Michael Gudinski documentary to premiere at Melbourne Film Festival

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A documentary about the late music promoter Michael Gudinski will have its world premiere at the Melbourne International Film Festival in August.

The aptly titled Ego: The Michael Gudinski Story promises to be “equal parts a celebration of the larger-than-life Gudinski as industry change-maker, star-making champion and beloved family man and friend”.

A documentary on the life and times of Michael Gudisnki will debut at MIFF in August.Credit: Simon Schluter

The film charts the rise of Gudinski, who died in March 2021 aged 68, from teenage promoter of dance hall events to the largest independent music promoter and record label boss in Australia.

Gudinski wasn’t just a figure of local significance. He became a key player in the global touring music scene. And accordingly the documentary features interviews with some of the biggest international names in stadium rock, including Dave Grohl, Sting, Ed Sheeran, Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel, as well as local legends Kylie Minogue and Jimmy Barnes.

Directed by veteran Paul Goldman (Australian Rules, Suburban Mayhem), the movie promises a dive into “the unorthodox tactics” that helped Gudinski build a multimedia empire – one that included Mushroom Pictures, the production entity behind this account of his life and career.

“He was always looking for something that somebody hasn’t heard yet,” says Jimmy Barnes in the trailer for the movie, which will screen at MIFF as the festival’s Music on Film gala event on Thursday August 10.

“He had the energy of a rock drummer,” observes Sting.

“He came on strong,” notes Bruce Springsteen.

The news of the film’s imminent release comes as another documentary about an iconic Australian music industry figure sets a new record.

According to distributor Sony Pictures Releasing, John Farnham: Finding the Voice was set to become the most commercially successful Australian music documentary of all time once Monday’s takings had been counted.

In a release issued on Monday morning, the company claimed: “After opening weekend, and previews this past Mother’s Day, John Farnham: Finding The Voice will become the biggest theatrical Australian music documentary today, taking in excess of $1.15 million at the box office.”

That tally puts it ahead of Mystify: Michael Hutchence (which took $1.15 million during its cinema run), and Working Class Boy, the Jimmy Barnes documentary ($822,000), and comes after just four days on general release, plus previews on Mother’s Day. The film was the third top grosser at the Australian box office on the weekend, behind only Fast X and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.

MIFF has also announced that its opening night film will be Shayda, the debut narrative feature from Tehran-born, Australian-based Noora Niasari.

Drawn from personal experience, the film tells the story of an Iranian woman living in Australia who finds refuge in a women’s shelter with her frightened six-year-old daughter after fleeing her husband and filing for divorce.

The screening at MIFF will be the Australian debut of Shayda, which won the audience prize at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival in January.

The Melbourne International Film Festival runs August 3-20. The full program will be launched on July 11.

Find more of the author’s work here. Email him at [email protected], or follow him on Facebook at karlquinnjournalist and on Twitter @karlkwin.

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