Steven Ball
Marie Craven
Solrun Hoaas
Daryl Dellora

Melbourne independent filmmakers

Leo Berkeley
Giorgio Mangiamele
Michael Buckley
Moira Joseph

Solrun Hoaas
(also Solrun Pulvers, 1970-81)
b. August 15, 1943, Norway.

d. December 11, 2009, Australia.

BIOGRAPHY:   Solrun Hoaas spent fourteen formative years in China and Japan. She discovered theatre as a student in Oslo and Kyoto, where she also trained as a Noh mask maker.

She moved to Canberra in 1972, taught secondary French, then worked in the Japanese Dept. and completed an M.A. in Asian Studies at Australian National University. In this period she also directed theatre, translated, filmed Japanese ritual performances on Super 8 and wrote non-fiction.


In 1977 she began solo filming on 16mm in Okinawa. In 1980 she completed a graduate diploma in film at Swinburne Institute of Technology and in the next three years, four documentaries from Hatoma Island, Okinawa.

She wrote, produced and directed several Japan-related films, including the feature film Aya (1990), and in recent years turned to Korea and more political content in Pyongyang Diaries (1997) and Rushing to Sunshine (2001). She ran film courses for AFTRS, lectured on Japanese film and theatre, and taught Australian cinema to Japanese students from Kyoto.

From 2004 she also turned to handmade prints, experimenting with film images combined with copperplate etchings, and continued to develop feature film scripts, including: The Siren of Seoul, The Okinawan Daughter, The Watchmaker, and Fearless Tours.

She died in December of 2009. See Peter Tammer's Dear Solrun ... tribute, and here for other tributes. AND: April 2010, a Dossier in Senses of Cinema.

Rushing to Sunshine

CRITICAL OVERVIEW:   Solrun began filming on Super 8 to record the use of masks in ritual theatre in rural Japan, inspired by her work on Noh masks, theatre and a background in anthropology, but drawn to a self-reflexive and exploratory approach to ethnographic film and a use of diary narration (Sacred Vandals, 1983). In terms of structure, poetry with internal rhymes and rhythms has always been as much a guide as narrative. The early work was filmed non-sync, experimenting with a layering of sound, often in disjunction with image (Effacement, 1980). Her short film At Edge (1981) was a discovery of the Australian bush through the eyes and voice of poet Judith Wright. The documentary Green Tea and Cherry Ripe (1988) and the feature film Aya both focused on stories of Japanese women who had married Australian soldiers; in the former eschewing stereotypes to show diversity, and in the latter by using a Japanese woman's experience to tell a universal story of cross-cultural marriage from her point-of-view. In 1994 Solrun returned to filming alone, but on video, using a diary narration to read between the lines in her North Korean experience, and to provide a chronological through-line as she later followed the 'sunshine policy' and its paradoxes in South Korea. She wrote several feature film screenplays on cross-cultural themes, including The Okinawan Daughter, shortlisted in the AWG (SA) competition for a reading at Adelaide Film Festival 2003.

See also From the filmmaker's scrapbook

and Dear Solrun ...

'Effacement Frame',
photopolymer print, © 2007


Effacement (1980, 14 mins, 16mm)
Distributed by Ronin Films

In Search of the Japanese (1980, 16 mins, 16mm)

At Edge (1981, 20 mins, 16mm)
Distributed by Ronin Films

Waiting for Water (1981, 26 mins, 16mm)
Distributed by Ronin Films

There's Nothing that Doesn't Take Time (1981, 7 mins, 16mm)
Distributed by Ronin Films

The Priestess/The Storekeeper (1983, 30 mins, 16mm)
Distributed by Ronin Films

Sacred Vandals (1983, 56 mins, 16mm)
Distributed by Ronin Films

At Edge
photopolymer print

Pre-occupied (1985, 22 mins, 16mm)
Distributed by Film Australia

Green Tea and Cherry Ripe (1988, 56 mins, 16mm)
Distributed by Ronin Films

Aya (1990, 96 mins, 35mm)
Distributed by Ronin Films

Footprints on Korea (1995, 5 mins, video)

Pyongyang Diaries (1997, 68 mins, video - 16mm print also available)
Distributed by Ronin Films

Rushing to Sunshine (2001, 73 mins, video)
Distributed by Ronin Films


Sacred Vandals


Aya CICAE prize for Artistic quality and Innovation, Torino 1990;
Best Actress Award, Asia-Pacific Film Festival in Taipei, 1991; six AFI nominations.

Waiting for Water Jury Special Prize, Uni-Japan Competition for films on Japan, Tokyo 1981.

Sacred Vandals Jury Special Prize, as above, 1984.
Highly Commended, ATOM awards, 1984.


Australian distributor: Ronin Films for most of the films (see above for particular links).

USA: Icarus Films for Pyongyang Diaries, and
The Cinema Guild for Rushing to Sunshine.
The Filmmakers Co-op for early works to 1983.

UK: The RAI Film and Video Library for Sacred Vandals (rental)

Rushing to Sunshine

France: SFAV for Sacred Vandals (rental)

The four Hatoma films (Waiting for Water, There's Nothing that Doesn't Take Time, The Priestess/the Storekeeper and Sacred Vandals) are now available as a two-DVD set from Ronin Films (for Australia and NZ.; for international, contact the filmmaker)

Collections include:


Filmkontakt Nord (Copenhagen)
Donnell Library, New York Public Library

Pyongyang Diaries and/or Rushing to Sunshine in Queensborough Public Library, American Friends Service Center

various libraries in US Universities, incl. Rutgers, Cornell, Duke, Princeton, Columbia, New York, Chicago, Indiana, Texas, Hawaii, USC, UCLA, UC at Berkeley, U. of Michigan, Iowa, San Diego, and others.

Recent Activity:

March: Screening of At Edge in Two Fires Festival, Bradwood

Pyongyang Diaries

June-July: Mixed media exhibition 'Self + Effacement' at Benalla Art Gallery with DVDs of Effacement and There's Nothing that Doesn't Take Time, prints, masks and poetry on audio.

August: Solo print exhbition, 'Finding the Frame' Gasworks Arts Park, Melbourne, of etchings and solar plate prints related to early films.

September: screening of At Edge, Film Fanatics, Sydney.

October 27 & 28: Pyongyang Diaries and Rushing to Sunshine screening in the first Chungmuro International Film Festival in Seoul.

November: Rushing to Sunshine screened at the Korean Film Archives in Seoul at the invitation of Women in Film, Korea.

April: The four films from Hatoma Island, Okinawa (Waiting for Water, There's Nothing that Doesn't Take Time, The Priestess/the Storekeeper and Sacred Vandals) were honored by inclusion in the film program of the 30th Anniversary of the Japan Ethnological Film Society held in Naha, Okinawa.

Pyongyang Diaries and Green Tea and Cherry Ripe are now featured on Australian Screen

Videos featured on Vimeo website.

See also Solrun's page on Twitter.

Recent Festivals include:

Sacred Vandals screened at  Okinawa Documentary Film Festival, Tokyo, September 2008

Effacement, Mediawaves (Hungary), 2005

The Priestess/the Storekeeper, Mediawaves, 2004

In Search of the Japanese, Melbourne Underground Film Festival, 2004

Green Tea and Cherry Ripe, Taiwan Int. Ethnographic Film Festival, 2003

Rushing to Sunshine, Brisbane, Bathurst, Hawaii, and Peace and Human Security Media Festival, New York, 2001, Singapore Int.Film Festival, 2002.

Past Festivals include:

IDFA (Amsterdam), FIPA (Biarritz), Berlin International Forum, Amnesty (Holland), One World (Prague), BIFF (Brisbane), Montreal (Competition) Toronto, Hawaii, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai Internationa Film Festivals, Torino (Competition), TIDF and TIEFF(Taiwan), Cinema du Réel (Competition), Margaret Mead Film Festival.


Selected writings on Solrun Hoaas' films:

"Hatomajima" by Solrun Hoaas, Cantrills Filmnotes, Nos. 31-32, Nov. 1979.

"Effacement" by Solrun Hoaas, Cantrills Filmnotes, Nos. 33-34, August 1980.

"Hatomajima to watashi" by Solrun Hoaas, Yomiuri shimbun yukan, June 3, 1981.

"Eizo sakka Parubaasu-san" by Ichi Yuki, Asahi Jaanaru, 25 Sept. 1981.

"33rd Melbourne Film Festival" by Dougal MacDonald, The Canberra Times, 21 June 1984. (on The Priestess/The Storekeeper and Sacred Vandals)

'The Films of Solrun Hoaas" by Christina Cornioley, Filmviews, No.123, Autumn 1985.

"Hatomajima" by Noda Shinkichi, Kinema jumpo, No. 6, July 1985.

"Another Country" by Alison Broinowski, Mainichi Daily News, March 10, 1986.

"Hatomajima - Part 4 - Sacred Vandals" by Noda Shinkichi (in Japanese), Eizo minzokugaku no kai program, Kyoto, 5 April, 1986.

"Personal Statement" by Solrun Hoaas, Don't Shoot Darling! Eds. Annette Blonski, Barbara Creed & Freda Freiberg, Greenhouse Publications, 1987, pp. 204-206.


"War brides in Australia" by Jeannie Zakharov, The Canberra Times, March 30, 1989.

"Producer brings rare insights to her documentary", interview by Anna Murdoch and "Review" by Neil Jillett, The Age, Tuesday 4 April, 1989. (on Green Tea and Cherry Ripe)

"Reflections on Green Tea and Cherry Ripe", by Solrun Hoaas, Hoso Bunka Foundation Report, No. 1, July 1990.

"Goh-e watatta senso-hanayome", Nihon Keizai shimbun, 9 October, 1990.

"Interview: Solrun Hoaas" by Yamanaka Tomiko, Kinema jumpo, Dec.1990.

"Multinationell norska" by Anders Hansson, Göteborgsposten, 26 Jan.1991.

"En kärlekssaga som vänder i minnen av krig" by Maria Rudberg, Arbeten, 29 January 1991.

"Aya" by Lisa Bowman, Cinema Papers, May 1991, and reprinted inAustralian Film 1978-1994, ed. Scott Murray, 1995. (p. 310)


"The Middle Ground" by Jane Freebury, Australian Society, July 1991.

"Aya" by Louise Keller, Moving Pictures International, 25 July 1991.

"Talking to Solrun Hoaas about Aya" by Freda Freiberg, Japanese Studies, Vol 11, No 2, August 1991, pp 66-71.

"Suburban Fever, Aya: Love and mixed marriage in post-war Australia" by Annette Blonski and Freda Freiberg, Filmnews Vol 21, No 9, October 1991.

"Personal perspective straddles cultural divide" by Deborah Jones, The Australian, 17 Oct. 1991.

"United by war, divided by peace" by Evan Williams, The Australian, 19-20 October 1991.

"Subtle, but flawed, study of a disintegrating marriage" by Neil Jillett, The Age, 17 October 1991.

"Best Culture Shock: Aya" by Robin Buss, The Independent on Sunday (UK), 25 August 1991.

"Aya views cultural chasm" by Mark Schilling, The Japan Times, February 11, 1992.

"Aya" by Jeanette Amano, The Japan Times Weekly, February 1, 1992.

"Otto no kuni no hito ni naranakatta hanayome" by Hide Murakawa, Kokkai yoobo, April 1992.

"Film director Hoaas observes society from periphery" by Deborah Sklar, The Jakarta Post, August 7, 1992.

"Japan changes but stereotypes remain" by Tadao Sato, Cinemaya No. 17-18, 1992-93 (p. 63).

"No Easy Answers: An interview with filmmaker Solrun Hoaas" by Ken Rodgers, Kyoto Journal, Nov 22, 1993.

"North Korean culture captured on film" by Helen Musa, The Canberra Times, May 10, 1998. (on Pyongyang Diaries)

"Filmskaper i løgnens rike" by Osman Kibar, Arbeiderbladet, 21 June 1998.

"Inside a Closed Society" by Lauren Martin, Sydney Morning Herald, June 29, 1998.

"North and South Korea, once you get to know them, you'll see they have many things in common" (transl.) by Lee Eun-joo, Joong-ang Ilbo, 14 July, 1998.

"The North has closed its eyes and the South has closed its mouth" (transl.) by Park Yong-hyun, Hangyorae 21, 3 Sept. 1998.

"Notes on Pyongyang Diaries", Cantrills Filmnotes, Nos. 91-92, December 1998.

"Pyongyang Diaries" by Gerald N. Notaro, MC Journal: the Journal of Academic Media Librarianship, 1998.

"Pyongyang Diaries" by Gunnar Iversen, Z Filmtidsskrift, No. 3, 1998.

"A small window of opportunity" by Martha Vickery, Korea Quarterly, Winter, 1998.

"Pyongyang Diaries" by Charles Armstrong, Asian Educational Media Service, Vol. 2, No. 1, Spring 1999.

Reel Meals, Set Meals by Gaye Poole, Currency Press, 1999, pp. 224-226.

Twin Peaks: Australian and New Zealand Feature Films, ed. Deb Verhoeven, 1999 (pp. 94-96, 221)

"Pyongyang ilgi i e Seoul ilgi ssunta" (NWK/Global Citizen) by Kang Tae-uk, Newsweek Korea, 22 March, 2000.

"The Monaeggi Case" by Solrun Hoaas, Korean Quarterly, Fall 2000, Vol. 4, No 1.

"Three Outlooks on South and North Shown in Sunshine Exhibition", The Korea Times, February 3, 2001.

"Rushing to Sunshine (Seoul Diaries)" by Timothy Tangherlini, Korea Studies Review, No. 11, 2001.

"Letting the Sunshine In: Reunification Issues in South Korea" by Graham Mitchell, Metro, Nos. 131-132, 2001.

"On Film as Fragments: Afterthoughts on Pyongyang Diaries" by Solrun Hoaas, The Journal of Design Culture and Criticism, (in Korean) No. 05, 2001.

"Sprint to the future" by Han Lee, Korean Quarterly, Winter 2001/2002.

"Undercover with Solrun Hoaas" Interview by Scott Burgeson, Bug, No. 5, 2002.

Review of Pyongyang Diaries and Rushing to Sunshine by R. Richard Grinker, The Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 62, No. 2 (May, 2003) pp. 637-639.

Other related writings by Solrun Hoaas:

"No og maskene", Kunst og kultur, Norway, 1972.

"Kurokawa-No", Jordens folk, Denmark, 1972.

"The Masks of Noh", Arts in Asia, 1975.

"Women in the Arts and the Media", Mainichi Daily News 1977-78 (a series of 11 interviews with Japanese women incl. Taeko Tomiyama, Yayori Matsui, Reisen Lee, Setsu Asakura, Sachiko Hidari, Machiko Nasu).

"Interview with Eiko Ishioka, Illustrator" and "Women in the Arts and the Media Speak Out", Feminist Japan, Vol 1, No. 4, February 1978.

"Moves for Aboriginal influence in films", The Canberra Times, June 6, 1978.

"Kabuki theatre in perspective", The Canberra Times, June 14, 1978.

"Skådespelare i andra länder" (interviews with Honda Mitsuhiro and Kobayashi Katsuya), entré teatertidskrift, Sweden, No. 2, 1979.

"Nakai Tsuneo" (Interview and translations from Nakai's articles), Cantrills Filmnotes Nos. 31-32, November 1979.

"Currents in Japanese Cinema: Nagisa Oshima and Sachiko Hidari Interviewed", Cinema Papers, No. 23, Sept-Oct. 1979.

"The Theatrical in Japanese Folk Performance", Arts in Cultural Diversity, Holt, Rinehart & Nelson, 1980.

"What's Your Island? An Okinawan Experience", Pacific, July 1980.

"The Australian Film Revival", Discovery, Vol 9, No. 6, June 1981.

"Oshima's unique vision of film", The National Times, August 16 to 22, 1981.

"Shohei Imamura", Cinema Papers, No. 34, Sept-Oct. 1981.

"Noh Masks: the Legacy of Possession", The Drama Review, Vol. 26, No. 4, 1982.

"The Shark-callers of Kontu" (review), Cinema Papers, No. 41, Dec. 1982.

"Solrun Hoaas writes on Japanese documentary", Filmnews, March 1983.

"Summer Vacation 1999" (Interview with director Shusuke Kaneko), Beat, February 1990.

"Androgynous dancers' duets with love, death", The Melbourne Herald, February 1990.

"In search of Lars von Trier", (interview, Japanese), Kinema jumpo, No.1220, April 1997.

"Korean Diary", Cinema Papers, No. 103, March 1995.

"A brush with the hammer and sickle", Cinema Papers, No. 122, Dec. 1997.

Amputation (translation from Norwegian of a play by Jens Bjørneboe), Xenos Books, March 2003.

"The Celluloid Divide", M/C-Media and Culture Journal, vol. 7, Issue 6, Jan. 2005.

'Cinema and Censorship: the films of Nagisa Oshima - a discussion with Solrun Hoaas' 40 min. special feature on DVDs of 'Empire of Passion'  and 'In the Real of the Senses' (Umbrella, 2008)

Poetry published in:

Softblow Poetry, 2004

Writing Macao Vol II, 2004

Arabesques Review, 2007

Going Down Swinging #26 (spoken word CD), 2007,   #27, 2008  and #28, 2009  

Holland 1945, 2008

© Solrun Hoaas and Bill Mousoulis, December 2009
Back to Melbourne independent filmmakers index page



Melbourne independent filmmakers is compiled by Bill Mousoulis