A screen industry council is to be formed in South Australia to bring under one roof all production sectors - from film and television to games and education - with the aim of sharing experiences and market intelligence.
"Our philosophy is that the industry needs to be more involved in policy making and more horizontally integrated," said director Mario Andreacchio, a member of the committee that is trying to drive the state's small but significant industry forward. "There is strength in unity."
The screen council option was approved by about 130 people after they spent all day Saturday thrashing out issues at a public forum opened by the Premier Mike Rann. He also used the opportunity to release a recent report into the future of the state's filmmaking facilities.
In the lead-up to the forum, Government strategists helped organisers compose a draft strategy using about 150 submissions and open letters posted on a website by industry members over several months. One of the recommendations was to form a policy body and a business council but this was scuttled on the day in favour of having just one organisation.
South Australia has a rich filmmaking history, having produced such films as Breaker Morant and Storm Boy. It is the home of Mark Patterson, who produces director Paul Cox's (Innocence) films, the filmmaking team of producer Helen Leake and director Craig Lahiff (Black And White), as well as directors Rolf de Heer (The Tracker, Bad Boy Bubby) and Scott Hicks (Hearts In Atlantis, Snow Falling On Cedars, Shine).
Andreacchio said the state's film agency, the South Australian Film Corporation (SAFC), would be an important part of the council but noted that film bureaucracies were tending to fall behind filmmakers in the current fast-changing environment.
"By the time they have responded to problems, the industry has moved on. We need mechanisms that make the relationship between public funding and filmmakers more flexible and responsive."
It is likely that the council will meet every few months and that the forum will become an annual event. The revised strategy is to be presented at a general state economic forum in April. A screen industry council was formed last year in New Zealand to take advantage to the fame and fortune surrounding the Lord Of The Rings trilogy.