The close-knit Australian film industry is awash with talk that Linda Tizard is to become the new chief executive of the Film Finance Corporation (FFC), arguably the most influential film job in the land. But the FFC says that no selection has yet been made and no ministerial stamp given, necessary for such a senior government post.
The rumours began last week, when Tizard was spotted dining with most of the FFC board. Since then one by one, others have been admitting to acquaintances that they have been eliminated after being interviewed by board members, investment banker Geoff Levy, KPMG senior partner Roger Amos and producer Jan Chapman.
Tizard had a senior role in business and legal affairs at Beyond International and has also worked with New Zealand's South Pacific Pictures and Columbia Tristar Productions. She recently helped Gary Hamilton and Victor Syrmis set up new Australian sales agent Arclight Films. She also has strong personal connections to the arts: her partner is actor Roy Billings and her sister is New Zealand's Associate Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Judith Tizard.
The FFC got A$57.5m from government for 2002-03, about half of which goes into features. It has supported a slate of over 150 films worth over A$700m since being established in 1988. Current chief executive Catriona Hughes was involved from the outset and climbed up through the ranks to become chief executive in 1997. This is a significant changing of the guard.
Meanwhile, it is now confirmed that Kim Dalton has been reappointed chief executive of sister organisation, the development agency the Australian Film Commission, for his second three-year term. There has been a substantial overhaul of the organisation since his arrival.