Oz so white? Diversity on Australian screens – SMH – 23.Jan.16

It started with a hashtag, and it’s turned into a juggernaut. The #OscarsSoWhite campaign has put Hollywood in the spotlight. It has led to headlines, talk of boycotts and a plan to change the procedures for Academy membership and Oscar voting.
It came from highlighting a simple fact. For the second year, all the nominees in the acting category at the Academy Awards are white. There are nominations for two films with an African-American focus – the Rocky reboot Creed and the rap biopic Straight Outta Compton – but they’ve gone to a white actor (Sylvester Stallone) and white screenwriters.

Yet for many – including those closely identified with the campaign – the focus is not solely on omission. It’s also about opportunity. The hashtag was started by April Reign, managing editor of a theatre website called BroadwayBlack.com, and this is a point she’s keen to emphasise. (more…)

Making sense of Australia’s foreign actor visa dispute – SMH – 6 Mar.15

Proposed changes to the restrictions on foreign actors in Australian film and television will either spur a production boom or kill the industry, apparently. What’s the truth?

Meryl Streep (with Sam Neill in Evil Angels) would be welcome back to film in Australia. All her mates? Not so much.

If Meryl Streep were to come to Australia to make another film with Fred Schepisi, as she did in 1988 with Evil Angels (based on the Lindy Chamberlain story), there would be few complaints. Even if the production benefited from government subsidies, it would still be an Australian story, with an Australian director, mostly Australian cast and crew, and filmed in Australia – all of it made that bit more sellable to the world thanks to the presence of a bona fide international star. (more…)

Too white: Is Australian television racist? – SMH – 01 Mar.12

IF you think Australian TV is dominated by white faces, you’re certainly not alone.

When Samoan actor Jay Laga’aia recently criticised Australian TV for racism and not casting multicultural actors after being cut loose from Channel Seven’s long-running soap Home and Away, the blogosphere, talkback radio and newspaper comment forums went into overdrive. (more…)