Steven Ball
Marie Craven
Solrun Hoaas
Daryl Dellora

Melbourne independent filmmakers

Leo Berkeley
Giorgio Mangiamele
Michael Buckley
Moira Joseph

Nick Ostrovskis


Flower Animation

Quotes from articles

(format of quote and spelling as per original article)

"Nick Ostrovskis' Flower Animation is another in a series of dazzling films from this talented filmmaker. This film confirms, as does his most recent work Williamstown, that Ostrovskis' mission in life is to please the eyes of his audience. These flowers are animated not only movement-wise (single frame quick zoom technique) but also colour wise (the employment of negative colour being a highlight). Formalistic cinema is critically dependent on how the filmmaker films things. That may seem an obvious and redundant thing to say, but clearly many experimental filmmakers forget that. Nick hasn't."

"Melbourne Super-8: hits and messes" by Bill Mousoulis, Filmnews, Vol.18, No.9, October 1988. p.11

Adrian Martin referring to Melbourne film-making in the book Signs of Independence - 10 years of the Creative Development Fund. 1988, p.17

"Here, a gifted film-maker like Nick Ostrovskis can sit with perfect ease astride 70's - style small-scale domesticity, and Koyannisquatsi-type mainstream experimentalism; whilst in Sydney, the abyss between a Paul Winkler and a Michael Hutak is as deep as it is debilitating for both sides."

Michael Buckley commenting on a MIMA animation screening in MIMA newsletter, August 1989. Vol.1, No. 5, titled "Pointing the Bone".

"I wish more personal work by animators like Nick Ostrovskis had been screened. Such people see their work as a serious art form instead of the industry work that constantly presents tiresome visual tricks and gimmicks."


"Open Screening Review" by Maeve Woods, Melbourne Super 8 Film Group Newsletter No.58, May 1991. p.6

Colors by Nick Ostrovskis

"An intrepid journey driven by pulsing changes, degrees of shift, full chroma stained the air between screen and viewer. No sound track to distract or to explain but as is always the case for me with strong soundless works I begin to 'hear' a presence. We are so accustomed to seeing and being also locked into a provided sound that there is tension in the absence.

The filming seemed to have been done entirely (?) off slides, in this sense you could say it was very simple. Slides had been stained to full saturation and the physical responses of layers of transparent colour culminating in the projection of coloured light onto the screen was further enhanced by so many recurring shifts. Much of the time the images seemed to be colour as colour, but there would also be rhythmic interrupted zooms within those colour sensation sections and these in their turn would metamorphose into 'real' things like bits of flowers, or they would zap into being quite tough Leger-like drawings of things (often flowers but creatures, kind of built objects and even a few negative 'snaps' of the family). I felt the sources here were experiences of having dyes and paints, brushes and artist's tools in the hand and I kept making associations with German Expressionist painting from early this century, Franc Marc particularly, but I also thought of the two Delaunays, of Klee and of the Russian artist Jawlensky."

Maeve Woods comments in her article titled "Sound Aesthetics in Super-8 Film", Melbourne Super 8 Film Group Newsletter, No.63, October 1991, p.6.

"It's been exciting to see Nick Ostrovskis' silent films which are so daring and yet elegantly put together (using in Super-8 re-photographed slides). The success of these films is partly in the pace of changes and the intrepid use of saturated hues. Because there is no auditory experience, I for one tune into something which is not music but is a kind of meta-music when I see Nick's films..."

David Cox describing the film Colors (1991, 4 min, Super-8 / 35mm) in Filmnews, February 1992. p.8.

Article titled: "A Bold Affair with Jewel-Like Films"

"Colors, by Nick Ostrovskis, is super 8 blown up to 35mm with startling results. The sheer brightness of the image gives the film an impact it could have never attained on its original format; a curious and successful example of pan-gauge experimentation. Kaleidoscopic flashes of pure colour ebbing and flowing once again in the Ostrovskis mould of progressive formalism, and the sheer exhilaration at sitting in total silence before the cascade of light is something to experience. Catch it if you can."

Stained Glass Landscape

Jim Bridges referring to the film Stained Glass Landscape (1993, 8 min, Super-8) in the article titled, "August Open Screening", Melbourne Super 8 Film Group Newsletter, No.84, September 1993. p.8.

"Nick Ostrovskis' Stained Glass Landscape goes over the same ground covered with his Brain Surge. From memory. The colours are strongly primary, he has simple drawn images of people symbols and of course Elephants.

His rich reds saturate my brain cells eternally. Near the end of the film, it takes on a sugary crystal look to it ... Animated Kandinsky, cooking with colour. Occasional photo's are used, tree's make it a landscape.

He superimposes zooms though dark buildings out of windows - coming and going. One is literally dazzled at the sheer wonder of these images. Where will Nick go from here? At what sub atomic colour level will he mine next? Through a glass brightly".

Review in by Jim Bridges, Melbourne Super 8 Film Group Newsletter, No.89, March 1994, p.1. Referring to Brain Surge (1992, 16min, Super-8 / 16mm)

"Brain Surge, Nick Ostrovskis newly blown up to 16mm in San Francisco and now with a soundtrack by Chris Knowles. It's the best colour Super-8 blow up I've ever seen, colour saturation excellent, but my memory somehow misses those deep greens, blues and impenetrable blacks, or is it my memory that's missing. Everyone was impressed with the prints technical polish. An eye motif in the beginning of his film starts the eye ball rolling, circular dogs, those primal primary colours wash over you again, still they seem softer, more mellow and not nearly as hard edged as last years festival viewing. The pace seems slower somehow, doesn't incise and burn into your brain as before.

Brain Surge

Twisting imagery especially circulatory stuff was great and synchronised briefly with the off the shelf soundtrack. (I don't dislike the music, it's just not a marriage.) The later rotating sequence was faster and, I felt, even better. The blow up near the end emphasised the jelly crystal colours of his materials. As the film became more glassy at the end, its pin pricks of light were diffused even more, and the sprocket section briefly says a lot about the whole photographic experience. Spirals of spidery glass wire dazzle as they tear out of the blackness. His use of triangles were my favourite part of the film and I wish he'd given us more.

Nick's films bear fruit on further watching ... I suspect Nick is really interested in filling these colouring book films of his with those powerful primary colours that burn, burn, burn into our colour coding brains and stimulate in each of us almost a physical pleasure, if not a physical repose."

Review by Jim Bridges, Melbourne Super 8 Film Group Newsletter, No.89, March 1994, p.2. Referring to Architectural Symbols (1993, 8 min, Super-8)

"Architectural Symbols... ..made in 1993, was Nick's second cab off the rank this evening.

Again, the multiple exposure zoom is used as a structural device. Line drawings of cars are stacked up and assembled like building blocks. In this film you feel the physical affects of the fast zoom. Nick turns up in a couple of frames, lit from below accompanied with a reddish glow.

Rotating images again, fashion images this time - with just a touch of colour. Deeper and darker images work the best. Images...same old actors--but in this film playing different roles.

Faster at the end, great pace.

Burn Baby Burn..."

Programmers' comments in catalogue notes regarding Architectural Symbols shown in Sydney Intermedia Network Matinaze 1995 screening at Art Gallery of NSW.

"A sublime, silent and auto-hypnotic montage of 70's Letraset symbols".

Gertrude Street

Dirk de Bruyn in Electronic Arts in Australia, edited by Nicholas Zurbrugg, 1994, p. 157.

"There is an abstraction of the image that occurs in Nick Ostrovskis' work but it is a very different one. Emerging in the Melbourne Super-8 Film Group in the early eighties, Ostrovskis has produced a series of visually stunning kaleidoscopes of rushing images, colours, photographs and gestural movements, all with great technical virtuosity.

From works like Gertrude Street (super-8, 1982) and Family Album (super-8, 1983), to the recent 35mm film Colors (4 min, 1992), these films play with the physiology of the eye and its ability to grasp the flashed images that are thrown one over the top of another at you. A palimpsest of images are layered onto the eye. Gertrude Street can be read as a landscape film of pixilated images, gestures of camera movement and traces of image that suggest geometric form. The rhythm of these works is very clearly in the kinetic movement between the images and often alternates between aggressive and soothing contemplative states."

Brain Surge by Nick Ostrovskis, Melbourne Super 8 Film Group Newsletter, No.89, March 1994. p.5.

"A few people asked me how I made the film Brain Surge, so here are a few notes on the making of the film.

The initial idea was to make a mosaic of light, color and the zooming forward movement of random images.

The film was shot on super-8 and it was blown up to 16mm internegative at Interformat in San Francisco.

Brain Surge

The images were done on small bits of paper or acetate which could fit into 35mm slide mounts and recopied onto super-8. The saturated color patterns were achieved by pouring, painting and throwing food dyes onto sheets of absorbent Chinese ink paper, tracing paper or acetate, which was then left to dry. The most promising color patterns were then cut out and mounted in 35mm slide mounts. Photographic negatives, lettraset and scratched emulsion were also used in the film.

The 35mm slides containing the artwork were rephotographed onto super-8 using a slide copier on the front of the camera. The slides were backlit using a movie light.

The music was composed especially for the film by Chris Knowles. Chris has made films and done sound tracks for many film-makers and has a good idea of how film-makers like me approach film. He has a great sense of knowing when to anchor the music to key parts of the film and when to allow the music to drift away independently abit - within reason. I was very pleased with his sound track.

After I had the 16mm internegative and music tape in the bag, it as just a matter of a few trips to Sound Firm and Cinevex to get the end result.

Super-8 to 16mm? Definitely give it a go!! Better still give up super-8 and work on 16mm, 35mm or 70mm.

Steven Ball commenting on Brain Surge in the catalogue of the 43rd Melbourne International Film Festival, June 1994, p.83.

"Burlesque drawings, shapes, symbols, flowers, landscape, snowflake etchings and rich abstract colour fields in continuous kaleidoscopic collision; Brain Surge is in rhythmic pursuit. Chris Knowles' post-systems music track drives the film's relentless zooming and spinning images on a journey, which like the most rewarding fairground rides, is an end in itself."

Lens Spasm

Tony Wood's description of Lens Spasm in the catalogue of the 44th Melbourne International Film Festival, June 1995, p.91.

"Frenetic, pulsating black-and-white reeling to spectrum-coloured configurations and animated scratched emulsion images."

Lens Spasm described in Australian Short Works 1995-96, Australian Film Commission.

"This is a frenetic, pulsating film with some spectrum coloured configurations. It begins with a manic, chaotic, rhythm of animated patterns, crosses, grids, swirls and lines which give way to a more relaxed, soothing pace - diffracted rainbow images with superimposed hovering white lights."

Quentin Turnour's review of Trance Mosaic in the catalogue of the 45th Melbourne International Film Festival, July 1996, p.96.

"One of the durably creative figures on Melbourne's experimental film scene. Nick Ostrovskis continues his Zooming Cinema of memory and city. Ostrovskis experiments with what has always been fundamental to the creation of the cinema image: that which persists after the fragment of a dynamic image has passed the eye by into recollection. The concave states of the filmmaker's private experiences of rooms and thoughts and their symbols are stacked up, turned inside out and onto the public spaces of Melbourne."

Flower Animation

Ian Kerr commenting in his article, "10 Years After", Melbourne Super 8 Film Group Newsletter, No.110, February 1996, p. 7, on the 10th anniversary retrospective of the Melbourne Super-8 Film Group.

Flower Animation by Nick Ostrovskis. 1988.

"In the first half of this film Nick does quick zoom-ins on various slides, mostly of flowers. In the second half he goes into reverse and does quick zoom-outs. It sounds simple when written out like that but the results are (to use a cliche) dazzling.

With colours pouring towards us and then away, in a psychedelic cornucopia. As in all of Nick's early films the absence of a soundtrack puts all the attention on the visuals, there are no distractions."

See also Persistence of Vision by Dirk de Bruyn

Back to Nick Ostrovskis profile



Melbourne independent filmmakers is compiled by Bill Mousoulis