I haven't seen The Sapphires, but it got a really big marketing push. Colour ads in newspapers, lots of popups and banners on the internet, the marketing team is obviously trying to get the message out there. I think Jessica Mauboy is a great singer and deserves more exposure, too. By accident, I stumbled across the Australia Post anniversary concert on Darling Harbour in Sydney in 2009, where she and Jimmy Barnes' son were performing. Both were excellent. But I'm rambling, haha.
The trailer to The Sapphires looks like it is solidly shot and directed. Probably about as well done as Red Dog, which was surprisingly good. I think that the problem that plagues what is left of Australian cinema is the tendency to go with 'Australian themes' rather than try to do something more general. The directors of the vampire scifi movie Daybreakers come to mind with this.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daybreakers
Daybreakers is a decent vampire movie, certainly good enough on an international scale. It has great actors and never mentions Australia.
A few months ago I had the opportunity to see the crime noir flick Swerve, which was not as well done, and suffered what I call 'Australian blandness'. Heck, a movie in a bush town with dirt roads, crooked cops and the local pub is practically an Australian cliche.http://www.badmovies.org/forum/index.php/topic,138130
I think that Australian film is caught between capitalizing on uniquely Australian elements for marketing, and making more generic movies. Baz Luhrmann's Australia (2008) had the benefit of massive financial backing as well as Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman, major international stars with big popularity. But look at the very title! How sucky can you get???