Five questions for Dr Annabelle Murphy, Senior Lecturer (Film and Television), University of Melbourne

Dr Annabelle Murphy. Photo by Giulia McGauran.
Dr Annabelle Murphy. Photo by Giulia McGauran.

As part of our ongoing Staff Stories, Dr Annabelle Murphy discusses her filmmaking and academic career, which began with a classic red typewriter and a big imagination.

As told to Kelly Southworth.

What can you tell us about the typewriter in your photo?

This is my very first typewriter, given to me for my birthday when I was 14. I loved it straight away – it made me feel like a writer. I still love its dusty old typewriter smell and slide-away case. I found out only this year that David Bowie used a red Olivetti Valentine, just like mine, to type out many of his songs.

There’s also a Valentine in MoMA because, as it turns out, it’s considered a landmark of egalitarian industrial design due to its low cost and portability – a typewriter for ‘poets not bureaucrats’. But for me dreaming big in suburban Adelaide in the 1970s, it was just my late-night typewriter friend. Too bad I spilled nail polish-remover over the top of it.

What do you consider your most valuable skill?

The ability to see the woods as well as the trees. I’m also an empathetic listener.

What’s the best thing about working at the Faculty of Fine Arts and Music?

Being surrounded by truly passionate students and staff who consider themselves lucky to be here. This means we live and work in a culture of striving for excellence and experimentation.

On what occasion do you lie?

If I lie, it would mostly be to smooth the corners of a harsh truth or to protect someone’s psychological state. In actual fact, I’m a hopeless liar and equally hopeless at knowing when someone is lying to me. But if I feel morally justified, I can do it. I’ve slipped a few biggies about large men with beards who wear red, and bunnies carrying chocolate.

What do you most value in your friends?

Loyalty, fun and insight – and if they can play Canasta, that’s an awesome bonus.

Dr Annabelle Murphy completed her Master of Film and Television at the VCA in 2008.She is a Senior Lecturer for the discipline. Annabelle’s films have received and been nominated for many awards and screened at film festivals and on television around the world.