Government sources provided 53% of the $42.7m (A$82m) spent on the 26 Australian films that went into production in the 12 months to June 30, 2001, according to the Australian Film Commission's (AFC) production survey released Nov 13. This is the lowest number of local features, the lowest amount spent, and the highest contribution from Government for the past five years.

Foreign sources provided 27% of the rest of the total spend, while 20% came from Australian industry and private sources. Fewer features in the under $520,000 (A$1m) bracket contributed to the drop in numbers, but the absence of any films costing more than $10.4m (A$20m) - and the foreign financing that usually goes with films of this size - is what has pushed down overall value and pushed up the contribution from Australian taxpayers. Moulin Rouge was in the 1999/2000 figures, Holy Smoke in 1998/99 and Babe: Pig In The City in 1997/98.

The AFC has used the findings to reiterate the crucial importance of ongoing public funding to the slate. Most of this is channelled through the Film Finance Corporation (FFC), which backed 13 films in 2000/01, two of which had substantial foreign investment amounting to more than 60% of the budget.

None of these figures include co-productions, namely Charlotte Gray with the UK and Paradise Found with France, both of which have official co-production status, and the US partnership Crocodile Dundee In Los Angeles. The three films were also worth a total of $42.7m (A$82m) although only $12.5m (A$24m) was spent in Australia.

Five additional foreign films - Beta 1, Down And Under, Queen Of The Damned, The Quiet American and Scooby-Doo -- worth a total of $106.3m (A$204m) were also made in 2000/01. Although the highest number for some years, the overall value of foreign films was not as high as in the previous year.

Foreign film and television production and co-production was the major contributor to the record $316.7m (A$608m) spent in Australia on drama during the period under review. There were 62 television drama programs, as well as the 34 features, worth a total of $448.5M (A$861m).