South Australian Premier Mike Rann has announced the introduction of a producer equity scheme that will give producers of films with investment from the South Australian Film Corporation (SAFC) cash up front and a bigger share of the rewards from successful films.

Under the scheme the SAFC will channel the money it recoups on its investment straight to the producer. On successful films, the SAFC and the producer will then share profits at a rate determined on a case-by-case basis but probably 50:50. Some agencies have given producers a recoupment corridor but this represents a complete rethink.

Rann was speaking at the Australian International Documentary Conference (AIDC) in Adelaide.

'One of the problems in Australia is that there are no rewards for success,' says SAFC chief executive Richard Harris. 'A producer's priority is always to get the next film financed (so they can get a fee) because they don't share in the success of their last film. Now they will be rewarded for making films that make money.'

The scheme is for local producers but Harris hopes it will make South Australia more attractive for interstate and international co-productions.

He says the Federal Government's tax offset, a rebate introduced in 2007 to give producers a 40% equity stake in their films, is not operating as intended because producers are giving their equity to other investors in order to close financing.

The SAFC is a modest investor - the maximum it can put into a project is $193,000 (A$300,000) - but if other agencies follow suit it could make a significant difference to the viability of production houses.

The SAFC invested in six of the nine Australian features that have their world premieres at the Adelaide Film Festival, which opens tonight with one of those films, Sarah Watt's My Year Without Sex.

The others are Glendyn Ivin's Last Ride, Kriv Stenders' Lucky Country, James Bogle's Closed For Winter, Granaz Moussavi's My Tehran For Sale and distributor-turned-director Dean O'Flaherty's Beautiful.

My Year Without Sex and My Tehran For Sale are in competition. In most of these films the Adelaide Festival Film Investment Fund is a co-investor.

Rann also said the SAFC will now transfer its copyright to the producer five years after a film is delivered and noted that he has just signed off on the designs for the new studios and facilities for the SAFC and the industry.

In other AIDC news, Bob Connolly and the late Robin Anderson were named the winners of the prestigious Stanley Hawes Award and it was announced that an official delegation of as many as 30 Australian producers and broadcasters will be attending the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, starting on April 30.