20.4 C
Byron Shire
August 14, 2022

Exciting times ahead for local screen industry

Latest News

Mud benda rant

Regarding last week’s Splendour Festival and all the ‘haters’ out there. I took along a few seriously fun-deprived teenage...

Other News

Second independent assessment of Iron Gates DA in Evans Head recommends refusal

Two independent reports on the Iron Gates development at Evans Heads have determined that it should not go ahead.

Developer sparks storage stress

Byron-based property owner/developer, Josh Thompson, has created a shitstorm within the community after trying to evict customers renting 160 units at his ACE storage facility within a week, to make way for 26 warehouses.

Mullum locals protest flood-prone pod site

Around 40–50 locals gathered outside the Byron Shire Council chambers this morning to highlight the risks of, and lack of due process around, the selection of the flood accommodation pod site in Mullumbimby.

A voice for koalas: Vale Olivia Newton-John

The Rainforest Information Centre has expressed its deep condolences to the family and close friends of Olivia Newton-John who was literally the voice of the koala.

Where the Crawdads Sing

Abandoned by her family as a girl in the dangerous marshlands of North Carolina, Kya Clark, otherwise known to...

West Ballina locals concerned about new flood risk

A large group of West Ballina residents are alarmed about a DA which has been submitted to Ballina Shire Council by the Emmanuel Anglican College in Horizon Drive. The proposal, for a STEM and Digital Technology Centre, is planned for a well-known flood-prone area which previously acted as part of a large retention pond.

Screenworks CEO Ken Crouch at the Regional to Global Screen Forum. Photo David Lowe.

The film, TV and streaming world came to Lennox Head late last week, both in person and virtually, for the Screenworks Regional to Global Screen Forum.

Over 200 participants benefited from the knowledge and expertise of a who’s who of producers, funding body representatives, showrunners, distributors, commissioners and other industry professionals who came together to discuss the future prospects of rural and regional screen creators in a global marketplace.

Screenworks CEO Ken Crouch said the opening keynote with Rhoda Roberts in conversation with Penny Smallacombe was ‘a standout example of the real conversations that are taking place in the industry’, both in terms of the evolution of audiences and the embrace of real diversity.

Another great session featured the very funny screenwriter Vanessa Alexander, who’s based in Newcastle and running international writers’ rooms, working on award-winning hit shows across genre and geography.

Other participants included key people behind shows such as Bluey, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, The Great, Dirtgirl, The Sapphires, Top End Wedding and Eden.

Mr Crouch spoke about the live participation of commissioning executives from the Australian divisions of Netflix and Amazon Prime, saying it was wonderful ‘to have an honest and true conversation about how our regional practitioners and storytellers and content creators can actually get access to them, to share their stories.’

Was it difficult to attract such an impressive line-up to a regional event?

Government film executives (L-R), Kate Marks, Grainne Brunsdon, Jo Dillon and Jennie Hughes at the Regional to Global Screen Forum. Photo supplied.

Ken Crouch said, ‘A lot of work goes into events like this, especially when you want to get the tone of the conference right, and the program right.

‘You want it to be appealing not just to locals. You want people coming here and actually experiencing what the region is like.

‘There were amazing people who our local practitioners were able to have conversations with, at our networking events,’ he said.

Another innovation was an early morning walk up to beautiful Lennox Headland each morning for conference participants. ‘That was a great way for people to connect casually, and in our industry, that’s the most important thing. Those connections and relationships is what our industry is built on.’

Mr Crouch said there was nothing else like the Screenworks event happening elsewhere in regional Australia. ‘We’re very lucky to be able to do it here.’


Regional to Global Screen Forum. Photo supplied.Ken Crouch said,’ I think if we’d held this event twelve months ago, with COVID, it would have been a very different conference, but now the Australian industry is going through a bit of a boom.

‘A lot of people say that might not last, but there are always opportunities and ways to leverage these types of experiences we’re going through at the moment.

‘There’s so much production right across Australia, not just in our region.’

Conference participants heard that sound studio space and crews were in very high demand, with facilities like Byron Studios being booked as fast as they can be built, and the temporary studio at Alstonville already being used for a Netflix production.

‘We have proven our industry can support multiple productions on an ongoing basis,’ said Mr Crouch, ‘and that can only be a good thing for our reputation. Even domestic productions are seeing our region as an ideal location.

‘After the international productions go, we’ve demonstrated what we can do here, and that’s great. I’m very positive about the future,’ he said.

Bigger and better

The conference was the biggest of its kind hosted by Screenworks, and went off without a hitch, despite the technical complexity associated with mixing live and virtual speakers.

The new, improved Lennox Head Cultural Centre proved its worth as a venue for this large event, with breakout rooms for workshops and enough space for everyone to be COVID-safe (marshals were in attendance).

Deb Cox (live on stage) talks to her partner at Every Cloud Productions, Fiona Eagger, via Zoom, at the Regional to Global Screen Forum. Photo supplied.

‘It’s only been positive feedback right across the board,’ Ken Crouch told The Echo.

‘I was at a restaurant yesterday and there were professional producers leading in their industry, CEOs of Ausfilm, distributors and sales agents, all in Lennox Head. It blew my mind really.

‘I thought, the industry has come to Lennox Head. Luckily the rain cleared and we had three days of perfect weather. People have really loved it being here.

‘Because people are out of Sydney it’s almost like they’re on holidays, and that makes them more open. It’s not just that we’re more casual in the Northern Rivers, it’s because they’re here and they’re happy to relax,’ said Mr Crouch.

All three days of the conference was switched and livestreamed to the world, on demand (and to the big screen behind the participants) by an entirely local team led by Andy Bambach of In Your Face Productions. Conference participants can access the playback of the livestream for another week via Screenworks.

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Autocracy or democracy for Byron Shire?

The New Yorker Magazine recently wrote a quote from Mr Rupert Murdoch ‘The truth is authoritarian governments do work!’ Hold that thought. It has been...

Criminalising protest

In another Sstate government descent into criminalising protest, to protect their own government’s sabotage of a liveable planet, last Thursday new laws were passed...

Mullum pods

First, Hans Lovejoy’s article ‘emergency wedged’ was educational, factual and provided valuable information to the community. Michele Grant’s letter (27 July) was emotive overgeneralisations...

Flood residents get $650 from Lismore Council

Lismore City Mayor Steve Krieg today announced that 1,558 residents will receive a grant of $650 from the Lismore Flood Appeal.