Courtney Gibson. 

South Australian Film Corporation CEO Courtney Gibson has resigned after 15 months at the helm. She will finish at the end of this month, moving back to Sydney to be closer to family.

Gibson, a former CEO of Screen NSW and executive at the ABC, Nine Network, Southern Star and SBS, joined the SAFC in April 2018, with a stated aim to boost production levels in the state, including a greater share of TV production.

Notably South Australia has recently scored New Line/Warner Bros.’ Mortal Kombat, and series like Matchbox Pictures/Dirty Films Stateless, Closer Productions’ The Hunting, Lingo Pictures’  comedy drama Upright, Epic Films’ First Day, the first ever children’s drama series starring a transgender teen and The Letdown season 2.

Other recent SA productions include Daniel Radcliffe-starrer Escape from Pretoria, and Mark Lamprell’s Never Too Late, while Daina Reid’s upcoming Run Rabbit Run, based on a screenplay from Hannah Kent, will also shoot in the state.

Gibson said: “I’m proud of everything the SAFC team and the SA screen sector has achieved during my time here, and I thank them along with all our agency and industry partners, for all our collaborations. South Australia has been established as a major national and international production destination and, with the local industry steered into primetime TV drama alongside film and other screen entertainment, the state’s never been busier.

“Now, with a 2019-22 Strategic Plan, a new Business Plan and Budget for the 19-20 year, revised Guidelines and Terms of Trade set to launch, with an ambitious and innovative Industry Development agenda and unprecedented screen spend now coming into the state, the way is paved for a new CEO to pick up the reins of the agency and lead the brilliant SAFC and Adelaide Studios teams, who’ve worked so hard and so well to achieve such great outcomes over the past 15 months.”

On Gibson’s first day as CEO, SAFC introduced an open-ended policy commitment to Delivering Diversity and announced the removal of screen credits as a condition of development and production finance to enable direct access to funds by emerging practitioners. Gibson also oversaw the launch of Full Tilt, an industry development and content strand for practitioners with disability, Deadly Family Portraits, a strand by emerging indigenous practitioners for the ABC, and introduced  a range of responses to the Raising Films survey about the challenges of being a carer in the sector, including the Doing it Differently initiative and the Return to Work Rider.

Gibson also launched the Lottie Lyell Award, the Adelaide Studios Artist Residency, and the Bird in Hand Nest earlier this year, a workspace for South Australians doing business in LA, at Charlie’s, the Australians in Film HQ in Hollywood.

Gibson said: “I’ve so relished the work at the SAFC and Adelaide Studios, but co-parenting by remote is extremely challenging and the time is right for me to return to my family in Sydney.”

Minister for Innovation and Skills David Pisoni said: “On behalf of the Marshall Liberal Government, I sincerely thank Courtney for guiding the SA Film Corporation at a stellar time for the local industry. Securing the state’s largest ever production, in Mortal Kombat, during her tenure has resulted in a quantum shift for how South Australia is viewed in the world of film.”

SAFC Chair Peter Hanlon said: “In Courtney’s 15 months at the helm of the agency, there has been an exponential uplift in vision and strategy, as well as screen industry activity, with the state and the Studios now major go-to destinations for local, national and international production. We are very disappointed she is leaving but fully understand her need to return to Sydney.”

Gibson paid tribute to the SA government: “In Minister David Pisoni and Premier Steven Marshall, the SA screen sector has the most enthusiastic and visionary government support. I thank them both, along with SAFC Chair Peter Hanlon, for their thoroughly committed backing of the agency and the state’s screen industry.”

Gibson will leave the agency following the Screen Makers Conference, July 26-28.

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