Steven Ball
Marie Craven
Solrun Hoaas
Daryl Dellora

Melbourne independent filmmakers

Leo Berkeley
Giorgio Mangiamele
Michael Buckley
Moira Joseph

Michael Buckley
b. March 16, 1955, Auckland, New Zealand.

BIOGRAPHY:   Michael Buckley is a scientific practitioner of the ‘Kinetic Microscope’, animator, documentary and experimental filmmaker. He studied at Rusden Teachers College under Professor Cutts before beginning to make short experimental films in the late ‘70s.

From 1985 he has been a member of the sound performance group "Arf Arf". He has produced videos and other print and multimedia resources for community and disability groups.


In 1996, his internationally acclaimed CD ROM, 'The Swear Club', won the Australian Teachers of Media Award for 'The Most Creative Use of the Medium'. He has worked at the North Richmond Community Health Service as a Multimedia Producer, creating the CD ROMs 'High Art' and 'East Timor - Culture, Identity and Dreams of Return'. In 2003 he received an Australia Council New Media Fellowship, to research a project on Gestures. Check out an article in the online Indian journal 'Pratilipi' about the role of Gesture in his film and media making.

Since 2003 he has closely worked with stART, an independent organisation for artists and artsworkers committed to promoting and supporting the development of both participatory community arts and community development projects.

Also since 2003 he has entered into a long dark tunnel that has no projection light. He now makes kinetic gestural work as a media manipulator, usually for small community based groups.

CRITICAL OVERVIEW:   Michael Buckley is a filmmaker who began his career by making 16mm experimental films in the '70s and '80s. In the mid '90s he moved into the new media interactive realm. This is due in part to the cost blow-out in 16mm production. His two experimental CD ROM works 'The Good Cook' and 'The Swear Club' are short interactive fragmented narratives that explore interlocking memories from which the audience constructs meaning. These works are influenced by his experimental film-making background, an influence which continues with his interactive project researching uses of 'Gesture' across moments in time and location.

Check out some animations -  One  Two  Three

On Friday, November 24, 2017, Michael Buckley and family went to an experimental film show! See Michael's report here - 'Have A Night Off From the Piss'


Thread of Voice

The Awakening (1974, 6 mins, 16mm)

Doctor God (1977, 14 mins, 16mm)

Two Songs by Dougie Young (1979, 8 mins, 16mm)

The Incubus (1979, 12 mins, 16mm)

Beat Up (1980, 2 mins 30 secs, 16mm)

Exacuate (1984, 6 mins, 16mm)
(co-director Sue McCauley)

I Hate Cops (1985, 2 mins, 16mm)

The Swear Club

Work (1985, 12 mins, 16mm)

Aesops Fables (1985, 3 mins, 16mm)

Untitled (1986, 6 mins, 16mm)

Ancestor Worship (1987-90, 42 mins, 16mm)

The Good Cook

Thread of Voice (1992-93, 15 mins, 16mm)
(co-directors Frank Lovece, Marisa Stirpe, Marcus Bergner)

Witness (1994, 8 mins, 16mm, television documentary)

Forever Young (1994, 8 mins, 16mm, animation)

Planet Arcadia (1995, 16 mins, video)

UFO's over Bendigo

Big Bags Japanese Adventure (1997-98, 60 mins, video, television documentary)


The Swear Club (1994, CD ROM)

The Good Cook (1996, CD ROM)

The Swear Club

High Art (1996, CD ROM)

East Timor - Culture, Identity and Dreams of Return
(1999, CD ROM, co-director)

UFO's over Bendigo (2001, CD ROM)

Gesture - Arriving, Engaging, Departing,
multi screen gallery installation at the Charles Sturt University Gallery in Wagga Wagga, November 2004.

I Hate Cops (1985, 2 mins)
Beat Up (1980, 2 mins)

Diatribe (2014, 7 mins)
Haircut (2016, 8 mins)

'Visual Essay' work since 2003

Screens and Screams 2003 - 20 min, with Sue Mccauley. 300 kids make multimedia.

Why 2004 - 10 min. A film for the 'Hidden Lives Project' about survivors of institutional care.

'Inner Self / Outer Image' 2005 -30 min - 3 screen work with stART Collective

Twelve Tuff Tales 2004 - 10 min, with Sue Mccauley. Twelve kids tell bad day stories.

Hairy Tales 2005 - 8 min with Sue Mccauley. Kids get lost and found in a multimedia forest.

Walk 2004 - 20 min. A man walks around the backstreets of Dui India

Feeble Fables

Match 2004 - 10 min with Hansa Thapliyal. An insomniac looks for a match in Mumbai, India. (Read the following account of the film shoot)

Untitled 2004 - 2 min. A dance film made from gestures

Racetrack 2004 - 10 min with Hansa Thapliyal and Shammi Nando. Big gamblers at the Mumbai racetrack.

Staghunt 2004 - 15 min. The shootin and huntin crowd meet in darkest Somerset.

Irish Ancestory(sic) 2004 - 2004. An old lady is taunted by her two sons.

Between Shaves 2004/6 - Michael has a shave 20 years later in a barbers shop in Pushka India.

The Happy Prince 2004 - Kids in a primary school in Co Sligo Ireland retell the Oscar Wilde fairy story.

Gesture - Arriving, Engaging, Departing 2004. Multiscreen exhibition at the Charles Sturt University Gallery in Wagga Wagga. This was series of short visual essays and interactive works projected on a number of screens in the gallery.

Easey Street 2005 45 min - A Man builds a house and sings about it.

Kids Sports 2006 - 10 min with Sue Mccauley. Kids in Carlton act out their favourite real and imaginary sports.

Feeble Fables

Tumbleweeds 2006 - 15 min. Getting retrenched and shooting back. Who are the cowboys at Victoria University?

The Groom 2006 - 10 min. The groom feeds the cat and gets ready on his wedding day.

Ice Storm 2007 - 8 min. A mother walks around old footage from Antarctica and talks about the death of her son from a Heroin over dose.

Exacuate 1984 / 2007. Revisiting past and present mug shots of myself and Sue.The following extract is a letter from C. Cantrill to Marcus Bergner: I would like to know from which dictionary came the quote for EXACUATE. What I have on paper from Michael is: 'Some cephalicks exacuate and strengthen the inhabitants there of (the brain) and the animal spirits.' (sic) That sounds like gibberish to me, and I cannot imagine what dictionary would have 'cephalicks'.

Blow 2007 - 12 min. Young adults return to childhood and blow up a cathedral in Dui, India.

Ascending / Descending 2007- 15min. Two films made with Dave Lane in a back street in Fitzroy for his book, 'Tibet Spring'.

Two Horses 2007 - 8 min. Some one has died. Two men follow the coffin through the town of Baradine.

Window 2007 - 8 min. A man looks out a window at the Himalayas for 5 hours.

Hospital Drawings 2007 - 7 min. A son goes in for major chest surgery. The father draws pictures.

Farm Art and Friends 2007- 20 min, with Ann Ferguson and Victoria Ryle. An Art project between 4 years olds and middle-aged men are explored.

Feeble Fables

Gesture Pac 2007 A collection of short films and book exploring intellectually disabled gesture.

Lucknow Bookshop 2008 - 6 min The mania of big city traffic in India and Engelbert Humperdink.

Guru Beer 2008 - 4 min. A family drink Guru beer and sing.

Ladak Monastery 2008 - 20 min. A breathless tour of lonely monastery's in Ladas India.

'A Pottery Village' 2008 - a 17 min DVD and book. Potters in Hastal Village New Delhi - with Sandra Bowkett.

Fitzroy Wedding 2008 10 min. The camera gets drunk at a wedding in Fitzroy.

Grab a Gun 2008 - Book and DVD that explores Cowboys and Disability.

Coco's Dream 2008 - 8 min animation about the importance of dreaming.


Coco's Plans 2008 - 10 min animation about Coco planning her future.

Water in Alice Springs 2008 - 10 min Awarded Northern Territory Government’s Melaleuca - recognizing environmental excellence award for best community project. Made in collaboration with Ruth Apelt. This film can be viewed here.

ARFARF Cut Up sampler DVD 2009 - a collection of ancient ARFARF films resuscitated from a snoring VHS video time warp of pixellation.

The Secret of the Bats 2009 - 45 min. A rock band of cannibals (The Bat's) audition a new band member then they eat him.

Coco's Complaints 2010 - 9 min Animation about Coco complaining.

Jacob's Ladder 2010 – 5min. I go for a walk with a sausage dog. Camera - Simeon Buckley

Getting into the Act 2010 – 45 min. A combination live action / animation film about book worm ‘Jim Spin’ and his discussions with ‘The Help Raisers Self Advocacy group’.

Diatribe (2014, 7 mins, digital)
Exposes the horrors of Castlemaine.

Haircut (2016, 8 mins, digital)
Two brothers line up an get haircuts.

Ramblin Loser (2017, 6 mins, digital)
Looks at Sunday morning at Devonport race track.

Ferryman (2017, 6 mins, digital)
Alyrical observation of a ferryman in Kerala India

Indian Dance (2017, 4 mins, digital)
Ashort collage of some Indian Dance movies.

Lost Dog (2017, 5 mins, digital)
A short animation that follows the hunt for a lost dog around Fitzroy.

Dog Racing (2017, 7 mins, digital)
Monday night at the Nowra dog track.

Selected Screenings and Awards

Feeble Fables

1985 tour of West Germany by the Cantrills of Australian Experimental Films

1986 tour of North America by Dirk De Bruyn of Australian Experimental Films

1986 to '95 Various MIMA/experimenta screenings Melbourne

1991 St Kilda Film Festival. Best Documentary, Ancestor Worship

1991 London Film Festival Ancestor Worship

1992 Manchester Ethnographic Film Festival Ancestor Worship

1994 St Kilda Film Festival. Best Documentary, Thread of Voice

Feeble Fables

1994 Melbourne Film Festival. Highly Commended, Thread of Voice

1994 Best Independent Film, Bathurst Film Festival, Witness

1994 'Bip Map 100', Melbourne computer art exhibition

1995 Finalist AFI Awards, Witness

1995 St Kilda Film Festival. Forever Young 'Excellence in Filmmaking Craft Award'

1995 Interactive Gallery, Southbank. 'The Swear Club' CD Rom

1996 'Burning the Interface', International Artists CD ROM Exhibition, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney

1996 Young Talent Pavilion for 'The Swear Club', MILIA, Cannes, France.

Feeble Fables

1996 Melbourne Film Festival, 'The Swear Club'.

1997 La Terre Blanche Festival, CICV, Montbeliard, France. Festival guest artist

1998 'Being Connected' Australian Film Commission, Multimedia Conference, Guest Speaker

1998 'Consciousness Reframed' conference, CAIIA, Wales. Guest artist

1998 'Michael Buckley Retrospective', Adelaide Mercury Cinema

1998 Big Bag's Japanese Adventure, TV Documentary, ABC

1999 'The Good Cook'. Fusion Program, St Kilda Film Festival

1999 NEXT Conference Darwin 'East Timor - Culture, Identity and Dreams of Return' and 'The Good Cook'

Feeble Fables

2000 'East Timor - Culture, Identity and Dreams of Return' Fusion Program St Kilda Film Festival

2000 'The Good Cook' Chip Multimedia Program, Melbourne International Film Festival

2000 'East Timor - Culture, Identity and Dreams of Return' Finalist NSW Premiers AVHistory Awards

2001 'Ufo's Over Bendigo' interactive installation at the Bendigo Art Gallery.

2002 'Ufo's Over Bendigo' interactive St Kilda Film Festival Program.

2002 Fellowship from the New Media Arts Board of the Australia Council



ACMI (Australian Centre for the Moving Image - Melbourne)
National Film Library, ACMI (series of selected films)
Swinburne Film Collection (Vincent Library)
Australian Film Institute
Melbourne University Film Collection
Community Services Victoria Library
Modern Image Makers Association Yearbook 1987
Infermental Video Collection (Tokyo)
Manchester University Library Ethnographic Collection.
Grayfox Video Collection 1994, Bristol
Artlink Sequinz CD Rom, Survey of Electronic Art In Australia
Arthouse Multimedia Centre Dublin
Victoria University
Victorian College of the Arts
Griffith University
University of South Australia
Pompidou Centre for the Arts Paris
Victoria University Multimedia Collection

Ramblin Loser (2017, 6 mins)
Indian Dance (2017, 6 mins)

Dog Racing (2017, 7 mins)



Cantrills Filmnotes, No. 57/58, pages 11 - 21

Experimenta Catalogues, 1988 MIMA

Film and Video National Tour Catalogue, MIMA 1991

Infermental 8 Catalogue, Tokyo Edition 1988

Year Book Collection, MIMA 1987

Australian Film Institute Catalogue, 1989

AFC Directory of films 1991-1993

Cantrills Filmnotes, No. 71/72

Electronic Arts in Australia, Continuum 1994

Mesh magazine (MIMA), 1994


Cantrills Filmnotes, No. 79/80 Arf Arf collaborative piece

Digital Australia, 1999

Unearthed Catalogue, Experimenta / Bendigo Art Gallery 2001

New Screen Media - Cinema/Art/Narrative, Martin Rieser and Andrea Zapp, eds, British Film Institute book 2002.

"Review of New Screen Media - Cinema/Art/Narrative", by Patrick Tarrant, Metro No. 136, 2003.

The Falling Upart Journals Issues three, four and five.(available upon request)

  1. 'What I Ate' 2000. Book and CD Rom 'The Good Cook'
  2. 'Feeble Fables and Fairy Tales' 2006. Book and DVD (Read this extract)
  3. 'Owl' 2007. Book and DVD

Michael Buckley, November 2017.

Contact Michael Buckley

Many of the films and visual essays made by Michael Buckley are available on DVD by request.

Back to Melbourne independent filmmakers index page



Melbourne independent filmmakers is compiled by Bill Mousoulis