Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Welcome to Canberra - Home Movies

Sometimes Canberra really surprises you with fabulous things that go on but either receive very little publicity or attention.

One such thing was the 'Welcome to Canberra' event at the National Film and Sound Archive on Sunday. Eli was at a playdate so I went along with Audrey. 

It was a series of short films (home movies) shot in the 1950s by a lady's father (she was a small child at the time, about Audrey's age). Noteable about the films were the fact that they were shot in 16mm (rather than the regular 8mm which was common at the time) which meant that they were pretty high quality. The lady's dad also had an interest in film which meant that he had edited them well and a couple of the films even included opening and closing credits. They were silent films so the lady sat on stage and shared stories about what was going on.

The event was free and the theatrette was quite full, with several members of the lady's family in the audience. I love the Film and Sound Archive so just the chance to go and see something (albeit fairly random) for free was a good opportunity for me and Audrey.

Audrey loved the shots of old Canberra which was definitely a 'bush capital' in those days with narrow streets and no traffic. The lady's family was originally from Karpathos in Greece and they established the Blue Moon Cafe in the middle of Canberra which was featured quite frequently in the movies. Although some of the films were fairly mundane (children playing or families eating at a picnic in the Cotter) it was a really interesting window into a bygone era.

The Film and Sound Archive also showed a couple of short films designed to encourage migrants to Australia and Canberra in particular. Australia was still essentially under the White Australia Policy but the images were still a long cry from the Australia of today where refugees are vilified rather than welcomed.

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