A second senior appointment was also announced today: Melbourne-based Ross Matthews, an eight-year veteran of the now defunct Film Finance Corporation Australia (FFC), is staying on in the similar role of senior investment manager for features, television and animation.
Putting aside Ruth Harley getting the job of inaugural chief executive, Coleman and Matthews are the first two senior executives to be appointed on a long-term basis at the new agency. Many more appointments will be made in the next few months.
Since Screen Australia opened its doors on July 1 this year, the staff from the three organisations it replaced - the FFC, Australian Film Commission (AFC) and Film Australia - have been holding the fort on a business-as-usual basis. Now, with new programme guidelines finalised and in effect from January 1, 2009, and staff being advised of their job status under the structure that's been put in place, many positions are being advertised.
Coleman was most recently head of creative affairs at Material Entertainment - a joint venture between New Line Cinema and Entertainment Film Distributors. She left Icon Entertainment International, where she was head of development, to take up that job in 2005.
Coleman left Australia soon after making Praise, which was nominated for best film in the Australian Film Institute Awards in 1999. While in the UK she was co-producer on On A Clear Day and executive producer on Run Fatboy Run. She starts her new job early in 2009.
Meanwhile, Megan Simpson Huberman, has opted out of Screen Australia by accepting a job as director of creative and enterprise development at the New South Wales Film and Television Office. Simpson Huberman has been one of the key drivers behind IndiVision, the AFC's low-budget feature film initiative.
Several senior appointments have been made at the FTO recently under director Tania Chambers. All the state agencies are considering how the arrival of Screen Australia will affect their strategies and priorities. A significant measure of the success of these agencies is how much production they bring to their states.