SPA Proposes New Vision for the Australian Screen Industry
- Screen Producers Australia (SPA) has today released its submission to the Government’s reform options paper, Supporting Australian Stories on Our Screens. The proposed long term model calls for firm and measurable growth targets that double employment and production of Australian content in the industry in the five year period from implementation.
- The proposed model calls for the incorporation of new streaming platforms into the regulatory mix, and a platform-neutral 40 per cent Producer Offset for significant Australian content (scripted and documentary), with a 30 per cent rate available for a broader range of content and the Location and Post, Digital and Visual Effects (PDV) Offsets.
- The submission also addresses the need for a new paradigm for children’s content and proposes a set of minimum requirements for our public broadcasters and measures to enhance producers’ ability to retain and exploit IP.
- SPA’s full submission can be downloaded here [PDF], and its reform roadmap summary is here [PDF].
COVID-safe Guidelines for Production are intense
- Production is slowly getting underway again, though ‘slowly’ may be the operative word. If you haven’t yet checked out the excellent and very necessary Australian Screen Production Industry Covid-safe Guidelines (released in May) then this document [PDF] is certainly worth a browse to get a picture of what has to happen, and how it might add centuries to a schedule and nightmares to a budget. All caution is essential, but wow, what a hassle. (Pages 19 – 30 get into the nitty gritty of every department’s work.)
Cinemas open doors a crack. Australian films peek through
- This week at the box office: growing signs of life – though drive-ins may prove necessary in some states for a while.
- The most anticipated Australian films of 2020 updated for COVID-19. From Relic to Rams, Slim and I and Babyteeth, our updated list has info on films to look out for on socially distanced screens.
- On our radar now, there’s Alkinos Tsimilidos’ latest black comedy, The Taverna opening today (Palace Cinemas & Classic, 2 July). Also showing around the place, Kriv Stenders’ Brock: Over the Top, Ben Lawrence’s Hearts and Bones, Maya Newell’s In My Blood it Runs and Leigh Whannell’s The Invisible Man keeps on keeping on. Coming up soon, Natalie Erika James’ Relic (Stan, 10 July) and Shannon Murphy’s Babyteeth (23 July).
Rescues & Reprieves
- $50M screen package to address insurance woes. Details are sketchy but this chunk of the total $250M Arts & Entertainment rescue package, to be administered by Screen Australia, will hopefully help to get the industry moving again.
- Community TV saved by the bell on national TV. Channel C31 in Melbourne and Channel 44 in Adelaide have won 12-month extensions of their licenses in an 11th hour reprieve by the government. No extra funding though.
- $5.5M for National Film and Sound Archive. Spread over four years, the money will help to digitise disintegrating audio and video magnetic tapes.
ABC: Cuts are deep, but there’s audio description
- The ABC has revealed the measures it will take in order to meet budget shortfall between 2020 and 2025. Independent production budgets will be slashed by $5m per year, predominately from the factual and entertainment slate, with priority given to drama and children’s programming. This is bad news, and doesn’t make sense in the context of an expansive 5-year plan.
- ABC: How to say pull the other leg politely on cuts. Here’s a few wrinkles in the latest cuts fight, from the prospects for the indy sector to the long term budget truth.
- Audio description finally comes to ABC and SBS. This comes after nearly 30 years of advocacy.
SBS gets new Head of Indigenous Content
- Tanya Denning Orman is now SBS Head of Indigenous Content. This is a new role, added to her current role of channel manager at NITV, and she will oversee the development and delivery of First Nations storytelling across the SBS network.
What’s next for Australian TV? Online forum
- This looks interesting, and it’s on Tonight, Thursday 2 July Live: 7pm – 8.30pm. After a year of unpredictable events, what happens now for broadcasters? Australia’s leading broadcasters including Nine Network, SBS, ABC, NITV and Network 10 are coming together to take stock following the recent months of upheaval across the screen industry. Sharing their insights into what lies ahead for their businesses and for the country’s ravaged production sector are: Adrian Swift, Nine Network Head of Production and Development; Marshall Heald, Director TV and Online Content SBS; Tanya Denning-Orman, Channel Manager, NITV; Michael Carrington, Director, Entertainment and Specialist, ABC; Daniel Monaghan, Head of Programming, Network Ten. Running Free Live: The Comeback Hosted by Denise Eriksen, Co-Founder of Media Mentors Australia. JOIN HERE.
- What can the world’s oldest games festival teach the arts about survival? Freeplay independent games festival has survived for over sixteen years. The past and present directors share the lessons they have learned on sustainability, purpose, and the future of the arts.
- SA announces groundbreaking rebate for games industry. In a nation-first, the South Australian state government has extended the state’s post-production, digital and visual effects (PDV) rebate to the development of videogames.
- Parliamentary inquiry recommends federal tax offset for games development.
Festivals & Exhibitions
- Reel Stories: the Melbourne International Documentary Film Festival until 15 July is online this year. A strong commitment to local documentary sees 50 + Australian documentaries premiering, representing 55 per cent of the total festival slate. Highlights include SFF documentary winner Descent. Check out the program.
- Revelation Perth International Film Festival 9 – 19 July is online and therefore national this year. There are 27 feature length films in the program, from low budget Australian features to a documentary on Tarkovsky and indescribable experiences with names like Many Undulating Things. Rev tends to have the most unusual films in any Australian festival, in which private viewing may be an advantage.
- Online film series profiles groundbreaking child safety activists. ‘Citizen Activism: Reclaiming Childhood Rights’ honours three women whose activism helped bring about the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse.
- Australia’s international web series festival, Melbourne WebFest has announced its official selection and nominees for its annual awards. The event is celebrating its eighth anniversary this year from 4 – 6 September online, screening 81 of the best web series from 16 countries.
- Ripping the Fabric of Monotony: two video projects defy lockdown. A cemetery’s ghosts are projected on a bridge in Donna McRae’s latest work ‘Ladies of the Cemetery’, while giant puppet ‘Lanimals’ take back the city. Art is alive out there, thanks to some small Grants.
- Guillermo del Toro: how to create a cinematic genius. Del Toro is a true provocateur of the demonic unconscious, his mind awash with imaginary oceans, wise in the ways of terror and delight, and a Mexican god of cinema. He started very young.
- Screen Australia has announced new board appointment. The Morrison Government has appointed Mr Peter Davey as a member of the board for a term of three years. He is a lawyer, corporate advisor and strategy consultant specialising in Entertainment, Media and Technology, with former MD roles at Village Roadshow and ITV Australia. Joanna Werner has also been reappointed for three years, and Megan Brownlow (Deputy Chair) has been reappointed for one year. The eight-member board also includes Nicholas Moore (Chair), Michael Hawkins, Claudia Karvan, Richard King and Deborah Mailman AM.
- Screen Australia has announced the creators and shapers involved in the new Impact Australia eight-week accelerator program, now underway. Participating in the Australian offshoot of US Imagine Impact (created by Brian Grazer, Ron Howard and Tyler Mitchell) are writer-mentors (or shapers): Sarah Heyward, Shaun Grant, Kai Wu, Stuart Beattie, Jason Smilovic. The participants are 14 Creators from across Australia working on 10 projects: Carrie Anderson (NSW) – Bound (TV Hour); Luke Goodall (VIC) + Marc Gallagher (VIC) – Robots Inc. (TV Half Hour); Sukhjit Khalsa (WA) + Perun Bonser (WA) – One of the Good Ones (TV Half Hour); Catherine Kelleher (NSW) – Iron Mountain (TV Hour); Megan Palinkas (VIC) + Sam Barrett (VIC) – Terminus (TV Hour); Emma Dockery (VIC) – The Party Line (TV Half Hour); Lucy Coleman (NSW) – Exposure (TV Half Hour); Henry Boffin (VIC) – Before The Dying Light (Feature); Jessica Harris (VIC) – The Bloomers (TV Half Hour); Brendan Fletcher (NSW) + Devi Telfer (QLD) – Taronga (Feature Film).
AACTA Awards Open for Entries, with reduced fees
- Entries are now open for the 2020 AACTA Awards presented by Foxtel. Entries are invited from across television, film, documentary, online and short form categories, with VFX entries to be opened soon.
- Due to the hardships of this year, entry fees have been reduced across all categories and film eligibility had been updated to include films which had the intent to release this year, regardless of whether they were shown in cinemas. Full details here.
Around the web
- ‘There are no more excuses’: six industry insiders on Australian TV’s problem with race – Guardian Australia.
- Sundance 2021 Will Be ‘Reimagined’: An Online Hub, Social Distancing, and Maybe Even a Date Shift – Indiewire.
- ‘Sharp Objects’ Announced Eliza Scanlen as a Dark Force, but in ‘Babyteeth’ a Star Is Born – Indiewire
- Hugh Jackman talks to Tim Ferris on best decisions, daily routines, the 85 per cent rule, favourite exercises, mind training and much more. Tim Ferris Podcast