News in Brief: the Arts honoured, most anticipated films, AIDC and Screen Forever programs

AIDC CEO moving on after this year's conference; Big Ant Studios sold to French company; narrative designer callout, and Aussie films rules the box office in this edition of the news in brief.

For this edition of the news in brief, we have program announcements, digital dramas, and the big story of the week: the Australia Day Honours. On one hand, it was a great year for the arts, with the sector garnering more awards than sports. But the day was not without controversy. Veteran broadcaster Kerry O’Brien joined Dr Clara Tuck Meng Soo in refusing the award, after it was announced that virulent homophobe, transphobe, and former tennis player Margaret Court would receive a second honour for her work since her sports career ended. 

Events and opportunities 

AIDC News 

Australians on the big and small screen

  • The inimitable David Tiley has assembled a list of the most anticipated Australian films of 2021. Featuring a roster of long-awaited gems that experienced COVID-19 delays, and new and exciting flicks, 2021 is shaping up to be an excellent year for Australian film

Firestarter: The Story of Bangarra is due out in 2021. 

  • In our monthly What We’re Watching column, Artshub writer Sabine Brix expressed her enjoyment of Australian Netflix feature Teenage Kicks, an indie that follows the story of teenager Miklos Varga, who is navigating family, adolescence, and sexuality in the wake of his brother’s death.

Reviews

Games industry 

  •  The Australian Writers’ Guild is working in collaboration with the Games Committee to understand more about the issues that games writers and narrative designers face.In order to summarise trends, standards and rates of pay across contracts, The Australian Writers’ guild are asking the game development community to please send examples of contracts to AWG’s industrial team, who can be contacted at: industrial@awg.com.au. All information received by the industrial team will be aggregated and kept anonymous.
  • French studio Nacon has announced  the acquisition of Big Ant Studios, one of Australia’s biggest video game development studios, for €35m. Big Ant Studios are best known for developing sports games, including the Don Bradman Cricket Series, and AO Tennis 2. The studio will retain full creative rights.

DIgital Drama 

  • The ACCC’s proposed media code has Google threatening to pull Google Search out of Australia — but Tama Leaver thinks there’s still a chance it could be made to work. 
  • Redditors from popular Reddit page r/WallStreetBets have a history of taking advantage of unexpected and absurd market opportunities, and over the past month they have turned their attention to the dwindling bricks and mortar videogame outlet, Gamestop. By targeting short-sellers, they have  forced Gamestop share prices up 1,700%. While this began as a joke, some trading platforms are now restricting the sale of the stock due to this wild inflation. This has caused outrage, as normal people are gaming the system, rather than Wall Street moguls. CNN has a good explainer. 

Jini Maxwell is a writer and curator who lives in Naarm. They are an assistant curator at ACMI, where they also host the Women & Non-binary gamers club. They write about videogames and the people who make them. You can find them on Twitter @astroblob