Australian Centre for the Moving Image
|Location||Federation Square, Melbourne, Australia|
|Public transit access|| Flinders Street
Stop 13 – Federation Square
The Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), at Federation Square, Melbourne, is Australia's national museum of film, video games, digital culture and art. During the 2015–16 financial year, 1.45 million people visited ACMI, the second-highest attendance of any gallery or museum in Australia, and the most visited moving image museum in the world. In May 2019, ACMI closed to the public to begin a $40 million redevelopment.
Beginnings in the State Film Centre
ACMI started life as the State Film Centre of Victoria in 1946.
In the 1950s, the State Film Centre was involved in producing a number of projects for television, then a new medium in Australia. It also played a role as an archive of Australian films, such as The Sentimental Bloke (1919) and On Our Selection (1920).
During the 1960s, the State Film Centre provided advice on film treatments, production, scripts and distribution outlets to local filmmakers. In 1969, the centre assumed management of the newly constructed State Film Theatre, providing a facility for exhibiting material not screened in commercial cinemas.
In the 1970s, the centre began acquiring examples of student films as well as those made by the newly vibrant Australian film industry, such as Homesdale (1971) by Peter Weir, Stork (1971) and Alvin Purple (1973) by Tim Burstall, and The Devil's Playground (1976) by Fred Schepisi.
In 1988, the State Film Centre Education Program was set up. The program provided screenings for Victorian Certificate of Education students, based on core texts, and in-service days for their teachers.
Establishing ACMI at Federation Square
In 1993, a Victorian state government report reaffirmed the viability of a proposal for an Australian Centre for the Moving Image. In July 1997, following an open, international and two-stage design competition, Lab Architecture Studio (based in London at the time), in association with their joint venture partners, Bates Smart architects, was announced as the winner. Federation Square was to be a new civic space, built above the Jolimont railyards, to mark the celebration of Australia's Centenary of Federation.
On 1 January 2002, the Australian Centre for the Moving Image was officially established by the Film Act 2001 (Victoria). The first stage was opened in October, with two exhibitions, Deep Space: Sensation & Immersion and Ngarinyin Pathways Dulwan, running in ACMI's Screen Gallery. A few weeks later, ACMI Cinemas officially opened.
In September 2009, the Australian Mediatheque and the Screen Worlds gallery opened. The Screen Worlds exhibition was opened by Cate Blanchett, who loaned her Oscar for best supporting actress for her part as Katharine Hepburn in The Aviator. Screen Worlds: The Story of Film, Television and Digital Culture is a free and permanent exhibition space constructed to educate the public about the moving image, a museum about moving pictures. The Mediatheque is a partnership with the National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA), which provides a space with 12 viewing booths where people can drop in and watch films, television clips, and new media and artworks from the NFSA and ACMI collections.
From 1992, John J. Smithies was Director of the State Film Centre of Victoria, until its merger with Film Victoria in 1997 formed Cinemedia. At Cinemedia, Smithies was Deputy Director, with prime responsibility for developing the Australian Centre for the Moving Image. He became the first director and CEO of ACMI in March 2002. He was responsible for opening the new public facilities in October 2002. After a period of turmoil, with the organisation over budget, Smithies left ACMI in 2004, and later said the facility had been forced to open while "under-funded" by the Victorian Government.
Tony Sweeney was appointed director and CEO of ACMI in 2005. Before his move to Australia, he had been the Deputy Director of the National Museum of Photography, Film & Television (UK), and focused on developing the Museum's brand profile and content strategies. He directed the Museum's Imaging Frontiers masterplan re-development, which generated record visitor numbers and international critical acclaim. The Museum is now seen as one of the leading international centres for culture and learning of its kind in the world. At ACMI he oversaw record organisational growth, performance and visitation, and a prolonged period of sustained success and achievement. Having spent ten years in the role, Sweeney resigned in order to return to his family in Britain.
Katrina Sedgwick took up the position in February 2015.
The screen gallery, renamed Gallery 1 when Gallery 2 was introduced in 2009, was built along the entire length of what was previously Princes Bridge railway station. It is a subterranean gallery for experimentation with the moving image. Video art, installations, interactive, sound art, net art and screen related objects are all regularly exhibited in this space.
Gallery 1 exhibitions
With the exception of a dance work that formed part of the Melbourne International Arts Festival, Gallery 1 is usually either hosting an exhibition, or installing the next one. The exhibitions alternate between in-house and touring, and between free and ticketed.
|Deep Space: Sensation & Immersion||26 October 2002||27 January 2003||Art Gallery of New South Wales as Space Odysseys: Sensation & Immersion|
|Ngarinyin Pathways Dulwan||26 October 2002||31 August 2003||ACMI||Pathway Project of the Ngarinyin elders|
|Remembrance + the Moving Image Part I: Persistence of Vision||21 March 2003||25 May 2003||ACMI|
|Remembrance + the Moving Image Part II: Reverberation||27 June 2003||31 August 2003||ACMI|
|Transfigure||8 December 2003||9 May 2004||ACMI|
|2004 Australian Culture Now||8 June 2004||12 September 2004||ACMI & National Gallery of Victoria|
|SenseSurround||7 October 2004||7 November 2004||ACMI|
|Proof||9 December 2004||13 February 2005||ACMI|
|World Without End||14 April 2005||17 July 2005||ACMI|
|White Noise||18 September 2005||23 October 2005||ACMI|
|Stanley Kubrick||25 November 2005||29 January 2006||ACMI|
|2006 Contemporary Commonwealth||24 February 2006||15 May 2006||ACMI|
|TV50||22 June 2006||1 October 2006||ACMI|
|Eyes, Lies and Illusions||2 November 2006||11 February 2007||Hayward Gallery||Werner Nekes Collection|
|Centre Pompidou Video Art 1965–2005||22 March 2007||27 May 2007||Centre Pompidou|
|Pixar: 20 Years of Animation||28 June 2007||14 October 2007||Museum of Modern Art||Barbican Gallery|
|Christian Marclay||15 November 2007||3 February 2008||ACMI|
|Game On||6 March 2008||13 July 2008||ACMI|
|Correspondences: Victor Erice and Abbas Kiarostami||21 August 2008||2 November 2008||Centre de Cultura Contemporania de Barcelona|
|Setting the Scene: Film Design from Metropolis to Australia||4 December 2008||19 April 2009||Deutsche Kinemathek as Moving Spaces|
|Len Lye||16 July 2009||11 October 2009||ACMI||Govett-Brewster Art Gallery|
|Dennis Hopper & The New Hollywood||12 November 2009||25 April 2010||Cinematheque francaise|
|Tim Burton: The Exhibition||24 June 2010||10 October 2010||Museum of Modern Art|
|Dreams Come True: The Art of Disney's Classic Fairy Tales||18 November 2010||26 April 2011||New Orleans Museum of Art||Walt Disney Animation Research Library|
|Shaun Gladwell: Stereo Sequences||1 June 2011||14 August 2011||ACMI|
|Star Voyager: Exploring Space on Screen||22 September 2011||29 January 2012||ACMI|
|William Kentridge: Five Themes||8 March 2012||27 May 2012||San Francisco Museum of Modern Art||Norton Museum of Art|
|Game Masters||28 June 2012||28 October 2012||ACMI|
|Candice Breitz: The Character||6 Dec 2012||11 March 2013||ACMI|
|Hollywood Costume||24 April 2013||18 August 2013||Victoria & Albert Museum|
|Spectacle: The Music Video Exhibition||26 September 2013||23 February 2014||Contemporary Arts Center|
|DreamWorks Animation: The Exhibition||10 April 2014||5 October 2014||ACMI||DreamWorks Animation|
|Yang Fudong: Filmscapes||4 December 2014||15 March 2015||ACMI||Yang Fudong|
|David Bowie is||16 July 2015||1 November 2015||Victoria & Albert Museum|
|Julian Rosefeldt: Manifesto||9 December 2015||13 March 2016||ACMI||Julian Rosefeldt|
|SCORSESE||26 May 2016||18 September 2016||ACMI||Die Deutsche Kinemathek|
|Philippe Parreno: Thenabouts||6 December 2016||13 March 2017||ACMI||Philippe Parreno|
|Wallace & Gromit and Friends: The Magic of Aardman||29 June 2017||29 January 2018||ACMI||Aardman Animations|
|Wonderland||5 April 2018||7 October 2018||ACMI|
|Christian Marclay: The Clock||23 January 2019||10 March 2019||ACMI||Christian Marclay|
Open from 18 September 2009, Gallery 2 is a smaller, more flexible gallery than Gallery 1.
|Best of the Independent Games Festival 2009||8 December 2009||14 February 2010||ACMI||Independent Games Festival|
|Mary and Max: The Exhibition||2 March 2010||6 June 2010||ACMI||Adam Elliot|
|Bill Viola: The Raft||7 October 2010||20 February 2011||ACMI||Kaldor Public Arts Projects & Melbourne International Arts Festival|
|Arthur and Corinne Cantrill: Light Years||8 March 2011||5 June 2011||ACMI|
|Julian Rosefeldt: American Night||21 June 2011||31 July 2011||Centro per l'Arte Contemporanea, Florence|
|Margaret and David: 25 Years Talking Movies||17 August 2011||4 December 2011||ACMI||A collaboration with ABC. Supported by SBS.|
|Best of the Independent Games Festival 2011||20 December 2011||25 March 2012||ACMI||Independent Games Festival|
|Best of the Independent Games Festival 2012||27 March 2012||8 July 2012||ACMI||Independent Games Festival|
|Ian Burns: In the Telling||24 July 2012||20 January 2013||ACMI||Experimenta|
|Warwick Thornton: Mother Courage||5 February 2013||23 June 2013||dOCUMENTA (13)|
|Shaun Tan's The Lost Thing: From book to film||16 July 2013||19 January 2014||ACMI||Shaun Tan, Passion Pictures Australia & Books Illustrated|
|Angelica Mesiti: The Calling||4 February 2014||13 July 2014||ACMI||A collaboration with The Ian Potter Cultural Trust|
|David Rosetzky: Gaps||5 August 2014||8 February 2015||ACMI||Carriageworks|
|War Pictures: Australians at the Cinema 1914–1918||10 March 2015||26 July 2015||ACMI||National Film and Sound Archive|
|Orry-Kelly: Dressing Hollywood||18 August 2015||17 January 2016||ACMI||A collaboration with the United States Consulate|
|Daniel Crooks: Phantom Ride||16 February 2016||29 May 2016||ACMI||A collaboration with The Ian Potter Cultural Trust|
|Del Kathryn Barton: The Nightingale and the Rose||5 June 2016||11 September 2016||ACMI||Del Kathryn Barton|
|Collisions||6 October 2016||15 January 2017||ACMI||Lynette Wallworth|
|Bombay Talkies||8 February 2017||2 July 2017||ACMI||Dietze Family Trust|
|Code Breakers: Women in Games||25 July 2017||5 November 2017||ACMI|
|Eija-Liisa Ahtila: Studies on the Ecology of Drama||5 December 2017||25 February 2018||ACMI||Eija-Liisa Ahtila|
|TERROR NULLIUS||20 March 2018||1 July 2018||ACMI||Soda_Jerk|
|Cleverman: The Exhibition||6 December 2018||22 April 2019||ACMI||Co-curated with Cleverman concept creator Ryan Griffen and Cleverman production designer Jacob Nash.|
ACMI has two main cinemas that are equipped to play every film, video and digital video format, with the most extensive projection facilities in the southern hemisphere. THX certified sound systems allow high quality attention to acoustics. Cinema 1 seats 168, and Cinema 2 seats 390.
ACMI's weekly and monthly film programs include:
- Australian Perspectives – Contemporary Australian filmmaking with archival classics and special guest presentations.
- Matinees – Ongoing program of quality films.
- Family films – Regular screenings and school holiday programs of movies for families.
- Cinémathèque – Double feature every Wednesday night of rare and imported prints.
ACMI also regularly profiles actors, directors, writers, cinematographers, and film genres through its retrospective seasons and screenings. Highlights have included seasons on Serge Gainsbourg, Dario Argento, William Klein, Xavier Dolan, John Cassavetes, Claudia Cardinale and Jim Henson. Genres have included Ozploitation, East German Cinema, Monsters, Ghouls and Melancholy Misfits in conjunction with the Tim Burton exhibition.
ACMI undertakes partnerships with a variety of Film Festivals; Melbourne International Film Festival, Melbourne Queer Film Festival, Korean Film Festival, the Human Rights Arts and Film Festival, Little Big Shots, the Melbourne International Animation Festival and more.
In ACMI's Studios, Public Programs take place, such as A Moon Safari by Steam Bicycle and Kaleidoscope! Kids Animation.
Studio 1 is a production and educational amphitheatre which can accommodate everything from multimedia performances to television broadcasts, and is equipped with video projection, video conferencing, web casting and online facilities.
ACMI also houses a digital studio for hands-on workshops and production programs. Participants can access the technology, and develop the skills, to produce their own moving image work.
The ACMI Shop, located on the entry level next to the Tickets & Information Desk, stocks exhibition catalogues, books, DVDs, toys, cards and gifts.
ACMI X is a 2,000sqm office space that brings curators, programmers, producers and administrators together in a 60-seat co-working space dedicated to the creative industries.
Open from 18 September 2009, Screen Worlds was an evolving permanent exhibition exploring all aspects of the moving image using objects, footage and artistic installations. Screen Worlds explored the story of the moving image through a number of different sections – Emergence, Voices, Sensation, Games Lab and Kids Space.
The Screen Worlds exhibition hosted a number of 'Immersive Experiences'(interactive displays), including Timeslice (inspired by The Matrix), Ty the Tasmanian Tiger Zoetrope, The Faulty Fandangle (created by Oscar®-nominated Anthony Lucas), an installation by Anthony McCall, and many more.
Screen Worlds closed on April 22, 2019 to allow for redevelopment.
The Video Garden was an outdoor gallery that led people from the Flinders Street side of the building to the main entrance. Exhibitions included Random Encounters, Gooey by the Lycette Bros, and Blast Off.
The Memory Grid was a display allowing access to over 100 hours of film that were recorded by ordinary Australians, independent filmmakers, students, community-based practitioners and participants in ACMI hands-on production workshops. Much of the content in the Memory Grid had either never been displayed outside, or had been displayed only once on community television. Further, the Memory Grid contained a large collection of animated and interactive works, and actively accepted work from the public for display.
Australian Mediatheque, coordinated by ACMI and the National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA) was a multiple screen station with access to works from ACMI and the NFSA. Admission was free. The Australian Mediatheque closed permanently in September 2017.
Screen It is a yearly competition for primary and secondary school students with a love of filmmaking hosted by ACMI. Screen It has 6 categories: Primary Live Action, Primary Animation, Primary Videogame, Secondary Live Action, Secondary Animation and Secondary Videogame. Each year there is a theme the films must be based on, past themes including Change (2015) and Reflection (2014). Usually around November or December there is a Red Carpet Awards Gala for the finalists in which they announce winners and the next year's theme. The competition was cancelled after 2019's event, with ACMI citing a "[transformation] into a brand new global museum".
The Games Lab was ACMI's display area for interactive video games. It celebrated the past, present and future of games and promoted this popular form of the moving image as a reflection of Australian culture.
In 2003, ACMI commissioned an interactive game-based, site specific installation called AcmiPark, which was exhibited in the Games Lab. AcmiPark replicates and abstracts the real world architecture of Federation Square. It also houses highly innovative mechanisms for interactive, multiplayer sound and musical composition.
The Games Lab exhibited the Best of the Independent Games Festival for 2005, 2006 and 2007. In early 2007, Hits of the 80s profiled Melbourne's Beam Software and the secret history of Australia's place in the rise and rise of the video game. In 2005 an exhibition was dedicated to Sonic the Hedgehog called Sonic the Hedgehog: Icon of our Times.
The Games Lab was incorporated into the Screen Worlds exhibition space.
ACMI has a strong online presence, with regular updates being made to the ACMI website and a dedicated section for blogs, podcasts, videos and news. ACMI also has a number of online projects which encourage user-generated content. These sites include 15 Second Place, Generator and the Educators Lounge.
ACMI have increased their touring program over the past few years. Beginning with Mary and Max, which toured regional Victoria, ACMI then followed by showing the 2011 Best of the Independent Games Festival in Sydney and Brisbane. Shaun Tan's The Lost Thing: From Book To Film and War Pictures: Australians at the Cinema 1914–1918. ACMI's first original exhibition in the Melbourne Winter Masterpieces series, Game Masters: The Exhibition.
Game Masters: The Exhibition
Touring Venues To Date:
Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington, New Zealand 15 Dec 2012 – 28 April 2013
Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, Australia 13 Dec 2013 – 25 May 2014
National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland 5 Dec 2014 – 20 April 2015
Halmstad Arena, Sweden 28 May – 31 Aug 2015
Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, Portland, USA 13 Feb – 8 May 2016
Center of Science and Industry, Columbus, USA 11 June – 5 Sept 2016
Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg, Germany 14 Nov 2016 – 23 April 2017
Fleet Science Center, San Diego, USA 01 Jul 2017 – 18 Jan 2018
The Franklin Institute, Philadelphia, USA 31 Mar – 03 Sept 2018
Science Museum of Minnesota, St Paul, USA 15 Feb 2019 – 5 May 2019
National Film and Sound Archive, Canberra, Australia 27 September 2019 – 9 March 2020
DreamWorks Animation: The Exhibition, which includes over 400 works of art, including original hand-drawn character sketches, 3D marquettes of locations and characters, storyboards, interactive displays that allow you to play with DreamWorks animation technology, and a 180 degree film display that takes viewers on a journey from script pages and drawings through to a fully rendered 3D world.
Touring Venues To Date:
ArtScience Museum, Singapore 13 June – 27 Sept 2015
Te Papa, New Zealand 12 Dec 2015 – 28 Mar 2016
Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul, South Korea 30 April – 15 Aug 2016
National Taiwan Science and Education Centre, Taipei, Taiwan 29 Oct 2016 – 5 Feb 2017
Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Monterrey, Monterrey, Mexico 6 Apr – 6 Aug 2017
Canadian Museum of History, Ottawa, Canada 7 Dec 2017 – 08 Apr 2018
Montreal Science Centre, Montreal, Canada 9 May – 16 Sept 2018
Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 5 Feb – 15 Apr 2019
Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, Belo Horizonte, Brazil 14 May – 29 Jul 2019
National Museum of Australia, Canberra, Australia 12 September 2019 – 2 February 2020
Del Kathryn Barton: The Nightingale and the Rose
Showcasing the hauntingly beautiful collaboration between two-time Archibald Prize winner Del Kathryn Barton and acclaimed filmmaker Brendan Fletcher, this milestone exhibition traces the compelling interpretation of Oscar Wilde's 19th century classic through a sophisticated and nuanced artistic lens.
Featuring a selection of Barton's evocative artworks alongside a screening of the film, stunning never-before-seen handmade props, and material from the production archives, Del Kathryn Barton: The Nightingale and the Rose reveals the extraordinary workings behind this captivating animated picture.
Swan Hill Regional Gallery, VIC 1 Dec 2017 – 28 Jan 2018
Cairns Art Gallery, QLD 16 Feb 2018 – 22 Apr 2018
Rockhampton Art Gallery, QLD 16 Jun – 05 Aug 2018
Horsham Regional Art Gallery, VIC 18 Aug – 07 Oct 2018
Yarra Ranges Regional Museum, VIC 20 Oct 2018 – 3 Feb 2019
Devonport Regional Gallery, TAS 16 Mar – 5 May 2019
Maitland Regional Art Gallery, NSW 27 Jul – 3 Nov 2019
Wagga Wagga Art Gallery, NSW 16 Nov 2019 – 26 Jan 2020
New England Regional Art Gallery, NSW 7 Feb – 3 May 2020
Code Breakers: Women in Games
the first Australian exhibition celebrating the achievements of women working in the games industry. Whether it's making commercial hits or indie titles, these women know games, contributing as directors, programmers, developers, artists, writers, producers and designers. Inside the exhibition you can play everything from platformers, RPGs and digital board games to graphical adventures and puzzlers, there's something for everyone, at every skill level.
Alongside the fun, Code Breakers ponders important questions in the post-Gamergate landscape: How do women carve a path in an industry that has historically been hostile towards them? How do we encourage diversity? What does a more inclusive games industry look like? Each maker reflects on the sometimes challenging journey they've made in this male-dominated industry, revealing the human stories behind their games.
Manningham Art Gallery, VIC 4 April – 12 May 2018
Warrnambool Art Gallery, VIC 21 July – 14 Oct 2018
Latrobe Regional Gallery, VIC 27 Oct 2018 – 27 Jan 2019
Swan Hill Regional Gallery, VIC 8 Feb – 24 Mar 2019
East Gippsland Art Gallery, VIC 4 April – 19 May 2019
Discovery Science and Technology Centre, Bendigo VIC 10 Oct 2019 – 13 Apr 2020
Orange Regional Gallery, NSW 25 Jul – 14 Oct 2020
Conceived and developed in close consultation with a multidisciplinary Indigenous Advisory Group, led by ACMI’s First Nations curator Kathrine Clarke, a proud Wotjobaluk woman from the Wimmera, and co-curated by Cleverman concept creator Ryan Griffen and Cleverman production designer Jacob Nash, Cleverman: The Exhibition premiered at ACMI in December 2018.
Cleverman: The Exhibition celebrates the groundbreaking Australian Indigenous superhero television series Cleverman using props, original sketches and rich audio and video content to provide unique insights into how this incredible series was made.
The exhibition explores First Nations storytelling, language and creativity, and invites visitors to listen-first and immerse themselves in a powerful and contemporary expression of Indigenous origin stories.
Visitors are welcomed into the Bindawu Spirit listening space to hear the key Dreaming stories that underpin Cleverman. They can explore original props, costumes and character designs by Peter Jackson's WETA Workshop, interviews with the cast and crew and original artwork from the comic book.
The Riddoch & Main Corner Complex, Mount Gambier, SA 14 Mar – 6 September 2020
Caboolture Regional Art Gallery, Moreton Bay, QLD 25 Sept – 6 Dec 2020
Australian Centre for the Moving Image Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.