The New South Wales Film and Television Office’s Annual Report for 2006/07 has recorded a year of significant change with much for the NSW screen industries to be proud of, including an Academy Award for Dr George Miller and his Animal Logic colleagues for Happy Feet, and a record level of production in regional NSW.
With a new Chief Executive, Tania Chambers, at the helm, the FTO reported that its Production Fund has invested $3.55m to generate a NSW production spend of $38.6m. The Regional Filming Fund provided grants valued at $498,000, generating a record regional production spend of $3.72m. The FTO’s Aurora script development program demonstrated on-going effectiveness when The Black Balloon was financed into production.
The FTO’s Industry and Audience Development program supported projects and events that reached audiences of more than 460,000 across the State, with many of those, including screen practitioners, located in regional New South Wales and Western Sydney.
The FTO’s Production Liaison Unit provided support and advice to a range of national and international productions, most notably Baz Lurhmann’s Australia, and the Bollywood production Heyy Babyy, the largest Indian production ever to be made in Australia.
Ms Chambers noted that the NSW State Plan, released in November 2006, and the NSW Government’s Innovation Statement, recognised the entertainment, media, fashion and creative arts sector – of which screen content is a key part – as one of five key sectors with the greatest capacity to drive the prosperity of NSW in the future.
‘The FTO continues to work closely with our industry colleagues and the NSW Government to deliver on the State Plan priorities to increase business investment in NSW, cut red tape and enable more people to participate in arts and cultural activity,’ Ms Chambers said.
‘A major issue identified by industry is that NSW needs to make changes to ensure that NSW is film-friendly and open for business.’
The FTO worked with the Department of State and Regional Development (DSRD) over the past year on a review of the NSW PDV (post-production, digital and special effects) industry to identify ways of fostering innovation and building on the sector’s international reputation.
The FTO has also embarked on a review of its Development and Investment Guidelines in response to digital technology developments and changing production practices in the federal funding environment. Outcomes of this review will be announced shortly.
The 2006/07 Annual Report was the first carbon neutral annual report to be delivered by the FTO as part of its Environmental Sustainability Strategy.