Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Al Clarke, how you can be a member of the Screen Australia board and go along with this nonsense!

Four years into my Screen Australia ban and still no evidence has been presented to me, or anyone else, that I am guilty as charged. 

The wagons have circled!

Al Clarke
Screen Australia Board
Level 7, 45 Jones St
Ultimo 2007

29th April 2016

Dear Al

It is now more than a year since I wrote to you regarding the ban that had been placed on me by Screen Australia in 2012.  I began my letter as follows:

8th April 2015

Dear Al

Having known you for 30 or so years it is both awkward and embarrassing to be writing a letter such as this to you.

However, being a filmmaker banned by the board of which you are a member is more than a little awkward in an ‘industry’ (‘cottage’, at best) in which all filmmakers are dependent to one extent or another on Screen Australia. It is also more than a little embarrassing to find so many doors closed to me, so many calls not returned, letters not acknowledged from others in the ‘industry’ who do not, understandably, wish to be associated with a fellow filmmaker who ‘intimidates’ members of Screen Australia staff’ who places them ‘at risk’.

Not one piece of correspondence has ever been produced (despite three years of my asking) that bears witness to my having ‘intimidated’ any member of SA staff in my correspondence or placing them at risk. Nonetheless, potential collaborators could be forgiven for thinking, “Where there is smoke there must be fire.”


The complete letter can be found at:

We are fellow filmmakers and yet you did not feel it necessary to to respond to it!

The ban has destroyed my career as an Australian filmmaker. This was, of course, the intention of Ruth Harley and Fiona Cameron.

The ban was not simply intended to silence a critic, to put in his place someone who asked questions Ruth and Fiona did not wish to answer. It was also intended to ‘send a message’ to anyone else within the industry who might have the temerity to speak out in ways that questioned the professional integrity of senior members of Screen Australia staff. In this Ruth and Fiona (with the rubber stamp blessing of the Screen Australia board) have also been successful.

The Australian Director’s Guild, set up in part (I was a founding member) to counter such heavy-handedness on the part of film bureaucrats, will not even report on the ban placed in me in an ADG newsletter! The reason: The ADG is dependent on Screen Australia funding and does not want to rock the funding boat!

How sad that our industry has devolved into this – top-heavy with career bureaucrats and with a board that feels the banning of filmmakers is an appropriate way to deal with critics.

So, at the ripe old age of 67 I have been forced by this ban to retire as an Australian filmmaker and to begin a new career as a non-Australian filmmaker. This is not quite how I imagined my retirement as an Australian filmmaker would take place but then life is full of surprises!

As you will be aware, I am pursuing the matter of my ban through legal channels - not with a view to having it overturned (it is too late for that) but to have it proven, once and for all, that I never intimidated or placed at risk any member of Screen Australia staff with one paragraph, one sentence or even one word of my correspondence.

Perhaps, when I have succeeded in this the ADG might see fit to publish it in the ADG newsletter!

Al, for the life of me, I cannot understand how you can be a member of the Screen Australia board and go along with this nonsense!



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