Ozploitation: the exploitation of Australian films and filmmakers taking advantage of the 10BA tax rebate. Typically, genre films such as Horror, Thrillers, corny Romance and Actions films that were made on a low budget with R18+ ratings were classified as Ozploitation films.
It all started in the 1970’s when the government supported the Australian film and television industry. They gave a 150% rebate to producers and film makers which created the Boom in the film and television industry. The government soon caught on to what was happening and soon cut the rebates to 133% in 1981, and again in 1983 to 100%. Ryan (2012), touches on the ‘Boom and Bust era’ that made the industry and it is evident through Australian history and Burns and Eltham (2010), paper that the government has played a huge role in the funding and the creation of Australian film and television. At the end of the 10BA we saw a lowered tax rebate for producers which slowed private investments into the industry.
The Ozploitation of genres in the film and television industry became a problem as years went on because of the content restrictions that were put into place by the government to filter movies. There were great debates between what was classified as art and self-expression against what was going to boost the Australian economy and the Australian film and television industry. Ryan (2012), discusses that if a film was too recognisably Australian, then it wouldn’t make it to the international screens. You may be thinking, what about Crocodile Dundee (1986) and Mad Max (1979) – they were Australian films, yes, although they were co-production films meaning that they had big Hollywood names to the production. Crocodile Dundee was also half set in New York which attracted a larger audience.
The documentary Not Quite Hollywood by Mark Hartley tells us a lot about the Ozploitation era. The genre era when films weren’t just ‘Australian films’. The genre’s included; violence, horror and action, with some great films coming out of each genre – Alvin Purple, Mad Max, Turkey Shoot, Patrick, The Man From Hong Kong and Long Weekend. Genre’s appeals to different audiences making them successful. For example; Alvin was made on a budget of $200,000 and took $500,000 in the box office.
Tarantino, a ‘fan’ of Australian film in the Not Quite Hollywood documentary, said that “at one stage, Australian films were so bang on, that even the Italians were ripping them [Australians] off.”
Action was the currency of the movie market when Australian films were being produced in the 70’s and 80’s. This meant that producers were fearless in these times, they gambled with their lives to get the perfect shot for the films. In most productions, it was lucky that no one died. Producers also started to bring in American actors because they believed it was the way to sell into the American and European market. Although some thought that it was crazy to even attempt to make it into the American market. There was huge controversy over bringing in American actors and actresses because they were taking jobs off Australian talent. Producers had to appeal to audiences in some way so they did what they had to do to get more attention in the market.
“This is why we watch exploitation cinema – to ask if this is really happening” Quentin Tarantino
Burns, Alex and Eltham, Ben “Boom and Bust in Australian Screen Policy:10BA, the Film Finance Corporation and Hollywood’s ‘race to the bottom’”. Media International Australia. August 2010, No. 136, p. 103-118.
Ryan, Mark David (2012), “A silver bullet for Australian cinema? Genre movies and the audience debate”. Studies in Australasian Cinema. 6 (2) p. 141-157.
Film: Not Quiet Hollywood, 2008, Mark Hartley