Not at a Cinema Near You: Australia’s Film Distribution Problem

Platform Paper #37, Currency House, Sydney

Does Australia really need to improve the quality and storytelling approach of its films? Or is it more important to change its film distribution? Film is in flux. The old ways have been undermined and new ways are not yet fully defined. Audience behaviour is changing. The author asserts that the Australian film industry is clinging to an archaic approach to distribution. For too long, policymakers have conflated the ‘film industry’ with the ‘production sector’ and chronically ignored marketing, distribution and exhibition as key factors that engage audiences and create demand for local films. This Platform Paper engages with those filmmakers working with peer-to-peer, crowdfunded, low-cost and direct-to-viewer delivery and asks: what can digital distribution do for Australian film? The answers are surprising and controversial.

Purchase from Currency House.
Preview here.

“Lauren Carroll Harris’ treatise on the state of distribution in Australia for locally produced feature films is a timely and provocative analysis of the existing structures and powerful argument for adjustment and change in this post-digital world. Her reflections on distribution-led potentially replacing a production development-led industry need to be seriously debated given our recent change of government and new management and key personnel at Screen Australia.”
– Antony Ginanne, producer, October 2013

“‘Not at a Cinema Near You’ makes a cogent case for substantial change to the traditional [distribution] methods. In this essay, Lauren Carroll Harris has made a timely and important contribution to the ongoing and increasingly necessary debate about old and new distribution.
– Tina Kaufman, Real Time Arts #118, December 2013

“‘Not at a Cinema Near You’  offers some provocative views on the structural problems besetting Australia’s documentary scene. Connolly and Carroll Harris have ignited the debate – may it continue to smoulder in 2014.”
– Dan Edwards, Real Time Arts #118, December 2013

“A commendably detailed assessment of the distribution structure with numerous case studies, and a cogently presented set of proposals. Carroll Harris’ arguments are likely to fuel the campaign by producers and some distributors to make release windows far more flexible.”
– Don Groves,, October 2013


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