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Core slate

This data is no longer updated by Screen Australia

Total production budgets for Australian features fluctuate each year, due largely to the impact of a small number of fully foreign financed, usually high-budget, films. Annual variations can also be caused by the timing of principal photography start dates.

To clarify trends and smooth out the sharp annual fluctuations caused by the presence or absence of such films, we have used two-year rolling averages and excluded all projects fully financed from overseas and high-budget titles majority financed by US studios, as well as co-productions.

The rationale for excluding such films is solely to isolate and examine the ‘core’ of Australian feature production. While high-budget, foreign-financed local features such as Australia, Happy Feet, Moulin Rouge and The Great Gatsby are extremely important to Australian production activity as a whole, they are exceptional and skew the results statistically when trying to build a picture of the general production slate.

An analysis of this ‘core slate’ over the past 21 years shows there was a downward trend in average annual production budgets between 2001/02–2002/03 and 2003/04–2004/05, due partly to a decline in foreign investment over this period, although average production budgets and foreign investment increased again in the following years. Average production budgets peaked in 2008/09–2009/10, with increased investment from government and industry sources.

Investment from government agencies underpins the core slate, averaging around $31 million annually since 2000/01–2001/02. Until 2007/08, this was mainly from the Film Finance Corporation Australia (FFC), which became part of Screen Australia in July 2008 – now the primary source of direct government funding. Private investment has fluctuated, with peaks created by contributions from the Film Licensed Investment Companies (FLICs) in the two-year period to June 2003 and escalated use of 10BA in the two-year period to June 2008.

Division 10BA was closed to new applicants in July 2007 with the introduction of the Producer Offset, although the concessional status for investment in productions holding a valid 10BA certificate was available until 30 June 2009. Industry sources have become more significant since the introduction of the Producer Offset in 2007/08, which is counted as finance raised by producers.