Aussie industry, ‘a dud’ – and so is its media coverage

Just last week we were discussing the cliched negativity of the mainstream media’s coverage of the Australian film industry, and today, The Herald Sun‘s Sally Morrell has confirmed our theories.

Morrell claims that, if it weren’t for Animal Kingdom, the industry would ‘again’ have been “exposed as a dud” this weekend, as the AFI Awards would have been “embarrassing”.

Apparently, despite the high profile double AFI Award ceremonies this weekend, the AFIs were not a success. In fact, they were close from being an embarrassment!

Morrell quotes negative reviews of other AFI-nominated films such as Beneath Hill 60 and The Tree to ‘prove’ her point: there were no good films this year other than Animal Kingdom. About that one, Morrell says “the reviews were so good that this was the one Australian movie I thought I might just shell out $15 to see. A first for many, many years.”

Morrell then writes:

Clearly, Australians are not all that keen to see home-grown movies. Perhaps some of that is just cultural cringe, or the price we pay for being too small a market to fund the big-bang films that make real money. […] The last Australian movie I paid money to see was Somersault in 2004, and only after it had won all, and I mean all, the AFI awards. Yet even then, I found the only thing it had going for it was a naked Sam Worthington.

Lesson learned.

We wonder, how can we ask our audience to see home-grown movies, when our leaders of opinion, those who can use the power of the media to shape others’ perception, dismiss the industry as ‘a dud’ based on some preconceived notion, and even write editorials about it, even though they have only seen two films in six years?

Even if our funding bodies got everything right, and our filmmakers wrote the best scripts and executed them to perfection, the battle would be half lost as media and audiences are not willing to change their perception. They’ve clearly made up their minds!

It’s a problem for ‘Australian film’ as a brand,  and until the film industry realises that, real, significant changes will never take place.

Miguel Gonzalez

Editor – Encore


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