[press release from Screen Australia]

Screen Australia today began consulting with industry organisations, practitioners and state agencies throughout Australia regarding its draft program guidelines for 2009.

To RSVP to any of the consultations, email your confirmation here: rsvp@screenaustralia.gov.au

“Across the board the draft 2009 programs reflect Screen Australia’s desire to help develop a vibrant Australian screen industry delivering quality Australian content that resonates with audiences,” Fiona Cameron, Executive Director Strategy and Operations, said today.

“In summary Screen Australia has focused its activities to support quality projects and attract credited practitioners to increase the chances of successful outcomes,” she said.

The draft guidelines aim to make applications for support simpler and speed up decision times, reflecting Screen Australia’s commitment to be more flexible and easier for industry to deal with. The agency also intends to engage the industry more broadly in various assessment processes.

The programs have built on the principles articulated in the draft Statement of Intent and incorporate input and feedback received during previous consultation.

It is proposed that the new development and production support programs commence from 1 January 2009. Revised marketing functions and various support mechanisms necessary to deliver the new suite of programs will be progressively implemented in early 2009.

Development programs include
• Enterprise program: to support further growth of existing screen businesses, encourage new business partnerships and alliances and support dynamic businesses to develop strong slates of projects
• Project-by-project programs: to support feature drama development, documentary development and short animation production
• Workshops: High-level workshops and masterclasses providing opportunities
for both experienced and emerging filmmakers
• The innovation program: Focusing on digital media projects or projects that use innovative technology or form
• Industry fellowships: A high-level fellowship for experienced screen professionals, and support for less experienced filmmakers who are offered an outstanding international career development opportunity

Production support activities include
• Feature film production: A diverse slate of Australian films that resonate with audiences
• Documentary production: The National Documentary Program (incorporating the National Interest Program and Making History Initiative), domestic and international documentary programs and Special Documentary Program
• Television drama: To support a creative and highly skilled Australian production industry including a low-budget television drama program
• Children’s television: Distinctively Australian Children’s Drama Program

The Indigenous programs support creatively ambitious projects and people, and imaginative, resonant stories authored by Indigenous Australians.

Screen Australia representatives will consult with the industry and other relevant organisations to seek further comment and refinement over the next two weeks.

Following this consultation and consideration by the Screen Australia Board, the final program guidelines will be released in early December 2008.

Screen Australia commenced operations on 1 July 2008 and will deliver the programs of its three predecessor organisations – the Australian Film Commission, the Film Finance Corporation and Film Australia – until the end of the year.

Dr Ruth Harley commences as Chief Executive Officer on Monday 17 November 2008.

Here is the list of locations and dates for the quick round of consultations:

Sydney Wednesday 29 October 15:00-17:00

Screen Australia Theatre
Ground Floor,
150 William St

Brisbane Thursday 30 October 13:00-15:00

PFTC Auditorium,
Level 1, 111 George St, Brisbane

Canberra Friday 31 October 14:00-15:30

NFSA Boardroom
McCoy Circuit, Acton

Perth Monday 3 November 14:00-15:30

Art Gallery of WA
Perth Cultural Centre, 47 James St Northbridge (use James St entrance)

Adelaide Tuesday 4 November 11:30-13:00

SAFC Boardroom
3 Butler Drive
Hendon Common, Hendon

Melbourne Wednesday 5 November 13:30-15:00

Screen Australia Boardroom
Level 1, 144 Moray St
South Melbourne

The draft guidelines can be downloaded from the Screen Australia website at www.screenaustralia.gov.au/draft_guidelines

Comments will be received until Friday 14 November 2008, and will be posted online as they are received.