Screen Oz plans industry boost

Overhaul of services good news for industry

SYDNEY — Australia’s powerful new one-stop federal coin agency, Screen Australia, has unveiled a proposal to rescue the biz from the doldrums with more money available for development, marketing and distribution.

An enterprise development scheme will build stronger production houses and those who make successful films and TV content will be paid bonuses.

Overhaul of services is sweet news for an industry which, by the time the changes are introduced next year, will have endured three years of reviews and uncertainty.

“It’s a fresh and bold vision, which I applaud,” said Australian Directors Guild prexy Ray Argall. “They’re actually rebuilding the structure of the whole organization, it’s really exciting.”

Screen Australia apparatchiks have fanned out across Oz for two weeks of consultations with industryites before processing feedback into a statement from which new programs will be shaped.

Screen Australia chairman Glen Boreham wants to make the agency a more commercial organization than its predecessors’ doc org — Film Australia, film and TV funder the Film Finance Corp. and screen culture body the Australian Film Commission.

“There were a lot of management decisions being done at board level,” which, Boreham said, will now be made by management.

CEO Ruth Harley, who begins mid-November, will be able to greenlight project funding under A$1 million ($850,000).