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Podcast – Feature film Q&A: production, audiences and data

Hear from Screen Australia CEO Graeme Mason, producer Sue Maslin AO, marketing and distribution expert Courtney Botfield and much more ahead of the Australian Feature Film Summit.

Headshots of Sue Maslin, Courtney Botfield and Graeme Mason.

Sue Maslin AO, Courtney Botfield, Graeme Mason

Find this episode of the Screen Australia Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Pocket Casts

In October 2021, the first stage of the Australian Feature Film Summit took place and as producers, distributors and exhibitors came together to discuss the future success of the industry, one major topic emerged: data.

“If there’s one thing the streamers have taught us, is that data does matter,” says producer Sue Maslin AO of Film Art Media. “That we [need to] have a much, much more sophisticated understanding and access to data going forward so that we can use some of the tools to identify some very specific audiences and what is required in order to reach those audiences.”

Data will be a key focus for the second stage of the Feature Film Summit on 12 May in Sydney, and ahead of that, on the latest episode of the Screen Australia Podcast, Maslin and Screen Australia CEO Graeme Mason run through points and commonly raised questions about feature film. This ranges from questions around how Screen Australia assesses feature film applications, where you can access data and trends.

Maslin says the industry needs to think about what actually makes a project a theatrical feature film.

“Is it the event, is it the experience of it, is it spectacle… is it the scale of emotion? What is going to bring people into a cinema for a shared experience? All of these things are on the table and the one thing I do know is we cannot assume it’s the same as it has operated for decades. We have to rethink: what makes theatrical.”

Mason says active collaboration and empowering producers is key.

“Producers talk to distributors a lot, and distributors talk to exhibitors, and exhibitors sell tickets to the audience, but that circle is not closed, so I think one of the ambitions we’ve got and certainly I endorse what Sue’s trying to do is get producers more actively in that loop,” he says.

Also joining Mason and Maslin as guests on the podcast is distribution and marketing specialist Courtney Botfield who talks through things like comparative titles and marketing hooks. In addition, previous podcast guests including Andrew Mackie from Transmission Films, director and producer Robert Connolly, and Madman Films’ senior marketing manager Michael Matrenza, each speak to how data on audience, box office and sales inform their business and creative choices.

Connolly speaks specifically to how he has used Screen Australia’s free Marketplace intel data in the financing and exploitation of his feature films. Hear more about how you can use this resource specifically on a separate podcast here, by emailing the Marketplace team here, or visiting the Sales and Distribution Support page here  

Find out more about the Australian Feature Film Summit, whose in-person event is being held in Sydney on 12 May, by visiting their website here

FURTHER READING

Screen Australia’s Fact Finders pages provide comprehensive statistics on the production and release of feature films, TV drama, documentary and other screen content in Australia. They also explore audiences and markets, and provide reports and analysis on industry issues. Pages referred to in the podcast include:

Box office data

Cinema audience data

Production data

Other links

Subscribe to Screen Australia Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Pocket Casts