Hollywood vs. Asia, where does Australia fit in?

With the impending hybridity of media forms and capitals, a prediction by David Schaefer and Kavita Karan suggests “India and China will wrestle control of global film flows from Western dominance” (p. 309) within transnational cinema despite “the blurring of boundaries between…national and global culture” (Schaefer, Karan, 2006, p. 309). With India, Japan and China ranking within the top 5 countries accounting for film production, its no wonder there is a subtle ‘swap and trade’ deal between Hollywood and the Asian film industry. Although it’s obvious Asian cinema trade is quite influential within media capitals, it seems all major films continue to form around Hollywood, each sporting a various media similarities. According to Bose, “Indian films stood the best chance of challenging Hollywood’s hegemony in the movie making world” (Schaefer, Karan, 2006, p. 310).

Regardless of various “Bollywoodisms” (Schaefer, Karan, 2006, p. 312) emerging within Western media, such as those included in the 2001 film, Moulin Rouge, where the culture of Bollywood dancing has crossed over into the Australian/American film industry. Although this “give/take relationship” between various “cinematic contra-flows” (Schaefer, Karan, 2006, p. 314) and media capitals highlights just how accepting we are multiculturalism, I wonder how economically this is affecting the Australian film industry.

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With stereotypes such as those highlighted in Neel Kolhatkar’s youtube clip Australian Media in 2mins, it’s no wonder Australian media production has allowed other countries to surpass it. It seems size and economic status don’t matter when it comes down to the top ten film producers around the world, with the Philippians ranking in higher than Australia.

Regardless of Prime Minister Gorton’s inspiring statement “it’s time to see our own landscapes, hear our own voices and dream our own dreams”, it seem media production in Australia still has a long way to go in order to gain it’s 1906 status as “first feature length film” once again. Perhaps hybridising the filming industry in Australia as means of not only economic increase, but also is improving/establishing our status as a media capital and promoting Australia as a cultural hub. Rather than simply importing films and embracing Americanisms/Bollywoodisms/Asianisms, perhaps future media capital and exportation status may become a possibility.

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Media Capitals? More like Celebrity Hubs

In a modern society, celebrity gossip and news has infected the lives of ‘normal’ people as “Hollywood exports continue to dominate global entertainment markets” (Curtin, 2003, p. 202) We see magazines such as OkMagazine stories such as Big Brother: Hot in the House or Relive the many times Taylor Swift disses ex Harry Styles at last night’s MTV VMA’s as becoming ‘big news’. Celebrity stories are spreading all over the world through the media hub known as Hollywood.

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Media Capitals, as in cities that “represent centres of media activity… not necessarily corresponding to geography, interests or policies of particular nation-states” (Curtin, 2003, p.202), a “nexus or switching point” (Curtin, 2003, p.204) such as Hollywood have become a buffer against more important issues around the world, such as those on ABC News. Television shows such as The Bachelor, Next Top Model, Big Brother and talent shows such as X factor have poisoned networks all over the world into believing that Western society behaves in a certain way.

In particular Next Top Model has spread to over 50 countries, highlighting how “the global tries to become local” (Curtin, 2003, p.202) and how the flow of media from one place to the next is based on media saturation and publicity. However it’s important to recognise the rising Media Capitals within Asia. Cities such as Hong Kong and Beijing are not only geographically appealing for a media hub, but they are also exporters of “economic, social and cultural flows” (Curtin, 2003, p.204). The Asian media market is growing larger everyday, with Western society now being exposed to more and more TV shows, based in Asia and TV shows examining the Asian culture. As an example, we see Next Top Model adaptations in Hong Kong, China, Japan, Singapore and Vietnam.

In the words of Tyra Banks, if you “wanna be on top”, understanding Media Capitals, especially for Hollywood stars is of great importance in maintaining a facade of talent.

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