Friday, November 19, 2010

Oz Film Blog-A-Thon Update

A quite remarkable call to arms just hit the internet curtesy of an Australian film icon, one Margaret Pomeranz. The fairer half of ABC's At The Movies gave a powerful keynote speech to the Screen Producers Association Of Australia (SPAA) conference currently taking place in Sydney demanding support from both the Australia Government and cinema-going public for local talent. I can think of no better rallying cry for the Oz Film Blog-A-Thon, The Things We Think But Do Not Say, initiated on this blog a couple of weeks ago.

Unfortunately, life has rather a way of happening and delaying personal projects when they are dependent on spare time, something I've not had a lot of just lately. The juggling act of job hunting, freelancing and report writing for Play Now Act Now (the festival project I completed a couple of weeks back) proved a little overwhelming. The good news is I scored a job and finished my report.

Fear not, I want reassure you that the Blogathon will go ahead as planned, I simply want to push back the start date by one week to 6 DECEMBER in order give myself time to promote and write for this project.

Part of this reassurance comes in the form of a preview of a few articles I'm committing myself to writing over the next couple of weeks and some ideas I'd like share. Also I'd like to remind you of the purpose of this blogathon and how you can participate.

What's it all about?

Spurred on by the AFCA 2010 Film Writing Awards the Oz Film Blog-A-Thon is intended as an opportunity for all Australian film writers to make a insightful and constructive contribution to our industry beyond reviews of local films.

All you need to do is write something about the local industry and post it on your blog, submit the links to me ( or post them in the comments of this blog. I will aggregate all the articles here. Aim high, genuine pieces of journalism is what we're looking for. Articles on local and national industry issues are of highest value.

• Write (or record) something about Australian film industry that's been on your mind. Most of all be fearless with you opinion
• Contribute links to old articles that might be a little 'touchy feely'
• Participate by commenting or generally spreading the word

Here's four articles I aim to contribute to the marathon:

1) 'What's Up Sydney' – One of my biggest frustrations living in Sydney is the lack of choice and the limited range of programming by local exhibitors. As such I'm going to put together a compendium of what's on in Sydney and draw a side-by-side comparison with similar international cities. I'll offer my observations on what's missing and suggestions for what could make it better.

2) '15-Minute Friends' – A article taking a closer look at the publicity machine, how interviews are allocated and the journalistic limitations of the junket system. I'd also like to take a look at he embargo system and try to figure out how publicists and local content producers can better work together.

3) 'Reflections Of A Film Journalist' – Hard to believe, but it's over 10 years since I had my first article on film published. I'd like to reflect on this experience and offer some guidance for those new to the business: how to get started, good journalism practices, the pitfalls and the pleasures. I might also humbly offer some suggestions for the future of our practice.

4) 'Top 10 Game Changers' – Who are the 10 most inspirational figures in the local industry? This is a call to all those participating to help come up with a list of Australian film pioneers whose innovation and vision will propel us into the future. Submit to me your top 10 (or whatever you can muster) figures/organisations from the Australian film scene including: exhibitors, curators, journalists, producers, funders, festivals. NO film directors.

For this last article I'd like to compile an ultimate list of 10 Oz Film Inspirators (think of the Guardian recent and rather silly power list), with a view to interviewing these people about their perspectives on the future of the local film industry.

So that's it, slightly new date, same aspirations. Can't wait to get started.

UPDATE: here's what I'm getting at...