Since our launch last week we’ve noticed that some people are interpreting our tagline ‘Every Aussie Movie. Ever.’ as an advertising claim rather than the aspirational mission statement that we intend it to be. So I’ve composed this post to try and clear this misunderstanding up.
In early 2015 when Alan Finney and I started talking about Ozflix, we were determined to include as many Australian movies on the channel as it was humanly possible to find. We knew it wouldn't be easy, we had both heard all the stories of the "lost" films that someone had remembered but couldn't find. We knew about Wake In Fright and it's near tragedy, and we knew that inevitably some films would have gone already.
But we weren't deterred. We felt that with a determined effort, and the love and goodwill of the whole Australian film industry we would probably get most if not all of the surviving films. Besides, we reasoned, who would hang us for not finding every film ever shot in Australia in the past one hundred years if there were no prints or negatives still available?
So we bravely decided on the promise line "Every Aussie Movie. Ever" to indicate that we were determined to find them, that we wouldn't rest until we had (even if it took years), and to indicate to everyone both in the film industry and in the rest of the community, that this was our Mission at Ozflix.
Now whether you think this is a worthwhile ambition or not, you have to admit it would be a terrific goal to achieve. Everyone we met and talked to in the film industry applauded us for our passion, commitment and zeal. Many vowed to help us on the journey, and have made valuable suggestions and connections to lost films, lost industry practitioners and ways and means of finding the rare ones.
We have partnered with the NFSA to help them restore more films more quickly, made numerous industry call-outs and phoned, texted and emailed hundreds of film makers, institutions and film distributors in the past two years. Many of the calls have been fruitful.
We knew too that there might be the odd outsider who didn't quite get our drift, who might have thought we would have all of them on day one. But the more we thought about that the more we realised that by stating our goal on our masthead we would not only be driven harder to find them, but we would help unearth those that have proven difficult to locate. We did not anticipate that anyone would really call us liars!
But it seems some folks may have missed our message, since the beginning, that all the films would not be there at launch, that it was a lengthy process, that many of the films were in need of restoration and digitization, and that it would take time. We even talked about our not-for-profit sister organisation the Australian Film Future Foundation Ltd as the vehicle to achieve this.
But more importantly we argued, as we are a pay-per-view service and not a monthly subscription, we were not enticing customers to sign up and pay money on a falsehood. If we were saying every Australian movie ever was there for a flat monthly fee, I can see people's complaint, blatant false advertising, getting subscription money on a false promise. But since every film is an individual rental, there is no such issue. Either you want to stream a film, or not. Your choice. And you only pay (for each film) after seeing what's there on Ozflix and then clicking through.
We stand by our Mission Statement. Every Aussie Movie. Ever. Eventually.