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Do you agree that the producer offset should be raised from 20 to 40 per cent for television?
Cloudstreet heads to WA
[Wed 23/09/2009 07:52:30]
By Brendan Swift
Tim Winton's iconic novel Cloudstreet will be filmed in Western Australia in the first half of next year after ScreenWest committed up to $500,000 to the production.
It ends a period of uncertainty about the future of the six-hour pay-TV series after Screen Australia decided against investing in the approximate $10 million project last month due to concerns that SHOWTIME Australia's licence fee to production house Screentime was too low.
SHOWTIME Australia chief executive Peter Rose said its original hope to partner with Screen Australia was dashed after the national agency stood by its strict terms of trade. That would raise SHOWTIME's license fee from about $400,000 per episode currently to about $525,000 (or 30 per cent of the budget).
"It would be cheaper for me to do a DVD and drive it round to each person’s home, so I was puzzled by that," he told INSIDEFILM.
“We re-looked at everything we had to do, changed our priorities, and went ahead with Cloudstreet. We haven't approached this on the basis of a terms of trade, we've approached this with: 'What does it take to get this made because it's worth doing and doing well'.”
Rose says investment in the television sector needs a greater degree of flexibility due to the different requirements of platforms and broadcasters such as public, commercial, free-to-air, subscription TV and fledgling mediums such as Internet-TV.
A Screen Australia spokeswoman said the agency does not expect to directly invest in every Australian production, particularly now that the Producer Offset is also available, and that it set its terms of trade after careful consideration.
"Other subscription TV projects have met these requirements," the spokeswoman said.
Pre-production on the project is now due to commence in November with Tim Winton and Ellen Fontana currently finalising the script.
Western Australian Culture and the Arts Minister John Day yesterday said the State’s Production Attraction Fund had helped it secure the series.
“This will provide employment and development opportunities for local crew, cast, businesses and infrastructure associated with the screen industry, and will also showcase our wonderfully diverse locations and culture to an international audience,” he said in a statement.
The WA government's $500,000 special allocation to Baz Luhrmann's Australia, released late last year, proved to be a precursor to ScreenWest's Production Attraction Fund.
Couldstreet is based on the award-winning novel about the Lambs and the Pickles, two working class Western Australian families, who come to live together at 1 Cloud Street.