FTI to be consolidated into Screenwest

By Jackie Keast

In the face of uncertainty around future funding, the Film & Television Institute WA (FTI) will be wound down and have its core screen programs transitioned to Screenwest.

FTI, a not-for-profit organisation, aimed to support the state’s emerging and mid-level screen practitioners.

With the support of the Department of Culture and the Arts, the consolidation of roles and service delivery into Screenwest is already underway and will continue over the next few months. There is expected to be industry consultation throughout the transition period.

Most staff contracts at FTI are due to cease at the end of the current funding period, ending June 30. Post this date, some staff may have contracts extended in order to successfully wind the organisation down, FTI told IF.

FTI’s financial woes have been known for a while now. In March, the organisation postponed the WA Screen Awards (WASAs) due to a lack of secured funding.

In a statement, FTI chair Mitchell Wells said the move to Screenwest would provide surety to emerging filmmakers.

“FTI’s role in supporting independent and emerging screen sector practitioners over the past 45 years cannot be questioned”, said Wells.

“We broke new ground in bringing screen culture to the community, providing access to tools and knowledge needed by screen practitioners, bringing a sense of community to the sector, celebrating the achievements and excellence of our best and brightest through the WASAs, or just being there to give guidance on projects and careers.”

Wells said the move was not made lightly and various options had been examined closely.

“With the future funding environment in mind, it is clear that consolidating with Screenwest is the best way forward to ensure services to the emerging filmmaking sector continue to be delivered,” he said.

“I would like to acknowledge the FTI Board and staff and thank them for their professionalism in what has been a tough few years.”

Screenwest stated it is committed to ensuring FTI’s historical annual funding allocation will continue to go towards supporting emerging practitioners.

“Screenwest funded FTI to run programs supporting emerging and early career filmmakers. Moving forward, Screenwest is committed to these funds continuing to go towards this sector in an effective, efficient and strategic manner. During the next six months we will consult with the emerging screen sector to ensure this occurs,” said Screenwest chair Janelle Marr.

“Screenwest will provide a range of early career programs including short film initiatives; mentorships, coaching and advice; and skills development short courses. These programs are essential to developing a strong, viable and evolving local screen sector.”

Marr said that any events or programs currently supported by FTI that sit outside Screenwest’s remit will be reviewed with the FTI board.