Steven Ball
Marie Craven
Solrun Hoaas
Daryl Dellora

Melbourne independent filmmakers

Leo Berkeley
Giorgio Mangiamele
Michael Buckley
Moira Joseph

Peter Leiss
b. 1951, London, UK, to Czech parents.


1951 – 1958 lived in Tokyo Japan.

1958 – 1974 Melbourne Australia, Child actor Victorian Drama league, Gang Show & various commercials.

1969 Studied at Brighton school of Art and Design followed by Film & Photography

1970 – 71 at Prahran college of Art & Design. Produced numerous short films. Worked at the ABC television as assistant film editor.

1974 – 1976 Travelled throughout Europe & Asia.

1976 – 1979 Lectured in film & photography at RMIT & CAE. Co-producer, directed, edited and lead actor on the feature films, ‘Flights’ video 1976, ‘The Cartographer and the Waiter’ 16mm B/W 1978.


1979 – 1995 lived in New York City & studied acting 1980 – 83 Gene Frankel Studios with James Brick, Sanford Morris and Gene Frankel. 1981-83 HB Studios, training with Rochelle Oliver, Edward Morehouse, Joe Daley, Earl Hymann, Herbert Berghof. Continued with theater in numerous Off & Off Off Broadway Theater, TV soap opera’s and freelance photographer primarily in celebrity & movie stills, e.g. Romper Stomper, etc. 1983 – 85 various documentary research work such as, “After Three Mile Island”, English Swedish co prods.

1992-93 associate producer of Red White & Black Pictures in LA, which specialized in developing feature film projects. Returning to New York until 1995.

1995 returning to Australia became one of the founding directors of Wax Studios Theatre Company, which produced 37 plays including his own play ‘Antartica Starts Here’. Commercial acting such as the film ‘Black Box’ 1996 & voice over work, e.g. Prophecy and Predictions, as Jesus Christ, Channel Nine, Network. Editing work for Channel 7 network.

2001 - present the day (2024) has produced a dozen documentaries including the award winning ‘Bridge at Midnight Trembles’, the first Parkinsons desease documentary sold to SBS 2005 and numerious shorts and extensive work on producing over 20 self published photgraphic books of new and previeiously exhibited work since 1974 to present day.


reviews/comments from people::


On the short film ‘The New Advocate” from the short story by Franz Kafka

"This is a delight! I play it over and over … and not least because of the Daseinsreim, so to speak. I have just written a few words about this very piece for a lecture I need to give to some Jungians. I’ve attached them. Congratulations on your canny visual skills and refined (right on!) literary taste
- Stanley Alan Corngold, Professor of German & Comparative Literature, Emeritus. (Princeton University)
* Daseinsreim, translates to Rhyme of existence.

"Peter, I was thinking about the New Advocate film and how much I enjoyed your narration. Your voice was perfectly suited for the text.what a treat. I’ve seen it now three times and each time discover something new. The writing is wonderful, poetic, exuberant, lyrical. The filming and editing are exceptional. How the images comfort the dialogue is just beautiful. There is the story, there is the film, and there is the elevation of the experience."
- Gunter Kleemann


On the film ‘Amerikan Peephole’

"Pretty good...and pretty slick but also conceptually this is an interesting instinctive journey of discovery. Maybe a bit too fast for my slow brain at times but always engaging and even entertaining. Your director's statement is pretty amazing too. I just hope that the people who hold the purse strings will have some idea about what you're driving at...Most of them are on a different planet...

- Paul Cox - Melbourne-based international film director

"In his latest offering, 'Amerikan Peephole', Leiss has revived the art of the polemic in documentary film. By allowing his subjects the space to elaborate on their feelings and theories on contemporary American society and politics, we are given a glimpse of this most extraordinary period in modern US history, through the lens of some of its most strident native critics. Make no mistake, this is not your run of the mill documentary; there is no concession to 'objectivity' beyond that expressed by the interviewees themselves. They describe the legacy of the current administration's monstrous failure to aid the hurricane-stricken city of New Orleans and the impact of the costs born of foreign military adventurism. What we can take from this film is manifold: the meaning of post-Cold War triumphalism and the ramping-up of consumerism, the logical extension of George Bush senior's 1992 doctrine "the American lifestyle is not negotiable", or the inherent dangers of aggressive pre-emptive unilateralism. However, perhaps most significant is the Kafkaesque connotations of the neo-con juggernaut and its theoretically limitless war on 'terror', caught in full throttle before the 2006 congressional elections."
- Toby Heydon - Melbourne-based writer and historian

For more comments from people:

Comments on Peter Leiss films (PDF)

Links and reviews on Peter Leiss films (PDF)



Metamorphosis 1970

Short 5.5min 16mm B/W

Student film 1970 Prahran College of Art & Design.

Based on the Franz Kafka novella The Metamorphosis.

music by Ian Wallace,

Gregor Samsa; Ian Pringle, Gregor's sister; Anne Callaghan:

Urban Labyrinth 1999

Short 6min

A rapid narrative through our city... any city...

A journey into a manic mosaic of mechanical assault, Identification and belief.


An Australian Arsonist In New York 2001


Shot in Melbourne, Newcastle And New York City, it examines the nature of arson in our global culture as Phillip Corbett's play, "The Arsonist," is premiered by an all Australian Production Company in New York.

Cakewalk 2001


From the New York art world, Andy Warhol, Mickey Mouse to New Jersey, the diner capital of the world, we journey through the world of Robert Heide, John Gilman and Hoop, the King of Art, on an American Pop culture odyssey.


Full Movie:


Cakewalking Again 2005

26mins Three years later and the trip continues with Bob, John and Hoop.


Full Movie:

Upon The Day In Australia 2005


On Federal Election Day 2004 in Melbourne we follow two candidates running at opposite ends of the political spectrum. Concentrating on the human rather than the political aspects of this day is a rare entry into the world of multi-cultural Australian political belief.


Full movie:


Amerikan Peephole 2005


Twenty-four Americans from New Mexico and California weave a tapestry of pressing contemporary behavioural and social issues within a Kafka motif.


Full Movie:

The Bridge at Midnight Trembles 2005


Co-directed and photographed for two years on a borrowed DV camera. It shared first place for best Australian documentary at the Real Life Film Festival Melbourne Australia in 2006 with ‘Anthem: An Act of Sedition’ and was nominated for best documentary at the 2007 Australian TV Logie awards. It premiered on October 5th 2006 on SBS TV Australia. First television release October 5th 8:30 pm 2006 SBS)


The Spirit of Infirmity, a Parkinson’s Diary 2010


Richard Moir’s personal examination while dealing with Parkinson’s diseases’. A provocative and entertaining perspective to a very difficult subject, five years after award winning ‘The Bridge at Midnight Trembles’.

The Terror of Art; The Legacy Of The Doors 2011


A cross section of fans & good friends, artists of The Doors, along with scholars and musicologists express their view of the phenomena of the remarkable band, their music and the lead sing Jim Morrison and what that legacy means today.


Five To One, The Doors

With Tony Funches & David Shaing

Not to Touch the Earth

Spanish Caravan

With Tony Funches


When the Music's Over

Summer's Almost Gone

End of the Night

Doing Your Head In 2006 - 2011


Following the raw and humorous emotions of a young suburban theatre company as they prepare their sexual "edutainment" production for the bright lights of the annual Melbourne fringe festival & at various schools.

Trailer 01

McSpedden The Man Behind The Myth 2015


A film by Peter Leiss and produced by Ian Wallace

Innovative light show artist Hugh McSpedden talks about his life and work.

Brutally honest and very funny, McSpedden is a brilliant raconteur. Inspiring story. Compulsive viewing.




A music video of Kafka related images incorporated into the music by Rene De La Soyo’s: “IN THE HANDS OF A LUNATIC”, a film by Peter Leiss



The New Advocate 2022

Short 3min

A film by Peter Leiss

Based on the short story by Franz Kafka.

See also:

All YouTube links, plus to Books published (PDF)


© Peter Leiss, April 2024.

Peter Leiss's YouTube channel 1

Peter Leiss's YouTube channel 2

Contact Peter Leiss

Back to Melbourne independent filmmakers index page



Melbourne independent filmmakers is compiled by Bill Mousoulis