David Perry (Australian filmmaker)

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David Perry (born 1933 in Sydney, died 2015) was an Australian photographer and filmmaker, based in Sydney. During work on the production of The Theatre of Cruelty in Sydney, July 1965, he joined Albie Thoms, Aggy Read and others in establishing Ubu Films—named after Alfred Jarry's play Ubu Roi—the precursor of the Sydney Filmmakers Co-operative.[1]:p40 This was Australia's first consciously avant garde filmmaking group.[2]

16-mm experimental films include Walking (1955),[3] The Tribulations of Mr Dupont Nomore (1967); Bolero (1967); A Sketch of Abigayl's Belly (1968); David Perry's Album (1970); and Adam (1975). Ubu Films 1965–70 is a retrospective video compilation, released in 1997. Refracting Glasses (1992) is a 109-minute feature film which "uses a range of techniques (actuality and staged footage, optical effects, animation) in an essay-like construction on the theme of the historical status of the artist invoking, amongst a diverse range of references, the Ern Malley hoax and the work of the Russian artist V. E. Tatlin".


Perry underwent his primary and secondary education in Sydney during the 1940s. In 1949–54 he served a printing-trade apprenticeship, after which he worked for various printers and on farms in New Zealand.

In Sydney during the 1960s, he associated with the Sydney Push and developed as a painter, photographer and 8-mm filmmaker. Prior to separation, he was married, with three children. He was employed by the Australian Broadcasting Commission in photographic positions and engaging privately in experimental films, videotapes and artworks.

He travelled to Europe with his second wife and their child, from 1971 to 1974, lectured in film and video at Middlesex Polytechnic in London. Returning to Australia with his young daughter, he was artist-in-residence at Griffith University (1975–76) and lecturer in film and video at Darling Downs Institute of Advanced Education, in Queensland. He re-established in Sydney in 1980, being employed as a photographer and film/video producer for the NSW health authority and the Royal North Shore Hospital at St Leonards.[1]:p61


  1. ^ a b Mudie, Peter Albie Thoms–David Perry: Selected filmwork (1964–1992); Dialogues (1994) Uniprint, Perth WA 1994. (Catalogue to Albie Thoms–David Perry screen exhibition, 19–22 April 1994)
  2. ^ National Film and Sound Archive Catalog, (go to page 29)
  3. ^ Thornley, Jeni Walking by David Perry 31 January 2012

Further reading[edit]

  • Mudie, Peter UBU Films: Sydney Underground Movies 1965–70 (UNSW Press)

External links[edit]