SA Film Corporation


A Short History of the SAFC

In 1972, the South Australian Film Corporation (SAFC) was established under an act of parliament by then Premier Don Dunstan, who sought ways “to stimulate and encourage the formation and continued development of the South Australian film and television industry”.

Establishment of the Corporation (with Gil Brealey appointed founding Chairman/Director) set about achieving this through a blend of commercial enterprise and industry development with the SAFC responsible for:

  • undertaking the production of films

  • provision of library and other services and facilities relating to films and their screening
(South Australian Film and Video Library, c1972 - c1994)

  • provision of information services about films and their availability

  • arrangement of courses of instruction in film projection

  • storage, distribution, sale or other disposal of films

  • research into the distribution of films and the effectiveness of films to meet purposes for which they are made.

The Corporation originally consisted of three members:

  • the Director (who was also the Chairman)

  • two other persons appointed by the Governor on the recommendation of the Minister, one of whom was nominated by the Minister of Education.

An Advisory Board, consisting of seven members appointed by the Governor, and the Chairman (Director) functioned to inquire into, and report upon, all matters relating to film.

Despite initial distribution difficulties which saw the Corporation resort to hiring cinemas, it found immediate success with films such as Sunday Too Far Away whilst also producing many documentaries, training films and short films.

The Corporation quickly became an important source of prestige and promotion for the State, and became a model for emulation by all Australian states.

Other drama productions produced and owned by the SAFC include feature dramas Storm Boy, The Fourth Wish, Fire in the Stone, Dawn, Breaker Morant, Blue Fin, Robbery Under Arms, Under Capricorn, Sara Dane, Money Movers, Run Chrissie Run, Shadows of the Heart, The Shiralee, Golden Fiddles, The Club, Grim Pickings, The Battlers, Playing Beatie Bow and television features The Sound of Love, Harvest of Hate; and television series Ultraman.

In 1994, the SAFC’s role underwent a fundamental shift. It ceased production in its own right and assumed the role of the state government’s central agency to deliver assistance to the independent industry.

At the same time, the Corporation was in charge of running its Hendon Studios which it operated for more than 30 years from 1980 to 2011. Hendon Studios provided independent feature film and television producers with a high end sound and post production facility as well as basic production facilities, including two soundstages and production areas.

Hundreds of feature films, shorts, documentaries and digital projects have received SAFC investment support since 1994, including titles such as Ten Canoes, The Boys are Back, Swerve, Lucky Country, Last Ride, Samson and Delilah, Oranges and Sunshine, Snowtown, The Dragon Pearl, Red Dog, Picnic at Hanging Rock, Shine, Bad Boy Bubby, The Tracker, Rabbit Proof Fence, Black and White, Look Both Ways and the original Wolf Creek.