A 'Q&A' panel at Screen Forever.

Screen Producers Australia (SPA) has announced the program for next month’s Screen Forever conference, which will be held entirely online.

Comprising 40 sessions and 120 speakers across three days, the event will feature three ‘tracks’ designed to help delegates customise their experience.

SPA CEO Matthew Deaner, who announced the digital-only format last week, says the schedule should provide ample opportunity for industry to reconnect and fuel business momentum.

“After such an unprecedented year I am proud to launch the program for our conference’s 35th iteration, bringing together creative workers from all stages of the production life cycle to further the reach of Australian stories and dissect the issues we collectively face in a post-pandemic era.”

Of the three tracks that make up the conference, ‘Business’ will include representatives from the ABC, SBS, Seven, 10, Stan, Netflix, Amazon, and Discovery assembling for a Meet the Buyers session.

There will also be insights into emerging business models and changes in financing for various genres in Screen Entrepreneurship and Diversifying Business Models, How to Find Money for Your Must-Tell Doco, and Australian Feature Films – 2021 and Beyond. 

The second track, entitled ‘Future Proof’, examines what’s to come in an ever-changing environment, while collectively discussing ways to evolve and adapt to the ultimate outcomes. 

SPA CEO Matthew Deaner.

Delving into the government’s proposed changes to content regulation, Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts Paul Fletcher will deliver a keynote, with Shadow Minister for the Arts Tony Burke and Shadow Minister for Communications Michelle Rowland to receiv right of reply. A panel of screen leaders, including Screen Australia CEO Graeme Mason, ACMA’s Fiona Cameron and Australian Children’s Television Foundation CEO Jenny Buckland will analyse what this all means for producers in ‘Brave New World’.

Live from Queensland, industry insiders will also tackle the topic of ‘Disrupted, Cancelled and Reimagined’ in a rendition of ABC’s Q+A.

Focusing on the data, Tell ‘em They’re Dreaming? and The Big Picture will paint a data-driven picture of Australian content’s international appeal and the difficulties facing producers of scripted content.

There will also be a focus on how social media platforms are faring in the fight for new audience attention, with the Got a Minute? TikTok pitching competition exploring 60-second stories and Like, Comment, Subscribe dissecting creating content for digital natives.

The program is rounded out with the ‘Content’ track, which will examine the subjects of story universes. The role of the showrunner will be outlined, with international showrunners Sera Gamble (You and The Magicians) and Bruce Miller (The Handmaid’s Tale) scheduled to speak, along with the founder of The Black List, Franklin Leonard.

Addressing the momentous events of the past 12 months, the conference will profile the development of Indigenous stories in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement in the Netflix, Screen Australia and Bunya Productions Indigenous Development Hub session, and talk to those who incorporated COVID-19 into their narratives in Avoid Like the Plague.

Screen Forever will run February 16-18. Click here to view the full program.

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