The Amy Schumer romantic comedy Trainwreck was release in Australia on 13 August nearly a whole month after it opened in the US. This is typical as you can see from this great article in The Guardian Australia. I am sure the 'why' is about big corporations making money. But as everyone knows technology is forcing a change in the distribution model. Just not in Australia as yet. I am not going to get into the piracy discussion, you can read about that here, I am going to ask why some films, 22 days after being released in the US, get a blitz of screenings in Australia that last three months and why some films are off our screens in four days? Basically, there is no formula that I can find. It seems to be a dark arts of distribution and exhibition that is wedded to that old adage that the audience for movies are teenage boys and this will make the most amount of money for the big corporations that run entertainment in the western world. That opinion is clearly made at the end of this wonderful article from the IF Magazine that lays out the distribution crisis of Australian-made films. The choices of what Australians can see on the big screen is getting smaller and smaller and that means the money that is being made is shrinking. This does not seem to be a sustainable business model. Most importantly this model is a disservice to Australian audiences, as this ABC radio article says, " viewers don't choose what they see at the cinema, that decision is made for them by the cinema, which chooses what to book and what to screen." I know that is only part of the problem, but for an film lover living in Australia, it is the main one. Something needs to change.
The Secret River is a prestigious TV two part mini-series from the Australian Broadcast Corporation (ABC) that premiered at the Sydney Film Festival last night. It will be shown on the ABC this coming weekend and will be available to all Australians online and on the TV. It is an important production for a local industry that has funding cuts, a talent drain to the USA and the UK, and public apathy at the box office for local content. It has a lot riding on it for the local TV industry.
What a burden. In addition, it is a slowly building story based on the novel by Kate Grenville, which is now taught as part of the school curriculum in Australian schools. It has also previously been dramatised as play that was put on as part of the 2013 Sydney Festival. It is a story of Australian colonisation though the eyes of one family who claim land along the Hawkesbury River, just north of Sydney, and their actions in the face of an Indigenous population resisting this invasion. Thankfully, the production is beautifully shot and acted and it builds towards a literal and emotional massacre that will stay with the viewer. In a white washed Australia it is an important story to tell. It will start conversations and it will help give a voice to the secrets of the past that still scar the Aboriginal communities today.