Metro magazine, a pantheon for Australian film critics, finally moves online

Australia’s oldest film and media magazine will now appear in both print and online, offering access to its extensive back catalogue.

After decades in print, Metro magazine is now online, and has begun digitising the entirety of its archives for web access.

As of now, subscribers to the mag can get access to the full catalogue of its quarterly published pieces from across the last five years, and a selection of pieces – dating all the way back to the 1960s – from the archives. The articles are fully tailored for immediate reading and browsing on phones, tablets and desktops.

Founded in 1964, Metro is Australia’s oldest film and media magazine and features regular in-depth content covering Australian and international cinema. It’s also one of the only publications specialising in essays, articles and interviews on Australian, New Zealand and Asian features, shorts and documentaries, while also covering television, web series, animation, games and new media.

David Heslin, who has been editor of Metro since 2020, said the move to web-based publication made sense, especially since a lot of readers these days ‘aren’t as accustomed to print media’. Though, if you’re counted among the thousands who still love getting their hands on tangible media, you needn’t fret – the magazine will remain in print for the foreseeable future.

Heslin added that the addition of the site makes a lot of sense as more and more students, academics, critics and cinephiles do their reading and research online. Users can search the site for a particular film, director, actor and so on, and immediately locate all Metro articles relating to the search term.

Heslin is confident it will be a great resource, not just because of Metro’s long history, but because the publication serves a unique purpose in the Australian film criticism landscape. ‘Our articles usually run at about 2,000 words per piece, and feature analysis that you won’t really find anywhere else,’ he said. ‘I know I’m biased, but I believe it’s on par with the best film magazines from around the world’.

David Heslin in the Metro office. Image: supplied

To get access to this content, you’ll need to be a subscriber. ‘Subscription is really affordable,’ added Heslin. A free-trial option allows you to sign up immediately without having to fork over the moula. And after the seven-day trial period ends, you can choose to pay $5 per month, or $50 per year, for an individual subscription.

‘We also have subscriptions available for educational institutions, which are priced based on how many students they have,’ said Heslin. This option is available for schools, libraries and corporations. More information on the subscription levels is available on the Metro website.

So, apart from the attractive cost, what makes a subscription to Metro worth it? ‘There are some fantastic articles from the new issue that I really recommend,’ said Heslin. ‘My standouts are Jake Wilson writing on the epic four-hour documentary The Beloved, Debbie Zhou’s piece on Li Dongmei’s debut feature Mama, and Travis Johnson’s piece on The Drover’s Wife: the Legend of Molly Johnson.’ The latter was the cover article for Metro’s latest issue.

Subscription means full access to back issues, too. If there’s an Australian film you can think of, there’s probably been a piece on it in Metro. According to Heslin, the team are hard at work getting the full archive digitised so that subscribers can access each and every issue from 1964 until now.

And if contributing is more your thing, Metro is always looking for writers, too. ‘Now we’re online, it basically means the sky’s the limit in terms of having the resources we need to feature even more great work in future,’ said Heslin.

Issue 212 of Metro is available now, online and in print, followed by issue 213 in late August. Jump on the Metro website to search for specific articles and for subscription information.

Silvi Vann-Wall is a journalist, podcaster, and filmmaker. They joined ScreenHub as Film Content Lead in 2022. Twitter: @SilviReports