Credit Where it’s Due: Jason Kent – lifting the lid on the Australian movie scene

Jason Kent

In a new regular column Mumbrella recognises the best people and work in the industry. This time it’s Jason Kent for daring to ask tough questions of the Australian film industry. 

It seems to be increasingly rare for people to put their head above the parapet and question their peers. Too often, industries – and not just this one – close ranks, watch each other’s backs and fail to address issues that are holding back progress.

So take a bow Jason Kent, the founder of Pure Independent Pictures, who is behind a documentary which aims to lift the lid on why Australia’s film industry is struggling at the box office.

In the 1980s, Australia was churning out some enormously successful movies. Look no further than Mad Max and Crocodile Dundee, which generated substantial returns at the box office. Back then, Australian films contributed more than 23 per cent of local box office takings. Yet in the intervening 30 years, that impressive number has shrunk to less than 4 per cent, despite a lot of support from movie critics.

Clearly then something needs to change, especially as Screen Australia is facing large budget cuts, making money harder to come by for would-be film makers.

But as Kent told Mumbrella last week, the film industry has for too long ignored the decline and continued in a blinkered “crisis, what crisis?” mindset.

“Some people are trying to pretend as if there is no problem. I see articles every year saying everything is great, but the opposite is true,” Kent said. “But if we don’t do something about it and if someone doesn’t at least start by saying ‘hey, there’s a problem’ and ask the questions about what is wrong, then nothing will improve.”

He is well aware that the documentary, What’s Wrong With Australian Films, could cause a stir, recognising he could be at risk of being ostracised by the film making community for making such a documentary.

But causing a stir, stimulating debate and tackling the reasons behind the slump are precisely what his intentions are. Not in a mean spirited point and laugh way, but as a means to force a much needed debate out into the open and build a self-sufficient commercial film industry. The talent is certainly there for it.

Credit Where it’s Due is all about generating positivity about our fantastic industry. While we welcome positive and constructive comments, anonymous or otherwise, this feature a snark-free zone so please bear that in mind when commenting.


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