Steven Ball
Marie Craven
Solrun Hoaas
Daryl Dellora

Melbourne independent filmmakers

Leo Berkeley
Giorgio Mangiamele
Michael Buckley
Moira Joseph

Dirk de Bruyn


Feyers - animated clip


The House That I Live In (1974, 12 mins, 16mm, Silent)

"the timelapse wonderment of everyday life"

Janice Filipuzzi, Jolt Screening program Notes, MIMA May-June 1990

Me and Chris
(1975, 10 mins, 16mm, Silent)

A film made at 2 fps inside a room, during the day and night. It explores the comic possibilities of stop action filming. Made on the spur of the moment with no script, it is, in many ways, just a home movie.

From program notes: Fringe Network Series 2 Film and Video Screenings 1983

(1976, 30 mins, 16mm, Optical Sound)

Walk down a lane continuously. The film tries to destroy time by the cyclical reworking of a short period of time. Gradually the image becomes less discernible and the flashing positive and negative images force the viewer to stare rather than looking at the film. As the film progresses the viewer becomes trapped in a short period of time.

From pamphlet: "Films by Dirk de Bruyn", Vincent Film Library AFI 1981

Running - animated clip

Zoomfilm (1976, 28 mins, 16mm, Optical Sound)

As the name suggests, Zoomfilm consists of zooming in and out of refilmed events. Can the eye keep up? Is it supposed to? The image is often hurled towards the viewer - at other times images remain for split seconds only. Zoomfilm has its greatest impact when the viewer gives up making sense of what is happening and lets the eye take over.

From pamphlet: "Films by Dirk de Bruyn", Vincent Film Library AFI 1981

Kipling Street Garage
(1978, 50 mins, 16mm, Silent)

An extended 2fps continuous shot and dance from the garage, day and night.

(1978, 20 mins, 16mm, Silent)

Most of the film was made without a camera, by placing objects such as pins, matches, dirt and coloured glass on the film-strip and turning the light on. Very frantic. The actual filmed footage consists of hands and the filmmaker/camera viewing itself through a mirror. Subliminal abstraction. What do we see with our eyes closed? A behind-the-eye experience. The film explores the experience of closed-eye vision.

From pamphlet: "Films by Dirk de Bruyn", Vincent Film Library AFI 1981

(1979, 27 mins, 16mm, Optical Sound)

Feyers is de Bruyn's most complicated work employing the many techniques he has experimented with over the years. Appropriately subtitled 'a dance', this film's interweaving of various experimentations lends itself to a stunning, rhythmic effect.

Colour, vision, excitement, breathless activity all collide here to create a cacophonous poetic.

Janice Filipuzzi, Jolt Screening program Notes, MIMA May-June 1990

Walk (1980, 20 mins, 16mm, Silent)

The film follows walking feet and progresses to a preoccupation with the dancing shadow of the camera and the filmmaker. Much of the footage was home-processed to obtain the golden colours and solarization effects. In part the film documents the marking out of suburban space. By that I mean, that in suburban property the front and back yards form a private domain. This film tries to illuminate that space.

From program notes: Cineprobe. MOMA NY January 13 1986


Loopfilm (1980, 2 screen, 5 mins, 16mm, Optical Sound)

This film is built up from about 2 seconds of real time and consists of single frames of positive and negative images embedded in the black leader. The two eight foot loops are to be seen simultaneously. Tension builds as the two images flicker in and out of phase. The film builds upon how the eye perceives 'flashes' of image, and the after images that these elicit. Only twenty percent of the film is image, but the eye always sees some sort of image. The sound is a re-edited soundtrack to match the flashes.

From program notes: Filmmakers Visions: City Art Gallery, Wellington 21-26 August 1982

Experiments (1981, 2 screen, 55 mins, 16mm, Optical Sound)

Projected on two screens, with two separate soundtracks, the always exceptional, and occasionally brilliant, photographic images are enhanced by de Bruyn's rigorous control over a wide variety of experimental techniques. Without overindulging in any of them, de Bruyn uses animation, optical illusions, time lapse, solarization, hand tinting, flash frames, refilming and flicker effects, accompanied by a dense atmosphere of word puns, dialogue, primal screams, music and even recycled and letraseted soundtracks.

By setting experiments entirely within his Moonee Ponds house, de Bruyn creates such a complex sense of claustrophobia, the spectator, while recognising the staid, conservative trappings of urban Melbourne, is presented with the sort of art neurosis more commonly found in megacities like New York.

The principal actor in Experiments is the narrator, whose anarchistic mind ruminates, struggles and screams from relief from the ravages of suburban Moonee Ponds, and the psychological suburbia of his mind..

.occasionally the sheer aggression of the images threatens to overwhelm the spectator, but in searching for explanation to the neuroses that have become the human condition, the film confronts this issue with all the intensity of a migraine.

Experiments, its cacophony of images flickering on two screens, throws up everything from schizophrenic madness to baby nappies, inviting you to participate in the cathartic recesses of a personal nightmare.

As autobiographical filmmaking it is a tour de force, and should not be missed by anyone with even the remotest interest in this style of experimental filmmaking.

Rod Bishop from an unpublished review for The Melbourne Times 1982

(1982, 3 mins, 16mm, Optical Sound)

Discs is a document of a friend's record collection shot on a hot day long ago. When you recognise an image, the next six are missed, such are the machinations of our brain.

Program notes: Scratch Film Festival. UWA. Perth 1997

Culture Shock

Culture Shock (1983, 16mm, 10 mins, Silent)

Picking the notes of the everyday while standing on a street corner in Elsternwick.

Saturday Nite Fever (1983, 9 mins, 16mm, Optical Sound)

A pixilated mixture of sport and sport sampled from Saturday night television.

Migraine Particles
(1984, 12 mins, 16mm, Optical Sound)

A hand drawn film dedicated to Len Lye.

Light Play
(1984, 7 mins, 16mm, Optical Sound, Music by Michael Luck)

An abstract play of light, colour, geometric shapes and patterns synchronised with synthesised music. The image patterns have been created by scratching, drawing, painting and overlaying directly on clear and opaque film and fragments of photographed positive and negative images.

National Film and Video Lending Service Catalogue, ACMI.

223 (1985, 6 mins, 16mm, Optical Sound, Music by Michael Luck)


There are those films that are formalistic by design - the materialist films, which can't be accused of doing injustice to their subject matter. Most notable in this area has been Dirk de Bruyn's "Direct on Film" series. The resulting films (Vision, 223, among others) comprise of frantic flashes of colour and shape - very annoying to the viewer. But once the filmmaker (or someone) explains that the films are visual music, it's surprising how watchable they become! This example points to the importance of the viewer in the experimental film scenario. Whilst the modes of viewing for particular types of films take time to learn, a certain facilitation of them is possible if the viewer is open and adaptable.

Bill Mousoulis Filmnews, December 1987.

(1985, 11 mins, 16mm, Optical Sound, Music by Chris Knowles)

A time-lapse document of a farm house in the Netherlands mapping the changing seasons, the light and shadows.

From publicity pamphlet: AFI Distribution.

Vision (1985, 4 mins, 16mm, Optical Sound, Music by Michael Luck)

Vision - animated clip

No photographed images. All handmade. It's all these squares, lines. The main techniques were bleaching and dyeing and sticking letraset-type material to the film strip. Used the pos/neg thing, inserting film strips to sustain shapes, otherwise you're talking about the one film all the time: it begins to look the same. There is a growing need to sustain shapes, patterns, etc. Hence the squares, lines. Breaking away from the rush of shapes. It's more of a problem to get away from in Vision because there are no photographic images. A very ordered film. Very Dutch. Took it all out of 800 ft. of this type of stuff and ended up with 150 ft. of selected squares and circles. The images don't rush, they much more fold over the top of one another. Mondrian-inspired.

Notes from NY Filmmakers Co-op Catalogue.

(1987, 7 mins, 35mm, Optical Sound, Music by Michael Luck)

224 is a 35mm expansion from the Direct on film 223.

224 is a palimpsest of pulsing images that fold over one another. The core of the film is a handful of photographs from the filmmaker's past that have been reworked by scratching drawing and adding Letraset directly to the film's surface. Using 35mm allows for more control of such techniques. The film should be approached from a physiological level in that there is a continual pos/neg pulsing of images which leave after-images on the eye. The film plays with the idea that what one sees does not exist in the film itself.

Program notes; 1987 AFI Awards.


Homecomings (1987, 100 mins, 16mm, Optical Sound, Music by Michael Luck)

De Bruyn just recently has also combined his particular filmic effect/interest (rhythm) with the tangible reality around him. In Homecomings, which had its premiere screening in the October MIMA program, there is an incredible sense of the filmmaker living and breathing his practice. In what is essentially a diary film of a man going back to his homeland, strange things start to happen: photos are animated too quick to catch, actions are sped up through timelapse, and, most profoundly of all, certain shots get transformed into their drawn-on-film equivalents. When we see (from behind) Dirk's son Kees sitting at a table drawing and then the same scene/action but obviously hand-drawn onto the film, it speaks volumes about the filmmaker and his interaction with the world, and is also a sublimely new configuration (in cinema's history) of sight and sound, of signification if you like. Homecomings is a long auto-biographical/diary film one step ahead of Corinne Cantrill's auto-biographical film, In This Life's Body, in that it combines the filmmaker's life with the filmmaker's practice.

Bill Mousoulis Filmnews, December 1987.

Cha Hit Frames
(1988, 20 mins, 16mm, Optical Sound, Music by Michael Luck)

What can I say about de Bruyn's films. They assault you. They zap you, sting you, hit you from all sides with colours, shapes and movement. So much to look at but never enough time to reflect (until it is all over). Frames like de Bruyn's other recent effort Cha-Hit (1986) is an overwhelming film constantly in motion, blitzing its audience with abstract visuals. The film is a mixture of flickery, Letraset, light, scratching and hand-drawn colours. So rapid is the movement that it makes you wonder at times if you are looking at an image or its afterimage. Could a film like Frames be damaging to your retina or neurological functions? If you sat in front of this type of film long enough, would it send you on a trip? Could it awaken a patient out of a coma? After a confronting seven minutes I felt exhausted and slightly frazzled, such is the power of the film. A Dirk de Bruyn retrospective would certainly kill me.

Glen Hannah, Filmviews Number 130 p 28 1986.

Family Excursions 1
(1988, 30 mins, Super 8, Silent)

"For me, diary filmmaking consists of walking around with a camera taking a single frame here and there. The continuous long shot draws a sketch and outline of your environment. The construction of a visual and emotional dance. There is a cascade of decisions of what is filmed and what is not filmed. In the back of your head is something emerging that tells you, partly through experience and partly through will, how the whole thing is going to look played back. Even further back and in your stomach, there is a glow that tells you that you are creating, imposing your will on the passage of time."

program notes, p 27 Experimenta 1988


Knots (1990, 8 mins, 16mm, Optical Sound)

The roving eye in the crowd. Flickering sunlight. Fast forward. B4 it was seeing faint movement on the distant horizon. Now the skill is to see the rush from the passing car. We are on the run. Visual experiences that cement out daily lives, with an increasing uneasy disjointedness. Images like afterthoughts. Flows. Standing waves. Kill kill the eye. Fade the past. Fun the film like water through the eye. Rush ruse use muse. The language of the flash now. Curtains twisting and folding. Images tying around each other: distant memory.

Text by filmmaker from Cantrills Filmnotes Issue 61/62 May 1990.

Conversations with my Mother
(1990, 100 mins, 16mm, Optical Sound)

An intense and sometimes disturbing series of encounters between the filmmaker and his mother as they relive the traumatic years of his childhood and adolescence. Following the migration of the family to Australia from Holland in the difficult postwar years they had to grapple with problems of housing, social injustice and adjustment made more difficult by the father's mental illness. For the filmmaker 'the sentiment had to be uncompromisingly true' although he became aware that 'all film is fiction'.

Understanding Science

National Film and Video Lending Service Catalogue, ACMI.

Understanding Science (1992, 18 mins, 16mm, Optical Sound)

Understanding Science is about breakdown of meaning, breakdown of relationship, trying to exist in that space between meaninglessness and understanding, at its cusp, its node, its no-man's land.. It is a melting pot of more than just fragments of images, there are clusters of things, ideas, sounds, words, that swim in and out of your attention. I wanted this film to be a dense multidimensional collage of automatic writing, sound poetry and abstracting strings of images.

Program notes: Scratch Film Festival. UWA. Perth 1997

Rote Movie (1994, 12 mins, 16mm, Optical Sound)

Rote Movie - animated clip
Rote Movie

On the voice over de Bruyn places himself behind the wheel of a car, an appropriate metaphor for his expatriate driven reflections on his feelings of exile, distance and loneliness. Necessarily unintelligent memories highlight habitual subjectivity of "walking through a landscape alone", "gypsy", "victim". Images of roadsigns, cars, billboards, the passing landscape; elegantly simple rotoscope (by rote?) drawings, recopied and texturally manipulated filmic images; the inevitability of the repetition of leader. A tired, yearning, moving film.

Steven Ball Mesh 3 Autumn 1994 p 23.

A X Canada (1995, 80 mins, 16mm, Optical Sound)

Dirk de Bruyn's timelapse studies seem to display comparatively less subjectivity. They are predominantly landscape based but it would be a mistake to leave it there or to dismiss them due to a familiarity with often uncritically over-used timelapse techniques. These films are not so much studies of landscape but rather, more interestingly, they are studies of time and the progression of shadow and light. The films frame is often static, the camera motionless. The landscape recedes as the dynamics of accelerated movement of shadow and light become the primary subject demanding an unusual perception of other time and space. This gives the sense of there being a more "filmic", non human, unanthropomorhised perception that would be suggested by, for instance, a hand held roving camera.

Steven Ball Melbourne Super 8 Film Group Newsletter Issue 105 August 1995.

Schist - animated clip

Doubt (1995, 5 mins, Super 8/video, Sound)

The film traces a father's attempt to show his son the correct path through life.

Program notes: p16 St. Kilda Film Festival 1996.

Schist (1998, 8 mins, 16mm, Silent)

Silent walk through Vancouver Island in the middle of winter.

U.Q. @ Sea
(2001, 16 mins, Digital Video, Sound)

Video documentation of performance group Unanimous Quorum with camera as participant.

Traum a Dream (2002, 7 mins, Digital Video, Sound)

Gallery - animated clip

A representation of traumatised space, depicting a person who is consumed by a body of pain, consumed by fire. Slowly something is remembered.

Festival Catalogue: Transmediale.03. February 2003.

(2003, 5 mins, Digital Video, Sound)

Using a Richard Frenken photographic exhibition as a starting off point, Gallery samples the hectic rush of itself and its surroundings.

(2004, 10 mins, Digital Video, Sound)

Sound: Dan Armstrong.

A man alone. Cabin fever. Invoking a feeling of isolation and fragmentation.

Analog Stress #1, #2, #3 (2004, 12 mins, 16mm, Optical Sound)

2nd Hand Cinema

Made from reworked and reanimated found industrial and discarded personal footage. The main focus is the soundtrack which has been reconstructed from scratches, pen marks, Letraset strips and the music and phrases of found films.

Published versions: #1, #2, #3 are all slightly different to each other.

2nd Hand Cinema (2005, 7 mins, 16mm, Optical Sound)

A celebration of the offal of cinema, old films, old soundtracks, drawing directly on the film, using stamps and food-dyes to create discarded imagery. To chew film up and spit it out as painting direct.

Back to Dirk de Bruyn profile



Melbourne independent filmmakers is compiled by Bill Mousoulis