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Getting to watch The Siege of Barton's Bathroom is quite a challenge; you'll have to take some hurdles to be able to watch it.

Unless you live in or near Melbourne; it's really easy in that case. If you live anywhere else in Australia, it's slightly less easy, a lot more expensive and and there still might be a way to watch it for free in the future, but not just yet.

For everyone living outside of Australia, like me and the largest portion of visitors to this site, it's quite an expensive endeavour that either includes booking a flight to Melbourne or pay a hefty sum to loan the film from the NFSA. Oh, and you have to get permission from Jocelyn herself for the latter.

Let me explain.



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ACMI!
According to their website, ACMI is nowadays just a capitalised word. But it used to stand for Australian Center for the Moving Image. That should give you some idea of what we have here.

That's right: it's a museum. Located in Melbourne, Australia, and dedicated to preserving, restoring and displaying films, TV programmes, video games and motion picture art.


Vault

ACMI hosts an enormous collection of films, ranging from very old ones to fairly new ones. A selection of films is on display, to be watched with other visitors in full in one of the on premise cinemas or on your own (see Bring your own cinema below). But not everything is available to be viewed by the public. Some films are preserved in ACMI's vault, waiting to be restored and digitised, but not available for viewing.

Under certain conditions, you can view films that are stored in the vault. You have to book a viewing in advance (at a cost) and you can only do so for study.

The Siege of Barton's Bathroom was such a film until very recently: preserved in the ACMI's vault, but not available to the public.
But that changed in 2021: ACMI restored and digitised their 16mm copy of the film. The digital copy doesn't wear out, and the original 16mm is (presumably) safely back in the vault, so it can now be watched by all visitors of ACMI in Melbourne. Hurray!


Bring your own cinema
You read that right: you need to visit the ACMI in Melbourne.

Just enter the building (admission is free) and connect your own smartphone, tablet or computer to the ACMI's WIFI network. Then, through that connection, visit the ACMI's website and you can watch Siege (and the rest of ACMI's collection of course).

This is great if you happen to live in or near Melbourne. But because that special website only works from ACMI's WIFI network; you can't access it from your own home. So us international fans would have to book a flight to Australia to view the film.


Streaming
If you don't live in or near Melbourne but do live in Australia, there might be a second option in the future.

ACMI offers a free home streaming service called Cinema3. It shows a rotating roster of films from ACMI's collection. At the time of writing, Siege is not on the service, but now that it is digitised they could, in theory, put it on.

Unfortunately (for international Bartons fans like myself), Cinema3 is only available in Australia.

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ACMI building
Flinders Street entrance
Melbourne.

Photo by -jkb-
Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0
Via Wikimedia Commons [Source]
Location
ACMI can be found at Fed Square, Melbourne. There's a second entrance on Flinders Street. It's just across the street from Flinders Street train station.

Opening hours of the museum are daily, except for Christmas Day, from 10:00 to 18:00.

The on-premise cinemas open at 11:00 and close when the last film of the day ends.

Entry to the building, access to the permanent centrepiece exhibition (The Story of the Moving Image) and the handheld viewing experience, is free.

Some exhibitions do require you to buy tickets. At the time of writing, the Disney: the Magic of Animation is such an exhibition.

Visit www.acmi.net.au for more information.


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But….but…but…!
I know, I know. It's not what you hoped to read here.

The fact that the film is now restored, digitised and has found a good home where it will be kept safe and accessible for hundreds of years to come, is great news.

But for most of you reading this (over 90% of Bartonsontheweb.nl's visitors is not from Australia) this means booking a flight to see it. That's not so great.

Luckily ACMI is in Melbourne, and Melbourne happens to be the place to go for everything Bartons. While you're there, you could drive over to Glen Waverley and visit most of the filming locations of the series in a day (easily).



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NFSA!
The National Film and Sound Archive of Australia is a government run organisation that does exactly what the tin says: it strives to archive sound- and film recordings from Australia for the future. So it should come as no surprise that they too have a 16mm copy of the film in their archives.

But the NFSA is not a museum; you can't simply walk in and enjoy their collection. If you want to watch the film, either you're going to have to pay them for all the labour involved in taking the film out of the archive, transfer it to a DVD and ship it to you or loan the film from them directly.


Owning your own copy on DVD
Let's get one thing out of the way first: the film is not available to the public. That means you need to get written permission from Jocelyn Moorhouse before moving on with the rest of the steps.

NFSA offers a transfer service, in which they can digitise most of their collection for you for a fee. You can find out just how much you have to pay on their rate card (PDF download).

It quickly adds up though, as there are a lot of fees involved. For instance, a DVD copy of The Siege of Barton's Bathroom would set you back at least $780*, and that's assuming the "research fee" comes down to one hour of research and that the $360 for for digitising audio doesn't apply.**

That doesn't include shipping by the way.


A copy of the 16mm film on loan to you
This step too requires you to have permission from Jocelyn. If you do, and if you have a 16mm projector, you can then loan the film itself from NFSA. The site is not really clear on the terms or conditions, but I'm sure they won't just hand over the one copy they have for you to play around with. There's bound to be demands of insurance (and assurances) involved; I didn't ask.

Having said that, the fee for loaning a 16mm film from NFSA is listed as $85 for Australians and $125 for international persons, excluding shipping. Oh, and there's a $60 "research and handling" per hour fee for loans as well.


But there's hope!
NFSA has the ambition to open up as much of its collection to the public as possible. Online is their way of doing so, and they show a big part of their collection their online platform and YouTube channel.

As I write this, The Siege of Barton's Bathroom is not on either, but that might change. If NFSA sorts out the rights involved, and digitise the film, they could, in theory, publish it on those streaming services.

Let's just hope they'll do that for the entire world to enjoy!

* All prices in Australian dollars.
** I'm not sure if that fee is in addition to the transfer fee or is simply on the list just in case you'd only want the audio.





 

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