I love Australian Television. Offspring, The Hollowmen, The Librarians and Please Like Me just to name a few. For me however this love for Aussie drama and comedy is not something that spreads across to the movie sector. This is a sentiment that the CEO of Screen Australia, Graeme Mason recently spoke about, saying:
“Australians are clearly wanting to watch Australian content because they are watching it on television, and people offshore are celebrating our films and filmmakers, but there’s a disconnect getting them to the audience.”
“It’s tough to get Australians to trust Australian films. I think they have been burned a lot of times.”
This is a major part of the issue here. Australia does make some great films. They’re made well, characters develop and you grow attached to them. The Black Balloon and Beautiful Kate are both prime examples of great Australian cinema. But those movies also weren’t trying to be blockbusters like everything coming out of Hollywood (Or at least if they were trying, they did a terrible job of looking like it). The issue with this is many of the good Australian films have very similar themes. Ask anyone what they think and Australian film is about and a common thread will be “depressing, with some kind of failed relationship with another family member”. It’s what we expect, so we don’t really get excited to go and see them.
The movies trying to be just like Hollywood are another way in which Australian film burns us. Creations like Wolf Creek 2, which if you don’t mind me saying was probably one of the worst movies I have seen in my life (unless it was meant to be a joke), are the reason we are burnt by Australian film. Trying too hard to be like everyone else is where Australian film falls flat on it’s face.
To be successful, I think Australian Film needs to branch out but still do it’s own thing. It needs to keep its own identity.