Screen Australia injects funds into five production companies

By Sam Dallas

Screen Australia has injected more than $3 million into five production companies.

Announced yesterday, the national agency will put the money into the companies over three years under its Enterprise Program.

The production companies chosen include: Blackfella Films ($583,000), Electric Pictures ($650,000), Great Wight Productions ($443,000), Playmaker Media ($600,000) and Wild Fury ($750,000).

“Screen Australia’s Enterprise program underpins our vision for a more commercially sustainable screen production industry,” CEO Ruth Harley said in a statement.

“The proposals involve some experienced entrepreneurs and newer players.

“Their business plans show a strong vision for how they can build capacity and achieve ongoing business viability.”

The statement said funding would allow NSW-based Blackfella Films to “broaden its slate” by obtaining previous ABC Head of Drama Miranda Dear as its creative producer to oversee development of their varied slate.

“Funds will also support increased activity in developing domestic and international financing and marketing relationships,” the statement added.

The funding would allow Electric Pictures, in Western Australia, to pursue international co-productions and build new financial and production collaborations within Australia and internationally by establishing offices in Sydney and Toronto, Canada, the statement said.

Great Wight Productions will use the national agency’s funds to establish a dedicated 3D production and post-base in Melbourne.

The company’s objective over the next three years is to produce 3D projects in collaboration with legendary director James Cameron and build recognition for Australia as a leader in 3D production.

Playmaker will launch its “Scribe Initiative” – an Australian showrunner-driven drama development program under the mentorship of industry leaders including NCIS/NCIS: Los Angeles executive producer Shane Brennan.

“The company will also expand its operation to support the development of the next generation of prime-time network drama.”

Wild Fury is a new diversified factual production business combining the complementary skills of producers Tina Dalton, Veronica Fury and executive Hugh Marks (ex-CEO Southern Star).

Enterprise funding will enable the company to “rapidly expand its capacity by engaging additional creative, production and business personnel, and accelerating the digitisation and marketing of the company’s extensive footage library”.

Twelve companies received the funding last year.

“Funded companies have appointed additional staff such as development executives, heads of production and other creative or support staff. Some have expanded by forming joint ventures or establishing overseas office bases, and a number have succeeded in securing private investment and revolving cashflow facilities.”

The companies were selected from 30 applications by a panel that included screen business development consultants Jonathan Olsberg and Ian Jones as well as Harley, Screen Australia’s Senior Manager, State and Industry Partnerships, Chris Oliver and Enterprise Manager Megan McMurchy.

More information about the program can be found here.