How to work with the Yanks

11 October, 2013 by Staff Writer

Co-financing with US production companies and selling Australian formats internationally will be among the key topics on the agenda at SPAA’s Screen Forever conference.

Among the other sessions at the November 18-21 event in Melbourne will be a focus on deal making in the broadcast, theatrical and online sectors amid fast-changing release windows; an update on international digital distribution and Video-on-Demand; and ABC TV Director Richard Finlayson outlining his vision for the network.


A panel of Hollywood-based executives will explore ways of using the producer offset to raise finance in the US via equity, distribution guarantees, P&A and debt in the session entitled Working with the USA: The Eagle and The Kangaroo – Co-financing Across The Pacific.

It will also focus on the issues of significant Australian content, copyright and the extent to which the offset can or should be considered equity. Speaking will be Tracey Vieira, Executive Vice President, International Production, Ausfilm; Greg Coote, Executive Producer, Larrikin Entertainment and Chairman, China Lion Film Distribution; Antony I. Ginnane, Producer, IFM Films; and Clay Epstein, SVP Sales and Acquisitions, Arclight Films.

In the Aussies Selling Formats to the World session, Australian production companies will share their experiences in selling original formats for local broadcasters and the international market. The panel will comprise Chris Hilton, CEO, Executive Producer & Owner, Essential Media; Greg Logan, Executive Producer, Hatch; Jason Burrows, Founder and Producer, Jungleboys; and Avi Armoza, Founder and CEO, Armoza Formats.

In Screen Splinters – Shakeups in Large and Small Screen Distribution, the panel will explore the impact of online players such as iTunes, Yahoo and Google, subscription services such as Netflix and advertising-supported or hybrid sites such as YouTube and Hulu. Speakers will include Paul Wiegard, Founder and Director, Madman Entertainment, and Wendy Bernfeld, Founder, Rights Stuff BV.

Bernfeld will also host the session Catching the Digital/VOD Wave – While Watching for Wipe-outs. She will unravel the acronyms TVOD, SVOD, AdVOD, EST/ DTO and address emerging formats such as 2nd screen, webisodes, cross platform, transmedia.

Story is King But Who Rules the Process? will focus on the role of the producer in the script-writing process. Kim Wright, Film Producer, Sesame Street; Chris Rose, Commissioning Editor, Animation, ABC Children’s TV; and Steven T. Seagle, Creator, Man of Action Studios, will participate.

In ABC TV – Top That!, Finlayson will discuss the growth in the ABC’s audiences, his plans for the next two years and also provide tips on how producers should engage with the public broadcaster.

He will be joined by channel controllers Brendan Dahill (ABC1), Stuart Menzies (ABC2) and Barbara Uecker (Acting controller, Children’s TV), who will elaborate on what they are looking to commission in 2014 and 2015.