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finance SOURCES

Contributions to Australian theatrical features finance ($m)

Next update December 2024

The sources of finance for Australian features can vary significantly from one year to the next. High-budget, principally foreign-financed titles cause large fluctuations.

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.

Peaks in foreign investment are 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.