Kev steps out from the wings

LIFE ON FILM: Kevin Franzi is passionate about all things film and his home in Kenilworth features a theatrette and museum photography and movie-making. Brett Wortman / 197072
LIFE ON FILM: Kevin Franzi is passionate about all things film and his home in Kenilworth features a theatrette and museum photography and movie-making. Brett Wortman / 197072 Brett Wortman

KEV Franzi lives and breathes Australian cinema. And after more than 60 years in the industry, he knows a thing or two about being behind the scenes.

But this weekend, Kev will be the star of the show when he hosts a special presentations celebrating film history for the Eumundi School of Arts.

As part of the arts hall centenary celebrations Kev will be sharing some films from the archives along with his experiences from the early days of Australian cinematography.

And there's arguably no man more qualified on the Coast than Kev who's spent 66 years in film production and editing, and even operated his own film and movie museum from his Kenilworth property. Over the years, he has amassed a priceless collection of memorabilia including wooden hand-cranked cameras, projectors, film reels and some truly historic items which he said had been gathered over a "simply wonderful" career in film.

At age 14, Kev landed the job of junior film laboratory assistant - a title which he says was far less technical than it sounds.

"I was mostly the message boy - the go-for," he said. "It's a long story but it was a very colourful start."

Over the years, Kev worked with 13 different production units which he said had been a "wonderful journey".

"I fell on my feet in the film industry," he said.

"I went from job to job and I was able to change my job quite readily which was just wonderful."

But Kev admits it wasn't all glitz and glamour and that when he started out, he certainly did some hard graft.

One of his early jobs as an assistant was to carry the heavy equipment which is a far cry from the modern technology used by film crews today.

"My job was to carry the battery case," he said. "It was twice the weight of a car battery and in those days they were real car batteries.

"They said, 'Kev, we are getting a bit worried you're getting curvature of the spine carrying that battery case. To balance you out, you can carry the magazine case as well on the other shoulder'."

Although his career never led him to Hollywood, Kev said his time in Australia had been just as exciting, working on the early TV dramas which paved the way for the now modern Australian classics such as Neighbours and Home and Away.

He also marvels at how much the film and television industry has changed over his lifetime, especially with the advent of digital technology.

"It's simply incredible," Kev said.

"If you had told me when I started out that one day you could fit hundreds of hours of film on a hard drive, I wouldn't have believed you."

But one thing is for sure, Kev has definitely managed to keep up.

He is the proud owner of a high-definition digital projector which he now operates to showcase his favourite films.

"It's amazing how far we've come," he said. "And it's all for the best, I can assure you."

Kev would like to share his adventure with Coast residents through film. He said his part of the shows this weekend would be a throwback to the "golden age of cinema" and he promised to relive some of the great moments of the Australian big screen.

"The journey in this country has been about as exciting as you could wish for," he said.

"I wouldn't change it for the world."

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Topics:  film film making kenilworth lifestyle