Friday, April 25, 2014

# 3 letter to Graeme Mason

Graeme Mason
Chief Executive, Screen Australia
Level 7, 45 Jones St
Ultimo 2007                                                                                                   

26th Nov 2013

Dear Graeme

My apologies in advance for writing yet again to you. 

Alas, you are the only one capable to breaking the Gordian knot that has made it very difficult (close to impossible, actually) for me to make films in this country.  I have enclosed Act One of yet another of my screenplays - of which there are seven just now in different stage of development.

BILL CLINTON’S LOVE CHILD has, like PLAYING GOD, been developed through several drafts with no financial assistance from any funding body. It is a broad outback farce – one of the only genres that has wide appeal for Australian audiences. Whether it is any good or not is not for me to decide. However, nor can Screen Australia make any assessment of it as your staff are not allowed to read it as the act of doing so would, in accordance with the Screen Australia ban, place them at risk. (Umberto Ecco’s THE NAME OF THE ROSE springs to mind – the pages of manuscripts poisoned!)

This same risk applies, of course, to any and every project of mine up until 9th May 2014 – at which time the reading of one of my screenplays, the viewing of a DVD of one of my documentary projects, will, miracle of miracles, cease to place SA staff at risk. Unless, that is, the Board, in its wisdom, and at your behest, decides to extend the ban by another year. And why might this happen? I have no idea, but then I had no idea why the initial ban was extended by 12 months. It was not explained to me. Mind you, it has still not been explained to me why the initial ban was placed in the first place. Yes, I know, on the grounds that I had intimidated and placed at risk members of Screen Australia staff etc. This allegation does not pas the ‘laugh test’ and it does not meet even the bare minimum required by natural justice - namely that the accused be appraised of evidence of his crime and given an opportunity to respond to the evidence.

Given that both Ruth Harley and Fiona Cameron have done their best to muddy the waters, obfuscate and tell outright lies, it is worth having a look at what I published on my blog a few weeks before the ban was announced. In the context of my letter to her (enclosed) it is not surprising that Ruth reached for the only weapon she felt she had at her disposal – a weapon which, she hoped, would shut  me up and render me persona non grata within the industry. To a certain extent she succeeded in the latter but, in the process, made a fool of herself – even if the bulk of those to whom she had done so chose to remain silent. Their silence was motivated, primarily, by their not wanting to bite one of the few hands that might feed them.

Please do read the letter to Ruth of 5th April –a letter in which I gave Ruth ample opportunity, yet again, to provide me with the kind of evidence that would make me look like a fool and a liar. She declined because there was (and never has been) any evidence. Instead, she came up with the brilliant idea of banning me and, without even the benefit of a Board meeting, getting the members of it to agree to the ban and agree to the changing of Screen Australia’s Terms of Trade to make the ban legal. Pathetic!

best wishes

James Ricketson

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