Is it time to give up on Ausralian Content?

Rewind back to the beginning of my studies in BCM330 and we were asked to keep this question in mind as we embarked on a journey through the history of Australian content. The local film and TV industry have been through its fair share of triumphs, challenges and slumps. There is a common consensus that Australian TV and film projects encompass an historic theme, often focusing on the landscapes and stereotypes considered to be typically Australian. The share Australian films have in Box office profits in Australia are minimal according to Screen Australia cinema industry trends. But perhaps here we are focusing on the negatives and not shedding light on the positive outcomes and efforts proven to see Australian content a success.

In an effort to make the cinema experience enhanced, Rooftop Movies Perth and Moonlight Cinema’s Australia reinvent what it means to attend the cinema and all the while aims to support local productions with screenings of multiple Australian films a year. On a smaller scale, local community organisations like The Regal Cinema in Newcastle NSW is an example of the overwhelming support people have for quirky cinemas that more often than not screen Australian content, supporters stating such establishments are an important addition to the Australian cultural scene. Whilst box office revenue is proven to be an overstatement in what constitutes a film’s success (2015, pp. 8-9), cinema’s propping up on the Australian scene that doesn’t fit the usual description of going to the movies are steps towards improving Australian’s outlook on Australian cinema.

Last week my parents suggested I watch David Stratton’s Stories of Australian Cinema on ABC. Firstly I will add that I watched the program on the ABC online streaming service “iview” which proves the thoughtful industry response to the technological advancements of the 21st century. The access Australian Networks open up to its audiences proves the willingness to help grow the success of Australian content. Jumping back to the David Stratton 3 part series, it acknowledges Australian cinema’s priceless contribution to understanding the impact of white colonisation on indigenous Australia. David Stratton’s claims that the series will help those who claim they are not fans of Australian content see that ‘Australian films matter because they tell Australian stories’. The series goes back in time to look at productions including The Castle, Rabbit-Proof Fence, The Devil’s Playground, Animal Kingdom, Snowtown and Lantana. It was important for there to be an analysis of such films because they help simplify the struggles, values and cultural identity Australia has seen.

In 1997 David Stratton gave The Castle 1 star out of 5 believing it to be based on a “low concept”, upon reflection of the film in his ABC series he re-evaluated and scored the film 4 out of 5. 20 years after the film’s release, Stratton recognised the film’s beautiful representation of Australian content, it is after all about love, and how history has helped build the unique love we have for each other and our wild country.

So c’mon Australia, give our film and TV industry a fair go!

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References

Verhoeven, D, Davidson, A, Bronwyn, C 2015, ‘Australian films at large: expanding the evidence about Australian cinema performance’, Studies in Australasian Cinema, vol.9, no.1, pp. 7-20


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