16/04/2008 - 22:00

Boost for film industry

16/04/2008 - 22:00

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The Film Financing Corporation (FFC) has approved financing for three Western Australian productions, with a total investment of nearly $1.6 million.

Boost for film industry

The Film Financing Corporation (FFC) has approved financing for three Western Australian productions, with a total investment of nearly $1.6 million.

The projects, which have combined production budgets of more than $15 million, include a feature film adaption of the Aboriginal musical Bran Nue Dae, drama series The Circuit and the genealogical detective series Who Do you Think You Are? 

While finance has been granted from the FFC, it was the work of ScreenWest that helped secure funding for all three projects, with ScreenWest chief executive Ian Booth saying it is a big win for the screen industry in Western Australia.

“The Western Australian screen industry is really punching above its weight with a raft of feature films and major televisions series currently in all stages of production,” Mr Booth said.

“For all three WA productions to obtain FFC funding in a tightly contested round is an outstanding result and reflects the quality and market appeal of the projects.”

Drama series The Circuit, which follows the challenges of the Kimberley Court, found difficulty in obtaining finance for its second season, despite a positive response to its first season which aired last year on the SBS network.

“Thanks to the support of SBS and our key financiers, ScreenWest and the FFC, we’re tremendously excited to be able to head back to Broome in September to shoot another series,” said producer Ross Hutchens.

Mr Hutchens, who heads production and development for Media World Pictures, is also excited by the challenge of presenting the stories of indigenous Australia to a prime time audience.

“As a prime time drama series designed to be as entertaining as it is challenging, we are hopeful that The Circuit can continue to bring Indigenous stories and Indigenous storytellers into the mainstream,” he said.

Also obtaining approval for a second series was fellow SBS program Who Do You Think You Are?, which follows the cultural, social and ethnic evolution of Australia through well-known citizens.

The first season included guests such as actor Jack Thompson and sporting commentator Dennis Cometti, with co-producer Celia Tate positive about the series providing more work in the WA screen industry.

“The team learnt so much first time around and so to be able to capitalise on that and give on-going work to so many talented people in WA is a wonderful opportunity,” she said.

Also providing opportunity will be the feature film Bran Nue Day, which is based on the stage musical by Jimmy Chi and co written by WA screenwriter Reg Cribb.

The FFC, currently in its twentieth year, achieved its highest level of investment for the 2007/08 round, with its funded projects compiling a combined total budget of $310 million.

The three new WA productions join a growing list of projects being shot in the state, including the Ray Fazio feature film Two Fists, One Heart, David Blake’s Batavia’s Temper Blood Fury and Baz Luhrmann’s Australia.

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