Flexible marketplace support
This program is designed to enhance the distribution and marketing of quality Australian films across traditional and alternative release platforms.
Funding can be sought to support the traditional theatrical ANZ release of completed feature films that have an established local distributor attached, or for alternative release campaigns in certain circumstances (see box below).
Funding for traditional release is provided for activities commonly understood to come under the banner of ‘P&A expenditure’. The funding should not replace a distributor’s pre-existing P&A commitment, but rather add value to the confirmed investment already in place.
Nor does this fund replace the items in the Dedicated Marketing Budget of Screen Australia–financed productions, but should enhance the marketing, promotion and advertising of individual projects to increase audience potential and revenue.
The program operates as a commercial loan fund. Applications will be judged with regard to the revenue estimates provided, and applicants will need to demonstrate how Screen Australia funding will increase audience reach.
Support for alternative release
Screen Australia will pilot alternative release strategies where appropriate films may be identified for experimental cinema and digital release.
From time to time, applications will be considered from quality feature-length projects exploring alternative methods of distribution, especially where there is potential to advance industry knowledge and expertise.
Support may be considered if the project has a clearly defined audience, and the applicant can demonstrate that they have both an achievable marketing plan and the capacity to deliver it.
Innovative marketing initiatives
Additionally, from time to time, there will be feature projects with innovative marketing opportunities that extend the release campaign in a compelling way. The teams involved with these projects will be actively encouraged to explore the potential of their projects and, at Screen Australia’s discretion, may be offered additional funding to support such initiatives.
Funding provided for alternative release and innovative marketing initiatives will generally be provided as a grant; however, other funding arrangements may be negotiated on a case-by-case basis. Potential applicants must discuss their project with the Distribution Manager before applying, and applications can only be made by invitation.
Who can apply?
Funding through this program is not limited to projects produced with Screen Australia production investment.
An application must first meet the following eligibility criteria in order to be assessed for funding:
- The applicant must meet the general eligibility criteria for Screen Australia funding in the Terms of Trade
- The project must be a feature-length Australian film
- The application must have the endorsement and involvement of the producer
- The application must demonstrate proven expertise and/or experience relevant to the distribution of feature films
- Screen Australia will not provide funds retrospectively.
The following specific eligibility requirements also apply to applications for traditional P&A support (we may make exceptions to these at our discretion):
- The applications must be made by the distributor of the film, who must be a recognised distributor
- The distributor must have a contractual commitment to the film, and must have already committed, or be planning to commit, a significant P&A investment in the film appropriate to the type of film and its perceived market potential.
What funding is available?
Screen Australia funds are limited and approval of an application is not automatic. Demand regularly outweighs available funds.
The amount provided will be determined with regard to estimated gross receipts, the proposed use of the funds and the strategy for the entire release.
Applicants are advised to contact Screen Australia staff to discuss their proposal before they submit their application.
What is the assessment timing & process?
Applications may be made at any time, at least 12 weeks prior to the proposed release date. Exceptions to this may be made at our discretion.
Application forms, including details of supporting materials required, can be found in Tools and Insights for feature films.
Applications will be acknowledged within one week of receipt.
The turnaround for decisions will be in accordance with the nature of the application and the timeframe of the release. They may take three or more weeks from the date of receipt of the application.
What is the assessment process?
Complete and eligible applications will be reviewed by Screen Australia executives and/or external industry specialists as required.
Screen Australia will advise applicants in writing of the success or otherwise of their application. Where an application is declined, the applicant will be advised of the reason.
Each eligible application will be assessed on its own merits, taking the following into account:
- the quality and viability of the full release plan, marketing strategy and detailed release budget
- the realistic expectations of audience reach and the revenue estimates
- the use of Screen Australia funds, including, as relevant – the necessity for the proposed activities and materials, over and above the requirements of the Dedicated Marketing Budget (in the case of Screen Australia–financed projects), the potential for enhancing exploitation of ancillary and other opportunities aside from theatrical, the potential benefits for the wider industry.
- the level of the distributor’s investment, as an indication of their belief in and commitment to the film. This will be determined based on our assessment of the film and knowledge of the market. Note that where the applicant already has a minimum P&A commitment, Screen Australia will not subsidise their operations by providing funding to allow them to meet this commitment.
Terms of funding
Support for traditional release is generally a loan provided from a revolving fund on terms negotiated by Screen Australia with the applicant on a case-by-case basis.
In general Screen Australia expects recoupment to be crossed against all rights and to be on reasonable commercial terms.
For alternative release and special marketing initiatives, terms of funding will be negotiated on a case-by-case basis.
If not already required as part of an agreement for Screen Australia production support, all funding recipients must deliver:
- a mint-condition copy of the highest gauge created, to the National Film and Sound Archive.
In addition, recipients of funding to support alternative release must deliver:
- a written case study six months following the release of the project, and aspects of these case studies may be published on the Screen Australia website.
Dedicated Marketing Budget (DMB)
A fundamental component of Screen Australia’s integrated approach and emphasis on the importance of marketing is the Dedicated Marketing Budget (aka ‘Quarantined’ Marketing Budget or QMB), which applies to projects with Screen Australia production investment.
Screen Australia–funded feature projects are required to include the cost of specific marketing and promotional materials in their production budgets. Funds for these items are part of Screen Australia’s investment in the project. These funds are ‘quarantined’ and cannot be used to fund other production or post-production activities.