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! FILMING TASMANIA
! A New Super-Feature
j Mr. Arthur Shirley's Mission j Make Australia Better Known
That a new Australian film, written by Australians, acted by Australians, and produced by Australians, was to bo made in Tasmania at an early date was disclosed by the well-known Tas- manian film actor, Mr. Arthur Shir- ley, in an interview yesterday.
"Australia ls one of th« best coun- tries for motion picture making In the world," said Mr. Shirley, "and there ls no part of lt which excels Tasmania."
[ For the purpose of selecting locationh , for the production of tile new picture, Mr. Shirley has been in Tasmania for the past fortnight. He has made it his business to re-visit as many of thc beauty spots as lie could see in the time at his disposal-no man, not even an American tourist, could see them all in three months-and from the wealth of material available has already made a preliminary selection. No part of the State will be neglected; north, south, cast, and west will be portrayed in the film, which Mr. Shirley rightly says will be a powerful instrument of propaganda in other lands for Tasmania's beauty spots. The story of the picture has been written by Mr. Shirley himself, and is a powerful one, dealing with life in Tasmania to-day. Mr. Shirley hopes to commence production at an early date, and will bring with him to Tasmania an all-Australian cast.
TASMANIAN WHO BECAME A STAR.
Mr. Shirley, as the public of Hobart dr, not need telling, is a Tasmanian boriv and bred, and he enjoys the proud distinc- tion of IHng the only Tasmanian who, unheralded and unsung-as he himsell puts it-lias gone from herc to Hollywood and made good. He made good to such an extent that he has been co-starred with celebrities of the class of Wm. S. Hart, Norma Talmadge. and Mae Murray. After spending 10 years in the United States a country for which Mr. Shirley has a sincere admiration-ho returned to Austra- lia with the idea of going into the film producing business in his native land. He'
never forgot, no matter what success cam», to him, that ho was first a Tasmanian, and secondly, nn Australian, and it was because ho realised that Australia needed men experienced in the motion picture industry to help her to take her place among the ? nations producing pictures-a place she has not yet, by any means, been able to, occupy-that he returned. Since then he actively has been engaged in mak- ing pictures in Australia for Pyramid Pictures Pty^. Ltd., Melbourne, generally in the comp.any's Sydney studios, lt was hero that lie made "The Mystery of the Hansom Cab" and "The Sealed Boom," two films which were deservedly popular in Hobart. ,
Mr. Shirley naturally is keenly interest- ed in motion picture making in Australia. "The motion picture industry," he said, "is an. important one, and no matter who, may BcofE, it is one which plaj-s not only an important part in the life of practically every community in the world, but it has its effect-and a big effect upon nations. When I returned to Sydney from my sojourn in America I noticed that a great change had come over that city. It had become more American than many parts of America itself. That peculiarity, though perhaps due in a slight' measure to the fact that Sydney ÍB th» port to which all thc American nuil steamer» come, and is therefore more in touch with America than, the other cnpitnls, one must attribute to the influence of Ameri- can pictures. I noticed the same thing, to a lesser extent, in Melbourne and ii; Hobart. There is no denying the fact that motion nicturo propaganda has a .very great effect upon a people. That is why Australia especially should pay every at- tention to this industry, and encourage in every possible way the. making'of good films in Australia, by Australians, from Australian stories, which denict aspects bi Australian life as they really arc.
THE FILM AS PROPAGANDA.
"Perhaps it is from thc point of view of propaganda, more than .from any other viewpoint, that "Australia should look after thc motion picture. It is'the great- est instrument for propaganda' that the world knows to-day; I 'tuink';.X"should not be overstating the case if I were to say that it is easily the greatest the world has ever known. It would be folly for a young country like Australia, which has yet to take'its proper place in thc world of nations, to neglect such a power- ful influence. Perhaps my outstanding
impression of the Americans was their ignorance, of Australia. The only thing which 90 per cent. of. them knew of Aus- tralia was that it was a place where there were droughts and bush fires, and where bushrangers shot people!. The only th'Ug they .knew of Tasmania-or thought they know-was that it . was a penal settl î meht! They did not know that bush- rangers went out of Australia with the 00'B. , Nor did they know that Tasmania ceased to be a penal settlement before America ceased to be the world's last stronghold of slavery. The motion pic- ture IB the best means of dispelling ignor- ance on these and many, other points.
'^There is the talent in~"ÄTiBtrk!fa To make the pictures, if the public will give their support and get rid' of the 'If it's Australian it can't be cny good' attitude once and for all.
"Australia-I sav it without hesitation -cannot be excelled as a place for tho making of pictures. The atmosphere is Ideal, and perfect natural seenery of all kinds abounds. Tasmania ls the gem of the whole Commonwealth, without a doubt. «Hero the conditions for the mak- ing of motion pictures are as near perfect as it ls possible to Imagine.
"At the present time about 00 pe: cent, of the world's pictures are made in Cali- fornia; in the matter of natural facilities. Tasmania is a better place for the motion picture industry than California, by far.
"It is said that we have not the actors and the actresses in Australia," Mr. Shir- ley continued. "That is quite wrong. What surprised me greatly at Hollywood was the number of Australians who made good. I might mention, among others born, in AustraHa who are doing well .is stars there. 'Enid Bennett, Sylvia Brenn- er, Louise Lovely (now in Australia), and Mae Busch (who is an Adelaide gin). Among thc men are Marc McDermott, > Clyde Cook, 'Snub' Pollard, and numpr
lia right enough, hut it is a true saying that -'A prophet is without honour in his own country.' They could not'get a hearing in: Australia until tho'producers nf "America 6aw what they could do. If the "public of Australia would support good- Australian pictures; these would be able-to-return;: and the. talent which wad born and . reared herb would be doing service for Australia rather than for the .United States. .
"A great deal is_ heard from time to time regaiding the paucity of. Australian j 'literature. If the film industry of Ausr tralia'held'the position it ought Lo oc- cupy it would create a natural demand for novels, and' tho Australian writer would find himself with a market, in- stead of sending all his output to'London and New York, where in 00 per cont, of cases he in met with' thc rebuff tliat 'tho world is not interested !in Australia.' That statement, . unfortunately, carries with it n, great deal of the force of truth. Tho world would stand a far' greater chance of being interested in Australia it they say it tru'y. ? portrayed 'on the screen. Therefore the growth 'of Aus- tralian literature would be encouraged by thc support of Australian, films;
- "I am not by any means finding fault with the; public ? of Australia. , - I am merely stating what I know to be true, with the idea pf helping Australians to realise what is in their ' own interests. While they fail-to realise tho trutl/, they can rest assured . that no other natbn wilt draw attention to the deficiency, and they may continue to send thousands und thousands of pounds annually to create employment and wealth in other lands in- stead of in their own tb thc end nf time. But Lam sure that the public will see its mistake. Already there aro most hopeful indications of an awakening in- terest in the Australian film, and 1 dm sure that before many years have passed i*ie productions of Austrn'ia will not on!v take an equal place with those of other countries on the screen in this country, but they will occupy a' place of importance in the eyes of the world."