When people are asked about Australian content, it isn’t always favourable. Australian’s view locally produced content as… Bogan, with an outback setting, manly characters, with terrible accents and purely just one big “piss up” in the country we call home. While this doesn’t surprise me, I still think Australia has produced some great film and television, Love Child, Rabbit Proof Fence, Underbelly, Packed to the Rafters, McLeod’s Daughters, The Wrong Girl, All Saints, Wentworth, Muriel’s Wedding, and Mad Max. The box office begs to differ with my personal opinion of great Australian content, I still enjoyed them, and I know that they are crowd favourites from our class discussions.
What classifies Australian Content to be “Australian”?
Screen Australia is the amalgamation of the Government, Australian Film Commission (AFC) and Film Finance Corporation (FFC) along with other agencies supporting the Australian Film Industry. Australian films are funded by the Federal Government to support “Australian screen production, with an aim to create an Australian industry that is innovative, culturally important and commercially stable” (Screen Australia, 2015).
When you think of Australian content in the media I bet you don’t think of The Great Gatsby, do you? Either did I at first, there was definitely no terrible Australian accents and there was nothing but class in the film although our drinking culture was definitely present. One Australian actress (Isla Fisher) doesn’t make it an Australian film, but according to Screen Australia, a film is classified as Significant Australian Content if:
- the subject matter of the film
- the place where the film was made
- the nationalities and places of residence of the persons who took part in the making of the film
- the details of the production expenditure incurred in respect of the film, and
- any other matters that we consider to be relevant.
We all love a bit of Leo and Isla but what classifies The Great Gatsby to be Australian is the great Baz Luhrmann – an Australian screen writer and producer (and his team that produced the film). Luhrmann gathered a significant amount of experienced cast and crew members (400 to be exact) over the 17 weeks of filming. While the NSW Government invested 40% of the Producer Rebate to assist with the production and financing of the film. At the AACTA Awards in 2014, Gatsby came out on top.
Creative content and control is a significant indicator to what classifies Australian Content. The clip below from Studio 10 covers the key points in the classification.
It seems as though even our Australian media professionals are confused and they need some clarification themselves.
While Australian’s cringe at the sight of our locally produced content, we hold the history close to our heart, and we will always feel at home with Australian content. Cringe worthy Australian content is being produced, but what Australia really wants is something that is engaging, entertaining and not another boring History lesson from High School that makes us want to fall asleep or worse, not watch it at all – Australian content should be celebrated not cringed at!