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Melbourne independent filmmakers

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Mischa Baka
b. March 10, 1982, Sydney, Australia.

BIOGRAPHY:   Mischa Baka was raised in Pearl Beach, a beach town outside of Sydney, and inner city Millers Point.

His father Peter Baka is an artist, and his mother Sophie Pearce an artist and writer.

Mischa graduated from Newtown High School of the Performing Arts followed by a foundation year at The National Art School.

 

Before attending the Victorian College of the Arts School of Film and Television, Mischa was a founding member of SHH theatre company presenting work at the Sydney Opera House and on tour around Australia.

Mischa holds a Masters by Research degree from the University of Melbourne, with the project "Writing Dialogue: Stance, Space and Emotion" (2018), and his practice-led research incorporates dance, linguistics and screen writing.

 

photo (crop) by Shane Nagle

Mischa holds an undergraduate degree and honours from the Victorian College of the Arts film school where his graduate film Last Beautiful Friend (2009, 25 mins) was awarded Most Daring and Innovative Production, Best Achievement in Editing and Best Achievement in Sound. The film was nominated for an Australian Directors Guild Award in 2010. In 2011 Mischa attended the Clermont Ferrand International Short Film Festival where Last Beautiful Friend screened as part of the international program.

Mischa was an editor of Tau Seru, a short film that premiered at Cannes Critics Week in 2013, which was winner of Best Australian Short Film at the 2013 Melbourne International Short Film Festival. Mischa Baka is a producer of Yogini Melbourne, a popular Yoga YouTube channel.

Mischa Baka’s work has included Dance and Film Work at the 2014 and 2015 Underbelly Arts Festival, Cockatoo Island. Fine art exhibitions include To boldly go where everyone has gone before, 2009, at Blindside, Melbourne. Dance work includes the video aspects of 10,000 Small Deaths at Dance Massive, Melbourne, 2015, and collaborations with Fling Physical Theatre, Stompin and Tracks Dance Company with a community focus.

 

In 2018, Mischa co-directed (with Siobhan Jackson) his debut feature film, You Can Say Vagina (2018, 70 mins). Mischa and Siobhan are currently in post-production on their 2nd feature, Saltbush



 
 
Last Beautiful Friend

CRITICAL OVERVIEW:   Mischa Baka’s film work is concerned with choreography of the body, the intricacies of dialogue, and how the two can play alongside each other. His film works range from absurdism to social realism, but always centres on the body as a space contested by the individual, others, society or the audience. His film I like to photograph girls naked (2007, 7 mins) presents the male gaze as dangerously transmuting a deeper desire by the man to be seen naked, the man’s nakedness only made possible by first rendering the other naked and vulnerable.

Stylistically Mischa’s work presents as straight forward and unadorned. Last Beautiful Friend (2009, 25 mins) is completely shot from the same angle, using mostly the juxtaposition of shifted bodies to denote a jump in time and mood. In Last Beautiful Friend, numerous stories are told in conversation between characters as they attempt to define themselves while their bodies prove the final instrument in staging loyalties or denunciation. "It does what every filmmaker wants to do – it moves its audience with a concept that is simple yet wonderfully intricate." Erin White November 2009.

Mischa’s dance films, such as Always, so suddenly, all the time (2015, 4 mins), give the subconscious an embodied form, while his realist films tend to question if conversation, talking and words can do our bodies justice, as those very bodies squirm, writhe and struggle under the cultural baggage of patriarchal language. Film critic Adrian Martin describes Baka’s co-directed feature film You Can Say Vagina (2018, 70 mins) as such: “I found myself crouching forward in my seat – just as I would in a real-life interaction with such a shy, nervous, scrunched-up person – to try to catch her mumbled, apologetic phrases." Adrian Martin, September 2019.

 


FILMOGRAPHY:

 
 
Always, so suddenly, all the time

I like to photograph girls naked (2007, 7 mins)

 

Give me a moment (2008, 15 mins)

 

Last Beautiful Friend (2009, 25 mins)

 

Gestures (2014, 6 mins)

 

Good (2014, 2 mins)

 

Walking Shadows (2014, 4 mins)

 

Clothes Dance (2014, 2 mins)

 

Always, so suddenly, all the time (2015, 4 mins)

 

You Can Say Vagina (2018, 70 mins, Co-directed - Siobhan Jackson and Mischa Baka)

 

Saltbush (2020, feature, in post-production, Co-directed - Siobhan Jackson and Mischa Baka)

 

 


SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY:

 
 
You Can Say Vagina

YOU CAN SAY VAGINA Q&Ahelmed by Philippa Hawker

Australian New Wave filmmakers showcase, New Wave at Thornbury Picture House, October 8th, 2019

 

VCA Digital Archive: Melbourne, you’re a star!By Victoria Perin

VCA Digital Archive news blog, March 28th, 2019.

Interview: Siobhan Jackson and Mischa Baka (You Can Say Vagina)” by Matthew Eeles

http://www.cinemaaustralia.com.au/, April 13, 2018.

 

You Can Say Vagina REVIEWBy Adrian Martin

Film Critic: Adrian Martin website, September 2019.

 

 

 


© Mischa Baka, March 2020.

Mischa Baka's website

Contact Mischa Baka

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Melbourne independent filmmakers is compiled by Bill Mousoulis