It appears someone in government is finally listening to cries for more funding in the arts.
Tomorrow, for example, the winner of the Basil Sellers Art Prize will be announced in Melbourne, with one lucky recipient pocketing a cool $100,000 to go towards future arts projects (and some quality champagne, we’re sure). The Basil Sellers Art Prize encourages artists to take on the theme of sports in any artistic medium – but before you begin suspecting ‘Well, it must be the sporting connection that’s brought in the big bucks’, consider this: last week the Australian Government announced it will be funding more than three million dollars for a project called ‘Gender Matters: Brilliant Stories and Brilliant Careers’ which is exclusively devoted to the creation of films by female filmmakers.
A combined 45 story ideas and 13 industry projects led by Australian women will share in the funding, enabling these gals to fast-track the development of their creative concepts.
In the past year, Screen Australia received a record-breaking 452 applications for Brilliant Stories (333) and Brilliant Careers (119) – the most applications ever received for a funding program.
Says Screen Australia Chief Operating Officer, Fiona Cameron, “Gender Matters is unashamedly providing express-lane access to female business ideas and stories. The funding boost provided by Screen Australia has been a game-changer, providing the industry with an opportunity to get behind some very creative and commercial prospects. It’s now time for action.”
Gender Matters was announced in December 2015 as a direct response to the identified gender imbalance in lead creative roles across the screen sector. The disparity has been most obvious in traditional film with just 32% of women working as producers, 23% as writers and only 16% as directors.
With industry greats such as Jane Campion, Jan Chapman, Jocelyn Moorhouse, Claudia Karvan and Gracie Otto not only backing the Gender Matters initiative but getting involved in creating some brilliant new film and television, it looks like the pendulum is finally set to swing over to the fairer side. Antonino Tati
Pictured, top of story: The 2015/16 Australian box office hit ‘The Dressmaker’ was led by director/co-writer Jocelyn Moorhouse and producer Sue Maslin, with three women as the central characters.