Is There a Crisis in the Australian Film Industry?

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  • Topic: Cinema of Australia
  • Pages : 6 (2078 words )
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  • Published : August 12, 2012
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Introduction
This essay explores the popularity of Australian film, both locally and internationally and asks the question: Is there a crisis in the Australian Film Industry? This essay will go through the current issues the Australian Film Industry and will demonstrate examples of those problems.

To understand why Australian movies are the way they are now, there must be a review of the history of the films produced in Australia, because through out time, the films have had successes as well as some failures.

The first one is the economical issue, reviewing the screen policy with a particular reference on the 10BA tax incentive. Then making a brief reference of the recent film Australia (Baz Luhrmann, 2008) and Red Dog (Kriv Stenders, 2011), an analysis will be conducted to understand how does the films promote a national culture and how does it help to construct an imagined community to help in the acknowledgement of a national identity. (Anderson, 1983)

The Australian Film Industry has had its successes, still the content of the films fail to represent the whole Australian culture, as well the subsidy made by the government has proved to be a bad investment due to the results of the box office on a local and international scale.

Australian film industry has come a long way, from the first full length feature film in 1906, “The Story of the Kelly Gang”, to more commercial productions such as “Mad Max” (1979), to what now a days is being watched in the local theaters such as “Red Dog” (2011) or the movie “Australia” (2008).While the beginnings of the Australian film industry were promising, for the quick development it had, it soon came to a halt because of the domination of the American and British film industries, making more difficult for local productions to get screenings (Winter, 2007).

By 1990 the Australian film industry came to rise once again, and brought with it experienced and talented filmmakers, such as George Miller, Baz Luhrmann, P.J. Hogan, and some others, most of them being graduates of film schools and AFTRS, which produced movies that were well acclaimed in the local and international audience.

From this point the Australian cinematography has had some blockbusters as well as some other movies that were not quite famous, but it is a fact that the Australian film industry has changed from the movies that interpreted the local scenery, people and affairs, to movies which became to be known as part of the “Ozploitation” (Hartley, 2008), transforming into the globalized movie industry that it is now seen in the theatres, more movies with a richer diversity are being produced in Australia, some of this movies include “Moulin Rouge” (2001) by Baz Luhrmann.

Taking a deeper approach in the economic situation, we have to review the institutions such as The Film Finance Corporation (FFC) that promoted the film industry as well as the policy, the 10BA tax support.

The 10BA tax was a way for the Australian government to attract private investors into the film industry, by enabling screen producers to make a tax deduction of 150%. Thanks to the government subsidy the film production experienced a rapid growth (Burns & Eltham, 2010) and the private investment accounted for 95 per cent of feature film investment (Jacka 1988b: 29). During the period of the 10BA many locally and internationally recognized movies were produced, however the 10BA tax policy came to an end and the film production dropped dramatically.

In order to ameliorate the current situation, the Film Finance Corporation was created to help finance the local productions, in a sense it served as an investment bank. However the investment made by the FFC was soon to turn on negative, while $AUD1.345 billion was invested; there was only a return of $AUD247 million. There is an uncertainty if the film will prove to be successful or not. The failures can be attained the commercial misjudgments (Barber 2009), not only by the...
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