Screen Australia is considering giving bonuses to producers of small to medium budget features that perform well at the box office.

No details are available on the budget levels of eligible films, the criteria for success or the extent of the reward. However, the proposal clearly indicates that the new Federal Government agency is looking to connect films to bigger audiences.

Rewarding achievement is one of seven underlying principles contained in a draft statement of intent that Screen Australia released today. It signals a fortnight of consultations with industry organisations, filmmakers and State Government film agencies.

Other principles set out include:

  • more emphasis on marketing and distribution at the earliest stages of product development;
  • promoting more sustainable businesses (rather than investing on a project-by-project basis);
  • co-operating more closely with other stakeholders and agencies; and
  • ensuring policies and programs reinforce and complement the new producer offset, which gives producers back 40 per cent of expenditure on local films.

The Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts, Peter Garrett, has given Screen Australia, in consultation with the industry, very little time to deliver this statement of intent. However its aim is only to articulate direction and more comprehensive review will determine the actual support programs to be put in place and the guidelines around them. The deadline for this review is December 31.

Screen Australia has only been in place for two months and takes over from Film Finance Corporation Australia, the Australian Film Commission (AFC) and Film Australia. The draft statement of intent makes a point of recognising the success of the AFC's indigenous branch, saying it will continue to put resources into 'this most critical and unique aspect of Australian screen culture'.

Screen Australian chair has Glen Boreham has said he intends to create an organisation that is more commercial than the old agencies. New Screen Australian chief executive Ruth Harley, will take up her post until mid-November.