From left are Antony Ginnane, Sue Maslin, Clare Gandy, Lori Flekser, and Anthony Grundy.

The group behind the Australian Feature Film Summit (AFFS) has outlined its next steps following a series of meetings and events across the past year.

An AFFS Prism roundtable discussion earlier this month concluded a schedule that began last October with virtually and continued in May with a hybrid forum.

More than 1,000 delegates attended the sessions, which were aimed at growing the success of the Australian feature film sector.

The Prism event in June was facilitated by Simon Longstaff, executive director of The Ethics Centre and explored the audience and business case for Australian feature films by teasing out several ‘What if’ scenarios. It also interrogated at new strategies in relation to the business models currently intersecting theatrical production, distribution, and exhibition.

Moving forward, the AFFS plans to continue to bring exhibitors together with producers for a range of in-person and online forums aimed at increasing producers’ understanding of exhibition and cinema programming.

The Prism roundtable discussion.

There is also plans to make the Road Test pitching forum – in which 10 producers tested a feature concept with an exhibitor panel – a regular calendar event to coincide with the Australian International Movie Convention (AIMC) and the ICA (Independent Cinemas Australia) Conference.

The top three producers from this year’s initiative have been invited to participate at the upcoming MIFF 37 South Market.

Of the other outcomes from the summit, the AFFS has established a taskforce to look at creating a national database offering core audience insights and has plans to launch a marketing taskforce to review how the industry can work together more strategically to support Australian theatrical releases.

Further, the Australian Feature Film Group will contribute a submission to the National Cultural Policy.

AFFS director Sue Maslin said the summit had been a “game changer” on a number of fronts.

The Australian Feature Film Summit.

“[The AFFS] brought all players involved in connecting screen ideas to theatrical audiences into the same room for the first time in many decades,” she said.

“It demonstrated that cinema still matters and that everyone benefits from great Australian film releases.

“We need more of these, not less – but ‘good’ is no longer enough. The films need to be ‘great’ to attract audiences to the theatrical space.

“It has closed the loop between exhibition and production and invited exhibitors to join distributors and screen agencies in playing a role in determining what is ‘theatrical’.”

Summit convenor Gino Munari said the discussions had demonstrated the industry’s willingness to work together.

“While it may be an understatement to say that there are many diverse perspectives on the solutions, everyone involved in the Australian Feature Film Summit can agree on the need for action to ensure the success of the Australian feature film industry
going forward,” he said.

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