Maureen Barron has executed a makeover encompassing the organisational structure and staff, funding programs, and stakeholder relationships.
In Australia, the transformation of the former Pacific Film and Television Commission into Screen Queensland is almost complete.
Since taking the role of chief executive of the newly named Screen Queensland in July 2009, following the dramatic departure of her predecessor Robin James, Maureen Barron has executed a makeover encompassing the organisational structure and staff, funding programs, and stakeholder relationships.
“I’ve given them all equal weight,” said Barron, but she also singled out the attention she has given to local producers. “My vision is quite simply year-on-year growth with more coming from projects developed inside Queensland but that is not to say we are not interested in interstate and international production because we are,” she told Screendaily.com.
That said, Australia is suffering a downturn in offshore activity: “No-one in Queensland or any other state can do anything about the strong Australian dollar but we are saying ‘Please keep talking to us, please keep looking at everything we have to offer’.”
Queensland film producers include Chris Brown (Daybreakers), Chris Fitchett (A Heartbeat Away), Mark and Cathy Overett (Separation City), and Richard Stewart (Acolytes).
One area of interest to Barron is co-production and she expects one of her most recent senior appointees, Patrick McDonald, to bring international expertise and contacts with him to Screen Queensland when he arrives on April 12. The former Irish Film Board business affairs executive and co-founder of Rubicon Films will be a project manager reporting to head of development and production Meredith Garlick (The Secret of Moonacre), who started in August.
Another new key executive is Richard Moore, in the newly created head of screen culture role. He starts in August, during the final week of the Melbourne International Film Festival, his fourth as executive director.
He will oversee the Brisbane International Film Festival (BIFF) and a children’s film festival, Queensland’s participation in national events, and linking industry with screen culture.
While the exact nature of the job is undecided, someone with festival programming experience will be appointed to BIFF. The festival moves from its usual mid-year spot to Nov. 4-14 this year, principally to bring it closer to the Asia Pacific Screen Awards, which are under the jurisdiction of another government agency, Queensland Events. Unlike in Queensland, the Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide film festivals operate separately from each state’s film agency.
Geroe is stepping down after 18 years with BIFF and plans to do a PhD on Iranian cinema, specifically the difference between festival and commercial fare.
Screen Queensland received A$12.5 million from the Queensland Government in 2006/07. Last year, former head of production Henry Tefay, who left soon after James, received a tiny slice of development financing for the comedy feature, Rocks In My Head.