“Films from down under are going, well, down and under”(Humphries S cited in Kaufman T, 2009). This essay will confirm there is a crisis is the Australian Film Industry through exploring the economic, political and cultural factors that led to the crisis. The current economic climate and political decisions have had a significant impact on the Australian film industry, leading to lower production rates of overseas films in Australia. The internal and external cultural factors will be explored to highlight the responsibility the Australian public and the industry had and how failing to meet these responsibilities has further deepened the already unfortunate circumstances in the industry. However there are economical, political and cultural factors that have led to the crisis in the industry; this essay will also explore why it is called a ‘crisis’. Thus exploring the loss of jobs, the lack of Australian films being produced, and most importantly the erosion of a sense of national identity that Australian’s gain through Australian cinema. Recent successful Australian films ‘Australia’ (Luhrmaan B, 2008) and ‘Black Balloon’ (Down E, 2008) represents the quality that films should be produced to create a successful industry; this reinforces the sense of nationhood at risk of being lost.
There is a common misconception that the strong Australian dollar benefits the economy (Bodey M, 2010). However for the Australian film industry this is not the case, the Australian dollar has risen to a 28 year high (Dingle S, 2011) so it is justifiable to say this has significantly contributed to the crisis in the industry. Film executives believe that “the industry is in a crisis and in real pain but we can’t tell the real story without sending your international customers running” (unknown cited in Bodey M, 2010). Therefore, due to the strong dollar the film industry is in a lose-lose situation further deepening the crisis it is faced with. This is because international films being produced in Australia are significantly more expensive; hence Australia cannot remain competitive in the global market. Alaric McAusland from Deluxe Promotions states that the last international production that was produced in Australia was the 2009, Gavin Hood film ‘Wolverine’ and before that, Baz Lurhman’s Film ‘Australia’ (2008) (Cited in Dingle S, 2011). This three-year drought in international film production in Australia exemplifies the importance of a particular economic climate in order to attract overseas production in Australia and to lead to a successful Film Industry.
The strong Australian dollar has significantly reduced the amount of international films being produced in Australia in recent years. Rising Sun Pictures co-founder Tony Clark stated that the current economic climate is “killing us all” and finding new business is crucial but close too impossible at this stage (cited in Bodey M, 2010). This has led to a chain of inopportune circumstances, further elevating the extent of the crisis. Due to the lack of international film production in Australia there is significant lull in jobs in the film industry. The current situation in the industry can be labeled as a crisis as production companies are cutting staff to reduce costs and then the skilled crewmembers are moving out of film industry into other areas such as advertising and television (Dingle S, 2011). Production in Australia also creates employment through the use of stunt doubles, extras and film crew. The lack of overseas production will therefore result in limited job opportunities in the industry. Therefore the strong dollar has a negative impact on the economy through the perspective of the film industry, as there are higher unemployment rates. Ultimately the Australian film industry needs to position themselves differently within the current economic climate and market place to gain some sort of benefit from the current economic climate (Hearn G, Ryan M D, 2010).
Cited: in Dingle S, 2011). This three-year drought in international film production in Australia exemplifies the importance of a particular economic climate in order to attract overseas production in Australia and to lead to a successful Film Industry.
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