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New doco to ask ‘why can’t Australia’s film industry be self-sufficient’

A new documentary is set to ask why the Australian film industry can’t operate independently.

Jason Kent, film-maker and founder of new production company Pure Independent Pictures told Encore: “We want to ask, can Australia build a self-sufficient commercial film industry? There are plenty of obvious reasons why we can’t; we’re a small market, competition from Hollywood, there aren’t enough investors. There are a million ideas, but we want to address those one by one and disperse some of the myth.”

“When you think of the big picture, there is no real reason it can’t be done; there’s a video shop on every corner, a multiplex in each city. We have other big commercial industries in Australia. But there’s this idea we’re a small country, as it is we’re a can’t-do country.”

Pure Independent Pictures has resource partners and support in companies Panavision, Kodak, SAE Institute and post-production house Engine.

“Films such as Mad Max, Crocodile Dundee, The Castle, and Gabriel were made independent of government support,” said Kent. “No one really heard about the profit-to-cost ratio of a film until The Blair Witch Project, but Mad Max held the record for two decades. Not a lot was made of that at the time. I’m trying to make something of it now.”

Kent also points out Crocodile Dundee was the second highest grossing film world-wide in 1986, after Top Gun.

The documentary is aiming for a television distribution. While Kent acknowledges it could probably find a home on SBS or the ABC, he is hoping a commercial network will pick it up.

Kent said: “To make the case for purely independent films we have to practice what we preach and not make a film for a government platform.”

The state of Australian cinema is the subject of another documentary called, Advance Australian Film by film-maker Courtney Dawson, examining the country’s struggling film industry.

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