Screen Queensland is providing $3.3 million in re-allocated funding to support the stricken Queensland screen industry through the COVID-19 crisis.
The primary aim is to ensure as many productions as possible are ready to resume or start filming as soon as it’s safe to do so.
The initiatives include an extra $250,000 for the existing Ideas Program and a new Creative Consultations Program to mentor up-and-coming writers and other creatives. More measures will be announced in coming weeks.
Screen Queensland CEO Kylie Munnich says the agency’s support will focus on five key areas: Continuity for productions, creativity for screen practitioners, skills, business development and screen culture.
““It’s vital that we focus on continuity and creativity now so we can support the creation of local jobs for crew through existing productions that can quickly ramp up again, as well as new projects that are poised to commence filming as soon as it’s safe to do so,” she says. “We will keep supporting the sector for as long as this crisis continues.”
The SQ team is working with productions forced into hiatus to ensure they can resume filming as soon as possible. Some of that funding has been diverted from other programs including travel and market support.
The additional money for the Ideas Program will support work that is deemed to be of high-quality and has the greatest potential to move quickly into production.
The Creative Consultations Program will see experienced writers Joe Brumm, Beatrix Christian, Stephen M. Irwin, Anthony Mullins and Meg O’Connell provide online feedback and one-to-one script meetings with local writers and creators with stories in development. Applications for round one close on April 24.
Munnich thanked the Queensland screen industry task force she assembled, which is meeting every two weeks, for their input.
The members are WildBear Entertainment’s Veronica Fury, Bacon Factory Films director Dean Gibson, Hoodlum Entertainment chief content officer Tracey Vieira, Cutting Edge’s Michael Burton, Defiant Development co-founder Morgan Jaffit, City of Gold Coast business development officer, film attraction, Gabrielle Jones and Ludo Studio’s finance and strategy exec Daniel Schultz.
A screen industry survey designed to gauge the impact of COVID-19 had 560 responses, of whom 56 per cent identified as freelancers or contractors.
“The survey had a significant response from local crew who we know have immediately lost work or job prospects,” she says.
“We know they need jobs so this investment is designed to help ramp up projects to be production-ready and lead to a flow of production so crews can get back to work.”