Screen Australia is handing back the rights to 1,200 films to the producers, effective July 1.
The concession applies to films funded by the Film Finance Corp., the Australian Film Commission and during Screen Australia’s first year.
Titles include Muriel’s Wedding, The Adventures of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert and Strictly Ballroom, which are among the handful of films which fully recouped their FFC investment. The others that recouped are Green Card (an Australian/French co-production), Napoleon, Rabbit-Proof Fence, Shine, Sirens, The Wog Boy and Wolf Creek.
In the AFC era Caddie and Picnic at Hanging Rock were among the profitable pictures.
Screen Producers Australia CEO Matt Deaner welcomed the move, telling IF, "This is good news for producers developing sustainable businesses, the key to which is to retain and manage the rights in their work. When we empower small businesses to capitalise on their creative endeavours there is only upside both to the creative talents who have contributed to the making of the screen content but also more broadly to the Australian economy."
In 2009 Screen Australia announced it would revert its recoupment entitlement in favour of producers for all production investments approved before January that year, and from that point on.
The reversion was scheduled to take place seven years after delivery of each project, meaning that process would start for films produced in 2009 in January 2016.
Screen Australia said today it had brought that date forward to July 1 in an effort “to encourage greater commercial exploitation."
On July 1 Screen Australia head of business and audience Richard Harris will host an event to mark the return of the rights. Harris tells IF, "We did not see any value in holding back on those rights. We want to get on with business now."