Screen Australia has committed its entire annual $42 million budget for drama production in just over six months.
The government agency's spending spree is another blow to the struggling screen industry and threatens to create a production lull in the second half of 2013.
Screen Australia said it was “unfortunate” it was now in this position but “the pressure on Screen Australia production funds in the lead-up to the 14 December 2012 board meeting was extremely high, with an unprecedented number of quality feature film and television projects seeking support”.
Combined with its anticipated funding decisions at the February 2013 board meeting (that funding round has previously closed), the agency will not accept production funding applications ahead of its April 2013 board meeting and there will not be a television round at its May 2013 board meeting.
While the agency will consider feature film and television funding applications ahead of its June 2013 board meeting, funding decisions "will be limited and will depend on funds previously committed to lapsed projects becoming available."
"Screen Australia is aware that this news will be disruptive for some producers. It is very unfortunate that we are in this position; however, please stay in touch with your investment manager as your project progresses," the agency said.
Documentary funding remains unaffected.