We made it! if.com.au is now on holiday hiatus, resuming January 13, 2021.

For all our e-subscribers, throughout the break we’ll send you newsletters with what we thought were our best, most pertinent and enjoyable reads of 2020 (I promise they’re not all just about COVID). If you’re not signed up, do so here

On that, how does one even go about summing up 2020?

From the pandemic effectively shutting down the screen industry overnight, to policy shifts that signal quite a different future, it has been a momentous, difficult and important year.

To borrow 2020’s most overused word, much of what we’ve seen has been unprecedented. But at the same time, the pandemic has sped up shifts that were already happening.

For instance, pre-COVID, we were wrapped up in discussion about theatrical windows and just how streaming was affecting the cinema business.

That conversation, of course, has only accelerated. With last week seeing WarnerMedia announce it will launch the entire 2021 WB slate day-and-date with HBO Max in the US, just exactly what theatrical distribution will look like into the future remains to be seen.

In my sign-off last year I also noted that after years of policy stasis, the Federal Government had committed to a staged process of media regulation and reform.

Now we are finally starting to see how that will shake out. The government plans to scrap the fixed content quotas on commercial FTA from early next year, and harmonise the Producer Offset from July, together with dumping the Gallipoli clause and raising the QAPE threshold from $500,000 to $1 million. The new year will also likely see it make moves to regulate global streaming services, as outlined in its recent green paper.

And while there is still much to keep a watchful eye upon, I would say we can at least close the year with cautious optimism.

For one, January will see the release of some splashy Aussie films, which exhibitors promise to throw their weight behind. These include Robert Connolly’s The Dry, led by Eric Bana; Glendyn Ivin’s Naomi Watts-starrer Penguin Bloom, and Stephen Johnson’s High Ground, starring Simon Baker, Jack Thompson and newcomer Jacob Junior Nayinggul.

Further, it is quite incredible to see just how much is pre-production and production around Australia. The industry is back in earnest. We can only hope the momentum continues.

We want to thank all our readers, contributors and advertisers for your ongoing support, interest and engagement. I always say we can’t do it without you, but I mean it now more than ever. 

It’s been a pleasure. Stay safe, take a well-deserved break and we’ll see you next year.

Jackie Keast, Sean Slatter, Hannah McMahon, Cameron Boon and Mark Kuban. 

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