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A message from the CEO: 2022 in review

09 December 2022

Dear Screen Sector Colleagues,

As 2022 draws to a close, I want to take the opportunity to celebrate the many achievements of the South Australian screen sector in what has been another year of historic milestones and record-breaking achievement.

This year South Australia’s screen industry achieved record levels of production activity and international recognition, providing a fitting backdrop to the South Australian Film Corporation’s 50th anniversary year.

Our state achieved record-breaking results in this year’s national drama spend, with Screen Australia’s Drama Report revealing a total of $144 million spent in South Australia on drama production and post production in 2021-22 – the state’s second highest year on record.

Included in the $144 million total spend was a record-breaking $89 million expenditure on post production, digital and visual effects (PDV) – South Australia’s highest PDV spend on record, and a more than 115% increase on last year’s total of $41 million, demonstrating the strength of the sector and the success of the South Australian PDV rebate introduced in 2018.

The state’s soaring drama expenditure is even more significant for the fact that it was driven by productions led by South Australian production companies and producers, the majority of which are based on underlying South Australian IP, and which employed 83% South Australian crew including 75% South Australian resident Heads Of Department – a direct result of the SAFC’s strategic priority to maximise the value of South Australian owned Intellectual Property. 

The SAFC also succeeded in its strategic aim to grow capability of the sector in 2022 through growing the pool of “Greenlighters”, with a record 28 South Australian writers, directors and producers gaining their first above the line screen credit on a feature film or broadcast program this year, of which half came from an under-represented group.

Supporting strong production activity

In 2022 the South Australian Film Corporation performed strongly on its purpose to support, position, and champion South Australian screen businesses to achieve creative excellence and economic prosperity, supporting a consistent run of screen production.

South Australia’s regions saw strong production activity with:

while we also saw production get underway on feature documentaries The Defenders, from writer/director Matt Bate; Australia’s Sleep Revolution with Dr Michael Moseley, and Speedway from SLA Films.

Production wrapped on horror Talk to Me, the highly anticipated debut feature from SA co-directors Danny and Michael Philippou, co-written by SA’s Bill Hinzman, which was this week announced as part of the official selection for Sundance Film Festival, and sci-fi Monolith from SA writer Lucy Campbell, SA director Matthew Vesely, and SA producer Bettina Hamilton, the inaugural feature film project to come from the SAFC and Adelaide Film Festival’s Film Lab: New Voices development program.

Both films screened as flagship events on the 2022 Adelaide Film Festival program along with nine other SAFC supported productions including:

South Australia on show to the world

South Australia’s screen capability shone on screens globally in January alongside the state’s rugged Flinders Ranges in the premieres of Zac Efron feature film Gold, and BBC One, Stan and HBO Max drama series The Tourist, South Australia’s biggest ever TV production starring Jamie Dornan and produced by South Australian producer Lisa Scott of Highview Productions. The Tourist topped BBC iPlayer ratings as the streaming platform’s most popular single episode of 2022, with UK viewers streaming the premiere 6.1 million times, and the series boxset 32 million times.

This year also saw premieres of SA made and SAFC supported productions:

Major accolades for SA screen

SAFC supported productions were honoured on the global stage with season two of Hulu and ABC series First Day nominated for a 2022 Children’s and Family Emmy Award for Outstanding Young Teen Series; SBS digital series A Beginner’s Guide To Grief nominated in the Newform Drama Series category at the C21 International Drama Awards 2022; and documentary My Name is Gulpilil shortlisted for the prestigious Rose D’Or Awards; while The Tourist won the awards for Best Series and Best Creation at the 2022 Monte-Carlo Television Festival Golden Nymphs.

SAFC supported productions and practitioners achieved accolades at the highest levels in Australia too, with five wins at the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) Awards across multiple categories for The Tourist, The Stranger and A Beginner’s Guide to Grief, which was named Best Digital Series, and multiple Logie Award nominations for both The Tourist and Aftertaste including Most Outstanding Miniseries or Telemovie and Most Popular Comedy Series, while SAFC supported video game Rooftop Renegade from SA games studio Melonhead Games won the coveted People’s Choice Award at the 2022 PAX Australia Indie Showcase.

South Australian creatives and crew achieved significant honours this year, with SA sound practitioner Pete Best part of the winning team for Best Sound for an Independent Feature Film at the Australian Screen Sound Guild Awards; SA sound recordist Des Kenneally nominated in the Sound (Drama) category at the 2022 Royal Television Society Craft & Design Awards for The Tourist; and SA director Sophie Hyde nominated for Best Director at the British Independent Film Awards (BIFA) for her Adelaide Studios mixed feature film Good Luck to You, Leo Grande, which was also nominated for Best British Independent Film; while six of SA’s longest serving crew members were presented with beautiful Jam Factory designed trophies at the SAFC’s 50th anniversary and end of year function on 30 November: David Foreman (cinematography), James Currie (sound), Ruth de la Lande (costume and wardrobe), Beverley Freeman (hair and makeup), Malcolm Ludgate (cinematography) and Graeme Shelton (camera and electrical).

Innovative support for games and PDV

The SAFC continued its support of the games sector, appointing SA game developer and industry leader Patrick Webb as the SAFC’s first Game Development Executive, and supporting 15 projects through the SA Video Game Development (VGD) Rebate across the financial year including Wolf Tales,Virtual Sim Story and Horse Riding Tales from Foxie Games, Conan Chop Chop, Ball Stars, Barbie Fashion Closet and Ava’s Manor from Mighty Kingdom and Makers Play Planet from Makers Empire.

The SAFC facilitated connections between SA game developers and industry worldwide, supporting four SA studios to pitch their games at Gamescom in Cologne, Germany, and a further four to attend Games Connect Asia Pacific (GCAP) in Melbourne, while also supporting 12 SA studios with mentoring and introductions at PAX Australia in Melbourne, Australia’s largest game industry trade show.

SA made games developed with support from the SAFC’s 2019-20 and 2020-21 Games Innovation Fund also found success this year, with Exo One from Exbleative released to critical and commercial success on Playstation consoles, and We Made a Thing’s Box Knight and Melonhead GamesRooftop Renegade both chosen as Best Indie Showcase Games at PAX Australia.

It was all part of an action-packed year for SA’s game development sector, which saw Adelaide based ODD Games win the 2022 SA Premier’s Export Award for Creative Industries, and rank second in BDO’s Top 25 Fast Movers SA 2022 Awards for the second year in a row, cementing its position as one the state’s fastest growing and most innovative businesses, and developer Chantal Ryan of We Have Always Lived in the Forest selected for the global Game Awards 2022 Future Class.

South Australia’s thriving PDV sector continued to attract major international TV series and Hollywood blockbusters through the SA PDV rebate, with the SAFC supporting 33 productions across the financial year including Baz Luhrmann biopic Elvis, which won the AACTA Award for Best Visual FX with SA studio Rising Sun PicturesJulian Hutchens named in the honours, Marvel superhero epic Thor: Love and Thunder, Joe Vs Carole, La Brea S2 and Hocus Pocus 2 with work done by South Australian studios including Rising Sun Pictures, Technicolor’s MPCResin, KOJO and Artisan Post Group.

Boosting diversity and inclusion

The SAFC made bold steps toward supporting diversity and inclusion this year, launching the agency’s nation-leading Diversity and Inclusion Strategy 2022-2032, setting out 10-year targets for the representation of diversity both on and off screen in the South Australian screen sector, and launching a First Nations Cultural Protocols digital handbook outlining culturally appropriate working practices with South Australian First Nations communities for visiting productions. The SAFC also became the new home of the national Screen Diversity and Inclusion Network (SDIN), appointing SA screen practitioner and project manager Kata Fodor as SDIN Project Officer.

We continued our deep commitment to growing South Australia’s First Nations screen sector through the actions of our ongoing First Nations Screen Strategy 2020-25, including launching the SAFC and Channel 44 First Nations TV Pilot Program, supported by Screenrights and Screen Australia’s First Nations Department; supporting 12 First Nations participants to develop their skills in immersive technologies through the Centralised Immersive Storytelling Lab facilitated by Crossover Labs, and continuing our cross-state Centralised initiative with the Northern Territory, with SA creative Travis Akbar being awarded the prestigious Centralised First Nations Documentary Australia Fellowship.

We also saw the premieres of First Nations led documentaries Black Empire, from Director Pearl Berry and producer Lilla Berry, supported by the SAFC through its Curious Australia partnership with SBS and NITV, and Close to the Bone, co-written and co-produced by Jared Thomas, which premiered on ABC’s Compass in July, while production got underway on new Channel 44 talk show Mob Talks, led by alumni of the SAFC and C44 First Nations Internship ProgramKeith Gilbey-Warrior and Ricky Hutcheson.

Under the SAFC’s Reconciliation Action Plan: Innovate 2020-22, the SAFC presented, in celebration of NAIDOC week 2022, a special screening of South Australian made First Nations vampire hunter drama series Firebite including a Q&A with cast members Shantae Barnes-Cowan, Elaine Crombie and emerging screen creative and Firebite post-production crew member Keith Gilbey-Warrior. Truth-telling, story-sharing and reconciliation were discussed at the SAFC’s National Reconciliation Week event, which saw a strong crowd turn out to the Adelaide Studios screening theatre for a special panel discussion moderated by Shona Reid, CEO of Reconciliation SA, and featuring Sally Scales, Partnership Manager for the Uluru Statement from the Heart, Alira Mckenzie-Williams, Public Programs Officer for Tarnanthi at the Art Gallery of SA and Uluru Statement from the Heart 2022 Youth Dialogue delegate and Paul Ryan, producer, director and owner of Adelaide Studios based production company 57 Films.

Celebrating a half century of achievement

This year also saw the SAFC celebrate a major milestone: the 50th anniversary of the agency, which came into existence in 1972 with the proclamation of the South Australian Film Corporation Act, becoming Australia’s first state screen agency.

Industry members joined with SAFC stakeholders, current and former SAFC Board members and staff to commemorate the historic occasion with a gala party at Adelaide Studios in November, while celebrations also encompassed a special reception at Adelaide Studios in October with guests of honour Cate Blanchett and Warwick Thornton alongside Premier Peter Malinauskas, and a celebratory lunch at SA Parliament House hosted by Arts Minister Andrea Michaels.

This year spans two South Australian Governments and two Ministers and we thank them both for their support of the SAFC. The SAFC thanks all Governments across its 50-year history for their support of the South Australian screen sector.

The SAFC also thanks outgoing Board Chair Julie Cooper for her leadership, and for her significant contribution to strengthening the SAFC and ensuring strong support for the SA screen sector, and outgoing Board Member Rebecca Summerton for enriching the Board with her deep local industry knowledge and networks over her three years of service.

A bright future ahead

As reported in this year’s annual report the productions approved by the SAFC Board through the SAFC’s funds and programs over the last financial year will enable South Australia’s screen sector to directly contribute more than $148 million to our State’s economy. These projects are projected to create over 3,000 South Australian jobs, welcome skilled migrants and expats back to South Australia, generate export revenue for South Australian screen businesses, attract new sources of inward investment to the state, and enable the world’s best productions to be made right here in South Australia.

Just as importantly, this year the SAFC has once again put South Australia on the screen. South Australian screen projects across film, television, interactive, visual effects and games have projected our stories, our culture, our identity, our landscapes, our talent and our creative artistry to the world ensuring South Australian voices and perspectives contribute to Australia’s national identity and culture.

As the SAFC celebrates the milestone of our 50th year, we also want to celebrate YOU – the talented, highly skilled, entrepreneurial members of industry, from key creatives, cast and crew, to game developers and PDV specialists, business owners, service providers, suppliers and more.

To you we say congratulations and thank you for your hard work and achievements over the last 50 years, and for all you will go on to achieve in the next 50.

South Australia’s reputation for world-class screen production has never been stronger. With a future-facing, technology driven screen industry fuelled by local creativity, South Australia is better positioned than ever to take advantage of the extraordinary global demand for screen content.

The South Australian Film Corporation and SA screen industry look set to shine bright for the next 50 years.

Kate Croser
Chief Executive Officer
South Australian Film Corporation

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