Australian Feature Film Summit Wraps Trilogy With Prism Round-Table

The Australian Feature Film Summit (AFFS) has today unveiled the outcomes of its trilogy of events, with the forum attracting more than 1,000 delegates across its October virtual AFFS, May hybrid AFFS and AFFS Prism roundtable in June.

The recent AFFS Prism roundtable capped off a year of meetings and events aimed specifically at growing the success of the Australian feature film sector. Facilitated by Dr Simon Longstaff AO, Executive Director of The Ethics Centre, the outcome-driven, future-focused policy forum increased the audience and business case for Australian feature films by teasing out several ‘What if’ scenarios – interrogating new strategies in relation to the business models currently intersecting theatrical production, distribution and exhibition.

Summit Director, Sue Maslin said: “The Summit has been a game changer on a number of fronts. It brought all players involved in connecting screen ideas to theatrical audiences into the same room for the first time in many decades. It demonstrated that cinema still matters and that everyone benefits from great Australian film releases. We need more of these, not less – but ‘good’ is no longer enough. The films need to be ‘great’ to attract audiences to the theatrical space.

“It has closed the loop between exhibition and production and invited exhibitors to join distributors and screen agencies in playing a role in determining what is ‘theatrical’.”

Designed to drive change by turning principles into practice, suggestions into strategies and opinions into outcomes, the Summit provided detailed modelling of how audience data is currently used and more importantly, how the industry might more effectively use it going forward. It invited delegates to listen to each other’s business challenges and opportunities and questioned every aspect of how the industry interrelates and might do things differently – from incentivising success; reforming marketing and release strategies and funding; the risk / award ratio for each industry sector and how this is reflected in terms; and ways that the streaming services could co-exist with theatrical releases.

“This is the beginning of a new era of cooperation and has been supported by all representative bodies of producers, exhibitors and distributors as well as screen agencies and filmmakers. The streamers have yet to fully engage in this conversation but will likewise have an important role to play in the future of Australian feature films,” said Maslin.

Summit Convenor, Gino Munari further commented: “While it may be an understatement to say that there are many diverse perspectives on the solutions, everyone involved in the Australian Feature Film Summit can agree on the need for action to ensure the success of the Australian feature film industry going forward. And the Summit has demonstrated our willingness to work together to achieve it.”

Specific outcomes from the three summit events include;

  • The Road Test pitching forum, produced in partnership with Compton School, will become a regular calendar event to coincide with the Australian International Movie Convention and the ICA Conference;
  • The top three Road Test pitch producers have been invited to participate at the upcoming MIFF 37 South Market;
  • A range of forums both in person and online will continue to bring exhibitors together with filmmakers to increase producers’ understanding of exhibition and cinema programming;
  • A task force to scope an accessible national data base offering core insights on audiences has been established;
  • Plans are underway to establish a marketing task force to review how the industry can work together more strategically to support Australian theatrical releases;
  • The AFFG will contribute a submission to the National Cultural Policy.

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