We all love movies right? Whether it’s a bit of comedy, action or romance, it’s a perfect escape. Being a huge movie buff myself, I could not imagine a world without the comfort and entertainment that films provide us. There have been countless blockbusters created by Hollywood, smashing global box offices and serving up all the goods. In saying so, thinking about the potential of this beautiful country we live in, what is driving the decline in home-grown Aussie movies? And what is happening to the Australian Film Industry?
The Australian Film Industry as we know it, has had its successes. With movies such as Crocodile Dundee, Australia, Babe and Rabbit Proof Fence, we’ve seen that there is the potential to make good, classic movies, but for some reason, we just can’t keep the momentum going. I’ll be the first to admit it, Australian film has been on struggle street for some time now.
There is no singular, “real” reason as to why the AIF is deteriorating, but I believe, in order to understand how the Australian Film Industry can improve its credibility and connect with Australian audiences, there needs to be a review into their current strengths, weaknesses and a look into the qualities that attract their target audiences to international film.
According to Toli Papadopolous article ‘An Aussie film decline? The reasons are a dogs breakfast‘, on the ‘Daily Review’, there is a growing number of audiences tuning in to watch Australian television programmes, such as House Husbands, Offspring and Winners & Losers, indicating that Australian content is still quite relevant. “Local content is still a regular part of the audience’s media diet, although television appears to be the dominant medium. Yet in an age of multi-platform media, it becomes increasingly difficult to measure a films success- considering less than 10 per cent of Australian films are viewed at the cinemas”.
To put simply, there really is no strong interest in Australian movies. Personally, (and not mentioning any movie in particular) I feel that they tend to be immensely cheesy, the plot lines feel like ‘cheap knock-offs’ from their US film counterparts and there is a lack of connectivity to draw in audiences. So, how do we fix this?
There is unbelievable potential for Australian film. There are so many innovative ideas floating around, not to mention the rise of popular Aussie actors and actresses taking over the big screen, it is quite possible to have competitive movies that are enjoyed by not only an Australian audience, but internationally also. To do so, the industry needs to re-evaluate their current motives. Consideration needs to be taken in the decline of cinema attendance. With a rise in film piracy, and online viewing, fewer people are going to the cinemas due to expensive prices in ticket and confectionary items, along with the fact that there is free access to movies currently at cinemas, online, which audiences can stream from their comfort of their own homes. Significantly for people living in the spatial dimension of rural areas, this would be ideal for them, instead of taking the hefty trip to see an Australian movie, which may not reach their expectations.
With a fascination and admiration for Hollywood, Australia is at risk of conforming to an Americanized culture. This country is unlike any other. We have our own sense of humour and unique lifestyle, that it would be a shame to lose it all through the entertainment world. We are fast becoming lost in globalisation, and being succumbed by a sub-culture that doesn’t identify with our own.
Yes, Hollywood may be all glitz, glamour and full of beautiful people, but we have something that Hollywood has so little of, RARITY!
To attempt to fix this, qualitative research must be undertaken. I feel that Australian Film Industry still are unaware of what the Australian public want in their films and entertainment. Detailed ethnographic research would be beneficial to identify what is or isn’t working. This research can be in the form of surveying, giving out half-price tickets for Australian films, or offering promotional, discounted items through DVD stores or electronic retailers in exchange for their thoughts, views and opinions on Australian film and the things they look for in a good movie.
In order to gain more stabilised information, an analysis of different demographics within Australia should be also coerced. With information regarding social, environmental, technological and other qualitative figures that are relevant, the Australian Film Industry will be able to shed light on the reasons of their decline, and then utilise their tools to revive their possible promising future. It may take some time, but I truly believe that if they can entertain and connect to Australian audiences, like they have in the past, we will once again re-stamp our place in the entertainment world.