Off the back of last year’s Raising Films Australia survey, which asked parents and carers about their experiences working in the screen industry, Create NSW has introduced a series of new initiatives – similar to those recently implemented by the South Australian Film Corporation (SAFC).

Almost three quarters of the 600 respondents to the Raising Films Australia survey, the results of which were released last October, reported that caring responsibilities had had a negative impact on their career. Of those 84 per cent were women, many of whom were freelancers. As a result, many were hiding the fact they have kids or care for a loved one, while others had simply left the industry altogether.

The survey, funded by Create NSW, was the result of a collaboration between WIFT NSW and the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS). It was based on a similar survey run out of the UK by Raising Films in 2016.

When the survey results were first announced, the SAFC immediately ushered in a series of policy changes, many of which Create NSW has now followed suit on.

Create NSW will run a new attachment scheme, known as the Screen Momentum Attachment, which will require any project that receives more than $400,000 in production finance from the agency to engage at least one crew member, key creative or head of department who identifies as a recent or current carer. To assist the industry in delivering this, the agency will keep a database of practitioners who are suitable for the program.

Create NSW will also participate in the Keeping Your Hand In program, which is designed to support people who are taking time out of the workplace or reducing their workloads to be a carer to keep pace with changes in areas such as production methodology and technology, and make sure sure they remain visible in the industry.

The agency’s acting director screen investment, engagement and attraction Sally Regan said: “These results are a reflection of real perceptions in the screen industry and its time for us to make a change to better reflect the world we live and work in.

“We know from experience when we announced our gender target – 50:50 by 2020 – that even subtle changes to our funding guidelines and ways of working can have a huge impact, so let’s get on with this and make the changes we need in our industry to ensure equity for all practitioners.”

At the launch of the Raising Films Australia results in October, both Screen Producers Australia CEO Matt Deaner and Australian Directors’ Guild CEO Kingston Anderson called for all state agencies and Screen Australia to adopt similar initiatives to the SAFC to support parents and carers.

WIFT Australia helped to a convene a forum at AFTRS last December to help industry identify further workable actions to address the needs and issues raised in the report. A follow-up forum report is expected  to be released in mid-2019 with recommendations for industry, best practice guides and case studies.

Create NSW Screen Production Finance applications are now open and close at midnight March 24. Apply here.

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