Jay Swan, a detective, returns home to an outback town to solve the murder of a teenage Indigenous girl, whose body is found near a trucking route out of town.
'If you were among the 786,000 viewers who watched the premiere of ABC's crime drama Mystery Road in June, you might have found yourself admiring Meyne Wyatt's work.' (Introduction)
'Director Rachel Perkins leaves her mark on this satisfying spin-off of Ivan Sen’s film with the aid of a stellar cast and outstanding cinematography.' (Introduction)
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.