By Simon de Bruyn
Screen Australia has revealed plans to stop almost all development and production funding for short films, according to the draft program guidelines released today.
According to the guidelines document, the only short film funding will be available for one-off short animations up to 15 mins in length, and this will take the form of production or post production finance of up to $80,000.
Screen Australia executive director of strategy and operations Fiona Cameron told INSIDEFILM the agency has streamlined its operations to attract more experienced and accredited screen practitioners.
She confirmed that aside from short animation production funding, which the super agency recognised as a “unique” training ground for technicians, all other funding for short films would be cut.
She explained that short filmmakers now have increased access to new technologies that are also declining in cost, and that any support would now be handled by local networks of state agencies, film schools and screen resource organisations such as Metro Screen, who are closer to the pools of emerging talent.
“We have collapsed some 30 development strands into six. We are not abdicating all responsibility [for short films] but we do need to focus our efforts,” she said.
“When consulting the industry the majority of opinion was that funding should be reallocated into other areas that provide more of a training ground in this day and age. We just can’t be all things to all people and are committed to working with the states on this.”
She said these “other areas” of filmmaker training would include high level workshops and master classes run by these localised screen bodies.
A spokesperson from Screen Australia also stressed that these were still draft guidelines, and that the agency has started consulting with the industry to get feedback on the changes. Following this very brief two week consultation period, the final program guidelines will be released in early December 2008.
Click here to find out more detail about the industry consultation period, which ends on November 14.
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