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Development
Matched Marketplace Development

Screen Australia recognises that marketplace entities delivering films to audiences will make sound creative judgements based on their experience and knowledge of audience tastes and trends.

Accordingly, the Matched Marketplace Development fund is designed to recognise and leverage this experience and knowledge, so is subject to a risk assessment (but not a creative assessment).

To be eligible for this funding, the bona fide offer of cash development for up to $50,000 must be from a genuine arm’s length marketplace entity and will be subject to a risk assessment (see the assessment process below).

A marketplace entity is defined as an entity whose core business is the sales, distribution, exhibition or broadcast/streaming of feature films.

Screen Australia’s funding must be applied to the Australian creative talent who are Australian citizens or Australian permanent residents and the Australian spend components of the development budget.

What funding is available?

This program offers up to $50,000 in total per project, to be matched by a genuine arm’s length marketplace entity. Only in exceptional circumstances will Screen Australia approve additional tranches of Matched Marketplace Development Funding for a project.

A total cap of $100,000 per applicant or applicant company across projects per financial year applies to this program unless exceptional circumstances can be demonstrated.

Please also note: projects receiving Matched Marketplace Development funding are subject to the guideline that a total cap of $100,000 per project applies unless exceptional circumstances can be demonstrated. Accordingly, as well as the Matched Marketplace Development funding, this includes other funding received from Screen Australia’s Story Development, Feature Development, Family Films Initiative, Brilliant Stories (or other Screen Australia feature drama initiatives), Single Draft and predecessor agency feature-development funding.

Who can apply?

To be eligible for feature film Matched Marketplace Development funding: 

Applications must be from one of the following eligible key creatives:

  • a producer with a ‘producing credit’ on behalf of a team involving at least a writer or writer/director, OR 
  • a producer without an eligible credit in partnership with another producer or executive producer, who have a minimum of two ‘producing credits’ on behalf of a team involving at least a writer or writer/director, OR 
  • an executive producer with at least two ‘producing credits’ on behalf of a team involving at least a writer or writer/director, OR 
  • a writer with a ‘writing credit’. Please see note below, OR 
  • a writer/director with a ‘writing credit’. Please see note below, OR 
  • a director with a ‘directing credit’ in conjunction with a writer. Please see note below, OR 
  • a team supported through our Multiplatform Drama program, OR 
  • a team supported through our Brilliant Stories initiatives. Note: you can only apply with the same project. 

NOTE: A solo writer, writer/director or director as referred to above must include plans to attach a producer and other key creatives, if and as appropriate, to demonstrate a viable pathway for the project to move into financing and production. 

To be eligible for this funding, the bona fide offer of cash development must be from a genuine arm’s length marketplace entity and will be subject to a risk assessment (see assessment criteria below). 

A marketplace entity is defined as an entity whose core business is the sales, distribution, exhibition or broadcast/streaming of feature films. 

  • Screen Australia’s funding can only be applied to the Australian creative talent who are Australian citizens or Australian permanent residents and the Australian spend components of the development budget. 
  • Where a producer or an executive producer is attached in order to satisfy eligibility requirements, their meaningful and continued involvement in the project must be evidenced within the development and financing plans for the project. 
  • If a project has previously been assessed and declined for funding under Screen Australia’s Story Development, Matched Marketplace Development, Brilliant Stories, Feature Development, Single Draft or predecessor agency feature-development funding (or other Screen Australia feature drama initiatives) it must evidence substantial changes since the previous submission. This statement and the application materials will be taken into account when considering whether or not Screen Australia will accept the application and assess it again for funding. Note that after two unsuccessful submissions, no further applications for that project will be accepted other than in circumstances that are deemed to be exceptional. 
  • Recipients of Enterprise Program funding should refer to the Enterprise Program guidelines and the specific Enterprise agreement regarding their eligibility for this program. 

A ‘producing credit’, ‘writing credit’ or ‘directing credit’ is a ‘produced by’, ‘written by’ or ‘directed by’ drama credit on at least:

  • one feature film that has been selected for Cannes, Venice, Berlin, Sundance, Toronto or SXSW, or has received an Academy Award® nomination, OR
  • one feature film released on a minimum of five commercial screens, excluding festival screens, in one major territory, OR
  • one primetime or children’s broadcast mini-series or telemovie shown on a major network, OR
  • three broadcast hours of primetime series or children’s series, OR
  • one mainstage theatre production which has received outstanding critical and/or box office success with a professional mainstage theatre company: Belvoir St Theatre, Sydney Theatre Company, Malthouse Theatre, Melbourne Theatre Company, Black Swan State Theatre Company, State Theatre Company of South Australia, Queensland Theatre Company, La Boite Theatre Company, Darwin Theatre Company.
Note: Screen Australia acknowledges the value of a wide variety of festivals and theatre companies. For the purposes of Screen Australia’s story fund eligibility it is the festivals and companies listed above that are recognised.

Applicants must also meet the general eligibility requirements set out in Screen Australia’s Terms of Trade. With the exception of official Co-Productions, it is Screen Australia’s expectation that applications for direct funding will demonstrate that the project is written and directed by Australian citizens or residents.

What materials do you need to apply? 

The application materials required include: 

  • a one-page synopsis 
  • a story document appropriate to the project:
  • a treatment (up to 20 pages, 10 pages preferred). A writer without previous credits must submit a number of sample script scenes (up to five pages) from the writer’s previous work (TV, short films, feature or online drama), OR 
  • a scriptment – a document that is part script, part treatment and may include visuals or illustrations (up to 30 pages), OR 
  • a draft script (up to 120 pages, 12 point Courier font) 
  • a development plan (up to four pages) that describes the team’s creative vision, outlines the progress of the project to date, identifies the current challenges and the tools and approaches that will be used to explore and address these in the next stage of development. This should include notes from the writer, director and script editor (where attached). 
  • Note: if you are applying as a sole writer, director or writer/director, or writer and director team, please also briefly describe the genre and intended target audience, the budget level relative to the potential audience, any marketing and distribution plans, the benefit of the project to the career and business objectives of the team, as well as your plans for attaching a producer. 
  • if a producer is attached, a producer’s statement that identifies the genre, the intended target audience, the budget level relative to the potential audience as well as the marketing and distribution plans (theatrical and/or other platforms) and the benefit of the project to the career and business objectives of the team. If the project is applying for late stage funding, this statement will need to include financing strategies, proposed cast and potential market attachments 
  • if an EP is attached, written confirmation that demonstrates the EP’s meaningful involvement 
  • if the project is being submitted for a second time after a previous unsuccessful application, a summary of the substantial changes that will make it eligible to be considered again 
  • agreements for key creatives that are attached to the stage of development applied for (eg writer’s agreement, script editor’s agreement) 
  • CVs for all key creatives. 

Rights and chain of title

An applicant (be they an eligible producer, writer, writer/director or director) must be able to evidence that they hold sufficient rights in a project, and have obtained sufficient clearances necessary to be able to develop and finance it to production. 

  • Where an applicant is a less experienced producer who has attached an experienced producer or EP, the option or rights may remain with the less experienced producer or with them in conjunction with other key creatives. 
  • If a project is based on an underlying work, evidence of the option agreement and length of option must be supplied. Screen Australia expects the accumulated periods of the option and its subsequent extensions to be at least three and a half years. We advise applicants to have an option to acquire where possible sequel, prequel, remake, TV spin-off rights and all ancillary rights as these rights will be required at financing stage. 
  • Any commitment from us will be subject to review of key chain of title documents (which include writer’s agreement, option agreement and script editor agreements) to ensure that they comply with industry standards. If the project is in late stage development, a solicitor’s opinion letter on the chain of title may be requested. 

What is the assessment process?

The purpose of the risk assessment is to gauge the likelihood that the project will be effectively developed towards finance and production. 

Applications will be assessed by Screen Australia executives and/or industry specialists/peers as required. Please see the full list of External Assessors on our website. See also our Conflict of Interest Policy

We will advise applicants of the success or otherwise of their application. Where an application is declined, the applicant will be advised of the reason. 

We aim to make the application process as transparent as possible, but given the volume of applications we receive, we do not have the resources to provide extensive feedback on each project. 

Assessment Criteria

The risk assessment will consider the following equally weighted criteria: 

  • the track record and appropriateness of the marketplace entity to the scale of the film and whether the deal terms associated with the marketplace funds are reasonable. 
  • the development plan and the likelihood that the team will be able to effectively develop and finance the film to production. 
  • the reasonableness of the proposed development budget and whether costs are appropriate for the proposed stage (or stages) of development. 

Terms of funding 

Funding through this program is provided as a grant unless the project is funded for production investment by Screen Australia and the producer includes the development funds as part of qualifying Australian production expenditure (QAPE). 

Where the project goes into production without Screen Australia production funding, Screen Australia may require the producer to repay the development funding previously provided in order to acquire any copyright interest held by Screen Australia. See Terms of Trade for more information. 

Audit Required

 

Please note: A bona fide audit of the development budget spend is required on delivery. The cost of this audit can be included in the submitted development budget. 

Contact us 

Please contact the Program Operations team on 1800 507 901 to discuss your proposal before submitting your application.