Australian film has a pretty bad reputation within, well, Australia. There seems to be some sort of misconception among audiences that all Australian films are depressing kitchen-sink dramas set in rural Australia.
Courtney Dawson – a former Canberran, now Sydneysider, and up and coming filmmaker – noticed that none of her friends cared about Australian film, and decided to do something about it. Her solution? To begin work on a documentary, ADVANCE AUSTRALIAN FILM, which aims to explore the relationship between Australian audiences and Australian film and find out why it has been 20 years since an Australian film has reached number one at our box office.
Courtney says about the project, “It ultimately hopes to find ways to help reinvigorate the passion for our national cinema. While we have been producing many critically acclaimed films over the years, interest in Australian films has been declining for too long. It’s time to make a change.”
The lack of interest Australian audiences have for local cinema is actually quite intriguing – especially considering how patriotic Australians can be about other aspects of our culture. When I ask Courtney why she thinks this is, she says she plans to find out – straight from the audience’s mouth. “That’s what I want to find out! While I will be interviewing filmmakers, actors and industry professionals, I also want the public to get involved and share their own thoughts and views on the subject. What type of films do you actually want to see? What do you think is wrong with the way our films are made? There is a forum on the website and social media platforms for readers to utilise.”
While Courtney doesn’t have a finish date for the project in mind yet – although she would like to complete the film within a year – she has raised enough funds for the next round of interviews. Rather than applying for government grants to gain assistance in making the documentary, Courtney turned to “crowdfunding,” a relatively new platform that allows artists, organisations and others to run an online donation scheme.
But why should people donate to the project – let alone genuinely care about the Australian film industry? Because we’ve made some pretty great films over the years.
“We have experienced high peaks of success in the ‘70s with films such as Mad Max, the ‘80s with Crocodile Dundee and the ‘90s with comedies such as Muriel’s Wedding, Priscilla and The Castle.”
But of these, Courtney considers the best to be Mad Max. “I think Mad Max is a fantastic film. It is really demonstrative of the type of big-scale genre films that Australia could be producing. We need to start making more films like that!”
To donate to the cause, make sure to check out the documentary’s website. You can also check out the doco’s Facebook page.