NFSA holds over 200 interviews by Graham Shirley. These are some of those conducted in the past five years.

Frank Heimans

  • Documentary Filmmaker
  • Recorded for NFSA 2019
  • Interviewed by Graham Shirley
  • NFSA Title No. 1580338
  • Duration: 07:37:00

Frank Heimans reflects on his life and six-decade career in the film and television industry as well as his substantial involvement in oral history. The interview begins with Frank’s experiences as a child in German-occupied Holland, migration with his family to Australia, and his early career in film with Channel 9 Melbourne, Crawford Productions, Kingcroft Productions, and as a freelance editor. In the 1970s and 1980s Frank produced and directed television documentaries. In the early 1990s he directed the first five seasons of the Australian Biography TV series for Film Australia and SBS. He has since conducted at least a thousand oral history interviews for clients including NSW Government departments, the National Library of Australia, NFSA, and Universities Australia.

Malcolm Smith

  • Film & Television Executive
  • Recorded for NFSA 2018
  • Interviewed by Graham Shirley.
  • NFSA Title No. 1580321
  • Dur. 09:00:00

Migrating from England in 1966, Malcolm directed films for the Commonwealth Film Unit and Scope Films before working as a film consultant to the Experimental Film Fund for the Australia Council’s Film, Radio and Television Board and, in 1973, as a production manager/executive producer with the nascent South Australian Film Corporation. In 1978 he became inaugural CEO of the Tasmanian Film Corporation, and was a series producer for the Migrant Experience (1983) TV documentaries. Between 1983 and 1986 he was the inaugural General Manager of Film Development for the Australian Film Commission, and he worked in the late 1980s for Taft Hardie productions and Equitlink. In the 1990s his roles included Chief Executive of Southern Star Communications, General Manager of Production and Business Affairs for ABC TVs Drama Department, and Business Development Manager for Microsoft and MSN. He worked from 1997 to 2000 as the ABCs General Manager – Business Affairs, National Networks, TV, Radio and Multimedia; and he was Chief Operating Officer and then CEO of Ozemail in 2002-03. Between 2003 and 2013 he was Foxtel’s Director Special Projects and advisor to the organisation’s CEO. During that period, he witnessed first-hand much of Foxtel’s formative history, and his activities included forging partnerships with Australian media and industry bodies, and establishing MediaRING, a body whose purpose is to develop, provide and enhance career opportunities for Indigenous Australians in the media.

Molly Reynolds

  • Digital Media Producer
  • Recorded for NFSA 2019
  • Interviewed by Graham Shirley.
  • NFSA Title No. 1591990
  • Dur. 02:22:29

Molly Reynolds, a specialist in screen based storytelling and cross-platform production, discusses her life and career to date with Graham Shirley for the National Film and Sound Archive’s Oral History Program. The interview is conducted as part of the Australian Media Oral History Group’s (AMOHG) New Media Project. A log accompanies this interview, prepared by Graham Shirley.

Stuart Cunningham

  • Media Studies academic, historian and policymaker
  • Recorded for NFSA 2020
  • Interviewed by Graham Shirley.
  • NFSA Title No. 1612787
  • Dur. 02:57:00

cunninghamThe focus of the interview is Stuart’s involvement as an historian, academic and policymaker in the field of New Media, with an emphasis on New Media in Australia since the early 1990s. The interview was conducted as part of the Australian Media Oral History Group’s (AMOHG) New Media Project. Starting his academic career with Griffith University in the 1970s, Stuart wrote the book ‘Featuring Australia: The Cinema of Charles Chauvel’ (1991) before working for the Communications Law Centre on policy issues including pay television. During the interview Stuart provides historical detail and context for Australian television as an export success, how international media has sustained Australia’s Vietnamese diaspora, the impact of new media technologies and new forms of distribution, how cinema has moved online, and social media entertainment. In 1992 Stuart was the first academic or scholar appointed to the Australian Film Commission. His subsequent roles included as Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation (2005-2013), a member of the reference panel for the National Cultural Policy Reference Group (2011-2012), Director of Screen Queensland (2012-2015), member of the NSW Creative Industries Task Force (2012-2013), and a Fulbright Senior Scholar based at the Carsey-Wolf Center, University of California Santa Barbara, and Annenberg Center for Communication, University of Southern California, USA (2014-2015). At the time of the interview, Stuart was Distinguished Professor of Media and Communication at Queensland University of Technology. A time log accompanies this interview.

Brendan Harkin

  • Multimedia entrepreneur and advisor
  • Recorded for NFSA 2016
  • Interviewed by Graham Shirley.
  • NFSA Title No. 1488554
  • Dur. 02:22:29

Brendan Harkin begins by describing how his high school education in Greek philosophy changed his life. After university studies in philosophy and computer science, Harkin’s work for Prime Computers was followed by a stint as a multimedia advisor to the Victorian government, and a similar one for the Australian federal government to promote public awareness of the Internet. In 2003 Harkin and Megan Elliott created X Media Lab as a digital media thinktank and entrepreneurship program. X Media Lab had notable success in China between 2009 and 2014, a time when that country had an abiding interest in scientific animation. Harkin’s and Elliott’s return to Australia was followed, in late 2016, by their move to America. Today X Media Lab continues to create networks for emerging digital media markets in China, India and the Middle East — General note: Interview conducted as part of the Australian Media Oral History Group’s (AMOHG) New Media Project.

Lesley Cansdell

  • Radio fan and autograph collector
  • Recorded for NFSA 2017
  • Interviewed by Graham Shirley.
  • NFSA Title No. 1500028
  • Dur. 01:13:02

micicon60Excerpt of interview

Lesley Cansdell recalls her time as a fan of Australian radio drama serials, attending for several years in the 1950s the Sydney radio theatres who ran live-to-air sessions of ‘Caltex Theatre Playhouse’ and the pre-recorded ‘Harry Dearth’s Playhouse’. During that time she assembled an autograph book which grew to include the signatures of many Australian radio, theatre and film personalities – an item which she has now donated to the NFSA. Having spoken about the creation of the autograph book and other memorabilia, Lesley includes information about herself including her upbringing, education, marriage and career.

William (Bill) Gray

  • Film distributor, newsreel librarian, projectionist
  • Recorded for NFSA 2017
  • Interviewed by Graham Shirley.
  • NFSA Title No. 1503804
  • Dur. 07:59:35

William (Bill) Gray recalls his four-decade career in film distribution and exhibition, followed by his several years of managing the Cinesound Movietone Productions (CMP) stock-shot library. His work in Sydney for distributors such as 20th Century-Fox, Universal and British Empire Films included despatching and vaulting films in addition to distributing printed publicity. Bill subsequently spent more two decades working as a projectionist in Sydney suburban drive-in theatres, especially at Dundas. His management of the CMP library occurred in the period between the retirement of long-term librarian Jim Whitbread and the acquisition of the sales side of the library by Film World Research. After his time with CMP, Bill worked as a projectionist for Greater Union’s Pitt Centre in Sydney.

Rosslyn Sweetapple

  • Film crew (child actor care)
  • Recorded for NFSA 2017
  • Interviewed by Graham Shirley.
  • NFSA Title No. 1499706
  • Dur. 02:05:14

Rosslyn Sweetapple talks about the making of the feature film ‘The Shiralee’ (1957) and her work on the film as minder for the child actress Dana Wilson, for Wilson’s stand in Susan Hammond, and for the film’s lead, Peter Finch. Rosslyn also recalls the life and film work of her sister Helen Grieve, who appeared in ‘The Overlanders’ (1946) and ‘Bush Christmas’ (1947). Other topics covered include the Grieve family’s friendship with British film director Harry Watt as well as Rosslyn’s own life and career.

Michael Thornhill

  • Feature film producer
  • Recorded for NFSA 2016
  • Interviewed by Graham Shirley.
  • NFSA Title No. 1466763
  • Dur. 01:35:04

thornhillThis interview with Michael Thornhill completes the oral history that Martha Ansara began with him in 2003 and 2005. Topics covered are Thornhill’s early independent and Commonwealth Film Unit (Film Australia) short films and his work after his first feature, ‘Between Wars’ (1974), including ‘The FJ Holden’ (1977), ‘Harvest of Hate’ (1978), ‘The Journalist’ (1979) and ‘The Everlasting Secret Family’ (1988). The interview also covers Thornhill’s work as a producer and executive producer of other people’s film and TV projects, along with his memories of the 1960s campaigns to reform Australia’s film censorship and to revive the Australian feature film industry. Thornhill additionally talks about current film body funding script assessment practices and the role of the Australian film producer. Tim Burstall and Peter Weir are among other directors discussed, with comments on the latter focusing on Weir’s feature adaptation of Joan Lindsay’s book, ‘Picnic at Hanging Rock’.

Tom Zubrycki

  • Documentary filmmaker
  • Recorded for NFSA 2015
  • Interviewed by Graham Shirley.
  • NFSA Title No. 1441661
  • Dur. 02:28:28

Tom Zubrycki describes the growth of Australia’s video access (also known as community video) movement in the 1970s and his involvement in it. Having talked about what got him involved in video access, Tom describes the NFSA-held videos he directed or otherwise participated in. Tom recalls the community action groups, unions, environmentalists and schools who used video access to communicate their concerns to politicians and other powers-that-be. In the 1980s community television replaced video access, which thereafter ceased production. Tom comments that had it received further funding, video access could have continued to serve the interests of Australians who were otherwise invisible in mainstream media.