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In a bid to encourage filmmakers working in regional areas, the FTO recently announced its Regional Filming Fund which will provide grants to productions in NSW—features, TV series, mini-series, documentaries—being made outside the Sydney metro area.

If you’re a filmmaker living in the Illawarra, the Short Sited 5 Film Festival is open for submissions. Films under 7 minutes can be entered in the open, doco, experimental or western categories. Deadline March 15. If you just like to watch, the shorts are screening at the Project Centre for Contemporary Art, Wollongong, March 23, 7.30pm. For more info check out the news section at Film Illawarra.

Siren Entertainment and Pinefilm Entertainment will begin sell-through DVD distribution in March with a catalogue (finally!) of foreign arthouse and Australian cinema titles from the last decade. The first round includes The Interview, Idiot Box, Lost Highway, The End of Violence and Secrets and Lies. Siren MD Nigel Rennard comments: “...this dual acquisition places us in the box seat for independent DVD distribution. This format is exciting for the film fan, and these films will all carry top of the line packaging and DVD features.”

SAFC has announced some new, welcome initiatives. The Producer Support Scheme will subsidise marketing and financing costs and provide professional development for producers who have made at least one feature film/broadcast drama/doco in the past 2 years. Up to $20,000 is available. Deadline March 9. The Documentary Incubator Scheme will help develop doco projects, offering a mentorship with an experienced practitioner for 3 months. Deadline February 16. The Script Incubator Scheme aims to encourage development of high quality feature scripts with a mentor available to help participants polish their first draft. This year they’re after comedy projects.

Columbia Tristar won two 2000 Multicultural Marketing Awards (Commercial Award for Big Business; Grand Award for most outstanding entry in all industries) for their Silk Screen programme of Asian Cinema (see page 13). Hosted by the Ethnic Affairs Commission, the awards recognise organisations that promote cultural diversity in Australia. Hopefully this will encourage Columbia to continue programming Asian films.

How’s your BAS coming along? If you haven’t already given it to the Performance Space for their upcoming project, and you are struggling, the AFC has published an 80 page manual on “The Film and Television Industry and the New Tax System”, covering GST, ABN and PAYG, producer investment contracts and exports. It also includes handy forms and a cashbook layout so you too can become an accountant. The manual is available free in hard copy or downloadable from the internet.

Wishing Popcorn Taxi could get to WA? Kitchen Sync is a new film night at the George St café, East Freo, screening local filmmakers’ work. Every 2nd Thursday will feature screenings, discussion, guest speakers from the industry and a chance to get some feedback on your films. Join their email list.

RealTime issue #41 Feb-March 2001 pg. 15

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