After five years, Chambers will leave her job as chief executive of the active government agency.
One of Australia’s most senior film bureaucrats, Tania Chambers, has decided not to seek renewal of her contract as chief executive of state government agency Screen NSW.
New South Wales is the most consistently active of all the Australian states.
She has been in the job for nearly five years and will leave in December.
During her leadership of Screen NSW there was a global financial crisis that left everybody jittery but Chambers was nevertheless able to secure an additional $5.3m (A$5m) per year in investment funds.
In the 12 months to June 30, the agency invested a total of $10.26 (A$9.6m) in the production of 48 film and television projects, which helped to leverage $153.8m (A$144m) worth of local production expenditure. This is more than double the number of projects and nearly three times the level of expenditure than two years earlier.
Thirteen of last year’s projects were features, an estimated one-third of the national output.
There was also a considerable strengthening of the Australian dollar during her tenure, which negatively affected offshore production levels across the country. A-list crews are now back in work in Sydney, however, due to two big-budget US-supported Australian films: Baz Luhrmann’s drama The Great Gatsby and Alex Proyas’ big-budget action fantasy Paradise Lost.
“It is all about the diversity of the slate,” says Chambers. “You have to include films that take risks and others that are more commercial, a mix of old masters and new talent. I am particularly proud of the mentoring that has been happening in New South Wales and the new talent that has gained worldwide attention under my watch.”
Chambers was on the advisory board of the Asian Television Awards and a faculty member of the Asia-Australia Media Executive Leadership Program before joining Screen NSW and the state’s relationship with Asia has strengthened under her watch. Last month, the feature 33 Postcards, a co-production with China, released on 8,000 Chinese screens, the most ever for an Australian film.
One of her challenges has been working for a NSW Government that was in disarray from when she arrived in 2007 to when it was recently voted out.
Chambers is leaving for predominantly personal reasons: she met her husband, Eddy Cannella, while head of Western Australian state agency ScreenWest and they have chosen to go back and live in that state.
“What I really love is putting creative teams together, so I look forward to finding projects and people to work with as an executive producer,” she said. “Leading … Screen NSW has shown me what magic can be achieved when creativity and culture combine with business acumen.”
Film Victoria has still not appointed a chief executive to replace Sandra Sdraulig who left that agency in March after announcing she would not renew her contract nearly a year ago.