Richard Lowenstein

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Richard Lowenstein
Born (1959-03-01) 1 March 1959 (age 60)
Melbourne, Australia
OccupationFilm-maker, music videographer, writer, producer, director
Known forStrikebound, Dogs in Space, He Died with a Felafel in His Hand, Australian Made: The Movie, U2: LoveTown
Parent(s)Werner Lowenstein, Wendy Lowenstein

Richard Lowenstein (born 1 March 1959) is an Australian film-maker. He has written, produced and directed: feature films, including Strikebound (1984), Dogs in Space (1986) and He Died with a Felafel in His Hand (2001); music videos for bands such as INXS and U2; concert performance films, Australian Made: The Movie (1987) and U2: LoveTown (1989); and TV adverts.


Richard Lowenstein was born on 1 March 1959 in Melbourne, Australia.[1] His mother was the author, oral historian, and activist, Wendy Lowenstein (née Katherin Wendy Robertson, 1927–2006).[2] His father is Werner Lowenstein, also an activist, who had fled Nazi Germany to United Kingdom and was relocated to Australia in 1940 as one of the Dunera boys.[2] The couple married in July 1947;[3] and had three children, Peter, Martie and Richard.[2] Lowenstein attended Brinsley Road Community School from 1973 to 1974; and graduated from Swinburne Institute of Technology, Film and Television Department in 1979.[4]

His short film, Evictions (1979), which won the Erwin Rado Prize – for Best Short Film – at the Melbourne International Film Festival the following year, described Melbourne during the Great Depression.[4][5] It was based on his mother's book, Weevils in the Flour (1978). The film detailed police evicting unemployed unionists.[6] In 1980 Lowenstein directed a music video, "Leap for Lunch", for the debut single by art punk band, The Ears – he shared a house with their lead singer, Sam Sejavka.[7] In 1982 he directed one for "Talking to a Stranger", a single by rock band, Hunters & Collectors.[8][9] He followed with "Lumps of Lead" for the same group and "Fraction Too Much Friction" for Tim Finn as his first solo single in 1983.[8][9] At the Countdown Music and Video Awards for 1983, he won Best Promotional Video for "Fraction Too Much Friction".[10][11][12]

In 1984 he directed his first feature film, Strikebound, a dramatisation of a 1930s coal miners strike, which he wrote based on his mother's book, Dead Men Don't Dig Coal (unpublished), and his own research into unionism in the industry.[2][13][14] In June that year he directed his first music videos for INXS with "Burn for You", and followed by "All the Voices" and "Dancing on the Jetty" (both in October).[15] At the Countdown Music and Video Awards for 1984 he won Best Promotional Video for "Burn for You".[16] He established a long term relationship with INXS and produced, edited or directed more of their music videos over subsequent years, including The Swing & Other Stories: Collection of Contemporary Classics from INXS (1985), a VHS-format video compilation with additional interviews and documentary.[17][18] At the Countdown Music and Video Awards for 1985 he shared the award for Best Video for "What You Need" by INXS with Lyn-Marie Milbourn.[19][20]

In 1985 he directed White City: The Music Movie, a 60-minute video, for former The Who guitarist, Pete Townshend.[5] Geoffrey Giuliano in his book, Behind Blues Eyes: The Life of Pete Townshend (2002), described "[T]he highlight of the video is the poolside staging of the electric 'Face the Face', in which director Richard Lowenstein effectively captures the excitement of a big-band performance and Townshend's joyous jitterbugging ... in a gold lamé, forties-style tuxedo Lowenstein reveals more story line in these five minutes than the entire video".[21] It was released with Townshend's concept album, White City: A Novel, and included him discussing the music.[5]

In 1986 he wrote and directed a feature film, Dogs in Space, which highlighted late-1970s Melbourne's little band scene with the lead character Sam (portrayed by INXS' lead singer, Michael Hutchence) based on Lowenstein's experiences with The Ear's Sejavka.[7][22][23] At the time, Sejavka was a member of new wave band, Beargarden, and objected to Lowenstein and Hutchence's "noxious caricature" of his earlier personality.[22] In 2009 SBS TV's Peter Galvin described the movie as a "cult classic" and "for its fans there's never really been anything quite like [it], before or since".[22] Lowenstein recalled the "punk scene was an embarrassment to the Australian music industry back then. In a similar way, Dogs in Space was a total embarrassment to the Australian film industry because it preferred and knew how to handle innocuous candy-coated fare, like The Man from Snowy River".[23]

For Irish group, U2, he has provided music videos – "Desire" and "Angel of Harlem" (both 1988) and a concert performance film, U2: LoveTown (1989).[24][25][26] In 1991 he applied for funding from Film Finance Corporation Australia to adapt Robin Klein's novel, Came Back to Show You I Could Fly, into the children's film, Say a Little Prayer, which he directed in 1993.[1][27] In 1999 he contributed a chapter, "Telexes in Space: A Tale of Two Films", to the collection, Second Take: Australian Film-makers Talk, edited by Geoff Burton and Raffaele Caputo, which provides an explanation of his film-making style.[28] Lowenstein co-produced the satirical music series John Safran's Music Jamboree (2002) as well as John Safran vs God (2004) for SBS independent.

The dumbing down of the art of filmmaking to merely that of efficient "storytelling" surely has to be one of the most depressing things about the current state of mainstream cinema. ... Yet, this seems to be the main expectation that we as a society have of cinema. The history of the artform has proved that it is much more than that, yet when it comes to cinema language, history seems to be going backwards...

— Richard Lowenstein, quoted in Bill Mousoulis' Melbourne Independent Filmmakers, June 2004.[5]

He is a partner in the Melbourne-based production company, Ghost Pictures.[5][29] He is also a partner in the feature film production company, Fandango Australia Pty Ltd, along with Italian producer – Domenico Procacci, producer – Sue Murray, lawyer – Bryce Menzies and director – Rolf de Heer.[5] He filmed the 2006 U2 concert at Melbourne's Telstra Dome. In October 2009 Lowenstein was guest programmer on Australian Broadcasting Corporation's TV music video show, rage.[30]


Music videos[edit]


Lowenstein won five MTV Video Music Awards in 1988 for his work on INXS — "Need You Tonight/Mediate" music videos.[25]


  • McFarlane, Ian (1999). "Whammo Homepage". Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop. St Leonards, New South Wales: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86508-072-1. Archived from the original on 5 April 2004. Retrieved 10 April 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help) Note: Archived [on-line] copy has limited functionality.
  • Spencer, Chris; Zbig Nowara; Paul McHenry (2002) [1987]. The Who's Who of Australian Rock. Noble Park, Vic.: Five Mile Press. ISBN 1-86503-891-1.[33] Note: [on-line] version established at White Room Electronic Publishing Pty Ltd in 2007 and was expanded from the 2002 edition.
  • Wilson, MacKenzie. "Richard Lowenstein > Filmography". AllMusic. Retrieved 3 February 2010.
  1. ^ a b Long, Vanessa (March 2003). "Richard Lowenstein". Senses of Cinema. Great Directors. Bill Mousoulis. Film Victoria (25). Retrieved 16 May 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d "Guide to the Papers of Wendy Lowenstein". National Library of Australia. 18 October 2006. Retrieved 14 May 2013.
  3. ^ "Family Notices". The Argus. 26 July 1947. p. 9. Retrieved 15 May 2013 – via National Library of Australia.
  4. ^ a b c Swinburne Institute of Technology (1980), [Richard Lowenstein], National Library of Australia, retrieved 14 May 2013, Summary: Photograph originally appeared in the Swinburne Newsletter, 10 July 1980. Swinburne graduand Richard Lowenstein, winner of the Erwin Rado Prize (Melbourne Film Festival) for his short film Evictions which takes a look at Melbourne during the Great Depression.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Mousoulis, Bill. "Richard Lowenstein". Melbourne Independent Filmmakers. Innersense. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
  6. ^ Halliday, Eric; Thompson, Peter; Lowenstein, Richard; Australian Film and Television School (1982), Richard Lowenstein on the Making of Strikebound, Australian Film and Television School, retrieved 14 May 2013
  7. ^ a b c McFarlane, 'The Ears' entry. Archived from the original on 19 April 2004. Retrieved 15 May 2013.
  8. ^ a b c d e f Hutchence, Kelland. "Dogs in Space Crew: Richard Lowenstein: Writer/Director". Kelland Hutchence Collection. Retrieved 15 May 2013.
  9. ^ a b Rowe, Glenys (1984), "On the rock clip road to feature films – Interview with Richard Lowenstein by Glenys Rowe", Metro (64): 21–23, ISSN 0312-2654
  10. ^ a b "Countdown to the Awards" (Portable document format (PDF)). Countdown Magazine. Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). March 1987. Retrieved 16 December 2010.
  11. ^ a b Angus Cameron, ed. (1985). The Australian Almanac. North Ryde, NSW: Angus & Robertson. ISBN 0-207-15108-3.
  12. ^ a b "Countdown Show No.: 2a Date: 15/4/1984". Countdown Archives. Retrieved 4 December 2008. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  13. ^ Murray, Scott (August 1984). "Cinema Papers: Richard Lowenstein": 211–213, 291. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  14. ^ "Richard Lowenstein on the Making of Strikebound". Australian Film and Television School. National Library of Australia. 1984. Retrieved 14 May 2013.
  15. ^ Verhoeven, Deb; Miles, Adrian. "INXS' Working (& Otherwise) Relationship with Richard Lowenstein". RMIT University. Archived from the original on 19 August 2006. Retrieved 15 May 2013.
  16. ^ a b "Countdown Date: 19/5/1985". Countdown Archives. Retrieved 4 December 2008. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  17. ^ Isaacson, Tim; Lowenstein, Richard; INXS (1980), The Swing & Other Stories Collection of Contemporary Classics from INXS, WEA Records, retrieved 15 May 2013
  18. ^ Lowenstein, Richard (producer, editor, director); Isaacson, Tim (producer, editor); INXS (performer) (1985). The Swing & Other Stories Collection of Contemporary Classics from INXS (VHS). Atlantic Records. 50106-3-B. Film Director – John Hillcoat (tracks: 7, 8), Richard Lowenstein (tracks: 9 to 11), Scott Hicks (tracks: 2 to 4), Yasuhiko Yamamoto (tracks: 5, 6). Film Producer, Edited By – Richard Lowenstein, Tim Isaacson. 'All the Voices' includes excerpts from the motion picture Strikebound.
  19. ^ a b "Countdown Show No.: 396 Date: 20/4/1986". Countdown Archives. Retrieved 4 December 2008. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  20. ^ a b "Countdown 20th April 1986". Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). 27 January 2007. Retrieved 12 December 2008.
  21. ^ Giuliano, Geoffrey (2002). Behind Blues Eyes: The Life of Pete Townshend. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 978-0-81541-070-6.
  22. ^ a b c Galvin, Peter (7 September 2009). "'We're Luving on Dog Food. So What?'". SBS Film. Retrieved 16 May 2013.
  23. ^ a b Tofts, Darren (November 2009). "Chronicles of the Blank Generation". RealTime Arts (93): 21. Retrieved 16 May 2013.
  24. ^ a b "Screen Grab – Richard Lowenstein". Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). August 2001. Archived from the original on 24 February 2009. Retrieved 15 May 2013.
  25. ^ a b "Awards Database – search results – INXS". Los Angeles Times. The Envelope. Retrieved 3 February 2010.
  26. ^ Spencer et al, (2007) Lowenstein, Richard entry. Retrieved 3 February 2010.
  27. ^ Friedman, Eva (March–April 1992), "Say a Little Prayer", Cinema Papers, pp. 18–22
  28. ^ Lowenstein, Richard (1999), "Telexes in Space: A Tale of Two Films", in Burton, Geoff; Caputo, Raffaele (eds.), Second Take : Australian Film-makers Talk, London: Allen & Unwin, ISBN 978-1-86448-765-7
  29. ^ "Ghost Pictures". Film Victoria. Film Melbourne Directory. 5 October 2007. Retrieved 16 May 2013.
  30. ^ "Richard Lowenstein Guest Programs rage". rage. Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). 17 October 2009. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
  31. ^ Autoluminescent Film Review in The Age Newspaper
  32. ^ McFarlane, 'Big Pig' entry. Archived from the original on 10 January 2004. Retrieved 14 May 2013.
  33. ^ "Who's who of Australian rock / compiled by Chris Spencer, Zbig Nowara & Paul McHenry". catalogue. Retrieved 3 February 2010 – via National Library of Australia.

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