What do Australians think of Toni Collette?

From filming on surfboards

The faction of Australians in the film metropolis is naturally large. The Aussies do not have to overcome a language barrier. The huge country quickly becomes too small for Peter Weir, Phil Noyce or Mel Gibson, who made his Australian film series "Mad Max" famous. Sometimes one comes back. Women's darling Russel Crowe has bought a piece of sugar from a quay that has been converted into a residential area in Sydney's Wooloomooloo district.

All Australians are proud of Philip Noyce, who after his Hollywood film "The Silent American" shot another film in Australia with an Australian theme: "The Lang Walk Home" tells of the systematic robbery of the Aboriginal mixed-race children until 1970 for one racist re-education program and made it into our cinemas. One more thing: Producer Sharon Gerussi draws a bitter conclusion

"The producers work like do-it-yourselfers here. That means they live from hand to mouth. From film to film they are desperate. Desperate to finance the film, to make it and to get their money. In short: the projects are not developed properly here . "

Around 20 films are made each year. That corresponds roughly to the annual production of Greece. 2003 was a particularly good year with 26 in-house productions for the cinema. But in the cinema the Australian films only had a 3.5% attendance share, including many cheap comedies, but also a film about the bandit king "Ned Kelly" and another film with Toni Collette, which you might have taken from the art-house hit " Muriel's Wedding "from 1994. This time it's about Japanese-Australian emotional confusion.

In addition, the Australian scene is celebrating similarly to the German: Finally an Australian film is being shown there again. After the constant exodus of cinema talent, is there any reason for hope again? Adam Bowen, a film expert at the radio and television station ABC, who has been watching the local scene for many years, immediately destroys it. The fault, he says, lies in the conveyor system:

"You can hardly speak of an industry because so few films are successful. I think one of the problems is that there is too much government funding, at least not the right kind. If I want to go to a bank and build a house, Then the bank, if it trusts me, will say: OK, but you have to pay us back with interest. If you go to a film commission here and say I want to make a film, I need money, they won't talk about repayment at all Pay. They just give in the money and say if the film isn't on then don't worry. "

That sounds pretty familiar to German ears. Otherwise it seems to be 15,000 kilometers away in a very similar way to ours: American dominance of up to 80% of films in the cinema. Selfish funding bodies that pursue location policy in the three major federal states and a limited number of talents who often have to shoot TV series and soap operas in order to stay afloat.

The most Australian of the problems facing the domestic film industry may seem strange to us Europeans, but perhaps it is also a glimpse into the near future of the leisure industry. Australians' free time is almost entirely devoted to sport. They call their rugby variant "Australia Rules", in which the wearer of the oval football has to be brought down in wrestling manner. No pub in the whole city can afford to do without a television screen on which the current championship games are repeated over and over again.

Michael Hathaway, who has built a gigantic brand new film studio in Coolum in the surfing paradise Sunshinecoast in Queensland, where the children first surf and then learn to walk, sees it with a broad Australian accent ironically and relaxed.

"Sport is not a problem, it is a great benefit. We love the sport down here. We only watch Australian football, cricket, baseball, soccer. Tennis, swimming, track and field, surfing, gymnastics and motor sports, that's about it. And occasionally let's go to the cinema then. "

Not Sydney or Melbourne but Queensland - the once backward-looking backwoods state with its capital Brisbane is developing into the center of Australian film with two other large film studios of American subsidiaries. There are even emerging film festivals in Brisbane and Coolum, and Hathaway has also discovered an inexhaustible reservoir for new original stories.

"There are stories everywhere that go back to exciting Aboriginal stories, they just have never been told."