An interview with Richard Wolstencroft.
Richard Wolstencroft is one of the most controversial and interesting people in the Australian indie film scene. He has directed eight feature films and created one of the most influential independent film festivals in Australia the Melbourne Underground Film Festival (MUFF).
But as the culture war rages, the walls have started to further close-in for true dissident voices. De-platforming and censorship are not only the institutional norm but something enforced by social media and its useful idiots. I asked how Richard is navigating this climate as an artist and festival director, What BLM was doing for art. And attempted to throw a few curveballs along the way…
Interviewer: Last year’s MUFF was scuttled by deplatforming, wasn’t it? What happened to that event exactly?
Richard Wolstencroft: Well, over a few years ago now I made some Black Pill (pessimistic, nihilistic) comment on the YES vote winning the Gay Marriage Referendum.
I didn’t have a horse in that race, really. But as usual, I like to play The Devil’s Advocate at times, as I am want to do. But it caused a little trouble with a Controversy and SJW’s calling online for MUFF to be de-platformed. It was a big deal when it happened, it seemed being at the centre of it, but doesn’t seem so now.
I was originally going to step down from MUFF for a year or two. But that didn’t work out, and six months later the majority of people had forgotten about it mostly and moved on. All the Media attention had TRIPLED MUFF’s entries rather than diminish them, funnily enough, so I thought, “Fuck it, I’m staying on”.
So I did and did MUFF 19 under my Benevolent Dictatorship the following year in a Privately owned Warehouse space in the Burbs, and it went off without any hitch.
I thought MUFF 20 would be the same. Especially as the controversy was now over two years old and the left wing mob had plenty of new hate figures to focus on.
I had a place called Cracked Actors Theatre, run by a local actor pal who was a bit Non PC. He was in a play Geli by another mutual friend Enzo Condello, brother of the Mafia Boss Mario Condello. This actor assured me he would not cave to any de-platforming attempts, as they had had some with the Enzo play, and away we go, I thought.
As suspected about five new left Cancel Culture types still had a problem with me and MUFF and sent a small barrage of emails. They hit up Cracked Actors Theatre with De-platforming requests and they politely declined to do so, quoting Free Speech mantras. So, it was so far so good.
Then they found out who OWNED the Venue, itself, the building. It was a city Council and they COULD intimidate and cancel culture them, so they did. The council panicked, of course, then threatened to cancel Cracked Actor’s Theatre’s lease. So they had no choice really but to cancel the event a week or so, before it happened. So that fucked us up really for 2019 and we postponed this festival and planned to do the Festival in April 2020.
But then China got in on the De-platforming act! And decided to cancel Western Civilisations Economies with a potential BioWeapon, Covid 19, leaked deliberately (…most likely) from their Wuhan BioWeapons lab in China. This shut down 2020 to all public Events, virtually anywhere!
So regrettably we had to cancel MUFF 20, announce the MUFF 20 award Winners and move on to MUFF 21.
The Trailer for which is here:
The awards for MUFF 20 are:
Interviewer: Now that Covid-19 has hit events and many venues have closed, what are your plans for the next MUFF?
Richard: Well this year running a public event is impossible. So like The St Kilda Film Festival, SUFF, Rev in Perth and MIFF, we had to cancel any plans for a public MUFF this year. And doing an online Festival is bullshit, in my view, so that’s just it for 2020. So, we have moved on to plans for MUFF 21 in 2021, where hopefully this New World Order and Illuminati bullshit, chaos and nonsense has died down a bit after Donald Trump wins re-election in Nov, 2020.
The battle against Cancel Culture and it’s agents big and small is on going. But I think we are winning the Culture War. Nick Cave came out and made this great Statement recently against Cancel Culture and it’s agents, who he declared like a Bad Religion – https://www.theredhandfiles.com/what-is-mercy-for-you/
Interviewer: In real life, you are a bit of a crazy eccentric character.. Surely MUFF would have some crazy stories, even boring festivals have crazy stories.. So what are some of the wilder and more unhinged moments over its 20 year history?
Richard: This is true I’m a bit of a wild one. Oh, so many stories, too many to mention. Wait for my Bio on the MUFF Film Fest Years. I’m writing one on my Hellfire Club days and that will curl your hair, I assure you.
Interviewer: Oh, but you cant just tease us like that, give us a taste of how crazy things can get within your circle of festival activities.. Even if those things may reflect your past younger self… Dont be a wuss now, I want to be shocked.
Richard: Well, I’ll tell you one story, as it goes against the notion I’m homophobic from about ten years ago. Bruce LaBruce was a guest of MUFF. We had played his work the previous year and we brought him out the following for The Raspberry Reich and we went on to play LA Zombie, a couple of years after that. Well, I pick up Bruce at the airport. We had gotten on well online, even though Politically he is very different to me. This is back in the day when artists could have differing opinions, and get along well. Remember those days? So we got along in person, talking widely on all things. I take him to his hotel, drop his stuff off. Next, he goes and introduces his film on Opening Night with me at the main venue, The George Cinemas. We do that whole thing and we got out to the Lobby while the films are on. I sometimes score a gram or two of something to get me through an Opening Night back in those days as it gives you a little Dutch courage and a sense of bravado, and also because it’s lots of fun, let’s be honest. So, I had a some coke on me that night and I politely offer to share it with Bruce, who is all in. Next thing you know we are out in my car snorting up a storm and raving on about cinema and the wo-begotten fucked up world. Bruce kind of recalled that story the following day on his FB page, as a “isn’t this a wild intro to Melbourne” kind of thing and I thought that was cool. I bet MIFF doesn’t show their guests such a great time! So we like to have fun at MUFF. Life is short. Why not live a little wild sometimes? If you can handle it.
Interviewer: Apart from directing several features of your own, you have recently moved into a new mode, that of a You Tuber with your own soapbox called “Report From Tiger Mountain’’.
The report is associated with The Unshackled news website and you have appeared on The XYZ/Unshackled co-production “The Uncuckables” live on Youtube. How do you find unloading your thoughts through this medium and what has the reaction to this been like?
Richard: Well, a side effect of the de-platforming attempt was having the local new right, nationalists and patriot movement really embrace me and love the Festival and my work. It gave me a Profile basically in that community. So, I thought why not follow this where it goes. I had some offers to share my further views on Politics, Culture, Society and Aesthetics and I took one up from The Unshackled, an Aussie patriot Right website online.
Try and shut me up and I’ll just talk all the more. Sorry, I find the whole idea of cancel culture repulsive. We don’t do this to the Left today, we support their Free Speech. The RIGHT used to be that way (censorious) – but now The Left is. Things have changed. There has been a dialectical flip, where we are the Good Guys now on The New Right, fighting The Power.
I started a new show The Report from Tiger Mountain. The title is taken from The Report from Iron Mountain (a leaked Globalist text on World Domination), mixed with Julius Evola’s Ride The Tiger and a Bran Eno gag references. Perfect, yes? I have made up to 75 political videos now, sometimes interviewing free-thinking rightists and some leftists like David Thrussell and they can found here:
I have been attempting to move The New Right & Right Wing Populist Politics toward The Centre of Politics in general, where it belongs, in my opinion. Things have been moving that way very nicely globally of late. So, I thought I’d help it along a little. It’s been a very enjoyable endeavour and should be seen as PART of my Cinema work and oeuvre. Many Leftie filmmakers are applauded for their political activism, why should it be any different if you are Right Wing? The shows are popular and get lots of views on FB and I have all kinds of views expressed on it. I have had Far Left and Far Right guests on and I always look for dialectics and synthesis. I also interview Red Pilled Centrists and many other figures of all political hues, including Anarchists and Libertarians.
I enjoy being a contrarian and controversial in Politics in The Australian Arts and Cinema scene. Someone should, yes? We can’t and must not all think the same thing? So many cowardly artists are a kind of hive mind on certain issues, though. Many tell me in private they totally agree with me on various issues. But their FB page is full of PC bullshit. They don’t have the guts to share their views in Public. I wont name names, as I’m a Gentleman. If they speak to me in private, it remains that way. I think artists should be dangerous and political, though. And I’m sure many agree, I’m both at times. haha. So I be who I am and say what I like. If people don’t like it, well, that’s their problem.
Interviewer: Cancel-culture’s un-personing isn’t just hitting people like you on the right, but its moved to erasing people like Chris Lilley, Little Britain, Gone With The Wind and disbanding entire police forces in America.. In terms of the arts in Australia, at what point will this cease? Does it have an end point? And why are private companies like Netflix and public broadcasters like the ABC working in unison often against the public will?
Richard: I detest all De-platforming, especially since having been a victim of it. But I detested it LONG before that. Read the Jon Ronson book “So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed”, a good introduction to the topic.
Here’s the Report from Tiger Mountain video on the topic:
Interviewer: What do you think film criticism is like in Australia? You must have had a few run-ins with critics in your time?
Richard: Well, I’m a big fan of Adrian Martin Haha.
Interviewer: Well I sense that as being sarcastic, so what issues do you actually have with Adrian Martin? Do you guys go way back? (don’t hold back)
Richard: Well, Adrian Martin, OK. He doesn’t like me. Though I don’t hate him. He represents to me a kind of left wing cinephile snobbery that I was interested in rebelling against with MUFF and my own work. That has its history in other figures like David Stratton and Phillip Adams. These guys all have their place, even Adrian, don’t get me wrong. Far left and chardonnay socialist left critics are fine. But we should just mix it up a bit more, I think. I have enjoyed some of his essays on filmmakers we strangely enough share an enthusiasm for. And that’s fine. His Godard writing, for example. But, I do find him slightly intolerable, though, as he does me! His post modern bullshit examinations of utterly obscure aspects of cinematic reference, all doused in what Jordan Peterson would call “destructive and non sensical Post Modern Neo Marxism”.
He’s obviously no fan of me and has taken a few opportunities to put the boot in, or his Velvet slipper more like. He’s attacked both MUFF and my own cinema work at various times, early on. And good luck to him, I guess. Not everyone has to like you. I enjoy inspiring passionate dislike in some aspects of the local film community. I think it’s fun and funny and that someone should do it. But it’s a two way street. To me, Adrian is a bit of a bore, dull and uninspiring, at least that is what I get from him at times. He attacks anything that doesn’t fit in to his own twee and arcane definitions of this and that in Cinema. etc. So, I guess that’s the Adrian and Richard story. I’d love to debate him on Cinema one day. It would be a good showdown. But I cant see him agreeing to that. And I bare him no hard feelings. I only talk about it here as you seem so intent on bringing it up.
Interviewer: One of the subliminal features of “Report From Tiger Mountain” is its bookshelf backdrop … You are a massive collector of books, DVDs and bluray films… Which makes you kind of old school.. What pleasure and differences do you think are had from the physical reproduction of these things compared to downloads and streaming?
Richard: I love Physical Media. I have since the age of 10 (40 years ago now) collected Books, Movies on VHS, LaserDisc, DVD and now Blu ray and 4K, Records and CD’s. I have amassed a truly Huge Collection and Archive. I would like to leave this Huge Collection of knowledge one day to a Library, Archive or Film School, ideally. So if anyone out there wants to make me an offer on storage space, pls get in contact. I’m on FB. But for now and for as long a I can, I keep collecting and collating my Archive. It’s a gentle madness.
Interviewer: You must have some pretty provocative books in that collection? There seems to be elements of a race-war happening in America right now.. Have you ever read James Mason’s Siege, or anything edgy like that, which may evoke dejavu when you see the news?
Richard: I have three entire Book shelves dedicated to the New Right, Far Right and even Fascist Politics. The average library has about three shelves on these Political Ideologies. But I also have two book cases that just deal with Marxist Philosophers, also. I study both and not just to Know Thy Enemy! I like some Left Wing Philosophers and writers. Zizek for example. I read widely in all areas and love Philosophy, History, Theology and The Classics most. I have a degree in Political Philosophy from La Trobe University and have a life time of reading on the this topic, to support my views. But I like to present my thinking in my podcasts and video casts with humour and in a down to earth way. In a Populist way, that can be accessible to anyone.
I‘ve never read James Mason, he’s a friend of Boyd Rice’s, but I never got around to it. I do have his book though. I collect the Literature of the radical right, at times. I sped-read a little, back in the 90’s, seemed a bit turgid. I did read The Turner Diaries, though and thought it would make a totally wild and crazy close future, type sci fi dystopia movie. Especially, if you applied a JG Ballard like flavour to it. It’s also very Mad Max like, and you could push things further in that way and tone down the racism, make it more alt light. Like a Patriots and Proud Boys Militia War in the former United States vs the New Left and Antifa. Or as 2020 is playing out, maybe next year it could be a Documentary. lol.
Interviewer: What is the Black Lives Matter movement doing to art and cinema right now? How is this affecting filmmaking in Australia?
Richard: I think BLM has proved itself to be a Terrorist Organisation, of late, to be perfectly honest. It’s funded by the likes of George Soros and others, and if you think that guy is out to help anyone, well, you’ve got rocks in your head. BLM is all about Division, really, as far as I can tell. I’m in to Nationalist Unity between blacks and whites as the path forward. I see NO reason the White and Black Working and Middle Classes should not unite and go after the true cause of Global strife and mischief on this planet: the Globalist Cabal, their agents in Media and Politics and their useful idiots in society and culture. So, I am in to solidarity and not division. So, I oppose the false narrative of BLM and Antifa. It has had little effect on cinema, so far, outside getting some classic films de-platformed like Gone With The Wind. Fuck that nonsense.
Interviewer: When will we see the next Richard Wolstencroft feature film and what will it be?
Richard: The Debt Collector, starring John Brumpton, Roger Ward, Kristen Condon, Andy McPhee, Glenn Maynard, Mal Kennard, Frank Howson, Ray Mooney, Tas Pappas, Astrid Knight and Robert Morgan. Written by me and Aussie journo, Politico and arts critic Matthew Clayfield. It’s coming out in 2021. I have spent the last four years making and finishing it, with stops along the way to find extra funding. I have made eight features now in Australia and countless shorts. I have never ONCE burdened the Australian tax payer with my artistic endeavours from a Film Funding Body. I am one of the few Aussie filmmakers who can say that, who has such a body of work. The Film funding bodies at State and Federal level have never once funded me.
My Previous two features, The Second Coming Volume 1 and 2, based on W.B Yeats and Apocalyptic ideas and visions, that are very 2020, I shall make available to readers of this article free for a month or so.
Interviewer: Thanks Richard, that will be some interesting viewing during Lockdown in Melbourne and elsewhere..
Richard: Good chatting. Keep up the good fight all and a little Latin to end on:
“Nolite te Bastardes Carborundorum” – “Don’t let the Bastards Get You Down.”