AWG backs Screen Aus shift away from auteurs

07 November, 2011 by Brendan Swift

The Australian Writers' Guild has backed Screen Australia's decision to help shift the local feature film industry from an “auteur expression” model towards more audience-driven content.

Screen Australia chairman Glen Boreham, writing in Screen Australia’s 2010-11 annual report, said audience outcomes were a top priority when the government agency was set up three years ago – a stance which led it to increase support for writers and attach clear statements of expected outcomes to feature film funding.


AWG president Jan Sardi said he supported the shift. "It's reassuring to see that the obsession with auteurs of recent years is on the decline and that there is a long overdue acknowledgement of the importance of the screenwriter's craft," he said in a statement. "Hopefully this signifies a real shift in the industry."

Nonetheless, nine of the 17 feature films funded by Screen Australia in 2010-11 were driven by writer-directors: Hail, The King is Dead!, Lore, Mental, Satellite Boy, Summer Coda, Venice, The Last of the Great Apes and Wish You Were Here.

That 53 per cent ratio is similar to the final year of the Film Finance Corporation (2007-08) when 13 of the 22 features funded were by writer-directors.

The AWG has spent several years campaigning against the number of writer-director funded features, and for its members to be afforded equal recognition with directors and producers.

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