Australian Cinema > types > diasporas


Australasian films arranged by country of origin of significant ethnic, NESB character, director, actor, or setting

See also related pages: Asian, American, Jewish, Russian.


Back of Beyond, The (John Heyer, 1954) documentary; includes Muslim culture along Birdsville Track

Serenades (Mojgan Khadem, 2001) writer and director Mojgan Khadem was born in Iran; significant characters in the film are Afghani


Excursion to the Bridge of Friendship (Christina Andreef, 1992) short; Christina Andreef was born in New Zealand to a Bulgarian father and Anglo-Irish mother.

Soft Fruit (Christina Andreef, 2001)


See the entries for these Chinese-Australian directors: Clara Law, Tony Ayres.

BeDevil (Tracey Moffatt, 1992)

Children of the Dragon (Peter Smith, 1992) miniseries; British doctor goes to China to find cancer researcher

Home Song Stories, The (Tony Ayres, 2007) night-club singer from Shanghai comes to Australia, her son remembers

Floating Life (Clara Law, 1996) Hong Kong couple move to Australia with their two youngest sons

Long Lunch, The (Antony Redman, 2003) Chinese restaurant setting

Love Serenade (Shirley Barrett, 1997) John Alansu plays the Chinese restaurateur Albert Lee

Man From Hong Kong, The (Brian Trenchard Smith & Yu Wang, 1975) features Yu Wang (as Jimmy Wang Yu) and Sammo Hung Kam-Bo


Documentary director Barbara Chobocky (q.v.) is of Czech origin.


See the entry for this French-born director: Philippe Mora.

Last Days of Chez Nous (Gillian Armstrong, 1993) principal male character, J-P, is French (tho played by Swiss Bruno Ganz)


Adventures of Barry McKenzie, The (Bruce Beresford, 1972) Bazza travels to England

Country Life (Michael Blakemore, 1994) Australian adaptation of Uncle Vanya - conflict between English and Australian brothers

Hammers over the Anvil (Anne Turner, 1993)

Map of the Human Heart (Vincent Ward, 1993)

My Brilliant Career (Gillian Armstrong, 1979)

Oscar and Lucinda (Gillian Armstrong, 1997)

True Love and Chaos (Stavros Andonis Efthymiou, 1996)

Wolf Creek (Greg McLean, 2005) British tourists in trouble in the outback


Beneath Clouds (Ivan Sen, 2003) the father of director Ivan Sen was German-Hungarian, his mother Aboriginal


See the entries for Greek-Australian directors Dr George Miller (born Miliotis), Ana Kokkinos, Bill Mousoulis.

Acropolis Now (miniseries, 1989)

Beware Of Greeks Bearing Guns (John Tatoulis, 2000)

Caddie (Donald Crombie, 1976) wr. Joan Long, prod. Anthony Buckley; main character (based on real-life autobiography) has relationship with Greek man

Death in Brunswick (John Ruane, 1991) Sam Neill's Anglo character, Carl, has a relationship with the Greek-Australian barmaid, Sophie (Zoe Carides); his drug dealing co-worker, Mustafa (Nick Lathouris), is Turkish (?)

Island (Paul Cox, 1989) set on Greek island

Head On (Ana Kokkinos, 1998) Alex Dimitriades, Paul Capsis

Heartbreak High (miniseries)

Heartbreak Kid, The (Michael Jenkins, 1993) Alex Dimitriades; Claudia Karvan is his teacher

Kings of Mykonos: Wog Boy 2 (Peter Andrikidis, 2010) Nick Giannopoulos, Vince Colosimo, Alex Dimitriades

Kostas (Paul Cox, 1979) Takis Emmanuel, Wendy Hughes; Kostas is a refugee

Mad Max (Dr George Miller, 1979)

Metal Skin (Geoffrey Wright, 1997)

Nirvana Street Murder (Aleksi Vellis, 1991) wr. Aleksi Vellis; Mark Little (Boady), Ben Mendelsohn (Luke), Mary Coustas (Helen), Sheila Florance (Molly); black comedy

Only the Brave (Ana Kokkinos, 1994) 59 min.

Three To Go (Weir, Howes, Hannant, 1971)

Wog Boy (Aleksi Vellis, 2000) Nick Giannopoulos, Vince Colosimo


Taj (Winston Furlong, 2011) Mahesh Jadu, Coco-Jacinta Cherian, Sachin Joab; drama; 110 min.

My Mother India (Safina Uberoi, 2001) documentary about Australian woman who marries Indian professor

The Trouble with Merle (Maree Delofski, 2003) documentary; Merle Oberon was actually from Calcutta though said to have been born in Tasmania

Long Way Home, A (Garth Davis, pre-production 2013) Saroo Brierley's autobiography about finding his Indian birth mother


Bali Hash (John Darling, 1989) doco

Bali Triptych (John Darling, 1987) doco

Healing of Bali (John Darling, 2003) doco

Lempad of Bali (John Darling, 1980) doco

The Year of Living Dangerously (Peter Weir, 1982)


Serenades (Mojgan Khadem, 2001) writer and director Mojgan Khadem is Ba'hai and was born in Iran


Message from Fallujah, A (Richard Gibson, 2005) short; an American taken hostage in Iraq


Craic, The (Ted Emery, 1999) comedian comedy from Irish comic Jimeoin

Ned Kelly (Gregor Jordan, 2003)


Aussie Park Boyz (Nunzio La Bianca, 2004) director and a number of the cast are of Italian origin (Sicilian?)

Captain Johnno (Mario Andreacchio, 1988) telemovie; John Waters, Damien Walters, Rebecca Sykes, Michele Fawdon, Joe Petruzzi, Elspeth Ballantyne; deaf boy is befriended by Italian fisherman

Castle, The (Rob Sitch, 1997) Lawyer Dennis Denuto (Tiriel Mora) is Italian-Australian (tho the actor is not)

Contratto, Il (Giorgio Mangiamele, 1953) b/w; incomplete at the time of the film-maker's death, without soundtrack; has been restored by NFSA; first film about the Italian migration experience

Fields of Fire (David Elfick & Rob Marchand, 1987, 1988, 1989) mini-series; one of the cane-workers has migrated from Italy

Fistful of Flies (Monica Pellizzari, 1996) director is Italian-Australian

Gino (Jackie McKimmie, 1994) main character is Italian-Australian

Hercules Returns (David Parker, 1994) the film revoiced, to comic effect, is an Italian epic

Just Desserts (Monica Pellizzari, 1993) short; relationship between girl's sexual maturation and food items

Lantana (Ray Lawrence, 2001) stars Anthony LaPaglia, Vince Colosimo

Love’s Brother (Jan Sardi, 2004) woman comes from Italy to marry

Looking for Alibrandi (Kate Woods, 2000) Italian-Australian community setting

Moving Out (Michael Pattinson, 1983) central character (played by Vince Colosimo) is Italian-Australian

Ninety Nine Per Cent (Giorgio Mangiamele, 1963) wr. dp Giorgio Mangiamele; 16mm, b/w, 41 min.

Rabbit on the Moon (Monica Pellizzari, 1987) short; director is Italian-Australian

Spag, The (Giorgio Mangiamele, 1962) 37 min.

Spank (Ernie Clark,1999) main characters are Italian-Australian

They're a Weird Mob (Michael Powell, 1966) main character is Nino Culotta, a migrant from Italy

Velo Nero (Monica Pellizzari, 1987) director is Italian-Australian


Aya (Solrun Hoaas, 1990) Japanese war bride story

Blood Oath (Stephen Wallace, 1990) Second World War story

Bondi Tsunami (Rachael Lucas, 2004) "The first Japanese surfing road movie in Australia"

Cowra Breakout, The (Phillip Noyce & Chris Noonan, 1985) mini-series; Alan David Lee, Dennis Miller, Max Cullen, George Shevtsov; mass breakout of 1104 POWs, August 1944, including many Japanese, some Russians

Goddess Of 1967, The (Clara Law, 2000) Rikiya Kurokawa is JM, who comes to Oz to buy a Citroen

Heaven’s Burning (Craig Lahiff, 1997) lead actress Youki Kudoh plays Midori

Japanese Story (Sue Brooks, 2003) Tachibana Hiromitsu is played by Gotaro Tsunashima

Paradise Road (Bruce Beresford, 1997) women imprisoned by Japanese in Sumatra in 1942

Wahori Days (Joseph Wong II, 2003)


Director Kriv Stenders was born in Australia, but is Latvian-Australian.


Turtle Beach (Stephen Wallace, 1992)


The Castle

Cedar Boys (Serhat Caradee, 2009) Rachael Taylor, Martin Henderson, Bren Foster; Lebanese gangs

Combination, The (David Field, 2009) wr. George Basha; George Basha, Firass Dirani, Doris Younane, Clare Bowen, Michael Denkha; Lebanese street culture in Sydney

Combination: Redemption, The (David Field, 2019) wr. George Basha; Rahel Romahn, George Basha, Simon Elrahi, Neveen Hanna, George Papura, Troy Honeysett, Johnny Nasser, Brendan Donoghue, Tony Ryan; Lebanese culture in Sydney

Fat Pizza (Paul Fenech, 2003)

Heaven's Burning (Craig Lahiff, 1997)

Letters to Ali (Clara Law, 2004) doco


See the entries for these Dutch-Australian directors: Paul Cox, Rolf de Heer.


Aya (Solrun Hoaas, 1991) Eri Ishida, Nicholas Eadie, Chris Haywood, Tim Robertson; Japanese war bride; director Solrun Hoaas was born in Norway, and spent significant time in China and Japan


Mail Order Bride (Stephen Wallis, 1984) telemovie; Kevin's mail order bride is from the Philippines

Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert, The (Stephan Elliott, 1994) Cynthia (Julia Cortez), Bob's (Bill Hunter) Filipina wife, has been criticised as stereotypical


Black Harvest (Robin Anderson, Bob Connolly, 1992) doco

Cannibal Tours (Dennis O’Rourke, 1992) doco

Caring Crocodile, The (Giorgio Mangiamele, 1981) wr. Giorgio Mangiamele; 35mm, colour, 13 min.; about the development of crocodile farms for a future industry in crocodile skin

First Contact (Robin Anderson, Bob Connolly, 1983) doco

In a Savage Land (Bill Bennett, 1999) mostly set and filmed in the Trobriand Islands

Joe Leahy's Neighbours (Bob Connolly, 1989) doco

Living Museum, The (Giorgio Mangiamele, 1980) wr. dp Giorgio Mangiamele; 35mm, colour, 34 min.

Papua New Guinea Joins The Silk World (Giorgio Mangiamele, 1979) wr. dp Giorgio Mangiamele; 16mm, colour, 22 min.; concerned with the development of the silk-producing industry in PNG

Sapos (Giorgio Mangiamele, 1982) wr. dp Giorgio Mangiamele; 35mm, colour, 54 min.; made for the International Year of the Disabled, as the government saw alcoholism as the most disabling condition in PNG; first film in Pidgin (Tok Pisin)

South Pacific Festival of Arts (Giorgio Mangiamele [co-dir.] 1980) co-ed. Giorgio Mangiamele; 16mm, colour, 65 min.; documents the festival held in Port Moresby and provinces of PNG

To Have and To Hold (John Hillcoat, 1997) as yet the only Oz feature set in PNG


See the entries for these Polish-Australian directors: Jerzy Domaradzki and Sophia Turkiewicz.

Silver City (Sophia Turkiewicz, 1984) Gosia Dobrowolska, Ivar Kants, Steve Bisley

Shine (Scott Hicks, 1996) wr. Jan Sardi; young David Helfgott is traumatised by martinet father from Poland

Weekend of Shadows (Tom Jeffrey, 1978) John Waters; posse chasing a murder suspect, 'the Pole' (Michael Gawenda), Waters' character kills him to save him from their tormenting him


See the entries for these Russian-Australian actors: George Shevtsov, Alex Menglet, Natalia Novikova; this Russian-Australian director, Mark Joffe; and this Russian-Australian cinematographer, Yuri Sokol.

Children of the Revolution (Peter Duncan, 1996) Josef Stalin's Australian child

Diaries of Vaslav Nijinsky, The (Paul Cox, 2002) Nijinsky was a Russian dancer

Dunera Boys, The (Ben Lewin, 1985) mini-series; HMT Dunera took over 2,000 Jewish refugees and prisoners of war in 1940 from England to NSW for internment

A Man’s Gotta Do (Chris Kennedy, 2004) main character's daughter's fiance is Russian
The Man Who Sued God (Mark Joffe, 2001) director Mark Joffe was born in Polotsk, Russia

Spotswood (Mark Joffe, 1993) director Mark Joffe was born in Polotsk, Russia

Palace of Dreams (Denny Lawrence, Geoffrey Nottage, Graham Thorbum, David Goldie & Richard Pellizzeri, 1985) mini-series; the Mendels are a family of Russian Jews

Russian Doll (Stavros Kazantzidis, 2000) romantic comedy, David Wenham, Hugo Weaving, Natalia Novikova, Sacha Horler; 90 min. Natalia Novikova (aka Natasha Novak) plays Katia, a Russian mail-order bride; Sacha Horler plays a Russian; Natalia Novikova was born Bogorodskoye, Moscow province, Soviet Union


Sound of One Hand Clapping, The (Richard Flanagan, 1998) Slovenian migrant family in Tasmania


La Spagnola (Steve Jacobs, 2001)

Strictly Ballroom (Baz Luhrmann, 1992) heroine is of Spanish origin

Dead Letter Office (John Ruane, 1998)


Bangkok Hilton (Ken Cameron 1989) miniseries

Good Woman of Bangkok, The (Dennis O’Rourke, 1992)


Always a Visitor (Kuranda Seyit, 2000) Turkish-Australian experience; one of the 13-part series Hybrid Life (SBS 2001) short

The Lighthorsemen (Simon Wincer, 1987)

Gallipoli (Peter Weir, 1981)*

ANZACS (1985) *

Death in Brunswick (John Ruane, 1991)


Mike and Stefani (Ron Maslyn Williams, 1952) dramatised documentary about Ukrainian refugees


See also the American page.

Coca Cola Kid, The (Dusan Makaveyev, 1985) major character is American

Razorback (Russell Mulcahy, 1984)

Roadgames (Richard Franklin, 1981)

Crocodile Dundee (Peter Faiman, 1986)

Crocodile Dundee 2 (John Cornell, 1988)

Crocodile Dundee in LA (Simon Wincer, 2001)

Dallas Doll (Anne Turner, 1993)

Dingo (Rolf de Heer, 1992)

Dirty Deeds (David Caesar, 2002)

Dish, The (Rob Sitch, 2001)

Dead Calm (Phil Noyce, 1989)

Holy Smoke (Jane Campion, 2000)

Howling 3: The Marsupials (Philippe Mora, 1987)

Lantana (Ray Lawrence, 2001)

Monkey’s Mask, The (Samantha Lang, 2000)

Newsfront (Phil Noyce 1975)

Welcome to Woop Woop (Stephan Elliott, 2000)


Finished People, The (Khoa Do, 2003)

Ra Choi (Michael Frank, 2005)

Romper Stomper (Geoffrey Wright, 1992)

Traps (Pauline Chan, 1994)

Little Fish (Rowan Woods, 2005)

No Worries (David Elfick, 1993) Amy Terelinck, Geoff Morell, Susan Lyons, John Hargreaves, Steven Vidler, Ray Barrett, Harold Hopkins, Ngoc Hanh Nguyen (Binh)

Vietnam (miniseries John Duigan and Chris Noonan, 1987)

Odd Angry Shot, The (Tom Jeffrey, 1979)

Eat Carpet (SBS-TV, 1988-) TV series

Six Pack (Kay Pavlou, Di Drew, Sue Brooks, Rodney Fisher, Megan Simpson & Karin Altmann, 1991) mini-series

Under the Skin (Film Australia, 1994) TV mini-series

See also:

Catherine Simpson, Renata Murawska & Anthony Lambert eds 2009, Diasporas of Australian Cinema, Intellect, Bristol; contains filmography and bibliography, following articles by the editors and Audrey Yue, Felicity Collins, Greg Dolgopolov, Antje Gnida & Catherine Simpson, Rebecca Coyle, John Conomos, Marek Haltof, Susie Khamis and Ben Goldsmith & Brian Yecies.

Garry Gillard | New: 24 February, 2002 | Now: 23 November, 2019