The hardships local films have faced in the Australian market is evident in numbers, Australian films share of the Aussie box office is less than 4 percent today, and this doesn’t come down to people not attending the cinema at all; “The cinema remains Australians favourite cultural venue, with 66 percent of people aged 15 years and over reporting at least one visit during 2013-14” (Niedorfer, 2015). The stats lead to the question, why is it important to keep Australian cinema alive?
Screen Australia released a report Hearts and Minds in 2013 which expressed why it’s important for Australian audiences to engage with entertainment which tells their own stories. After a read of the report, it’s easy to be convinced of the value in the Australian screen culture. The report reminds you of the much-loved TV and Film produced in this country like Summer Heights High, Puberty Blues, The Sapphires and Rabbit-Proof Fence. The report summarises that no one else can tell our stories for us, and it’s important to engage with these stories so we can grow and feel united as a nation.
In establishing why it’s important we watch homegrown screen entertainment, Australian audiences need to be first made aware of local productions and furthermore enticed enough to see the content. Some would argue that grabbing the attention of Australian audiences is becoming increasingly difficult due to the domination the American studios have over the Australian market, even admitting defeat to the popular Hollywood flicks (Metro Magazine, 2007). Instead of rolling over, why not learn from their success by analysing and adopting the film marketing skills of American production houses.
Dance Academy: The Movie is an Australian feature film based on the two time Emmy nominated ABC series Dance Academy. Leading up to the movie’s release in April 2017, a number of schemes were put in place to promote and intensify anticipation it’s arrival to Australian screens.
- A Facebook group was created to give daily sneak peeks of the film, behind the scenes footage and cast interviews, social media promotion was a likely way to reach the millennial target audience.
- In the months leading up to the film’s release, in cinemas, the movie’s official trailer was screened in the advertisement slot before the main feature film began.
- A special event was held in Sydney for the premiere of the film, in which the Dance Academy cast and key creatives attended. Tickets to the event were given out through various radio and social media competitions, the exclusive nature of the event helped to heighten the film’s profile and people’s expectations of the film.
The thoughtful time and money spent on the film’s release strategy did not go to waste, receiving rave reviews in such magazines as The Australian and landing an 83% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The film was easily accessible to the public being screened in cinemas across Australia for at least 5 weeks. Since it’s finishing showings in the cinema, the film is available on iTunes, Bigpond Movies, Google Play, ABC shop online and has been aired on the Channel 9 TV network (I came across it one afternoon whilst flicking through the TV channels in intense procrastination mode).
Dance Academy poses as a perfect example of how quality Australian cinema demands the attention of Australian audiences – stronger marketing strategies! Give Australian films a chance by highlighting its arrival.
Bowles, K, Maltby, R, Verhoeven, D & Walsh, M, ‘More than Ballyhoo?: The Importance of Understanding Film Consumption in Australia’ Metro Magazine: Media & Education Magazine, No. 152, 2007: 96-101, accessed online 3rd January.
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