Recently-installed Communications and Arts Minister Mitch Fifield addressed the Screen Forever Conference last week, but there were no new announcements.
However he did give us an insight into who his favourite actor is: Sarah Snook.
That’s a pretty helpful tip anytime the industry is looking to lobby the minister. Just sit her down for a 1-on-1 and make her case.
He also indicated the TV dramas he has been watching.
Here are some select excerpts from his speech:
“A lot of things doing well on the small screen and the big screen. We know that there have been terrific box office receipts. On the big screen there’s been Paper Planes, Mad Max – Fury Road, Last Cab to Darwin, Oddball and The Dress Maker. All of those successes make crystal clear that the forecast demise of the big screen in years gone by hasn’t come to pass. That we know that for the big screen, there’s still that ethereal quality and there’s still a great and innate human desire for people to have that shared experience that you can only have when you’re sitting in the room with complete strangers in the dark. But I think that’s great that there’s still that embrace, that desire on behalf of the public.
“We know that Australians are now amongst the most famous faces in the world. You know them all, Kate, Hugh, Nicole. They don’t need surnames, that’s the ultimate sign of success, Mark. Russell Crowe, Geoffrey Rush, Toni Collette, Simon Baker, or as he used to be Simon Baker Denny, I think we remember. Naomi Watts, Judy Davis, Rose Byrne and there’s the next generation coming through; Sam Worthington, although I think he’s already through, Rebel Wilson, Sarah Snook and of course the Hemsworth brothers.
“Now all Federal Ministers are entitled to have favourites. Julie Bishop we know has a favourite. Well she actually has two favourites – Chris and Liam. And it’s not inappropriate, therefore, for the Arts Minister to have his favourite as well. And mine is Sarah Snook. And just what a brilliant performance in Predestination. Or really you could say two brilliant performances. We have some tremendous talent.
“Behind the camera we know we have world class people, producers, writers, directors and I should mention them because I shouldn’t just mention people in front of the camera. Justin Kurzel, Jennifer Kent, Joel Edgerton, who is on both sides of the camera. Kate Shortland, Luke Davies, Stuart Beattie, Warick Thornton, Wayne Blair. And I think it’s worth just pausing for a moment to mention some of the individuals who make the industry so strong. We are continuing, as you know, to excel in visual and digital effects productions. We’ve got world class PDV houses spread across the globe.
“And the small screen is also doing very well, and the distinction between the small screen and the big screen is becoming more blurred, it’s starting to dissolve. Not just in terms of quality and production values, but also in terms of how people seek to access what it is that they view. We do have some great Australian TV shows. You know Catching Milat, which I was absolutely glued to, House of Hancock. And both of those had in excess of two million viewers. There’s Peter Allen: Not the Boy Next Door, and The Katering Show, Plonk and many others. And they’re selling well internationally to boot. Which is terrific.
Even though our screen industry is relatively small in an international context, it really does do bloody well in creation and innovation. Something that we can be tremendously proud of. We’ve got a colossal cultural contribution. A big economic contribution, and they tell me, and I think if we had a dollar for every KPMG or Access Economics study of the value of a particular industry or sector we’d all be very wealthy. But nevertheless that does not make it untrue. So I’m told, and rest assured that this is something I repeat mantra like to Cabinet and the ERC, that every job created in the film industry and television industry supports 3.57 jobs in other industries. And that every dollar of turnover creates a turnover of $3.52 in other industries. And an amount equal to 13-20% of spend comes back to the Australian Government in taxation and a further 3% goes to State Governments in the form of taxation.
“Now when I was before Cabinet talking about Thor and Prometheus I knew that off by heart. But you can rely that I will always repeat those stats when the opportunity presents.”