Photo courtesy of Frank Howson
Frank Howson i(13 works by)
Born: Established: 1952 Melbourne, Victoria, ;
Gender: Male
AustLit is a subscription service. The content and services available here are limited because you have not been recognised as a subscriber. Find out how to gain full access to AustLit


Film and theatre director, writer, songwriter, producer and poet.

Frank Howson entered show-business at the age of 7 as a tap dancer, singer and child actor and by age 21 had appeared in 21 major theatrical productions. He later became interested in writing songs and scored success in this field by having his compositions recorded by such acts as Little River Band, Richie Havens, Dan Hill, Eric Idle, Kate Ceberano and Venetta Fields amongst others. Howson's involvement in the music industry as a publisher eventually led to him heading his own publishing and recording company. He discovered and published, for example, 1980s new romantics-style band Pseudo Echo. Howson's song 'Time Can't Keep Us Apart' (co-written with Allan Zavod ) won the 1987 Asian Popular Song contest. Performed by Kate Ceberano it was seen by an estimated TV audience of 500 million. Howson's career has also seen him record his own material for release in Australia and write a number of theatrical shows, including several productions for children.

As a screenwriter, director and producer Howson has been involved in such productions as: Beyond My Reach, Boulevard of Broken Dreams, Flynn, Crime Time, Heaven Tonight (q.v.), Hunting and What the Moon Saw. These films have been sold to an array of national and international distribution companies including Miramax, Disney, Warner, Village Roadshow, Paramount, J and M Entertainment, Filmstar, ABC and Hoyts. Film Victoria recognised his achievements in 1989 with a Producer of the Year Award.

In 1997, following a prolonged and acrimonious break-up with his business partner, Howson moved to Los Angeles, working in the entertainment industry there for 9 years. In 2000 Arthur Hiller optioned the rights to his screenplay The Lonely Heart, while Joe Ezterhas commissioned him to write original songs for the movie Burn Hollywood Burn. Around the same time, Howson was also asked by English actor Steven Berkoff to direct the television version of his hit off-Broadway play Shakespeare's Villains. Shortly afterwards he and his business associate John Grimaldi conceived and put into action "G'Day L.A," an annual weeklong event in Los Angeles that celebrates everything Australian.

In September 2005 Howson directed the Melbourne premiere of Caryl Churchill's play A Number, receiving a good deal of positive press. It was revived due to public interest at Chapel Off Chapel in July 2006. One of his songs, "Andre" was premiered at the Royal Albert Hall by former Seekers singer Judith Durham during her 2003 tour of the United Kingdom. Another member of The Seekers, Keith Potger, co-wrote and recorded six songs with Howson for his 2007 album Sunday.

In more recent years Howson wrote and directed Remembering Nigel. It later won the 2006 Best Short Film Award at the Melbourne Underground Film Festival. He also appears as an actor in Richard Wolstencroft's film The Beautiful and Damned (a modern version of the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel).


  • Filmography (as writer and/or director) includes:

    • 1983: Prisoner (writer) 2 episodes
    • 1981: Backstage (writer)
    • 1988: Boulevard of Broken Dreams (writer)
    • 1990: Heaven Tonight (q.v., writer)
    • 1990: Friday on My Mind (writer/director)
    • 1990: Beyond My Reach (writer)
    • 1990: What the Moon Saw (writer)
    • 1991: Hunting (writer/director)
    • 1992: Come Rain or Shine (writer/director)
    • 1994: The Intruder (writer)
    • 1995: The Final Stage (writer/director)
    • 1996: A Thin Life (writer)
    • 1997: Flynn (writer/director)
    • 2002: Shakespeare's Villains (writer)
    • 2009: Remembering Nigel (writer/director)

Awards for Works

Boulevard of Broken Dreams 1988 single work film/TV

'TOM Garfield is up on top but that's not where he wants to be. A brilliant writer with a string of hits to his name, he has achieved something most people dream about — success and all its trappings — but not without a cost. His wife, Helen, has left him. Their daughter, Jessie, is growing up without him. His friends have slipped away. The years have blurred together under the influence of excessive alcohol.

'Alone and burnt out in Los Angeles, he realises that the only passion left in his life is his overwhelming desire to be reunited with his family. Fired by the dreams he lost track of in the fast lane, Tom returns to Melbourne, only to find that he cannot pick up where he left off.'


'John Waters Playing It a Bit Rich', Canberra Times, 20 October 1988, p.28.

1988 nominated Australian Film Institute Awards Best Film
Last amended 2 Sep 2010
Other mentions of "" in AustLit: