"The Golden Age of Anti-Hollywood",  IAFILM 1977-1995

IAFILM (Independent Alternative Film) is my trading name for what was originally adventurous film production, moving more recently to multimedia and even software based on strict business rules and so not "alternative".  But the cutting-edge movie experimentation remains and so does the name.

IAFILM has extended to production "no-budget" films, with an aim of getting ideas outside of the commercial production machine researched,  brought to life and carried to an audience.  Technically we rode and encouraged a wave of Super-8mm activity.  The change of technology for home movies from Super-8 film to video made orphaned Super-8 equipment available at nominal cost.  The Super-8 medium was arguably quite unsuitable for its intended home movie role (high quality but short running times and difficult sound) but falling into the hands of actors, artists, students, writers, photographers, musicians and experimenters such as ourselves it was a gift.  It seemed that Cocteau's 1930's prediction, that film would blossom as a medium when it became accessible, had at last come true.  We got very little on to NZ broadcast TV: the people there simply refused to even look at our work to consider it, but we had so little respect for that medium and its practitioners that we only bothered to stimulate the occasional rejection to add to the running joke of our negative view of them.  The best audience exposure came from the network of film festivals world wide taking an interest in the Super-8 art film phenomenon and looking for material to showcase.  Almost everything we sent was selected for public screening, we won several awards, and one festival in Brussels even made us the main theme of their 1993 event.  Other such festivals were in Philadelphia, Tours and Melbourne.

Back home in Auckland ,New Zealand, we were putting together shows of collected short films and even producing Super-8 features.  We used cafes and art galleries as informal screening spaces. For the features, we would hire a commercial cinema for the premiere.  There was one "Xenon Arc" Super-8 projector for hire in Auckland that could handle such venues.
The most recent such feature, "The SNAG's Guide to Love" (1994) was produced using a new medium, Video Hi-8, which when teamed with a new machine on the scene, the "video projector", screened well.  Video cameras made long takes and high shooting ratios possible for us and so let us explore a style of production more centred on acting performances.

One of my many part-time jobs in that period was teaching film-making.  The IAFILM Super-8 infrastructure, and increasingly Video-8/Hi-8, was a good resource in making practical work accessible and affordable for students.  Such student work forms a large part of the archive I now care for.

At the end of 1995, I had a family with a new baby to care for and some of the part-time jobs were looking shaky, so I disappeared into my day job.  Not quite the "loss of a dream" this may seem because I was getting more and more interested in computers and working on programming for the emerging Internet.  And I felt I was getting to know something with future IAFILM potential.