A major cultural and creative voice on Sydney’s North Shore has been stilled: the community radio station 99.3fm, based in Chatswood, has closed down due to financial issues. The website does not give any details yet, but I understand that after a number of years of successive financial losses the station’s board of directors decided to close the station and turn its operations over to an administrator. Excellent talent, a large part of it virtually equal to what you can hear on commercial or ABC radio, is no longer part of Sydney’s airwaves. Also gone is my weekly radio interview at 3.00pm on Wednesdays, which I have been doing for four months already.
I continue my radio interviews on Sydney’s north shore community radio station 99.3FM, now each Wednesday afternoon at 3.00pm (or a few minutes later), as part of the “Il Mondo Cafe” with Mark Lumley. My segment is now called “Holy Hollywood”. Each week I review what has been “hot” at the Australian box office during the previous week (hint: Inglourious Basterds won the box office stakes in Australia last week, hands down, beating Taking of Pelham 1,2,3. Taking Woodstock opened very poorly (19th place!). I then cover what’s opening this week – yesterday I discussed the Israeli Film Festival. And then we do a film trivia quiz, with prizes for the first two callers to get it right. This week was an easy one: “What Woody Allen film won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1977?” (Last week was “who is Isador Danielovich Demsky” in real life – i.e. what is his name that we know hims as; hint: he has a son also an actor, he’s Jewish and …).
If you are not on the north shore of Sydney, you can still listen to my segments live throught the station’s website (note you will need a “plug in” to do this, or preferably download the VLC “universal player” and listen that way). In case you want to listen live, 3.00pm Weds in Sydney is:
– 7.00am Weds in Amsterdam and London
– 8.00am Weds in Tel Aviv
– 1.00am Weds in New York and Boston
– 10.00pm Tuesday in San Francisco
(at least until Sydney goes on to daylight savings time in about 6 weeks).
Each week I will post a summary of the week’s film discussion.
Today – Thursday June 11 – I started doing radio film news and updates on 2NSB, fm99.3, the community radio station in Chatswood, on Sydney’s north shore. If you are in the listening zone on Sydney’s north shore, most thursdays you can hear me at about 8.10am. Today I discussed the top box office films in Australia – Terminator Salvation at number 1, followed by Night at the Museum 2, I Love You Man, State of Play, Angels and Demons, and Star Trek – and then surprisingly Samson and Delilah, in 7th place with a total box office of $1,721,406 as of 8th June – and playing in 38 cinemas with a screen average of $10,118, amongst the highest. This small and rather bleak Australian film about Aboriginal kids in remote Australia won the “Camera D’Or” at the recent Cannes Film Festival for director Warwick Thornton. It is being marketed superbly (with a slowly expanding release pattern and word of mouth) and gaining a significant audience for what is, after all, a very small film. It is being heralded as a part of a new age for Australian film: some reviewers are probably way over the top in their praise, but there is no doubt that Samson and Delilah is an important Australian film event this year.
I also discussed today’s film releases – the most interesting one being The Merchant of Venice, directed by Michael Radford and starring Al Pacino, Jeremy Irons and Josepth Fiennes. Based on William Shakespeare’s controversial (for its antisemitism) play, this film actually opened in the USA in late December 2004 – that’s right 2004. It has taken four and a half years to arrive on Australian shores. Now that is an impressive time lag. Review of the film to come.
I also reported on an unusual film fact: It is a frequently told story that when Ava Gardner was in Melbourne filming the movie version of Nevil Shute’s On the Beach (released in 1959), she said that Melbourne was “the perfect place to make a film about the end of the world.” Here’s the thing: she never said it. Neil Jillett actually made it up, when he was a Melbourne-based reporter writing for the Sydney Morning Herald and the Sun Herald. Jillet wrote about this in 1982. Gardner never denied making the statement, and it has passed into film (and Melbourne) folklore.