Screen Aus completes program overhaul

15 March, 2010 by IF

By Brendan Swift

Screen Australia has completed an overhaul of its support programs covering development, production financing, indigenous projects and marketing.


It follows an industry-wide review which began last November and has prompted several key changes.

The agency has relaxed the definition of writers, writer/directors and directors eligible to apply for one draft of funding without a producer. Only two feature, mini-series or telemovie credits are now required, or six broadcast hours of a primetime series.

Time-critical development funding has also been introduced to help producers take advantage of opportunities to secure an option on an underlying work.

The next round of the agency's Enterprise Program, which closes on July 26, has been substantially reduced to $1 million in total, capped at $350,000 for each company.

It follows last year’s initial $9 million in funding, which was awarded to 12 companies over three years, and aimed at developing sustainable production houses.

Screen Australia has maintained its feature film investment cap at $3 million until July 1, when it will be reduced to $2.5 million.

“This will allow producers more time to factor the new cap into their planning,” Screen Australia said in a statement.

It follows last year’s decision to cut the $5 million cap to $3 million with no warning, endangering the production of films such as Tomorrow: When the War Began and The Tree.

“We have also listened to industry feedback on the appropriateness of the proposed guidelines for low-budget features,” Screen Australia boss Ruth Harley said in a statement.

“Although we’re still encouraging low-budget projects to apply through the normal feature film production program, the guidelines now state that we’re prepared to be flexible about things like market attachment requirements where budgets are less than $1.5 million.”

Marketing programs will remain largely unchanged for the remainder of 2009-10.

Screen Australia's final revised terms of trade, issued for comment in November, are expected to be released in the next few months and will apply from July 1.