Steven Ball
Marie Craven
Solrun Hoaas
Daryl Dellora

Melbourne independent filmmakers

Leo Berkeley
Giorgio Mangiamele
Michael Buckley
Moira Joseph

Angelo Salamanca


directing The Spider and the Fly

Extended Biography

Angelo was born in Sicily - an island with an active volcano, prickly pears, rich food, an even richer history, and, some have said (sotto voce, if you don't mind), home to moustachioed Mafiosi.

Young Angelo departed Italy when he was knee-high to a Sicilian as his family took advantage of the low-fare passage to Australia. As son to a barber and a "housewife" who loved to cook, Angelo was fed well and scored cheap haircuts. Growing up in Melbourne, he staved off "wog" taunts by becoming a proficient footballer. Anyone who can rove the packs as well as he did couldn't be all that bad - weird salami sandwiches notwithstanding.

However, the focus from sport soon shifted to cinema as Angelo started noticing names other than actors cropping up repeatedly in the end credits: John Ford, Raoul Walsh, Preston Sturges. He wondered what it was that a director actually does, other than call "cut" through a loudhailer and ponce about authoritatively in jodhpurs and tweed jackets. Determined to find out, Angelo hung up his footy boots and made his first film at secondary school.

directing The Spider and the Fly

Shot on Super 8, Deadly Diane was described by his class mates as the definitive "vampire western". The fact that such a genre didn't exist proved to be a moot point but Angelo was grateful that this short film, financed by his school, created controversy not least because the female hero walked off into the sunset with the female sheriff. This was, to be sure, the sexually-revolutionised '70s so, parody or no parody, taboos were there to be broken.

Later that decade, Angelo felt the call of the stage and after realising he was spending more time in the university theatre than in lecture halls, he took the plunge and auditioned for an Australian touring theatre company. Adventures in England, Scotland, Wales, Holland, Germany, Belgium and Italy, eventuated. However, the allure of film-making was compelling and in the mid '80s, Angelo began creating characters and putting mise-en-scene on the page.

After nearly eight years away, Angelo returned to Melbourne and commenced working professionally in the film industry as a screenwriter. His work included co-writing the feature Hungry Heart and writing another feature Closer and Closer Apart, which was described by David Stratton in Variety as "a well-written script". He also worked in other facets of film production such as being a casting director, production assistant and runner.

on location The Right Moves

Angelo has taught screenwriting at RMIT, and, in 1990, established "The Australian Cinema Ensemble" with a view to facilitating better communication between actors and filmmakers.

Angelo's first serious attempt at directing was as a post-graduate student at Swinburne Film and Television School (Victorian College of the Arts Film and TV School) where his graduate film, Urban Myth was picked up for distribution by the Australian Film Institute and received a certificate of Merit at the Nimes Film Festival, France.

After a series of short films, documentaries and educational/corporate productions, Angelo has embarked on his first feature as writer/director, Hostage to Fate produced by Michael Agar. The film's subject matter was inspired by the premise: is the truth worth knowing at any cost? and to what degree are our lives pre-determined?

Angelo has recently welcomed the opportunity to direct The Spider and the Fly. To be able to take someone's vision and attempt to compliment it with one's own as a filmmaker, is delicious. What can be more enthralling than putting a world up on the screen where all that is human and that which is not, is scrutinised by an audience whose own definition of "humanness" is constantly challenged in the world outside the picture theatre.

"life at 24 frames a second"

The Spider and the Fly

My fascination for film evolved in my early teens when stumbling across a rare TV screening of Bergman's The Seventh Seal in the early '70s. The arresting imagery that film afforded with its theme of purity pitted against pestilence underpinned by religious iconography, made an indelible mark on my psyche. I knew from that moment on that at some point in the future I would explore the realm of film as a medium for telling stories.

Of course it wasn't solely Bergman's masterpiece that was so influential - there was Bertolucci's realisation of Alberto Moravia's novel, The Conformist. The remarkable interplay of word and image in Hiroshima mon amour. Films like Fellini's 8 ˝ demonstrated that the human spirit needs to be sustained by reality, art and fantasy in equal dosage. Truffaut's 400 Blows, Ray's World of Apu Trilogy and De Sica's Umberto D. affirmed my belief that domestic drama has universal reach - its ample tentacles sprouting right there from the kitchen sink.

It was films and directors such as the aforementioned - along with acerbic wit of Hawks and Wilder, the humanism permeating works by Kurosawa, Capra, Renoir, Akerman, Varda, Bresson, the risks taken by Herzog, Pasolini, Fassbinder, Kazan, Godard, Tarkovsky, Eisenstein and Cocteau - which convinced me that great filmmakers are poets peddling heart-starting drugs. I have been lining up ever since for my celluloid fix.

Whilst I hope to one day make a great film myself, I feel comfortable in the knowledge that, even as I write this sentence, there are filmmakers out there conceiving, planning, shooting and caressing wondrous stories itching to be told. These narratives will be ultimately perceived through the agency of sight and sound, and in so doing, enrich our lives.

Angelo Salamanca, April 2003

About produced work

As Writer/Director


2018 ReVivo
20 mins. CGI Animation. Short film.
(Steve Middleton as Animator and Producer)

ReVivo, a 7 year project, is in final stages of post-production (late 2017).

Sometimes painful memories die hard and forgiveness is not always at hand. The eternal triangle looms large in the lives of three elderly people. Loves and loyalties shift and waiver like wind-tossed willows. A tale of mystery, intrigue, and ghostliness.

Cast: Serge Denardo, Nadia Andary, Belinda Kirwan, Keiran King, Nina Nicols, Peter Frank, and Giancarlo Salamanca.

2000-03 Hostage to Fate
95 minutes. Super 16 mm. Drama. Feature film. Screened at Home Brewed International Film Festival 2004. See also Hostage to Fate website (8-minute teaser available at this website).

Something Lost, Something Gained

Dave, a young investigative reporter for a popular community TV station program is determined to reveal the mysterious Mr. Big behind a local warehouse robbery.

When a dangerous anti-aging drug is put onto the black market, Dave's fearless enquiries cause skeletons to rattle in the family closet.

Dave is on a collision course with Fate and must face that all-important question: Can we escape our fate or is every second of our existence mapped out for us?

1993 Something Lost, Something Gained
10 minutes. 16 mm. Comedy. Screened at 1994 Melbourne Fringe Film Festival.

An impoverished busker and mime artist gets more than he bargains for when he answers and ad for free bed and board. The film explores the degree to which some people will go to in order to add a spark to their lives.

1991 Urban Myth
20 minutes. 16mm. Drama. VCA graduate film distributed by the AFI. Certificate of Merit: Nimes Film Festival 1992

Married to one's art. Married to one's convictions. Married to one's spouse. Married.

1973 Deadly Diane

7 minutes. Super 8. Comedy.

directing Life on Earth: Severance
photo by Eric Platz

A vampire western redolent with sexual and gender politics.

As Director

2018 Life on Earth: Severance
(feature, 2018, currently, late 2017, in post)

(Kieran King as Writer / Kieran King and Emma Burnside as Producers)

When an alien pandemic threatens to end the world, two scientists steal the virus and flee civilization in a last-ditched attempt to find a cure.

directing The Last Babushka Doll

2017 The Last Babushka Doll
15 minutes, HD, drama
(Georgina Luck as Writer and Producer)

Virtually the whole Blue Mountains community supported the film shoot.

Local individuals and businesses supplied equipment, catering, accommodation, rehearsal space, transport, publicity and even a pair of workpants when we discovered an actor’s costume was too small.

It helped create such a positive atmosphere on set—and I think this comes through in the stunning cinematography and powerful performances.

- Georgina Luck June 2017
from Ozarts feature on The Last Babushka Doll (PDF file)

Zyco Rock

2008 Zyco Rock
88 mins. HDV. Drama. Feature film. Written by Ian Handasyde.

Screened at Kent International Film Festival, Connecticut USA, Seattle True and Independent Film Festival, USA, and Sled Island Festival in Alberta, Canada.

Zyco Rock is a futuristic teenage drama exploring music and drug culture as sanctioned by the government and schools of the day.

When young JEN decides to rebel against the prevailing "Zyco Rave" culture and what it stands for, she befriends an enigmatic, old-style Rock aficionado, TOM and his ebullient automaton, FLICK.

As Jen becomes acquainted with the music of distant past, she grows to appreciate a culture which she considers to be more vibrant and genuine.

Enlisting Tom's help and that of her close friends, KAT and LORRIE, Jen enters a school talent quest. Her mission: to open her audience's eyes to a very different sensation, through the kinetic energy of Rock and Roll.

Zyco Rock

Meanwhile, fearing a fall from grace, the all-powerful MIRO, the Zyco school-yard "Queen", backed by her cronies, DEZZIE and FLAPPY, attempt sabotage on Jen's growing popularity.

But when Jen is alerted to Miro's scheme, she equips herself with even more grit and determination. Jen is hell-bent on championing the qualities of non-conformism and win the day.

Zyco Rock trailer

2002 The Spider and the Fly

15 minutes. 35 mm. Drama. produced by Savant Films. Screening at the 2003 St.Kilda Film Festival.

"Come into my parlour said the Spider to the Fly". A modern re-working of the Victorian era children's poem/fable.


1998 The Right Moves
20 minutes. Super 8. Drama. Produced by Ian Handasyde.

Pre and post puberty blues against a backdrop of sand and sea. Sometimes you just have to seize the moment.

As Writer

1988 Closer and Closer Apart
87 minutes. 16mm. Drama. Feature film. Directed by Steve Middleton and produced by Rosa Colosimo.

Love, friendship and infidelity amongst a group of 20 something Italo-Australians.

As Co-writer

2018 The BBQ (2018, feature, completed, due for release in 2018)
Directed by Stephen Amis.


Dazza has a passion for barbequing. He accidentally gives his neighbours food poisoning. To make amends he seeks tutelage from the tyrannical Scottish chef and together they enter an international barbecue competition.

Cast: Shane Jacobson; Magda Szubanski; Julia Zemiro, Nicholas Hammond; Manu Feildel.

1987 Hungry Heart
95 minutes. 16mm. Drama. Feature film. Directed by Luigi Acquisto and produced by Rosa Colosimo. To be screened at "The Weird Mob" - Three Generations of Film makers 1962 - 2004. A retrospective of Italo / Australian Cinema. (Screening scheduled for May 2005)

Orientation and disorientation. The push and pull of feelings which can't be easily recognised or defined.

Notes by Angelo Salamanca

© Angelo Salamanca, November 2017.
Back to Angelo Salamanca profile



Melbourne independent filmmakers is compiled by Bill Mousoulis