Experienced public policy manager Lyn Maddock has been appointed interim chief executive of Australia's new film super-body, Screen Australia, for four months.
Screen Australia replaces the Film Finance Corporation (FFC), Australian Film Commission (AFC) and Film Australia (FA), and will administer the 40% rebate now available for the production of Australian films.
It opens its doors on July 1 with a budget of at least $100m.
Maddock previously played a key role in the creation of Australia's broadcasting and telecommunications regulator, the ACMA, of which she is deputy chair.
The Minister for Heritage, the Environment and the Arts, Peter Garrett, said today the secondment would conclude on July 31 but Maddock may be to a contender for the permanent role. Garrett may decide to opt for someone with more management than production experience for a body of the size of Screen Australia.
Other names in the running include FFC head Brian Rosen, AFC chair and former Southern Star executive Maureen Barron, and Film Victoria head Sandra Sdraulig, though the stock has been rising forcurrent London South Bank centre head Michael Lynch, former Sydney Opera House director and general manager of arts funding and advisory body, the Australia Council.
The legislation establishing Screen Australia was passed on March 13.
An interim steering committee has been planning the merger for many months, the membership being the three chief executives - Rosen (FFC), Chris Fitchett (AFC) and Daryl Karp (FA) - and various civil servants.
Its priority has been administrative and technical issues: five subcommittees have been focussing on such topics as accommodation and corporate governance and a draft corporate plan has been written. Keeping production humming during the changeover is a key concern.
The legislation allows for the Minister to appoint the first chief executive, rather than the board, but insiders say it would make sense for a chair to be appointed first. Screen Australia is a key plank in a plan to revitalise and expand the film and television industry.
n Meanwhile the Screen Producers Association of Australia (SPAA) has said it wants Screen Australia to require Australians to have creative control and significant ownership of any film claiming the 40% rebate.
They also want an employment test applied. Senior SPAA members and executives met yesterday and decided to re-work a test developed a year ago.
Concerns continue to bubble up about this producer rebate going to films dressed up as Australian, especially films financed out of the US. A 15% rebate exists for foreign films. Screen Australia policy decisions cannot be made until a board is in place.