Producer Annie Kinnane expresses a common complaint in the industry: Often by the time she and her friends hear about a new Australian film it’s been yanked off screens before they had a chance to see it.
Instead of just griping, she’s doing her bit to increase awareness by launching a Facebook page this week, entitled Australian Films You Will Want to See.
She’s encouraging her FB friends and the wider industry to post an item as soon as they’ve seen a film they can recommend.
That initiative is in a similar vein to When Did You Last Pay to See an Australian Film at the Cinema?, a FB page created earlier this month by My Mistress producer Leanne Tonkes.
Tonkes is asking her industry peers to nominate the last Aussie film they paid to see, as opposed to freebie previews, AACTA, funding body or post house screenings, and running regular listings of Australian films in release and their locations.
Taking that a step further, she is researching the development of an app that would alert users where and when an Aussie film is screening, with reminders hours/days/weeks out.
The app would also enable people to click through to purchase tickets and potentially also provide alerts when they are near a cinema screening the film.
Another function would be alerts to the DVD and VoD release and cable and free-to-air screenings of users' favourite titles, including a catalogue of classics such as Animal Kingdom, Lantana and Red Dog.
Kinnane says on her page, “There's a lot been said in recent industry press about Australian audiences turning their backs on homegrown films, citing inappropriate genres, bad distribution and lack of marketing dollars.
“But what if it's more simple than that? Half my friends work in the industry and we'd all love to support our Aussie films but half the time we don't hear about them before they're pulled off the cinema screens … and that includes the good and very good ones.
“Some don't even make it to cinema screens because they can't compete with the Hollywood blockbusters buying out all the screens, so they get released straight to DVD or wherever good films end up when no-one gets a chance to see them.
“So here's our opportunity to band together and if you see a good Australian film, post about it here QUICKLY so we can put our money where our mouth is. If we can contribute to growth in the sector it might also encourage better scripts (God knows this is where a lot of Aussie films fall down) and better budgets.
“For a technically amazing filmmaking country to have such a dismal percentage of our own content succeed on home screens is a sorry state. Let's make a difference, let's champion good films that happen to have been made in Australia.“
That’s just the first step in Kinnane’s mission to help promote Oz films. She plans to gather a group of film industry friends to preview Oz films a month or so before release.
The group would then arrange an event screening for every film that's coming out, which they rate as good or very good, at a venue to be decided, perhaps Event Cinemas Bondi Junction.
A long-time TVC producer, Kinnane has just produced her third short film, Flat Daddy, based on a short story of the same name by Louise D’Arcy, which won The Age short story award in 2009.
The writer-director is Matt Holcomb, who is in advanced development on his first feature Pinball. The short was one of three projects to receive production funding from Screen NSW’s emerging filmmakers fund.
Starring Kat Stewart, Christian Clark, Kathryn Beck and Sophia Tsoltoudis, Flat Daddy tells how a life-size cardboard cut-out of an absent husband and father becomes a source of obsession, rupture and unrest.
The DoP was Geoffrey Hall (Red Dog, Chopper, Dirty Deeds, Drift). Guy Gross is composing the score. Kinnane hopes the 15-minute short will be invited to major international festivals and expects it will travel widely on the fest circuit.