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Melbourne independent filmmakers

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Frank Howson
b. March 10, 1952, Melbourne, Australia.

BIOGRAPHY:   Film & theatre director, writer, songwriter, producer and published poet, Howson was born in Melbourne, Australia. He entered show-business at the age of 7 as a tap dancer, singer and child actor, and had starred in 21 major theatrical productions by his 21st birthday. Ever restless, he became interested in writing his own songs and went on to enjoy great success in this field by having his compositions recorded by such acts as Little River Band, Richie Havens, Dan Hill, Marc Jordan, Eric Idle, Kate Ceberano, Venetta Fields, Guy Pearce, amongst others. He discovered and published the band Pseudo Echo who enjoyed much chart success internationally and scored a top 3 hit in the U.S. Howson recorded his own singles and enjoyed success in his homeland. He also headed a thriving music publishing and recording company. He went on to write many hit theater shows and gained a great deal of respect in Australia for his productions for children.

 


In 1987 he wrote and produced the movie Boulevard of Broken Dreams (1988) which was nominated for 7 AFI Awards including Best Film. It eventually won two. From there, Howson wrote and produced Heaven Tonight (1989), What the Moon Saw (1990), Hunting (1991) (which he also directed), Beyond My Reach (1990), Flynn (1996) (also directed) and others. During that time he discovered Guy Pearce as a movie actor and starred him in his first 3 films. In 1989 he was presented with the Producer of the Year Award from Film Victoria. His films have been sold to such companies as Miramax, Disney, Warner, Village Roadshow, Paramount, J&M Entertainment, Filmstar, ABC, Hoyts, Skouras, etc.

 
 
Frank in Hollywood

After a very prolonged and messy break-up with his business partner, Howson moved to Los Angeles in 1997 and stayed for 9 years working in the entertaintment industry. During that time he was commissioned to write several screenplays for various producers and remained active. In 2000 Arthur Hiller optioned the rights to Howson's screenplay The Lonely Heart. That same year he was commissioned by Joe Ezterhas to write original songs for the movie Burn Hollywood Burn. During that time, Howson was asked by acclaimed English actor Steven Berkoff to direct the TV version of his hit off-Broadway play Shakespeare's Villains.

In July 2001 Frank Howson married actress Terri Garber in Miami, Florida. During the time he spent with Garber he gave up his showbiz career but since the split has written new songs recorded by Little River Band on their 2004 album Test of Time. Along with his business associate John Grimaldi, Howson conceived and devised the original idea for "G'Day L.A", the annual weeklong event in Los Angeles that celebrates everything Australian. Howson & Grimaldi presented the idea to the Australian Consul, the Honourable John Olsen, and the rest is history. It remains the most successful Australian promotion ever.

Upon returning to Australia, Howson was invited to be President of the Jury for the Melbourne Underground Film Festival in 2005 and is currently writing his memoirs on his life in the movie business. His award winning song "Andre" was premiered at the Royal Albert Hall by Judith Durham during her latest U.K. tour. He recently received the Short Poppy Award in his hometown of Melbourne and his screenplay Winter in America was performed in a rehearsed reading at the ACMI theatre, Federation Square.

 
 
Frank with Bert Newton

In September 2005 he directed the Melbourne premiere of Caryl Churchill's acclaimed play, A Number to rave reviews. It was revived due to public interest at Chapel Off Chapel in July 2006 for a return season, this time starring Alex Scott and Ross Ditcham. Keith Potger's new album Sunday contains 6 songs co-written with Howson, and his new film as director/writer Remembering Nigel won the 2006 Best Short Film Award at the Melbourne Underground Film Festival. It is now being extended into a feature.

Howson also appears as an actor in the new Richard Wolstencroft film The Beautiful and Damned (a modern version of the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel). He is presently working on a one woman show for Rhonda Burchmore, writing a musical, and collaborating on a new album of songs. Frank Howson was invited to direct The Replacement Son for this year's Short & Sweet season at the Melbourne Arts Centre. It opened on December 12 2007.

In March 2008 Frank Howson was inducted into the Cinema Pioneers, and also Sexy International Film Festival's Hall of Fame. And in 2009 he has directed a music clip for Eric Burdon in Hollywood.



CRITICAL OVERVIEW:   Howson's directorial work started with the widescreen, lush erotic thriller Hunting which received international release and critical recognition. It is a dark and forbidding view of the world of modern capitalism and the breaking down of personal values. Since then he directed the bio-pic Flynn (based on the early life and Errol Flynn) and this film also received international release and much media attention, especially ay Cannes when it premiered in 1993. Since then his films The Final Stage and his new one Remembering Nigel have taken on a more personal and sometimes funny view of the world.


FILMOGRAPHY (as Director):

 
 

Frank with Rebecca Rigg, Hunting

Friday on My Mind (1990, 73 mins, 35mm)

Hunting (1991, 96 mins, 35mm)

Come Rain or Shine (1992, 90 mins, 35mm)

The Final Stage (1995, 89 mins, 16mm)

A Thin Life (1996, 75 mins, 16mm)

Flynn (1996, 95 mins, 35mm)

Remembering Nigel (2006, 58 mins, DV)
currently being extended into a feature (85 mins)


 
 
Frank with Claudia Karvan, Flynn

SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY:

David Stratton, The Avacado Plantation.

Graham Simpson, Colours of my Life.

Marnie Hill, ed. The Actor's Handbook.


Contact Frank Howson

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Frank Howson, May 2008


   
 

 

Melbourne independent filmmakers is compiled by Bill Mousoulis