[press release from Screen Australia]

Screen Australia has appointed Chris Oliver as Senior Manager, State and Industry Partnerships. He will assist the agency in working more closely with the state screen agencies and screen practitioners throughout the country.

Dr Ruth Harley, Screen Australia’s Chief Executive Officer, said that industry consultation had shown that Screen Australia needed to become more accessible to practitioners outside Melbourne and Sydney. “Each state and territory has very different funding needs, reflecting the respective strengths of the screen industry on the ground. It is vital that Screen Australia devises a specific plan for each individual state and territory to ensure that the differing needs of practitioners are met,” she said.

“Chris has extensive industry experience and will be able to represent Screen Australia at an appropriately senior level across our development, Indigenous, production finance and marketing areas. While this initiative necessitates closing the prior AFC Brisbane office, currently staffed by one development assistant, each state will benefit from a higher level of interaction across the range of Screen Australia services,” Dr Harley said.

Chris will develop a local service delivery plan to meet the needs of feature, documentary, television and digital practitioners throughout Australia. Senior Screen Australia managers will visit each state monthly and each territory every two months until June 2009, to ensure that Screen Australia’s programs are best targeted to practitioners nationally.

Screen Australia Creative Consultant Scott Meek will also be accessible to practitioners in all states and territories to assist with script and project development. Screen Australia’s Talent Escalator Program will provide support for events, funding initiatives and innovative proposals from the state agencies, other screen organisations and experienced practitioners.

Chris will also be responsible for Screen Australia’s Enterprise Program in addition to his role as Senior Manager, State and Industry Partnerships. The Enterprise Program will provide up to $500,000 per year for a three-year period to screen production companies across Australia. The program aims to support further growth of existing screen businesses, encourage new business partnerships and alliances, and support dynamic businesses to develop strong slates of projects.

Deadline for receipt of expressions of interest for the Enterprise Program has been extended to 27 March 2009. Guidelines and revised EOI form are now available at www.screenaustralia.gov.au/enterprise