Going Off! (Video): Exploring The Current Australian Film Industry
Australian critic, Alex Lines, delves into the Australian film industry and the problems it faces in a three-part web-series. Part one: What even is an Australian film?
Welcome to the first episode of Going Off! An Exploration into the current state of the Australian Film Industry. Going Off! is a three-part web series which examines the current state of the Australian Film Industry, with each part looking at the different factors that are the sources of Australia’s film difficulties: Content, Finances and Distribution.
What is an Australian film?
This first part is an investigation into the content itself, which films are and aren’t being made. I break down the term “Australian Film”, highlighting the typical tropes and aesthetics of the common Australian-produced mainstream film and the usual go-to genres, which include kitchen sink dramas and bleak genre pictures. Other areas visited are the lack of content for teenage audiences, Australian audience’s disregard of Australian-made movies and the focus on prestige-over-profits.
The intention of this web-series is to highlight the problems that I have personally perceived in the industry, through my own experiences, critical analysis and a ton of research. This is not a damnation on the industry as a whole and it is not intended to be a series of angry rants where I shoot hyperbolic statements saying that “the industry is dead” or is on the brink of failure. Much like the problems Hollywood is experiencing, the Australian Film Industry is in a weird transitional period, with streaming platforms taking away from the dominance of the silver screen.
The problems the Australian Film Industry is facing
This means that whilst avenues of distribution rise, the promise of profit is slowly fading away, compounded by the already difficult guarantee of making profit within Australia. Making profit within Australia is quite hard, due to the general preference of mainstream audiences to indulge in foreign content, the difficulty to distribute these titles to mainstream audiences and the decreased numbers of general box office attendance thanks to the rise of accessible home cinema options.
Whilst some might find the need for this web-series quite worthless, due to the recent critical and financial successes of films such as Lion, Hacksaw Ridge, Mad Max: Fury Road and Red Dog, the industry is still not seen as a sustainable business, with the lack of consistent profit and major cuts to spending constantly forcing funding bodies and government agencies struggling to stay afloat. These financial issues will be more thoroughly examined in part 2, where I examine who funds Australian films and the problems they face constantly.
I would love to hear people’s general thoughts on the state of the Australian Film Industry and what they think of the current crop of Australian films that have been released within the past 10 years. Feedback on this first episode would be greatly appreciated as well, as I wish for the next episode to be even better. Thank you, and I hope you enjoy it!
Opinions expressed in our articles are those of the authors and not of the Film Inquiry magazine.