Sunday, April 30, 2017

Yet another appeal to the Screen Australia board to cease making it impossible to access the Producer Offset and, hence, to make films in Australia

Graeme Mason &
Members of the Screen Australia board
Screen Australia
Level 7, 45 Jones St
Ultimo 2007                                                                                                  

18th April 2017

Dear Graeme and SA board members


Following on from my letter of 6th April.

True to  Screen Australia’s lack of commitment to the precepts of transparency, accountability and old fashioned good manners, I have received no acknowledgement 
of its receipt.

Channel 7 has offered $8,500 to buy footage from me to include in the broadcaster’s own documentary about Anu Singh. Or, to put it another way, $8,500 to buy what amounts to 13 years of my work (on and off) following Anu.

Whilst SA’s ban on me remains, I can neither apply for development monies or the Producer Offset for OFFENDING WOMEN and hence cannot complete this documentary.

You have a board meeting coming up on 28th April. I request that you place Screen Australia’s ban on me on the board’s agenda and call for a vote on whether or not to lift it. The wording of the proposal to be voted on could be very simple and take up no more than 5 minutes of the board’s time. Words to the effect of:

“That Screen Australia either (a) provide to Mr Ricketson evidence that he intimidated and placed members of Screen Australia staff at risk, that he is guilty of ‘highly offensive conduct’, or (b) lift the ban and enable him to not only complete OFFENDING WOMEN but to access the Producer Offset with his other film projects.”

The alternative for me is to accept Channel 7’s paltry offer and write off the 13 years of work I have done on this project. The $8,500 of offer would go some way to paying the legal fees required to commence court proceedings - the only purpose of which would be to force Screen Australia to provide me with the evidence I have been asking for this past 5 years.

The decision to ban me back in May 2012 was not made at a board meeting. It was made as a result of Ruth Harley calling the present board members and asking them, on the phone, if they approved of the idea of banning me. She had been given a green light by the Australian Government Solicitor to change Screen Australia’s Terms of Trade to make such a ban legal.

A decision to lift the ban could be made in a similar fashion – a phone call to each of the board members with some variation of the proposal I have mentioned above. The ban could be lifted in 24 hours.

Alternatively, if you believe that a decision to lift or continue with the ban can only be made at a board meeting, you could do so on 28th April.

I will hold off letting Channel 7 know if I am going to accept or reject the offer made to me until 29th, by which tie I trust I will have an answer, one way or another from Screen Australia.

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

The Information Commissioner

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