The potential for gaming to push Queensland’s screen economy beyond the $1 billion-a-year mark grew today with the first ever appointment of a game developer to the Screen Queensland Board.
Creative director and co-founder of Brisbane-based independent game studio Defiant Development, Morgan Jaffit, is one of six new directors to join the Board, and brings 18 years of experience in mobile and console gaming development to the diverse 10-person leadership team.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said having a global gaming specialist on the Board would enable Screen Queensland to strengthen its focus on developing and retaining digital creative talent and growing the state’s 19 per cent share of Australia’s $91 million gaming sector.
“This was a priority set down in the Advance Queensland 10-year Screen Industry Roadmap and marks the start of an exciting phase of investment and development, with growth in the gaming sector contributing an additional $21 million to the economy compared to 2016-17,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
Earlier this year, Screen Queensland launched its inaugural Games Development and Marketing Investment initiative, supporting experienced and emerging game developers to create and market high quality games capable of achieving international commercial success.
The Premier said Mr Jaffit understood better than most the importance of this kind of government support when embarking on a digital gaming career, having delivered 15 titles including Hand of Fate, Ski Safari and Happy Feet across a range of platforms.
“Mr Jaffit is a passionate advocate for fostering local talent to position Brisbane as an innovative digital hub, and has considerable experience in supporting the industry at a strategic level, having worked on the Board of the Game Developers’ Association of Australia,” she said.
Along with Mr Jaffit, the Premier welcomed the appointment of Ms Lynne Benzie, Ms Kylee Ratz, Ms Patricia Alner, Ms Sally Robb and Ms Cathy Hunt to the Screen Queensland Board, and the reappointment of the Chair Ms Linda Lavarch and directors Dr Chelsea Bond, Mr Paul Syvret and Ms Patricia Heaton.
“These talented Queenslanders bring with them extensive experience in, and an intense and very personal passion for, Screen Queensland, which in 2017-18 supported 30 productions worth $133.5 million and more than 1950 jobs,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
The Premier thanked outgoing directors Mr Michael Smellie, Ms Catherine O’Sullivan and Mr Takeshi Takada for their service to Queensland’s screen industry over the past three years.
“It is particularly encouraging to see eight women sitting on Screen Queensland’s renewed Board. My government is aiming for 50 per cent representation of women on the boards, committees and advisories of more than 300 Government bodies by 2020,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
SCREEN QUEENSLAND BOARD
Ms Linda Lavarch is a lawyer by profession and has broad experience in developing and advising on public policy in Australia. She now combines her legal skills and policy experience as the Director of Member and Specialist Services for the Queensland Nurses and Midwives’ Union (QNMU). Ms Lavarch served in the Queensland Parliament from 1997 to 2009 and was appointed the State Attorney-General in 2005.
Dr Chelsea Bond is an Aboriginal (Munanjahli) and South Sea Islander Australian and a Senior Lecturer within UQ’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Unit. Dr Bond has worked as an Aboriginal Health Worker and researcher in communities across south-east Queensland and has a strong interest in urban Indigenous health promotion, culture, identity and community development. Dr Bond is an Affiliate member of the UQ Poche Centre for Indigenous Health, a board member of Inala Wangarra (an Indigenous community development association) and regular guest host of 98.9FM’s Let’s Talk program.
Mr Paul Syvret is a freelance journalist and former assistant editor and columnist with The Courier Mail. He is a multi-award winning journalist with 30 years experience in the media who has worked across the platforms of print, television and digital. His specialty is finance and economic reporting and analysis; skills honed over many years working on mastheads including the Australian Financial Review and The Bulletin magazine. Mr Syvret also brings with him a lifelong passion for Australian film, and regularly appears as a guest presenter at genre cinema events.
Ms Patricia Heaton is an AFTRS graduate, former CEO of Ausfilm, and former Manager of the Production Liaison Unit at the FTO (now Screen NSW). She has worked in the screen sector since 1980 as producer, location manager, senior executive and company director. Ms Heaton served as a Board member at Ausfilm (1999) and served on the Screen NSW Board (2009-2014). Currently Ms Heaton is a co-Director of The Heaton Group.
Mr Morgan Jaffit is the creative director and co-founder of award-winning Brisbane-based independent game studio Defiant Development. He is a passionate advocate for fostering local talent to position Brisbane as an innovative digital hub. Across his 18 years of international game development, Mr Jaffit has worked for studios including Pandemic Studios, Artificial Mind and Movement, and Ubisoft, delivering titles such as Hand of Fate, Heroes Call, Ski Safari and Happy Feet.
Ms Lynne Benzie has worked in the film industry for 28 years, and has been the President of the Gold Coast’s Village Roadshow Studios since 2008. Ms Benzie is a current member of the Ausfilm Board of Directors and the Advisory Committees of the Queensland University of Technology and Bond University.
Ms Kylee Ratz is the Brisbane General Manager of post-production, digital and visual effects studio Cutting Edge, which has locations in Brisbane, Sydney, the Gold Coast and Tokyo. Ms Ratz has 23 years of experience in the post-production industry and leads a team of 110 staff in Australia and Japan.
Ms Patricia Alner is the Director of Planning and Budget at the Queensland University of Technology, a role she has held since 2009. She has a Bachelor of Informatics from Griffith University, has completed a Graduate Diploma in Professional Accounting from QUT and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and Certified Practising Accountant.
Ms Sally Robb was is a barrister in the Supreme Court of Queensland and regularly appears in public administrative, regulatory, criminal and quasi-criminal law matters. Ms Robb is a member of the Bar Association of Queensland.
Ms Cathy Hunt has thirty years’ experience providing research and advice to governments, architects, planners, arts and cultural organisations and artists in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong. She is the co-founder and Director of Creative Thinking – Positive Solutions, a consultancy specialising in the culture and non-profit sectors, and was the Executive Producer of the Women of the World Festival in Brisbane in 2015 and 2018.