SciFiNow’s Jonathan Hatfull queries the state of the Australian genre film:
Renowned Canadian film scholar Kier-La Janisse has joined the Monster Fest team this year as Festival Director and Head Programmer, and she tells us that there are clear points of comparison in the two nations’ genre movie histories.
“I feel the trajectory in Australia mirrors our own,” she explains. “We had a ‘golden age’ in the Seventies and Eighties that resulted in a glut of exploitation and oddball indie films. Ours was due to the tax shelter, and Australia’s was purportedly due to the founding of the Australian Film Television and Radio School, both situations that set the stage for more active production. A lot of the films that were made were seen as embarrassments by the powers that be. I think this resulted in more conservative mandates about the types of films that could get public funding, and so both countries had a bit of a slump because of this, and a general lack of pride in their national filmmaking. Both countries got a jolt by an exploitation film – in Australia it was Wolf Creek.”
Worth a read for not just a clear understanding genre film funding in Australia, but a thorough one. Screenwriter Aaron Sterns has some pivotal tidbits to contribute. Genre isn’t as dirty a word as it used to be here, but it still has travels ahead. Don’t be surprised in the end if it’s the independents – a fresh breed of homegrown Sam Raimi’s and Peter Jacksons – who highjack the scene. This will only happen if they keep their arses firmly planted on our soil instead of leveling up overseas as most do.