Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The real World Series

It's understandable that people in Hollywood might be doing a little headscratching at furriners making off with all the Oscars. But it's actually a sign of the centrality of the USA to the global film market. Once is an interesting example. It couldn't have succceeded without the American market. Lest people in America think that there's a rich undiscovered film culture in Ireland -- there isn't [Irish Times, subs. req'd]:

Despite winning the prestigious audience prize at the Sundance film festival and enjoying critical and commercial success in the United States, Once only received a limited distribution when it was released here last March and it did not feature in the top 100 box-office films in Ireland in 2007.

Thus the Irish film market is not like the French film market, where people do flock to see the home-grown product that also does well internationally. People flock to see the same international shite as everyone else.

And even if they did support the occasional local gem, the size of the Irish market would be too small to justify the expense of a big home-grown industry. Ireland had 2 Oscars and a 3rd nominee (Saoirse Ronan) the other night. It did it by having talented actors get roles in a global business and by having talented people string together a film with not much in the way of budget or equipment. But it worked because enough Americans saw and liked the films. And gave them awards. The system works.

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