Screen News in Brief

A quiet week as cinemas look forward and hold breath. First peek at Dirt Music and production protocols for the new world.

Cinemas look forward, hold breath

  • Australian exhibitors are taking things day by day, looking forward to reopening as soon as possible. Most assume that July will be the magic month, albeit with the 4 square metre distancing rule limiting capacity to around 30 per cent.
  • This week we looked at the future of cinemagoing in a post-COVID world, and Cinema Nova’s CEO Kristian Connelly said he saw good openings for Australian films that had been delayed and may now release to hungry audiences. ‘We saw some very promising Australian titles before we closed down, many of which are yet to be released. The upcoming Sam Neill and Michael Caton feature, RAMS, has a great deal of potential, as does Baby Teeth. Later in the year, we have The Dry… These films were all slated for between May-August this year, and now it’s likely they’ll go out on the later side of that – but they’ll have much less competition, given so many major studio features, like blockbusters are being pushed back to 2021. I think the opportunities for Australian filmmakers are going to be very strong.’
  • In the meantime, Universal today released first images and trailer for Dirt Music, still undated but ‘coming soon to Australian cinemas in 2020’. The adaptation of Tim Winton’s novel is set and shot on West Australia’s coast. It is directed by Gregor Jordan, written by Jack Thorne, produced by Finola Dwyer, Amanda Posey, Angie Fielder and Polly Staniford. It stars Kelly MacDonald (doing a great Aussie accent by the looks of it) Garrett Hedlund and David Wenham, and features original music composed and performed by Julia Stone. Universal also has Shannon Murphy’s Babyteeth due for later release.


Calls for more assistance to the screen sector

The Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA) announced today it is calling on the Federal Government to explain its claim that financial assistance of up to $10 billion will flow to the sectors. In his Guardian op-ed of a month ago, he claimed that the combination of JobSeeker and JobKeeper ‘will end up being worth between $4bn and $10bn of support to the creative workforce, making it the single biggest government investment to support our arts and creative sector that we have ever seen.’

Now MEAA wants the modelling data to be released in public. Our story based on the Australian Bureau of Statistics figures collected at the time of Fletcher’s claim  is pretty grim. 

Stories in development


  • Arthur Dignam, the Australian stage and screen actor, whose work included roles in The Devil’s Playground and The Dismissal, has died of a heart attack aged 80. Read the obituary by Richard Watts.
  • Mark Ruse, key Melbourne indy producer, brought grace and generosity to the hard craft of comedy. David Tiley’s obituary. 

In case you missed it

Bits & Bobs

  • The Australian Production Design Guild (APDG) is holding its AGM on Tuesday 26 May at 7pm. Nominations have been received for the 2020/2021 executive. If you’re a current APDG member you’re invited to vote online prior to the meeting, or RSVP to attend the online AGM.
  • Speaking of production design, the APDG’s latest news features a great in-depth interview with Alex Holmes (The Babadook, The Nightingale), talking about his work on The Invisible Man. Alex gives insight into the creation of the ‘invisible’ suit, scouting and building the locations and his overall design philosophy for the film.
  • Still tearing your hair out over JobKeeper? The folk at Dame Changer are running an in-depth webinar targeting screen industry businesses on Tuesday 26 May at 5pm. This is free for members and available for a very small nominal fee of $29.95 for non-members. Tickets here.
  • The Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) has launched a new guide to what’s on screens and choosing for children of different ages and stages. Check it out

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