A message from our CEO

Jenni Tosi

The Victorian screen industry proved to be a hub of production activity in 2015/16, as demonstrated by the $172.9 million of leveraged expenditure in the State from productions supported by Film Victoria. 

This is an impressive result which signifies Victorian companies consistently create and produce an extraordinary range of television, comedy, drama, documentary, feature films and games that are distinctive in the marketplace and can appeal to audiences on a global scale.

Australian feature films enjoyed considerable commercial and critical success throughout 2015 and into 2016, many of which were originated by talented Victorians and fully produced here or undertook substantial production in the State. These include Oddball, Now Add Honey, Looking for Grace, Downriver and Holding the Man and the runaway success, The Dressmaker, which enjoyed a world premiere at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival.

Looking for Grace was selected to have its world premiere at Venice, making Director Sue Brooks the first female director to represent Australia in 15 years. Now Add Honey, written by Robyn Butler, was selected by Geena Davis to premiere at her newly established Bentonville Film Festival in May 2015 before its Australian theatrical release in November. Our heartiest congratulations to all the filmmaking teams and particularly to Sue Maslin, Jocelyn Moorhouse, Sue Brooks, Alison Tilson, Lizzette Atkins, Sue Taylor and Robyn Butler. In a year where the under representation of women in key roles in the screen industry was the focus of much discussion and activity, it’s appropriate to acknowledge the achievement of these individuals and celebrate their well deserved success.

Through Film Victoria’s investment and incentive funding programs 67 projects were funded providing over 8,000 employment opportunities for screen practitioners including writers, directors, design teams, on set technicians, composers, picture and sound post production teams, animators, VFX artists, games developers and many more. It’s fantastic to have so many talented individuals contributing to the creative process.

Victorian television productions continued to shine with 28 projects commencing production over the past year. Much loved series Please Like Me, Wentworth, Offspring, House Husbands, Nowhere Boys, First Contact, Jack Irish, The Doctor Blake Mysteries and Upper Middle Bogan returned, while audiences were also delighted by new offerings including Tomorrow When the War Began, The Divorce, Lukewarm Sex and The Katering Show, with more to follow.

The successful partnership between Film Victoria and the ABC will continue through the ABC Content Initiative, which was announced in June 2016 and will deliver a further pipeline of television production in the State over the next two years.

Film Victoria supported 13 fiction and documentary features that commenced production in the last year. Monsieur Mayonnaise, The Eulogy, The Family, On Richard's Side and EMO The Musical premiered at the 2016 Melbourne International Film Festival alongside the opening night film The Death and Life of Otto Bloom. All will enjoy a theatrical release in the coming year alongside Berlin Syndrome, Spin Out, The Empyrean, Ali's Wedding, Dance Academy: The Comeback, Gurrumul Elcho Dreaming, MAMIL and Earth Story. We congratulate the teams behind these films and wish them every success.

Melbourne’s game developers continued to impress on a global scale with 40 representatives attending the 2016 Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco. While funding support from Film Victoria will see 18 new games developed for release – among these are Earthlight, Ticket to Earth, Rogue Singularity, The Gardens Between, Paperbark, Spryke, Blockpocalypse, Reflex and Choices: And the Sun Went Out, several of which were pitched at GDC.

Victoria’s visual effects specialists were busy again this year delivering extraordinary shots on Deadpool, The Last Witch Hunter and Ghostbusters, whilst composers, picture and sound post production teams used their skills to make the titles listed in this report, and many others look and sound fabulous.

We were delighted to introduce two new initiatives this year: the Women in Games Fellowship and the Film Victoria-Natalie Miller Fellowship Women in Leadership Development Initiative, which will position Victorian women to take on leadership roles within the industry.

Numerous stakeholder events were supported with the aim of assisting screen practitioners to enhance their skills and allow businesses to source new partnerships and opportunities.

The 2015 Screen Leader Awards acknowledged the outstanding achievements of documentary producer Sonya Pemberton with the Jill Robb Award, with post production expert John Fleming receiving the John Howie Award. Two new awards were established in honour of director Fred Schepisi and screenwriter Jan Sardi.

Gristmill producers Wayne Hope and Robyn Butler were acknowledged with the Greg Tepper Award, while Matt Hall and Andy Sum from Hipster Whale received the Tim Richards Award at our 2016 Seen and Screened event.

The release of Creative State in April 2016 outlines the Victorian Government’s vision for the creative industries and we look forward to implementing the actions which will see the screen sector continue to flourish and grow.

I wish to acknowledge Minister for Creative Industries, Martin Foley MP and the Victorian Government, who recognise the economic value and social benefits the screen industry brings to Victoria and continue to ensure it is well supported.

Film Victoria could not deliver the range of programs, events and other activities without the guidance of our highly experienced Board members and I thank them for their ongoing support. In particular I’d like to acknowledge the contribution of Jan Sardi who also served on our Evaluation and Advisory Committee. My sincere thanks to Board President Ian Robertson who generously shares his expertise and provides invaluable support.

I’m most fortunate to work alongside an extraordinary team of dedicated staff at Film Victoria. I thank each of them for the enthusiasm and commitment they bring to their roles and for the wonderful service they provide to the Victorian screen industry.

Finally, I’d like to congratulate the many talented Victorian practitioners and businesses on the achievements of the past year. Without your creativity, originality, passion, commitment and shared vision Victoria’s screen industry would not be able to achieve this success. So thank you all. We look forward to assisting you in the coming year to ensure our dynamic industry continues to flourish.