"The average Australian film has about nine to 17 co-investors"
- Mark Woods, head of MIFF's 37 Degrees South, a kind of "speed-dating" event that enables filmmakers to meet local and international financers, sales agents and distributors. Quoted in today's The Age.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Before getting production funding to make Australian drama Cedar Boys (out on Thursday) filmmaker Serhat Caradee was required by the (now defunct) Australian Film Commission to shoot pilot scenes to give a notion of potential characters, locations, shooting and acting style. I learned this from Michael Bodey's story in today's The Australian.
It strikes me as an eminently sensible idea, given the cheapness of digital film-making. It's how Baz Luhrmann acquired funding commitments from 20th Century Fox when he was pitching the idea of shooting Romeo + Juliet using Shakespearean text.
I suggested the Australian funding agencies adapt this system several years ago. It's encouraging to see it has been adopted - better late than ever. Sure, filmmakers probably think it's a pain in the ass, but it's a very useful way for a funding body to see how a new director envisages the material and how likely he/ she is to is to achieve their vision. Musicians years ago got used to making "demo" recordings; why not filmmakers, now the technology has created the possibility?
Caredee says in the Bodey interview that he would have thought his award-winning shorts would have been enough to secure funding. He got the production money and still he complains? There's a world of difference between making a much-admired short and becoming an accomplished feature director. The story architecture is on a different level, ditto narrative and characterisation.
Anyone know if Screen Australia requiring a similar commitment from untested feature filmmakers asking for funds?
Monday, July 27, 2009
Trying to book tickets from the Melbourne Filmfest (MIFF) website has certainly been frustrating, but I've managed it. Just. After repeated attempts over the weekend - when the site was frequently down due to pro-Chinese hackers - I finally got on today but spent wasted teeth-gnashing time being rejected by the system.
Not the hackers this time, but a thoughtlessly designed system that requires the entry in different places of Passwords and Pass numbers without pointing out these are entirely separate things. (Or was I just being dumb? OK, don't answer that.) I'll quit whingeing right there since the PRs have been kind enough to give me a media pass. You expect me to be ungracious?
I won't be blogging on the films until near the end of the festival, as I only get there from Sydney on Thursday August 6, just ahead of the closing weekend. Melbourne Film Blogger Paul Martin is however blogging on the event and has a useful link to other bloggers covering MIFF.
From today's MIFF e-news:
""THE MELBOURNE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL CONFIRMS REPORTS IN THE SUNDAY AGE THAT THE MAIN FESTIVAL WEBSITE WAS BREACHED AND HAS BEEN SUBJECTED TO CONTINUING ATTEMPTS TO HACK INTO OUR SYSTEM.
"AS A RESULT OF THESE ATTEMPTS PATRONS WISHING TO VIEW OUR WEBSITE MAY EXPERIENCE SLOWER THAN NORMAL RESPONSE TIMES. WE ASK YOU TO BE PATIENT AND BEAR WITH THIS AS WE DEAL WITH AN EVOLVING SITUATION.
"NO DAMAGE HAS BEEN CAUSED OTHER THAN A MESSAGE BEING DISPLAYED ON THE MAIN FESTIVAL WEBSITE.
MIFF ASSURES ITS PATRONS AND CUSTOMERS THAT ALL PRIVATE CUSTOMER INFORMATION REMAINS SECURE AND CUSTOMERS CAN PURCHASE WITH CONFIDENCE."
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Very interesting piece in Senses of Cinema on Wake in Fright, including an interview with the director, Ted Kotcheff.
Raffaele Caputo, Senses of Cinema: "The main criticism levelled at the film when it was released in Australia was its uncompromisingly scurrilous view of Australians, exposing a dark side to the mateship myth that, as Jack Thompson had said to you, people felt was unrealistic. Yet, a question I have always asked myself is why (the stranded schoolteacher protagonist) John Grant, near the end of the film when he boards the train that’s taking him back to Tiboonda, and after all that he has been through, graciously accepts a beer that’s offered to him?
"It tells me that what we have seen prior to this moment - the brutality, the menace, the aggressive hospitality of the Australian character - was not meant to be taken realistically, but that it’s John’s heightened, surreal, distorted point-of-view of that world."
Kotcheff: "I agree and that’s because he is outside of the community. One of my favourite moments is when John Grant is at the two-up venue and he meets Doc Tydon for the first time. The young teacher makes some snobby remark and Doc says, “It’s death to farm out here. It’s worse than death in the mines. You want them to sing opera as well?” To me, that line is the whole point of the film: this guy is an outsider and does not really understand what is going on in that world and has a kind of distorted vision of it..."