The Sydney Film Festival recently made an interesting contribution to the discussion about how to get our best film-makers working. Here's what they published in their online site. I'm surprised that nobody took the matter up further
Question 5SFF: Federal Arts Minister Peter Garrett recently announced that he will be giving direct grants of $10 million each to twelve currently unemployed filmmakers. Informed sources have suggested recipients may include Ivan Sen, Jane Campion, John Ruane, Richard Lowenstein, Ray Argall, Jocelyn Moorshouse, Leo Berkeley, Scott Murray, Shirley Barrett, Rowan Woods, Albie Thoms and Brian McKenzie. If you were handing out the money, who would you pick - excluding yourself, of course?
Randall Wood (Rare Chicken Rescue): "Ivan Sen - He's got a big heart and that shines through in his films - He's a wonderful storyteller (but I don't think he's unemployed)."
Tony Radevski (Ephemeral): "Ivan Sen."
Lisa Matthews (Ten Pound Poms): "The majority of those above are mostly not unemployed. If such a welcome magic money wand was to appear - I would like to see the following filmmakers realise their next film: Curtis Levy, James Middleton, Lawrence Johnston, Jessica Hobbs, Samantha Lang, Ivan Sen, Jocelyn Moorhouse, Jeremy Simms, Andrew Dominik, Stavros Kazantzidis, Matthew Saville and Andrew Lancaster."
Michael Mier (The Sound of CRY): "Filmmaking is such a hard process I really couldn't decide who should get grants. It seems those that are determined always find a way to make their films and I really love helping others realise their projects so it would be too hard to select ten names."
Glen Hunwick (Mutt): "Lisa Hunwick, Jake Hunwick, and Taylor Hunwick, (no relation of course)."
John Evagora (296 Smith Street): "Rowan Woods - The Boys is still one of my favourite Australian films."
Stefan Moore (The Cars That Ate China):"I would pick Dennis O'Rourke and Susan Lambert (who is admittedly my wife) but unless any of the suggested recipients are proposing to use the grant to make a very good film or films, I would say that this is a shocking waste of money."
Tali Gal-on (Lucille): "Sarah Watt - because I love Look Both Ways, and I can't wait to see what she does next. Dee McLachlan - The Jammed was a horrifyingly powerful film. And some up and coming directors that I met at the VCA: Daniel Agdag, Rosalie Osman and Sam Bryant."
Alex Holmes (Ali and the Ball): "Emerging filmmakers... excluding myself, of course."
Keri Light (Wanderlust/Wonderlost): "Because he is talented, because he has been my mentor and because he is now one of my best friends, I shall say Richard Lowenstein. That's one. But if there is a conflict of interest in picking one's mentors and friends, I shall nominate Michael Cody so that we can make our film...which may be even more of a conflict of interest... hmm. Maybe Minister Garrett should do as is stated in the question and give $10 million to each of the 12 directors listed or $5 million to 24 directors. How very cool. How sweetly divine. Brilliant."
Sean Kruck (Summer Breaks): "It would depend on the project. I would look at established filmmakers but also take a punt and mix it up with some fresh blood. Australian films generally don't seem to make much money so why not take bigger risks on the filmmakers and the style of films?"
Good thinking in there and a ringing endorsement of direct ministrial intervention in an ailing industry!