Sunday, November 18, 2012

For Claudia Karvan & Richard Keddie - another letter

Claudia Karvan and Richard Keddie
Screen Australia Board
level 4, 150 William St
Woolloomooloo 2011

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?

best wishes

James Ricketson


  1. Ricketson, maaaaaaate, there is something you need to understand and that you should, at your age understand. There is a reason why Rachel Perkins never responded to your letters. It has nothing to do with you. She probably thinks what is happening to you sucks bigtime, but she has her own ambitions. She’s known for months that she had a project coming up for consideration at the last board meeting and she needed the board to vote for it. To have sided with you, to be seen to be aligned in any way with you, would be to jeopardize the solidarity of the board’s vote in favour of her project.

    And this is the same reason why Claudia Karvan and Richard Keddie won't take any notice of your letters either. They will have their own projects in the works, to be considered by the board in the next few months, and will not want to piss off their fellow board members by questioning the wisdom of their decision to ban you before they joined the board. You’ve been snookered, mate. Time to retire from the field and lick your wounds.

    1. The wounds are self-inflicted. Ricketson’s a pathetic, sad deluded trouble maker and loser. He can go and rot in hell as far as I’m concerned. The sooner we see the last of him the better.

    2. Dear 'Anonymous', you forgot to add 'nutter' to your list of insults!

  2. My My Such vitriol from a public servant! But then that's what middle management public servants do, flap about trying to prove they're doing their job, never doing their job.

  3. Being banned officially does not bother me too much. If the ban were to be lifted tomorrow (the official ban, that is) an unofficial ban can (and probably would) still apply. No, the lifting of the ban is of symbolic value only. I don’t care too much if the ban stays in place as long as I come out of this with the industry, my fellow filmmakers, having at the very least serious doubts about my having intimidated and placed at risk members of Screen Australia’s staff - based on the total lack of evidence that I have done so.

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  5. Reluctantly AnonymousNovember 19, 2012 at 10:41 AM

    Don’t worry about your reputation, James. Screen Australia has passed up every opportunity it has had this past six months to present the film community with evidence that you’ve been intimidating staff. It is clear to all of us (or most of us who don’t think you are a nutter) that you are not guilty. What is happening here is that you have been knee-capped, Mafia style, to send a clear message to everyone else in Australian film who might feel inclined to ask questions that Harley and her ilk do not want to answer on the grounds that they might incriminate themselves.