The King’s Speech producer Emile Sherman lobbies gov for commercial film fund

23 March, 2011 by Brendan Swift

Academy Award-winning local producer Emile Sherman has lobbied prime minister Julia Gillard to establish a commercial film fund to stimulate private investment in the Australian film industry.

The call was made yesterday at a ‘Welcome Home’ Celebration at Parliament House in Canberra, hosted by the Screen Producers Association of Australia (SPAA), in honour of his Academy Award for The King's Speech.


The King’s Speech, despite having an Australian producer, an Australian executive producer and an Australian star in Geoffrey Rush, is a British film," Sherman said in a statement.

The $60 million Producer-Distributor Film Fund (PDFF) would run for three years, generating production of up to 27 new Australian films with a total production value of $405 million, according to SPAA, which has developed the proposal.

"Put simply, if the PDFF had been in place when I was financing The King’s Speech, then I would have been accepting the Oscar for Best Picture for a film that was officially Australian as well as British."

Screen Australia has previously rejected SPAA's proposal, instead lobbying for a $30 million increase to its own government funding allocation.

The government's recent review of the independent production sector showed the Producer Offset has had a broadly positive impact on the industry although concerns remain that the industry is contracting.

SPAA executive director Geoff Brown said the ability of producers, such as Sherman, "to raise private finance is severely hampered by current international financial conditions and the limitations of existing Government support mechanisms."

The interim PDFF would provide matching loans to distributors of eligible Australian films, secured against the proceeds from the films’ distribution. It would support mid-level Australian films with production budgets in the range of $7 million to $30 million.

“The rational for the fund is to harness the market knowledge and power of the major distributors and to secure their investment in the cause of an outward-looking, ambitious Australian film industry," Brown said in a statement.

Sherman's other films include Candy, Rabbit-Proof Fence, The Kings of Mykonos, Disgrace and the upcoming Oranges & Sunshine. He is also a principal of Fulcrum Media Finance, which provides cash flow loans to the local film and television industry.