Sunday, September 6, 2009

Distribute This!

I just put up a piece about Australian film over at The Film Experience. It basically asks why nobody outside of Australia seems to care that this country is experiencing one of its greatest ever years in filmmaking. If this were France or Italy or some country in Asia or the Middle East it would be called a "renaissance" or "new wave", but because we don't speak in a language or make genre movies nobody seems to wanna notice. Such a shame, really.


And then I was at InContention and the normally quite smart Kris Tapley asked "Samson & Delilah is playing Telluride and I’m looking for a reason to see it. Hit me, Glenn." I tried to post the following piece of HTML-heavy reply, but I think it refused it, so I am putting it on here.

You want reasons to see Samson & Delilah? How about this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this or this.

Need I say more?

It really does beg the question though, how can this, a movie that has gotten reviews like this (unanimous praise), has won awards at Cannes and elsewhere around the globe and has been hailed as one of the greatest films Australia has ever produced, not have international distribution. I know studios/distributors are downsizing and such, but this has arthouse hit written all over it. Hell, I could even see it making a bit of a dent during awards season in the way films like City of God have.

Of course, if this movie was Europe then people would be all over it, which is just a shame.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Not exactly no distributed internationally. Check out http://samsonanddelilah.com.au/faqs.php

It points out that S&D has

"... sold the film to many territories in the rest of the world. The UK, France and South Africa will all release the film theatrically early next year - dates and details to be confirmed."

Also sure that I read somewhere else ... that arab states and benlux too have taken it. Rumours rumours.

Also saw an unconfirmed "film opens in New Zealand on October 1" on the facebook site.

So I think that it is just early days for the life of this film internationally. Which I think is good news.

Be great if you updated this and the The Film Experience articles.

Great site and thanks for reviewing Australian films

Stunsail said...

Um, Glenn, I'm with Anonymous. You make the leap from Kris Tapley wanting a reason to see it at a festival (sure, he could be better informed) to the film not having international distribution...how did you make this leap exactly?

It had been well reported in the trades about Samson's sales, with the awesomely named sales agent Elle Driver selling them since Cannes or maybe even Berlin.

Guy said...

SO looking forward to seeing this ... I'm hoping it will crop up at the London Film Festival.

Oh, just so you know, any post with a link gets automatically withheld at InContention until we can approve it, and with Kris and I in festival mode, admin can get a bit a bit slow. Don't want you to think we're silencing you!

Glenn Dunks said...

Simon (aka Stunsail), I was merely querying how something like this hasn't caught the eye of anybody in America yet. It's the reverse of what it usually is. I am waiting for America to get a movie instead of us waiting for a movie that's been out over there for months.

I guess I just haven't read the right places though. I figured news like that would've been big, but I somehow missed it. Hmmm.

Guy, I hope you get to see it. I was so happy when you liked Three Blind Mice.

Mike Anthony Smith said...

Glenn - great article about the recent crop of Australian films and the difficulties they are experiencing get distribution. Unfortunately, as brilliant as many of those films are, many of those titles have little commercial appeal to multiplex viewers.

The reality of the industry is that many brilliant films just don't appeal to the average cinema punter! With theatrical distribution such a cut throat industry in recent times, the majors can't and don't want to invest in building audience awareness or educating an audience. They want the quick dollar! The reality is many of the films you mentioned are film festival content for the true film lover.

If a film doesn't get theatrical distribution, it doesn't mean it's any lesser of film! The internet will become the screening room for great cinema in the future, as soon as we can get a business model that works for the filmmaker!

Anonymous said...

Hey Glenn,

I found your blog while googling for reviews of the bunch of Aussie films that are showing at the Toronto film fest. Being in Canada I'd never heard of any of them and am pretty sure we'll never get them in a video store, far less in a movie theatre. Unless there's a big name director like Noyce (Rabbit Proof Fence) or a big Aussie star who has made it internationally you'll never see Australian films here, by any distribution method. So from a Canuck perspective it's not that we don't want to notice Australian film, it's that literally we have NO IDEA that there are Australian films out there most of the time, and would definitely not know if it's a good/bad/meh year for Australian film. The closest thing Australia gets to mentions in our entertainment news is when a big US blockbuster films in Sydney.

The joke of that is that Australian films are usually very popular at the film fest, hance my googling for reviews! So if I've probably only got time to see one or two of Waiting City, Last Ride, Balibo, Beautful Kate, Bran Nue Dae, Blessed, or S&D, any suggestions on which should I try and see?

Glenn Dunks said...

Of the films I have seen I'd suggest Samson & Delilah plus Bran Nue Dae. I am definitely looking forward to The Waiting City though, I believe TIFF is the films world premiere.

I'd skip Last Ride and Blessed unless you like incredibly arthouse-oriented miserabalism fare.