GENERAL: Screen Australia has announced changes resulting from a review of programs and operations.
Screen Australia CEO Graeme Mason said “We have undertaken a holistic review of Screen Australia’s funding programs and activities, with a renewed focus on the core business of the agency.”
Key changes 2014/15
In the context of reduced funding, Screen Australia has reviewed its programs to sharpen the focus on where we add the most value. We have also reviewed how these programs are delivered to find greater efficiencies, reduce overheads and simplify processes. Resulting changes are outlined below.
New terms, effective for applications received from 24 July 2014, will benefit producers:
All funding up to $500,000 (except P&A loans) will be a grant. This will provide more equity for the producer as well as simplify the contracting process (previously the grant threshold was $200,000, and limited to documentary and some other programs).
Screen Australia will also relinquish copyright in favour of the producer for all projects up to $500,000, retaining a 1 per cent share only in projects for which we provide recoupable investment.
These policies will be reflected in revised Terms of Trade, and in program guidelines going forward.
Funding management processes will continue to be streamlined:
Turnaround times shortened wherever possible
Feature film Letters of Interest now approved by the CEO
Applications to be submitted in two stages where possible, requiring fewer initial application materials to limit the burden on applicants
An online application system to be introduced to make it easier for applicants as well as improve the efficiency of application processing.
Sharpened program focus is reflected across the agency:
Greater emphasis on business development through the establishment of a Business and Audience department (replacing the previous Marketing department and the State and Industry programs)
Enterprise funding to target industry attachments, high-level screenwriting development and industry capacities through new business models and ambitious business plans
Production funding to sharpen its focus on stories that matter: innovative risk-taking projects that identify and build talent; culturally significant, intrinsically Australian stories that resonate with local audiences; and high-end ambitious projects that reflect Australia to the world
International festival and market support programs revised to consolidate travel and materials funding, allowing producers to better leverage success at international events as part of release strategies
Guidelines for the International Co-production program to be revised to better facilitate international partnerships.
Overall, funds will be retained on screen as much as possible, with the following adjustments:
a further 10 per cent reduction in staff to 100 FTE personnel (112 at 30 June 2014, down from 190 in 2008), saving approximately $1 million
a $2–3 million reduction across production investment and project development programs, with the cap on Screen Australia investment in an individual feature project lowered from $2.5 million to $2 million in order to spread funds further
a decrease in funding for traditional prints and advertising (P&A), saving approximately $500,000
savings of around $400,000 in Talent Escalator professional development programs, avoiding duplication with the new Enterprise: People program, and from consolidation of short film programs
transition away from direct funding of screen resource organisations, while exploring the potential to commission them to deliver professional development activities currently managed inhouse, creating savings of approximately $1–1.6 million
small savings across other programs.
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