Screen News in Brief: Virus hits, industry waits, life goes on for now

Coronavirus attacks Elvis on Gold Coast while Ten hacked up by ViacomCBS. Lots more in this roundup.

COVID-19 Virus

Box Office

  • Just a year ago, the national weekend box office was in a steep climb upwards. This year it has lost $2m in two weeks and is now under every single weekend last year except for one. $8m is a terrible number. Paradoxically this has happened just as two Australian made films, The Invisible Man and Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears are doing excellent business in cinemas

Moves and Shakes

  • AFTRS finally has a new CEO. Dr Nell Greenwood comes from the writing and development sector and has previously been AFTRS head of screenwriting, then the MA course leader, then head of programs, and finally director of curriculum and student registrar. She replaces Neil Peplow who departed AFTRS in mid 2019.
  • Ten CEO and ViacomCBS ANZ VP Paul Anderson has resigned, leading to a restructure. Anderson has been with Ten for 17 years and CEO for almost five, moving into the expanded Viacom role in January. He will not be directly replaced. Which means that a major Australian commercial network no longer has a leader and is just two branches of different business units in a multinational. 

AIDC 2020 Wrap

Opportunities & Deadlines

  • The Stan and Film Victoria Comedy Fund is open for applications. The joint initiative aims to support Victorian writers and producers to develop Australian comedy, and is seeking ‘stories that respond to Stan’s Creative Brief (PDF) and feature relatable characters with unique dilemmas fuelling the comedy for a multi-season run.’ The successful applicants will receive up to $30,000 to develop a 30-minute pilot episode and series outline. Deadline is 19 March 2020.
  • The ABC is calling on year 10 students (and equivalent age) in Melbourne and surrounds to share a video, audio, text or photo story about their life and submit it to the Takeover Melbourne Competition. Winners will work with ABC producers to have their story featured. Entries are open now and close 26 June 2020.
  • Imagine Impact, the screenwriting talent accelerator program created by Brian Grazer, Ron Howard and Tyler Mitchell, will launch in Melbourne this year in association with Gentle Giant, Screen Australia and Film Victoria. The eight-week mentorship program matching writers with internationally established screenwriters and showrunners begins on 8 June 2020, with applications closing 21 March.

Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) Calls for Submissions



In case you missed it – stories from the week

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