Australia is to utilise its existing framework for pooleddevelopment funds (PDFs) to get more development money into the film industryand help provide producers with earnings between projects.

The scheme is being put together by the Screen ProducersAssociation of Australia and Content Capital, one of two companies given theright to raise private capital for the industry under the Film LicenseInvestment Companies pilot scheme of a couple of years ago.

Superannuation funds will be especially targeted and ContentCapital's Tim Benjamin is finalising a report that outlines how he will satisfyfund managers' demands for liquidity and for off-setting risks.

The fund will cover option and writers' fees, distributionguarantees and advances, print and advertising costs, production companyoverheads and producers' salaries. Only experienced producers with a strongtrack records are likely to get their hands on the money, which will berecouped from the production budget.

"There are numerous advantages to the investor with the PDFssuch as no capital gains tax on the trading of shares and tax-free dividends,"said president Stephen Smith in his opening address to SPAA's annualconference, being held in Queensland. "Carefully structured, the fund can evenprovide partial or total capital guarantee to the investor."

Investors can claim tax deductions now for investment inproduction but not development. It is an expensive process to target them,however, the incentives are not particularly attractive, and negative perceptionssurround the film industry.