Sunday, May 6, 2012
Why is my complaint about Screen Australia of any relevance to anyone but myself?
I do not expect anyone to take a particular interest in the details of my battle with Screen Australia. It is of no consequence to anyone but myself. It is only relevant to my fellow filmmakers in that Screen Australia has no functioning complaints process. This means that any other filmmaker with a valid complaint to make about Screen Australia can be, at the whim of senior management, treated with the contempt that I have been treated with – lied to and threatened with legal action for having the temerity to stand up for their rights. And if any other filmmaker should feel inclined to make a complaint to Ruth Harley about his or her latest insultingly dismissive email or letter from Fiona Cameron, Ruth will pass it on to Fiona who will tell him/her that she has no intention of communicating further on the matter – whatever the matter might be. In short, zero accountability, zero transparency. And if this frustrated filmmaker should write to Glen Boreham and the Screen Australia Board, the result will be the same – silence or, if they are persistent a spin-laded letter from Glen in which it is quite apparent that he accepts, without question, a version of events provided to him by Ruth and Fiona. And the same will apply if s/he writes to Simon Crean – a spin-laden letter being the best s/he can hope for. And so on up to the Prime Minister’s office. This is the issue that I believe should be of concern to the industry at large. Excuse me for belabouring the point but all the evidence (from my own experience and that of others I have spoken with whose experiences mirror my own) suggests that Screen Australia is an autocracy whose tactics, when dealing with critics or anyone with the temerity to ask questions, are akin to those practiced by the mafia. Why do we, as an industry, put up with this state of affairs? Screen Australia’s role is to serve the industry and culture of Australian film, not vice versa!