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Hearts & Minds: How local screen stories capture the hearts and minds of Australians

An Ipsos Australia report for Screen Australia

Hearts & Minds explores how and why Australians engage with local screen stories on both television and film. What is the role of local content in the screen diets of Australian viewers? What is its cultural value? What role does it play in the formulation of national identity? And how does it build towards a sense of belonging and participation?

These questions and more were put to friendship groups of everyday Australians, who graciously opened their ‘hearts & minds’ to researchers and shared their thoughts, feelings and experience of local screen stories.

They talked passionately about stories that had stayed with them. They reflected on what drove them to engage with local content and what they expected from it. They pondered the barriers they faced in accessing local stories, particularly at the cinema. They debated if and how local content reflected them and how it contributed to their own sense of national identity.

Participants in the research had lots to say about screen stories – about their appreciation of the ‘down-to-earth’ nature of Australian film, the educative role of local screen stories (particularly in relation to Indigenous Australia) and the ability of the industry to ‘do a little with a lot’, making impressive films on small budgets. There was a strong belief that screen stories are now more sophisticated and diverse, reflecting a more complex Australia. The enthusiasm for thought-provoking TV dramas such as The Slap and Redfern Now, and films such as The Sapphires was evidence of this.

Local content, it was clear, was well and truly on their minds as well as in their hearts.

Download the full report