ACTF and Stan have partnered on a children's film initiative.

Stan has partnered with the Australian Children’s Television Foundation (ACTF) on a feature film initiative, calling for pitches aimed at children’s, family or tween/teen audiences.

The brief is for live-action films that would have a G or PG rating, feature interesting characters or unique worlds and story engines, are highly marketable, and fit with Stan’s licensed premium international content.

Successful applicants may enter into either a development agreement with ACTF and separately with Stan, and/or a commissioning and licensing agreement with Stan and an investment and distribution agreement with the ACTF.

Stan chief content officer Cailah Scobie suggests the partnership signals the streamer’s investment and commitment to produce original content for Australian audiences, including young audiences. Notably the Nine-owned streamer has goals to invest in more than 30 Australian productions per year within five years.

In assessing projects, both Stan and ACTF will consider story, talent, diversity, audience and budget.

“ACTF has supported high quality children’s content for nearly 40 years, and are leaders in their field, and we welcome this collaboration and working with the sector to bring these feature films to life,” Scobie said.

ACTF CEO Jenny Buckland said: “The ACTF wants to support high quality Australian children’s content on all the platforms children engage with, and for a long time we have admired the original Australian content Stan has been commissioning for adult audiences. So we are absolutely thrilled that Stan is now stepping into the children’s space with this commitment to children’s films and looking forward to working with Stan in this partnership.”

The initiative comes as debates continue regarding the need for Australian content obligations on streaming services, spurred on by the recent green paper. Where children’s content fits into that picture has come into sharper focus still since fixed quotas were relaxed for commercial free-to-air broadcasters in January.

At present, there is no mandate for any broadcaster or platform to create local content for children.

A group of leading children’s producers recently converged on Canberra to call for a 20 per cent children’s sub-quota to be placed on streaming platforms, based on an overall 20 per cent revenue-based local content requirement. The ACTF has argued that at least 25 per cent of any requirement placed on an SVOD service should be set aside for children’s content.

Recent polling from the Australia Institute suggests 60 per cent of Australians support local content obligations for SVOD services, with the same figure also expressing concern that children are missing out on Australian culture and history due to the prevalence of overseas content on popular platforms. 

For its part, Stan has argued against content obligations, arguing it would put a strain on the Australian production sector’s resources.

Applications open today and close September 13. To submit and read the full guidelines, go here.

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