Screen Australia’s new drama development funding guidelines take effect

Nerida Moore. 

Following two months of industry consultation, Screen Australia’s new guidelines for drama development funding – which are platform neutral and see broadened eligibility criteria – take effect from today.

The overhaul sees the introduction of two new program strands, available to projects for any platform including TV, film and online: the Generate Fund and the Premium Fund.

The Generate Fund is for lower budget projects with an emphasis on new and emerging talent, or experienced talent wanting to take creative risks.

There are no eligibility requirements for this fund, however applications will need to be competitive against the criteria and in line with the aims of the fund.

The Premium Fund is for higher budget projects “of ambition and scale from successful screen content makers”. The commercial viability of a project and its path to a “significant and clearly defined” audience are the focuses of this fund.

After consultation, the budget threshold amounts have changed to $1 million per hour for TV projects (formerly $800,000), and $3 million for feature films (formerly $2.5 million) to allow greater creative flexibility for applicants.

The other significant change is that applicants will now have three months to submit their second stage materials for a project, rather than submitting immediately after a successful stage 1 application.

“Industry support for the proposed guidelines was overwhelmingly positive, and the final model includes tweaks based on feedback. We particularly received feedback regarding the submission of second stage materials, producer fees, funding allocations, and budget thresholds,” said Screen Australia senior development executive Nerida Moore.

“These new guidelines empower Australian screen practitioners to develop the best stories, for the best platform with a more streamlined application process.”

“Where and how Australians watch screen content is changing and these new development guidelines give Screen Australia the flexibility to help creatives take advantage of these new opportunities. We expect to see an increase in the diversity of screen stories being told and a larger pool of content makers telling them.”

The total funding pool will be $3 million for 2018-19. There are no changes to the development funding from the Indigenous and documentary departments which have distinct eligibility requirements.

The announcement also follows the news that Ester Harding and Jenevieve Chang have joined Screen Australia as development executives.