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Australian feature films
Sources of finance

Contributions of various types of investor to Australian feature films, 1995/96–2014/15

Next update March 2017

In the 1970s, most Australian features were funded through government agencies such as the Australian Film Commission, NSW Film Corporation, South Australian Film Corporation and Victorian Film Corporation, with a small number fully financed by distributors. In the 1980s, almost all features were funded using private and largely ‘non-industry’ finance raised under the 10BA tax incentive system, with ‘top-up’ finance provided by government film agencies, until 1988 when the tax deduction was reduced to 100 per cent.

In the 1990s, direct funding from government agencies again became the major source of finance, principally from the Film Finance Corporation Australia (FFC), combined with film industry funding (mainly distributors) from Australia and overseas. Funding to Federal Government film agencies for investment in production was boosted in 2002/03 (providing additional funds over five years) and 2004/05 (over four years). In July 2008, the FFC became part of Screen Australia, which is now the primary source of direct government financing.

The peak in contributions from private sources in 2001/02 and 2002/03 was mainly due to increased private investment under the pilot Film Licensed Investment Company (FLIC) scheme. There was also a peak in 2007/08, due to increased contributions from 10BA investors. (See People and businesses > Production incentives.)

Distribution and production companies are the main sources of finance from the Australian film/TV industry, although broadcasters and subscription TV channels are also included.

Co-productions, by definition, require a foreign production partner, and significant foreign investment is often attached. The introduction of the Official Co-production Program in 1986 helped to establish foreign investment as a major source of finance throughout the 1990s and 2000s.

The peaks in foreign investment over the past 10 years have been mainly due to a small number of individual high-budget films, where the filmmaker or star is internationally known and makes films both in Australia and overseas, and which have been financed principally by overseas sources, including Charlotte Gray and Crocodile Dundee in LA in 2000/01, Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course and Swimming Upstream in 2001/02, Happy Feet in 2003/04, Australia in 2006/07, Happy Feet Two and Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole in 2008/09 and The Great Gatsby in 2011/12.

Graph: Contributions of various types of investor to Australian feature films, 1995/96–2014/15. Table below has the data.
  Contribution $m % of total finance No. films invested in
Australian Government sources1
1995/96 37 41% 16
1996/97 54 42% 18
1997/98 33 20% 16
1998/99 37 31% 19
1999/00 26 19% 15
5-year average 37 29% 17
2000/01 46 28% 14
2001/02 32 19% 17
2002/03 30 42% 11
2003/04 34 15% 12
2004/05 33 30% 14
5-year average 35 24% 14
2005/06 51 42% 22
2006/07 45 17% 18
2007/08 41 16% 20
2008/09 35 9% 26
2009/10 51 17% 26
5-year average 45 20% 22
2010/11 18 15% 11
2011/12 37 10% 25
2012/13 35 12% 24
2013/14 30 8% 25
2014/15 25 20% 26
5-year average 29 11% 22
Australian private investors2
1995/96 6 7% 10
1996/97 16 12% 15
1997/98 13 8% 17
1998/99 20 17% 9
1999/00 16 12% 16
5-year average 14 11% 13
2000/01 9 5% 10
2001/02 29 17% 18
2002/03 21 30% 10
2003/04 11 5% 11
2004/05 20 18% 15
5-year average 18 12% 13
2005/06 9 7% 15
2006/07 15 5% 16
2007/08 45 18% 23
2008/09 7 2% 19
2009/10 34 11% 29
5-year average 22 9% 20
2010/11 20 16% 16
2011/12 11 3% 17
2012/13 7 2% 21
2013/14 16 4% 20
2014/1515 15 11% 25
5-year average 13 5% 20
Producer Offset
2007/08 51 20% 19
2008/09 136 33% 24
2009/10 87 29% 30
2010/11 33 26% 17
2011/12 106 28% 31
5-year average 82 28% 14
2012/13 89 29% n.p.
2013/14 94 26% n.p.
2014/15 39 30% n.p.
Australian film/TV industry3
1995/96 10 11% 12
1996/97 21 16% 16
1997/98 11 6% 25
1998/99 13 11% 24
1999/00 7 5% 21
5-year average 12 10% 20
2000/01 14 8% 17
2001/02 17 10% 21
2002/03 7 10% 10
2003/04 70 31% 12
2004/05 11 10% 16
5-year average 24 14% 15
2005/06 20 16% 22
2006/07 14 5% 22
2007/08 16 6% 23
2008/09 19 5% 30
2009/10 61 20% 28
5-year average 26 11% 25
2010/11 10 8% 11
2011/12 27 7% 28
2012/13 80 26% 26
2013/14 36 10% 31
2014/15 25 19% 33
5-year average 35 14% 26
Foreign investors
1995/96 37 41% 7
1996/97 40 30% 8
1997/98 109 66% 12
1998/99 48 41% 16
1999/00 92 65% 10
5-year average 65 51% 11
2000/01 95 58% 13
2001/02 93 54% 11
2002/03 13 18% 7
2003/04 110 49% 7
2004/05 47 42% 8
5-year average 71 48% 9
2005/06 43 35% 12
2006/07 198 73% 13
2007/08 99 39% 11
2008/09 211 52% 15
2009/10 68 23% 18
5-year average 124 44% 14
2010/11 45 36% 9
2011/12 191 51% 16
2012/13 92 30% 17
2013/14 184 51% 17
2014/15 25 19% 12
5-year average 107 42% 14

Source: Screen Australia.

Notes:
Productions under Australian creative control, including domestic productions, official co-productions and other productions involving shared creative control, i.e. with a mix of Australians in key creative positions.
Figures are updated on an ongoing basis therefore there may be some discrepancies with previously published data.
1. Includes direct funding from Australian state and federal agencies and funding bodies. Comprises equity investments only – distribution guarantees, loans and underwriting are not included.
2. Includes private non-industry sources such as FLICs, and 10B and 10BA investors.
3. Includes Australian-based film and TV producers and production companies, distribution companies, commercial free-to-air broadcasters, the ABC and SBS, and subscription TV channels.

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