Screen Australia

Screen Australia and Network 10 announce production funding for six projects through First Facts: First Nations Factual Showcase

L-R: Brooke Collard, Tace Stevens, Kieran Satour, Jack Steele, Marlikka Perdrisat, Kimberley Benjamin, Shari Hutchison, Tyson Mowarin, Jodie Bell, Luke Riches, Daniel Riches.

Screen Australia’s First Nations Department and Network 10 have selected six projects to receive up to $70,000 of production funding through the First Facts: First Nations Factual Showcase for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander documentary filmmakers.

Launched in February, this initiative is aimed at providing emerging and mid-career filmmakers with opportunities to develop 10-minute documentaries for Network 10. After participating in a workshop in June to develop their projects, six teams have been selected to now move into production. The final documentaries will air on 10 Play and Network 10’s social media channels in early 2025.

Screen Australia’s Head of First Nations Angela Bates said, “This exciting collaboration with Network 10 underscores our commitment to the growth of First Nations content and key creatives in this industry. We are proud to support this inspiring mix of projects which will showcase our rich cultural heritage and authentic stories to Network 10’s audiences.”

Daniel Monaghan, Senior Vice President Content and Programming, Paramount Australia and New Zealand (ANZ), parent company for Network 10 said, “We’re thrilled to see these projects move into production that explore contemporary life and traditional cultural practices for First Nations people across Australia. The documentaries highlight universal themes but from the unique perspective of First Nations creatives and we’re delighted to support and amplify these voices and stories for Australian audiences to enjoy.”

The projects funded for production are:

Anangu Way: This documentary follows Keenan and his father Lydon, who, while they are related, live very different lives. Keenan lives in the city, while Lydon lives Anangu way, out bush. Keenan must travel 14 hours from Perth to Tjuntjuntjara, to sit down with his father to make a woomera, a traditional spear thrower. Keenan will be taken through Country he hasn’t walked since he was six years old. Reconnecting with his wider family, he will be fully immersed in his father’s culture, in their combined efforts to create the woomera. Writing/directing Anangu Way is daughter and sister of Lydon and Keenan, Tace Stevens (Limbo, To Be Silent), with Brooke Collard (Aboriginal Warrior, Yokai) attached as producer.

Burabura: A love letter to the Australian bush that captures the essence of its beauty and serenity in every frame. Following an unnamed character on their quest for peace and solitude, Burabura takes audiences on a visual journey through the bustling streets of modern life and into the heart of the Australian bush – reminding us that sometimes, the best way to reconnect with ourselves is by disconnecting from the world around us and the greatest adventures are the ones that take us back to our roots. Burabura is written and directed by Tyson Mowarin and produced by Robyn Marais, whose credits include Connection to Country.

Firekeepers “Flames of Renewal: Fighting for Cultural Survival”: This documentary follows the journey of a Wiradjuri community attempting to reintroduce traditional cultural burning practices to their land as they face numerous challenges and oppositions from landowners, local governments, financial pressures and erratic climate shifts. Firekeepers explores the importance of First Nations land care practices and the struggles of bringing back cultural practices. Writing/directing is Jack Steele (UNHEARD), with Kieran Satour (Through The Fire), Genevieve Grieves (First Australians) and Andrea Distefano (Weather) attached as producers.

Joonba: Over two thousand kilometres away from Western Australia’s Capital City, the Elders of Kupungarri celebrate through Joonba - songs gifted through dreams and maintained over generations. Performed by the children to ensure they are practised throughout and over multiple lifetimes, this documentary follows three of the lead dancers and provides an insight into their connection to the Joonba. Marlikka Perdrisat (Babanil) is attached as writer/director/producer, with Anna Kaplan (2040) and Jayde Harding (Inconceivable) also producing and Damon Gameau (Rachel’s Farm) executive producing.

Life After Footy: From the mountain peak of professional Australian sport to the reality of life after, this documentary follows Indigenous dual premiership AFL player Lewis Jetta on what it’s like to ride the wave of professional sport and continue living life the best way he can. Life After Footy delivers an insight from Jetta’s personal perspective and how he is managing to integrate back into a somewhat normal life. This documentary is from writer/director/producers Daniel and Luke Riches (KGB, Struggling Songlines, Lost Diamonds) and producer Jodie Bell (The Lost Crystal of Jessica’s Room).

Re-imagining Our Futures: Nyikina and Jabirr Jabirr woman, Kalinda (Gal) Palmer has experienced the ways in which health systems have challenged her through birth and motherhood. Inspired by conversations and learnings from her Elders, Gal dreams of a future where she, her family and community can have sovereignty over birthing, ceremonies and tradition - a future where she can bring new life into the world, on Country, in a way that she has always imagined. Re-imagining Our Futures is from writer/director Kimberley Benjamin (Back to Nature) and producer Shari Hutchison (Tee Ken Ng).

The First Nations Department production funding blocklines are available here and here.

This First Facts production funding is supported by Screen NSW, Screen Territory and Screenwest.

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DEIRDRE BRENNAN APPOINTED AS NEW SCREEN AUSTRALIA CEO

Screen Australia is pleased to announce the appointment of Deirdre Brennan as Chief Executive Officer, starting 8 January 2024.

Deirdre has extensive experience as an executive in the domestic and international screen sector, most recently as Chief Operating Officer of WildBrain, a global independent media entertainment company spanning content production, distribution, brands and licensing.

Previously, Deirdre worked at BBC Worldwide Australia as the Director of Television, General Manager and Director of Content. Her former roles include Head of Children’s Television at the ABC TV and General Manager of Universal Kids at NBC Universal.

Screen Australia’s Chair Nicholas Moore said, “We are delighted to welcome Deirdre to Screen Australia at this pivotal time for the Australian screen industry. The Board was extremely impressed by Deirdre’s wealth of experience and we look forward to the positive impact she will make during her time in the role. This appointment represents a remarkable opportunity to expand our capacity to tell Australian stories and connect with international audiences in new ways."

Deirdre Brennan said, “I am excited to return to Australia to lead such an important organisation, focusing on building a sustainable future for the creative industry amidst evolving technologies, competitive pressures and expanding platforms. Screen Australia’s mission is very clear and I will strive to be a passionate advocate and partner for our creators, storytellers and emerging talent.”

Deirdre will formally commence as CEO from 8 January 2024, taking over the reins from Graeme Mason, who is departing the agency in early November after a decade in the role.

On outgoing CEO Graeme Mason’s departure, Nicholas Moore said, “As we welcome Deirdre, we bid farewell to Graeme after his remarkable 10-year tenure as CEO of Screen Australia. Since 2013, Graeme has led the agency through a period of rapid change and the sector has been strengthened by his dedication, passion and leadership. On behalf of the Board and the Screen Australia team, I would like to express my profound gratitude to Graeme, and I congratulate him on all that he has achieved.”

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DRAMA REPORT 2022/23: $2.34 BILLION SPENT IN AUSTRALIA FROM 213 PRODUCTIONS

NCIS: Sydney , The New Boy , Ginger and the Vegesaurs .

Screen Australia’s 33rd annual Drama Report released today shows the second highest expenditure ever on scripted screen production in Australia, with $2.34 billion spent across a record 213 titles in 2022/23. Despite being slightly down (4%) on last year’s record expenditure, which saw $2.43 billion spent across 171 drama productions, this is significantly above the 5-year average.

Screen Australia CEO Graeme Mason said, “We’re proud to report the second highest drama spend ever in Australia. It has been remarkable witnessing the unprecedented surge in production in Australia in recent years and the 2022/23 Drama Report highlights another stellar year for drama production in Australia.”

Australian titles made up $1.13 billion of total spend. Although expenditure by Australian subscription TV and Subscription Video on Demand (SVOD) has decreased this year, growth in Free-to-Air (FTA) TV and Broadcaster Video-On-Demand (BVOD) has helped to offset those declines to deliver the second highest Australian expenditure on record. Spend on children’s drama across TV and VOD platforms also increased from last year, but has not returned to previous highs. Expenditure on Australian theatrical features declined from last year’s record high, driven by fewer big-budget titles.

“This year’s Drama Report showcases the dynamic landscape of drama, with significant expenditure coming from a number of different categories. A record Australian PDV spend and continued spend from subscription TV and SVOD titles, such as the upcoming Heartbreak High series 2, High Country and Prosper, and an increase in Australian FTA TV and BVOD spend, coming from titles such as Total Control series 3, RFDS series 2 and While the Men are Away have helped to deliver a fantastic result. We have also seen TV and VOD titles such as Neighbours exploring new hybrid distribution models, releasing on both FTA and SVOD platforms in a short window,” Mason said.

2022/23 also saw record expenditure in Australia from foreign titles ($1.22 billion, up from $904 million in 2021/22). In particular, this was driven by record expenditure from foreign titles shooting in Australia ($809 million), an increase of 83% from 2021/22 and another year of significant spend from foreign titles conducting Post, Digital and Visual effects work (PDV) in Australia.

“Big-budget foreign productions like The Fall Guy and The Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes that shoot in Australia have incredible flow-on benefits for local businesses, communities and the broader economy, and allow local cast and crew to acquire experience and new skills. Further, the international demand for our PDV expertise reflects the confidence of global companies in our talent and technology,” Mason continued.

FIGURE 1: TOTAL EXPENDITURE IN AUSTRALIA ($M)

New South Wales set a new record for the third year running, with over $1.3 billion in expenditure in 2022/23, accounting for 56% of the national total. Queensland also set a new record, with total expenditure of $581 million, 23% above last year. Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia all saw declines with spend falling 45%, 52% and 9% respectively. Combined spend in the Australian Capital Territory, Northern Territory and Tasmania declined to $4 million in 2022/23.

“It’s fantastic to see New South Wales and Queensland continue to go from strength to strength. Like any industry, the demand for production and post-production services and particular filming locations, will understandably come in ebbs and flows. What’s important is these results illustrate that the states and territories are generating significant activity domestically and are establishing themselves as premier destinations for foreign projects.”

FIGURE 2: SPEND BY LOCATION ($M)

“There’s no denying, our screen practitioners and businesses continue to punch above their weight both domestically and on the international stage. As we look to the future, we need to ensure that we stay on top of our game – by working together with industry and the state and territory agencies to foster the skilled workforce this level of production critically needs,” Mason said.

AUSTRALIAN THEATRICAL FEATURE FILMS DECLINE FROM LAST YEAR’S RECORD

Australian theatrical features saw total expenditure of $363 million in 2022/23, a 54% decrease in spending since 2021/22, and 17% below the 5-year average. This drop can be attributed to having fewer big-budget theatrical features, with only one big-budget title in 2022/23. In contrast, the previous year’s record-high spending was driven by several big-budget features such as Furiosa, Foe, and Better Man.

2022/23 theatrical features included Limbo, The New Boy, and The Royal Hotel.

AUSTRALIAN GENERAL TV AND VOD DRAMA SEES CONTINUED HIGH EXPENDITURE OVERALL

The $680 million of expenditure in 2022/23 was slightly (2%) up on last year’s result. This category is made up of three sub-categories:

  • Australian general Free-to-air (FTA) TV and Broadcaster Video-on-Demand (BVOD) drama
  • Australian general subscription TV and Subscription Video-on-Demand (SVOD)
  • Australian general Advertising-based Video-On-Demand (AVOD), Transactional Video-On-Demand (TVOD), and other online content.

FIGURE 14: AUSTRALIA GENERAL TV AND VOD DRAMA - SPEND ($M)

AUSTRALIAN GENERAL FTA TV AND BVOD DRAMA GROWS FOR THIRD CONSECUTIVE YEAR

This segment encompasses drama content designed for family and adult audiences, initially released on FTA television channels such as ABC, NITV, SBS, Seven, Nine, and 10, or their respective online platforms like ABC iview, SBS On Demand, 7plus, 9Now, and 10 play.

Australian general FTA TV and BVOD expenditure increased by 26% in 2022/23. This growth was driven by a significant uptick in the number of titles (up by 21%), hours (up by 16%) and average cost-per-hour (up by 9%). In particular, this strong performance was driven by series and serials, such as Home and Away (Seven), Neighbours (10), In Limbo and Mother and Son (ABC).

Other titles included mini-series such as Total Control series 3 (ABC) and Paper Dolls (10), and single-episode titles such as Night Bloomers (SBS).

AUSTRALIAN GENERAL SUBSCRIPTION TV AND SVOD DRAMA EXPERIENCES ANOTHER YEAR OF HIGH SPEND

This category encompasses drama content tailored for family and adult audiences, initially released on subscription TV platforms like Foxtel, Foxtel Now, Foxtel Go, and other Foxtel services, or subscription VOD platforms including Amazon Prime, Binge, Disney+, Netflix, Paramount+, and Stan.

In 2022/23, expenditure on Australian general subscription TV and SVOD drama experienced an 11% decline from the record high of the previous year, however it remains the largest category of spend within Australian TV and VOD. The year saw a higher concentration of big-budget titles than previous years, with seven out of 21 SVOD titles having budgets in excess of $20 million, in contrast to eight out of 30 titles in 2021/22. Stan held the largest single share of total titles and total hours in this category (38% and 33%, respectively), consistent with last year’s trend.

Titles included CAUGHT* and Wolf Like Me series 2 (Stan), Heartbreak High series 2 (Netflix) and NCIS: Sydney (Paramount+).

AUSTRALIAN GENERAL AVOD, TVOD, AND ONLINE DRAMA GROWS SIGNIFICANTLY

This category includes drama content aimed at family and adult audiences, initially released on an array of free platforms like AVOD services such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube, TVOD platforms like iTunes, and various emerging online services.

Australian general AVOD, TVOD and other online drama experienced significant growth across most key indicators. Spend increased by 74% since 2021/22 (from $3 million to $5 million), increasing to 61% above the 5-year average. This was driven by a doubling of the number of titles (12 to 24), and an almost tripling of hours produced (11 to 29).

Titles included Counter Girls (YouTube) and Monologue (Facebook/YouTube/Instagram).

AUSTRALIAN CHILDREN’S TV AND VOD DRAMA SEES GROWTH IN EXPENDITURE, DRIVEN BY LIVE-ACTION TITLES

Australian children’s TV and VOD expenditure reached $81 million compared to $67 million in 2021/22 and a 5-year average of $74 million. This increase in spending was primarily driven by live-action productions, including titles like Beep and Mort series 2, F.A.N.G, The PM’s Daughter series 2 (ABC), Rock Island Mysteries series 2 (10), and Surviving Summer series 2 (Netflix).

The ABC continues to commission the majority of this slate, accounting for nine out of the 12 titles that entered production, with support from Screen Australia, which contributed finance to ten titles. The Australian Children’s Television Foundation (ACTF) supported four titles.

In the last five years, the ABC’s share of all children’s TV and VOD titles has increased from 45% to 75%. The growth in the ABC’s share of titles has been driven by fewer overall children’s titles, which can be attributed to declines in the number of children’s titles commissioned by commercial FTA broadcasters.

RECORD-BREAKING YEAR FOR FOREIGN PRODUCTIONS SHOOTING IN AUSTRALIA

The record total foreign spend ($1.22 billion) in 2022/23 was driven largely by record expenditure from foreign titles shooting in Australia. These foreign shoot titles spent $809 million, an all-time record and 83% above the previous year. This record foreign shoot spend was largely accounted for by a handful of big-budget theatrical features, including The Fall Guy, Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire and Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes.

AUSTRALIA’S PDV SECTOR HIT RECORD NUMBERS

To provide a sense of the ongoing business activity of PDV companies in a given financial year, the PDV Services section of the Drama Report uses a different data timeline to the rest of the report. In this section, a project’s total PDV spend is reported as it occurs, rather than attributing the whole amount to the year in which work commenced. The data cannot be compared to results presented in other sections of the Drama Report.

Total PDV expenditure reached $714 million in 2022/23, a new record, up 21% from the previous year and 60% above the 5-year average. This can be attributed to growth in PDV spend from both Australian titles and foreign PDV-only titles. In particular, Australian titles spent $269 million on PDV, a 34% boost from the prior year and 44% above the 5-year average. Australian titles that conducted PDV work included Wolf Like Me series 2 and Boy Swallows Universe. Foreign PDV-only projects spent $407 million, a 26% increase from the previous year and 87% above the 5-year average. Foreign PDV-only titles included Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and the Magician’s Elephant. Foreign shoot titles spent $39 million on PDV, a slight dip from the previous year.

ABOUT THE DATA

The Drama Report uses data from industry to provide an overview of the production of local and foreign feature, television, VOD and children’s drama titles, as well as PDV activity. All production expenditure is allocated to the year in which principal photography began. PDV employs a secondary method of analysis, which is outlined in the PDV section below, and in the report. ‘Drama’ refers to scripted narratives of any genre. Titles in the report are categorised according to the platform they were first released on.

Read the full Drama Report here

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According to:

The amount spent on Australian dramas by streaming companies including Netflix, Foxtel and Disney+ has fallen by 11% or $47m ahead of the federal government’s promised introduction of local content obligations in the new year.

Last financial year, the streamers contributed $398m of the total $680m spent on TV drama programs, defined as scripted narratives of any genre, according to Screen Australia’s annual drama report. That was down $47m on the previous 12 months.

The free-to-air broadcasters, which now prioritise reality programs and sport over drama, spent $277m, up from $219m last year.

Most of the commercial TV drama hours comes from long-running series Home and Away and Neighbours. But free-to-air titles include the ABC’s Total Control, Seven’s Royal Flying Doctor Service, Nine’s Warnie and Ten’s Paper Dolls.

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Spend Declines on Australian Stories

Screen Producers Australia (SPA) today welcomed the release of the 2022/23 Screen Australia Drama Report, the annual tabulation of expenditure on drama titles in Australia, a long-running marker about part of the industry’s overall health. Although noted with concern the marker of an overall decline in expenditure on Australian stories.

“The activity in the screen industry that these figures point to is great news on one level, but the deeper you look at the figures and know more of the challenges behind the scenes, the more troubling the overall trends are for Australian audiences wanting to see authentic Australian stories on different screens,” SPA CEO Matt Deaner said.

“We are particularly concerned about the overall decline in expenditure on Australian stories, noting that spending on Australian drama is down from $1,528m to $1,125m – and is now less than 50% of the overall drama spend for 2022-23 (last year it was 63%).

“Meanwhile, spending on foreign drama (TV and VOD drama and features) has gone from $904m last year to $1,220m this year, or from 37% of the total drama spend to now 52% of total drama spend.

“There’s no doubt many factors driving this changing mix from spending on Australian drama to increased foreign drama, including a significant drop in Australian feature film spend, but we know that these high figures for foreign spend are subject to global trends and many factors outside of Australia’s control.

“Next year we can expect the investment figures to indicate falls in foreign titles reflecting the negative effects of a decline in activity caused by the USA actors and to a lesser extent writers strikes.

“Continuing investments in Australian content by streaming services are welcome in their own right and as a stabilising measure and represent slightly less but overall similar levels of activity from the previous financial year.

"These are investments made in the context of the continuing conversations between the Australian Government and industry stakeholders to bring certainty of investment in Australian stories from streaming services, which was the promise to audiences and industry from our new National Cultural Policy Revive.

“However, our overall concern is that without oversight to protect rights and intellectual property consistent with key international screen territories and in other Australian industries that are oligopsony structures (such as the grocery industry), Australia is at risk of limiting itself to being a service industry for the international market.

"This is because even with investment in Australian titles, there is an increasing lack of ownership and control of our own intellectual property which is a clear pathway to losing our ability to generate our own stories and being able to benefit economically and culturally from their creation.

"These problems need urgent Government attention and the trend is highly troubling for the future of our industry.

“The Drama Report figures mask what is an increasing wealth transfer away from our creative industry caused by unchecked market behaviours in commissioning, the worse being from global streamers.

“We are pleased to see a slight increase in drama investment appearing on commercial free-to-air but we are again concerned that this is coming off too low a bar. Also worrying is that all broadcasters and streamers continue to turn their back on Australian child audiences with the ABC the only commissioner making a significant effort to invest in Australian children’s stories.

"It’s remarkable that the ABC, even with a limited budget, now invests in an astounding 75% of children’s content – carrying an unreasonable ongoing load here. Five years ago this investment was 45%.

“It’s vital that the Australian Government include measures to ensure increased children’s content in its regulation of streaming services and to address a now overdue review of what is clearly a weak and ineffective points system for commercial broadcasters at a time when these businesses are being publicly supported by forthcoming new regulations on prominence and anti-siphoning, but doing very little in return.

“This can’t continue to be a one-way street,” said Mr Deaner.

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Fantastic appointment.

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SCREEN AUSTRALIA AND YOUTUBE AUSTRALIA LAUNCH SKIP AHEAD 9

Screen Australia and YouTube Australia have opened applications for the ninth edition of Skip Ahead, helping Australian YouTube creators develop their storytelling skills, and grow their creative ambition and production value.

This year’s initiative will allocate up to $120,000 for up to four YouTube projects, inviting both scripted and documentary applications. In 2024, for the first time, Skip Ahead will seek to support at least one project aimed at a children’s audience to premiere on YouTube Kids.

Screen Australia’s CEO Deirdre Brennan said, “YouTube is home to incredible, contemporary Australian storytellers. We’ve seen the impact Skip Ahead has on careers, as well as the global recognition these projects can achieve. We’re thrilled to continue our innovative partnership with YouTube, creating a significant opportunity for local creators to expand their skills, reach new audiences and showcase their creativity to the broader industry.”

Ed Miles, Director YouTube Australia & New Zealand said, “YouTube is incredibly proud of the partnership we’ve built with Screen Australia over the last 10 years, and the opportunities the Skip Ahead initiative opens up for local talent. We’re excited to see which formidable YouTube creators will join the ranks in 2024, to watch their unique and powerful stories become a reality, and to help surface them to audiences around the world.”

Since 2014, Skip Ahead has supported 39 teams with over $5.1 million for skills development. Past recipients include RackaRacka (Talk to Me), Superwog, Lyanna Kea, Julian O’Shea, Wengie, Beau Miles, Aunty Donna and Tibees, many of whom have successfully moved across television and film production.

Danny and Michael Philippou of RackaRacka, funded through Skip Ahead in 2016, debuted their feature film Talk to Me to the world last year to significant success. The film became one of A24’s highest grossing global hits at the North American box office in 2023, bringing in over USD $93.3 million at the worldwide box office. The film also won eight gongs at the 2024 AACTA Awards, including Best Film, Best Director for Danny and Michael Philippou and Best Lead Actress for Sophie Wilde.

Creative team Aunty Donna, also supported through Skip Ahead, built on the success of their project 1999 to create long-form series Aunty Donna’s Big Ol’ House of Fun for Netflix and Aunty Donna’s Coffee Café for the ABC. Superwog’s pilot landed comedy duo and brothers Theodore and Nathan Saiddena a fully commissioned ABC TV series; Over and Out, created by Adele Vuko and Christiaan Van Vuuren, was awarded Best Short Form Series at Canneseries 2019; and Jenny Zhou’s Celebration Nation was nominated for an AACTA Award in 2021.

Skip Ahead supported documentary projects have also seen considerable success with online audiences on YouTube with Bad River from Beau Miles reaching over 3 million views, Quantum Experiments at Home from Looking Glass Universe reaching over 2 million, and Small Footprint scoring over 1 million viewers to date.

Applications for Skip Ahead are open to content creators who have either a current YouTube channel or channels with substantial existing subscriber bases and/or content that has achieved a minimum of 1 million views. For full eligibility requirements please click here.

Successful applicants will also participate in a workshop to be held in Sydney (the week of 22 July 2024) and receive ongoing skills and development support, in addition to production funding for their project. For teams based outside of Sydney, travel and accommodation support will be provided for up to three team members per project.

Applications close at 5pm AEDT Thursday, 21 March 2024. Apply here.

For information about online funding available outside of Skip Ahead click here.

MICHAEL EBEID AM APPOINTED AS NEW SCREEN AUSTRALIA CHAIR

The Hon. Minister for the Arts, Tony Burke today announced the appointment of Mr Michael Ebeid AM as the new Chair of the Screen Australia Board, and the reappointment of Ms Megan Brownlow as Deputy Chair.

Michael Ebeid AM will take over from outgoing Chair Nicholas Moore AO whose third term ends on 30 March 2024.

Michael was initially appointed to the Screen Australia Board on 14 July 2023 and brings to the role extensive experience from the media, technology, and telecommunications sectors.

He was previously the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of SBS, Group Executive at Telstra and in 2017 was made a Member of the Order of Australia for significant service to the broadcast media and multicultural affairs. Michael is currently a non-executive director of the Sydney Opera House and BAI Communications.

Incoming Chair of Screen Australia Michael Ebeid AM said, “I’m honoured and excited to Chair Screen Australia as we navigate the dynamic landscape of evolving audience behaviour, shifting consumption trends and the multifaceted challenges confronting the screen and production industry to ensure it continues to thrive.

As content and technology increasingly intersect, Screen Australia plays a vital role in the health of our screen sector, not just in nurturing local talent, but also in ensuring Australian stories and culture are preserved through compelling productions that resonate with both Australian and international audiences.

Looking ahead, I am dedicated to playing a key role in supporting the growth and development of the Australian screen industry, which not only contributes substantially to our economy but also serves as a cultural ambassador on the global stage. Aligned with the government’s vision outlined in the National Cultural policy, Revive, Screen Australia stands as a crucial pillar in realising that vision, and I am eager to contribute to its ongoing success,” Ebeid said.

Screen Australia CEO Deirdre Brennan said, “I’m delighted to welcome Michael as our new Chair, he brings a wealth of experience and expertise to further support the Australian screen industry. The Executive team look forward to working with Michael to provide continued leadership and vision for the organisation. With Michael’s extensive experience in media and technology, his dedication to Australian storytelling will continue the rich culture of innovation and investment in the Australian screen sector.

On behalf of the Board and the Screen Australia team, our sincere thanks go to Nicholas Moore for his dedication and contribution as Chair. Nicholas has supported the agency through nine years of a constantly evolving industry, and has overseen significant investment in Australian stories,” Brennan said.

Michael will formally commence as Chair on 31 March 2024 for a three-year term.

Megan Brownlow (Deputy Chair) has been reappointed to the Board for two years.

Screen Australia’s eight-member Board includes Michael Ebeid AM (incoming Chair), Megan Brownlow (Deputy Chair), Marta Dusseldorp, Sacha Horler, Helen Leake AM, Deborah Mailman AM, Nicholas Pickard, Pallavi Sharda.

SCREEN AUSTRALIA ANNOUNCES OVER $810,000 IN DEVELOPMENT FUNDING FOR 29 PROJECTS

Screen Australia has announced 23 feature films and six television dramas that will share in over $810,000 of story development funding.

Among the funded projects is Willy, the latest animation series from Ludo Studio, the production company behind world-wide phenomenon Bluey; family feature film The Last Tiger about the remarkable friendship between 12-year-old girl Pippa and an injured thylacine pup; and horror/comedy feature The Black Talons written by Maria Lewis and directed by Shari Sebbens, the star of Jon Bell’s upcoming psychological horror, The Moogai, which recently had its world premiere at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival.

Included in this slate are 19 projects that have been supported through the Generate Fund and 10 through the Premium Fund.

Screen Australia Head of Development Bobby Romia said, “We’re absolutely thrilled to be supporting such a diverse array of TV drama and feature film projects in this latest development slate. All of these projects are driven by teams deeply connected to the content they’re creating, opening up new avenues for creative expression whilst championing new voices to tell their unique stories. Screen Australia will be following each of their development journeys closely.”

For the complete list of development funding approvals refer to television and feature film breakdowns.