By Andrew McMurtry

The South Australia Film Corporation’s $43 million Adelaide Studios complex is aimed at attracting more television production to the State, according to chief executive Richard Harris.

Several local features have been shot in SA recently such as Red Dog, Road Train and Beautiful Kate, although few TV series have used the location since the end of the long-running series McLeod's Daughters.

“We have redirected some of our thinking about the studios which, when I arrived in South Australia, it was all about trying to attract feature films to the state,” Harris said.

“But the more we’ve looked at it and the more we went round and round about the purpose and the potential of the studios, we found it was much better suited to television and production because of the scale and size of the studios.”

Harris was in Sydney this week as part of the SAFC's TV MiniLab initiative, which is aimed at increasing the number of local TV productions by fostering local talent.

With three spots initially up for grabs for the participants, the MiniLab generated such strong ideas that the SAFC increased the number of pitching teams to five. Those teams received positive feedback from production houses and television executives in Sydney this week.

“We were surprised about the strength of the ideas and the extent to which they understood the medium of television,” Harris said.

“It’s such a different medium to pitch in, it’s such a different medium to develop and have ideas that actually work for television compared with feature films.

“We’ve had a very strong history of features here but the problem with feature films is that they are very speculative and it’s become a very difficult market to finance and sell feature films.

“And in terms of the real base in just training skills which is overall a general sort of turn over of production, television offers a great base for any sector.”

While there is no plan for a TV MiniLab in 2011, the SAFC is keen to produce another Film and TV MiniLab in the future while also moving into the digital media and web areas, although nothing has been announced.

“The focus on the labs will be the next big thing for us for a while, seeing how they roll out, since our first FilmLab film has just gone into Sundance, and how use that to continue to get profile for that lab and the rest of the labs that we run.”

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