Wednesday, May 3, 2017
Australian Director's Guild & IF Magazine intimidated into silence by Screen Australia?
Dear members of the Australian Director’s Guild board and Mark Kuban at IF magazine
The ADG and IF share in common a refusal to even mention in print to members or subscribers that an Australian filmmaker has been banned by Screen Australia. This refusal is of close to five years standing now.
I will leave it to others to conjecture as to why both the ADG and IF chose to pretend that this unprecedented ban (not just in Australia but in the world) has simply not happened. In the case of the ADG this omission is more pronounced, given that I was one of the founders of the organization. On these grounds alone, I would have thought the ban on me was newsworthy.
The 10th May (next week) will mark the 5th anniversary of the ban. I wonder if either the ADG or IF will consider this to be in any way newsworthy? Next week will also mark the commencement, on my part, of legal action to secure from Screen Australia evidence that I have ever intimidated or placed at risk members of Screen Australia staff; that I have ever given staff at SA any reason to believe that being present in the same room as myself would, in some way, place them in danger. This is, as you know, the latest (of several) reasons given as to why I cannot make any form of development application to Screen Australia. Such an application would, if successful, involve face to face interaction with staff. Shock! Horror! To be in the same room as James Ricketson! We have a duty of care to our staff, declares Screen Australia, and cannot place them at such risk!
With your silence, both the ADG and IF magazine have gone along with this nonsense; no questions asked. Perhaps you even believe that I pose a risk? If so, do you have any evidence in support of this proposition? No.
Again, I will leave it to others to join the dots here and figure out why the ADG and IF choose to maintain such an undignified silence.
If, at this late date, either of you chose to ask a question of Screen Australia, here’s one:
Jane Supit, Head of Legal, maintains that I do in fact have access to the Producer Offset, despite the ban on my meeting with staff. I and my creative collaborators can meet with her, she says. In making this suggestion she is protecting SA’s Producer Offset staff (how very noble of her) and also asking me to acknowledge, by going along with such an arrangement, that I am aware that I pose a threat. Needless to say, this nonsensical proposition is not one that I will go along with.
More importantly, in making this suggestion Jane Supit is breaching the independence of the Producer Offset unit within Screen Australia. This unit is intended to be separate from Screen Australia and yet here is Jane Supit offering to fulfil its function. Is this legal? If legal, is it appropriate that Ms Supit should be supplanting the Producer Offset unit in this way?
I do not know the answer to this question and, based on the last five years of my experience with the ADG and IF, you will not even bother to ask the question.
Screen Australia has, for five years now, worked on the presumption that a combination of bureaucratic bullying and denying me access to evidence of my alleged offenses through FOI would neutralise me. In this wish Screen Australia has been ably assisted by both the ADG and IF – both of you more interested in currying favour with Screen Australia than with reporting on news that might show Screen Australia in a bad light.
I will leave it to others to make their own judgments as to why this might be?
Whether the legal action now commenced will result in my winning my case in court or in failure is not of great concern to me. The legal process I will, if nothing else, force Screen Australia to produce evidence of my guilt. This will mean, in practice, that Screen Australia will have to admit, in public, that there is no evidence. Of course along the way SA will almost certainly go to great lengths to withhold from the court the evidence sought by it and will spend a substantial amount of money paying lawyers to do so.
This legal process will be of no interest to either the ADG or to IF magazine, will it? You will not bother to mention it in either newsletters or in the pages of IF: “Nothing to see here.”
In time your collective silence will be seen in the light in which it deserves to be seen.
My latest letter to Senator Mitch Fifield may be of interest: