Midnight Madness Blog

- 2008
- 2007

I wanted to wait until after seeing Acolytes before discussing Not Quite Hollywood (NQH) so that I could discuss both of them in regards to Australian film culture in general. I must admit, I knew little to nothing about “Oz” film (other than what Quentin Tarantino told me) so it was interesting to see the films from the past two nights, and hear the discussions that followed.

In this blogger’s opinion, both NQH and Acolytes were fun films, but not the top-crop of this year’s festival. NQH had a plethora of source material to work with, but moved through this material at a clip-show’s pace with little time for exposition. Acolytes was at times tremendously thrilling and frightening. The film was brilliantly pieced together and the soundtrack (both background and musical scores) was the highlight of the film. However, the “jumps” in the film became tiresome and almost comical at times and there were some plot points remaining foggy (to me at least) at the film’s end.

Aside from the content of the films, I was particularly interested in learning about film production in Australia, and in particular the trajectory of Australian genre film that has evolved over the past 40+ years. The so called “Ozploitation” film that arose in the ‘60’s was Australia’s attempt to create a national cinema, one that could stand its own against the influx of European and American film coming into the country. The attempt was a success as Australian feature production went from zero in the early 60’s, to 50-plus a year by the 1970’s.

All this led me to consider the sad-state of Canadian feature film. In the Q&A after NQH (featuring Acolytes director Jon Hewitt (left), NQH director Mark Hartley (centre) and Producer Anthony Ginnane (right)) Ginnane praised Canada for the support the government gives to Canadian filmmakers. Unfortunately (outside of Quebec), the praise is not so well deserved. Government support for Canadian film has gone through ups and downs over the past half century, with funds typically swelling or decreasing depending on the ideological nature of the government of the day. This is compared to the Australians who created the “Australian Film Development Corporation Bill in 1970” and had film development enshrined as a parliamentary act.

Given that this week is TIFF (and the same week that an election has been called no less) what better time to ask ourselves why there has never been a “Canadian New Wave” of cinema, and why financial support for filmmakers is always on the top of the list when it comes to government spending cuts.