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Review of Programs and Operations
Draft Statement of Intent 2008/09
Industry comments

Comments received Tuesday 30 September

(in alphabetical order)

Australasian Natural History Unit
Comments received via PDF document

Australian Children’s Television Foundation
Comments received via Word document

Australian Cinematographers Society
Comments received via PDF document

Australian Cinematographers Society, Australian Guild of Screen Composers, Australian Screen Editors, Australian Screen Sound Guild (“The Guilds”)
Comments received via PDF document

Australian Directors Guild
Comments received via PDF document

Australian Film Institute
Comments received via PDF document

Australian Independent Distributors Association (AIDA) - Greg Denning
I write in my capacity as the President of AIDA (Australian Independent Distributors Association). AIDA wish to table their ongoing support for the Regional Digital Screen Network (RDSN) which has been established and run by the AFC for the last 2 or 3 years.

The various Independent Distributors who make up AIDA have supported the RDSN since it's inception and have seen that the scheme has gradually established a very loyal following in the regional centres it has operated in. The RDSN marketing and promotional support in these regional centres has been a major key to the scheme's success. The RDSN are consistently screening Australian films in these regional centres in a timely manner (most often either very close to, or day and date with the national release these films), as the films are being delivered digitally. The RDSN screenings now regularly being followed by a successful season of those films in these regional cinemas. Previously these regional cinemas would simply not play these films at all, or they'd be supplied with a used 35mm print after the major cities had finished screening these prints, assuming there was enough demand for the film at this late stage of the release.

Independent distributors represent the overwhelming majority of Australian films released in the Australian marketplace. Of the 41 Australian productions scheduled to be released in the next 12 to 18 months, 27 of these are attached to an independent distributor (8 are with a major distributor and 6 have yet to secure a distributor). The RDSN network is crucial to the continued support of Australian made films in the regional centres.

The RDSN network is an important initiative that we wholeheartedly support. We would like to see it continue and even expanded upon.

Yours sincerely,
Greg Denning
President - Australian Independent Distributors Association

Australian Screen Production Education & Research Association - Leo Berkeley
Comments received via PDF document

Australian Subscription Television and Radio Association
Comments received via PDF document

Australian Writers’ Guild
Comments received via PDF document

Butt, Peter
Comments available via PDF document

Cinema Augusta - Michelle & Roger Coles
We read with interest the statement of intent of the newly formed Screen Australia and it is with much sadness that we note no mention of the Regional Digital Screen Network Program. Is this yet to be another program given to Regional areas of Australia and then axed due to funding cuts? The past 12 months have been exciting and often ardous as we have worked tirelessly with a dedicated team from the Australian Film Commission to provide Australian Film and productions to regional Australia.

As you will note from the selection of the enormous amount of letters we received in support regional communities are supporting this program and will continue to do so. Over the past 12 months we have watched as the numbers attending these events continued to grow. We urge you to contine and consider expanding this wonderful program therefore able to educate and promote Australian Film in Regional Australia.

Download RDSN Letters Word document

Michelle & Roger Coles

CPSU - Nadine Flood
Comments received via PDF document

Donovan, Pru - PD Film & TV Accounting Services
Comments received via PDF document

Edmonds, Therese
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the Draft Statement of Intent 2008/09.

Government funding for apprenticeships in the building industry doesn’t determine what houses get built. Until we have a support framework that allows filmmakers to determine what gets made we’re always going to have a tiny subculture holding the power and deciding what Australians should be watching. Let market forces weed out the rubbish, same as every other industry. Give us a leg-up and see who survives. If we work at it well enough and learn our trade well enough and have enough raw ability then we’ll be successful in both a cultural and a financial sense. If we don’t then we’ll be back at our day job and the industry will be all the richer for that too.

In a healthy environment the storytellers will do what they do well and we’ll get culture emerging by itself. It’s a poor idea to give a handful of people the power to determine what ‘culture’ is. It’s something that emerges on its own when the storytellers, who are wired to express culture, are given the resources to do it. We don’t need a panel of three to decide what stories the nation ought to like. It’s innate. It’s intangible. It’s something that is created by fostering environment not by being dictated to.

Funding needs to go to the foundations of the business end of the industry –  tax incentives to attract private investors, apprenticeships in the trade so we can learn our craft, funded bodies that mentor projects from beginning to end without any creative control, funded bodies that connect investors to creators, that have enough confidence in the nation’s storytellers that they’ll give us room to create the very elements of our culture that are currently having the life stifled out of them and being so sorely missed.

A fresh model is needed in order to kick the industry into life. I see neither enough change nor much of a willingness to make it. It sounds like a polished rewording of the existing approach and does little to fire my enthusiasm for it. I hope the details in the next draft are more exciting.

Girlie Swot Media
Coordinator, Fuel Media WA

Free TV Australia
Comments received via PDF document

Goalpost Pictures
Comments received via PDF document

Hammond, Lesley
Comments available via PDF document

Hodgson, Ryan - Factor30Films and SPAA WA chapter
Comments received via PDF document

Independent Cinemas Association of Australia - Mark Sarfaty
Comments received via PDF document

Independent Producers' Association
Comments available via PDF document

Ledwidge, Michela - MOD Films
Comments received via PDF document

McLeish, Anna
Comments available via PDF document

Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance
Comments received via PDF document

Monton, Vincent
Since the direction of the Australian movie industry was place firmly in the hands of government agencies following the emasculation of tax incentive private financing, the box office share for Australian feature films has dropped from almost 20% to less than 2%.

It is a show business truism that "it all starts with the script" but unfortunately government  funding bodies have recently shown little talent for identifying or developing screenplays that can find a mainstream audience. This system not only consistently misses but is inefficient. It is not unusual in this convoluted bureaucratic process for a project to stall 8 months before becoming eligible to apply for further screenplay development. In the mainsteam, a year between drafts is usually terminal for a screenplay.

My suggestion is for all screenplay development to be handed to working producers who must ultimately answer for their selections and allocation of resources. As a writer director I don’t always see eye to eye with producers, but I realize they are closer to our audience and  the marketplace - and it would be much cheaper.

Vincent Monton

National Film and Sound Archive - Ann Landrigan
Comments received via PDF document

Open Channel
Comments received via PDF document

Pacific Film and Television Commission
Comments received via Word document

Ricketson, Greg - AustAsian Films
Comments received via PDF document

Ricketson, Greg - AustAsian Films (additional comment)
Comments available via PDF document

Screen Development Australia
SDA welcomes Screen Australia's policy direction to focus on building a viable and sustainable industry through respect for and engagement with market dynamics. We applaud many elements including its enterprise development programs for companies, its decision to re-integrate “new media” into the mainstream, its support for documentary and children’s content, its intention to partner more closely with the State agencies, and new initiatives including the reward bonus for features. However, it is noticeably muted on the matter of development in terms of either product or enterprise for the early to mid-career independent sector, and silent on its representative national body SDA. Therefore, we propose the following Recommendation, and provide its supporting rationale.

Please read this PDF for our full response.

Screen Producers Association of Australia
Comments received via Word document

Special Broadcasting Service
Comments received via PDF document

Tiley, David
Comments received via PDF document

Zubrycki, Tom
Comments received via Word document