45 St. Pauls Street Randwick 2031
(02) 8324 2500
Wharfies Keith Gow and Jock Levy were both members of Sydney’s New Theatre along with Norma Disher. In 1953 they formed the Waterside Workers Federation Film Unit to counter what the union saw as misinformation and anti-worker propaganda in the mainstream press.
The films they made included a campaign for a pension for wharfie veterans, the 1954 waterfront strike, workers’ rights, housing shortages and health and safety.
Using a customized Kombi van with rear projection as both a production vehicle and for distribution/exhibition, they showed their films at work sites, union and community halls and clubs, private homes and in the streets.
“As films which passionately cared about their subjects, and as works of cinema, the Unit’s projects show a consistency of vision that no other documentary producers of the period were able to match.”
- Graham Shirley, Australian Cinema the First Eighty Years.
The films have been remastered from best quality original materials by the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.
A 43-minute documentary by John Hughes on the Waterside Workers Federation Film Unit (WWFFU), dissecting scenes from four of their films and examining their cultural and historical importance and the relationship between politics and history.
“[Hughes] recognized the WWF and Realist Film Units as mainstays of oppositional independent filmmaking in postwar Australia.”
- John Cumming, Senses of Cinema
Film Work has been restored by the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.
Introduced by filmmakers Norma Disher, Margot Nash and John Hughes
To read Margot Nash’s program notes on the films, head here.
Norma Disher, Keith Gow, Jock Levy
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