The Australian Film Commission has slammed the American Film Marketing Association (AFMA) for its lack of support in the free trade agreement currently being negotiated with the U.S.
"If they actually represented the interests of independent producers around the world as they claim, they would be supporting Australian producers, not the Hollywood studios seeking to impose their will on a tiny, fragile, culturally-based industry," AFC chief executive Kim Dalton told ScreenDaily.com.
"AFMA has a UK president and close to 50% of its board members are from outside the US. It should have walked out of the Entertainment Industry Coalition for Free Trade because by being there it is supporting the MPAA's position on free trade."
Dalton is also surprised and disappointed that the guilds and unions that are part of the Entertainment Coalition have also not responded to Australia's personal and written pleas.
AFMA's two Australian members are Arclight Films and Film Finance Corporation Australia, which also supports the AFC's position.
Dalton's frustrated outburst came 24 hours after Australian Government negotiators Stephen Deady and Milton Churche admitted that they are prepared to make audiovisual concessions in the free trade agreement.
They also showed a dozen industry members what they are planning to propose to the US next week.
No-one will publicly reveal the exact text. But it is believed that it locks in current quotas such as commercial networks having to screen at least 55% Australian content - without specifying exactly on which media platforms the content must be delivered. Direct subsidies have been taken off the table, however.
The industry representations made it very clear that none of them were prepared to support the position of the Government officials, who are arguing that they are trying to deliver certainty and flexibility to the industry.
The next formal round of negotiations starts in Washington on December 1 and the agreement will be a key issue at the next Cabinet meeting in Australia on December 15.