$500,000 up for grabs for feature

03 August, 2015 by Don Groves

Screen Australia’s multi-platform drama program has the scope to invest up to $500,000 in a low budget feature- yet not one feature producer has applied.

The fund, which has $4.2 million to invest this financial year, is willing to support feature-length projects from applicants who have a significant social media audience.


That’s defined as a channel with more than 100,000 subscribers or followers, or a video with more than 1 million views and at least 25,000 subscribers.

The creative team must include a producer and director with at least one credit on a comparable project which has been publicly released.

Screen Australia’s report entitled Issues in Feature Film Distribution unveiled last Thursday noted, “To date, Screen Australia has received no applications for low-budget feature films through this program.”

Investment manager Mike Cowap tells IF he believes he has not been flooded with applications because the guidelines were clarified, specifically to include low-budget features, six weeks ago and word hasn't spread.

Cowap welcomes applications for funding for features that are part of a multi-platform project. “So much talent is emerging from YouTube and other social media we are keen to see how they can apply those skills and knowledge,” he says.

The program’s remit is to invest in the production of narrative projects that take risks and push the envelope of fiction storytelling on traditional and non-traditional platforms. 

They could be comedy or drama projects distributed on any platform (including traditional TV, online web series, tablet, mobile and PC based distribution) or on multiple platforms. An online platform must form a central element of the project’s distribution plan.

The fund has supported The Divorce, a contemporary comedic opera starring Lisa McCune, Marina Prior, Hugh Sheridan, Kate Miller-Heidke, John O’May, Matthew McFarlane, Melissa Madden-Gray and Peter Couse, which is now shooting as a 4-part TV series and feature.

A collaboration between Princess Pictures, ABC TV Arts and Opera Australia, it's written by Joanna Murray-Smith, directed by Dean Murphy and produced by Andrea Denholm.

Universal Home Entertainment has acquired the feature and is planning an event-style theatrical release via Universal Pictures.