This paper theorises film festivals as distribution circuits, positioning film festivals in the broader cinema ecology to assess their role in delivering local films to local audiences. Recasting current research trends into film festivals through the lens of distribution enables us to see how festivals function as more than another exhibition screen - as a type of distributor. I offer a case study of Sydney Film Festival to explore the following research questions: What is the distributive function and nature of film festivals for Australian films? What happens to local titles following their festival runs? How can we explain the gap between Australian films' continued popularity at film festivals and their continued under-performance in the rest of the marketplace? In answering these questions, this article demonstrates how film festivals have become crucial to both the Australian film industry and the cinema industry at large over the last 10 years, to the point that they have almost replaced the art-house circuit and come to provide an essential, highly specialised distribution channel for small to medium budget films. For this reason, I argue that material and economic drivers are as essential to the current boon in film festivals as cultural ones, and that the film festival circuit has not been able to address the problem of distribution for auteurist, independent and art cinema in an age of digitisation. I present evidence that localises, concretises and specifies festival research, suggesting the major festivals in Australia are an increasingly discrete and self-contained distribution sector within the wider cinema ecology, which has significant implications for theorisations of festivals as feeders for theatrical circuits.
This article discusses the problems that Australian films face in the big distribution model, and ways that producers have rethought how their films are funded and distributed. To do this it uses the case study of Robert Connolly's Cinema Plus exhibition company. Although there is a historical precedence set for Connolly's self distribution venture, this shift to rethink how Australian films are being distributed and exhibited is certainly representative of a changing reassessment of the porous relationship between production and exhibition, which for some time Screen Australia demarcated in by two separate pools. What Cinema Plus represents is a recognition that conventional big distribution is not always the most effective way to reach the widest possible audience.
Marshall's Walkabout and Nicolas Roeg's adaptation of that novel appeared at different points in Aboriginal trauma narrative constructions. Works often appear before a trauma narrative is complete. In this article, I employ an analysis of the imperial gaze as a way of evaluating the two works. I investigate Nicolas Roeg's 1971 adaptation of the novel in the context of the evolving Australian Aboriginal trauma narrative and also in the context of the Aboriginal narrative being one narrative among many in the larger global civil rights narrative. The source novel is itself the product of a stage in the Aboriginal trauma narrative. As the trauma narrative evolves, it opens up new definitions of the experience represented in the novel. Roeg examines and engages these developments in his adaptation. Roeg revises the racial and domestic logic of the novel, exposing its civil rights ethics as a product of arrested development. His film is best understood if one understands that it exists as part of the building of a larger trauma narrative.