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That's a wrap on the Family Film Forum

It’s no secret that family films make big business.

Red Dog

Three of last year’s top ten grossing Australian films were from the genre.

Screen Australia has also been acutely aware. The problem is, not enough family films have been coming through the pipeline.

As Head of Development Sally Caplan has said, from 2009-2015, only six family films were funded by Screen Australia – that’s just 9% of the total number of Australian feature films made during that time.

Not for want of trying. That number was essentially a direct reflection of how many applications were put in for funding.

But during that six-year period some major moments happened, including the success of Red Dog, Oddball and Paper Planes, proving that there is a huge appetite for home-grown family content.

In response Screen Australia announced the Family Film Initiative, designed to trigger an influx of new screen projects for the family market.

As part of this initiative Screen Australia recently hosted a full-day of discussions in Sydney, which was streamed live for those who couldn’t make it in-person (including more than a dozen people watching from New Zealand Film Corp).The Family Film Forum, which was produced and moderated by Joan Sauers, was a public forum with one panel session and a series of ‘In Conversations’, whose aim was to shed some light on this popular genre that has been crying out for quality stories.

“(It’s) not just about the business,” Ms Caplan said in her opening remarks. “Australian films have enormous cultural significance. If Aussie kids aren’t seeing films about Australians, Australian stories and hearing Australian voices, what chance are they going to (have to) connect with local content later on?”

The sessions included talks with:

  • Oddball producer Sheila Hanahan Taylor;
  • Red Dog Director Kriv Stenders and Executive Producer/Distributor Seph McKenna from Roadshow Pictures;
  • Producer, writer and actress Dot West*;
  • Dreamworks screenwriter Harry Cipps who’s currently working on Larrakins;
  • and Nim’s Island screenwriter Joseph Kwong.

The Family Film Forum might be done and dusted, but if you missed out on attending (or live streaming) the fascinating day, never fear! Each of the sessions is available to view view here

Please note: Dot West’s talk is unavailable in the videos online.