Australian Children’s Content Summit opens in Coffs Harbour

Children's content makers from around the world have gathered for a 3 day conference as the Coffs Coast makes overtures to the screen industry.

Emma Watkins (pictured above) joined Children’s producers, writers and content makers attending the inaugural Australian Childrens Content Summit at Pacific Bay Resort, Coffs Harbour yesterday.

Delegates have flown in from the USA, Canada, Britain, Japan, Malaysia, Ireland, India,  New Zealand and around the country.

Three days of panels, pitches and network kicked off with a Welcome to Country, by Uncle Alex, a traditional smoking ceremony and performance by the Giingan Yiiliwiyay group and speeches from Shadow Minister for Tourism Gurmesh Singh and Shadow Minister for Arts Kevin Anderson.

Suzanne Ryan + Dean Sutherland from SLR Productions, with Gurmesh Singh (centre)

Local Member and Shadow Minister for Tourism Gurmesh Singh told TV Tonight the event was an important first step as part of a bigger plan to attract production to the area following the 2021 announcement of a proposed Pacific Bay Resort Studios & Village.

“Typically conferences like this are in the capital cities where the industry is, but we’re looking to move the industry out to the regions and specifically here to the Coffs Coast,” he said.

“The Starter’s Gun has now been fired for our industry here and we’ll hopefully start seeing more and more conferences, but also, more and more businesses start to make the Coffs Coast their home.”

The first day also included plenty of one-on-one pitching sessions, and a visit to the National Cartoon Gallery.

SLR Productions CEO and Australian Children’s Content Summit Founder, Suzanne Ryan said of her dream to host a conference, “I wanted to do it pre-COVID. I moved here with my lovely husband , who you’ve all met, Dean, and our beloved Scarlett. We thought, ‘You know what. You’re all coming to us.’ So here you are in the beautiful northern beaches of New South Wales.’

“I wanted to shout out to Jenny Buckland at the Australian Children’s Television Foundation. My pitch to Jenny was , ‘This is school camp for the kids’ business.’ She said ‘Let’s do it.’

“I want to thank Screen Australia, the Department of Regional New South Wales, our main sponsors for this whole event. I also want to thank our local members for attending. You met today Gurmesh Singh and you met Kevin Anderson …they’re very passionate and very supportive of this industry. And I also want you to say hello -because you haven’t met him yet- to Pat Conaghan, our Federal member here for Cowper. Please say hello, they’re very supportive of Australian children’s content.”

Screen NSW CEO Kyas Hepworth (pictured above) said, “Screen New South Wales will continue to champion inclusive storytelling and filmmaking and ensure underrepresented communities and voices have a strong place across all content and productions in the state. In the past two years Screen New South Wales has committed to supporting 8 Children’s shows, with production finance, returning $34.2 million to the New South Wales economy. I say that because that is due to the dedication and the work and the craft that all of you do and hold and cherish.”

Over three days the summit features exclusive pitch sessions with leading industry buyers, distributors and investors including ABC, BBC, CBC, Nine, Screen Australia, Australian Children’s Television Foundation, ABC Commercial, Atomic Cartoons, Sinking Ship Entertainment and Flying Bark Productions’ After Bark.

dirtgirlworld‘s ‘Scrapboy’, Michael Balk.

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