Aust Film needs an Anthem

The Chauvel possibly hadn’t seen so such a big audience in a long while. And that was precisely the problem. Which is why it was packed to the rafters for Metro Screen‘s industry event ‘OZ FILMS Vs. OZ AUDIENCE‘, a panel based discussion a few hours ago led by Andrew Urban.

The findings were varied, so much so that aspirations for a 10-point plan at the beginning resulted in only two by the end – and one of those divided opinion.

But the resounding message, proposed by AFTRS’ Dr Karen Pearlman and discussed at length in the December issue of the film school’s journal Lumina, was that Australia needs to “stop telling its own stories” and start “making more myths”. Stories of scale, dynamism and, above all, inspiration.

In other words, it needs less slit-your-wrists a’capella style films and more anthems to rouse the masses. (Or, more’s the point, both. And everything in between.) Where is the We Will Rock You of Australian film? The Wonderwall? The FIFA World Cup playlist?

Then we might hear the stomp of many happy feet into our cinemas when the next Australian film is screening.

Other highlights of the night included:

• “It’s a fallacy that [Australia] has poor creativity. I read five scripts a week and most of them are crap. A good script is really, really difficult and we churn out about as many of them as you’d expect.” – Troy Lum, Hopscotch Entertainment

• “Remember what Hitchcock said: Film is life with the boring bits cut out.’ Well, we don’t cut the boring bits out!” – Tony Ginnane,

• “We need to get some perspective: these people [who don’t watch Australian films] wouldn’t have seen Half Nelson either, or La Vie En Rose – and that was nominated for the Oscar for Best Foreign Film!” – Rachel Ward, director of Beautiful Kate

• “Think of the last ride in The Man From Snowy River. Australian audiences want that moment! They don’t mind the tough trip but they want that payoff.” – Margaret Pomeranz, At The Movies

• “Most of our successful films – Crocodile Dundee, Happy Feet, Priscilla: Queen of the Desert – have been hero stories… films that tell them we can endure things” – Garry Maddox, SMH

• “We need to invest in the foundation – time, money – not just in the infrastructure [of development process]” – Louisa Carlin, Australian Writers’ Guild

• “I disagree with paying ‘writers in rooms’.” – Dr Ruth Harley, Screen Australia

• “It’s not the number of drafts, it’s the idea behind it. Every writer should have 20 ideas. If one’s not right, stop peddling it around! Move on to another one… This is the business of ideas.” – Troy Lum


• “These are good films. If Australian don’t want to see them, STUFF THEM! They’re bloody lazy!” – Margaret Pomeranz
Panel member Margaret Pomeranz

To hear Troy Lum talk more about “the business of ideas” and his place in it, come to Friday On My Mind tonight, Friday Oct 23, at AFTRS.

Leave a Reply