Monday, May 1, 2017
"Ships in the Night" questions regarding making an application
Graeme Mason &
Members of the Screen Australia board
Level 7, 45 Jones St
1st May 2017
Dear Graeme and SA board members
re “Ships in the Night”
I have received no response to my letter of 18th April re “Offending Women”.
Given my inability to earn a living as a filmmaker, as a result of the ban you have placed on me, I have no choice but to accept Channel 7’s offer.
As the 5th anniversary of the SA ban on me approaches – next week – I must use this money to commence legal proceedings to obtain the evidence I have been asking for this past five years of my having intimidated and placed at risk members of Screen Australia’s staff with my correspondence prior to May 2012; of the ‘highly offensive conduct’ that has led to the May 2014 and May 2016 bans on me.
I am writing this letter in relation to another project of mine, “Ships in the Night” - a low budget feature set almost entirely inside a taxi; with a small ensemble cast:
I cannot apply to SA for any form of development money for “Ships in the Night” as this would, you attest, place SA staff at risk. And I cannot meet with SA staff to go through the process of accessing the Producer Offset in the way other producers can for the same reason – this would place staff at risk.
Jane Supit suggests that I and my creative collaborators could meet with her (Head of Legal) to discuss the Producer Offset. To do so would carry with it both my own and my collaborator’s implicit acceptance that I do indeed pose a risk to SA staff. This would serve to further entrench, within the film industry, the notion that I am a person who both intimidates and places at risk members of SA staff: a forced confession of guilt.
In the absence of any evidence that I pose a risk to SA staff (and none has ever been presented to me) I am entitled to follow the same procedures that my fellow filmmakers follow in their dealings with Screen Australia; to meet with relevant staff as I have with all film funding bodies in Australia this past 44 years.
There are four options open to me vis a vis producing “Ships in the Night”:
(1) James Ricketson as producer, director and screenwriter.
(2) James Ricketson as director and screenwriter – a second person producing.
(3) James Ricketson as screenwriter – a director and producer attached to the project.
(4) James Ricketson, in all key roles (including playing the lead actor) producing the film for a miniscule budget and applying to Screen Australia for post-production funds to complete the film.
Are there any circumstances in which option (1) is possible as far as Screen Australia is concerned? If you are seriously concerned about the safety of Screen Australia staff in a meeting with me in person (to discuss both development funding and the Producer Offset), perhaps the meeting could take place via skype or in a conference call?
If I am the director and screenwriter only, option (2), would it be possible for the producer to meet with SA staff in person – with myself on skype or conference call?
Option (3). Could the producer and director of “Ships in the Night” meet with SA staff to discuss both development funding and the Producer Offset? If I am the screenwriter only, would there ever be a need for SA staff to meet with me?
If none of these three options is acceptable to Screen Australia, I can pursue option (4). This would entail self-funding (perhaps with some crowd-funding) the production. From the footage shot a ‘trailer’ could be prepared and presented to Screen Australia for consideration as a project worthy of post-production funding. There would be no need for any member of SA staff to meet with me as the ‘trailer’ would speak for itself of the feature film’s merits and sales potential?
It is your custom not to respond to any correspondence from me but I would appreciate it if you could make an exception in this case so that I know what parameters I can work within as regards Screen Australia’s possible involvement with “Ships in the Night”. If none of the four options I have mentioned is acceptable to Screen Australia it would be good to know this now; to be clear where I stand.
cc Senator Mitch Fifield, Minister for the Arts
Mr Colin Neave, Commonwealth Ombudsman
Ms Louise Vardanega, Australian Government Solicitor (acting)
The Australian Director’s Guild Board
The Information Commissioner