An Australian film-maker who has been conducting a one man crusade against the management of government funding body Screen Australia says the organisation has now banned him from talking to it.
James Ricketson has been conducting a lengthy campaign complaining that the organisation has unfairly declined to fund his documentary project Chanti’s World. Screen Australia rejects this claim.
Ricketson writes an outspoken blog in which he rails against Screen Australia – and at times Encore magazine.
He has published on the blog a letter from Screen Australia CEO Ruth Harley telling him that the organisation will no longer deal with him because of “harassment and intimidation” of staff. The letter said:
“After giving the matter serious and careful consideration, Screen Australia has taken the decision that it will not accept further funding applications from you, or engage in correspondence with you about funding applications. I appreciate that this is an unusual step and one which we do not take lightly. However, we believe that your conduct towards Screen Australia is unreasonable, and that your correspondence places our staff at risk.
“We are under a legal obligation to protect our staff from harassment and intimidation. Staff who have dealt with your correspondence have found it stressful and their well-being has been affected. Your public statements in relation to our staff have also caused distress, and appear to be calculated to damage the reputation of individuals and this organization. We reserve our rights in relation to those statements, and we sincerely ask you to reflect on, and refrain from, such conduct going forward.”
The agency said that in the future it may review the decision to ban Ricketson for applying for funding if staff felt at risk.
Screen Australia declined to comment on the issue but confirmed it is the first time in the agency’s history a film-maker has been banned from applying for funding.
Ricketson last year applied for script funding through Screen NSW under a pseudonym. He was unsuccessful.
In 1993 Ricketson won an AFI for Best Adapted Screenplay for his film Blackfellas, and nominated for Best Direction for the same film.