The Brisbane Times, in its article Film industry calls for more local support after Hollywood incentive, is reporting there is some dissatisfaction with the newly announced $400 million of federal government incentives to attract international film and TV productions:
Australian Writers Guild president Shane Brennan said the funding was a “$400 million giveaway to Hollywood” at a time when the Australian industry was bleeding out.
“It shows a total lack of faith in the Australian industry and Australian storytelling,” Mr Brennan said.
Legendary Australian playwright David Williamson expressed the same sentiment a couple of years ago when Queensland was chasing the Dora the Explorer production, with the ABC reporting at the time (Veteran screenwriter David Williamson calls for more local movies, as Queensland chases blockbusters):
Australia’s most prolific playwright says Queensland needs to produce more local films telling local stories, instead of continuously chasing Hollywood blockbusters.
I’ve long been critical of film industry assistance, as we appear to have fallen for the tactic Hollywood studios use of playing governments off each against each other, to the point where the local benefits end up being minimal and potentially negative. If we are to provide assistance, it would be better directed toward supporting genuinely Australian productions which have some cultural value, as I argued in my 2017 CIS paper on The Case Against Film Industry Subsidies. I can see some value in supporting the production of classic Aussie films like Mad Max or Picnic at Hanging Rock, but not Aquaman or Dora the Explorer.
Australian Writers Guild president Shane Brennan has said the federal government’s latest film industry support package is a “$400 million giveaway to Hollywood”. Photo by Paul Deetman, via Canva.