Australian Cinema > types > Tasmania


Tasmanian films: Australian feature films shot in or set in or first shown in or (partly) financed by Tasmania

What is it about Tasmania that makes almost all the films set there so dismal? There are prison films: For the Term of his Natural Life (Norman Dawn, 1927—and the other two versions), Exile (Paul Cox, 1993); films about extinction of Aboriginal people: The Last Tasmanian (Tom Haydon, 1978) and Manganinnie (John Honey, 1980) and of the thylacine: The Hunter (Daniel Nettheim, 2011); stories of deracination: The Tale of Ruby Rose (Robert Scholes, 1988), The Sound of One Hand Clapping (Richard Flanagan, 1998); and of convicts and cannibalism: The Last Confession of Alexander Pearce (Michael James Rowland, 2008) and Van Diemen's Land (Jonathan auf der Heide, 2009)!

Arctic Blast (Brian Trenchard-Smith, 2010) scifi thriller; set in Tasmania

Back from the Dead (Craig Godfrey, 1997 [video 2001]) Tim Aris, Chris Baz, Kate Chessells; low budget horror; shot Tasmania by Hobart restaurateur; 89 min.

Boys in the Island (Geoff Bennett, 1987) novel by Christopher Koch; Yves Stening, James Fox, Jane Stephens, Lexa Murphy, Joseph Clements; 106 min.

de Vils' tas Mania (Di Nettlefold, 1992) aka Three Cornered Island; drama (?)

Devil's Hill (Esben Storm, 1988) wr. David Phillips, novel Nan Chauncy; part of a TV series commissioned by the Australian Children's Television Foundation in 1988 as part of the Australian Bicentenary celebrations

Departure (Brian Kavanagh, 1985) aka A Pair of Claws; drama set among Tasmanian politics

Dying Breed (Jody Dwyer, 2008) horror; Tasmanian-tiger-seekers encounter cannibals

Exile (Paul Cox, 1993) novel Priest Island by E. L. Grant Watson, dp Nino Marinetti; Aden Young, Beth Champion, Claudia Karvan, Norman Kaye, David Field, Chris Haywood, Barry Otto, Hugo Weaving, Tony Llewellyn-Jones, Nicholas Hope; feature went straight to video; Young is exiled to an island in C19 for sheep-stealing; filmed in Tasmania

For the Term of his Natural Life (Charles MacMahon, 1908) 2000 feet; prison in Tasmania

For the Term of his Natural Life (Norman Dawn, 1927) George Fisher (Rufus Dawes), Eva Novak, Dunstan Webb, Jessica Harcourt, Arthur McLaglen, Marion Marcus Clarke; prison saga

For the Term of his Natural Life (Rob Stewart, 1982) mini-series

Hope (Damien Power, AFC Indivision funding 2004) Power is Tasmanian; Serhat Caradee, Daniella Ortega; day in the life of suicidial teenage girl

Howling III: The Marsupials (Philippe Mora, 1987) begins with archival footage from the 1930s of the last thylacine in captivity

Hunter, The (Daniel Nettheim, 2011) wr. Alice Addison, novel Julia Leigh; Willem Dafoe, Frances O'Connor; thylacine

Jewelled Nights (Louise Lovely, Wilton Welch, 1925) osmiridium mining in Tasmania

Last Confession of Alexander Pearce, The (Michael James Rowland, 2008) based on true story of convict cannibal in Tasmania; cf. Van Diemen's Land (Jonathan auf der Heide, 2009)

Last Tasmanian, The (Tom Haydon, 1978) doco; at the time this documentary (narrated by Leo McKern) was made, it was thought that Truganini (died 1876) was the last surviving Tasmanian Aboriginal; cf. a fictional treatment of the Black Drive of the 1830s in Manganinnie; 105 min.

Manganinnie (John Honey, 1980) prod. Gilda Baracchi for Tasmanian Film Corporation, wr. Ken Kelso, dp Gary Hansen, design Neil Angwin, ed. Mike Woolveridge; Mawuyal Yanthalawuy, Anna Ralph, Phillip Hinton, Buruminy Dhamarrandji, Jonathon Elliott, Reg Evans; first feature film from the Tasmanian Film Corporation; the 'Black Drive of the 1830s; cf. the doco The Last Tasmanian (Tom Haydon, 1978) Eastman colour, 35mm, 90 min.

Nightingale, The (Jennifer Kent, 2018) wr. Jennifer Kent, prod. Kristina Ceyton, Bruna Papandrea, Steve Hutensky; Aisling Franciosi, Sam Claflin, Baykali Ganambarr, Damon Herriman, Harry Greenwood; drama set Tasmania 1829; world premiere Venice 29Aug18

Save the Lady (Leon Thau, 1981) wr. John Palmer, Yoram Gross; Wallas Eaton, John Ewart, Bill Kerr, Desmond Tester, John Coleby, Robert Clarkson; children's; Hobart; second and last feature film from the Tasmanian Film Corporation

Sound of One Hand Clapping, The (Richard Flanagan, 1998) wr. Richard Flanagan from his own novel, prod. Rolf de Heer, exec. prod. Steve Vizard, Andrew Knight, Jackie O'Sullivan, dp. Martin McGrath; Kerry Fox, Kristof Kaczmarek, Rosie Flanagan, Melita Jurisic, Jacek Koman, Evelyn Krape, Essie Davis; 93 min.; Slovenians in Tasmania; mostly positive review by Brian McFarlane, Cinema Papers, 124, May 1998: 36

Tale of Ruby Rose, The (Robert Scholes, 1988) Melita Jurisic, Chris Haywood, Rod Zuanic, Sheila Florance; Tasmania; fur trapper's wife's life of fantasy

They Found a Cave (Andrew Steane, 1962) Visatone Island Pictures; director, most of the cast, and novelist all from Tasmania, where the film was shot; children's; 63 min.

Van Diemen's Land (Jonathan auf der Heide, 2009) story of Alexander Pearce; cf. The Last Confession of Alexander Pearce (Michael James Rowland, 2008)


Jane Stadler, 'Seeing with green eyes: Tasmanian landscape cinema and the ecological gaze', Senses of Cinema.

Garry Gillard | New: 27 September, 2009 | Now: 18 November, 2019