Update: the Zealot restructure

Film and TV marketing company Zealot has closed its physical production office in Sydney but remains open for business, according to Zealot co-founder Shaun Farrington.

The company, which was founded in Australia more than a decade ago, now has two contractors employed in Australia but will still offer its services from New York, London and Los Angeles. It previously employed four people in its Sydney office (including one of the current contractors) before downsizing.

Farrington, who is based in London, said the changes were made for three reasons: his difficulty in running the Australian business from a remote location; to boost creativity by having the majority of staff work together in one location, and to produce the best creative work.

He said plans to relocate to Sydney at the end of this year to "reinvigorate the Australian business".

Earlier, Zealot general manager Philipa Murphy (who has now left the company) said it had been hurt by several factors including: a number of low-budget local films with inadequate marketing budgets, producers keeping promo work in-house or employing cut-price freelancers, and the strong local exchange rate which had encouraged more offshore work.

However, Farrington said that was incorrect.

"I don't think the Australian industry is in dire straits at all. It has really talented people … and the Australian industry punches above its weight."

The company is continuing to work on several local film trailers including The Eye of the Storm and Say Nothing.

Murphy previously said the NY office, which concentrates solely on film work, is at capacity, while its London office continues to get a lot of TV promo work, including for recent Australian series such as Underbelly and Sea Patrol.

Nonetheless, the difficult state of the local industry is also understood to be affecting other film and TV marketing companies, which are relying on corporate work to bolster their operations.

The local industry is continuing to lobby the government to increase its support for screen content.

The Screen Producers Association of Australia (SPAA) has proposed a temporary $60 million commercial film fund while it is understood that Screen Australia has requested a $30 million increase in its funding.

Government-industry offshore marketing group Ausfilm has also asked that the government double the 15 per cent Location and Post, Digital and Visual effects (PDV) rebates.

The federal government will announce its budget in May.

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