After arriving in Australia as a Hungarian refugee in 1957, Ivan soon commenced a journey into the world of photography and film making, as a form of expression, which was complemented by periods of employment with ABC Radio and TV, and some teacher training.
His photos for the Pram Factory opened the way for making two short films with Max Gillies and others, Applause Please and Soft Soap.
He became actively involved in the Melbourne Filmmakers Co-Operative till its demise in the mid '70s.
His short films such as Applause Please and Camberwell Junction became popular cult movies in the Melbourne and Sydney Film Co-Operatives. Soft Soap had general theatrical distribution in Australia and in US in the '70s.
Ivan graduated from Swinburne Film School in 1978. During 20 years with the Victorian Department of Education’s Film Unit, besides making independent films, Ivan produced and directed many short films and documentaries shown at film festivals in Australia and overseas. These include Tandberg on Page One, which was nominated for an AFI Award. Jubilee and Beyond (also nominated, but had to be withdrawn), and Ibrahim, which received two ATOM awards plus other acknowledgments in overseas film festivals.
He was also a judge twice at the Melbourne International Film Festival and at the now renowned St Kilda Film Festival.
Ivan is also a judge at the Warburton Film Festival Short Film Competition (“Show Us Your Shorts”).
He won the Visage 2014 Portrait Competition in Photography (Yarra Ranges). His portrait photos also made the finals in
the National Photographic Portrait Prize in 2013 & 2015 in Canberra, and Duo Magazine Percival
Photographic Portrait Prize 2016 in Townsville.
He also staged a solo photo exhibition at Art Centre, Warburton, Victoria, 2017.
"Socially relevant films like these are implicitly probing the social substructure of this society…" said filmmaker Nigel Buesst about my films.
With every film I’ve made I tried to change public attitudes or ‘to make a difference’ in the minds of a non converted audience. My idea is to bring everyone to the threshold of their understanding of the presented subject matter.
That’s the reason why my films are often open ended and allow the audience a two way communication with the ‘screen’.
I believe that after the viewing, one should feel stimulated and ready to make a change within oneself or to society at large.
- Ivan Gaal, March 2009.
All For The love Of it (1969, 8 mins, 16mm)
Thursday’s Children (1970, 25 mins,16 mm)
Camberwell Junction (1974, 5 mins, 16mm)
Applause Please (1974, 22 mins, 16mm)
Circus Nomads (1975, 22 mins, 16mm)
We the Proclaimers (1975, 25 mins, 16mm)
Soft Soap (1976, 35 mins, 16mm, & blown up to 35mm)
Jubilee and Beyond (1977, 15 mins, 16mm)
The Punter (1978, 9 mins, 16mm)
Concerto for Ads and Heads (1979, 5 mins, 16mm)
Eclipse (1979, 5 mins, 16mm)
Autism, Who Cares (1979, 22 mins, 16mm)
Getting the Message (1979, 30 mins, 1980)
Celebrations (1980, 30 mins, 1980)
Men of the Earth (1981, 25 mins, 16mm)
Tandberg on Page One (1982, 30 mins, 16mm)
The Age of Change (1983, 25 mins, 16mm)
Not Only to Save Our Jobs... (1983, 36 mins, 1" video)
No Turning Back (1984, 25 mins, 16mm)
Tandberg on Page One
Children with Special Abilities (1984, 29 mins, 16mm)
Ibrahim (1985, 30 mins, 16mm)
Peace in Action (1986, 20 mins, SP Video)
Meeting of Minds (1986, 25 mins, 16mm)
Give Us Space (1987, 25 mins, SP Video)
No More Secrets (1988, 25 mins, SP Video)
It’s Not All Rubbish (1989, 20 mins, SP Video)
Grey Paddle Power (2006, 22 mins, DVD)
Icing on the Cake (2009, 10 mins, DVD)
A Man From the Other Side (2016, 8 mins, 30 secs, DVD)
The Tragedy of Tony …The Sun, March 5, 1980
A Film of Hope - Metro Magazine, 1981.
The Age of Change - Metro Magazine Issue 63
Buff’s Choice - The Age, 20.7.84. John Flaus & Paul Harris
At war in an alien school - by Dennis Pryor The Age 23.3.85.
A ‘wog’ faces new battle-the classroom - The Herald, 18.3.85.
Teaching film has lessons for all - by Barbara Hooks, Green Guide, The Age, 19.3.85.
Ivan Gaal by John Benson - Filmviews No 125, 1985
Mentor Program Grows - The Age 1.7.86
Homesafe - Education Victoria, Dec. 1987.
Sex abuse videos aim to aid the young -The Sun, 28.4.88.
Realities of child abuse shown and discussed - Green Guide, The Age, 28.4.88.
Penguin Awards - Education Victoria, 1989.
An inspirational record of paddle power - Fifty-plus News, Dec. 2006.
Interviews on SBS Hungarian Radio - 28.3.08.-18.4.08.-25.7.08.