A new campaign supports Australian content, big film festivals go online and plethora of talks and forums to keep you connected.
Voting is open in a new poll aimed at highlighting screen industry's achievements. Image via MEAA.
Campaign for Australia's Most Bingeable Film or TV Show
A new campaign created by the Media Entertainment Arts Alliance (MEAA) is calling on Australians to vote for the most bingeworthy homegrown film, TV show or online series. Voters are then invited to sign a petition to Arts Minister Paul Fletcher calling for more support for the people who make screen content. The campaign is backed by the entire screen sector, including Screen Producers Australia, the Australian Writers Guild and the Australian Directors Guild and is part of the broader Make it Australian campaign. The letter to Fletcher broadly calls for financial assistance for the industry to recover and be sustainable; for regulatory and tax incentives to guarantee jobs and investment; and the expansion of job keeper to freelancers and casuals in the creative industries. Voting for the Great Australian Binge closes Sunday 17 May.
Australia's Major Film Festivals Announce Online Options
- Sydney Film Festival (SFF) had already announced that it would participate in We Are One: A Global Film Festival, organised by Tribeca and YouTube and including 20 international festivals, running free from 29 May to 7 June. But now Sydney Film Festival will also screen its own online film festival from 10-21 June. Around 30 films will be shown, including a selection of cutting edge European films by female directors. There'll also be a focus on Australian documentaries and shorts with the annual awards for these categories going ahead, including the Documentary Australia Foundation Award for Australian Documentary and the Dendy Awards for Australian Short Films. Open to a national audience for the first time, the festival is working with New Zealand startup Shift72, a streaming platform which recently delivered over 140 films to more than 100,000 people for Copenhagen's CPH:DOX, a documentary film festival pivoting sharply with coronavirus shutdowns. The full program of the 67th Sydney Film Festival: Virtual Edition and Awards will be revealed on 27 May with tickets on sale the same day.
- Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) has also announced a new online showcase for 2020, branded as MIFF 68½. Also using Shift72 streaming platform, around 30 to 40 films will be shown across the festival’s original dates (6–23 August) made available to audiences via ticketed access. The shorts awards will adapt and proceed, as will a version of the Critics Campus and a number of other planned premieres yet to be revealed. The full lineup will be announced on 14 July.
- The St Kilda Short Film Festival will also run an online version this year, from 12-30 June with a number of curated strands and the Australian Top 100 Short Films. The full program will be announced soon and all shorts will be free to watch for anyone based in Australia.
Big Issues and Many Forums
- A huge problem for productions right now is the issue of insurance and COVID-19 related exclusions. Get a grip on it by watching this SPA Takeaways web session with Screen Producers Australia CEO Matt Deaner and completion guarantor Film Finances Australasia CEO Dan Read. You could also read Inside Film's coverage here. Calls are being made for the government to step up as an insurer of last resort, similar to the earthquake insurance provided in California and New Zealand.
- Doing overtime as an industry hub, SPA's daily Takeaways Sessions are available to catch up on Facebook Videos. They contain a wealth of candid insider perspectives and a real spotlight on the vibe during lockdown. Recent talks have included an inspiring chat with director Kriv Stenders; an interview with ABC managing director David Anderson, a roundtable discussion about the 'Supporting Australian Stories' Options Paper, and many more including Helen Bowden, Nick Boshier, Kate Croser, Emile Sherman, Paul Wiegard, Jeffrey Walker, Joel Perlman and Sarah Hanson Young. Check them out for a great introduction to who's who in the zoo.
- ACMI's YouTube channel is also full to the brim with helpful new content, particularly aimed at upscaling the emerging sector during lockdown. The Running Free series is presented in partnership between ACMI and Media Mentors, and recent sessions have included Lee Naimo, Online Investment Manager at Screen Australia sharing the do’s and don’ts of pitching; documentary producer Alex West on What Makes a Good Factual Story; and coming up this Friday at 10am, publicist Tacey Mair on How to Find an Audience.
- AFTRS Talks are also running a great series of live talks and events, published later on their Facebook videos page. Guests include: Vicki Madden and Louise Fox, Tony Ayres and Sheila Jayadev, and Daina Reid and Emma Freeman.
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