Radical Beginnings

Film buffs and media junkies – especially those with an interest in the sixties and seventies – will make their way to La Trobe University next week.

Students protest in 70'sThe drawcard is the University’s Radical Beginnings Symposium, a two-day feast of films, filmmakers and key media figures of the era.

‘Radical Beginnings,’ says one of the organisers, senior lecturer in Media Studies, John Benson, ‘is an oral history project exploring La Trobe’s own cultural and screen studies history during a period of political and artistic ferment that coincided with the establishment of the University.’

It was a time when the campus was a base for people like Dr Patricia Edgar who became the first head of the Australian Children’s Film Foundation; film director Rod Bishop who went on to become Director of the Australian Film, Television and Radio School; and the late Jerzy Toeplitz who was the AFTR School’s Foundation Director, a key figure in modern Polish cinema before he came to La Trobe.

Others were well-known actor-director John Flaus; the founders of Cinema Papers, Australia’s first film magazine, Scott Murray and Peter Beilby; and film studies specialists such as Ina Bertrand, Rolando Caputo and Anna Dzenis.

Many of these figures will be speaking at the symposium, which will be introduced by Marilyn Lake, Professor of History at La Trobe and winner of this year’s Prime Minister’s Literary Prize,

Three important films of the era made by La Trobe staff and students will be screened the day before the symposium: the experimental 1974 cult-classic Yakkety Yak by Canadian director and former La Trobe staff member, Dave Jones; Beginnings, co-directed by Rod Bishop, a documentary that deals with campus dissent and the anti-Vietnam war demonstrations of 1971; and Got At, an educational documentary produced by Patricia Edgar.

The screenings will be on Wednesday 25 November from 4 to 7 pm, Undercroft Lecture Theatre, main Melbourne campus at Bundoora, (Melway campus map F8).

The symposium will be on Thursday 26 November, from 9.30am to 5.30pm, same venue. Members of the public are invited to attend all events.

Media enquiries
to John Benson,  Tel: 9479 2493 email: j.benson@latrobe.edu.au

All other enquiries to Anna Dzenis tel: 9479 3673, email: A.Dzenis@latrobe.edu.au
or Mary Debrett tel: 94792167 email: M.Debrett@latrobe.edu.au