To me this comment sums up pretty perfectly why Australian film makers are struggling to entice the Australian public to connect to our films, because they aren’t American.
When we think of western civilisation, the first country we think of is America, when we think of presidents we think of American presidents like Obama, American culture is more prevalent in our society than our own and we seem to prefer it, and their actors.
Screen Australia reported that in 2013, Australian films took just 3.5 per cent of box office takings in the country, this is lower than the previous year which still only took in 4.3 per cent. Jim Schembri (2011) from the Sydney Morning Herald stated that the public perception that Australian films are automatically bad has been around since the 1980s, and that stereotype although slowly diminishing is still affecting the Australian Film Industry dramatically. Perhaps one reason why the public don’t connect to Australian films is because a vast majority have been released according to a government standard of approval via the co-production treaty that Screen Australia has with the government. This treaty states specific qualifications for production such as significant Australian content and only feature films produced for exhibition to the public in cinemas. Of course there are many American films that also feature culture specific content, but many of these aren’t exactly always based on fact but on satire or combined with fiction.
The only solution I can think of to boost our reputation is a much better marketing strategy, and of course a pool of more talented writers and producers. Our film makers seem to be targeting the wrong audiences and have absolutely no idea what teenagers, children or the elderly are even interested in. A lack of creativity is evident, and in order to broaden our vision we need to take a leaf out of a successful book, which in this case it would be to invest in the kinds of ideas that American film makers are profiting off. Promote surveys, welcome feedback, do your research properly and take the time to listen and take notice to what your audience is saying and looking for.
I for one am not going to spend my weekend paying to watch another Australian film about the ‘Aussie outback’ and our love of crocodiles and kangaroos.
Roach, V 2014, Local audiences snub Australian filmmakers yet Hollywood loves them, http://www.news.com.au/, viewed 28 September 2014, <http://www.news.com.au/entertainment/movies/local-audiences-snub-australian-filmmakers-yet-hollywood-loves-them/story-fnk853hr-1227057559133>
Schembri, J 2011, Australian film disaster at the box office, The Sydney Morning Herald, viewed 28 September 2014, <http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/blogs/cinetopia/australian-film-disaster-at-the-box-office-20110321-1c3ov.html>
Screen Australia n.d, Australia’s Producer Offset and International Co-production Program, viewed 28 September 2014, <http://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/getmedia/dc0401b0-192a-4652-a6b8-5b6e57b7f2f0/TheFacts_flyer.pdf>