The changes to Screen Queensland’s (SQ) funding programs are aimed at increasing production in Queensland and backing the state’s local industry to take advantage of the growing range of opportunities offered by a changing screen landscape. They are also aimed at simplifying and streamlining processes for Queensland’s screen industry.
“Screen Queensland has engaged extensively with local industry and key stakeholders throughout the last twelve months to work on improving the service, infrastructure and financial incentives offered by our screen agency,” said Screen Queensland CEO Tracey Vieira.
“We identified changes that needed to be made to support increased levels of screen content production and to ensure we are a competitive and “first choice State” for screen production.
“As a result we have made revisions to our funding frameworks including an increase to our Production Investment ceiling from $650,000 to $750,000 with a $100,000 “top up grant” for eligible long-form and large scale productions, taking the total SQ funding to $850,000 for these projects.
“We have also raised the Production Grant ceiling from $50,000 to $100,000 for all projects where the production budget is up to $1 million and raising the grant ceiling to $200 000 on a discretionary basis for projects supported through Production Funding where the budget is above $1 million.
“We are proud of the initiatives and forward steps we are taking as we set about creating the best environment for domestic and foreign direct investment and prepare for a very bright future for our local screen sector.’
On top of these funding program revisions, SQ recently launched its new Post, Digital and Visual Effects Attraction Grant and attracted its first U.S. production, The Age of Adaline starring Harrison Ford and Blake Lively (currently in cinemas) and which carried out VFX with Cutting Edge in Brisbane.
“We believe we are one of the most competitive and capable markets in the world stemming from our unique combination of highly skilled and experienced people, stunning locations, competitive incentives and funding programs and world-class facilities including the Village Roadshow Studios,” said Ms Vieira.
“But we know we can’t rest on our laurels and we need to continue to stimulate growth.
“The screen industry has changed significantly in recent years with audiences engaging with online viewing.
“Currently 50 per cent of Australian internet users watch movies and television online. For content creators, this means they can find audiences for their content online in addition to the traditional distribution platforms – it’s another avenue to reach them.”
Screen Queensland’s Development and Production team recently completed a Statewide roadshow to talk with local industry about the changes to funding frameworks, in particular relating to core funding programs for development, production and marketing.
“We have consulted with industry and we are now ready to officially launch these changes that are aimed at simplifying and streamlining funding programs and assessment,” said Jo Dillon, Head of Development and Production at Screen Queensland.
“In the last few years there has been a dramatic shift in how audiences are consuming content and this is varying the way that content is made. Our core funding program allows us to better support our industry in these changing times.
“Essentially the changes we are making to our development and production programs are ensuring we have a relevant and flexible set of core funding programs that are “screen agnostic” and a fit with the screen industry both of today and tomorrow.
“We want to support storytellers to tell strong stories, and to do all we can to help them make their way to the screen, whatever their distribution method.
“As part of the changes being made to our frameworks, and as we continue to foster an innovative industry, we have even set aside some money to support ways of telling stories and reaching audiences that none of us have thought of yet.”
On 1 July 2015 Screen Queensland will also be rolling out an easy, online funding application system and will also be introducing updated terms of trade.
Ms Dillon said, “The majority of our funding supports local screen practitioners. It’s used to grow opportunities and pathways, to grow careers and build businesses.
“These changes to our funding programs and platforms will help us to do that better, and help underpin support for a thriving screen industry in Queensland.”
Screen Queensland recently announced filming of a third series of Mako: Island of Secrets which has commenced filming on the Gold Coast and which will create up to 400 jobs; plus The Family Law, a six-part series to show on SBS; and series two for the highly-acclaimed ABC political thriller, The Code. This continues the trend of increased television series production in Queensland following Making Tracks, Big Art, Snake Sheila and Wild But True.