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I am delighted to provide this final update for 2018, as the newly-appointed CEO of Screenwest.

Thank you to everyone that has sent messages of support and I look forward to sharing more of my vision for both the organisation and the WA screen and film industry when we return in the new year.

Reviewing the past 12-months, we celebrated a number of milestones including our 1-year anniversary of our transition from an incorporated association within the Department of Culture and the Arts to an independent Company Limited By Guarantee, responsible for our own governance and strategic direction.

Other highlights from the year include:

  • New Discovery Channel eight-part series, OUTBACK OPAL HUNTERS kicked off in February and broke the 100,000-viewer mark – setting a Discovery Australia record.
  • In March, we embarked on our first commercial partnership when we officially took control of the Yagan Square Digital Tower and LED Canopies.

Artwork by Mel McVee displayed on Yagan Square Digital Tower

  • In April, BREATH completed its run around Australia with approximately $AUD 4.4 million at the box office; making it the second-best box office for an Australian film in 2018.
  • MYSTERY ROAD, THE SERIES was a massive win for local drama when it premiered on ABC in early 2018 to a record 786,000 viewers receiving fantastic ratings and review.  This was filmed in WA’s spectacular East Kimberley with stellar Australian talent and a high number of local Indigenous actors. This production was made possible by WARFF.
  • TV drama series THE HEIGHTS wrapped production at the end of September after 79 days of filming at ABC’s East Perth studios.

Of course, there were many more highlights and achievements including WA web series SINGLE LADIES receiving Screen Australia Funding and the record-number of awards WA productions received in 2018.


Dot West receiving her lifetime achievement award

In this vein, I wish to recognise the recent lifetime achievement award presented to former Screenwest Board member and current IAG member Dot West at the Inaugural First Nations Media Awards, held in Sydney last month.

We also organised dozens of successful events through the year, including events offering skills development opportunities for the emerging sector, such as:


  • The eight-week Concept to Story Development Lab led by Screenwest Scripted Executive Ross Grayson Bell, which had 70+ WA established and aspiring filmmakers attending the course week to week.
  • The Initiate Introductory Filmmaking Workshop for emerging creatives from diverse backgrounds, ran in partnership with DADAA and AFTRS.

The Initiate workshop participants at the ABC studio

With WA currently the busiest State in the country for Australian film and screen production, we’re not only focussed on continuing the momentum but also how we leverage these opportunities to facilitate growth and strengthen our crew base.

A healthy, local screen industry not only brings super stars to our State but creates jobs and career development opportunities for WA filmmakers and crew, injects money into the local community and creates points of interest for tourists.

2019 promises to be just as exciting and active a year, with applications for the Brian Beaton Award due to open, the relaunching of our year-long programs and even more projects due to start production in the new year.

In closing I would like to thank everyone that has made my initial time here so rewarding and enjoyable. Though I won’t single any individual out to my team, our Board, our funders and supporters in government, and our industry colleagues, you have all contributed to our success and I look forward to sharing more good news about Screenwest and the WA screen industry with you in the new year.

I trust you all have a safe and happy Christmas with your families, loved-ones and friends and enjoy a well-earned break before we come back for what will be a very exciting 2019.

Willie Rowe
Screenwest Chief Executive Officer


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T: +61 8 6169 2100

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