South Australian Film Corporation chief executive Richard Harris has defended the government agency’s expenditure to attract $14 million TV series Resistance to the state.
It follows a report in the local Sunday Mail newspaper which outlined $660,000 in extra SAFC cash and incentives on top of the $850,000 production investment already pledged to the series, which had been going to film in New South Wales.
However, in an open letter published on the SAFC website, Harris said the deal had been misrepresented and the TV series was a key part in establishing the $48 million Adelaide Studios complex, which are due to officially open next week.
“Some of the industry may be aware that recently there has been some unfortunate misrepresentation of the Resistance deal in the public arena, largely due to a misunderstanding of the business of the SAFC, and the conditional nature of much of the agreement,” he said.
The extra incentives, outlined in documents obtained through a Freedom of Information request by the Opposition, were:
• $130,000 free rental of Adelaide Studios (conditional on the second series being shot in SA);
• $130,000 to producer Andrew Dillon, provided he qualifies as an SA resident (judged on whether he is on the SA electoral role for at least six months);
• $300,000 from the SAFC's initial share of any profits (provided series two is shot in Adelaide), which is part of the long-running SAFC producer equity scheme and has also been taken up by other SA productions such as feature film Swerve;
• assistance applying for a $100,000 exemption from payroll tax.
“Over the past week, the corporation has been in discussions with the South Australian Screen Industry Council (SASIC) to explain the details of the deal, and provide the appropriate context of the various numbers involved,” Harris said.
“As you would know, the SAFC has always made its approvals public and sought to provide the greatest level of transparency possible about its investments – and the Resistance deal is no different than any other in that regard.
“The SAFC appreciates the candid dialogue that it has had with SASIC about this deal and the general strategic position of the corporation, and will continue to discuss issues of industry concern with the council in the future – if you want your voice heard council remains your most effective means of doing so, as it represents the broad interests of the entire industry."
Harris said the SAFC remains confident that the Resistance deal is in the long-term interests of the SA industry.