Australia’s largest feature film fund partnership announced in Queensland
Photo L-R . Kurt Royan, Graeme Russell, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, Marshall Heald and Tracey Vieira. Photo by Alister Randell
A unique group of screen industry leaders along with institutional investment have joined forces to launch Australia’s biggest feature film fund partnership that will pave the way to break diverse Queensland screen industry talent and stories.
Screen Queensland CEO Tracey Vieira today announced that four companies have entered into a three-year partnership with Screen Queensland to co-produce and co-finance a slate of feature films through the R.I.D.E Feature Film Fund that stands for Respect, Inclusion, Diversity and Equality.
“The R.I.D.E Feature Film Fund brings together the screen industry expertise of Screen Queensland, SBS, Madman Entertainment and The Post Lounge along with investment from Media Super for a landmark three-year deal that will see up to two bold and distinctive films created each year in Queensland.
“This fund will provide the opportunity for up to six Queensland creative teams to develop and produce $1.5 million budget feature films that are visually stunning and emotionally resonating for theatrical release and national broadcast,” said Ms Vieira.
“Queensland is leveraging screen industry expertise and investment to even the playing field for underrepresented groups in the screen industry. We are empowering filmmakers from a wide range of backgrounds to tell stories that reflect the diversity of our community that will also resonate with global audiences”, said Ms Vieira.
The imbalance of diverse screen stories is supported by a 2016 report that showed minority groups and marginalised communities were under represented when compared to the population for example:
· 7 per cent of characters were from non-European background compared to 17 per cent of the population
· 4 per cent of characters were portrayed with disability as opposed to approximately 18 per cent of the population.
There is also a lack of diversity behind the camera across many sections of the community such as ethnicity, disability and gender, for example women account for just 34 per cent of producers, 15 per cent of directors and 22 per cent of writers.The R.I.D.E Feature Film Fund will provide opportunities and pathways to tackle this imbalance for both content and screen industry creatives.
Investment from all parties will support the fund with project management from Screen Queensland, post-production services and expertise supplied by The Post Lounge, theatrical distribution through Madman Entertainment and broadcast on the SBS network of channels.
Marshall Heald, Director, TV and Online Content SBS, said that the fund goes to the heart of SBS’s unique purpose as an organisation.
“SBS is committed to ensuring the diversity of content available for Australians reflects the rich diversity of our society. By providing opportunities for creatives from diverse backgrounds to share
their stories, we are all able to see, explore and celebrate the differences that make Australia what it is today.
“SBS proudly champions a more inclusive screen sector by fostering talent from diverse and underrepresented communities, and we’re excited about the opportunities ahead through this partnership to share more uniquely Australian stories across our network, including our brand new SBS World Movies channel,” said Mr Heald
Paul Wiegard, Founder and Managing Director, Madman Entertainment, said they were confident of the market appeal of diverse stories.
“Madman is committed to bringing remarkable Australian stories to audiences and has always sought to work with both emerging and established screen talent from diverse backgrounds. We’re excited to collaborate with filmmaking teams through this initiative and help find the best possible audiences for their projects,” said Mr Wiegard.
Kurt Royan, General Manager, The Post Lounge, said they were proud to be part of this landmark fund that supports their local Queensland screen industry.
“The Post Lounge want to be known as a champion of new and diverse voices in the entertainment industry, so we’re excited to partner with SQ, SBS, Madman and Media Super to develop the next generation of Queensland filmmakers by supporting their projects from inception through to delivery,” said Mr Royan.
Graeme Russell, CEO Media Super said the fund’s modest investment in the R.I.D.E Feature Film Fund builds on Media Super’s successful investment in Australian film and television production through its $80 million revolving cashflow financing fund
“Media Super is an integral part of Australia’s screen industry. This investment, through our newly established Industry Innovation Co-investment Fund, allows us to pursue new, innovative sources of investment returns for our members while extending our support for one of our key industries. In doing so, we also give Australian writers, directors, filmmakers, actors and crew more opportunities to ply their craft at home,” said Mr Russell.
The R.I.D.E Feature Film Fund will select up to four projects in the first stage of the program with creative teams receiving intensive development support from market and industry experts, followed by the selection of one project that will be greenlit for production.