Steven Ball
Marie Craven
Solrun Hoaas
Daryl Dellora

Melbourne independent filmmakers

Leo Berkeley
Giorgio Mangiamele
Michael Buckley
Moira Joseph
 
     


Ray Argall
b. May 31, 1957,
Box Hill District Hospital, Melbourne, Australia.

BIOGRAPHY:   A graduate of the Australian Film Television and Radio School in 1980, Ray Argall has enjoyed a colourful and productive presence in a filmmaking career spanning more than thirty years.

In that time he has worked as a director, producer, DOP, editor and writer on features, short dramas, documentaries, and established a reputation as one of Australia's most innovative cinematographers through his work on features such as Wrong World, The Prisoner of St Petersberg and most recently Look Both Ways.

 

Ray's first feature, Return Home, received the 1990 AFI Award for best director, and the Film Critics Circle of Australia Award for Best Director and Best Film; and screened at Berlin, Edinburgh, Seattle and a retrospective in Cannes. He was a set-up director for the award winning ABC drama series SeaChange and MDA; and produced numerous music videos for Midnight Oil, Split Enz, Crowded House, and Hoodoo Gurus among others.

To keep body and soul alive, Ray plays ice hockey with a local Sydney team, and referees for IHNSW in junior and senior competitions.



 
 
1976

CRITICAL OVERVIEW:   One starts with the question, why? Why would you choose this life? It’s been exciting, fun, creatively rewarding and exhilarating at times; but it’s also been cruel, bitchy and heart-breaking at others. Perhaps this is part and parcel of being a filmmaker in Australia?

I never thought about filmmaking as a career. Filmmakers today are more focused, even ruthless in their career strategy. Understandably as it’s a matter of survival, and so much importance is placed on ‘building’ the right career path. Perhaps if I’d hopped on the first plane to the US after the success and media attention for my first feature and personally chased those deals with Miramax, signed up with those agents, managers and lawyers – perhaps I would’ve made that leap? But as a new parent, nothing was further from my mind – and somewhat naively I thought that recognition internationally (through festivals and sales) would help build a solid career in Australia. Well yes it does, but not consistently over time, and certainly not if you choose to stay here.

Filmmaking is both deceptively simple, and extremely complex. You need to know a little about a lot, and it really helps if you know a lot about a lot. I don’t believe that cinema is about what’s written on the page, nor is it an intellectual pursuit. Not for me anyway. It’s about the creation of something greater out of the pictures, sounds and ideas you bring together on screen. It’s a strange mix between taking those core ideas, doing all that thorough painstaking preparation and planning; then throwing it all up in the air where your intuition and instinct has to work with whatever it becomes; which in turn gets thrown in the air again in post production. Truly great cinema can be etherial and spacious (Bresson, Ozu, two of my favorite films are – Pickpocket and Two Lane Blacktop) and it can be totally frenetic and explosive (Carpenter, Lucas, Coppola, anything by Sam Raimi). It can be pretentiously arty, and awfully silly – and yet still be rewarding. It’s such a broad canvas we work with. And if I was stuck on a desert island with only one film to watch? ... I think Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure might do the trick.

See also REFLECTIONS OF THE MELBOURNE INDEPENDENT FILMMAKING SCENE


FILMOGRAPHY:

 
 

FEATURES

LOOK BOTH WAYS (2004, 100 mins, Dir: Sarah Watt, Prod: Bridget Ikin) (DOP)

BODY MELT (1992; 83 mins; Dir: Philip Brophy Prod: Rod Bishop) (DOP)

EIGHT BALL (1991; 90 mins, Co-production with ABC TV (co-SCR, DIR))

STAN & GEORGE'S NEW LIFE (1991; 104 mins; Dir: Brian McKenzie Prod: Margot McDonald) (DOP)

RETURN HOME (1990; 89 mins) (SCR, DIR, CO-PROD with Cristina Pozzan)

CASTANET CLUB'S BIG NIGHT OUT (1988; 85 mins; Dir: Neil Armfield Prod: Glenys Rowe) (DOP)

THE PRISONER OF ST. PETERSBERG (1988; 78 mins; Dir: Ian Pringle Prod: Daniel Scharf) (DOP)

TENDER HOOKS (1987; 95 mins; Dir: Mary Callaghan Prod: Chris Oliver) (DOP)

WITH LOVE TO THE PERSON NEXT TO ME (1986; 98 mins; Dir: Brian McKenzie Prd: John Cruthers) (DOP, ED)

SALT, SALIVA, SPERM AND SWEAT (1987; 50 mins; Dir: Philip Brophy Prod: Rod Bishop) (DOP)

WRONG WORLD (1984; 84 mins; Dir: Ian Pringle Prod: Bryce Menzies) (DOP, ED)

THE PLAINS OF HEAVEN (1982; 80 mins; Dir: Ian Pringle Prod: John Cruthers) (DOP, ED)

 
 
on set Body Melt 1992

WRONSKY (1978; 71 mins; Dir: Ian Pringle Prod: John Cruthers) (DOP)


TV DRAMA

MDA Series 2 (2003; 55 mins; Episode 24: Chinese Walls) (DIR)

MDA Series 1 (2002; Establishing/Set-up Director; Episode 3 & 4 (ABC TV and Screentime))

BONDI BANQUET (1999; 30 mins x 2 eps) (SBSI and Robyn Kershaw Productions) (DIR)

SEACHANGE Series 1 (1998; Establishing/Set-up Director; Episode 3 & 4 - 2 x 55 mins) (ABC and Artist Services)

99.9 RAW FM (1997; 55 mins) (co-SCR, DIR) Episode 7 - "A Raw Nerve" (ABC and Generation Films)


DOCUMENTARY AND LONGFORM MUSIC PROGRAMMES

ONE OUT OF THE BAG (2006; 106 mins; Feature concert film of SPLIT ENZ reunion tour. (PROD, DIR, DOP, ED)

THE LAKE SCHOOL (2005; 46 mins; DVD of the Celtic music camp held in Koroit, VIC) (DIR, PROD, DOP, ED)

 
 
shooting The Prisoner of St. Petersburg 1988

UNDER ONE ROOF (2002-03; 50 mins; documentary series; Episode 2 The Puckeridge family. (DIR, CO-DOP) (for Film Australia, National Interest Program)

DESPERATE MAN BLUES (2000; 52 mins: Dir: Ed Gillan) (DOP, Post supervisor)

24 HEURES À SYDNEY (2001; Production co-ordination (French Production))

LES ENFANTS DE MAD MAX (2000; 53 mins; Production co-ordination (French Production))

PAT AND EDDIES GREYHOUND RACING FAMILY (1994; 94 mins; Feature Documentary) (ED) Dir: Brian McKenzie. Prod: Daniel Scharf

A PLACE TO BELONG (1992; 52 mins; D: Brian McKenzie. Prod: Daniel Scharf (DOP, ED))

PEOPLE WHO STILL USE MILK BOTTLES (1989; 53 mins; D: Brian McKenzie P: John Cruthers) (DOP)

 
 
on set "Read About It"
(Midnight Oil) clip 1984

POP MOVIE (1985-86; TV Series 6 x half hour for ABC TV) (DIR, co-SCR, co-PROD; co-DOP, co-ED)

AUSTRALIAN MADE (1987; DIR/DOP Second Unit)

THE SPIRIT SHOW (1987; 100 mins Concert film Black Sorrows (DIR, DOP, PROD)

RED SAILS IN THE SUNSET (1984; incomplete; Concert film Midnight Oil (DIR, DOP, PROD)

RIGHT THERE ON MY TV (1984; 84 mins; Concert film Skyhooks (DIR, DOP, PROD)

TRACK RECORD (1983; 72 mins; Concert film Joan Armatrading (DIR, DOP, PROD)

SKYHOOKS (1983; 30 mins; LIVE IN THE 80's - (DIR, DOP, ED, PROD)

SATURDAY NIGHT AT THE CAPITOL (1982; 52 mins; Concert film Midnight Oil (DIR, DP, ED, PROD))

 
 
shooting "2 People per sq km" 
(The Models) 1980

STAYING NUMBER ONE (1981; 31 mins (DIR, DOP, ED, PROD))

THE MODELS (1981; 24 mins (DIR, DOP, ED, PROD))

Sound editor at ABC TV, Natural History and TV drama. 1980 - 81

1980-87 MUSIC VIDEOS for artists including: Midnight Oil, Crowded House, Hoodoo Gurus, Split Enz, Hunters and Collectors, Cold Chisel, Men at Work.


SHORT DRAMAS, ANIMATION, ONLINE

Production of filmmaker interviews for Australian Screen Online (NFSA) (2009, various)

LES CONTES DES ANIMAUX (2003, 42 mins) (Dir: Lucinda Clutterbuck) (PROD, ED)

WALNUT & HONEYSUCKLE (2001; 5 mins) (Dir: Lucinda Clutterbuck) (ED)

 
 
on set "Message to my Girl" 
(Split Enz) 1983

LIVING WITH HAPPINESS (2001, 5 mins) (Dir: Sarah Watt) (ED)

LOST (1999; 13 mins) (Dir: Jo Kennedy) (DOP, co-ED)

ASHPUTTLE (1998; (Dir: Nag Vladermisky, Susie Allender) (ED)

THE BRIDGE (1997; (Dir: Jo Kennedy) (DOP)

THE WEB Series two (1995; 7 x 5 mins) (Animated series) (Series dir: Lucinda Clutterbuck) (ED)

SMALL TREASURES (1994; animated short) (Dir: Sarah Watt) (ED)

THE WEB Series one (1992-93; 6 x 5 mins) (Animated series) (Series dir: Lucinda Clutterbuck) (ED)

CAMERA NATURA (1986; 32 mins) (Dir: Ross Gibson Prod: John Cruthers) (DOP)

NO DANCE (1984; 22 mins) (Dir: Philip Brophy Prod: Rod Bishop) (DOP)

THE INVERTED KISS (1983) (Dir: Phllip Brophy Prod: Rod Bishop) (DOP)

 
 
Julie, Julie 1982

JULIE, JULIE (1982; 24 mins) (DIR, WR, ED)

DOGFOOD (1978; 20 mins) (DIR, WR, DOP, ED)

PARNASSUS (1976; 35 mins) (DIR, WR, PROD, DOP, ED)

COMA (1976; 7 mins) (DIR, WR, PROD, DOP, ED)

MORNING RITE (1975; 15 mins) (DIR, WR, PROD, DOP, ED)


AWARDS

RETURN HOME

Berlin Festival 1990 Panorama; Seatlle, Edinburgh, Cannes Forum (retrospective)
1990 AFI award for Best Director.
1990 Film critics circle of Australia Award for Best Director.
1990 Film critics circle of Australia Award for Best Film.
2002 Remastered for the Kodak/Atlab Cinema Collection (NFSA)

 
 
Return Home 1990

THE PRISONER OF ST. PETERSBERG

Gold Award 1989 ACS Awards (Victoria)

TENDER HOOKS

Silver Award 1988 ACS Awards (Victoria)

WITH LOVE TO THE PERSON NEXT TO ME

Kodak Cinematography Award 1988 St Kilda Festival

WRONG WORLD

Nomination Best Cinematography 1985 AFI Awards

THE BRIDGE

Nominated for cinematography AFI awards 1998


 
 

SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Movietime - 8 January 2010 - Summer Trash & Treasure: Ray Argall on 'Two-Lane Blacktop'

National Film and Sound Archive - Kodak/Atlab Cinema Collection - Return Home (1990)

Return Home (1990) curator's notes on ASO - Australia's audio and visual heritage online

Look Both Ways: Interview with Sarah Watt and Andrew S. Gilbert, Senses of Cinema

Peter Galvin: Return Home; 100 Greatest films of Australian Cinema, edited by Scott Hocking

Brian McFarlane and Geoff Mayer; New Australian Cinema

Cinema Papers 78; Scott Murray; Report and Interview Return Home; 1990

Filmnews; Vol 20, No. 7; August 1990; Home Truths; Peter Kemp

The Movie Show; Margaret Pomeranz, David Stratton; IV and review Return Home (5 stars from each of them!)

The Oxford Companion to Australian Film; edited by Brian McFarlane, Geoff Mayer, Ina Bertrand.

"'Round the Block": Back to the Suburb in Return Home", in Beasts of Suburbia (Ed)

Chris Heeley (Melbourne University Press, 1994), pp. 111 - 126.


© Ray Argall, April 2010

Ray Argall's website

Umbrella Entertainment | DVD and Blu Ray | RETURN HOME  (DVD)

YouTube - Ray Argall showreel

MANDY WALKER

Contact Ray Argall

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Melbourne independent filmmakers is compiled by Bill Mousoulis