Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Dark Age of Australian Cinema

(Note: An edited version of this post was previously submitted for my AFTRS Screen Culture course, Industry Appreciation article, January 2010)

It may seem ironic to title a reflection on a man I claim to be significant to the Australian industry with such a negative statement, but that has always been what is so unique about Antony I. Ginnane. From a Business background with an aim seemingly purely to make money, he is now the man whose job it is to lead our industry out of a Dark Age, and I believe he may be the man to do so. (I was inspired to publish this article I wrote after recently writing on the state of Korean Film in Australia over on the KOFFIA Blog).

The Dark Age was a period of perceived cultural decline or social collapse. To claim that the Australian industry is in such an era is not a bold statement in my mind, but a clear fact. While in a year  (this article was first created in 2010) that has been termed a ‘great year for Australian film’ the box office does not reflect this. Yes “Mao’s Last Dancer”, “Samson & Delilah” and “Charlie and Boots” may be the exceptions, but this is still an industry that does not provide a clear career path for young filmmakers. Plain and simple, it is not a sane decision to enter an industry that cannot sustain itself.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Dr Horrible's Screen Culture Blog

(Note: An edited version of this post was previously submitted for my AFTRS Screen Culture course, Distribution Task, June 2010) 

In the ever changing marketplace of media consumption, one element has remained constant for over 50 years, the cinema. Cinema goers have been and still are having the cinematic experience down at their local art-house theatre or regional multiplex. Ticket prices have drastically increased, screens have grown in size, an extra visual dimension has been added and luxury food and seats are furnished for the viewer’s pleasure.

Despite all this, 2010 was a record year for cinematic attendances. Since 1998 the total number of tickets sold in the Domestic (and of course by domestic I refer to the United States) has largely unchanged, while box office intake has grown as prices have inflated. Yet amongst this, there is a belief that cinema is dying. Its the ageing distribution plan that is no longer applicable to today’s market. Indieflix unveiled an indie distribution plan at Cannes and more and more plans such as this are beginning to pop up as cinema, distribution and story evolve with the times.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Story Analysis: Serenity and the Verse

(Note: An edited version of this post was previously submitted for my AFTRS Screen Culture course, Story Task, April 2010)

A Space Western from 2005, I thought that Serenity would be an intriguing choice to compare against the Classical Hollywood narrative system. Furthermore, “Serenity” is an adaptation, as it spawns from the 'failed' television show “Firefly”, and thus felt it was suitable to look at considering today’s market.

Trailer for "Serenity"

A Space Western is a world which resembles the past, but where futuristic technology exists. Set 500 years in the future and yet focusing on the ‘frontier’ elements of society as Earth’s resources have since depleted, this is precisely what “Serenity” is. Specifically, it resembles the Westerns of the 60’s and 70’s, those that took a pessimistic view on society and often featured an anti-hero at its core. Thus “Serenity” has a World that lies deep in the root of the Classical Hollywood but as we will see it is what is created in that world that begins to clash with the Classical Hollywood narrative system.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Hungry for Drama? 1st Korean Film Festival

Over the last 18 months or so I have been involved with establishing the 1st KOFFIA Korean Film Festival in Australia. And now its just 3 weeks away! Its been a long and busy workload but the response we have had and the general interest in the festival is very pleasing. I invite everyone to come along to Dendy Opera Quays this October long weekend, and experience Korean cinema and culture.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Screen Culture: My video game revival!

(Note: An edited version of this post was previously submitted for my AFTRS Screen Culture course, Animation & Video Games Task, September 2010)

The ominous quote that opens the game

It wasn’t until my AFTRS Screen Culture course on Video Games that I realised how much I missed the form of entertainment that had occupied so much of my youth. An avid Nintendo fan from the Nes through to the Wii, exploring the worlds of Mario and Link, Samus and Donkey Kong was where I spent a large part of my teens. Offered the chance to review my favourite game of all time, I snapped up the opportunity to revisit an old passion. I immediately knew this review would only focus on 1 of 3 possible games: "Perfect Dark" for the Nintendo 64, "Jet Force Gemini" for the Nintendo 64 or "Eternal Darkness" for the Nintendo GameCube. I chose the latter as it more appropriately met the term of ‘complex game’ and is most notable for its wondrous storyline. 

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Genre Cinema: Rule Governed Postcode

(Note: An edited version of this post was previously submitted for my AFTRS Screen Culture course, Genre Task, August 2010)

Genre Film has long pushed the boundaries of the cinematic medium. It may be presented in strange forms from gore-ridden horror to alien infested sci-fi or even to more highly regarded streams such as film noir. Despite its different forms and conventions in each case it is essentially used as a mould by filmmakers to ask questions of humanity and reflect societies self-conscious. The result is a mirror image of our world, which has been sifted through a particular genre's iconography. As adaptations and franchises become ever more popular, genre has become less of a dirty word but unfortunately its reputation is still not crystal clean.

The Black President
While 2008 marked the year that the 1st official African-American president was elected to govern the United States of America, Barak Obama was far from the 1st in popular culture. As I sit here with 1998's Science Fiction film "Deep Impact" playing on the TV, it is none more present than through Morgan Freeman's portrayal of President Tom Beck, an entire decade before Obama was sworn in. Sci-Fi films have themes, plots and characters that are a direct response to social anxieties. They not only push the boundaries in terms of fictional science, they also push the boundaries of story telling.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Mise en Scene: Blog, You Sucker aka A Fistful of Screen Culture

(Note: An edited version of this post was previously submitted for my AFTRS Screen Culture course, Mise en scene Task, October 2010)

Sergio Leone is one of the most distinct filmmakers in the history of the medium. A significant element that led to his distinct style or auteur signature is his use of Mise en scene. There is little to a 'Leone' film that is not immediately identifiable as such, and the only films that challenge this identification are made by directors who were significantly influenced by the Italian born director. From blocking and shot selection, to music beats and performance, a Leone film is a true experience.

Mise en scene in full force

The element I feel that is crucial to a Leone production, is something many people may not first think of, and that is blocking or staging. A production design area often lost on filmmakers of today, and something they can never touch on with regards to classical films. These days sets are rarely built in full for a scene's staging to be laid out, they are manufactured in pieces and the sense of space and environment is never established. Leone was the exact opposite. He knew the exact amount of paces and time it would take a character to walk from one side of the room to the other.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

You're Terminated: Story Development

(Note: An edited version of this post was previously submitted for my AFTRS Screen Culture course, Development Task, March 2010) 

To start off the new course that is the Graduate Certificate in Screen Culture at AFTRS, we began by discussing the topic of Development. An area often under thought and under explored in the Australian industry, the creators of the course specifically placed it as the first subject for the year. This instilled in our minds the importance of the general basis of the idea for a film. As is you cant sell a 27 word concept for the film, how can you sell the film itself?

I had previously explored these story development concepts in the Cracking Yarns scriptwriting course I undertook with Allen Palmer, now a lecturer at AFTRS. In this course we discussed screenwriting in much greater detail, but again Allen also stressed the most important element to a good script, the basic concept of it. Whether it be high-concept (a story easily described by a succinct statement) or something more in depth, the importance of these 27 precious words should not be understated. They should be referenced throughout the entire production, to identify what the film is actually about and what it is trying to say.

 Arnold made a big impression

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Eternal Night of the Blogless Mind

Well yes, I have finally managed to blog again! Let's hope I can still 'Recall' my opinions and replicate them here for you. Following on from my blog entry about 'experimental film', and the fact that despite its appearance, it still heavily relies on a set pattern of elements and common form, I now extend this discussion by analysing Alternatives to the 'Classical Hollywood Narrative'.

In the 'Story' module of the Screen Culture course that I am undertaking at AFTRS, Michel Gondry's "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" was a prime source of defining Alternatives to the Classical Hollywood Narrative. Gondry's take on Charlie Kaufman's script is exactly that, a piece of multiform narrative that seems completely detached from the Classical Hollywood and yet upon closer inspection matches the Classical almost to a tee.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Meshing 4907

In 1943 the husband and wife team of Maya Deren and Alexander Hammid decided to put their creative minds together to produce a film. The result of this is the influential short "Meshes of the Afternoon", which has a structure that in today's Screen Culture we would label as 'Experimental'. Well this blog post is an experimental piece in its own right, as I will mesh together a film made by a couple in 1943 with a film made by a couple in 2010. That is, the film "4907" made by Raelene Loong and myself.

Now I had never seen "Meshes of the Afternoon" until last week when it was screened as part of the Story module of my Screen Culture course. And yet, a film made 57 years ago, has a sharp resemblance to this short film that I wrote and co-directed this year. Now maybe i'm just unoriginal, which is quite possibly the case, or maybe it is an indication that 'experimental' is really not that experimental after all.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Like A Blirgin

Well, well, well, what do we have here? Kieran Tully blogging? I know I never thought I'd see it either but desperate times calls for desperate measures. And by desperate times I mean I am required to blog as part of my Screen Culture course that I am undertaking at AFTRS.

So welcome to this little corner of the interweb called Tully's Recall, in which I will discuss all things film, football and a little bit of Fan Chan. I will try and make it as informative and interesting as possible, but I make no promises.

Why haven't I blogged before? Well I tend to consider myself much more of a 'Film Recommender' (that's a word) rather than a 'Film Critic'. That is, I enjoy recommending films to my friends and family or just handing them a DVD and saying 'Watch it'. But I don't really follow this up with a big discussion about the film and I don't feel the need to express my views on it. If they like it, which I hope they do, then that's great.

This may seem to contrast my activity on Flixster, where I have 18,643 ratings (don't be alarmed, 13,255 of those are "Not Interested"). So I am active on the review scene but it's not my focus. And those Flixster reviews are more so just a reminder to myself as to what I thought about a particular film, and often even take the form of a single comment. For example, my review of 2006's Ultraviolet: "Ultrashit" or my review of 1977's Rolling Thunder: "Rolling Awesome".

Hence I don't really plan for this to be a movie review blog as such, but just a recap on my activities and no doubt highly credible theories about today's Screen Culture. So look out for my posts in the near future, and I hope you enjoy them here at Tully's Recall.

Kieran Tully

"I'm not familiar with that address. Would you please repeat the destination? "