Steven Ball
Marie Craven
Solrun Hoaas
Daryl Dellora

Melbourne independent filmmakers

Leo Berkeley
Giorgio Mangiamele
Michael Buckley
Moira Joseph

Peter Tammer
(Peter Julian Tammer)
b. February 26, 1943, Melbourne, Australia

BIOGRAPHY:   1964-1973, beginning as an independent filmmaker and freelance editor, Peter worked at Eltham Films, Commonwealth Film Unit, and also produced some extremely low-budget commercials.

Between 1973-1975 he was employed as a Tutor in a film course for teacher training at Melbourne State College, Carlton. Peter was also a founding member of the Melbourne Filmmaker's Co-op when setting up at the Spring St. venue, and a contributing member at Lygon St., Carlton venue until 1976.


During this period he worked with Garry Patterson on two low-budget independent productions:-

Here's To You Mr. Robinson, a 52 min. biographical doco about Reg Robinson, and his life as an independent film-maker and producer of a 16mm camera of high quality from his backyard in Pascoe Vale.

How Willingly You Sing, a feature written produced & directed by Garry Patterson, filmed by Peter Tammer over a four week period, made on a shoestring budget, with an extremely small cast and crew, but a lot of fun!

1976-1978 Peter left his teaching position at Melb State College, and returned to freelance editing. In 1977 he was approached by Brian Robinson to take on part-time teaching at Swinburne F&TV.

1979-1998 From 1979 Peter was a Lecturer, and later Senior Lecturer in Film at Swinburne, later VCA Film and TV School. Between 1979 and 1983 he taught the 2nd year of the Undergraduate course, and when Nigel Buesst retired Peter was appointed to supervise the Post Graduate course in Narrative/Drama.

Following study leave which included a trip to America in 1985 to examine the early versions of computerised editing systems for film and television, Peter was appointed Senior Lecturer in Film at Swinburne, afterwards the VCA, continuing his role as "year lecturer" for the narrative/drama stream of the Post-Graduate course.

1996-1998 Peter helped initiate and was placed in charge of a specialised strand for Documentary in the VCA Post-Graduate course, and in partnership with Megan Spencer as co-manager, ran "The Doco Club" on a regular weekly basis introducing members and visitors to a wide range of documentary productions from local and international sources. Peter retired from the VCA in July 1998.

Throughout the period 1977 - 1998 Peter continued producing his personal films which are recorded in the filmography below, winning some major awards. As listed, some of his films were invited to participate in local and overseas festivals.

Peter is now living in Kyneton, central Victoria.

making Journey to the End of Night

CRITICAL OVERVIEW:   I have always been interested in the many streams of film culture from my teenage years. I was first drawn to films from the mainstream of World Cinema, then to films which would best be described as non-mainstream, narrative dramas, as well as documentary and avant-garde or experimental.

My favorite directors in the early sixties included Hitchcock, Fellini, Resnais, Wajda, Losey, Satyajit Ray, Godard, Welles. There were many more, it's a big list.

In the mid sixties I came into contact with independent and "experimental" films, (even started making some myself...), meeting other filmmakers like Tom Cowan, Nigel Buesst, John Richardson, Giorgio Mangiamele, Arthur and Corinne Cantrill, and especially my very good friend Jim Wilson.

This period included professional work with Tim Burstall and Pat Ryan as Eltham Films in South Melbourne as assistant editor to Russell Hurley. Also at Consolidated Films with Geoff Wright.

About this time I made connection with Sydney Filmmakers:-

Aggy Read, Albie Thoms, Bruce Beresford, Mike Thornhill, David Perry, especially as they had shown a programme of UBU films at the Dendy in Brighton, to which we responded with a programme of our own, "A Breath of Fresh Air", which incorporated a range of short films of various styles and subject matter. In this venture I was extremely well supported by Monique Schwarz, Peter Steadman, Douglas Findlay and John Lord.

In some ways this screening could be seen as a pre-cursor to what later eventuated as the Melbourne Co-op movement, from the Pinacotheca Gallery, to Spring Street, and finally to Lygon Street.

During the period 1968-1975, I came into contact with a range of new genres including Underground from USA, Brakhage and Markopoulos, the Kuchar Brothers, Warhol and Morrisey, as well as a range of major Documentary filmmakers, Leacock, Pennebaker, Flaherty's wonderful Nanook of the North, also, Peter Watkins, Nick Broomfield, Fred Wiseman and the Maysles Brothers.

We were fortunate to have visitors to our co-ops such as Mike Kuchar and Pier Farri, as well as having some interchange between the Melbourne and Sydney Co-ops, including programmes from USA and Europe. One weekend at the Lygon St. Cinema we showcased approx 70 films from a touring programme which included work from USA , Europe and Asia, most of which have never been shown in Australia since that time.

So although my interest in cinema straddled all of the above, from Mainstream to World Cinema, drama to Avant-Garde, full-length features (and longer works such as Chelsea Girls) to some of the briefest (e.g. David Perry's A Sketch on Abilgail's Belly), I have never felt that I should restrict my filmmaking to any one of these streams, and am quite content to mix and match on a needs basis. My dear friend Nigel Buesst once remarked, about one of my films, "All over the place like a dog's breakfast". I don't think Nigel has ever been able to accept that I refused to settle down to one style, one groove, one patch, and make it my own.

The great thing about the world of Cinema is that it is so broad and so deep. In the late seventies and eighties I was able to embrace more varied work, from many other countries and many directors, and I still delight in finding new work which doesn't quite fit into any known groove. One example, not so long ago a remarkable film was shown on SBS called Aaltra, I think from Belgium, a wild and whacky piece that quite bowled me over.

I have a range of close friends who are addicts of the cinema, and who persist in sending me work to chew over, such as Franju's Eyes Without a Face sent by Winston Thomas, or Nightmare Alley which John Flaus introduced me to. And Nigel has made sure I have kept up to date with Godard (I think I now have the complete collection), while John Ruane keeps throwing many interesting little tidbits my way.

In 2014 I completed a short film about the early days when I met Paul Cox, a friendship of forty years. A tribute to Paul, The Nude in the Window was completed before he passed away after a long battle with liver cancer, a liver transplant, and further serious illnesses. Paul put in a monumental struggle to survive. I was incredibly pleased to show him the film, especially as he actually enjoyed it, despite his misgivings and fears prior to that screening.

In the last month I have lost another fine filmmaker friend, William Oscar Kerr. I met William during the '60s when he was a teenager and served in his father's shop, the "Carr Camera Co" in Swanston St. I helped him with some of his films and he assisted me with some of mine. William's father appears with Reg Robinson in the film Here's to You Mr. Robinson which I produced with Garry Patterson about 1976.

Recently I have taken to writing a few essays and short stories, such as An Endless Journey into Deep Space, while some of my friends such as John Ruane and Nigel persist in overloading me with gifts of music from all parts of the world. Thankfully, life is never dull!

Peter Tammer, Kyneton, November 2017

See also Peter Tammer's website for more.

Here's To You, Mr. Robinson (1976, 52 mins)


A Woman of our Time

And He Will Rise Again (1964, 15 mins, 16mm, Narrative)

On The Ball (1964, 4 mins, 16mm, Experimental)

Beethoven and all that Jazz (1964, 2 mins, 16mm, Experimental)

Pisces Dying (1966, 15 mins, 16mm, Narrative)

Our Luke (1970, 10 mins, 16mm, Experimental)

Journey to a Broken Heart (1970, 50 mins, 16mm, Doco)

Flux (1970, 40 mins, 16mm, Experimental)

A Woman of our Time (1972, 26 mins, 16mm, Biog. Doco)

Mallacoota Stampede

The Curse of Laradjongran (1972, 30 mins, 16mm, Doco)
(Co-production With Monique Schwarz)

Struttin' the Mutton (1975, 17 mins, 16mm, Observational)

Here's To You, Mr. Robinson (1976, 52 mins, 16mm, Biog. Doco)
(Co-Production With Garry Patterson)

Mallacoota Stampede (1981, 60 mins, 16mm, Narrative)
"ERWIN RADO" Prize, Melb.Film Fest.1981

Journey to the End of Night (1982, 70 mins, 16mm, Biog.Doco)
"TEN AWARD" For Documentary Excellence, Melbourne Film Festival 1982
"JURY PRIZE", A.F.I Awards,1982


My Belle

My Belle (1983, 20 mins, 16mm, Portrait)

Hey Marcel... (1984, 17 mins, 16mm, Experimental)
Finalist Greater Union Awards, Sydney Film Festival

Queen of the Night (1985, 20 mins, 35mm, Experimental.)
Finalist Greater Union Awards, Sydney Film Festival

Fear of the Dark
(1985, 59 mins, 16mm, Doco/Narrative)

Hi Jim
(1990, 20 mins, S/Vhs)
Finalist, TOKYO Video Festival, "Video-Letter" Competition, Minor Prize

Flausfilm (2009, 99 mins, video)
Filmed between 1988 and 1991. 

Shown as a "work in progress" at Melb. Film Fest 1992.

Re-edited to completion  2007-2009

Fear of the Dark

The Nude in the Window (2014, 61 mins, video)
How Paul Cox became a Film Maker

Chauvet Cave (2014, 3 mins)

Lascaux Cave (2014, 2 mins)

Munch: The Sick Child (2014, 3 mins, video)

Janet Cumbrae Stewart (2014, 2 mins, video)


Our World Trip (1950/51)

Chauvet Cave (2014, 3 mins)
Janet Cumbrae Stewart (2014, 2 mins)

Journey to the End of Night


"A man lost in his private hell", Phillip Adams, The Bulletin, December 1, 1981.

"The 40-year torment of a soldier who survived", Peter Weiniger, The Age, May 5, 1982.

"The journey of a haunted Digger", Keith Connolly, The Herald, June 8, 1982.

"Applause for two Australian entries", The Advocate, June 24, 1982.

"Journey to the End of Night, Melbourne Film Festival", Brian McFarlane, Cinema Papers, August 1982.

"Journey to the End of Night", The Financial Times, September 1982.

Geoffrey Gardner talks to 'vagrant filmmaker' Peter Tammer, Cinema Papers, Issue 41, December 1982.

"A solitary conversation with ghosts", Dougal MacDonald, The Canberra Times, April 19, 1983.

Peter Tammer's website

Contact Peter Tammer

Back to Melbourne independent filmmakers index page

Peter Tammer, November 2017



Melbourne independent filmmakers is compiled by Bill Mousoulis