One of the most exciting Australian cinema releases this year will be Mark Hartley’s Not Quite Hollywood. A rose tinted paean back to the halcyon days of the Aussie exploitation film and an era of 'boobs, tubes and pubes...and a bit of kung fu' as the poster charmingly proclaims. Hartley has pulled together a startling array of bizarre clips from the darkest depths of Australian film history, many being seen for the first time since their original release in the 70s, especially Wake in Fright which Hartley excitedly told me is being given a deluxe restoration job by the AFI. It is also the first time in many a year that a lot of the directors and actors on show have talked about their experiences. Barry Humphries is hysterical and uber fan Quentin Tarantino shows a fan credentials coining the phrase Ozploitation for good measure. A fabulous benefit of being in Australia means I have been able to interview many of the people involved including the aforementioned Hartley, co-editor and director in his own right Jamie Blanks, Brian Trenchard Smith – director of The Man From Hong Kong, Turkey Shoot and BMX Bandits, Everett De Roche – writer of Patrick, Road Games and Long Weekend and Rod Hay – producer of Night of Fear and Inn of the Damned. I’m also arranging an interview with Hugh Keays-Byrne who starred in the classic biker movie Stone and also played Toecutter in the original Mad Max.
Not Quite Hollywood is the opening film of the Melbounre International Film Festival and I’ll be heading down for the opening weekend to catch screenings of Long Weekend and Turkey Shoot, attend the Aussie Exploitation seminar featuring many of the names mentioned above and interview Australian stuntman extraordinaire Grant Page who made many of these action packed thrillers look so good. The Australian Centre for the Moving Image will be screening a slew of Ozploitation classics throughout the festival so for the brave among you, check out http://www.melbournefilmfestival.com.au/