Late in 1999, a Melbourne based independent filmmaker decided to take a well-earned hiatus from his prolific filmmaking activities and thought it would be a good idea to start up a web-based film journal. He soon shared his idea with a close friend and thus, in December of that year, Bill Mousoulis and Fiona Villella launched the first issue of Senses of Cinema.

Looking back from now almost ten years, it is clear the web was a different place then. The very concept of an electronic film journal was in its infancy. There were not too many models to look to. One had to make it up as one went along, discovering the potential of online publishing – both from a design aspect, and in relation to the modes of writing it would accommodate and the kinds of readership one reached out there in cyberspace – as one produced each new issue.

In those early days, Senses was very much an ‘in-house’ operation, with Bill and Fiona wearing several hats at once: Bill as Co-editor and Webmaster, and Fiona as Co-editor and Manager. Their first issue contains contributions from mostly local writers, but by the second issue international contributors were already making their presence felt. Throughout those early issues, one sees features that would grow into mainstays of the journal, such as Top Ten lists (Bill is a lover of lists!), international festival reports, the first of the CTEQ Annotations, the World Poll and much else.

Reaching a 50th anniversary milestone would not have been possible without the contributions of the countless individuals that have worked on the journal and left their mark on its legacy. First, we acknowledge those who have filled the role of Manager: Mairead Phillips and Daniel Yencken, who took the reigns from Fiona for a brief period of time; Albert Fung, who from late 2001 became a member of the Senses team as the Links Page Administer and contributed to the journal’s web design, and from 2004 added managerial duties; Peter Beilby, who introduced an across-the-board professional approach to the journal’s operations. With this issue, we welcome onboard as our new Manager Blythe Chandler, a former Film Victoria Projects Manager, who brings with her broad industry experience and is a keen film buff to boot!

As to former Editors, there would, of course, be no Senses without Founding Editor Bill Mousoulis and General Editor Fiona Villella. In early 2003, Jake Wilson joined Fiona as a Co-editor and, as of Issue 30, they were joined by Michelle Carey to form an editorial triumvirate. In late 2004, editorial duties were taken up the current editorial team of Rolando Caputo and Scott Murray (Editors), Fincina Hopgood (Book Reviews Editor) and long-time Senses mainstay Michelle Carey (Festival Reports Editor).

One of Senses’ longest associations has been with the Melbourne Cinémathèque. Its annual screenings, along with enriching local film culture, has occasioned the CTEQ Annotations that began appearing in the journal all the way back in Issue 4. In time, the Annotations have grown in number and have evolved into a permanent fixture of the journal. This has been possible because of the sterling, long-term work of CTEQ Annotations Editor Adrian Danks.

If Senses has a distinctive design and look and feel about it, it is principally due to our Web Designer Cerise Howard, who has overseen the design of the site since Issue 14 in 2001. Cerise has also been actively working with the developers of Senses’ new web site, which we hope to launch with Issue 51.

Over the years, a considerable number of others (too many to name, but you know who you are) have generously given of their time as Editorial Assistants or as General Volunteers in one capacity or another, and we hereby acknowledge their support.

Of course, if Senses has remained alive and vibrant (and we hope it has), it is mainly to due to the excellent contributions by the many authors it has been our privilege to publish over the 50 issues to date.

As to this issue, we decided the best way to celebrate was to (metaphorically) hand over Senses to an eclectic array of some of the world’s most exciting filmmakers and let them speak for themselves.

Our thanks go to Sally Shafto for organising and translating the reminiscences on Michel Fournier, and to Ewa Rudling for supplying us with such superlative images.

And in this light, we sadly note the recent tragic passing of Fortissimo’s Wouter Barendrecht, whose support of filmmakers such as Tsai Ming-liang, Apichatpong Weerasethakul and Pen-ek Ratanaruang championed the sorts of cinema Senses is devoted to covering.

We hope you enjoy this 50th Anniversary issue …

… from all of us at Senses of Cinema