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December 12

In this Issue...

  • 2012 Year In Review
  • Ausfilm's office holiday closures
  • Australian Interactive Games Fund
  • Definition of a 'documentary'

2012 Year In Review

Dear Members

On behalf of the Ausfilm Board and staff, have a safe, restful and fabulous holiday season. We look forward to working with you refreshed and engaged for the challenges ahead in 2013.
This year has been one of significant achievement and ongoing challenge so thank you for your continued support, sage advice and extraordinary work throughout 2012. The Board and the team both in LA and Sydney greatly appreciate your passion and commitment to the work of Ausfilm.

2011 ended with the passing into legislation of the 30% PDV Offset (effective 1/7/2011) which has attracted significant international PDV work for our members; and while we are still awaiting a decision on the extra 13.5% to bring the Location Offset to 30%, the one-off investment package (equivalent to a 30% Location Offset) for The Wolverine provided significant work opportunities and investment for our members.

This announcement also generated considerable interest from major international productions to again look to Australia as a possible location, if 30% Location Offset was possible. Meanwhile there continues to be considerable interest in accessing the benefits of the Producer Offset whether out of LA or through our other international markets, including the significant response to our mission in the UK.

Importantly, in July this year the Hon Bob McMullan took on the role of Ausfilm’s first independent Chair. Bob is currently based in London and has already made a significant impact in the short time he has been in the Chair. Bob is an excellent advocate for our industry and attended both our major missions this year. At the Board meeting in October in LA, Catherine McDonnell was appointed Deputy Chair for a further term and we welcomed Zareh Nalbandian as the new corporate representative and Bryan Lowe, CEO Screen Queensland, to the Board. 
We also farewelled Alaric (more than once) and thanked him for his excellent term (and a bit) as Chairman.

The event highlights for the year were the Ausfilm Week London and Ausfilm Week LA missions, incorporating one-on-one producer delegation meetings, publisher pitching sessions, an Australia summit and PDV showcase in LA and an Australia/UK mini expo focussing on co-production for the London mission. Major activities also included continued support for and participation in the second Australia-China Forum in Beijing; attendance at Cannes International Film Festival and Market and Strategic Partners Co-production Market, Halifax; support for major events in Los Angeles - G’day USA and AACTA international awards in January; Tropfest Las Vegas & Los Angeles (March & June); and AFCI Locations Trade Show in June. Our activity in the Asia-Pacific region continued with attendance at the Goa Film Bazaar in November and the Asian Film & TV summit (with Screen Singapore) in December. Thank you to members and State and Federal agencies for your participation in these events.

Ausfilm has continued to nurture key industry relationships in Los Angeles together with targeted events for members and clients. Ausfilm also hosted a number of inbounds in the past year working with the state screen agencies to assist in securing international productions. On top of the traditional inbounds, Ausfilm also supported the Raising Your Game program as part of the SPAA annual conference and Equity Foundation’s Casting Hothouse.

Throughout the year Ausfilm continued its significant research and advocacy in support of the extra 13.5%, commissioning Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) to update the 2010 PwC Impact Study for the Location and PDV Offsets. This Study has been a critical source of information in presenting to government an accurate picture of the significant value of the sector to the economy.

In 2012 we said goodbye to Laura and hello to Caroline Raffan in April as our Marketing and Communications Coordinator. Roslyn Van Vliet also joined us in February, on secondment from the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), on a part-time basis for almost 12 months. Unfortunately for us Ros returns to ACMA in January. We also said goodbye to our part-time bookkeeping team of Virginia & Kate in August and welcomed new bookkeeper Jenny Brooks.

I want to again acknowledge the excellent work of the Ausfilm team both in LA (Tracey, Michelle & Vivien) and Sydney (Kristy, Michelle, Ros, Caroline & Annie), for their passion and commitment to Ausfilm and advocacy of its members. A special mention to the ‘&’s Annie and Vivien for their tireless work.

With your help, Ausfilm will continue to connect the international industry to Australia, developing international partnerships, marketing and promoting Australia’s incentives, innovative talent, unique locations and world-class filmmaking facilities and capabilities world-wide.

Best wishes for the holiday season!

Debra Richards


Ausfilm's office holiday closures
Ausfilm's Sydney and Los Angeles offices will be closed over the holiday period from Monday 24 December 2012 and will reopen on Monday 7th January 2013. We look forward to catching up in the New Year.


Australian Interactive Games Fund – Screen Australia options paper for comment

On 15 November 2012, Federal Arts Minister Simon Crean announced an additional allocation of $20 million over three years to Screen Australia to support the interactive entertainment industry. The Interactive Games Fund will commence in 2012/13 delivering $5 million per annum in the first and second years and $10 million in 2014/15. The funding aims to build a sustainable base for companies to grow in a global market by assisting Australian companies during a period of falling foreign investment and talent being driven offshore. A number of Ausfilm members may be interested in Screen Australia’s development of guidelines for administering this fund.

On 10 December 2012, Screen Australia released an options paper on ways to best target the fund and is seeking comments on its proposed approach. Please click on the following link to Screen Australia’s website for a copy of this paper http://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/about_us/new_directions/games_consult.aspx.

The approaches to funding included in the paper are:

  • Enterprise funding covering some operating costs and early stage development of future projects as well as building in project-specific support across a company’s slate of projects to help get some games market-ready;
  • Pre-production funding to help build aspects of a project’s mechanics or features to attract market commitment and investment;
  • Production funding to contribute to the total cost of getting a game completed and released.

Companies with significant sources of capital are likely to be excluded from Enterprise funding unless they clearly demonstrate a business case for support. An advantage of both pre-production and production funding is that it provides certainty for specific projects and may trigger additional investors. It is envisaged companies would not be eligible to apply for separate project funding while they were receiving Enterprise funding.

Proposed eligibility thresholds are based on an applicant’s track record, and greater financial leverage is being proposed for teams creating and retaining new intellectual property.
Please contact us if you would like to discuss making a submission. Screen Australia has requested submissions by Friday, 25 January 2013.

Following the consultation process, Screen Australia anticipates it will release program guidelines in April 2013, with a closing date for applications to the first round of funding in May 2013.


FIlm tax offsets - definition of a 'documentary'

The Assistant Treasurer has released draft legislation and explanatory material for inserting a definition of ‘documentary’ into the tax law, for purposes of the film tax offsets.
In the 2012-13 Budget, the Government announced its intention to update the legislation governing the Producer Offset, to include a definition of ‘documentary’ and related terms.  Applying the definitions and directions set out in the Australian Communications and Media Authority Documentary Guidelines: Interpretation of ‘documentary’ for the Australian Content Standard, the draft legislation:

  • defines documentary as a creative treatment of actuality other than an infotainment program, lifestyle program or magazine program; and 
  • requires that Screen Australia, the body administering the Producer Offset, consider the extent and purpose of any contrived situation featured in the film, the extent to which the film explores an idea or theme and the extent to which the film has an over-arching narrative structure, when determining whether the film is considered to be a documentary.

The draft legislation also adds ‘game show’ to the list of light entertainment programs explicitly excluded from eligibility for the film tax offsets, clarifying the original intent of the offsets.
Relevant documents and information about making a submission on the proposed definition can be found by clicking on the following link to Treasury’s website http://www.treasury.gov.au/ConsultationsandReviews/Submissions/2012/Film-tax-offsets--definition-of-a-documentary.

Submissions close on Wednesday, 30 January 2013.

Ausfilm Members