Interview with Richard LowensteinRolando Caputo July 2009 MIFF Premiere Fund/Post-Punk Dossier, Special Dossiers Issue 51 This is an edited version of an interview originally published in Filmviews, No. 131 (Autumn 1987), pp. 2-7. It is reproduced with the kind permission of the authors. (1) Richard Lowenstein graduated from Swinburne Film and Television School in 1979. In the same year, he completed his first film, a 25-minute drama, Evictions, which won the Erwin Rado Prize at the Melbourne Film Festival. Between 1981 and 1983, Lowenstein wrote and then directed Strikebound, his first feature film. In 1985, he directed a 50-minute film, White City, for Pete Townshend of The Who in London. He then returned to Australia to make Dogs in Space. Lowenstein is also well known in Australia for his work on rock video clips. * * * In Dogs in Space generally, and in particular within the enclosed domestic space of the house, there is an impressive fluidity of both camera movement and actor movement – as if the shots were choreographed. Were they planned for in your story-board or improvised on location? We didn’t really have much access to the Berry St. location until about a week before the shoot started and, even then, we had the Art Department in there working so there was actually a lot of improvisation of camera movement each day. In the venues, where I’d actually had access to the space beforehand, I could tell the camera people exactly what we were going to do and show them the camera movements, just giving slight variations on the day of shooting, but with the house, it was really a matter of trying to keep each scene relatively different, but also trying to structure each camera movement as if it were a “human observer” as well. The way of doing the film was for me a subjective point of view and that’s why there are a lot of linking shots between exterior and interior, and all the hassles and problems that presents photographically. It’s a big problem. If you look at the average film it is almost never done. You start off with the exterior and go to interior, or vice versa, because of the lighting problems […] because of the way we set about designing the film, we couldn’t cut from an exterior in one location to an interior in another location. It was all locked together, so we ended up having to shoot in that house, no matter what the cost, and with all the problems of a very confined location. In some ways it was worse than the coalmine we used in Strikebound. At least in the coalmine you were underground and had a 20-foot wide tunnel, whereas in the house we had five or six-foot wide corridors. When we started we planned to have these long, meandering shots. We thought we could do it all on dollies, and we reboarded the entire house because the floor was a bit dodgy. Once we got the dolly in there, of course it was four-feet wide in a five-foot wide corridor, so there was no way we could go on a straight path and then twist through a doorway, then make a beeline for another door through the lounge into the kitchen. It became impossible, so by the second or third day of the shoot with the dollies slowing us down, we changed over to a lot of Steadycam work. That made it a lot easier – in fact probably made a lot of the shots possible. We always tried to choreograph the actors’ movements with the camera movements also, so that we were always looking for counter-movements, as if the camera were a person on the move, rather than a person sitting in the corner watching it all. It was like a character who wasn’t in the script but who was wandering around from one room to another. Was there a conscious tie-in between the “camera as character”, the weightless feel of the scenes in the house – being in the catch of gravity so to speak – and the NASA space footage? It was supposed to have a dreamy quality to it, so it was perhaps by coincidence that that happened, though the actual aspect of the NASA footage wasn’t incorporated until the editing stage. But even on a sub-conscious level, the whole thing did fit into that “space-feel”. We always had that piece at the opening in the script – the dog in space – and then in the editing stage we incorporated the rest of the NASA footage as breaking points throughout the film, things that would cut the film up into little segments and juxtapose them with the things that were going on in the house. But I don’t think we were making a conscious effort to create a weightless feel; a lot of it is just the nature of the Steadycam. No matter how good the operator is – and we had a good operator – there is always that slight up-and-down movement which gives you that drifting feeling, especially towards the end when the shots get longer and longer, such as in the dream sequence. That sequence goes for about four minutes and it’s all one shot. There’s a trick in there – it is really two shots, but we put it together as one shot. It looks like one. The script is written from people’s nostalgic memories too, including my own, and the D.O.P had a lot of influence (that’s Andrew de Groot), as did other people who knew the house and the era. So it was the nature of it to have the effect of looking through one person’s eyes, creating a dreamy quality tinged with nostalgia. We were always playing with the elements of dream-quality of the shots. And I think it progresses throughout the film. The opening is a very rapidly edited sequence, then you go on to the opening shot of the house and you start building up an editing pace of everyone starting to arrive in the kitchen and going to the party – that is all cutting back and forth. As you get more into the film, the shots are getting slower and dreamier, until the end where Anna dies and you get the really long dream sequence. […] Did you get the performance you wanted out of Michael Hutchence? His acting seems a little too mannered. It was written for Michael. I didn’t make any concessions for him as we were recreating a character who is very close and familiar to me. I actually had a very strong idea of how mannered the character should be and how he should react and I’m perfectly happy with the way Michael did it. I’m sure he was a bit uneasy with just how mannered I wanted him to be. In the screen test I was pushing him to be as mannered as I wanted. The character is always using body language, sucking his cheeks in and so on. That isn’t Michael’s problem – he could have done the character in a very relaxed and natural manner. So when I got him to do it as I wanted it in the screen tests, everyone was saying how tense and mannered he was, always posing – and I said I had just spent three hours getting him to do that! The danger with getting him to relax was that he would become Michael Hutchence, because Michael is a very relaxed person and could have done it in a very naturalistic manner. But the Sam character is at a time in the history of his subculture where appearances and posing and the very tense mannerisms go back to people like David Bowie. It was very much the way of thinking – you would go to parties and see people sucking their cheeks in and putting on fake English accents because that was the way to go, and Sam is very much that sort of character. A lot of people, especially males, tend to be totally put off by that sort of fake and phony character, but you try to show that he sees himself as a pop star, even if he is only in a gutter-level band. There is an element that possibly could have been explained a bit more – the character is shortsighted in the film, which is one of the reasons he always comes up close to people and to the television. Again this came from the real character. So a lot of that stiltedness was put into it and some scenes were playing a fine line between Michael in terms of the body language, and seeing the Sam character – even to the way he walked. If Michael walked through a room relaxed like Michael, I would stop him and make him walk all tensed up as if he were on stage with people watching him all the time, and he had to unlearn everything he was doing with INXS. A lot of it was something Michael himself worked out and put into it. Once we worked out that we wanted this very stylised character with all those traits – the buffoon, the short-sightedness, the wanting to be on the floor all the time – then Michael worked out the character. He unlearned any microphone technique he had picked up. We had videos of the real character putting the microphone between his legs and falling over on stage, and all that was copied quite well. A few directors are fond of using people from the music industry – an example is Nicolas Roeg. Was there something in your choice of Hutchence which you required for the part? Because often, when pop stars can’t act in a cinematic way, they bring a different style of performance which comes from a live stage appearance but on screen there is often that kind of nervousness – which doesn’t damage the performance and is often required. Such as Roeg using Bowie in The Man Who Fell to Earth . I think we had the opposite problem; it was something we had to create. Because I was creating this character who is very self-conscious. That’s one reason we did the screen tests – from those, I could see that Michael could do the role, that he was quite a capable cinematic actor. So we had to build all this out of something that wasn’t really there. I don’t think he has that sort of edginess; because of his relaxed nature he has the ability to be completely natural, and so a lot of the character had to be built up. The character is always conscious of how people perceive him; he is very aware of his attractiveness to the opposite sex. Even though he had a girlfriend he was always presenting himself to women – as though there was a camera on him all the time in real life. I don’t think a lot of people will realise all this until Michael does another role – and I think if he does another role as a singer, he’s mad. Like Madonna in Desperately Seeking Susan [Susan Seidelman, 1985] – that was great, but I think she should now do something different and try to prove herself as an actress, and I think Michael should do the same. The girl who plays Anna – Saskia Post – where is she from? She was one of the girls in One Night Stand [John Duigan, 1984], though she hadn’t had much acting experience, except for The Sullivans. Then she was in Bliss [Ray Lawrence, 1985] in a cameo role as Honey Barber’s daughter at the end, but she looks totally different. I think she has done a bit of theatre, too. She is designed to be the main character; she goes through the most problems and transitions, and is the one you grab on to dramatically, even though it is designed to be an ensemble piece. With all the problems of Sam’s character we knew he wouldn’t be the one everybody would grab on to. So Anna was quite an important role – it is the major pivoting point of the film. We had to find something to make it all gel; if it was sprawling all over the place, it would be very inaccessible. It’s like the Hawkeye character in M*A*S*H [Robert Altman, 1970]: you have to find one character around whom all the chaos gels. That is really the role she plays. I think because of Michael and all the publicity he gets it sometimes overshadows her, and people are going to the film expecting a Purple Rain [Albert Magnoli, 1984]. To Michael’s credit he didn’t take on a project like that, but took on one like this instead. So Saskia is a bit overshadowed, just as happened to Rosanna Arquette in Desperately Seeking Susan. In retrospect, because you knew all these people when you wrote the script, do you think that has caused problems in distancing yourself while you were directing the film? Although you knew exactly their internal motivation, it doesn’t come across for some people watching the film. There were a lot of character details we were able to give the actors but I can’t say we totally understood all of the characters. That’s why they are close representations of real people. Physically and visually they might look similar and a lot of the characteristics we could find are there, but the rest of it had to be worked out between myself and the actors. Then you have the problem of how much you can get across on screen, given the constraints of the structure of the film – of trying to put across maybe ten major characters in the space of 100 minutes. There were aspects of all the characters that got left on the cutting-room floor. So what is left for the audience is not nearly as much character detail as you had in the first place, which is one of the disappointing things. With all the time you spent creating the character of Sam, the last scene seems out of character. I felt I was watching “Michael Hutchence”. Well, it’s not really. It’s a more developed form of Sam – I imagine it to be about six months later. The music’s much better and that follows a musical progression throughout the film. That isn’t supposed to be Michael. I never thought that the character would stand up at the end and be a big-time rock star, although he is giving a much more determined and proper performance. But I still see the character as not necessarily successful, even though he has matured a bit and grown up. We needed a progression in his character and we also needed some music for the ending – an emotional song. Whether or not the character has learned from his mistakes I don’t know, even though he has grown up a bit and we have thrown him out into a colder world. Personally I preferred the old Sam crawling around on the ground to the new Sam at the end. I do see something interesting in his character; even if it is childlike. I see affection and a real love for Anna. At the end of the film he has a much colder approach to life. Perhaps we associate the final sequence more with “Michael Hutchence” than the Sam character because the character seems at that stage outside the dramatic and narrative context which prevailed. Given the way you shot that sequence, there is a kind of formal distance that the audience is given which you didn’t allow us at other points in the film. It is a shift of style. It looks like pop clip, which is why we associate it with Michael rather than with Sam. It’s a lot sparser. As soon as the Anna character died, we tried to change everything to a really cold, sparse feel in everything we shot. With the Anna character we used lots of warmth, reds and so on, and when she died we tried to take a colder, more analytical look. That’s what we were aiming for. We felt that when the character died we should finish the film off as soon as possible, and I don’t know whether that was such a good idea – whether we should have shown some transition. After something like that happens, it is very hard to know how to continue, and we felt the song was the most concise way. We were trying to fit things within the song – to start the song over the funeral – and trying to fit things like what was happening to the house, and empty rooms, and putting all that into the song to show that the whole house had collapsed. So we had all that to get across and, at the same time, Sam’s transition to get across. So we packed the transition of Sam into what he was wearing, how he was behaving, etc. So I tend to agree it is a different character, but it is really the same character six months down the track, who has probably gone through a bit of hell. I don’t know whether he has really gone forward or backward. In one sense he has gone forward, because he is more sensible, but then again, I made the film as a glorification of – or rather, in admiration of – all the characters’ simplicity and childlike energy, and the ideas and ideologies that come out of that. And I see Sam at the end as more mature but maybe not so exciting a character You put in the credits “Melbourne Australia 1978”. From what you have just said, do you see that energy as pertaining to that specific period and which has now been lost? Are you nostalgic for that period? The whole film is very nostalgic but, rather than just making it as a nostalgic trip for a small group of people, I made it as a nostalgia trip for everybody who goes through those periods of excitement – whether they be punks or hippies or the beat era or young communists of the ’50s. I think it just happens within subcultures. With the yuppie subculture today, a similar thing can happen. The whole date thing is very dubious. We picked that Bowie concert of late 1978 because it seemed to be the beginning of a certain trend, which started falling apart about three years later, so I see the time period of the film as being 1979,’80 and ’81 and we encapsulated those three years into three weeks in the film. So if you asked me to put a date on the end, I would say the end of 1981. I don’t remember when Anna actually died but, in terms of the film’s chronology, she would die in 1981, the party in the middle would be 1980, and the party at the beginning would be 1979. So you very quickly leave 1978 – it’s a major artistic license. The characterisation is quite real and authentic but the timespan is really very condensed. Within that subculture we were depicting, there was a year or so of really crazed energy, very productive; there were a lot of independent records coming out with a lot of energy and excitement, and in 1981 the drugs progressed through to heroin and we went through an incredible demoralisation; the music got gloomier and the ideas became less and less. Sometime around late 198l or early 1982, people started dying of heroin overdoses. It isn’t really the story of a girl’s death, it is the story of a whole subculture’s death. How difficult was it to get hold of the music and how did you manage to appease all the bands which weren’t to appear in the film, but who felt themselves to be important to that era? A lot of them probably didn’t have the guts to come to us and say straight out that they were part of the scene. A lot of it was left up to me and Ollie Olsen, the musical director, who was quite a strong figure in one of the major bands at that time [Whirlywind]. There are very few bands in a position to say, “We were really important at that time”. [The] Birthday Party and The Boys Next Door are probably the only two which could have said it. At one stage I thought of using Nick Cave as a kind of Brechtian narrator, which would probably have replaced all the space footage, and through poetry or song do a similar thing to what the space footage does – but as a present-day narrator rather than as a recreation. As I said, I guess The Boys Next Door/Birthday Party were the people who could have made that claim, but we found we wanted to get the feel but not to make a definitive statement of the punks of that era. The film makes a much broader statement – I mean, we give equal time to the Engineering student! I have raised a lot of resentment because of that fact, because it has been taken as a definitive statement about the New Music and the punks of that era – which I find quite amusing. People go to see the film and feel I’ve misrepresented a generation, when I never really set out to say “This is the definitive, post-punk subculture film”. Maybe that is someone else’s job, maybe it’s not worth doing, I don’t know. But definitely a lot of my own peer group, especially the Melbourne group, expected that and wanted it to be just a film to which all the groovies could relate. I think they got a bit annoyed when they saw the amount of time given to the hippies and the chainsaw men – totally out of their scene, because what did happen and what I saw as unique about the house we represented was that most of the in-crowd punk houses of the time were exactly that, and would never have had the follow-through of all these other characters. There were a lot of other houses that were similar, but not within the punk group. This house did represent a place where all these different streams could come into conflict and could have the graphic designers and the engineering students as well as the punk band. But getting back to the music. Most of the songs you hear on the soundtrack I had in mind when I was writing scenes. When I was writing the dream sequence, for example, I had the Iggy Pop song picked out. I was involved enough in the music of the time to be able to put a finger on what I saw as the definitive songs – like The Boys Next Door’s version of “Shivers” was and probably still is a definitive song about that era. Some of those songs have a timeless quality and that is how I originally got onto Ollie Olsen and John Murphy and, through them, we then constructed the little bands and put together a whole lot of songs – about twice as many as we actually used in the film – of what Ollie saw as the definitive “little bands”, the more experimental “Stockhausen” types to the thrash punk types… and we did rough demos and dug up tapes of the original bands that recorded live. There is a guy called Alan Bamford who set himself up as an archivist of that era, whose tapes became very handy. Given that you make music video clips, do you think that the video clip format has an influence on your feature filmmaking? For instance, you said that you had a piece of music in mind when you were writing. That is very much a video clip process, where you listen to the music and conceive your images. Video clips use a lot of visual condensation, for example. Some of the sequences in Dogs in Space are detachable as if they have been conceived as autonomous blocks; obviously they have links to a wider narrative, but they can be pulled out of the narrative itself. I think that is more a part of the way the script was written than of any stylistic approach we may have had, because the script was written in a very episodic manner. It was collected rather than written. I’d go to someone and say, “Tell me a story about the era you remember”, then I’d go somewhere else and remember one myself and write it down. I would have these cards on the wall representing a block or section, and a lot of those were arbitrarily moved around, though they did have to have some sort of logical flow throughout the film. Strikebound happened in a similar way, very episodic in nature. It was so that you could pull a complete scene out and it would stand on its own. But I don’t see too much connection with the way I do film clips, because I do those in a totally haphazard manner. When I was doing this film I finally had the opportunity to pick my own songs. A lot of the songs I used in the film I had known for years and had always found them to be very atmospheric and very visual, and so that was great – rather than having to do this or that song a band had thrust at me. It gives you a far more fluid approach, to be able to write the scene and then find the music to fit it rather than the other way around. The major difference is that in film clips we are always fitting pictures to music. I never just make up a scene so I can utilise a piece of music. There are always technical things you pick up from doing music videos. In Strikebound there was the use of high-contrast film in the dream sequence, which I learned about while doing the Hunters and Collectors video, but that was the only video I had done before doing Strikebound. But now there are some things – like the glowing car – that I learned about on videos, and the whole animation thing. The similarity is that we are always trying to make the music and the pictures work well together. It’s extremely hard doing that with music videos if you have music that doesn’t create strong visuals – and a hell of a lot of it doesn’t, especially pop music. But with a film, you are able to pick the music that does complement the visual atmosphere. If you were asked to program Dogs in Space with a block of other films, which films would you choose? It would be a combination of things that would actually get the audience prepared. The Man Who Fell to Earth would probably be one, and Robert Altman’s M*A*S*H; even films like Sid and Nancy [Alex Cox, 1986] would be good after it. One of the major things I would take advantage of, given an audience which has been battered into accepting the American standard dramatic and narrative structure … I would be most interested in things which deal with different forms of cinema language and which don’t always feed people things on a platter. I think I’d show people Solaris (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1972] beforehand! The whole trend of cinema nowadays seems to be more and more conventional in approach to stories – especially coming from America, and even that coming from England. You might be getting stories with more variables in them because of society changing, but you are still getting very conventional ways of looking at these stories. Showing at the Hoyts Cinema Centre where we are, you are going to get people who have just come out of The Fly [David Cronenberg, 1986] or Pretty in Pink [Howard Deutch, 1986], or whatever, going in and expecting a nice little story and expecting to be given all the information fed out to them with a beginning, a climax and an end. So that is the biggest problem we tend to have. I think it is important that people start getting used to different types of cinema. Maybe films like Rashomon [Akira Kurosawa, 1950] could fit in there. Kurasawa’s Living [Ikiru, 1952] I would like to screen. […] Looking back, how useful do you think the Swinburne Film School training was? I think it was very useful, but I wouldn’t call it training. I’d call it basically “trial by fire”. It is a very loose film school. Before that I had been to a free school in the hippie era, so I was quite prepared for Swinburne’s “looseness”. I think it is much more together now, but at that time it was still establishing itself and wasn’t sure whether it was going to collapse, through lack of funding, or to keep going. It was a great opportunity to learn to shoot 16mm film, to thread up the cameras, to work out how to use an exposure meter and so on, and then get to work on an almost professional film. So technically it’s great. But as a theoretical teaching ground I think it left you very much up in the air. There was no real study of the history of cinema. You got one film a week – a so-called classic – and that would be it, whereas at the Sydney Film School or the Berlin Film School, there are incredible libraries where you can run films in a cinema continually. That is a very important aspect. At Swinburne the whole theory side, the scriptwriting, is very basic. There is the Brian Robinson Theory of Scriptwriting, which has a lot of pluses with which I tend to agree, but it is only one man’s viewpoint; but it was a wonderful experience in using what little resources you could get your hands on and doing what you could with them. Looking over your three films, Evictions, Strikebound and Dogs in Space, do you think there is a discernible “Lowenstein style”? I think there is definitely a camera style, a visual style. A lot of it probably has to do with the fact that a lot of the same people worked on all of them. I think there is a definite look about them. How would you describe that look? It’s hard to describe. There are certain shots I tend to go for; even technically, you will find that the films are constructed either via montage – short, sharp shots that are edited in quick succession, or with extremely long shots, that weave in and around in fairly convoluted paths. I think if you just look at the shape and form of those films, they seem to use one or the other. In Strikebound you might have a sequence of a lot of different aspects of the mine, and then you’ll have a long shot weaving through the underground of the mine which might go on for three minutes. In Evictions the same thing happens, such as when the house is being torn down and there is a massive editing sequence of destruction. In Dogs in Space there are lots of long, fluid shots, such as early in the film when the skinheads come, and also driving to the first party, where there is a lot of cross-cutting and sharply edited shots. A lot of this editing is influenced by the early Russian cinema, using the power of taking a lot of static shots and putting them together in quick succession. By themselves they may not mean much but in a run of events they will have a larger overall meaning. Getting away from the technical style, I think there is definite content flow-on from each film. The most obvious one is that they are all developed through the medium of oral history, taken from people’s memories in real life and put down on paper, and kept fairly rigidly to the real-life events. Evictions was a story of Noel Counihan’s and Tom Hill’s memories of the early 1910s; Strikebound was a story of Wattie and Agnes Doig’s memories of a strike in Wonthaggi, and Dogs in Space is a lot of people’s memories of a certain house in a certain area. Everything has been taken from actuality. The social realism of the filming is the obvious thread that runs through it, but it also has a heightened flavour – it isn’t heavy, dour social realism as in the films of Ken Loach. Loach’s form of social realism is still very watchable but it is presented very flatly and, ultimately, can be very depressing. Mine is more of a heightened social realism, where I always try to borrow from the techniques of exploitation cinema to put a message across with the greatest impact. A lot of things in Dogs borrow from the Mad Max films, for example the opening scene and the ways of shooting car crashes, things like that. Whereas Ken Loach would probably have had a single camera recording a car tipping over in a wide shot, we went out of our way to make it as dramatic and exciting as possible. We want to make it captivating for the audience and also to create the whole feel of the people who are living through it. So we shot the car crash from all the exploitative angles we could – for example, the car going over the top of the camera. We also play with the tension of Anna getting out of her car and running up to the car crash, and construct those scenes in such a way that we are almost borrowing from Hitchcock rather than from the social realists. So we try to combine the two – to use the conventions of dramatic narrative camera with the ideals and content matter of social realism – a combination that will hopefully make people stop and think. Too often people see the two as mutually exclusive, that in order to document society you have to do it in a depressing way, or you have to make a documentary and do it properly; or else you have to make a cheap exploitation film about some trite story. There is definitely a meeting ground between the two, and this is what we have been playing with all along. It was possible for me to make a documentary out of Evictions but I thought a documentary would be like a hundred other documentaries – would it be really involving? The most obvious way of making it involving was by recreating it and showing it in period costume, with as much action and drama as possible – which all of this material has. There is no need to forget about the action and drama just because you are dealing with a real-life event. Get people involved with it so they can say, “Shit, wouldn’t that be terrible?” instead of simply showing a whole lot of black and white stills. I’m not putting down the documentary format in any way, because it has its own virtues and can be really engrossing, but in some ways you can never match the power that, say, Peter Watkins got in a film like Culloden  about the Scottish Highland battles. What place do you think you have in the Australian film industry? Are you comfortable within this industry? No, I’m not very comfortable in this industry but then, I don’t think I’d be very comfortable in any industry. This is probably the one in which I’d be most comfortable, only because of the relative ease of raising money here. It’s never easy when you are actually doing it, but when you look back at it you think of people trying to raise money overseas, and it is relatively easy here. Although I don’t know how easy it will be in the future, given the present state of the film industry. I am totally unsympathetic with the rest of the film industry. That is one of the reasons I’ve never moved to Sydney, because it is the centre of the film industry and that doesn’t appeal to me much. There tends to be a very narcissistic sort of back-patting, Balmain-party, “you piss in my pocket and I’ll piss in yours” attitude in the Sydney film industry. There are elements of it here too, but we aren’t so dense, not so much of a subculture here. We tend to be split into the advertising industry, the old Crawfords industry, and the new Ian Pringles and that lot, so we tend to be much healthier. I can’t stand mixing with film-oriented people; in fact, most of my peer group (apart from working on film clips, perhaps) have got nothing to do with it. It isn’t an ambitious situation for me. I make films if I have something to make them about, but it seems to me that the Australian film industry is into making films for its own sake. Initially they did have something to make them about. Some of the early films, like Sunday Too Far Away [Ken Hannam, 1975], Between Wars [Michael Thornhill, 1974], My Brilliant Career [Gillian Armstrong, 1979], were new and making fairly good statements. But they can’t go on trying to remake My Brilliant Career. That was great for its time, but films reflect what is going on in the world around you. Australian period drama has got a lot of flack but it isn’t actually the fact that it is period drama, but the way in which they’re made and the sorts of stories they use. Strikebound is a period drama but I believe it honed in on an aspect of period drama that probably has not been seen before and probably won’t be again. There seems to be a dearth of interesting ideas and interesting ways of doing things in the Australian film industry. And a lot of that seems to be because of the close-knittedness of the film community; once it got established during the boom of the tax incentives years it closed ranks, and it became very easy for the people who had made the initial films to keep on making crap, but it became very hard for new people. In the future, I can imagine doing a job overseas, but I can’t imagine just going ahead for the sake of it, and I can’t imagine going to Sydney! Dogs in Space will screen at the Melbourne International Film Festival on Saturday 1 August at 7:00 PM. Endnotes Editors: The text has been slightly cut, as indicated by […], but the editorial style of the original has been maintained.