Sunday, November 18, 2012
For Claudia Karvan & Richard Keddie - another letter
Claudia Karvan and Richard Keddie
Screen Australia Board
level 4, 150 William St
19th Nov 2012
Dear Claudia and Richard
In the event that I am paid an unwelcome visit by the Grim Reaper, as has happened to too many fellow filmmakers this past couple of years, I would much prefer that my orbituary did not include in it a sentence along the lines of, “Ricketson’s final years as a filmmaker were marred by allegations that he had intimidated and placed at risk members of Screen Australia staff.” I am sure that neither of you would wish for this either - especially if you knew it not to be true. If need be I will sit quietly in the foyer at Screen Australia waiting to be arrested as many times as is necessary to ‘harass’ the Screen Australia board into providing me with evidence that I am guilty as charged. Or acknowledging that I am not. Watching (or at least having no choice but to listen to) The Today Show and re-runs of Gilligan’s Island in a jail cell is a small price to pay to have the defamatory charges that have been laid either supported by evidence or revealed to be, dare I say it, a form of intimidation.
Last week I had several conversations on the telephone with the police preparing the ‘brief’ for Screen Australia’s and my Downing Centre face-off on 20th Dec. There will be two police witnesses and three Screen Australia witnesses, I have been informed. Fiona Cameron will be one of them - the best part of her day (along with mine and various others’) wasted in Screen Australia‘s counsel explainimng to a judge why it was necessary to have me arrested or, in the case of my barrister, why I was breaking no law sitting quietly in the Screen Australia foyer at 4pm. Does this not strike you both as odd? As inappropriate? As unnecessary? As laughable?
There is a simpler way to resolve to this dispute. It is one I have suggested often. It need take no more than an hour. All that is required is an independent mediator/conciliator, half a dozen people in a room, some take-away coffees and a few questions. A sense of humour would help but is not mandatory! There is no need for the mediator/conciliator to make a determination but there would be a need for a transcript of the conversation that occurs. The four questions I would like to ask the mediator/conciliator to ask are these:
Mediator: Ruth Harley, can you please identify, in Mr Ricketson’s correspondence where, in your opinion, he has intimidated or placed at risk members of Screen Australia staff?
Mediator: Ross Mathews, Claire Jager and Julia Overton (or some combination of these) can you please tell me whether or not, in mid-2009, in the process of assessing Mr Ricketson’s documentary project entitled ‘Chanti’s World’ any of you viewed the ‘promo’ he supplied in support of the application?
Mediator: Liz Crosby, what is your recollection of the conversation that occurred between Mr Ricketson, Julia Overton and Ross Mathews in August 2010 in relation top the viewing of the ‘promo’.
Mediator: Fiona Cameron, can you please identify, in Mr Ricketson’s correspondence where he states or implies that he believed his ‘Chanti’s World’ documentary project had been greenlit?
Screen Australia should, of course, be able to add whatever questions it might like to have asked of me.
The film community will be able to judge for itself from the transcript whether or not the examples Ruth Harley gives bear witness to my having intimidated staff or not. It will not be necessary for the Mediator to make a judgement.
If Ross, Julia, Claire and Liz all insist that my ‘promo’ was viewed, members of the film community will be able to arrive at their own judgement as to how this admission squares with the refusal by all four, over a period of two years, to answer this question.
In the event that Ross, Julia, Claire and Liz agree with me that the ‘promo’ was not viewed the film community can arrive at its own conclusion as to whether I was justified in pursuing the matter (and all that flowed from it) in copious correspondence or whether the copiousness of the correspondence constituted harassment.
The beauty of this approach is that it could take well under an hour and would bring closure to a dispute that should have occurred two years ago and thus saved a lot of people a lot of time and energy.
If this process were to be completed in the next couple of weeks it would be possible to arrive at an agreed upon resolution that makes it unnecessary for a minimum of more time, energy and money being wasted in court on 20th Dec.
If, for whatever reason, this form of dispute resolution is not acceptable to the Screen Australia board could you both, in conjunction with the board, please provide one that is? Or is it the position of the board that court on 20th Dec. is the most appropriate way to resolve a dispute such as this?