Paul Cox Dossier

In early August 2009 the Centre for Ideas at the Faculty of Victorian College of the Arts and Music at the University of Melbourne held a two day conference called “Paul Cox: Miracle Maker”. Initiated by Dr Elizabeth Presa and partly sponsored by Film Victoria, this initiative sought to redress and review the work of a filmmaker who has greatly contributed to our national film industry and culture. The conference was also a personal gesture, a tribute to a respected teacher and friend. As Presa explained in her introduction to the event, Cox was also a singularly popular and inspirational lecturer in the Centre for Ideas. His classes gave students the encouragement and strength to explore, create, and challenge ideas.

The conference was organised by Victoria Duckett, Pip Stokes, and Tony Llewellyn-Jones. Its aim was to showcase his work to a new public, and to bring Cox’s friends and collaborators together to talk and reflect upon their work with him. Often this work spanned decades, and usually it crossed disciplines. There was therefore a real sense of respect, exchange, and conviviality at the event. This was made all the more poignant by the screening of some early films held in the National Film and Sound Archive, and by Cox’s attendance at some of the panels.

The articles included in this issue have been developed from the participants’ involvement in the conference or initiated because of the conference itself. While the academic pieces are quite different in character from the more personal comments provided by Cox’s colleagues (such as Chris Haywood and Asher Bilu), they are not antagonistic. Together they form part of a dialogue about the significance and meaning of Cox’s films to audiences today.

It is fitting, we think, that a Melbourne-based journal with an international readership is the first to dedicate an issue to Cox.

Victoria Duckett and Adrian Danks


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