|Posted on March 5, 2010 at 12:55 AM|
Australia was actually very prolific during the early days of cinema/silent film, along with France and America. Arguably the world's first film studio, The Limelight Department, operated in Melbourne from 1897-1910. Victoria also laid claim to the first full-length feature film, The Story of the Kelly Gang. Though for some reason, after WWI our industry evaporated. Some blame the rise in censorship, the lack of competition between studios, and the fact that American films were cheaper to screen than local ones; while others blame the monopoly over production, distribution and exhibition established by the Australasian Films and Union Theaters, which shut out small, local producers and only allowed US films to be screened in their cinemas.
Regardless, during the talkies and even the introduction of colour film, the Australian film industry remained utterly dormant, until the new wave of arthouse and explosion of exploitation flicks of the 70s and 80s. Check out the brilliant documentary Not Quite Hollywood, for an examination of Australia’s return to the silver screen with films like Picnic at Hanging Rock, Mad Max and Gallipoli.