The Australian governmentagency with responsibility for developing features has to go in search of a newchief executive now that Kim Dalton has been made director of television atpublic broadcaster the ABC.

The Australian FilmCommission (AFC) has only just appointed Chris Fitchett to head filmdevelopment, a division that spends about $12.8m (A$17m) of the $40.6m (A$54m)annual budget, and the news of Dalton's departure means a lot more change is onthe way.

Unlike many countries, Australia's federal government keeps feature development andfeature production funding separate - the latter is handled through FilmFinance Corporation Australia - although the AFC recently resumed financing theproduction of low-budget features.

In the 12 months to June 30last year, the AFC received 578 applications for individual features andapproved 81 of them. This funding was for just one or multiple drafts, for veryearly seed development or to match investment from third parties. An additional18 features received assistance through grants to producers across a slate ofprojects and a few others were assisted via people-focused professionaldevelopment grants.

The AFC also supports newmedia, documentary and a limited amount of television projects, as well asmarketing, industry and cultural development and research.

Dalton considerably shook up the AFC during his six-yearreign and the changes are generally admired by the industry. Among his biggestpolitical challenges was overseeing the AFC and the National Film and SoundArchive being folded in together and trying to limit the effect of the FreeTrade Agreement with the US on the local industry.

He takes up the new role inlate February. Before joining the AFC, he held senior executive roles at BeyondInternational, Film Finance Corporation Australia and the Australian Children's Television Foundation.He has also been an independent producer.