By Brendan Swift

The ACT Government will invest $1.8 million in local film, television and digital media production over the next three years.

ACT Chief Minister and Minister for the Arts, Jon Stanhope, unveiled the new ACT Film Investment Fund at a local event on Wednesday night after months of lobbying by ScreenACT.

"Canberra has a growing digital media, film and TV production industry, with significant potential for further development," he said in a statement. "Our creative industries already account for 9 per cent of all jobs in the ACT, compared to the national average of 5.3 per cent."

The fund is expected to support up to six significant feature films and a number of smaller documentary, television and animation projects over three years.

"This targeted investment will also allow local businesses to leverage the potential economic and tourism benefits that result from local productions," Stanhope said.

A spokesperson from Stanhope's office said the ACT Film Investment Fund will be open to ACT-based productions with confirmed finance partners or who can demonstrate a level of marketplace interest in their production.

The funding will be made as an equity investment and any profit will be reinvested into the fund, which will be managed by ScreenACT, the Chief Minister’s department and an external advisory body which will recommend projects for support.

Up to $400,000 will be available in 2010-11, followed by $600,000 and then $800,000 over the next two financial years.

Local filmmaker Brendan Sloane said he is now likely to apply for increased funding for his next film, Laying With Dogs. His low budget thriller, The Dinner Party, previously received the maximum $10,000 funding from ScreenACT and has secured Australian and UK distribution, and is about to sign a deal for North America.

Further details about the fund will be released in the ACT budget, which is due to be handed down next Wednesday.

  On the set of Canberra film The Dinner Party


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