Screenwest CEO, Willie Rowe reflects on a busy production period for the State and provides a preview of the exciting year to come for the WA Screen Industry in 2020.
2019 marked a golden year for production in Western Australia for the WA Screen Industry and finished with a flourish and a succession of exceptional WA film and television releases, which continued into 2020. The spectacular summer of releases commenced with Upright written and starring Tim Minchin on Foxtel, KOKO: A Red Dog Story released in cinemas nationally, and a re-release of ground-breaking indigenous web series KGB on ABC iView. January saw the cinematic release of family film Go! and ABCMe children’s television series ITCH. In a first for WA Slow TV project Marni premiered on NITV in addition to the VR documentary produced, Future Dreaming
In 2018-19 Screenwest funding enabled a 12% increase in content produced from the prior year. A spike in production spurred the WA industry’s unprecedented, breadth of releases. Western Australian screen practitioners and crew are some of the most talented and creative in the world, and it’s a testament to their hard work and ingenuity, that WA has such an impressive slate of projects to enjoy and which foster pride within the community.
Soon to be an Australian classic, H is for Happiness reached the top 20 in Australian box office during its festival screenings within Lotterywest Films at Perth Festival, is in now under wider release in cinemas. It achieved official selection within the Berlinale Generation KPlus Programme, which saw it screened to hundreds of people including lucky Berlin and Brandenburg school children, who had it incorporated into their lessons.
Mystery Road Series 2 premiered at the Berlinale – Berlin International Film Festival and will be screened on the ABC, with the screening dates to be announced imminently. Thalu, the Indigenous series filmed in Roebourne will premiere on NITV in 2020 and we eagerly anticipate the release and reception of feature films Rams (releasing May 28) and Dirt Music which are already receiving international interest.
Season 2 of drama series The Heights will premiere on the ABC on 12 March. More is to come with feature film The Furnace, animated feature film and TV series 100% Wolf, web series Rain Dance, feature documentary Under the Volcano, docu-series Outback Opal Hunters Season 3 and Every Family Has a Secret Season 2, all currently in post-production.
Western Australia’s impressive documentary sector currently has three docu-series including Outback Truckers Season 8, Aussie Gold Hunters Season 5 and Desert Collectors in production in Western Australia’s regions. Docu-drama Wild Butterfly recently premiered in Perth to a sold-out audience. and Secrets of our Cities will screen its second episode on SBS this week, with the third episode featuring Kalgoorlie the following week.
Throughout a phenomenal period of activity in Western Australia, Screenwest looks to the future to foster a culture of innovation and sustainability for the industry, with new formats, and developments in technology a key driver for an industry, which is experiencing rapid evolution. In 2019, Screenwest delivered its inaugural Interactive Pilot Fund announcing development and production $100,000 to be shared across five exciting gaming projects, and we look forward to sharing more when the final outcomes are realised.
In addition to supporting the Western Australian Screen Industry through key projects, Screenwest has also embarked on key strategic initiatives to support the sector. Screenwest engaged Screenworks to undertake the Western Australian Screen Industry Health Check, which will provide significant insights into the WA Screen Industry and will inform Screenwest’s future strategic planning and upcoming guideline review.
2020 is lining up to be an exciting year for Screenwest and the Western Australian screen sector and we look forward to working with screen practitioners and our partners to grow a sustainable, innovative industry in this great state.