Film Maker


At the age of 24, with one 16mm feature-length movie under my belt (Dangerous Passage, now lost) and not much money  my wife and I followed the well-beaten path to London where I enrolled at  the London Film School and she supported me by teaching. Most of my fellow students aspired to be famous directors and I worked out that if I specialised in cinematography and editing rather than directing, I would get to work on six films per term rather than one. It was a great time to be a film student: there were frequent tours to Pinewood Studios,  attachments with Lindsay Anderson on The White Bus and Jean-Luc Godard on Sympathy for the Devil.  Raoul Coutard taught us  hand-held cinematography  and François Truffaut (who was having an affair with one of the LSF staff) showed us the first cut of Stolen Kisses. But it was the late Phil Mottram who introduced me to the documentaries of Jean Rouche, the Maysles Brothers and Fred Wiseman and David Gladwell who taught the arcane mathematics of calculating ‘build up’ from edge numbers and filing trims—skills that would make me employable in Wardour Street as an assistant editor.


After graduation, most of my fellow students aimed for the high road to work in feature films. Some, like Michael Mann, Mike Leigh and Anne Hui, were successful.  I took the scenic route, as a stringer and independent documentary one-man band traversing Europe in a VW Kombi.  I produced a 2-part documentary in the USSR for the Nuffield Foundation, filmed the ‘Prague Spring’ in Czechoslovakia and the 1988 student demonstrations in Germany and France. (Some of my footage still makes an appearance, anonymous and ghost-like on late-night SBS-TV historical compilations.)

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I returned to Australia via Africa and found work at Film Australia, first as a production assistant, then line producer, editor and director. I arrived just as Stanley Hawes, a disciple of John Grierson and the Crown Film unit, retired. It was the training ground for generations of Australian film makers before the AFTRS: Peter Weir, Brian Hannant, Don Crombie, Graham Chase and cinematographers Don McAlpine, Dean Semmler, John Hosking were all serving their apprenticeships at that time.

Film Australia sent me to exotic locations all over Australia: helicopter mustering in the Northern Territory, the Barossa Valley vintage harvest, the Great Barrier Reef and the wild rivers of Tasmania. They also sent me to Thailand and Indonesia—the beginning of a lifelong attachment to the cultures of South-East Asia. Among the most memorable was a historical documentary about flying boats, when Sir Reg Ansett gave me the use of a  4-engined Sunderland Short to make 5 trips to Lord Howe Island and innumerable circuits of Sydney Harbour for The Ships that Flew (TEN-10). 

When Film Australia was cut back and beg its slow decline to oblivion, many of my colleagues at Film Australia, like Peter Weir, Dean Semler and  Don McAlpine, moved into feature films and won Academy Awards. Tempted by the vision of security, I went into academia.

I was offered a teaching and production position at the Canberra College of Advanced Education (now The University of Canberra), which I thought would be for 2-3 years. Frank Morgan and I developed the first Australian Diploma in Media outside the AFTRS; while I continued to produce documentaries for broadcast, on Art: The Big Picture (ABC-TV); international education 2 ou 3 choses que je sais d'elle (I couldn’t get Godard out of my mind); and Zouba! a TV series on China after Tiananmen.

The University of Hong Kong Interactive Learning Group combined production and education. The Centre, in the Run Run Shaw Building, included a working TV studio and we collaborated with RTHK and several independent production units in an 8 year series of dramas and cultural and music documentaries, filmed in China, Europe and Bali. The high point, and as it transpired the end of the studio, was a series on SARS and Infections Diseases presented by the epidemiologist Anthony Hedley.

Back in Canberra, Hartbeat Multimedia continued to produce educational and corporate videos for government clients such as the Australian Academy of Science, the ACT Department of Education and the Australian Curriculum Centre, as well as A School for the Future, a 12 month observational documentary on the establishment of a ‘super school.’

Jun Xiao, a journalist from Xi’an TV, had been our ‘fixer’ on Zouba! back in 1990 and we set up Peace Mountain Productions with the aim of developing a trilogy of Australia-China co-productions: Dumpling, Tea & Rice. We pitched it at the Beijing Film Festival and the feedback was encouraging, but the outcome is likely to be collaboration on several Chinese originated co-productions first.

Life is a work in progress.




Pavel in the Crimea/ Anja in Moscow  (1968) BBC/Nuffield Foundation (in Russian), 16mm col. (Dir./Camera) 2 x 14 min. films to accompany the BBC Radio 4 Russian course, shot on location in Moscow and the Crimea. (Script: Michael O’Toole)

Australian Geography [4 titles] (1970-72) Film Australia, 16mm col. (Prod/Dir.)

Faces of the City (Edwin Moses, Graham Chase); The Barrier (Ian Hart; Graham Chase); Beef Cattle (Ian Hart; Wayne LeClos); Rain & Desert (Ian Hart; Wayne Le Clos)

Our Asian Neigbours - Thailand [7 titles] (1971) Film Australia, 16mm col. (Asst. Prod/ Editor/ Educational package editor)  7 x 20mins documentaries for the Asian Studies curriculum, shot on location in Thailand. Broadcast on ABC-TV (Prod: John Morris; Dir.: Brian Hannant, Arch Nicholson). Teachers notes

The Nan Project (1971) Film Australia/ Dept. of Foreign Affairs 16mm col.  (Director)

20 min. documentary on Australian aid projects in Northern Thailand.

Our Asian Neigbours - Indonesia [9 titles] (1973) Film Australia, 16mm col. (Asst.Producer/ Editor/ Educational package editor) 9 x 20min documentaries for the Asian Studies curriculum, shot on location in Indonesia. Broadcast on ABC-TV (Prod: John Morris; Dir.: Brian Hannant; Keith Gow). Teachers notes (Ed: Ian Hart)

Rabies (1973) Film Australia, 16mm col. (Co-director with Tony Colacino)

Educational video on the dangers of Rabies being introduced to Australia with sequences of rabid animals and affected children shot in the Pasteur Institute, Bandung.

Australian Wildlife [6 titles] (1973-75) Film Australia, 16mm col. (Co-producer)

Part of the Wildlife series filmed and directed by John Shaw & Dietmar Fill.

Teaching English [2 titles] (1976) Film Australia, 16mm col. (Director)

2 x 40 min. documentaries on the Australian Situational Method of English teaching, shot multi-cam in the FA studio. (Prod: John Morris; Ed: Tony Buckley)

The Ships that Flew (1975) Film Australia/Channel 10, 16mm col. (Writer/Director)

1 hr TV documentary on the history of flying boats and their place in opening up the world’s air routes. (Prod: Tim Read)

St. Albans - an Ethnic Program  (1980)  Australian Schools Commission, 16mm, col. (Writer/Director)

20 min. documentary on St.Albans primary school, Melbourne which has over 30 ethnic groups represented in its population. 

The Educational Smorgasbord (1980) Australian Schools Commission, 16mm, col. (Writer/Director)

20 min. documentary on Gordon Lang, ex principal of Ballina Primary School, who has set up an educational cooperative in Northern NSW

Who Owns Schools?...and what are they doing about it?  (1980) Australian Schools Commission, 16mm (Writer/Director) Where education is concerned, everyone is an expert. 60 min. TV documentary for the Innovations Program of the School Commission; banned in Queensland.

The Big Picture (1981) CCAE/ABC-TV  16mm, col. (Writer/Director)

30 min. documentary on the conservation of Tom Roberts’ painting of the opening of Federal Parliament in 1900 by students at the CCAE. Broadcast on ABC-TV.

Australians at Talk (1981) Curriculum Development Centre, 16mm/video. (Writer/Director)

50 min. video analyzing the Australian accent, presented by Prof. John Bernard: origins, physiology, linguistics, sociology.

20 Questions About Core Curriculum (1981) Curriculum Development Centre, Videotape (Writer/Director) 40 min. video to introduce the concept of the Australian Core Curriculum, presented by Prof. Malcolm Skilbeck.

One Morning in Canberra... (1981) CCAE, Videotape (Writer/Director)

12 min. video to introduce the Canberra College of Advanced Education to school leavers and prospective overseas applicants.

Volcanic Mothers (1982) Dept. of Health, Videotape (Producer/Director)

60 min. studio TV forum on mothers who are in danger of harming their children and themselves through post-natal depression or emotional disturbance.

The Aboriginal Australian in North-Eastern Arnhem Land (1982) Curriculum Development Centre, Videotape. (Producer/Director) 3 x 60 min. videos for the Aboriginal Studies curriculum, hosted by Prof. Don Williams.

Information Technology Week Promo (1982) ITW/Capital 7,16mm animation (Producer)

30 sec animation promo using aerial image technique. (Co-producer: Yoram Gross)

The Questacon (1982) National Science Centre, Videotape (Producer)

30 min. introduction to Canberra’s hands-on Science museum.

The JVC Portapak (1982) AFT&RS, Videotape (Producer)

4 x 10 min. instructional program on portable video production: physics, care & maintenance, shooting & editing. Made for the Australian Film & TV School’s Graduate Diploma.

The Australian Government System (1982) Public Service Board, Videotape (Producer/Director)

Multimedia kit for schools, clarifying the concept of separation of powers. Slides, tape, video. booklet.

It's in the Library (1983) CCAE, Videotape (Writer/Director)

15 mins. Libraries are changing: no longer simply book repositories they are information centres, with communication to the world.

Which Plastic?... is What? (1983) Design Institute of Australia/Hoechst, Videotape (Producer/Director) 20 min. Industrial designers need to know the properties of different plastics. Prof. Knickerbocker makes it all clear. (Presenter: Timothy Crick)

1915 (1983), ABC-TV, Adaptation (Co-writer, with Roger McDonald)

First to third drafts adaptation of Roger McDonald’s novel for TV. Eventually broadcast on ABC-TV (Writer credit: Peter Yeldham).

MESS or Method? Multicultural Education in Secondary Schools  (1983) Curriculum Development Centre, Videotape. (Writer/Director) 20 min. How do you fit multicultural studies into an already overcrowded school curriculum? A cross-curriculum approach.

The Australian Mathematics Competition (1984) CCAE/Westpac, 16mm, col. (Writer/Director)

The largest school maths competition in the world with entries from more than 40 countries.

Study Skills [6 titles] (1984/5) CCAE, Videotape (Co-writer/Director)

6 x 10 min. programs on techniques for successful study. Presented by Prof. Alex Mayne.

The Magic Palace (1985) Design Institute of Australia , Animation/Videotape (Co-writer/Director)

The Crystal Palace, built for the Great Exhibition of 1860, was the world’s first modular building and predecessor of the modern skyscraper. Presented by Timothy Crick.

Selected For a Drug Test (1985) Australian Institute of Sport, Videotape (Co-writer/Director)

20 min. information program for elite athletes to explain the procedures for drug testing,

Drug Abuse in Sport (1985) Dept. of Health/Institute of Sport, Videotape (Co-writer/Director)

40 min. program for sports administrators and sports doctors on the adverse effects of 20 performance-enhancing drugs.

Drug Abuse and Sport (1986) Australian Sports Commission, Interactive video package (Writer/Programmer)  Multimedia (interactive video) kiosk version of Drug Abuse in Sport.

My Terminal Won't Work! (1986) CCAE/Burroughs, Videotape. (Writer/Director)

10 min. introduction to the University of Canberra’s new computer laboratories.

Nursing Patient Management [6 titles] (1986) ACT Dept. of Health, Videotape. (Co-writer/Director)

6 x 15 min. videos for Nursing education: Nurses & the Law; Allergic Reactions; Alzheimer’s; IVs; Changing Shift; Hygiene.

The Television News Story [4 titles] (1986) CCAE/Capital 7, Videotape (Director)

4 x 20 min. programs for Broadcast Journalism students on techniques for creating effective news stories. Written & Presented by Pru Goward.

The Australian Small Business Video (1987) MAPS/CCH Publishers Videotape (Director)

60 min. video to accompany The Australian Small Business Handbook. Written by John Walker; Presented by Niree Creed.

Abrene (1987)  (in Latvian & French) OAVUP, Venacoproduction, Paris, Videotape (Writer/Director)

30 min. documentary on the opening of the first Latvian Cultural Centre in the Château de Huimes. Broadcast by Canal +.

Chauvigny - 2 ou 3 choses que je sais d'elle (1988) (in French). OAVUP/Venacoproduction Paris, Videotape (Writer/Director). 60 min (8 sections) documentary on the experiences of a 15 year old Australian girl in a French country school. For French teaching in Australia. Teachers notes by Austra Hart & Alain Monteil.

Villeneuve - une petite école à la campagne (1988) (in French), OAVUP/Venacoproduction Paris, Videotape (Writer/Director). 40 min (6 sections) documentary on a 2-teacher French country school which has to cope with two Australian 10 year-olds.

DICMA: Computer Speech Recognition (1988) Wang Australia, Videotape (Co-writer/Director) 18 min corporate-style video to explain the concept of computer-based continuous speech recognition. Presenter: Prof. Mary O’Kane.

The National Museum of Australia (1988) UC & National Museum Interim Committee. 7 min video distributed to all members of the Australian Parliament

Multi-function Polis - the ACT Vision (1989) ACT Government, Videotape (Director)

15 min, corporate-style. Part of the ACT’s (unsuccessful) bid to gain the multi-function polis.

DICMA project  - Stage 2 (1990) Wang Australia, Videotape (Co-writer/Director)

15 min follow-up to DICMA, explaining progress to date and mapping out future research.

Zou ba! (1991 ) WIN TV/Australia-China Council, Videotape + multimedia package for Chinese teaching. (Co-writer/Director) 110 min (13 parts) video for Putonghua teaching in Australia in which everyday life in China is seen through the eyes of 8 Australian teenagers studying there. Shot in Shanghai, Beijing and Chengde. (Adviser: Prof. Michael Sawer)

The Chinese Way  (1991 ), University of Canberra/WIN TV, Television special (Co-writer/Director)

30 min. TV version of Zou Ba! Showing the lives of 8 Australian teenagers studying in China.

English at Work (1993) HKU/SBS-TV, Interactive video (Co-writer/Programmer)

Interactive video versions of the SBS-TV series, designed for English teaching in China.

Building Systems , (1995) HKU, Interactive multimedia resource for  Architecture teaching (Producer/Programmer) CD-ROM and WWW resources made from 4th year student 3D modelling work.

Look Who’s Talking, (1996) University Grants Commission, Videotape (Exec Producer)

12 min. video to encourage young Hong Kong professionals to improve their spoken and written English.

The HKU Explorer (1997) HKU Interactive CD-ROM kiosk (Producer/Author)

CD-ROM for prospective students introducing the University. Includes QTVR tours through the grounds and buildings. Authored in mTropolis.

The Virtual Site Visit (1997-98) HKU/HKUST/CityU/UGC multimedia resources for Civil & Structural Engineering  (Exec Producer).  Comprehensive WWW site of resources illustrating various HK building sites, including Chek Lap Kok Airport, Tsing Ma Bridge, Strategic Sewage Disposal Scheme, Aberdeen Landslide.

Maxofacial Swing Surgery (1998) HK Hospital Authority, videotape, 25 min. (Director/Camera)

25 min record of a ground-breaking surgical procedure for gaining access to naso-pharyngeal cancers,

Constructivist Learning  Environments (1998)  Interactive CD-ROM (Writer/Author)

Interactive resource for Teacher Education on the Constructivist theory of learning, with multiple examples of environments.

CIVCAL – The virtual site visit (1999). Comprehensive Web site for Engineering education. With contributions from four universities and 14 construction companies.

Biodiversity (2000) interactive CD-ROM produced under Universitas 21 partnership agreement

Les Hongkongaises (2000) interactive CD-ROM for French language teaching in China. Filmed in France and produced in collaboration with French Consulate and Alliance Française.

The Outsider’s Gaze. (2001) 46 videos in 3 DVDs for Spanish, French and German teaching in China. Filmed in Europe in the Summer of 2001. C’est une questions pour moi? (French); ¿Ed correcto? (Spanish); Interviewt für Hongkong (German)

A Festival of Art and Life (2002) DVD on Balinese music, culture and life, filmed on location in Bona Village, Bali. HKU Music Department, UGC and RTHK

Medical PBL (2003) Interactive CD-ROM, series of video case studies for undergraduate medical education, funded by UGC and commercial sponsors

Snow on Cholera (2003) Interactive CD-ROM tutorial for post-graduate medical education, funded by LEARNet.

History of Infections Diseases (2004) Interactive CD-ROM for post-graduate medical education, funded by LEARNet and Hong Kong Government.

The Challenge of Infectious Diseases (2006) TV documentary presented by Anthony Hedley

What did you do at school today? (2009) TV documentary

The Documents (2010) TV documentary

Wanda’s Visit (2010) TV drama

Destination (2011) Video short

A Garden of Exotic Plants (2014) Video short

© ianhart 2015