Producers are being made to jump through “more and more” hoops to get government support: SPA

15 November, 2017 by Jackie Keast

SPA CEO Matt Deaner. 

A “resentful, mendicant” model is developing between the screen industry and government, according to Screen Producers Australia CEO Matthew Deaner.


In a keynote address at the organisation’s Screen Forever conference today, the SPA chief told delegates that funding applicants were being required to jump through “more and more” hoops to access government support, with “little empathy or thought” for the small businesses impacted.

With that, bureaucrats are wielding more power over the industry than they realise, he said.

“This is not setting us up for long-term success and opportunities to succeed on a global scale.”

Deaner used his speech to emphasise that small businesses need to be given every opportunity to succeed in a market facing increased disruption and pressure, and outlined an ongoing focus for SPA in opening up trade in other markets.

“Our industry exports $250 million a year. Our stories resonate. Our small businesses are match fit and punch above our weight in the global marketplace – but we can do better. We are grateful for the Trade Minister’s interest and support for our industry in finding ways to increase trade opportunities.”

Deaner also touched on several key issues in the industry at present, including the need for greater inclusivity, noting “diverse Australia is represented by an exception, rather than the rule.”

“We have the power as Australia’s story tellers to strengthen this wonderful diversity by telling its stories. We have the power also to help reconcile our country’s relationship with Indigenous peoples through their stories. But we must have strong commitments to making this happen. We can’t allow our industry to abandon parts of our society, diverse Australia, regional and remote Australia, Australian children.”

To this end, he highlighted the recent formation of the Screen Diversity and Inclusion Network and emphasised the public service obligations placed on broadcasters.

“Australia’s incredible diversity produces incredible stories, we just need to find them and put them on screen.

“But get these stories on our screen we need a diversity of supply. Nimble, innovative businesses are best placed to pivot quickly to changing market conditions and bring together world-renowned creative talent. The independent sector brings diversity, freshness and efficiency and promotes innovation, creativity and risk-taking.”

On the recent wave of sexual harassment allegations in the industry, Deaner called for a united effort to address the “scourge”.

SPA and the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) recently issued a joint statement condemning sexual harassment, as has the Australian Directors’ Guild (ADG).

“The accusations against Weinstein, Spacey, Louis CK – the list is growing – demonstrate the worst abuses of power in our industry.

“This abuse of power hurts and harms people – in particular, women.”

IF Magazine is a media partner of the Screen Forever conference.