Who’s afraid of Australian films?

Hi in craft, but low in content, South Solitary is perfect for those who prize art for its own sake and a perfect example of why the rest of Australia is afraid of Australian films.

The Sydney Morning Herald won’t be getting a Christmas card from director Shirley Barrett. Read more »

Who moved my pyramid?

This is an edited version of last night’s opening keynote to the Walkley Media Conference in Sydney from SMH editor Peter Fray

I was recently reminded of the six golden rules of how to become a good reporter:

Read, read, read – write, write, write.   Read more »

What does a planner do anyway?

If people working in the media and marketing industry have one thing in common, it’s the fact that their families have almost no idea what they do.

Which is why I love the insight behind this call for entries video from Account Planning Group chairman Jeremy Nicholas’s mum.   Read more »

Now it’s leaky lemons

It’s starting to look like it won’t be the ads that decide this election campaign.

Indeed, there’s only one set of ads that I suspect will linger in the memory at all – and that’s the Liberal Party’s lemon series.   Read more »

So bad it’s bad

Last night’s premiere of Brian Trenchard-Smith’s Arctic Blast left us cold, but probably not in the way the filmmakers intended.

Isn’t the charm of ‘bad movies’ the fact that those making them were being absolutely serious and failed miserably? Isn’t a cult movie something that stands out from the crowd and has a special, almost undefinable quality that connects with a very specific, adoring audience? However, deliberately trying to make a ‘bad movie’ (or a B-movie, as many would rather label certain filmic abominations), is a recipe for disaster. Read more »

The seven rules of creativity

This is an edited version of the Sydney AWARD School graduation address given by chairman Craig Davis last night.

Creativity is not an option. It’s not a luxury, a bonus, a nice to have.

Creativity is not a dalliance, an indulgence, it’s not effete, auto-erotic or a distraction.

Creativity is the main event.   Read more »

On location: Packed to the Rafters – a familiar feeling

Now entering its third year, Packed to the Rafters has become the Seven Network’s flagship drama. Its creators told Eleeza Hooker that making a hit TV show might be difficult, but maintaining it over the years is even harder.

The series, about a couple whose adult children come back to live at the family home, has been a hit with audiences, averaging 1.9m viewers in 2008 and 2009 – with a peak of 2.07m for Episode 41, a number surpassed only by Nine’s Underbelly. Read more »

A Minute To Win It; hours of practice first

One of the problems with overseas TV formats is that the pesky participants can give themselves something of an unfair advantage.   Read more »

Recalcitrant Australia

Australians are notoriously recalcitrant when it comes to seeing Australian films. They need to be told not just that the film is good, but that it is exceptional.

Animal Kingdom director David Michôd opens his heart to New York’s The Village Voice prior to the August 13 US release of the film. Read more »

Finance agreements: painful but necessary

There is no standard way to finance a film – any deal can be made as long as all parties are commercially satisfied and the deal isn’t in breach of any laws. Gene Goodsell writes

Finance agreements can be painful, but unfortunately, they are also crucial because they start the production funding flowing so that production of a project can begin in earnest. Read more »

Distribution: Coexistance is Possible

The Tumbler will be Pack Screen’s first cinema DVD releaseThe competitive nature of the industry, the limited amount of screens and the high volume of films is
forcing independent filmmakers and smaller distributors to try different models to reach audiences. It’s a
world where old and new are destined to coexist.

Peter Castaldi, director of the new distribution company PackScreen, will be one of the first to experiment with hybrid models.

Read more »

Exhibition: success and challenges

More than a billion dollars might be enough to think the exhibition sector is healthier than ever and, although optimistic, there are still pressures and challenges for cinemas – particularly for the independents.

Box office takings in 2009 crossed the $1 billion line, and by February 2010, James Cameron’s Avatar (Twentieth Century Fox) had become Australia’s highest grossing film of all time, and the first to enter nine- digit territory with $114,763,630 in takings. It seems like the exhibition sector has a billion reasons to celebrate. Read more »

Distribution: A hint of local flavour

Red Dog will be a broad comedic family film for RoadshowAll distributors, big and small, have hits and disappointments; it’s the nature of the business. Encore spoke with a number of distribution executives about their year and their relationship with Australian films.

The last 18 months have seen an unusual number of Australian films cross the $1m line, with Mao’s Last Dancer ($15.4, Roadshow/Hopscotch), Bran Nue Dae ($7.5m, Roadshow), The Kings of Mykonos: Wog Boy 2 ($4.9m, Paramount/Transmission), Animal Kingdom ($4.3m, Madman), Charlie & Boots ($3.9m, Paramount/Transmission), Beneath Hill 60 ($3.2m, Paramount/Transmission) and Samson & Delilah ($3.2m, Paramount/Transmission/Footprint) all delivering strong results – they may not all have made their budget back, but it’s a step forward in recapturing local audiences beyond niche numbers. Read more »

Subaru: driven by tools?

Currently running on the home page of YouTube is a promotion for the Subaru XV Rescue campaign.

The accompanying video ad features a car bombing about what looks like Sydney’s The Rocks.   Read more »

See ya Foursquare – I’m checking out

Although I didn’t realise it at the time, looking back I know the moment when I fell out of love with Foursquare.   Read more »

After Harold

The ‘Harold rumour’ rarely goes away.

Last time round WPP was rumoured to be looking at buying Mitchell Communication Group. On another occasion one of the trade magazines hoaxed a rival into reporting that Telstra was the buyer.

This time, the rumour appears to have a great deal more substance. Read more »

Intelligent TV – the next big thing?

I was, I must confess, mistaken about last night’s Gruen Nation.   Read more »

South Solitary: no film is an island

Director Shirley Barrett didn’t get to shoot South Solitary on her dream island, but she found that Plan B is sometimes better. Miguel Gonzalez writes.

Eight years ago Barrett stayed at the first cast concrete lighthouse in Australia, Green Cape, in southern NSW – it now provides accommodation for visitors. She was there doing research for a film she had written, about whaling in the early 1900s. Read more »

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