Steven Ball
Marie Craven
Solrun Hoaas
Daryl Dellora

Melbourne independent filmmakers

Leo Berkeley
Giorgio Mangiamele
Michael Buckley
Moira Joseph

Michael Nicholson
b. March, 27, 1954, East Melbourne, Victoria..

BIOGRAPHY:   Michael has been a film maker since 1976 when he purchased his first Bolex camera and Miller tripod.

He first sprung to notice when he set up the Scotch College Film Society and screened many interesting films to crowded attendances, like “Lord of the Flies”. Then in Year 12 he was made Editor of the school magazine, “Satura”, and in the final edition, in September 1972, left Scout camp and went to Canberra and had an exclusive Interview with the Prime Minister, The Rt. Honourable, William McMahon.


On leaving school Michael went into television working for ABC TV, 1973, “The Inventors”, HSV 7, 1974, “Do It”, a daily teenage programme with Ian Buckland and Ian Meldrum, GTV 9, 1975, "Ernie Sigley Show" on National TV as a comedy writer, then ATV 0, 1976, "Ernie", daily evening variety show as writer and researcher.


Later in 1976 he became an independent film maker specialising in short comedy and animated films and had them screened on various TV shows ranging from ABC’s “This Day Tonight”, to HSV 7, "Willesee" Current Affairs shows, and variery shows like “The Don Lane Show” from 1976 to 1985.


CRITICAL OVERVIEW:   Michael Nicholson has specialised in an interesting film style of making short comedy and/or political films using real time, time lapse and animation, blending everything together in an absorbing film form.

In all his 16mm films, Michael wrote them, filmed them, directed them, did the animation and edited them, and sold them.

He managed to get over 12 films in the Melbourne International Film Festival, and along with animated clips for TV programmes like THIS DAY TONIGHT, NATIONWIDE, WILLESEE, ABC EDUCATION, DON LANE SHOW, AUSTRALIA, YOU’RE STANDING IN IT, and COUNTDOWN with animation for the MIDNIGHT OIL hit POWER AND THE PASSION.

Michael produced and had screened about 30 films on Australian television, and had the pleasure of directing actors like John Jacobs, Barbara Ciszewska, Ernie Gray, Ian Scott, Robert Draffin, Steve Vizard, Tim Robertson and Max Gillies.

Then in 1985 Michael helped set up the popular political puppets series, RUBBERY FIGURES on ABC TV and then FAST FORWARD, with his brother Peter Nicholson, The Age political cartoonist, that went for about 6 years, with a team of about 10 people.



PERSONAL NOTE:   I had a very good upbringing in film. My father took excellent Standard 8mm home movies and l vividly recall many times of sitting on the floor in the living room as the images flickered up on the screen in front of the family.


In my teen years my father allowed me to use his camera and we moved onto a Super 8 camera, that was much crisper, but still had that ‘fluid feel of film’. So after a few years working in television, and in one year when l was writing for ‘The Ernie Sigley Show’ a national Variey Show on Tuesday and Thursday nights, they had about 8 sketches in each show and I I spent all my time, seemingly day and night, writing hundreds of sketches, and on a good night l might get 5 of my sketches used, plus l wrote ‘Opening Remarks’ that Ernie would use at the start of the show. So in that year l really improved my writing of sketches technique, plus had great help and encouragement from the person in charge, Peter Smith.


However, l really wanted to be a film maker, so once l bought my Bolex 16mml camera and really heavy Miller tripod, l started making my own short films and here l was totally in charge; I wrote the short films, shot them, directed and edited them, completely by myself. I was very lucky that l had a great group of actors who were very talented and this, of course, enhanced my films no end.



And then, in those days in the '70s and '80s, I just went into a TV station and showed it to a show like THIS DAY TONIGHT, WILLESEE or THE DON LANE SHOW, and they would screen it that night. And all this experience put me in good stead to help my brother, Peter Nicholson, [who taught me most about film making] and we set up and produced RUBBERY FIGURES, which was a great success on National TV on both the ABC and on FAST FORWARD, HSV 7, for many years, with me doing some writing, filming, editing and animation, and it was great fun and hard work. That was last century.


This century I switched to Video. Although this format didn’t have the ‘fluid feel of film’, it had sound and cost nothing. Film was about $150 for 3 minutes of 16mm Negative Kodachrome film. And the video camera was much lighter. For my early video films l got my film mentor and friend, Nigel Buesst, to edit with me, but l soon mastered FINAL CUT PRO and then l was in editing heaven and began turning out, what l thought, was much better work and far more prolific and as the media landscape evolved l had You Tube and Vimeo as my permanent archival library, accessible anytime by anyone.


- Michael Nicholson, May 2021.

1976: CRICKET SUPERTEST, 3 minutes
1981: THE SMASH Vs. THE LOB, 3 mins


Michael Nicholson wrote, filmed, directed and edited all the films, and all were whot on 16mm Kodachrome film (apart from the more recent ones marked "Video").


1975: THE ALIEN FLASH, Super 8, 7 mins.


1976: CRICKET SUPERTEST, 3 minutes, on FIRING LINE, ATV 0 and then WILLESEE HSV 7.


1976: YELLOWCAKE, 3 minutes, FIRING LINE, ATV 0.








1982: THE WILD DOCTOR, 10 mins, Queen Victoria Hospital Revue.



1978-84: THE GIRLS IN THE BOAT, Melbourne University Inter-Varsity Women’s Rowing 8, 10 mins.


1985: 150 GOALS, 7 minutes, Melbourne International Film Festival and opened the first Melbourne Fringe Festival in 1986.


1985 – 1991: RUBBERY FIGURES, Political puppets, 8 mins, weekly series on ABC TV then on FAST FORWARD, HSV 7, writer, editor, animator, camera, and director.


1988: A GAME OF GOLF, 10 mins.


1990: A DAY IN THE LIFE OF SCOTCH, 5 mins, screened at Scotch College 150 years concert.


1999: THE EDGE OF FOREVER, Annapurna Ranges Trek, 20 mins, Video.



2000: OLYMPIAD ABSTRACTO, Sydney Olympics Time lapse, 16 minutes.


2000: HULLO MISTER, Life in East Timor After Self Determination, Video, 20 mins.


2011: TROY STORY, Gallipoli, Video, 8 mins.


2008: 8+, Documentary on the Rowing 8, Video, 80 mins.


2012: SCHOOL FOR SCULLING, Documentary on Sculling, Video, 80 mins.


2020: THE GERMAN HOLIDAY, Video, 12 mins.


2021: TASMANIA, Video, 15 mins.


2022: THUNDER DRAGON, Video, 13 mins.


2023: CHAMPION LAKES, Video, 12 mins.


2022: Melissa's Graduation, Video, 3 mins.

1985: 150 GOALS, 7 minutes
1988: A GAME OF GOLF, 10 mins.

2011: TROY STORY, 8 mins.
2012: SCHOOL FOR SCULLING, Promotional clip.

2022: THUNDER DRAGON, 13 mins

Michael Nicholson visiting The Opera House recently with his wife Fatma,
retired architect from Istanbul, and their daughter, Melissa,
now enrolled in a media and film making course at COLLARTS.

© Michael Nicholson, December 2022.

Michael Nicholson's website

Michael Nicholson's Vimeo channel

Contact Michael Nicholson

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Melbourne independent filmmakers is compiled by Bill Mousoulis