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'Screen Australia's report Beyond the Box Office: Understanding Audiences in a Multi-Screen World (2011) identifies the resilience of established access points for distribution and exhibition despite expanding access to new avenues of engagement with screen content and participation with digital screens. Whilst much research seems to respond to a perceived threat about the open windows and unmapped territories of the digital signalling the demise of celluloid film culture, the broader spectrum of multimedia forms creating deep and broad audience engagement are not specific to the new millennium.' (Publication abstract)
'Feature films remain critical flagships to any national film industry. Australian feature films can be highly commercial endeavours that also perform symbolic functions by embodying the national imaginary in big screen based sound and imagery. They conduct a dialogue with domestic audiences as well as showcase key aspects of Australia in the global film festival circuit. As the pre-eminent filmmaking form, feature films also serve as important launchpads for the careers of many Australian writers, directors, actors and technical crew. In the wake of over a decade of diminished share of local box office obtained by Australian feature films, Australian feature films and distribution: industry or cottage industry?, examines issues in the production sector affecting the performance of Australian feature films and some responses by the central funding and support screen agency, Screen Australia.' (Publication abstract)
'The Melbourne Queer Film Festival's (MQFF) growth makes it a key example of an arts organisation embracing the creative industry. MQFF pursues corporate sponsorship to achieve economic sustainability and, in doing so, functions as an interesting case study for the conceptual shift from a traditional cultural policy framework – emphasising access, equity and grassroots representation – to a creative industries logic. The creative industries support a cultural policy that acknowledges the economic benefits of public participation. This development has seen a commodification of queer culture in order to add value to Melbourne's cultural identity. Queer film festivals are one of the main avenues for the distribution of queer cinema. This article will argue that the success of the festival is an outcome of its evolution and that it now occupies the middleground between community and neoliberal corporate interests. For such an organisation to be successful, financial and social values must be treated with equal importance. The queer film festival is an important and financially viable alternative to mainstream distribution of queer films. Film festivals that cater for a minority community represent a primary means of exhibition for many films that would otherwise struggle for distribution. This is evident in MQFF's support of three recent Australian queer feature films: 52 Tuesdays, Submerge and Monster Pies. MQFF is a socially legitimate avenue for distributing films that would not otherwise reach such a wide audience. MQFF moves underground queer content into a formal, commercial realm.' (Publication abstract)
'Ivan Sen’s 2013 feature Mystery Road [dir., 2013. Sydney: Mystery Road Films] seeks to break out of the arthouse mould of most Aboriginal cinema in its calculated adaptation of two seemingly disparate Hollywood genres, film noir and the western: genres which are foregrounded in the style and marketing of the film. Aaron Pedersen in his starring role as ‘Indigenous cowboy detective’ Jay Swan strikes a delicate balance between his compromised role as agent of the state and as freewheeling hero, for his role as a detective is underpinned by the ‘treacherous’ historical legacy of the tracker. In this article, I trace the central importance of the tracker figure in a reading of Mystery Road, taking in, among other texts, Sen's 1999 film Wind [dir., 1999. Australia: Mayfan Film Productions] and Arthur Upfield's ‘Bony’ novels. The troubled status of the tracker feeds into the noirish elements of Mystery Road, which ultimately requires a new kind of hero to emerge so that retribution may be enacted for past and present wrongs. That hero is the cowboy, a part for which Pedersen has been dressed all along.' (Publication abstract)
'This essay thinks through the populist Marxism of Bertolt Brecht, and more specifically his courtroom challenge to the film industry, in order to interpret the Australian film Ten Canoes as a communist film. The idea of communism has recently been proposed by French philosopher Alain Badiou as a way of naming projects that are not only anti-capitalist, but that also suggest alternative modes of organisation. Ten Canoes actualises Brecht's ideas about what a collective filmmaking process might consist of, and more significantly what it might look like. The stilted acting, multiple storylines and structure of the fable that Brecht employed in his theatre productions are also visible in Ten Canoes, forms that resulted from a filmmaking process that involved extensive consultation with a remote Australian Aboriginal community. Its members made decisions about the film's story, script and casting. This coincidence between a German theatre director's ideas and twenty-first-century cinema points to a coincidence of aesthetics and politics, to which this essay gives the name communist.' (Publication abstract)