Screenwest Announces WA Screen Industry Sustainability Package
In response to the current crisis facing the Western Australian screen industry triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, Screenwest has announced a two-and-a-half million-dollar sustainability package, funded by repurposing existing funding provided by the State Government of Western Australia through Lotterywest.
With almost all screen production put on hold for the foreseeable future, the package will be delivered in addition to funding already committed to current projects.
This funding support package is focused on screen practitioners’ activities over the next six months in particular, and has been designed in response to industry feedback through the various industry associations and guilds, discussions between industry practitioners and staff, and feedback through the
Screenwest Industry COVID19 Facebook Discussion Group, and the Western Australian Screen Industry COVID-19 Impact Survey.
Key elements of the package to be launched with immediate effect include:
- The Bright Ideas Sustainability Fund
- A funding boost to existing Screenwest Development Programs
- Repurposing and funding boost to the On Demand Content Fund
- Taking Care of Business – Production Company and Producer Support Package
In addition to these, a suite of Talent Development and Diversity Initiatives will be announced in the coming weeks.
This funding support will be targeted at the sectors of the Western Australian Screen Industry which have been hit the hardest with job and income loss, in addition to production companies and producers who are the most significant employers within the industry. The aim is to keep as many members of the WA Screen Industry as possible working, developing and repurposing their projects, skill sets and businesses throughout the current crisis. The mid-to-long term goal is to have a more resilient screen sector in place when the current crisis eases.
Given the current circumstances Screenwest acknowledges that there will likely be a high volume of applications through these funds. As such the Screenwest team has worked quickly to ensure the Smartygrants application portals are now open for the Bright Ideas Fund and the Taking Care of Business support package. It is anticipated that the use of Smartygrants will enable applicants to apply for funding through these initiatives with the greatest ease and efficiency.
Chair of the Screenwest Board John Driscoll elaborated, “The Screenwest Board is heavily engaged with the current situation impacting the Western Australian screen industry and believes it is vitally important to be responsive to the needs of sector in a timely fashion.”
He added, “The Board has worked with the Screenwest operational team and our stakeholders in State Government and Lotterywest to deliver this initial package, and whilst we know that these initiatives cannot service every requirement the industry has at this difficult time, we appreciate the flexibility and foresight we have been afforded by our partners to provide support for the industry.”
CEO of Screenwest Willie Rowe explained, “This is unprecedented territory for the Western Australian Screen industry and Screenwest, and we are seeing severe impacts within the sector play out. Screenwest is committed to working with the screen industry and would not have been able to act as quickly as we did without the fantastic support that Lotterywest provides to sustain the sector. Without this funding we would have to look to other already stretched funding sources to meet this need.”
“We hope the new initiatives will build capacity within the industry and help it emerge on the other side of the pandemic with strong foundations, skills and innovative projects to commence a new era for screen in WA,” said Rowe.
Head of Strategic Projects and Screen Investment Matt Horrocks added, “Nurturing the talent of our industry is key to enabling it to survive this period. We know investing in development opportunities will enable many members of the industry to sustain work and utilise their creativity. Whilst these initial decisions will provide some support and guidance for the industry, we are still working with our partners on other measures to bolster sustainability. We make no pretense that these initiatives are adequate to the full needs of the sector. They amount to what we can do through the active repurposing of the funds we have. Watch this space.”
Screenwest has set up a discussion group for members of the Western Australian screen industry to connect and share resources and ideas. You can read more about the funding initiatives Screenwest have just announced below.
The Bright Ideas Sustainability Fund is a one-time special purpose practitioner initiative aimed at creating new methods of sustainability for the Western Australian production industry. This initiative is designed to inspire practitioners to:
- Enhance, and potentially re-think, their existing work methodologies.
- Consider what services they can offer to the industry in the current environment and into the future.
The initiative is designed for below-the-line crew, and directors.
Applicants may apply for up to $5000.
Applications open today and close Tuesday, 14 April 2020 at 5:00pm AWST.
Visit the Bright Ideas page of the Screenwest website to access the full guidelines and information on how to apply.
Boost and Increased Flexibility for Existing Development Funds
Screenwest has budgeted to invest additional funding into existing development programs across the Small Screen Scripted Development Fund (applications currently being considered), Documentary Development Investment Fund (closing Tuesday, 14 April 2020) and Feature Track: Scripted Development Fund (closing Monday, 6 April 2020).
The criteria for “Market Attachment” across all of these funds will be redrafted in light of current market realities.
Please refer to the Development Funding page of the Screenwest website to see the funding guidelines for each of these funds.
Screenwest has recently received a number of applications and ideas for projects that can be viably produced in the current environment. These are necessarily physically contained, using online communications and, in many cases, repurposing archival footage, to form new narratives.
The guidelines for the On Demand Content Fund have been updated to facilitate these applications. Specifically:
- The fund is now open to emerging, mid-career and established practitioners.
- The fund is still aimed at low budget screen projects, but the guidelines have been broadened to consider projects with mid-range budgets.
- The projects need to have a pathway to an Australian audience, have a clear risk management strategy in place and be production ready.
- The guidelines have now broadened to accept projects for broadcast, not just online platforms.
Screenwest will aim to turn around the assessment of applications quickly and the On Demand Content Fund remains open at any time.
Screenwest has reallocated funds to cater for the anticipated new demand on this program.
Taking Care of Business is a one-time special purpose sustainability fund aimed at enabling Western Australian production companies and producers to sustain their business and to continue to contribute to the screen industry during the COVID-19 crisis.
This fund acknowledges the role of Production Companies and Producers in bringing work into the Western Australian Screen Industry and to ensure a healthy pipeline of production after the COVID-19 crisis and into the future.
This fund is separated into four tiers providing support to a range of companies and sole operators, depending on their levels of experience, company needs and recent and anticipated contributions to the Western Australian screen industry.
Tier 1: (Up To) $75,000
For well-established, high-volume, Western Australian production companies that have significant and well-established infrastructure and overheads in place.
Tier 2: (Up To) $30,000
For Western Australian production companies that have moderate infrastructure and overheads.
Tier 3: (Up To) $15,000
For Western Australian production companies/producers that have made a significant contribution to the industry and have at a minimum a producer, co-producer or associate producer credit, or confirmed market commitment to at least one theatrical or television production within the last 12 months.
Tier 4: (Up To) $7,500
For emerging producers/production companies that have no employees, minimal overheads, and have made a consistent contribution to the screen industry within the past two years.
Applications close Tuesday, 14 April 2020 at 5:00pm AWST.
Visit the Taking Care of Business page of the Screenwest website to access the full guidelines and information on how to apply.
All program guidelines are to be read in conjunction with the Screenwest Terms of Trade.
Listen to our podcast – In Conversation with Screenwest for a behind the scenes look at the world of screen production as world-class film, television, documentary and digital media practitioners share their experiences, insight and expertise.
View the WA Screen Industry Calendar to see what’s happening in the screen industry in Western Australia.