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Film corp has less money, but more 'mouths to feed'

Wednesday, 30 January 2013
Author: Liam Mannix, Indaily

THE South Australian Film Corporation may once again struggle to fill the new multi-million-dollar Adelaide Film Studios, as State Government funding cuts bite.

Filmmaker development programs are also being scrutinized as the SAFC reconsiders whether it can afford to fund "speculative" projects anymore.

An issues paper, released in December, outlines the SAFC's current problem - more than a million dollars needs to be cut from the budget, a significant portion of the total revenue of a corporation reliant on government funding.

Film Corp CEO Richard Harris told Indaily the entire local industry would be in for some pain, as the SAFC re-evaluated which programs it could continue to fund.

"We've got less money than we had a few years ago. That's pretty simple," Harris said.

"Whether or not we make changes there will be pain, because there's less money.

"And there's more mouths to feed. We probably didn't expect as many of our local film makers be as successful as they have. A lot of them now have got real traction and real interest from the market."

To meet the budget cuts, the corporation had already undertaken some internal cost cutting. But in the long term, major programs would have to be cut, the issues paper said.

The biggest cut came from ending the Film SA grant, worth $1.24 million a year.

The grant was designed to allow the SAFC to entice productions from around Australia to film in South Australia.

It was given to the SAFC to administer by the State Government in 2008, the same year then-Premier Mike Rann announced a $43 million development of the Adelaide Film Studios at Glenside.

Harris said while the studios were currently running at near-full capacity, the loss of the Film SA grant would mean they might not be fully utilized in the future.

"That is a concern, absolutely," he said.

"People don't come to a state to use a studio just simply because it exists. It does depend on the investment deal that you do.

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