Filmmakers descend on Canberra to campaign for local content

A delegation of Australian film and TV creators is today visiting Canberra to promote the importance of local content.

Directors Gillian Armstrong and Stephan Elliott and actress and AFI board member Sigrid Thornton will argue the importance for local content on Australian screens in light of the Government’s convergence review.  

Fiona Cameron, Screen Australia’s chief operating officer told Encore: “We’re meeting with government members, the coalition and greens. We will have representatives from the Prime Minister’s office and representatives for ministers Crean and Conroy as well as representatives from the shadow communications and shadow arts departments and a bevy of backbenchers.

“We want to remind politicians of the importance of screen culture. It’s a way of life that’s hard to measure but with the survey out today, it’s a good time to do so as there’s the convergence review and cultural policy discussion paper.

“We want to remind them that it is important and in order for it to continue to be relevant we need government incentives and government requirements.”

The delegation will be promoting the three levers of initiative; the direct lever, which is money provided through Screen Australia and the state agencies; indirect funding, which is tax incentives, such as the producer offset; and the regulation through quotas and spend requirement.

“The review will look at the role of the all of those levers and what is the best way to move forward. How can you ensure a level local content that is enough to be relevant.”

Broadcasters and their representative organisations such as Free TV are keen to loosen the quota rules including being allowed to move some of it to digital channels. Cameron said: ” Free TV carry the heaviest load, are a huge investor in narrative drama and had done a wonderful job but with more channels, that content will be really diluted.”

Alongside the trip to Canberra, Screen Australia has launched the campaign Celebrate Australian Stories which included a website, social media campaign and a survey of Australia’s most famous film quotes. Crocodile Dundee’s “That’s not a knife, that’s a knife” won, with 34%.


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