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Video clip synopsis – John Safran, Megan Spencer and Scott Goodings discuss the nature of programming at SBS.
Year of production - 2005
Duration - 2min 39sec
Tags - assimilation, audiences, Australian cities, broadcasting, changing communities, communities, culture, diversity, filmmaking, immigration, language, media, migrants, multiculturalism, refugees, television, see all tags


SBS Charter

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About the Video Clip


The interviews with John Safran, Megan Spencer and Scott Goodings were recorded for the website From Wireless to Web, produced in 2005.

John Safran is a filmmaker and self-proclaimed media hooligan. Megan Spencer is a film critic, reporter and filmmaker. Scott Goodings is a self-proclaimed “TV freak” and walking archive. You can view their full biographies at From Wireless to Web

The website is a selective history of broadcast media in Australia. Decade by decade, from radio and newsreels to TV and the internet, this history shows how the Australian broadcast media developed and shaped the way Australians see themselves.

From Wireless to Web is a Film Australia production in association with Roar Film.

Background Information


The principal function of SBS is to provide multilingual and multicultural radio and television services that inform, educate and entertain all Australians, and, in doing so, reflect Australia’s multicultural society.

SBS, in performing its principal function, must:

(a) contribute to meeting the communications needs of Australia’s multicultural society, including ethnic, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities;

(b) increase awareness of the contribution of a diversity of cultures to the continuing development of Australian society;

(c) promote understanding and acceptance of the cultural, linguistic and ethnic diversity of the Australian people;

(d) contribute to the retention and continuing development of language and other cultural skills;

(e) as far as practicable, inform, educate and entertain Australians in their preferred languages;

(f) make use of Australia’s diverse creative resources;

(g) contribute to the overall diversity of Australian television and radio services, particularly taking into account the contribution of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and the public broadcasting sector; and

(h) contribute to extending the range of Australian television and radio services, and reflect the changing nature of Australian society, by presenting many points of view and using innovative forms of expression. (Special Broadcasting Service)

Classroom Activities


Making and Producing

  1. Anime Poster Project
    SBS is keen to show the rich diversity of films and television series that are produced in different countries. One highly popular genre is anime, or Japanese animation. Films such as Akira, Ghost in the Shell and Spirited Away have premiered on SBS and have been well received by the public. Anime is the animated version of manga cartoons and present complex and stylised drawings. The stories that originate from anime are rich and diverse, developing hybrid genres from the traditional genres of action and drama.
    1. Design a poster for an anime film. It could be one that has been aired on SBS. In your design, draw and scan the image, import this into a program to digitally manipulate the image and add text.
  2. Animation Project
    As an extension project, students could make a digital animation of an anime scene using an appropriate program such as Macromedia Flash. The construction and use of camera angles and dynamic transition of scenes needs to be analysed in terms of their construction in anime works.

Critical and Historical study

  1. SBS offered an alternative mode of representation that was very different to the ABC and commercial broadcasting stations. It acknowledged the rich background of Australian immigrants. How did SBS cater for the needs of Australians who recognised English as their second language?
  2. Defining styles and approaches. Below is a brief historical list of cinema movements relative to their country of origin. Select one of these movements and provide an account of the style and aims of the movement. In the account, identify and assess the importance of this movement and how it presents a culturally and structurally different representation of this media.
    Expressionist Cinema – Germany – early 20th century
    Agitprop Cinema – Russia – 1920s
    Film Noir – America and France – 1940s-50s
    Neorealism – Italy – 1940s
    French New Wave – France – 1950s
    Bollywood – India – 1970s to present
    Anime – Japan – 1980s to present
    Dogma – Denmark – 1990s to present
  3. The Scandinavian film director Ingmar Bergman stated, “To shoot a film is to organise a complete universe”. This suggests that each film creates a specific world that was enveloped in the views and vision of the director. Select a film that has been aired on SBS and examine how the director of the film has created a world different to those reflected in mainstream western cinema. In your examination of the film consider the following:
    1. The structure of the film – is it sequential narrative or does it challenge this convention?
    2. What is specific to the cinematography – does it present a particular look and aspect to the environment in which it is filmed?
    3. Does the art design of the film present a culturally specific look to the film? Is a culturally-specific soundtrack employed?
  4. Read the SBS charter and in groups discuss the significance of the charter in terms of its support for a multicultural identity of Australia. In these groups write a response to the statement below. Consider the relationship between the audience and the world in which they live. In the response, attempt to refer to the charter and the actions of SBS to support cultural diversity.
    “Ethnic diversity enriches the very fabric of Australian culture. Greater exposure to films and television series from other countries provides the audience with a greater understanding and appreciation of these cultures. SBS’s mandate is to support cultural understanding and tolerance.”

Further Resources


Go to From Wireless to Web for more about the history of broadcast media in Australia.

Go to SBS Corporation Charter