An Australian Film Financing Forum is to be held in Sydney on November 27. The forum is designed to arm potential film financiers with the knowledge they need to make more informed decisions - and to hook them up with key film industry players.
Actor, producer and forum patron Bryan Brown will give the keynote address and participants will also hear from Film Finance Corporation Australia chief executive Brian Rosen.
"We want private funding to come back into the industry and we want to inform the investors as much as possible what the risks are," said Rosen. "It aims to give private investors some hard facts. Ultimately, we say if you can't afford to invest, don't invest. Film investment is an absolute risk with no guaranteed return."
The forum is believed to be the first of its kind in Australia and it has been endorsed by the FFC, the NSW Film and Television Office, the Screen Producers Association of Australia and the Australian Screen Directors Association.
It was conceived by Gary Rogers, head of the entertainment practice at law firm Michell Sillar, which is attached to the planned fund which was announced several months ago by partners Arclight Films and the Spice Factory.
Like many in the industry he wants to encourage business people to see film investment as a commercial proposition, akin to venture capital. In the past it has been painted more as a tax-driven investment, which has given rise to misunderstandings about its merits. Efforts are also being made to equip producers to not just sell a great story but also the business case for the investment.
"We have a considerable talent pool of top actors, directors and crew, an increasing number of first-class studios, and an impressive array of locations," says Rogers. "But we fail to capitalise on this with a significant short-fall in private investment that would enable our film producers to compete internationally."
Investors were plentiful during the 1980s when tax breaks were attractive but since the FFC started to dispense direct subsidies late in that decade, Australia has suffered from a significant lack of private dollars.