The Australian Film Commission (AFC) is pleased to announce $720,000 in grants and loans to four companies - Hoodlum, Porchlight Films, Matchbox and Essential Media and Entertainment - as part of its initiative to assist the growth and sustainability of Australian screen businesses through the Screen Business Venture Program (SBVP).
"The Screen Business Venture Program is designed as a strategic support mechanism for companies actively exploiting growth opportunities in the current screen business environment," said the AFC's Acting Director of Film Development, Lori Flekser. "The grant component of the SBVP recognises past achievements and the loan component acknowledges innovative plans for growth and expansion. The AFC is very proud to be associated with these four experienced and respected Australian production companies through the first round of this exciting new funding program."
The business plans for these four companies projected growth from a range of activities including diversification, economies of scale, expansion into international markets, control of intellectual property rights, digital delivery, use of financial professionals and innovative strategies to attract private investment.
A panel of assessors including media consultant Phaedon Vass, principal of specialist digital consultancy company Lean Forward Jennifer Wilson, lawyer and corporate financial and structural advisor Jon King, and the AFC's Business Innovation Manager David Noakes selected the four successful companies from a strong field of applications.
Hoodlum, based in Queensland, is a digital entertainment company that has been developing, producing and delivering unique multi-platform content since 1999. Most recently, Hoodlum won two BAFTAs for their work on the online interactive components for the BBC TV series Spooks.
Sydney-based Porchlight Films have, over the last 12 years, principally produced feature films including Mullet, Little Fish and Jewboy. Currently they are in production with the feature film Primemover.
Matchbox is a new marketing and production company that brings together four companies from NSW and Victoria: Big and Little Films (Michael McMahon and Tony Ayres), Chapman Pictures (Penny Chapman), Cicada Films (Helen Bowden) and Panckhurst Productions (Helen Panckhurst).
Recently trading under the name Essential Viewing, Essential Media and Entertainment, based in Sydney, is run by directors Chris Hilton, Sonja Armstrong and Ian Collie who have collectively produced hundreds of hours of programming for the local and international market in factual and specialist drama production.
The expression of interest for the next round of the SBVP Growth Strand closes 25 July 2008. For more information go to www.afc.gov.au/sbvp
The AFC, Film Finance Corporation and Film Australia will support the Australian screen industry as Screen Australia from 1 July 2008.