Screen Australia proposes new feature film funding guidelines
Screen Australia is considering a feature film funding overhaul which would create more flexibility for filmmakers during the application process.
Under the changes, Screen Australia would issue a 'letter of interest' to chosen projects at an earlier stage, allowing producers to gauge the interest of the market before financing deals are locked in. The Screen Australia board would also consider funding applications at eight meetings a year, up from four currently, reducing the need for producers to fast-track projects before they are ready.
Screen Australia chief executive Ruth Harley said the government agency plays an important role in ensuring Australian stories successfully make it to the big screen. “The aim of the revised guidelines is to provide a transparent and well-understood process that acknowledges the complexity of feature film financing and provides greater flexibility for the industry,” she said in a statement.
The agency also said producers would be able to apply for a letter of interest when the screenplay is at a very advanced stage of development and would only require a firm letter of interest from a domestic distributor. Letters of interest would not have an expiry date.
Feature projects must have financing locked in to apply for production investment. The 12-month block on re-submitting projects for production investment would also be removed although if a project is rejected twice it would generally not be able to be re-submitted again.
The current proposed changes will not affect the $2.5 million maximum funding cap or market attachment requirements to trigger production finance.
Screen Australia has called for comments on the proposed changes (which can be viewed here) by April 6. If the changes are approved, the first deadline under the new regime will be May 31 ahead of Screen Australia's July board meeting.