The Seven Network will both produce and broadcast live the Emirates Australian Film & Television Awards at a date yet to be set but timed to take place alongside the annual conference of the Screen Producers Association of Australia, being held in Melbourne from November 14 to 17.
It is the first time since 1985 that a commercial broadcaster will broadcast what are generally known as the AFI (Australian Film Institute) Awards. Last year public broadcaster SBS came to the end of its three-year contract and this year it telecasts the new rival IF Awards.
The two-hour primetime local film showcase, starting at 8.30pm, will include the live presentation of about half of the 43 awards, 15 of which are for feature films. Substantial changes this year mean only those films that had been released theatrically in the previous 12 months are now eligible.
"Not that I want to be alarmist, but our moving image culture is at risk," says filmmaker and AFI patron George Miller in this year's judging handbook. "If it falls away, so does our potency as story-tellers. In turn, if there is not a strong film and television industry to nourish our culture, our 'Australian-ness' falls away."