Dirk De Bruin
In the 90s, when I returned from Canada, having experienced a well organised and funded film co-op system, I came back to a scene in Melbourne that was shifting into New Media, where experimental film became invisible, falling off MIMA’s (nee Experimenta) menu. I thought of that attitude as a very Australian tradition, kickstarted with the raising of the Union Jack to a murmur of “there is nothing here”. Though under siege Internationally film remains a productive medium for Artists. Witness Tacita Dean, the New York Film Festival and so on. Anyways the 90s still had the Melbourne Super 8 Group and its cacophony of voices and with Vikki Riley and Marcus Bergner I organized weekly Sunday evening Screenings at the Café Bohemio in Smith Street, Fitzroy, under the banner of Allgauge, recycling films from the National Library Film Study Collection to a new audience. Any film artist, who happened to be coming through could show their work, such as the Austrian Marc Adrian. We showed local work by John Cummings, Steven Ball, Marie Craven, for example, and many others—and there were impromptu performances. It was Gabrielle Mena, a South American refugee and the café’s owner, who made it all possible. He paid for the transport of the films and gave the guests a free meal of choice for the trouble of presenting their work. More than 100 programs added up to thousands of dollars of support over the years of its running, for an activity that became known as micro-cinema. Vikki, a hard-nosed film critic, an ex-punk with a heart of gold is no longer with us. She died in a traffic accident while helping refugees in Darwin last year. Marcus is now in Prague, and amongst many film projects runs creative cooking workshops inspired by Gertrude Stein, James Joyce and Rabelais. I continue to build moving images and teach animation in Melbourne.