Screenwest outlines plan for ‘exponential’ growth

Gurrgura (aka Pyramid Hill). (Photo: Tyson Mowarin)

Western Australia’s screen industry has the potential to triple in size across the next three years, provided it has the supporting infrastructure and crew available, according to Screenwest.

The industry body has identified a “stretch” target of $150 million in production spending for the state from 2021-2024 as part of a new strategic plan for the sector.

‘Leading the Way: A Growing and More Sustainable WA Screen Industry’ highlights ways to “lead, promote, support and grow” the WA screen industry to ensure it increases its Australian market-share of inbound production.

It comes after the state government formally called for market-led proposals to build, locate, and operate a Perth-based studio facility in August last year.

Outgoing Screenwest CEO Willie Rowe told IF the production spending target outlined in the strategic plan would be “largely linked” to the development of the precinct as well as production attraction incentives.

“We’ve set an ambitious target of trebling production in the next three years but if you have a couple of larger projects coming in, that’s eminently achievable,” he says.

“We need to make sure we have the infrastructure available, but there is also the criticality of having the crews to support these projects when they are coming through.

“This means looking at ways in which we can develop skill bases across the screen industry, including talking to TAFE about what opportunities there are to do this.”

Screenwest functions as an independent non-profit organisation, having transitioned from a government agency in 2017.

At the time the restructure was announced, WA Culture and Arts Minister John Day said funding for Screenwest would be maintained from the Department of Culture and the Arts, Lotterywest and the Royalties for Regions program.

Rowe says the 2021-2024 strategic plan includes seeking partnerships to establish new sources of funding and market opportunities for the Western Australian industry to attract global interest in Western Australian stories, storytellers, locations, and culture.

“We’re talking to philanthropic and high-net worth individuals to see how we can develop those alternate funding models, which is quite exciting,” he says.

“We’re also drawing on the experiences of people such as (writer-director Roderick MacKay The Furnace) Roderick Mackay, who had an innovative model for getting private sector investment into his film, as to how we can facilitate that as an organisation.”

Click here to view the full strategic plan.