Rydges Melbourne (CBD)
ACMI Melbourne is a unique institution in the heart of the city, located in Federation Square. ACMI is the Australian Centre for the Moving Image and it celebrates the moving image in all its forms – film, television and digital culture. As a major cultural, tourism and learning attraction, ACMI is an integral element I Melbourne’s position as one of the world’s truly creative cities.
ACMI’s humble beginnings started in 1946 when the State Film Centre of Victoria was established. It included cutting edge services like lending mobile projection units to screen films to isolated audiences! Television arrived in Australia in 1956 and that gave another dimension to the ‘moving image’. The State Film Centre became involved in television production and also archived classic films like The Sentimental Bloke (1919) and On Our Selection (1920).
During the 1960’s the State Film Centre gave advice to local filmmakers on film treatments, production, scripts and distribution outlets. The 1970’s saw an increase in government funding and an increase in the numbers of talented local filmmakers like Peter Weir, Tim Burstall and Fred Schepisi. The 1980s saw a change in focus to provide Victorians with a new public presentation facility and the 1990’s launched a design competition for a Centre of Moving Image in Federation Square. In November 2002 the ACMI Cinemas were officially opened with an interactive exhibition space, Memory Grid, following two years later.
In 2008, ACMI set a new world record for attendance to the international exhibition Game On, surpassing the previous figure held by Chicago’s Science and Industry Museum. And, in 2010, attendance records to ACMI were broken during the presentation of Tim Burton: The Exhibition. In 2009, with the support of the Victorian Government, a suite of new production and exhibition spaces were introduced, providing diverse, stimulating and creative opportunities to actively engage with screen culture. The centrepiece of the redevelopment, Screen Worlds: The Story of Film, Television and Digital Culture, is a permanent, free-entry exhibition charting the journey of the moving image and, in particular, Australia’s engagement with screen culture as consumers and creators.
The major development project also incorporated a second exhibition space, two state-of-the-art production studios and a national screen culture resource centre in the Australian Mediatheque. In 2013, ACMI recorded its highest ever visitation, attracting more than 1.156 million visitors.
Which brings us to the exciting entity ACMI is today. There are always challenging, diverse and rewarding things happening, many of them free. Here is a link to the official ACMI website for what is currently happening in the space – talks, performances, workshops, films, exhibitions, festivals and events for all ages and interests. One of the really innovative and important areas is the creative workshops for kids. These offer a range of activities from kids’ flicks to puppetry workshops to animation to simply, ‘How to Make a Movie’. A three-day hands-on workshop could be the best $250 ever invested for a 9 to 12 year old with a dream to learn the basics of writing, directing, acting in and editing a short film.