Courtney Gibson has departed her role as Screen NSW CEO ahead of the establishment of Create NSW; a new agency that will merge Screen NSW and Arts NSW.
In a statement, Deputy Secretary, Justice Services, Arts & Culture, Samantha Torres said Gibson had led the agency through a period of “remarkable growth and renewal” and had achieved a great deal for the sector.
This included tripling project funding available for local and international production with introduction of the $20 million Made in NSW fund, and increasing NSW’s share of Aussie TV drama and features from 39 per cent in 2014-15, to 55 per cent in 2015-16 – with “an even higher share” expected in 2016-17, she said.
“Under Courtney’s leadership Screen NSW has made unparalleled strides towards full gender equity with dramatic increases in the number of roles accorded female key creatives, and driven the creation of initiatives such as Screenability NSW to deliver opportunities for screen practitioners with disabilities,” said Torres.
“Other achievements include the launch of the new feature film development initiative Amplifier; the launch of the new emerging film-makers’ fund Generator; the regional shorts initiative SEED; the Virtual Reality development initiative 360 Vision; three annual prizes honouring the achievements of NSW practitioners with the Sydney Unesco City of Film Award, the Annette Kellerman Award and the Screen NSW Award; the establishment of two ”hot desks” for NSW practitioners working in Los Angeles at the Australians in Film office in Hollywood; the Screen NSW Women’s Internship Program, including the She Shoots initiative; the women’s documentary fellowship program SheDoc; the Screen NSW-ABC TV Arts Documentary Feature Fund with the Sydney Film Festival; the Islam I Am TV development initiative with Islamic practitioners from Western Sydney”
“Courtney has championed the establishment of an extraordinary number of new partnerships with the private, philanthropic and public sectors; and introduced a significant cultural shift inside the agency to focus on advocacy for the screen sector and increasing opportunities for under-represented groups in the industry. All this is on top of a record number of projects in development and production, a significant increase in production right across the state of NSW, including international production such as Alien: Covenant, Pacific Rim 2, Jackie Chan’s Bleeding Steel, Animal Logic’s Peter Rabbit and Playmaker’s Chosen.”
“I would like to thank Courtney for her expertise and contributions during her time with us, her support throughout the reform process, and I wish her all the best.”
Current acting executive director of Arts NSW, Michael Brealey, will take up the role of Create NSW chief executive on January 23. The new agency, which covers arts, culture and screen, was first flagged by the government in October.
Other senior executive appointments at Create NSW include Tarek Barakat as director, strategic, research and projects, Grainne Brunsdon as director, engagement, partnerships and development and Sophia Zachariou as director, sector investment. Both Brunsdon and Zachariou currently hold senior positions at Screen NSW.
The Minister will also be advised by the Arts and Culture Advisory Committee, which includes Rosemary Blight, Ken Crouch and Genevieve Clay-Smith.
Torres said it continued to be “business as usual” at Screen NSW, with applications for funding being accepted and processed as normal.
Further information about Create NSW is expected to be announced in the coming weeks.