Friday, October 9th, 2009 - John Silvester - Leading Crime Writer & Public Speaker - Platinum Speakers

Dead Famous lifts the lid on the slaughter that resulted when two underworld tribes went to war over drug profits during Melbourne’s infamous gangland killings. This one-hour documentary takes viewers behind the frenzied headlines to put the killings in their true perspective screened on the ABC last night.

Leading crime writers John Silvester and Andrew Rule analyse the causes and effects of the decade-long war. They investigate the reasons it began, why it was allowed to escalate and flourish for so long and point to what lessons, if any, have been learned by law makers and breakers alike. It was a unique combination of circumstances that allowed the gangland wars to flourish – and saw so many criminals turn the underworld into a glitzy public soap-opera, played out on the front pages of newspapers, nightly television news bulletins and popular magazines for months on end.

Using a mix of archive and actual event footage, subtle dramatic recreation in actual locations, interviews with major players from both sides of the law and incisive and entertaining comment from Silvester and Rule, Dead Famous traces the history and character of this brutal episode that has become such a part of our recent social history.

So how did a vicious, sordid tit-for-tat murder spree between intellectually-challenged "Mob-stars" (Silvester's term) transform itself into modern mythology? John Silvester and Andrew Rule provide the answers in Dead Famous, a compelling documentary by another Walkley winner: veteran producer-director-cinematographer-editor Terry Carlyon.

More on John Silvester
Crime reporter and writer John Silvester has written, edited and published more than 30 crime books - including the best selling Underbelly series. His work was used as the basis for the top rating Underbelly television series on Melbourne’s Gangland War.
John Silvester graduated from Latrobe University in 1978 and went on to work at the Sun and the Herald Sun. He was appointed Sun police reporter in 1980, Chief Police Reporter in 1981 and was an investigate reporter from 1986-1993. He then moved to the Age, for which he still writes. He is a crime commentator on Radio 3AW as Sly of the Underworld, was awarded an AJA-ASEAN scholarship to study crime and corruption in South East Asia and a News Limited exchange to work with the London Sunday Times Insight team.

John Silvester was a Walkley Award state finalist in 1988 and 1996, a national finalist in 2003 and a winner, for best use of the medium, in 2004. John Silvester has won numerous awards at the Melbourne Press Club Quill Awards and the Victorian Law Foundation. He was awarded the Ned Kelly Award in 2000 for the Best True Crime Book (for 'Underbelly') and the 2005 Ned Kelly Lifetime Achievement Award.

John Silvester has given evidence at criminal Royal Commissions and is regularly interviewed by the electronic media as an expert on crime in Victoria.

John Silvester’s speaking presentation shares his insights on the notorious gangland war that was played out night after night in the mass media. He discusses his views on the changing face of crime in Australia as well as the changing nature of the media and its impact on the presumption of innocence as an ideal. For a first hand insight on the “Underbelly” story contact Platinum Speakers.

Contact Profile

John Silvester - Leading Crime Writer & Public Speaker - Platinum Speakers

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"Underbelly" Insight from John Silvester


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