Metro Screen to close as Screen Australia pulls funding

Sydney-based film school Metro Screen is set to close its doors at the end of 2015 after Screen Australia pulled its funding.

Chair of the Metro Screen Board Kath Shelper said that the only responsible option was to wind down operations.

“Every effort has been made by Metro Screen to secure additional funding but to no avail," she said. 

"We need to be responsible to our staff and ensure we are able to meet our obligations to them, and therefore it is with regret that the Board has made the decision to close Metro Screen in December 2015,” Ms Shelper said.

The Screen Australia funding of $240,000 was directed solely to core operational costs (overheads). 

Metro Screen CEO Christina Alvarez said to cover this loss, the challenge had been to secure approximately $750,000 annually in new projects.

“Whilst Metro Screen has successfully secured some significant high profile projects in the past 12 months, unfortunately the target has not been met. Financial sustainability can not be achieved through downsizing the organisation,” she said.

The current Board Directors of Metro Screen are Kath Shelper (Chair), Stephen Boyle, Jarod Green, Cassie Jackson, Claire Morgan, Cate Smith, Gary Williams and Malinda Wink.

Shelper said the Emerging Sector Working Party, which was established following the funding cut, has been guiding research about talent regeneration in the screen industry and the resulting report is expected to be released in November, with a public forum to be held soon after. 

Working Party members include independent producers Liz Watts, Martha Coleman and Alex White, ADG’s Kingston Anderson, SPA’s Matt Hancock, Metro Screen Board Members Jarod Green and Kath Shelper and CEO Christina Alvarez.

Shelper said Metro Screen would particularly like to acknowledge and thank Screen NSW and the City of Sydney for their unwavering support over many years but particularly over the past 18 months.

“And the Board would also like to thank CEO Christina Alvarez and her staff for their hard work and dedication”.

Established in 1981 with funding from the Australian Film Commission, Metro Screen is a not-for-profit organisation that supports the emerging screen community. 

Metro Screen has grown over the past decade to manage a span of projects and activities across all screen formats, large and tiny, with a passionate commitment to supporting a diversity of voices amongst emerging practitioners with hands-on production, networking opportunities, skills development and access to equipment and facilities.

Current Metro Screen programs and activities will continue unaffected until the end of the year.

Further details about the research report and forum will be announced in October.

  1. Deeply upsetting to read this. A great loss to the creative community and future of the screen industry in Australia. Yet another clear indictment on the ideology of this arrogant, backward GOVT.

  2. An incredibly sad reflection of where our industry is heading. Clearly there is little hope for future filmmakers and films.

  3. What?

    “We need to be responsible to our staff and ensure we are able to meet our obligations to them, and therefore it is with regret that the Board has made the decision to close Metro Screen in December 2015,” Ms Shelper said.

    So responsible that all staff’d get the sack by Xmas, eh?
    Go figure if your PR talks about who you are? who we are? Who we vote for next time.

    Seriously, there must be better options. Or at least that you return after this pathetic bunch in Govt have to find a real job elsewhere.

    Hope you make it.


  4. It’s sad to see this happen, but 1km up the road is AFTRS. There are plenty of short courses, the undergraduate and post graduate courses that are suffice for training. I hear that the BA took 100 students this year? As for people who say they can’t afford university either haven’t done a gap year or aren’t making the most of centrelink and hecs. Old folk like myself with kids could study part time or at TAFE. There are no short cuts in this industry and to be honest there are already too many graduates trying to make it in this industry. I remember when AFTRS took a very small intake of four students per a discpline, film wasn’t something that just everyone did, you had to really want it. Most people had worked for ten years in the industry for the ABC or the networks, starting off in staging. If the barriers for AFTRS are too high then try Tafe?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *