Producers gather for Gold Coast conference

The Screen Producers Association of Australia is having its annual conference at the Sheraton Mirage on the Gold Coast once again.

Film and TV producers from Australia have gathered to exchange ideas, pitch concepts and listen to keynote speeches that seek to inspire them all (when they’re not in the bar or by the pool of course). It’s the ultimate industry win-win.

Noni Hazelhurst from City Homicide delivered the Hector Crawford Memorial Speech in which she criticized a “cultural drought” of Aussie film and TV.

“The lunatics are truly in charge of the asylum,” she said. “Millions of dollars are poured into making junk palatable.

“Bells and whistles, garish sets, flashy cutting, wobbly cameras … try to disguise the fact that the emperor’s got no clothes.”

Hazelhurst argued that commercial values and market forces had replaced creativity and quality, leaving us with a “mish-mash of recycled and watered-down insulting dross.”

The former Play School host was particularly vocal about poor children’s programming.

“I believe our children’s imaginations are dying too, and it scares the hell out of me. They are growing up in the age of terrorism and fatuousness – the images that will be their earliest memories are the images of 9/11 and Britney Spears. And no one’s doing anything about it.,” she said.

Meanwhile the Executive Director, Geoff Brown, has welcomed Howard’s promise of $83m for an ABC children’s network but worried that commercial networks would not feel an obligation to continue children’s production.

Sources: Herald-Sun, ABC

3 Responses

  1. She’s got a point about all of it. So much of local tv is either trying too hard to be edgy (think Tripping Over) or ludicrously divorced from any recognisable Australian reality (think City Homicide). There’s so much timidity that what comes out is usually too boring and familiar, or pretentious and alienating.

    As usual, the best stuff is relegated to the ABC and SBS, but no one knows it’s there.

    As for the kiddie stuff, I grew up with some good stuff (The Henderson Kids, Round the Twist) and an avalanche of preachy, poorly acted, patronising garbage that I felt insulted by as a six year old! There is still too much of a drive to make Aussie kids drama “educational” or message driven at the expense of wit, intelligence and – god forbid – fun.

  2. The comments about the quality of children television is interesting – isn’t Australia one of the leaders in the world of delivering childrens TV – Wiggles, Hi-Fi, The Saddle Club, Ocean Girl, Blue Water High.

    What is an issue is at 4:30 the networks are running news and bold and the beautiful – hardly kid friendly TV.

    I would agree that teenagers and young school kids are not served very well but any free to air TV. They are turning more and more to Pay TV.

    I did find the comments about the industry interesting – Does this mean she will quit City Homicide because after all “Bells and whistles, garish sets, flashy cutting, wobbly cameras” are part of the style of the show. Remember dear, becareful to bite the hand that feeds you

    Once again, as with all SPAA events, lots of complaining but no real solutions that will work in the real world – commercial television is just that commercial !

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