As discussed on the phone today i am happy to find the time to set up an interview as requested but we do need to know where it will run and when as we have a number of current requests from a range of outlets which we are working to schedule and facilitate. If you can advise me those details I will do my best to find a time as soon as possible.
JR Newspapers are not clamouring to commission any articles at all these days - least of all about Screen Australia and the Australian Film Industry. I will write my article 'on spec' - as I have done every article I have ever written and submit it to various newspapers and magazines. If no newspaper or magazine chooses to pick it up, so be it. If Ruth and Martha choose not to be interviewed, so be it. If they are very busy right now (which I can appreciate) I will wait until they are less busy if you can give me some idea of when this might be.
JR It would be good to know ASAP whether Ruth and Martha will actually agree to an interview and at least a rough time frame within which it might occur. I am writing the article now and don't really want to be waiting around till the new year.
JR does not receive a response to this email, so writes again to Victoria.
JR With SPAA now over I trust that it will be possible to get an answer from Ruth and Martha re an interview. If their intention is simply NOT to do an interview with me I'd prefer to know this sooner rather than later.
JR Encore will publish my article but I am still hopeful that a version of it will be published by either the Sydney Morning Herald or The Australian.
Victoria Buchan does not respond to this email . The Sydney Morning Herald expresses an interest in an article but it does not commission from freelance journalists and only accepts articles written ‘on spec’.
JR It is now three weeks since I requested, directly, an interview with Martha and Ruth. A week later Martha suggested that the request should be made through you. It is now two weeks since I followed Martha's instructions but we seem to be getting nowhere fast. Please do let me know if Martha and Ruth agree to an interview. And if they do, roughly what time frame are we looking at?
JR receives no response to this email.
JR (to Victoria Buchan) Do Ruth Harley and Martha Coleman agree, in principle, to being interviewed for my article? A simple 'yes' or 'no' will suffice.
Victorian Buchan does not respond to this email.
11th Dec. email to Martha Coleman
I understand that you have requested an interview with the CEO and/or the Head of Development for an article that you are writing 'on spec'. I am advised that our media relations company, the Lantern Group, has already advised you that providing detailed information or interviews for articles being written on spec is not possible given the competing demands on Screen Australia's time. It is fair to say that subsequent to your discussions with the Lantern Group, many of your emails have gone unanswered. There comes a time when an organisation such as ours cannot afford the time or resources to continue with such unproductive dialogue.
To be clear, the CEO and the Head of Development will not be available for an interview.
If there is to be any dialogue between us regarding my request for an opportunity to interview Ruth Harley and Martha Coleman, can it please be on the basis of the facts and not of spin?
As you know full well, I informed Victorian Buchan both in a telephone conversation and in an email to her written on 22nd. Nov. that I was writing my article for Encore Magazine. And I made reference to this again in my email to Elizabeth Grinston of 27th. Jan to which your email of 29th. Jan is a response. To refresh your memory:
Even if I had been writing my article ‘on spec’ (as indeed I was, when I first spoke with Victoria on he phone) what difference does this make? With a few exceptions (commissioned work) I have spent my entire career starting work on projects ‘on spec’ and completing stage one before approaching a broadcaster or publisher. The same applies for many freelance journalists. Does Screen Australia have a policy of only giving interviews to affiliated journalists?
That Ross Mathews has not responded to my emails of 10th Dec, 17th. Dec and 12th. Jan. is not anomalous behaviour on the part of Screen Australia personnel, it is standard procedure. Again, in my email to Elizabeth on 27th. Jan I wrote:
Dear Mr Ricketson,
Screen Australia and its executive team cannot see any value (for either party) in acceding to an interview request. No such interview will be forthcoming.
Does this mean that I will not be getting answers to any of my questions either?
We are not in a position to spend time and resources undertaking research for your article. There are a variety of sources open to you including our annual report and our website Get the Picture. I would encourage you to use these services.
I have not requested that you or anyone else at Screen Australia do any research on my behalf. Where did this come from? This is a new reason - to add to the other two given so far for why an interview can't happen - (1) Too busy and (2) No value!
I requested an interview with Ruth and Martha close to three months ago now - logical for a journalist preparing an article. Given that they were 'too busy' to speak with me, I requested an interview with Ross who, as an experienced filmmaker, would be well placed to talk with me. Either Ross does not wish to do so or he has been forbidden from doing so! Hard to know given that Ross does not respond to any emails I send to him.
I accept, after close to three months, that no-one from Screen Australia will speak to me during the preparation of my article. I will see if a member of the Screen Australia Board will do so. It would be an awful shame not to have a Screen Australia perspective.
Our position regarding an interview is I believe quite clear and I don't intend to be drawn into the issues you have raised extensively with other Screen Australia executives.
I do not intend to enter into any further correspondence regarding these matters.
Executive Director Strategy and Operations
I have indeed raised various issues with 'other Screen Australia executives' this past year. For the most part this has involved the asking of questions that Screen Australia executives simply will not answer…simple questions that require either a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ answer."
…I will leave it to others to decide whether or not I have a right to ask questions such as this and whether it is appropriate for Screen Australia executives, in this case yourself, to refuse to answer them.
Really, Fiona, treating filmmakers with such a lack of professional respect is not good policy.
I have received no response to my letter of 5th. Feb. and it seems that none will be forthcoming… Yourself, Martha Coleman, Ross Mathews, Elizabeth Grinston, Fiona Cameron, Glen Boreham and Peter Garrett have all made it abundantly clear that no-one within Screen Australia or the Ministry responsible for the organization’s administration is prepared to answer any questions at all from me in relation to Screen Australia’s policies and modus operandi. The fifth and final reason for this refusal is based on a preconception of Glen’s that is demonstrably false if anyone bothered to check with the facts. (see letter to Glen Boreham dated 24th.)