Sunday, February 5, 2017

Is Screen Australia's denial of access to the Producer Offset 'reasonable'?

Even if it is not a matter of great concern to the filmmaking community that a fellow filmmaker is prevented from producing films in Australia by being denied access to the Producer Offset, the mind-set that leads Graeme Mason and the Screen Australia board to so destroy a filmmaker’s career should, I believe, be a matter of great concern.

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

1st Feb 2017

Dear Graeme

Your  letter 31st Jan, dated 30th Jan is in response to my 11th and 30th letters to Ms Jane Supit, Head of Legal at Screen Australia in which I asked two questions.

On Ms Supit’s behalf you have answered one of these questions - in relation to my most recent FOI request regarding Screen Australia’s May 2016 ban on me. You decline to provide me with any documentary evidence of the ‘unreasonableness’ on my part that is Screen Australia’s ostensible reason for this ban on the grounds that it is not in the public interest! I will deal with this separately.

In the meantime, kindly answer the second question I put to Ms Supit; namely:

“Could you please explain to me how, in practical terms, I and my creative collaborators can apply for the Producer’s Offset without meeting members of Screen Australia’s staff?”

For close to 5 years now Screen Australia has maintained the illusion that despite the ban on me, despite my not being allowed to speak or meet with members of SA staff, I can nonetheless apply through Screen Australia for the Producer Offset.

You have not acknowledged receipt of my letters of 3rd Jan or 18th Jan regarding my 10 hour series “Nest Of Vipers”. The Screen Australia Application portal still has “Nest of Vipers” registered as a valid application (Application Number: 18747) but clearly, as with my previous applications with this project, you have instructed Screen Australia staff to ignore it.

If I were to complete drafts of 10 episodes of “Nest of Vipers” that attracted pre-sales and distributions guarantees, how could I and my creative team (co-producer, co-directors) apply for the Producer Offset without meeting, communicating with, members of Screen Australia staff?

best wishes

James Ricketson
cc Senator Mitch Fifield, Minister for the Arts
Mr Colin Neave, Commonwealth Ombudsman
Ms Louise Vardanega, Australian Government Solicitor (acting)
The Screen Australia Board

The Australian Director’s Guild Board

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