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New feature film industry specialists announced

Screen Australia today released its revised Feature Film Production Guidelines.

In response to industry feedback, two external industry specialists will continue to be involved in production investment applications, and one industry specialist will also contribute to the Letter of Interest (LOI) process.

Tristram Miall will participate in the consideration of all LOI and production investment applications, as well as advise on projects after investment is confirmed. In addition, for each round of production investment applications, a second specialist will be drawn from a select group of distinguished working practitioners with demonstrated experience across a wide range of projects. Some will assess only one round while others will participate in more than one round, subject to availability.

These industry specialists include Andrew Bovell, Jan Chapman, Marcus D’Arcy, Chris Noonan, Neil Peplow and Joan Sauers.

Screen Australia’s Chief Executive Ruth Harley said, “Firstly, I want to acknowledge the significant contributions that Victoria Treole and Matthew Dabner have made to Screen Australia during their time with us in supporting Australian stories and filmmakers.

“External industry specialists bring an independent industry perspective to Screen Australia’s decision-making processes. Having one consistent person available for all funding rounds contributes to a context and depth of knowledge across Screen Australia’s feature film slate. Drawing the other from the group of industry specialists will enable Screen Australia to work with experienced senior practitioners from various disciplines who are actively working in the industry. This approach will enable Screen Australia to manage any conflicts of interest that will naturally arise within such an active group of senior practitioners.

“Consistent with our disciplined conflict of interest policy, industry specialists must declare any conflict of interest in a project. They would then not participate in the funding round the project is considered at, allowing us to draw on the expertise of another industry specialist from the group,” said Dr Harley.

The two main changes to the revised Feature Film Production Guidelines are to:

  • provide more flexibility by making Letters of Interest available at an earlier stage in the financing process so that producers can respond to marketplace feedback without already being locked into deals
  • consider financing decisions at more Board meetings per year – eight rather than the current four – reducing the need for producers to submit a project before it’s ready just to make a deadline.

Dr Harley continued, “Screen Australia believes the revised approach will make Letters of Interest a more useful tool in the marketplace by making them available at a slightly earlier stage. The less onerous application process will also be beneficial to producers. We’ll monitor and review the LOI program after a period of operation to assess its effectiveness in assisting the financing process and look forward to feedback from producers on how it goes.

“Screen Australia plays an important role in ensuring Australian feature films can be made in a competitive environment. We hope the changes to the guidelines help producers in the difficult task of raising finance.”

The revised Feature Film Production Guidelines are available here.