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Esben Storm Esben Storm i(A70975 works by)
Born: Established: 26 May 1950
Scandinavia, Western Europe, Europe,
; Died: Ceased: 28 Mar 2011 Sydney, New South Wales,
Gender: Male
Arrived in Australia: 1958
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Script-writer, filmmaker, and actor.

Storm's earliest credits are as a director, with the short films Doors (1969), In His Prime (1972), and A Motion Picture (1974). In 1974, he began his career as a script-writer with the experimental social-realist film 27A, which chronicled the experiences of an alcoholic under the Queensland Mental Health Act: the film won the Golden Reel Award at the 1973 AFI Awards, and was one of fifty films selected for preservation as part of the National Film and Sound Archive's Kodak/Atlab Cinema Collection Restoration Project. Storm followed this in 1978 with In Search of Anna, for which he was script-writer, director, and producer: the film won him a 1979 AFI Award for Best Screenplay: Original and was nominated for an additional threee AFI Awards, including Best Film.

In 1982, Storm directed the drama With Prejudice to a Leon Saunders script, and followed this with the 1984 slapstick comedy Stanley (1984). It was after this latter film, in the mid-1980s, that Storm began his long association with the Australian Children's Television Foundation (ACTF).

His first work with the ACTF was his direction of Morris Gleitzman's script for 'The Other Facts of Life', part of the anthology series Winners (1985). The film won numerous awards, including an AWGIE Award for Original Work and a Special Jury Prize for Cinematic Impact at the Chicago International Festival of Children's Films. He followed this by directing 'Devil's Hill': a David Phillips script based on a novel by Nan Chauncy, 'Devil's Hill' was the Tasmanian component of the ACTF's bicentennial anthology series Touch the Sun. Like its predecessor, 'Devil's Hill' attracted a number of awards, including First prize for Live-action Feature-length Videotape at the 1988 Chicago International Festival of Children's Films.

Storm's involvement with the ACTF continued into the 1990s, starting with 'The Big Wish' (1990), directed to a Steve J. Spears script as part of the anthology series More Winners. 'The Big Wish' attracted numerous nominations, including a nomination for Best Children's Television Drama at the 1991 AFI Awards. In 1994, he acted as script consultant for Sky Trackers. In 1996, he was heavily involved with The Genie from Down Under (1996): with Philip Dalkin and Louise Fox, he was script-writer for the entirety of series two, and also directed episodes of the program. He wrote scripts for Li'l Elvis Jones and the Truckstoppers (1997-1998), directed numerous episodes of Crash Zone (1999), and was involved as both script-writer and director for all four series of Round the Twist (1989-2000).

Patricia Edgar describes, in her memoir Bloodbath, her need for contributors who understood that the ACTF's basic aim was to produce programs 'which aimed to educate while they entertained, to attract children across the age group five to fourteen (and if possible to engage a parent), to be identifiably Australian and convey our cultural values' (p.317): of Storm, she says, 'The genius who best understood these elements was Esben Storm, and I called on him whenever he was available' (p.317). Indeed, so central was Storm to the ACTF's early success that he was one of four people who, at the ACTF's fifteenth anniversary, were given awards in recognition of having 'made an exceptional contribution to the Foundation's productions over the years' (Edgar, p.363). (The others were musician Chris Neal, editor Ralph Strasser, and actor Mark Mitchell.)

Storm did not, however, devote himself entirely to the ACTF during the 1990s. In 1991, he directed and co-wrote (with Richard Moir and Ranald Allan) the 'neo-noir' thriller Deadly, which explored the issues of Aboriginal deaths in custody, a timely issues given that the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (initiated in 1987) had only ended in 1991. He also directed episodes of shortlived sit-com The Bob Morrison Show (1994) and the children's science-fiction television program Pig's Breakfast (1999-2000).

Since 2000, Storm has written and directed the science-fiction film Subterano (2003), as well as two documentaries that show his continuing concerns with social issues. The Tasty Bust Reunion (52min., 2003), which explored the notorious 1994 raid of the Tasty Dance Club in 1994 and the subsequent successful legal challenge against the actions of the Victorian Police Force, aired at Frameline: San Francisco International Lesbian & Gay Film Festival and the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival. The Bridge at Midnight Trembles (52min., 2005) explores the operation undergone by Storm's frequent collaborator Richard Moir, who underwent Deep Brain Stimulation in 2004 in the hopes of alleviating his Parkinson's Disease. Goodbye Revolution (52min, 2008) explores the life of artist Shen Jiawei.

Storm held the rights to John Marsden's novel Tomorrow, When the War Began but was unable to bring the project to fruition. A film was later made by Stuart Beattie.

Storm's last fiction project as script-writer was the television series Kick (2007). He also directed a number of episodes for episodes eight to ten of Blue Heelers (2000-2002).

As an actor, Storm played a number of minor character roles in films such as Monkey Grip (1982), Going Down (1983), and Les Patterson Saves the World (1990), as well as roles on television.

Further Reference

'Vale Esben Storm (1950-2011)'. AFI Blog. 29 Mar. 2011. Online. ( (Sighted: 11/10/2012).

Most Referenced Works

Awards for Works

form y separately published work icon In Search of Anna ( dir. Esben Storm ) Melbourne : Storm Productions , 1978 Z1470546 1978 single work film/TV crime

'Tony leaves Melbourne, hitching north in search of an old girlfriend. He has just done six years in Pentridge, during which time his mother committed suicide. He has a dog named Billy, a sawn-off shotgun in his bag, and two big scars on his face, courtesy of a 'reunion' with Jerry Maquire, one of his old criminal mates. At a country-town café, Tony gets a ride with Sam, a fashionable young woman driving a 1938 Buick. They head to Sydney together, but he resists getting involved. He wants to find Anna, the woman he thinks he still loves. Sam is unhappily involved with a Sydney fashion photographer. When Tony finds out Anna has moved to Queensland, he and Sam head north again in the Buick. When they eventually find where Anna lives, Tony realises he's in love with Sam.'

Source: Australian Screen.

1979 nominated Australian Film Institute Awards Best Film
1979 won Australian Film Institute Awards Best Screenplay: Original
form y separately published work icon 27A ( dir. Esben Storm ) Australia : Smart Street Films , 1974 Z1893626 1974 single work film/TV

A middle-aged alcoholic joins Alcholics Anonymous and, after a psychiatric evaluation, he is committed indefinitely to a psychiatric institution under section 27A of the Queensland Mental Health Act. Storm was apparently inspired to write the screenplay after reading a newspaper report about a similar incident, and spent some months researching the film in psychiatric institutions and prisons.

The National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA) says of this film:

'Shot when director Esben Storm and producer Haydn Keenan were in their early 20s, inspired by the work of directors Cecil Holmes and Ken Loach, 27A was a milestone of the 1970s Australian feature revival, with a social realism at odds with much of the commercial Australian filmmaking then around it. The title refers to fine print once in the Queensland mental health act, which allowed for the indefinite detention of 'troublesome' patients. Robert Darra - one of the most honest and humble of acting presences on the local screen in the 1960s and '70s - plays the battered but resilient Queenslander Bill McDonald, struggling first with the grog, but then with a Kafkaesque system which keeps him on the leash of his bullying "nurses".'

Source: NFSA Calendar ( (Sighted: 11/10/2012)

1973 won Australian Film Institute Awards Golden Reel Award Awarded to producer Haydn Keenan.
Last amended 11 Oct 2012 12:04:34
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