Call for action to protect Australia’s screen culture
Some of Australia’s best-known and most successful actors, directors, screenwriters, producers and production crew have penned an open letter calling on Parliament to protect the local screen industry.
Among those who have signed the open letter include actors Cate Blanchett, Sam Neill, Rose Byrne, Joel Edgerton, Deborah Mailman and Richard Roxburgh, directors Nadia Tass, Peter Weir, Philip Noyce and Gillian Armstrong, and producers Penny Chapman, John Edwards, Jason Burrows, Su Armstrong, Ian Collie, Carl Fennessy, Mark Fennessy OAM, Jo Werner and Michael Tear.
The letter has been released amid fears that the Turnbull Government is planning to reduce or abolish the local content quotas for television drama and children’s television.
It was compiled under the banner of Make It Australian, a joint campaign between Screen Producers Australia, the Australian Directors’ Guild, the Australian Writers’ Guild, and the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance.
In the letter, the signatories urge politicians to commit to growing the screen industry and ensuring it can compete internationally.
“Our ability to keep telling Australian stories on screen is at risk, our voices in danger of being drowned out by a deluge of overseas content,” they write.
“And if our nation’s stories aren’t told, they die. And when they die, future generations won’t know who we are and what makes us us.”
They are calling on politicians to help the screen industry in three ways:
• To evolve Australian content rules so they cover new media like Netflix, Amazon, Telstra TV, telcos and ISPs; • To introduce competitive tax incentives so Australia can compete globally for film and TV productions; • To ensure public broadcasters and screen agencies are well-funded so they can continue commissioning ground-breaking new content.