Monday, March 7, 2016

Screen Australia ban prevents Australian filmmaker from practicing his craft in Australia!

Richard Harris
Head of Business & Audience
Screen Australia
Level 7, 45 Jones St
Ultimo 2007     
1st March 2016

Dear Richard

You have not had the professional courtesy to acknowledge receipt of my letter of 22nd Jan, let alone respond to it!

In so doing (or in not doing so!) you confirm that the fatwa put in place by Ruth Harley and the Screen Australia board close to four years ago now is still in full force. No one within the organization is allowed communicate with me by mail, by email or on the telephone.

As you know it is not possible for me to make a feature film, documentary or TV series in Australia without communicating with Screen Australia:

“To qualify for the Offset, a project must be assessed and certified by Screen Australia.

If I cannot meet with, talk with, yourself or anyone else at Screen Australia, if I cannot have any project of mine assessed I cannot, by definition, qualify for the Offset.

Of course this was the purpose of Ruth Harley’s ban – to make it impossible for me to make films in Australia. I learnt this the hard way when, a few years ago, I had to forego a pre-sale offer from National Geographic because I could not communicate with Screen Australia.

And why has this draconian ban been put in place? Because, it is alleged I intimidated and placed at risk members of Screen Australia’s staff with my correspondence!

You know this to be nonsense, Richard. Members of the Screen Australia Board know this to be nonsense. Anyone who looked at the correspondence would come to the same conclusion: “The allegation is nonsense.”

As with the Emperor’s New Clothes, however, almost everyone has a vested interest in not looking at the correspondence and having to say “There is nothing here!”

So let me ask you, Richard, as a former President of the Australian Director’s Guild (of which I was a founding member, representing filmmakers such as myself), to provide me with one example from my correspondence, since the inception of Screen Australia, in which I have intimidated or placed anyone at risk in any form of correspondence.

This is not a rhetorical question, Richard. You are now an integral and quite important member of the team that has declared that I cannot make films in Australia. Provide me with the evidence that I am guilty as charged. Just one example will suffice. 


James Ricketson
cc Commonwealth Ombudsman

Senator Mitch Fifield

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