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Documentary Production
Sources of Finance
Federal government funding

Next update TBC 2022

The Federal Government provides direct funding for documentaries through Screen Australia and indirect funding through the Australian Screen Production Incentive.

The federal funding landscape has undergone substantial change in recent years. Screen Australia was created from the merging of the Australian Film Commission, the Film Finance Corporation and Film Australia in July 2008, and the Australian Screen Production Incentive, comprising three streams – the Producer Offset, Location Offset and Post, Digital and Visual Effects (PDV) Offset – was introduced in 2008, superseding earlier incentives such as 10BA. In addition, SBS Independent (SBSi), which commissioned Australian documentaries from the independent sector for screening on SBS, was incorporated into SBS’s Content (Television and Online) Division in 2007/08 and so no longer received separate funding.

Over the last 13 years, Screen Australia provided finance (with or without the Producer Offset) to documentaries covering all budget ranges. A high number of Offset documentaries also had Screen Australia finance. Documentaries with ‘qualifying Australian production expenditure’ (QAPE) under $250,000 per hour are ineligible for the Producer Offset. Many titles in the <$250k/hr budget range without government funding were documentaries made inhouse by the broadcasters.

Administered by Screen Australia, the Producer Equity Program (PEP) was introduced in July 2011 for low-budget documentaries (ie. with budgets of $500,000 or less) to replace the Producer Offset. Under PEP, producers of eligible Australian documentaries can receive a direct payment of funds equal to 20 per cent of the approved budget.