The UK’s Film 4 figures in Screen Australia’s new plans to help early-career filmmakers to make outstanding Australian content.
Screen Australia today announced four new development programmes, including an internship that will see one exceptional producer per year receive A$70,000 to spend six months working in the development department at Film 4 in London.
“Hopefully they will not then be whisked away, but come back and use what they have learned, thereby changing the DNA of the place (Australia),” said Screen Australia head of development Martha Coleman.
Another program will see 30 people per year increase their script analysis and development skills using the Script Factory model. The other two programs focus on short films, with one of those programs enabling six writer/director/producer teams per year to make their last short film before their first feature.
Coleman was speaking to participants at 37 South, the industry arm of the Melbourne International Film Festival, which opens tonight. She also said that Screen Australia was keen to develop a very diverse slate of “authorial career-launching films” and “more genre films, that really are genre films,” unlike some of the thrillers and romantic comedies that are coming through the door.
Coleman is one of the key executives bedding down Screen Australia, which is now one year old. To take the job, she relocated back home from the UK, where she worked for Material Entertainment and Icon Entertainment International. She said the biggest lesson she had learnt from being abroad was the importance of audiences.
Screen Australia’s budget is $102m this financial year, and of the $60 million put aside for production, $24 million is for feature films. The budget will fall in the next few years but it is hoped that the producer offset will inject more money into the business.