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Premium Plus

MESSAGE FROM SCREEN AUSTRALIA'S CEO REGARDING COVID-19: CLICK HERE.

Premium Plus is an adjunct to the Story Development Premium Fund. It provides support for the late-stage development (including pre pre-production) costs of higher budget productions that:

  • are close to being production-ready and likely to be in a position to move into production swiftly when COVID-19 restrictions are lifted,
  • can demonstrate firm market interest, and
  • have a robust and realistic finance plan.

Generally, these projects have had to delay production because of COVID-19. The fund is best suited to episodic scripted drama, however, strong cases for the support of feature film and online projects that meet the budget thresholds will be considered.

WHY   

The Premium Plus fund has the following aims:

Support for the Screen industry: During the production hiatus, to provide work and income for writers, directors, and producers, and more broadly HODs and crew where appropriate, and to include them in the development budget.

Ambition & Scale: to identify and support distinctive, quality, higher budget drama projects of ambition and scale for any platform, and support these projects to have highly developed scripts and otherwise be ready for when they are able to continue into production.

Success: To support screen content makers with proven track records.

Viability & Market: to support viable projects and teams that have market place interest and finance and are intended for significant audience reach.

Culture & Diversity: to ensure the storytellers and stories being told reflect gender equity, and/or the diversity of people and experiences from around Australia, all of which are important culturally, creatively and economically.

WHO    

Applications will be open to anyone who:

  • Meets all requirements and conditions in our Terms of Trade.
  • Is an Australian individual or team.
  • Has a significant track record/production credits.
  • Has a project in late stage development, including pre pre-production.
  • Can demonstrate the project was scheduled to shoot between March 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021
  • Has a realistic and robust Finance Plan for the project.
  • Controls the rights whether they are the writer, director or producer.
  • Meets the following budget thresholds:
  • Online one-off or series – over $10,000 per minute
  • Extended Reality* - over $15,000 per minute
  • One-off or series for a Commissioning Platform - at least $1.3 million per hour. We may prioritise series of longer lengths (of 8 broadcast hours or more)
  • Feature Films – at least $5 million. We may prioritise features with higher budgets.

*Extended reality (XR) is a term referring to all real-and-virtual combined environments and human-machine interactions generated by computer technology and wearables. It includes augmented reality (AR), augmented virtuality (AV) and virtual reality (VR)

You will NOT be eligible for Premium Plus if you have a production that:

  • Is not in late stages of development,
  • does not have demonstrable firm market interest,
  • Does not have a robust and realistic finance plan; and
  • Was not scheduled to shoot between March 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021
  • Has been declined twice for Screen Australia funding (save in exceptional circumstances)

Other projects should apply to the continuing and unchanged Generate and Premium Development programs.

Firm market interest can be demonstrated as follows; 

  • For an episodic project: if it has a local commissioning platform attached or likely to become attached and can demonstrate this through committed development funding from a commissioning platform and /or a signed deal memo or contract, Letter of Offer or Letter of Intent
  • For a Feature Film: if it has a commissioning platform attached or has an offer from or contract with an ANZ theatrical distributor and an International Sales Agent.
  • For an episodic project intended for online distribution, meets the budget threshold for Premium and has a Letter of Offer, Letter of Intent or Financial commitment from a market partner.

All applications must demonstrate the original intent to go into production in March 2020 or within 12 months after that, and now intends to begin production by September 2021.

For the purpose of these Guidelines the term “Commissioning Platform” includes a free-to-air or subscription television broadcaster and/or online platforms such as subscription video on demand (SVOD) i.e. Stan, iView, SBS on demand, etc.

In the case your project does not meet the above criteria, please see if the screen story development funds, Generate and Premium, are more appropriate. These are still in normal operation and open for applications all year round at any stage of development.

WHAT      

What you can apply for:

Funding is for late-stage development costs. The development budget can include whatever the project and team need to best make the project production ready, including, but not limited to: budget and schedule, First AD, HODs, casting director, locations manager or other crew as and if appropriate.

There is no cap on funding but the application must be reasonable and strategic with regards to the project, the amount of funding applied for, and any additional sources of late-stage development financing raised or expected.

HOW   

Please email [email protected] before applying to ensure your project meets the criteria of Premium Plus. 

Premium Plus will be open for a limited time. There will be a two-stage process for assessment, however a decision to fund at Stage 1 can be made if we have sufficient information and consider that the project and team is strong enough.

Stage 1

Applications for Stage 1 can be made at any time through the application portal.

Applications consist of:

  • Application form
  • A downloadable video pitch to camera, maximum 3 minutes
  • A four-page Creative Visions & Development plan
  • A Finance Plan indicating confirmed or serious intent from market place and financiers.
  • Attached marketplace LOIs and/or commitments
  • Additional evidence of marketplace attachment and financing may be requested during assessment.

Assessment criteria

In addition to addressing the specific aims of Premium Plus above, Stage 1 (and Stage 2) applications will be assessed by Screen Australia executives and/or industry specialists against the following criteria:

  • Experience & Success: Does the team, key creative or individual evidence critical acclaim or commercial success with their previous work and is there the necessary experience in the team for a higher budget project?
  • Story & Audience: Is the story concept strong and distinctive, is it a project of ambition and scale that will it reach and resonate with the intended audience? 
  • Culture & Diversity: Do elements of the project reflect gender equity and/or the diversity of people and experiences from around Australia?
  • Development plan: The degree to which the development plan identifies the challenges in the current material while also offering potential strategies to address them in the next phase of development.

Decisions for Stage 1 are normally a three week turnaround.

Stage 2

Applicants may only submit their project to Stage 2 by invitation after a successful Stage 1 application. An applicant has up to one month to submit after Stage 1 approval.

Application forms will be sent directly to the applicant, and will require a longer story document and supporting material. 

Stage 2 applications will be assessed against the criteria set out above for Stage 1.

Decisions on Stage 2 are normally a four week turnaround.

For more information, please see Premium Plus FAQs. If you are unsure about your eligibility please contact Program Operations email at [email protected]