Our film industry may be booming, but we don’t tell Australian stories

She says the international production boom has had unforeseen repercussions for small content films made in Australia with relatively tiny budgets, which were already struggling to get made, from being overpriced when it came to to attract local teams and to find distributors and cinema exhibitors willing to support them “long enough for an audience to discover them”.

“They’re up against big blockbusters with huge marketing budgets; if these small no-budget Australian films don’t compete, they disappear from screens within weeks before people can experience them. Cinema exhibitors have to make money.

Shot with Queensland doubling for Bali: David (George Clooney) and Georgia (Julia Roberts) in <i>Ticket to Paradise.” loading=”lazy” src=”https://static.ffx.io/images/$zoom_0.294%2C$multiply_0.4431%2C$ratio_1.5%2C$width_756%2C$x_223% 2C$y_0/t_crop_custom/q_86%2Cf_auto/87ed0e8c8708fdecbc5a01aa5941777c67e75755″ height=”224″ width=”335″ srcset=”https://static.ffx.io/images/$zoom_0.294%2C$multiply_0.4431%2C$ ratio_1.5%2C$width_756%2C$x_223%2C$y_0/t_crop_custom/q_86%2Cf_auto/87ed0e8c8708fdecbc5a01aa5941777c67e75755, https://static.ffx.io/images/$zoom_0.294%2C$multiply_0.8862%2C .5%2C$width_756%2C$x_223%2C$y_0/t_crop_custom/q_62%2Cf_auto/87ed0e8c8708fdecbc5a01aa5941777c67e75755 2x”/></picture></div><figcaption class=

Filmed with Queensland doubling for Bali: David (George Clooney) and Georgia (Julia Roberts) in Ticket to paradise.Credit:Universal

“The last thing we want is to become a service industry for American movies. So many Australian producers who might once have produced local feature films with cultural value are now working as service producers on international projects or for streamers. All of that profit and that intellectual property goes offshore.

The federal government agency Screen Australia – through its funding mechanisms – is key to the making of Australian films and TV series. Projects must meet rigorous Australian content criteria to be eligible, which can include things like the subject of the film or where it is shot.

Thor: Love and Thunder, Elvis and the next Mad Max Furiosa all qualified for the offsets, which offered significant tax breaks.

Those incentives, along with her own star power, helped Nicole Kidman bring in Australian author Liane Moriarty Nine perfect strangers airing TV series production in Byron Bay, but we ended up seeing a story set in Hawaii (the book is set in remote Australia) with the Australian actors speaking American, while Kidman’s character was apparently Russian.

<i>How to please a woman</i> grossed a respectable $2.3 million at the box office.  ” loading=”lazy” src=”https://static.ffx.io/images/$zoom_0.747%2C$multiply_0.4431%2C$ratio_1.5%2C$width_756%2C$x_70%2C$y_0/ t_crop_custom/q_86%2Cf_auto/ca11a3bd0f9c03e4ce356f173b490ce50b6bcbc8″ height=”224″ width=”335″ srcset=”https://static.ffx.io/images/$zoom_0.747%2C$multiply_0.4431%2C$ratio_1.5% 2C$width_756%2C$x_70%2C$y_0/t_crop_custom/q_86%2Cf_auto/ca11a3bd0f9c03e4ce356f173b490ce50b6bcbc8, https://static.ffx.io/images/$zoom_0.747%2C$multiply_0.8862%2C$2Cratio_1.5% $width_756%2C$x_70%2C$y_0/t_crop_custom/q_62%2Cf_auto/ca11a3bd0f9c03e4ce356f173b490ce50b6bcbc8 2x”/></picture></div><figcaption class=

How to please a woman earned a respectable $2.3 million at the box office.

The Directors Guild of Australia asked the producers – Kidman’s Blossom Pictures – for an Australian director to be attached to the production, but was turned down, reportedly due to COVID-19 restrictions.

This prompted the guild’s executive director, Diana Burnett, to seek the support of Screen Australia to insert a provision in the location mismatch rules stating that there must be an Australian director attachment on all projects that receive l incitement, but Screen Australia said it was up to the communications minister.

There was, however, an unexpected and promising benefit of the pandemic for smaller Australian films, as many big international films were held back.

In February 2021, seemingly for the first time in the country’s box office history, the top three films all featured quintessentially Australian stories: The drystarred and produced by Eric Bana, Heights with Simon Baker and the band led by Naomi Watts penguin flower.

The boom in Australian film production does not mean that we will soon see Mick Dundee on our screens again. Credit:Primordial

“It proved that Australians have an appetite for culturally Australian films,” Maslin presumes.

Bain Stewart, who worked closely with Leah Purcell to obtain The Herdsman’s Wife on screen, seemingly against huge odds ranging from bushfires to COVID-19, admits the film still playing in cinemas nine weeks after its release is almost unheard of for local films telling local stories.

“A lot of that can be attributed to Leah, who took a story from Henry Lawson and reimagined it for today’s audiences,” Stewart said.


“It’s like preparing for the Melbourne Cup. We put absolutely everything into it, but this project has been going on for many years, from staging to book, but ultimately it’s the quality of the central story that has sustained it all.

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Lucas E. Kelly