I recently came across an inspirational promotional short by Screen Australia titled ‘Australia’s World Class Talent‘. It reminded me of all that Australia has to offer moviemakers everywhere, and that my country has helped shape moviemakers’ vision of the future since the very first full-length feature film was made in Melbourne.
The public image of a country and the view from the inside can be two very different things. But right now, outside and inside views of Australia are converging. From the outside, our federal government is being censured for its handling of climate change, refugees, domestic violence and relations with nations to our north.
From the inside the government is earning censure for apparent ongoing mistreatment of our indigenous peoples, an ever-widening gender pay and opportunities gap, wholesale loss of industries and jobs, blows to our former leadership in human rights, a mania for coal mining, iron mining and fracking in the face of radical reductions in demand for coal and other mineral resources, environmental vandalism on an industrial scale, the dismantling of a once world-leading national broadband network while under construction, a dreadful budget and ongoing attacks on the arts, filmmaking, education, charities, health, medicine, welfare, pensions, savings and superannuation.
Australia’s World Class Talent
After escaping the worst of the Great Recession aka Global Financial Crisis, Australia's dollar has plummeted and a recession may well be on its way. Federal debt continues to blow out and interest rates remain low.
Australians can be forgiven for feeing just a little pessimistic right now. But then Screen Australia comes along and reminds us of some of the things we love about this country. One of these is the Australian spirit. I won’t define what that is here but I can point you to a social analysis document from McCrindle Research named ‘The Australian Community Spirit' that may help.Screen Australia inspires, promotes skills, creativity with movie - Australia’s World Class Talent. Click To Tweet
Back in 2013, an editorial from the Sydney Morning Herald titled ‘The Australian spirit abides, no matter who governs’ reminded us that “every individual has the power to resist the extremes; the responsibility to ensure the country doesn't become greedy, inward looking or heartless.”
With the next federal election due on or before January 14 2017, we can do with some reminders of what the Australian spirit really is, again. Constant reminders. Stark reminders. Emotive reminders.
I’d like to consider this short movie from Screen Australia the first of them. It is also a terrific advertisement for the acting and moviemaking talents of so Australians. Even if they spend much of their time overseas to earn a living, Australian actors, directors, writers, producers and crew are always keen to come back here for a project when they can.
When The Matrix was being made in Sydney, a special effects designer told me some foreign production staffers were referring to Australian crew members as “Mexicans with mobiles”. Something to do with the exchange rate then and our customary early adoption of new technologies, I was told.
The low exchange rate is back and our desired adoption of high speed broadband has taken a severe beating but our crews and post-production houses remain as highly skilled, as cutting edge as ever.
If any of you, dear readers, want to come put our cast, crew and the Australian spirit to the test, don’t hesitate. We’re waiting with open arms. We have so much to show you and to share with you. Our spirit endures.
(cover photo credit: snap from the video)