Robert Connolly steps down early from Screen Australia board

Robert Connolly

Filmmaker Robert Connolly has ended his term as Screen Australia board member early.

The writer, director, producer was due to sit on the board until December 2013, but he finished early due to film-making commitments.

While on the board, Connolly received Screen Australia funding for his project Paper Planes, and also for his adaptation of Tim Winton’s The Turning.

At the time, Screen Australia denied that there was a conflict of interest.

“We have a clear working conflict of interest policy that works,” a spokesperson said. “We don’t exclude working film-makers from our board as we need that expertise. But we have a system in place that works.”

Film financier Greg Smith, who has sat a full term, will also step down from Screen Australia’s board.

Screen Australia chair Glen Boreham said on their departure: “For all their complementary strengths, Robert and Greg both shared one thing: passion. Passion to see Australian stories on screen, passion to nurture the next generation, and passion to see the industry evolve and thrive. We wish them every success in the next stages of their careers.”

In their place will be actress, writer and producer of Spirited and Love My Way Claudia Karvan, and Richard Keddie, producer of Little Fish, Hawke and the forthcoming musical Goddess.

Simon Crean, arts minister, made the announcement today: “Mr Keddie and Ms Karvan have both made a major contribution to Australia’s screen industry. As an award winning film and television documentary producer, Mr Keddie’s experience across the sector will provide the valuable combination of creative leadership and industry insight.”

“Ms Karvan is an acclaimed Australian actor, director and producer with a strong track record of engaging with the Australian screen industry as a creator and advocate.”

Karvan has just finishing filming the remake of Puberty Blues and will star in the forthcoming The Time of Our Lives.

Also announced by Crean was a new chair appointment to the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.

Gabrielle Trainor comes to the role following work on the recent review of the Australia Council for the Arts as well as the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and the Sydney Youth Orchestra.

Former minister for the arts Michael Lee has also been appointed to the NFSA Board.


  1. Dee
    11 Jul 12
    12:23 pm

  2. Of course it’s a conflict of interest!!!! A Screen Australia board member while seeking funding!! Sorry, but it’s a disgrace. But then again, I wouldn’t expect anything less from Scree Australia….

  3. Dee
    11 Jul 12
    12:27 pm

  4. P.S just read the charter. A conflict of interest can:
    i) Be actual (i.e. there is an obvious or demonstrable conflict of interest) or perceived (i.e. an onlooker may reasonably assume there is a conflict). – how does this not apply in this case?

  5. Harry
    11 Jul 12
    2:43 pm

  6. The conflict is currenly resolved by the affected Board member leaving the room and letting the rest of the Board adjudicate. Then the Board member returns and it is business as usual. Human nature is such that his/her Board colleagues are not likely to reject the project and then have to eyeball the affected member 5 minutes later. If you want industry practitioners on the Board then give them 2 year terms with a commitment from them that they will not be applying for funding in the interim. If their circumstances change and they seek funding within the two year period then they are obliged to resign well before the Board meeting. This solves the problem of perceived bias and would please the industry. The issue has never been properly addressed by Screen Australia whose status and credibility has been in steady decline since its creation about 5 years ago.

  7. scott
    11 Jul 12
    3:24 pm

  8. “We don’t exclude working film-makers from our board as we need that expertise…” and i have no problem with this so long as they are working. Applying for funding, in RC case twice, is not the same thing. Is it any wonder the rest of us get the shits with the whole process. Perhaps SA can offer me a position on the board, give me my funding and let me stand down. i would be very happy to do it. I promise not to stay very long… what a joke!

  9. Ronnie B
    11 Jul 12
    3:47 pm

  10. I notice that nobody here is mentioning the numerous projects of Connolly’s that were rejected by Screen Australia while he was a member of the board…. it has been mentioned in other forums that there were several; and at least one was widely reported.
    It’s cruclal to have Board Members that know how the industry actually works, as so many simply don’t.

  11. See you with real problems
    12 Jul 12
    8:42 am

  12. It is so gross and pathetic that the painful moaning sound from film makers still drowns out every other sound. All with the aim to make dog s*&t films that bore the entire nation to the point they become hateful towards Anything filmed here. Connolly is actually an exception here, his movies that I have seen are at least entertaining, whilst themed around tough topics. The board don’t assess applications do they? Surely not. It is a public service though, never easy to understand or yeild honesty from. That would be, Un-Australian. BOOM.