Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Screen Australia refuses to read screenplays written by banned filmmaker!

Are screenplays written by James Ricketson good or bad? Potential blockbusters, high-rating TV series or turkeys?  

Screen Australia will never know as it refuses, as a matter of policy, to read any screenplay written by myself.

Nerida Moore, who does not bother to  respond to correspondence from me is, it seems, obeying orders from above.

What a strange state of affairs!

Nerida Moore
Senior Development Executive
Screen Australia
Level 7, 45 Jones St
Ultimo 2007   

20th Oct. 2015   

Dear Nerida

McCarthyism is the practice of making accusations of subversion or treason without proper regard for evidence. It also means "the practice of making unfair allegations or using unfair investigative techniques, especially in order to restrict dissent or political criticism.” Wikipedia

Given the lack of response to my letter of 12th October I guess its safe to assume that you will not read the first 10 pages of HONEY; that the quality of the screenplay is irrelevant if it was written by a banned filmmaker!

Here is another of my screenplays – SHIPS IN THE NIGHT. This one is low budget - to be shot almost entirely inside a taxi. Unlike HONEY it can, if need be, be made for miniscule budget; shot on an iPhone. With the Screen Australia ban in place, this is probably what I will have to do for, as you know, it is not possible for me to utilize the Producer’s Offset if I am not allowed to even speak with anyone at Screen Australia!

As you will be aware, the Screen Australia computer, having not been programmed to reject my applications, accepted two of them 6 weeks ago – for ANGKOR (a TV thriller series in the vein of TRUE DETECTIVE) and THE DANCER – an innovative blend of documentary and drama. Whilst your computer has accepted me, Screen Australia’s vindictive and pointless fatwa remains firmly in place.

As far as I can tell, Screen Australia’s ban on me is the only instance, since the days of Joe Mc Carthy (more than 60 years now), when a screenwriter, living in a democracy, has been banned by a government body for the most spurious of reasons. I have “intimidated and placed at risk” members of Screen Australia’s staff with my correspondence! Really!

Check back through the files, Nerida, and see if you can find one instance in which I have done so. Ask Fiona Cameron to present you with one instance. If she cannot, you will realize that the ban on me has nothing to do with intimidation or placing at risk (whatever that means!) but everything to do with silencing a Screen Australia critic.

Do you think the banning of screenwriters, filmmakers, is appropriate? Does such a policy in any way benefit Australian film? Do you agree with this policy?

Yes, Screen Australia bureaucrats can experience the joy of victorious revenge, but if I write a decent screenplay, if a film of mine gets made elsewhere in the world because it cannot be made in Australia, is Screen Australia’s victory anything other than Pyrrhic?

best wishes

James Ricketson

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