Small Publisher Spotlight: Real Film and Publishing
Established in 2012, Melbourne-based Real Film and Publishing specialises in ‘memoirs, biographies, family histories and legacy books’ in high-quality hardback. Only a few of the books are available commercially, as most are private publications ‘with large budgets and small print runs’. Directors Romy Moshinsky and Georgie Raik-Allen spoke to Books+Publishing for our Small Publisher Spotlight series.
Describe your company in under 50 words.
Real Film and Publishing is dedicated to sharing real stories through beautifully designed nonfiction books. We specialise in memoirs, biographies, family histories and legacy books. All publications are available in hardcover and are printed and bound in Melbourne. Print runs usually range from one to 1000 copies.
Why start a publishing company?
Originally, we were keen to document the remarkable stories of survival, migration, business success and philanthropy in the Melbourne Jewish community. As our reputation grows, we have had the opportunity to write and publish books about people from equally fascinating backgrounds including the wonderful Syahisti Abdurrachman, an Indonesian octogenarian who is a practicing Muslim and active feminist (Spice of Life).
What book did you launch with?
Goodbye Shanghai was the first memoir we edited and produced. We released a second edition in 2016. The book has been recognised as a work of historical significance. It has been re-printed in Mandarin and is on the curriculum in Chinese universities offering courses on Jewish history and civilisation.
How many people do you employ?
We are a partnership of two people, Romy Moshinsky and Georgie Raik-Allen. We have no employees, instead we collaborate with a team of talented freelance creatives including book designers, photographers, illustrators, typsetters, printers and bookbinders.
What makes your small press unique?
Very few of our books are available commercially. Mostly, they are private publications with large budgets and small print runs. This gives us enormous creative freedom to write and edit genre-bending manuscripts, which are then transformed into exquisitely designed books, produced locally. On the rare occasions that one of our books is available for sale, all the proceeds flow back to our commissioning author. It’s a transparent and sustainable business model that has proven to be very successful.
What has been your biggest success?
Our books are family legacies and so, for us, success is measurable in authenticity and in the book’s ability to inform future generations. We are particularly proud of a book we recently wrote and published about a couple who survived Auschwitz. Where You Go, I Go is not for sale but will be donated to libraries in Holocaust museums throughout the world. We are also proud of the books we publish that are recognised in the Australian Book Design Awards (ABDA).
What has been your biggest challenge?
Many of our books charter difficult terrain and it can be a painful process for those who are sharing memories of love, death, persecution, genocide. The process requires sensitivity, particularly if we are working with people who are nearing the end of their lives.
Which book by another small press do you wish you’d published?
Magda Szubanski’s memoir Reckoning (Text) is the gold standard. In terms of design, any art book published by Phaidon (it’s not technically small press but it remains niche). A favourite Phaidon publication is Concrete. Its cover looks like concrete, has a concrete-like texture and is as heavy as a slab of concrete—genius!
What will you publish next?
We have seven exciting and varied books coming out this year including Alegria by Karen Liberman, a collection of stories and recipes celebrating her family’s Moroccan heritage, and Seadog: A Captain’s Tale of Land & Sea by Henry Leighton.
Pictured: Romy Moshinsky (left) and Georgie Raik-Allen (right)
Tags: small pub spotlight