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Review of programs and guidelines
Draft Program Guidelines
Industry comments

Comments received Thursday 13 November

From Rebecca Albeck

It appears that SCREEN AUSTRALIA has proposed slashing funding for short films, and suspended funding (until further notice) of the highly successful RAW NERVE program. It has long been the case that short films provide a vital training ground for emerging filmmakers, as evidenced by RAW NERVE which has seen the production of over 30 short films and facilitated the career pathways of numerous directors, producers,
writers and crew. I hope that this decision may be reconsidered - it will make the process of learning and development all that much harder for earlycareer filmmakers, thus harming the future of the industry as a whole.

Kind regards
Rebecca Albeck

From Graeme Bond

Reading the copious submissions to Screen Oz in this particular bout, one comes to the conclusion that the Australian film industry (or should we say Sunday hobby group) is the proverbial shot up WW1 biplane, out of fuel, engine on fire, fuselage shot out, and the pilot hanging his butt through the cockpit floor with landing gear jammed trying to land on an aircraft carrier in a typhoon. In other words, we are living in exciting times.

But seriously, my only suggestion on how budding filmmakers may raise the loot to spark their ambitious 5 minute short film is for Screen Oz to set up special Screen Oz multinova speed cameras in all capital cities with the friendly warning sign reading Support my film - plant foot down (if there is no danger to the public). All fine proceeds to Australian short film makers in your State.

There are plenty of would-be accidental heroes out there waiting to do their bit by the sights on our roads.

It should do the trick. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Graeme Bond
Birdsong Press

From Kasimir Burgess

Short film is obviously the perfect medium to learn the skills needed to make feature films. Beyond being a stepping stone to feature film, shorts are a wonderful format to express an idea; like a short story or a Hai Choo, the short film has a highly concentrated quality that can affect and move an audience in just a few minutes. There is an increasing demand for shorts online, on television and at festivals. Those with the power to support the production of shorts should not view them as merely an exercise in career development but as a valid and increasingly respected form of expression and entertainment.

Thanks for reading,

From Tim Dean

My name is Tim Dean and I am an emerging director. It is concerning, like many emerging filmmakers have said over the last couple of weeks, to see the direction you are taking. The direction away from emerging filmmakers. I guess this will work for a while but don’t expect any new filmmakers to come through. How can they? With few avenues to generate money to create films how do people get by? So that’s my big problem. How do emerging filmmakers actually begin their careers? Do you expect them to live off the dole while doing this?

There’s been a lot said about cutting short film drama. I agree with pretty much everyone who thinks it should be retained. There is no question short films are vital for the film industry. Without funded shorts you will have a less experienced director or producer on their first feature. The idea that new technology can substitute for cashflow is ridiculous and I highly doubt even you actually believe that notion.

And also didn’t the Government say they wanted to continue to fund first time filmmakers? Did I mishear that? It seems you are not interested in first time filmmakers anymore. Can’t there be a balance between emerging and established? And really shouldn’t the actual project being submitted be the most important criteria of who gets the funding? Of course the team attached is important, but no one will want to see a bad project made by an experienced or inexperienced team. But I’m sure a good project made by an experienced or inexperienced team is the goal here.

Anyway you are a bureaucracy and you will do what you do. I just hope you actually reconsider your heavily weighted funding model that excludes most, if not all, of the new filmmakers in the country, before making these guidelines legislation.


From Delores Fernandez

Comments available via PDF document

From Igor Grabovsky

Comments available via PDF document

From Rowena Mathew

To whom it may concern,
I am disappointed to read that Screen Australia will abandon its support of the "Raw Nerve" funding initiative and hope that it will reconsider its decision. "Raw Nerve" emphasises film maker creativity on a small budget and has nurtured a lot of fine filmmaking talent since 2002. "Raw Nerve" is one of the very few ways in Victoria that also allows filmmakers who would otherwise be without access to professional standard equipment, to shoot good, innovative work that shows more maturity and diversity than a lot of film school student fare. It is very important that Open Channel remain "open" to all aspiring filmmmakers in an equitable way.

Yours faithfully,
Rowena Mathew

From Justin Olstein

I would like to echo the comments made by Stuart Parkyn, Jason Byrne and Paul Andersen in relation to the proposed cuts to short film funding by Screen Australia. I struggle to understand these proposed changes especially in light of Australia's continued short film success at notable international festivals. Such success has always been viewed as an important stepping stone in the careers of young directors, of building up a profile and body of work worthy of feature film funding. Simply put, without the nessasary funding for short films, I don't know how good short films would be made. Australian short films are so well regarded overseas (perhaps more so than out feature films at the moment), I don't understand why SA would seek to derail this. As a current directing student at the VCA in Melbourne, I've always valued short films as a legitimate cultural art form as well as an intrinsic training ground for longer form works. I don't know anyone who learnt to ride a bike without training wheels.

Justin Olstein

From Andrew J Phillips

Comments submitted via Word document

From Screen Development Australia

Comments submitted via PDF document

From Chris Tuckfield

Comments submitted via Word document

From Brendan Walsh, ScreenACT

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From Marc Weinstein

To whom it may concern,

I am very disappointed to see that the new guidelines propose a cut to short film funding. Short films are the foundation of many careers throughout the world, and the Australian Film Industry should be looking towards the future by nurturing and developing talent through short filmmaking. This is the model responsible for building careers and it is a necessary stepping stone for any filmmaker who wants to develop their craft and nurture their skills.

In cutting short your support you are further polarizing the industry and squeezing out new talent and a new voices in Australian cinema, which to me seems to be very short-term thinking and not long-term planning. It is important to develop a film industry that has a unique voice and has something new to say, rather than gifting the elite filmmakers in this country who have already experienced success at the highest levels with greater opportunities. Whilst that may be effective in the short term, it is not sustainable and it leaves no room for a new crop of talent to come through and develop their skills. How do the new guidelines propose to deal with this problem?

I think that short filmmaking is the platform of any young filmmakers career and we need to be supporting emerging filmmakers to nurture their talent and give them a voice.

Yours sincerely,
Marc Weinstein