Last night the Australian Children’s Television Foundation celebrated 30 years with an industry dinner at its headquarters in Fitzroy.
ACTF has a roll-call of titles it has supported including Round the Twist, Hollie’s Heroes, Lockie Leonard, My Place, Spellbinder, Mortified, The Genie from Down Under, Lil’ Elvis Jones and the Truckstoppers, Kaboodle, Lift Off, Dance Academy, Crash Zone, Winners, Touch the Sun, The Girl from Tomorrow and more.
Industry partners in attendance included ABC3’s Tim Brooke-Hunt, Film Victoria’s Jenni Tosi, producer Joanne Werner, director Jeffrey Walker, actress Brooke Harman, TEN’s Head of Children’s TV Cherrie Bottger, Cordell Jigsaw’s Toni Malone, plus representatives from funding bodies, education, schools, producers, crews and media.
CEO Jenny Buckland paid tribute to chairman Janet Holmes à Court who has been with the organisation since 1983.
“Janet’s contribution to our organisation is immeasurable and impossible to sum it up. She’s shared wonderful successes and heartbreaking lows over the years. She’s inspired, supported and encouraged us to always be the best we can be,” she said.
Holmes à Court said her association with ACTF had been a highlight of her life.
“To see this organisation grow from the early days of the 1980s when the commercial broadcasters were openly antagonistic towards children’s television -they pretty much wanted the organisation to fail- it’s been an amazing journey.
“There was hardly any children’s drama at that time but now the ACTF is a hub in the middle of a thriving industry that operates around the country.
“I constantly have friends saying to me ‘I was in Zambia last week and I turned on the TV and saw your logo’ or ‘I was in Bosnia, I was in Jamaica…’ It’s just amazing to think that in 115 countries children are watching programmes that are made for Australian children but made of such quality that they are wanted all over the world.”
Holmes à Court told guests that during her three decades she had dealt with some 80 state and federal Arts ministers, including a time when she and Buckland were in Canberra in the midst of a potential leadership spill between Kim Beazley and Kevin Rudd.
“Jenny and I were about to get into a lift and Kevin Rudd got out and Jenny said, ‘Look just go for it Kevin!’
“Team up with Julia!” Buckland recalls.
Fast-forward years later and Rudd was opening kid’s channel ABC3.