Thursday, 13 August 2009

MUFF X Marks the Spot



Richard has drafted another one of his infamous Open Letters to The Australian Film Industry. You can have a peep at it on the MUFF page. Some of the points he covers relate to the general apathy on the issue of Australian film despite Mindshift, the summit arranged by Film Vic, Genre and Commercial Filmmaking as leading priorities of Government Body attitudes towards our film market, Accountability by the decision makers on films that flop, Supporting the alternative industry, Reward talent and success, More money invested in the promotion of Australian films, An end to political correctness and “Australian content” prerequisites and biases in both the industry and in funding bodies, and A change in industry methodology amongst other aspects of our critically empty Film Industry.

It's an initial draft, and Richard is one of the few public representatives of front-line issues in our industry, the rest seem too worried about frightening the horses. From my own stable, the thought of turning to the novel has been endearing. The same way Sartre turned to writing for the stage. The absolute funk of Australian Film has made me a great cynic but as Bernard Shaw says "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it."

I see potentially unique people around me whose ideas are very creative but don't get a look in, and people around me whose ideas are utterly uninspiring grow from strength to strength. I still see it as a general cultural thing and not necessarily related to film, I still feel the tightening of conservative attitudes being filtered into the system by my generation who as they age are bagging the "errors" of their youth and storing them in the attic of the soul, and I, like Pope and Swift, shall remain always slightly on the satirical side of this cultural curvature. It is hard to justify an objective outlook, because you will find that the Film Industry is temperamental, on one hand you might get a filmmaker unsatisfied with the nature of his/her creative place in the scheme of things but then on the other hand if that very same filmmaker begins to find personal success, then all the former problems begin to drift away.

A filmmaker who is doing alright for themselves or finally getting some attention will stop criticizing and begin licking the hand that feeds it. It is all extremely transparent and we've seen it all before. This is instinctive reactive human behavior anyway, it is a corruption of the survival instinct that only a conscious self analytical being can have, and unless it is rivaled by numbers, no form of fluxus will be achieved on the whole.

From my side of things we should be having the Great Create Debate not discussions about policies and the subject matter of our films. Clearly audiences aren't really that interested in going to see the kind of films filmmakers want to make. If you want to make content that audiences are desperate to see, make Soap Operas or Panel Shows. The cinema is slowly drifting towards 3D anyway as it can't compete with HDV Home Theatres, and portable content will be at the polar axis of that distribution concept, in the middle will be the new wave of IMAX experiences. Mass audiences want to see Gone with the Wind in spectacular 3D and not some flat screened Arthouse horror or pseudo skin flick trash movie as I would probably make. That's from the "career/industry" end anyway.

I don't have anything to lose by being cynical as I am quite content in my own little film making practice. I know who my audience is, and I hope they are both well, and I am not looking for a career in filmmaking because I write and make as part of the function of my being. Having said that though, I wouldn't do what I do if there wasn't some exit into the external for my ideas. Maybe I am naive in seeing it as pointless to purely create for one's own benefit, but that I guess is what drives many of us differently to exude our presence in some way as we go about the process of living amongst the many others who have sought to do the same.

In any case, once again, that is my Pennies worth in the social slot machine, and maybe it does or maybe it doesn't count for something. I don't need to be wrong to not be right, if you know what I mean.

Don't forget that Errol Flynn's Pianist will be in Switzerland, for the One Minute Film and Video Festival 21-23rd of August 2009.

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