Dozens of Australia¹s best-known and most successful actors, directors, screenwriters, producers and production crew including 15 Oscar winners have penned an open letter calling on the nation¹s parliamentarians to protect the local screen industry and to act now to ensure it thrives into the future.
Actors Cate Blanchett, Sam Neill, Rose Byrne, Joel Edgerton, Deborah Mailman and Richard Roxburgh, directors Nadia Tass, Peter Weir, Philip Noyce and Gillian Armstrong, screenwriters David Williamson, Ben Elton, Andrew Knight and Jan Sardi, producers Penny Chapman, John Edwards and Michael Tear, Academy Award-winning costume designer Lizzy Gardiner, editor Alexandre de Franceschi, Oscar-winning production designer Catherine Martin, cinematographer Mandy Walker and Academy Award-winning production sound mixer Ben Osmo are among more than 215 signatories to the open letter.
It has been released amid fears that the Turnbull Government is planning to slash the local content quotas for television drama and children¹s television.
The letter has been compiled under the banner of Make It Australian, a joint campaign spearheaded by the Australian Directors¹ Guild, the Australian Writers¹ Guild, the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance and Screen Producers Australia.
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,² they write.
And if our nation¹s stories aren¹t told, they die. And when they die, future generations won¹t know who we are and what makes us us.²
They are calling on politicians to help the screen industry in three ways:
1. To evolve Australian content rules so they cover new media like Netflix, Amazon, Telstra TV, telcos and ISPs;
2. To introduce competitive tax incentives so Australia can compete globally for film and TV productions;
3. To ensure public broadcasters and screen agencies are well-funded so they can continue commissioning ground-breaking new content.
The organisations behind the Make It Australian campaign are concerned that the Turnbull Government is planning to reduce or abolish the local content quotas for drama and children¹s television.
There has been bipartisan consensus in support of the quotas since the 1970s, but the free-to-air commercial TV networks have lobbied for them to be axed.
Already over the past three years, investment in Australian drama by commercial broadcasters has fallen by 30%, and if their reduced quota model had been in place in 2016 it would have meant a loss to the industry in that year of 40% of drama hours, $125 million in budgets, and 3500 jobs. Similarly, abolishing children¹s quotas would mean no Australian children¹s content on commercial television.
The Make It Australian campaign is also calling for reform to the tax incentives for the screen industry, including harmonising the producer offset at 40% and increasing the location offset from 16.5% to 30%.
The full open letter is available at makeitaustralian.com/news/open-letter or below.
M: 0422 009 011
Open Letter to Federal Parliamentarians
(as per 28 March 2018, 12:30 pm)
WE are storytellers writers, producers, directors, casts and crews who make screen stories that honour past Australians and connect present and future generations to our history and to our values.
YOU are elected representatives the custodians of Australia¹s stories, our unique culture. You create the environment within which our nation¹s stories thrive or die.
Ours is a partnership. And we need your help.
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.
And if our nation¹s stories aren¹t told, they die. And when they die, future generations won¹t know who we are and what makes us us.
That¹s why we need to Make it Australian¹.
· Australian content rules to evolve, to cover new media like Netflix, Amazon, Telstra TV, telcos and ISPs;
· Competitive tax incentives; and
· Well-funded public broadcasters and screen agencies.
Then we can compete. Australians telling the diverse stories of our people, our country.
We call on parliamentarians, the custodians of our uniquely Australian stories, to commit to growing our screen industry so that our Australian stories will be told to our children, grandchildren and the generations of Australians that follow.
Camilla Ah Kin (Actor); Gillian Armstrong (Director); Su Armstrong (Producer); Tony Ayres (Director); Michala Banas (Actor); Tony Barry (Actor); Simon Baker (Actor); Natalie Bassingthwaighte (Actor); Steve Bastoni (Actor); Nicholas Beauman ASE (Screen Editor); Dion Beebe ACS ASC (Cinematographer); Nicholas Bell (Actor); Amanda Bishop (Actor); Wayne Blair (Actor); Rachael Blake (Actor); Cate Blanchett AC (Actor); Russell Boyd ACS ASC (Cinematographer); Patrick Brammall (Actor); Shane Brennan (Screenwriter); Tony Briggs (Actor); Anna Broinowski (Director); Jonathan Brough (Director); Bryan Brown AM (Actor); Chris Brown (Producer); Simon Burke AO (Actor); Jason Burrows (Producer); Mitchell Butel (Actor); Robyn Butler (Actor); Rose Byrne (Actor); Annie Byron (Actor); Rob Carlton (Actor); Peter Carroll (Actor); Michael Caton (Actor); Penny Chapman (Producer); Shareena Clanton (Actor); Dustin Clare (Actor); Justine Clarke (Actor); Adelaide Clements (Actor); John Collee (Screenwriter); Toni Collette (Actor); Ian Collie (Producer); Robert Collins (Actor); Robert Connolly (Director); Dany Cooper ASE (Screen Editor); Michael Cordell (Producer); Wendy Cork APDG (Costume Designer); Rodger Corser (Actor); Jai Courtney (Actor); Deb Cox (Producer); Stephen Curry (Actor); Helen Dallimore (Actor); Henry Dangar ASE (Screen Editor); Matt Day (Actor); Alexandre de Franceschi ASE (Screen Editor); Rolf De Heer (Director); Kate Dennis (Director); Jason Donovan (Actor); Terry Donovan (Actor); John Doyle (Screenwriter); Beverley Dunn (Set Decorator); Marta Dusseldorp (Actor); Harriet Dyer (Actor); Fiona Eagger (Producer); Joel Edgerton (Actor); John Edwards (Producer); Ben Elton (Screenwriter); Alexander England (Actor); Daniela Farinacci (Actor); Carl Fennessy (Producer); Mark Fennessy OAM (Producer); David Field (Actor); Angie Fielder (Producer); Jack Finsterer (Actor); Alan Fletcher (Actor); Roger Ford (Production Designer); Lucy Fry (Actor); Lizzy Gardiner (Costume Designer); Nadine Garner (Actor); Rebecca Gibney (Actor); Colin Gibson APDG (Production ); Designer); Antony I Ginnane (Producer); Rachel Gordon (Actor); Ian Gracie APDG (Supervising Art ); Director); Pippa Grandison (Actor); Gyton Grantley (Actor); Mac Gudgeon (Screenwriter); Don Hany (Actor); Anthony Hayes (Actor); Noni Hazlehurst (Actor); Chris Hemsworth (Actor); Damon Herriman (Actor); Scott Hicks (Director); Chris Hilton (Producer); PJ Hogan (Director); Frankie J Holden OAM (Actor); Wayne Hope (Actor); Sacha Horler (Actor); Lachy Hulme (Actor); Peter James ACS ASC (Cinematographer); Tom Jeffrey AM (Producer); Veronika Jenet ASE (Screen Editor); Ron Johanson OAM ACS (Cinematographer); Laura Jones (Screenwriter); David Jowsey (Producer); Claudia Karvan (Actor); Sean Keenan (Actor); Deborah Kennedy (Actor); Andrew Knight (Screenwriter); Samantha Lang (Director); Anthony LaPaglia (Actor); Michela Ledwidge (Director); David Lee (Sound Recordist); Steve Le Marquand (Actor); Jacinta Leong APDG (Art Director); Ewen Leslie (Actor); George Liddle APDG (Production Designer); Jeremy Lindsay-Taylor (Actor); Rob Mackenzie (Sound Editor); Deborah Mailman (Actor); Jessica Marais (Actor); Lex Marinos (Actor); Damian Martin (Prosthetic Makeup Artist); Catherine Martin APDG (Production Designer); Don McAlpine ACS ASC (Cinematographer); Catherine McClements (Actor); Andrew McFarlane (Actor); Jacqueline McKenzie (Actor); Ray Meagher (Actor); Nick Meyers ASE (Screen Editor); Sue Milliken AO (Producer); Heather Mitchell (Actor); Jocelyn Moorhouse (Director); Kestie Morassi (Actor); Geoff Morrell (Actor); Kate Mulvany (Actor); Nick Murray (Producer); Igor Nay (Production Designer); Sam Neill (Actor); Robyn Nevin (Actor); Phil Noyce (Director); Chris Oliver-Taylor (Producer); Ben Osmo (Production Sound Mixer); Hunter Page-Lochard (Actor); Helen Panckhurst (Producer); Georgie Parker (Actor); Owen Paterson APDG (Production Designer); Craig Pearce (Screenwriter); guy Pearce (Actor); Deborah Peart ASE (Screen Editor); Jen Peedom (Director); Rachel Perkins (Director); Jacquelin Perske (Screenwriter); Adrienne Pickering (Actor); Jo Porter (Producer); Susie Porter (Actor); Leah Purcell (Actor); Daina Reid (Director); Chloe Rickard (Producer); Deborah Riley (Production Designer); Brian Rosen (Producer); Richard Roxburgh (Actor); Bill Russo ASE (Screen Editor); Martin Sacks (Actor); Jan Sardi (Screenwriter); Fred Schepisi (Director); John Seale AM ACS ASC (); Cinematographer); Dean Semler AM ACS ASC (Cinematographer); Emile Sherman (Producer); Greer Simpkin (Producer); Sarah Snook (Actor); Dan Spielman (Actor); Kriv Stenders (Director); Barbara Stephen (Producer); Kat Stewart (Actor); Yael Stone (Actor); Gary Sweet (Actor); Nadia Tass (Director); Michael Tear (Producer); Lisa Thompson (Set Decorator); Erik Thomson (Actor); Sigrid Thornton (Actor); Lesley Vanderwalt APDG (Hair and Makeup Designer); Matt Villa ASE (Screen Editor); Jeffrey Walker (Director); Mandy Walker ACS ASC (Cinematographer); Stephen Wallace (Director); Damian Walshe-Howling (Actor); Tasma Walton (Actor); Rachel Ward AM (Actor); Elka Wardega (Prosthetic Makeup Artist); Hugo Weaving (Actor); Peter Weir (Director); Bob Weis (Producer); David Wenham (Actor); Jo Werner (Producer); David Williamson (Screenwriter); Margot Wilson APDG (Costume Designer); Rebel Wilson (Actor); Stephen Windon ACS ASC (Cinematographer); Ben Winspear (Actor); Dan Wyllie (Actor); Julia Zemiro (Actor).
Australian Directors' Guild; Australian Writers' Guild; Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance; Screen Producers Australia. With support from Australian Cinematography Society, Australian Production Design Guild, Australian Screen Editors, Australian Guild of Screen Composers, Australian Screen Sound Guild, Women in Film and Television, Visual Effects Society.