“Albie Thoms was a key figure in the history of Australian film, and a general in the pitched battle in the 1970s to create an authentic Australian cinema.
There was an ache in young Australians like Thoms in the early ’60s to create their own cinema, fired up by the French New Wave, the British Sight & Sound magazine, the US underground cinema, and, crucially, a plain demand for a cultural identity not sculpted by the BBC and Hollywood. Thoms, who had studied arts at the University of Sydney, felt the angst deeply and quickly proceeded with his friends in the Sydney Filmmakers Co-op to galvanise action.
Never bowing to overtly conventional cinema, this modest, knowledgeable and catalytic artist absorbed the history of the avant garde in Europe and became a lifelong avant gardist himself, with a uniquely Australian taste
By 1965, Thoms had started the UBU film group with Perry to consciously make avant garde or ”underground” movies. Scores of films were created almost by spontaneous combustion, promoted by Thoms and his UBU cohorts Read, John Clark and Perry. For Thoms, the nascent film industry split into the ”artistic” types and the ”commercial” types.
In 1978, Wild and Woolley published his book Polemics For A New Cinema (subtitled Writings to Stimulate New Approaches to Film), a landmark survey of the avant garde world cinema” (https://www.smh.com.au/national/champion-of-film-as-art-pushed-boundaries-20121204-2at3o.html)