Nowadays people in many countries prefer watching large international blockbusters rather than locally produced films.
What do you think are the causes of this? Should governments give more financial support to local film industries?
For the last century major film studios, particularly those based in Hollywood, have dominated the western world’s film industry, and as globalisation and the internet have taken off that influence has spread. Even after taking inflation out of the equation successful Hollywood movies are bringing home higher box office returns than ever before due to opening markets, particularly in Asia. Against this deluge, however, an artistic and cultural space remains that makes it worthwhile for governments to support local film industries.
The reasons why large-scale movies have an international audience are quite simple: the majority of cinema-goers want to see high quality films, either with novel storylines or higher production values, and established film industries can satisfy that appetite. Indeed, this quality is a self-perpetuating loop, for the increased budgets and better end product attract the best talent and further investment. Like minor sports teams acting as feeder clubs to illustrious names, the film industry’s best flow upwards from the smaller studios.
Yet the international success of Hollywood is also its Achilles’ heel. In attempting to engage with a truly international audience, some elements are watered down to ensure mass consumption. Afraid that risk-taking will result in a film ‘tanking’, this compromise leaves a gap for true artistic innovation, novel ideas and geographically-specific themes. It is here that locally-produced cinema holds its intrinsic value and is the primary reason that governments should offer support.
As well as this, a further positive that can blossom from authorities supporting local cinema is the payback that comes from graduating talent and sleeper hits. As these names grow in fame, so more light is shone on their origins and similar works. Examples of this are numerous, from the heightened interest in Japanese culture on the back of anime and psychological horror, to increased exposure for the Antipodean film industry now that Peter Jackson and Christopher Nolan are Hollywood mainstays.
Thus, to conclude, whilst most low budget films will struggle against global blockbusters, strong arguments certainly exist for governments to support local cinema. The increased artistic freedom offered to small movies, the interest to a specific demograph, and the potential for a breakout hit, are all reasons to aid with funding. Naturally, some talent may be lost to the bigger studios, but this has advantages too and is all part of a healthy film industry.