Claudia Karvan, Al Clarke, members of the Screen Australia Board, you say I pose a risk to SA staff. Owing to your duty of care, you say, you cannot allow SA staff to meet with or communicate with me. You refuse to provide me with any evidence that I pose a risk; that I have engaged in ‘highly offensive conduct’. The reason is simple. There is none. And you know it. Your ban is a fatwa; punishment for a critic; a warning to other filmmakers.
Monday, September 15, 2014
Open letter to Mark Hamlyn, Manager, Development and Production at Screen NSW
Mark Hamlyn Manager Development and Production Screen NSW 15th Sept 2014 Dear Mark
In response to your letter of 4th August which only
reached me this morning in Cambodia.
Screen NSW’s new script development guidelines stipulate that an
applicant must be a member of a team that includes either a Producer, Writer, Director or Writer/Director with at least ONE
credit in that role in the last 10 years. I am thereby excluded from making
applications for script development funding as the producer/writer/director I
have been this past 43 years.
ANGKOR might have great potential as a
series or it might not. You will never know, no-one at Screen NSW will ever
know, because you cannot/will not read my submission!
Does this make any sense in an ‘industry’
in which it has been acknowledged time and time again, and has been for many
years, that what we lack most in Australian film is good quality screenplays!
The expression ‘shooting yourself in the foot; comes to mind.
If there is a young Australian
screenwriter with a brilliant ground-breaking screenplay in development who
does not want to work with an ‘experienced’ director, an ’experienced’ producer
you will not read his or her submission. Really, Mark, can you not see what
nonsense this is!
the presumption that the screenplays of inexperienced writers will be any
better as a result of their being forced to work with ‘experienced’ filmmakers
based on any empirical evidence?
an age in which it is now possible to shoot drama on an iPhone, to raise
production money through crowd-funding, does it make any sense at all to
exclude from script development funding young and inexperienced filmmakers,
regardless of how brilliant their ideas might be?
it make any sense at all to force these young men and women to leap into bed,
creatively speaking, only with ‘experienced’ filmmakers and not with peers who
share their passion and vision for whatever crazy idea they may have?
is ‘crazy’ ideas that you should be looking for – the kinds of ideas most often
found in the young – if Screen NSW wishes to be on the crest of a the next creative
wavethat will probably hit when young
filmmakers realize that they can create drama anywhere in the world with the
new iPhone 6 and whatever other similar devices come onto the market in the
next 12 months.
is from the fertile imaginations of a new generation of young filmmakers that
exciting new screen story-telling possibilities will emerge. Forcing these
young filmmakers to work with established filmmakers, is a step backwards for
an industry that needs to make steps forward if it is to regain any of the
credibility it once had.
forced marriage of young filmmakers with ‘experienced’ filmmakers will not only
have the effect of cramping their young imaginations but also see that yet more
financial resources than are already made available to the ‘experienced’
these ‘experienced’ producers have created drama that audiences want to see,
whether their films have achieved either box office success or critical acclaim
is not relevant. If an ‘experienced’ (but failed) producer has had a feature
film on 5 screens in the last 10 years s/he is eligible to take one of these
young filmmakers under his/her wing and ‘guide’ them in the right direction.
This is an innovation-stifling recipe for creative conservatism – the last
thing that Australian film needs!
that Screen NSW should be concerned with is the quality of the ideas being
presented to it – regardless of the experience of the applicants. There is no
guarantee that a good idea (or one deemed to be good by a funding body) will
result in a compelling screenplay but why not give screenwriters the
opportunity to write a first draft before forcing them into a team?
would go one step further. If an inexperienced screenwriter can write a ‘wow’
screenplay and wants to work with an inexperienced director and an inexperienced
producer, why not give them the opportunity to do so at a budget that is
appropriate to their experience?
there any evidence to suggest that drama created by ‘experienced’ teams has, in
the past, achieved greater box office success or critical acclaim than drama
created by ‘inexperienced’ teams? This is not a rhetorical question. It would,
perhaps, be doing all of us who toil in the business of screen story-telling to
see some stats on this.
apart from the absurdity of rending an experienced filmmaker such as myself ineligible
to apply for script development funds, your new application criteria also
renders me ineligible, after 43 years of filmmaking, to act as a mentor/producer
for young filmmakers! Is this good policy, Mark?