Fighting Films Now Online

Fighting Films clips now showing on Australian screen online.

In 1953 Australian wharfies turned film making on its head.

Two aspiring film makers working under the hook on the Sydney wharves made Sussex Street a cinema - and a film set.

It was the politically heady days of the Cold War, Communism and culture in the union.

The Waterside Workers' Federation was home to the New Theatre, artists and intellectuals. And it was this cross pollination that led to a blossoming blue collar art. 

The waterfront became a stage. Wharfies starred in strikes and stopworks, the Hungry Mile, the Bull System. Their films not only documented the day, they dramatised the past with workers performing alongside professional actors in productions by Keith Gow, Norma Disher and Jock Levy.

It was the first ever film production unit within a trade union anywhere in the world and its films were so successful they were screened at international and local film festivals, took out awards and are still used by film makers to this day

A book: Fighting Films, a History of the Waterside Workers Film Unit by Lisa Milner traces the birth of the unit on the Sydney wharves, profiles its creative talent, its mentors, union statesmen like Jim Healy and Tom Nelson, its 14 films, political and artistic influences, its expansion into the construction, mining and media industries and its demise. 

NOW The National Film and Sound Archive's australianscreen online  Australia’s audiovisual heritage online is featuring 8 of the best of fighting films


The Hungry Miles

Pensions for Veterans

Banners held high

November Victory

Fours a crowd

Think Twice

The Bones of Building

Not only the need