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AFI research collection
Name Alan Finney
Birth Year 1945
Death Year 0000
Country Australia
Comments Details correct as of 11 October 1998

Alan Finney is presently the Vice President, Managing Director of Buena Vista International

Address: Beuna Vista International

Level 11, 600 St. Kilda Rd

Melbourne, Victoria, 3004


Finney is respected for his contribution to the expansion of the Australian film market while also distributing and marketing Major American films.

Finney argues that the success of the American film attendance in Australia keeps audiences coming to the cinema. This creates a demand for greater variety, which includes local product and other specialty films.


Prior to his involvment with Beuna Vista, Finney worked for Roadshow, most recently as Distribution Manager. His employment with this organisation spans over 25 years.

Within the film industry Finney has worked as an usher, film critic, commentator, actor, producer, marketer, exhibitor and distributor.

While Finney studied a Law degree at Melbourne University in the 1960's his extra curricular activities involved nurturing his passion for the theatre arts and motion pictures.

He joined the Melbourne University Film Society and became president and then joined the committee for the Melbourne Film Festival.

As a film critic he wrote for the Melbourne University student paper Farrago.

As a member of the Melbourne University Theatre he met Graeme Blundell and Brian Davies. Finney, Blundell and Davies formed the La Mama theatre company which became very popular, particularly in the late 1960's.

Through a collaborative student project Finney also produced and featured in a student made film 'Hey Al Baby'in 1968. He then worked as a teacher at Altona North High School where he met Alan Simpson who he would later work with at Village.

With no ambition to pursue his carreer in law after completing his degree in 1969, Finney began working as an usher at the Albany and Australian Twin Cinemas. Meanwhile his friend Alan Simpson was developing a Cinema Education Centre for Village and hired Finney to prepare study guides and later gather books to create a film library.

Finney later began working for Village in the exhibition sector, marketing and advertising films. Finney began making films with Tim Burstall and became Executive director of Hexagon Productions.

Hexagon produced a variety of independent films including 'Stork', 'Alvin Purple', 'Peterson', 'End Play', 'Alvin Rides Again' and 'Peterson'. Alan featured as the character 'Spike' in the Alvin films.

1978 Hexagon Productions closed and Finney returned to Roadshow's distribution sector and joined the Advertising team.

1980 he beame a film commentator on television including 'The Peter Couchman Show', 'The Don Lane Show', 'Tonight with Bert Newton', Melbourne radio, 3AW and 3FOX-FM and was a compere for the ABC TV program 'Flicks'.

As Managing Direcor of Roadshow Finney was involved in the distribution of major Hollywood Blockbusters, speciality films and purchasing the rights to Australian films where he developed successful marketing strategies.

1998 Finney joined Buena Vista International where he is presently in the process of setting up a Marketing Team.


Detail update - Benjamin Kennedy (Deakin University) 900200487. 02/05/2012

According to recently done research regarding Alan Finney, the above details are correct. There are, however, some important additions that need to be made. Firstly, the author above refers to hexagon productions - it is important to note that this was the first joint venture between production and distribution entities within Australia. Such a formation is only a small part of the contribution Finney made to the Australian Film industry.

Finney had exceptional talent as an advertising executive. Notably, whilst working for Roadshow distribution, Finney supervised the release of the film Mad Max. Defying convention, he ditched plans for a film trailer in favour of 'smash-and-crash' snippets of advertising. Furthermore, inner city exposure of this film was limited to just one marquee: the upmarket east end cinema. Such unorthodox advertising campaigns really grabbed people attention and, whilst it is hard to measure, many contribute the success of the film to the way it was marketed.

Finney supervised the theatrical release of the following Australian films:

Mad Max, Mad Max 2, Breaker Morant, Proof, Romper Stomper, Bad Boy Bubby, The Piano, Muriels Wedding, The adventures of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert, The Castle.

Since joining Buena Vista Entertainment (Now Walt Disney Motion Pictures) in 1998 he has supervised the release of many other films, both Australian and International.

The above information is highlighted as it is important to understand Alan Finneys devoted work and passion in the film industry. This is because, for such devotion, commitment and positive influence in the Australia film industry he was awarded an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) on Saturday, January 26th 2002.

Furthermore, in 2010, Alan Finney received the Screen Producers' Association of Australia's Maura Fay Award for services to the industry.

Alan Finney, in 2010, resigned as managing director and vice president of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Australia. Finney, 67, currently resides, retired, in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

He is widely regarded as one of the key forces behind the development of the modern Australian Film Industry.

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