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Australian film recovery on track.



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AUSTRALIAN FILM RECOVERY ON TRACK

There are some positive signs for the Australian film industry according to an Australian Film Commission (AFC) survey released today which showed a rise in both the number of local feature productions and the level of contributions from private investors.

“The Australian Government is investing almost $160 million in its film agencies this year, along with support for production through tax deductions, in an effort to boost the flagging industry and there are signs we’re on track,” the Minister for the Arts and Sport, Senator Rod Kemp said today.

“Production spending in Australia by foreign feature films remained high over the year, confirming Australian skills and talent and the strength of our post-production sector.”

The survey however has indicated a downward trend in TV drama production from last year although the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) reported that all commercial broadcasting licensees met their quota in 2004.

“This finding is of concern and something which I will be looking at closely. It is also particularly concerning to read of the drop in Australian drama being supported by the ABC. The Government is aware the Australian TV and film industries are facing difficult times and there will be challenges ahead,” Senator Kemp said.

“The Government announced an $88 million package at the last election to help strengthen the industry and we are starting to see signs of recovery.”

Australian Government funding initiatives aimed at strengthening the sector include:

z providing the Australian Film Commission (AFC), with an extra $24.4 million over four years

for script development, to support low budget first time feature film and for screen culture activities; z providing the Film Finance Corporation with an additional $35 million over four years to

support the production of commercially competitive feature films. The FFC has achieved a record gearing for its investments in 2005, and will support a slate of productions worth approximately $230 million; z extending and increasing support for AusFILM, at $4.1 million over three years. This follows

the Government’s announcement that the Refundable Film Tax Offset will be extended to larger budget television series; z encouraging greater private sector investment in local product, including reviewing key

provisions of the 10BA and 10B incentives for Australian films to ensure they operate effectively; and z extending the Film Licensed Investment Company (FLIC) Scheme. The Scheme allows one

licensee to raise up to $20 million over two years to invest in Australian film and television product. A call for applications for the FLIC licence was issued on 12 August 2005, with a closing date of 23 September 2005.

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MELBOURNE 24 August 2005 Media contact: Michael Christo, 03 9650 7274 or 0409 040276

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