Screen ups financing by $1.76 mil

Extra funding offered to increase marketing support

SYDNEY -- Screen Australia has upped its expenditure by AUS$2.2 million ($1.76 million) this financial year on marketing support it provides to Australian films, introducing several new programs aimed at “assisting Australian production in reaching wider audiences,” Screen Australia CEO Ruth Harley said Thursday.

Getting bigger audiences for local films is a key commitment of the agency which wants to “emphasize audience engagement at every stage, from inception through development, production and distribution."

Australian films last year accounted for 3.8% of the local boxoffice, while this year the 18 local features released account for just $6.56 million of boxoffice receipts led by Warwick Thornton’s “Samson and Delilah” which has earned $2.08 million. 

"Our new marketing programs provide the resources and skills to help get projects onto the screen and in front of audiences. We've also focused our screen culture programs towards our ultimate aim of engaging audiences with Australian content," Harley said.

SA’s new $6.72 million marketing support budget will go towards a new program providing theatrical P&A support, a new fund to encourage innovative approaches to distribution, and an initiative dubbed the "quarantined marketing budget" or QMB where feature films directly funded by the agency are expected to set aside funds specifically for marketing activities.

Funding is also being provided for travel grants to an expanded range of eligible festival and markets, project development workshops and digital media events as well as support for awards and screening programs.