Sunday, September 16, 2012
Yet another letter for Rachel Perkins!
10 Cecil Street
NSW 2021 17th Sept. 2012
You are now aware, from a recent interchange between myself and Elizabeth Grinston (Senior Legal Counsel to Screen Australia) that one example has been presented to me of my allegedly intimidating correspondence. In Elizabeth’s view the verb ‘to intimidate’ is pretty much identical in meaning to the verb ‘to distress’ - rendering any email or letter from me to a member of Screen Australia staff that has caused them to feel ‘distressed’ evidence of my having intimidated them. An extraordinary proposition!
I have not published this email exchange online to date because I know it will cause distress to one particular member of Screen Australia’s staff whom I do not wish to distress if it can possibly be helped. However, I am more than a little distressed myself that my career as a filmmaker is pretty much at an end (for as long as the current regime is in power, at least) and I am not going to give up without a fight – even if this does cause distress to this person.
My suggestion that this dispute be put in the hands of an independent Conciliator, made months ago, fell on deaf ears. Ruth Harley is not interested in any form of resolution that would involve the facts being looked at dispassionately by an independent arbitrator. And my attempt to achieve a just resolution based on facts and not spin through the office of the Ombudsman has borne no fruit to date.
In the interests of a distress-free resolution here’s an alternative to my publishing online the interchange between myself and Elizabeth Grinston. Whilst my problems with Screen Australia began in mid-2009 when Martha Coleman and Elizabeth Grinston decided that I was not a ‘proven producer’ and so could not work as a ‘mentor-producer’ with young filmmakers, the dispute proper got off the ground, as you know, when (I allege) Claire Jager, in the process of assessing my first application with ‘Chanti’s World’ (also mid 2009) did not view the ‘promo’ that was the centrepiece of my application – a ‘promo’ that encapsulated, in 7 or so minutes, 14 years in the life of the central character of my documentary. Likewise, neither Ross Mathews nor Julia Overton viewed it. Several conversations were had about this and there are four people in a position to either confirm or deny my version of events – Claire Jager, Ross Mathews, Julia Overton and Liz Crosby. For close to two years now all four could have placed on record words along the lines of the following:
“I have no recollection of any conversation in which Claire, Ross or Julia said or even implied that they had not viewed the ‘Chanti’s World’ promo.”
Such a declaration would have had the effect of pitting my version of events against the recollections of four others : four against one. Any reasonable person, other than a conspiracy theorist, would arrive at the conclusion that Ricketson must be wrong and that Jager, Overton, Mathews and Crosby must be right.
So here’s my suggestion: Get Claire Jager, Ross Mathews and Liz Crosby to place on record their recollections of conversations had vis a vis the ‘promo’ for ‘Chanti’s World.’ If they all state that they have no recollection of these conversations or if they deny they occurred I will clearly be outnumbered and admit defeat. I will abandon my case in the Supreme Court and publish online whatever statement Screen Australia provides me with and cease my blogging.
If, on the other hand, Ross, Liz and Claire confirm the truth of my recollections, confirm that this dispute began with a cockup on the part of Screen Australia and not as a result of my believing that my ‘Chanti’s World’ application had been ‘greenlit’, then this dispute should be looked at in this context and not in the context that Fiona Cameron has imposed upon it to protect Screen Australia staff from criticism for the ongoing series of cockups that have occurred. I trust that my use of the word ‘cockup’ causes you no distress and is therefore, in the view of Elizabeth Grinston, intimidating!
As I have stated many times, if I have intimidated (as opposed to ‘distressed’) any member of Screen Australia staff it is appropriate that I be banned. If I have not intimidated anyone, if I have not placed anyone at risk, the ban should be lifted. The official ban, that is. Screen Australia can keep up its unofficial ban if it so chooses. There is nothing that I can do about that, but the official ban carries with it the clear message: James is the kind of person who intimidates Screen Australia staff in order to achieve his own selfish goals. This is what I want expunged from the Screen Australia files and the only way that this can occur is for the ban to be lifted and for there to be an acknowledgement that I have intimidated no-one.