Screen Forever 2023: need to know

As representatives from the screen industry in Australia and elsewhere gather on the Gold Coast, here's some key information.

The 37th iteration of the Screen Forever event will be held in person in May 2023 on Australia’s Gold Coast and online for the Global Market segment of the event.

The agenda: to discuss the future of Australian screen stories with representatives from the local and international screen sector, politics and other walks of life.

As per the Screen Forever website:

For 37 years, Screen Forever has developed an unrivalled ability to unite the sector and provide a world class platform to champion the talent, passion and achievements of the Australian screen industry, providing a vital forum for discussion and debate on the issues and challenges that affect screen business. Most importantly Screen Forever, through the SPA Connect Marketplace, delivers precious business opportunities which progress, amplify and strengthen Australian screen stories.

Notable attendees in 2023

  • Minister for the Arts, Hon Tony Burke MP
  • Erik Thomson (Aftertaste, Black Snow)
  • Devon Terrell (Rap Sh*t, Cursed)
  • Chika Ikogwe (Heartbreak High)
  • Marta Dusseldorp (A Place to Call Home, Janet King, Jack Irish)
  • Mark Coles Smith (Mystery Road: Origin)

Read: Mystery Road: Origin review – Jay Swan is back

  • Premier of Queensland, Annastacia Palaszczuk MP
  • Acting CEO of Screen Queensland Dr Belinda Burns
  • SPA CEO Matthew Deaner

Read: Matthew Deaner on Screen Forever 2022

Keynote speech

Aaron Fa’Aoso a proud Torres Strait Islander, managing director at Lone Star Production Group, actor, film and television writer, director and independent film and TV producer will deliver the Hector Crawford Memorial Lecture in person at the event.

Aaron Fa’Aoso, keynote speaker. Image: supplied.

Fa’Aoso was born into the Kheodal and Samu clans of Saibai Island. Having grown up in a large Torres Strait Islander community with a rich tradition of storytelling, he has gone on to become one of Australia’s screen industry’s most important storytellers and prominent figures of Torres Strait Island descent.

I’m looking forward to discussing how Torres Strait Islander people continue to be frustrated about the lack of inclusion, visibility, and voices of not being seen, heard, or considered despite being integral in the economic development of this country across the vast landscapes of the maritime (Pearling), agricultural (sugarcane). Transport (railway development) and defence force industries.

As ” the other” First Nations people of Australia, Torres Strait Islander people want a more balanced representation across the entire film and television landscape from content creation, onscreen talent, Heads of department and so on. Until a focussed Torres Strait Islander screen strategy and funding is established and allocated that is embraced and advocated by the screen industry, screen agencies and broadcasters the status quo will remain.

Aaron Fa’Aoso to give the 2023 Hector Crawford Memorial Lecture

Lifetime Achievement Award

Producers Brian Rosen and Su Armstrong will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award  at the 2023 event.

Su Armstrong. Image: supplied.

For almost four decades, Armstrong has been one of the global screen industry’s most prolific producers, with a career that began by working on Peter Weir’s The Last Wave followed by a raft of Australian films and culminating with Head of Production at Kennedy Miller Mitchell before heading off to the United States. She then solidified her credentials in Hollywood, working under Walt Disney’s Hollywood Pictures, where she oversaw as VP of Production of more than 50 films, including Crimson Tide, Dangerous Minds, The Santa Clause, Unstrung Heroes, and The Rock.

Brian Rosen. Image: supplied.

Rosen’s career that has seen him work across Australia, the USA and Europe both as an independent producer and as an executive. He was previously CEO of the Film Finance Corporation of Australia from 2003 until 2008, where he was instrumental in bringing about the 2007 government film incentives of Producer Offset and merging of the federal film and TV agencies into Screen Australia.

He began producing films in the US in 1991 with the animated film FernGully – The Last Rainforest, distributed worldwide by 20th Century Fox. In 1994 he worked at Walt Disney Pictures as executive producer on Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach, produced by Tim Burton, and from 1996 until 1999, he had a developing and producing deal with 20th Century Fox Family Entertainment.

Sit Down with the Senators

This year features a ‘sit down with the senators’ conversation with with Nationals Senator Perin Davey and Australian Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, as they dissect the impact of the Government’s National Cultural Policy on the screen industry.

Karl Quinn of The Age and Sydney Morning Herald will lead the conversation with both senators and focus on the critical role the Senate will play in the Parliamentary debate and vote on the Government’s proposed streaming services regulation that will be legislated later this year.  

Read: Australian streaming regulation news welcomed by the screen sector


The event will conclude with the annual SPA Awards for different categories, including Feature Film Production of the Year, Commissioner of the Year, Lifetime Achievement Award, Animated Production of the Year, and the Media Super Production Business of the Year Award.

Comedian, writer and presenter Mel Buttle will host the awards at The Star Gold Coast on 5 May.

Screen Forever takes place on 2 May (UK Connect Gold Coast), 3–5 May (Conference + SPA Connect, Gold Coast), and 9–10 May (Global Market Online). Visit Screen Forever for more information.