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How hard is it to make Christmas movies?

Industry execs get real about the difficulties in trying to sell an Australian Christmas in a short festive window.

Australian Christmas movies such as Bush Christmas, Crackers and Stan telemovies Christmas Ransom, A Sunburnt Christmas and Christmas on the Farm are uniquely different from American and British storytelling.

A winter wonderland is replaced by the blazing summer heat.

But industry execs warns producers of the risks, given the tough competition and a tight time frame.

Speaking yesterday at the Australian Children’s Content Summit, Christopher Sharp, Head of Scripted at Screen Australia said, “We have two ways of funding something. We can either give you a grant or so we can give you an investment. I think if we’re looking at investment level, we need to see that it’s going to work outside of this territory, that there is a pathway to recoupment, and that it’s a reasonable investment.

“I think Christmas films in Australia are uniquely challenged, because they’re competing quite heavily against big American fare. Audiences are more prone to think about American Christmas movies, there’s such a culture around that.”

He added, “For any kind of film it just has to make sense on paper.”

Lorena Booth, Sales Executive at Studio 100 said, “I love Christmas, but for our acquisition and production, we try to stay away from Christmas, just because I think it’s very limited time that you can release it.

“The competition from studios and the bigger films take that period very strongly. It gives us very little wiggle room.

“A non-Christmas theme works throughout the whole year.”

4 Responses

  1. One thing I would like to see done is to copy what the United Kingdom does and produce ghost stories. Telling ghost stories at Christmas is a tradition for the season, and every year there is at least one story scheduled. Writing an Australian ghost story would be a challenge for script writers, given that there is no tradition of ghost stories in our country, but also there isn’t a history that goes back several hundred years. We do have an indigenous story telling that goes back thousands of years, so perhaps an indigenous ghost story might fit what I am proposing.

  2. It’s true – Australian Christmases are very thinly depicted through our media, but I’ve always assumed that to be a side effect of the summer season deterring much screen consumption in general. In the northern hemisphere, people are glued to their screens around xmas/ny. Here we have the summer break, where non-ratings means the networks don’t even bother with original content.

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