’Regan, T. and Cathy Greenfield, ‘Problems with Post-Freudo-Marxist Analysis’ in P. Botsman eds., Theoretical Strategies, Sydney: Local Consumption Publications, 1982, 141-168.
O’Regan, T. and Albert Moran, “Two Discourses on Australian Film”, Australian Journal of Screen Theory. nos. 15/16, l983, 163-173.
O’Regan, T. and Brian Shoesmith eds., The Moving Image: Film and Television in Western Australia, 1896-1985, W.A.: Doubleview, 1985.


[1]  “Countertext to Three Days in Szczecin” was initially a video production that had a counter-commentary running alongside and sometimes on top of the narration for the original program. In this case the program was ‘a Granada Television “dramatised documentary” that reconstructed an historically significant strike (as judged by the film’s British producers, at least) which occurred in 1971, in “a Communist country where strikes have been crushed by tanks”. This Countertext is attributed to Ian Hunter, Tom O’Regan, Dugald Williamson, Graham Chadwick and Chris Lloyd. See the published version – “Countertext to Three Days in Szczecin” The Australian Journal of Screen Theory. 8 (1980): 7-33.
[2]  “The Last Tasmanian on Monday Conference”. A video examination of the issues, mode of presentation and content of the ABC public affairs TV program Monday Conference (1979). This video focussed on the controversy surrounding the documentary film The Last Tasmanian. It was presented at the 1980 Screen Studies Conference at Nedlands Campus, WACAE; and at the Foreign Bodies Conference [Semiotics in Australia, 1980], Sydney.
[3] O’Regan was appointed to a tutorship in March, 1984. Subsequently at Murdoch he was Lecturer, 1986; Senior Lecturer, 1993; and Associate Professor, 1998.
[4] O’Regan, T, “On Screen” in Intervention, No. 15, 1981, 44-62.
[5] Donzelot, J. The Policing of Families; trans. by Robert Hurley, New York: Pantheon, 1979.
[6] “Electronic Arts in Australia”, Edited by Nicholas Zurbrugg, Continuum: The Australian Journal of Media & Culture, Vol 8, No 1, 1992.
[7] “Film: Matters of Style”, Edited by Adrian MartinContinuum: The Australian Journal of Media & Culture, Vol 5, No 2, 1992.

Created on: Monday, 21 December 2009

About the Author

Deane Williams

About the Author

Deane Williams

Deane Williams is Associate Professor of Film and Screen Studies at Monash University. His books include Australian Post-War Documentary Film: An Arc of Mirrors (2008), Michael Winterbottom (with Brian McFarlane, 2009) and the three-volume Australian Film Theory and Criticism (co-edited with Noel King and Constantine Verevis, 2013–2017).View all posts by Deane Williams →