AUSgust – The Third: A Celebration of Australian Film

Ever since The Curb launched, we’ve celebrated Australian films with the annual AUSgust film month – a month dedicated to highlighting and supporting Australian films.

For the first two years, we’ve had daily recommendations of what to watch, with days celebrating the work of Ben Mendelsohn, or a day where we encouraged everyone around the world to watch Paul Ireland and Damian Hill’s instant-classic, Pawno. You can check out those lists here and here.

This year, given everything’s going a little bit skew-whiff, we’re going to do things a little bit different this year. We still want you to watch as many new and old Australian films as necessary this month, but we want to highlight a few other aspects of the Australian cinema landscape, and encourage you to try drive the conversation of the importance of Australian film.

It’s a given that industries around the world have been impacted in devastating ways due to the unceasing pandemic that has arrested the world, with the Australian arts industry being driven to a near point of decimation. It’s tough out there, but as film lovers, there’s plenty of ways that we can support Australian film.

First up – talk about Australian films! When people ask about what your favourite films are, or what you’ve been seeing lately, then slip in an Aussie film or two. Whether it’s reminding people how great The Castle or Muriel’s Wedding is, or shouting out the Aussie work on Stan. like Relic or True History of the Kelly Gang, there’s always something to talk about.

Financially supporting Aussie films means a lot too, so rent an Aussie film, or pick up a DVD or two that you’ve been meaning to check out, or if you’re in an area that is fortunate enough to have a cinema open, then check out an Aussie film on screens right now. Money talks, and there’s no better way of getting behind Australian cinema than reminding distributors and creative bodies that people want and crave these films.

You’d be surprised how many Aussie films skip the theatrical release and go straight to DVD. Recent films like Below, Escape and Evasion, and Kairos dropped onto DVD, and other Aussie films that had limited cinema runs, like H is for Happiness and 100% Wolf, are all available right now and deserve your attention.

Thankfully, the ABC has created an Australian film festival on their iView platform, featuring some of the greatest Australian films ever, with Lantana, Samson and Delilah, Goldstone, Strictly Ballroom, Animal Kingdom, and so, so much more on offer. If money is tight, then this free platform is your best bet to check out a wide array of Aussie masterpieces. Spin a wheel and wherever it lands you’ll find a gem.

Featuring: Walkabout (Nicolas Roeg, 1971), The Cars That Ate Paris (Peter Weir, 1974), Picnic at Hanging Rock (Peter Weir, 1975), Sunday Too Far Away (Ken Hannam, 1975), The Devil’s Playground (Fred Schepisi, 1976), Don’s Party (Bruce Beresford, 1976), Storm Boy (Henri Safran, 1976), The Getting of Wisdom (Bruce Beresford, 1977), The Last Wave (Peter Weir, 1977), The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (Fred Schepisi, 1978), Long Weekend (Colin Eggleston, 1978), Money Movers (Bruce Beresford, 1978), Newsfront (Phillip Noyce, 1978), Mad Max (George Miller, 1979), My Brilliant Career (Gillian Armstrong, 1979), The Plumber (Peter Weir, 1979), Breaker Morant (Bruce Beresford, 1980), Gallipoli (Peter Weir, 1981), Puberty Blues (Bruce Beresford, 1981), Starstruck (Gillian Armstrong, 1982), The Year of Living Dangerously (Peter Weir, 1982)

Globally, Aussie films are becoming more accessible than ever, with the illustrious Criterion Channel celebrating the Aussie New Wave era in August by running a lineup of iconic Australian films. The list is exhaustive, with some heavy hitters getting a run on the channel. If you need a hand in how to access the channel from overseas, then check out this guide here.

As with every year, the iconic Cinefest Oz film festival will be running in WA, with screenings of the highly anticipated Jeremy Sims film, Rams, and Tim Winton’s Dirt Music, plus a bunch more, taking place in Busselton. Fear now, if you can’t get to the great South West, then rest assured that you’ll be able to get your Michael Caton and Sam Neill fix with Rams landing in cinemas at the end of August.

We here at The Curb encourage you to seek out and support Australian movies right now. More than ever they need your support. If you’ve ever found joy or comfort in hearing the familiar Aussie accent in films, then now’s the time to elevate that even more.

If you want to join in with the conversation, then we recommend using the hashtag #AUSgust or #AustralianFilmMonth. We’ll be posting daily recommendations on the Facebook and Twitter pages, and pushing interviews and articles that’ll help highlight what films you should be checking out.

Have a great AUSgust and enjoy the celebration of Australian films!

Andrew F Peirce

Andrew is passionate about Australian film and culture. He is the co-chair of the Australian Film Critics Association, a Golden Globes voter, and the author of two books on Australian film, The Australian Film Yearbook - 2021 Edition, and Lonely Spirits and the King. You can find him online trying to enlist people into the cult of Mac and Me.

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