ACT Screen Investment Fund Guidelines and Terms of Trade

By Mario Willis,2015-01-15 01:05
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ACT Screen Investment Fund Guidelines and Terms of Trade

    ACT Screen Investment Fund Guidelines and Terms of Trade The ACT Screen Investment Fund (the Fund) is an ACT Government program administered by the ACT Economic Development Directorate in collaboration with ScreenACT, the ACT Office of Film, Television and Digital Media.

    The Fund is available to support the production of film, television and digital media projects that have market attachment.

     The ACT Government reserves the right to vary these guidelines without notice; therefore applicants should always confirm their currency before proceeding with an application.

    Roles and Responsibilities

    ScreenACT is responsible for the initial screening and provides preliminary advice and guidance in the preparation of applications. It is recommended that applicants contact ScreenACT before making a formal application.

    The ACT Government is responsible for the overall management of the Fund including assessment of applications, funding decisions and monitoring of projects.


    The Fund aims to support the growth and sustainability of the ACT screen industry through co-investment with the marketplace in creative, original and marketable projects that can demonstrate significant economic, cultural and creative benefits to ACT.

    The Fund invests in:

    ; film productions with varying budgets, creative elements and financing models;

    ; television productions including telemovies, drama, factual, children’s and animation

    series; and

    ; digital media projects including interactive entertainment, virtual worlds and simulations. The Fund will also consider applications for post production funding for projects.


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    To be eligible for funding, the Applicants must:

    ; be Australian citizens or permanent residents;

    ; have an Australian Business Number (ABN); and

    ; be the originator/s of the script, the copyright holder, or have an option to the rights in

    any and all works on which the project is based. Applicant / Company details The Fund will not support any of the following:

    ; short format films;

    ; productions primarily intended for corporate, educational, training or promotional


    ; productions for non-commercial outlets, or which do not have national and/or

    international market attachments;

    ; television programming such as commercials, game shows, sports, infotainment, current

    affairs and similar activities; or

    ; projects that could attract an X18+ or RC (Refused Classification) as described in the

    guidelines for the Classification of Film and Computer Games available through the Office

    of Film and Literature Classification (

    Funding Levels

    The ACT Government is usually a minority investor and does not fully finance productions. It however expects its investment to trigger significant expenditure in the Territory. The ACT Government may invest in a project at the following levels:

    ; up to a maximum of $200,000 or up to 10 per cent of the budget, whichever is the lesser,

    for general screen productions; and

    ; up to a maximum of $75,000 for one-off documentaries.

    In exceptional circumstances, The ACT Government may consider investing at higher levels where there is a demonstrated significant benefit to the ACT.

    Projects should have finance partners, marketplace commitment or demonstrated marketplace interest in place before seeking production investment from the Fund. Producers must be able to demonstrate that their production will be completed, delivered and that distribution is


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    guaranteed. This could be by significant interest from Screen Australia, a broadcaster, publisher, sales agent or distributor.

    Assessment Criteria

    The following criteria are used to assess applications for production investment:

    ; the proposed ACT spend;

    ; the extent of the project’s economic, cultural and creative benefits to the ACT;

    ; the creative quality of the project;

    ; the project’s readiness to go into production;

    ; the marketplace potential of the project and the attachments already in place;

    ; the track record and/or potential of the applicant; and

    ; the proposed use of and/ or development of ACT talent, personnel, services, facilities and


    It is important to note that in most cases applications are assessed competitively against other applications. Therefore an application cannot be guaranteed of approval, even if it substantially meets these criteria.

    Priority is given to applications from ACT-resident companies for projects that will be undertaken wholly or primarily in the ACT. Projects originating from outside the ACT will be considered in certain circumstances, provided they are consistent with the objectives of the Fund. The ACT Government welcomes joint applications where applicants are seeking co-funding arrangements with other State, Territory or Australian Government funding agencies.

    Indigenous issues

    Where the project has Indigenous community participation or content, written confirmation of the willingness of both the subject(s) and the community to be involved is essential. If you have not yet consulted with the individual/community, or the content is not specific to a particular community or person/s, please explain how you intend to manage the Indigenous content with regard to appropriate protocols. Please refer to Screen Australia’s Pathways &

    Protocols - A filmmaker’s guide to working with Indigenous people, culture and concepts


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    Application Process

    Applicants are required to submit only ONE completed application form (available from the ScreenACT and ACT Government websites) plus any required supporting material. It must be professionally presented, but NOT bound. Pages must be printed on one side only. CVs of key personnel included as support material should be limited to one page, listing only the experience relevant to the application.

    Applicants will receive an email notification within two working days of lodging an application. Should applicants not receive acknowledgement within this timeframe it is recommended that they contact the ACT Government.

    Applications and any supporting material submitted will not be returned. Applicants should keep their own copy of the application, and should not under any circumstances submit original supporting material.

    Administration Fees

    The ACT Government will charge a 2.5 per cent administration fee for all approved projects. This fee is to help offset legal/administration costs and will be calculated as a percentage of the approved funding. The administration fee will be invoiced after the first drawdown of the investment.


    A maximum of four funding rounds are held per year. Only one application at a time will be considered from an applicant or any Related Entity as defined within the Corporations Act 2001. The funding rounds will be announced at the start of each financial year and their timing will align with the Screen Australia assessment schedule.

    ACT Screen Investment Fund Committee

    The Committee’s primary role is to provide informed and impartial assessments of applications to the Fund and to recommend applications for support to the ACT Government. In doing so, the Committee will consider applications against the Fund’s assessment criteria and, where necessary, rank recommended applications in order of merit.

    The Committee may also be asked to review the operation of the Fund and provide advice to the ACT Government on its strategic direction.


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    The ACT Government will manage the assessment process which may involve obtaining external reports from independent experts to provide advice in relation to applications. Indigenous reader reports will be sought where a project involves Indigenous content and/or people. Reports from external assessors inform the decision-making process but do not necessarily determine the outcome. Applicants may be requested to provide further information during the assessment process and may be asked to present at a meeting of the ACT Screen Investment Fund Committee. The ACT Government and the Committee reserve the right to contact and discuss a project with all parties associated with an application, including but not limited to the broadcasters, Screen Australia, other state agencies, distributors, publishers and/or sales agents approached by the Applicant.

    If the Applicant is successful he/she will be provided with a letter of conditional approval from the ACT Government that will outline the level of funding support as well as any terms and conditions that must be satisfied prior to the approval being confirmed. The successful applicant will be required to enter into a Production Investment Agreement (PIA) with the ACT Government. Where an application has been deferred to the next round, the applicant is at liberty to withdraw it and resubmit at a later date. Projects that have been unsuccessful in securing funding will not be reconsidered unless specifically invited to resubmit by the Committee. Applicants should note that decisions by the Committee are final.

    Under no circumstances will the ACT Government or the Committee discuss publicly reasons for or against funding applications except with the applicant concerned.

    Funding Disbursement

    The funding will be paid to the applicant in accordance with a payment schedule developed with the applicant but will not exceed 90 per cent of the approved level of assistance until the project is complete. The 10 per cent balance will be paid upon receipt of the final report as stipulated in the PIA.

    Freedom of Information

    Applicants are informed that ACT Government Agencies are subject to the Freedom of Information Act which provides a general right of access to records held by Government agencies. Applicants should also be aware that information pertaining to the receipt of ACT Government financial assistance will be tabled in the ACT Legislative Assembly. This information could include the name of recipients, the amount of the assistance, the name of the project/activity and,


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    possibly, a brief description of the funded project/activity. This could result in requests for more detail to be released publicly.


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    The ACT Government’s standard Terms of Trade provide guidance on how the ACT Government

    will conduct its business around the Fund. They supplement the Guidelines and also underpin the terms set out in ACT Government’s contracts.

    The ACT Government reserves the right at its sole discretion to vary any of its Terms of Trade without notice.

    Acting 'in good faith'

    The ACT Government acts in the public interest and must exhibit the highest levels of propriety in its dealing with Applicants. It requires applicants to act in the same way in their dealings with the Government. Applicants must be honest and open in all dealings and must not mislead or deceive the ACT Government by act or omission.

    The ACT Government also expects all successful Applicants to act fairly and reasonably towards third parties involved in their project. Fairness and reasonableness includes (a) paying market rates for all work performed by third parties on their project; (b) complying with policies as advised from time to time; (c) respecting intellectual property rights of all relevant persons whether those rights be copyright, moral rights or Indigenous rights.

    ACT Screen Investment Fund guidelines and assessment process

    Minimum requirements

    Chain of title

    The successful applicant must be able to demonstrate a clear chain of title in their project. This will usually involve providing a series of documents which establish that the applicant owns or controls all necessary rights in order to fully develop, produce and market their project. For example, where the applicant is not the originator of the underlying work, the applicant must be able to demonstrate an option on the work giving the applicant the right to deal in the work for a minimum of two years, renewable for a further extended one year period by the applicant on terms to be agreed by the ACT Government. Other examples may include agreements for the services of writers, script editors, producers and/or directors (as applicable). All relevant chain of title documents should ideally be provided to the ACT Government for approval at the time of application as ACT Government contracting will often be contingent on such approval.


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Completion guarantee

    A reputable completion guarantor must be attached where the ACT Government is providing production financing, however the ACT Government may at its discretion waive the need for a Bond where it is the majority investor.


    The ACT Government requires producers to take out and budget for insurance consistent with

    industry standards.

    Australian Business Number (ABN)

    Successful applicants are required to have an ABN otherwise the ACT Government will be obliged by law to withhold an amount of tax (currently at a rate of 46.5%) from amounts due to the applicant, and to remit those amounts to the Australian Tax Office (ATO). Attachments

    Applicants are encouraged to include a provision for attachments of local staff to their projects when applying for funding. Attachments provide emerging practitioners with the opportunity to gain valuable, paid experience on a project that is funded by the ACTSIF. The applicant will liaise with ScreenACT to determine the appropriate levels of attachment for their project.

    Applicant rights

    Creative process

    The ACT Government recognises the importance of the producer’s role in delivering according to their contractual obligations, and therefore their right to manage all aspects of the creative process without undue interference from investors. Subject therefore to the ACT Government’s right of meaningful consultation at various key points of the development and/or production process, the producer will be given full autonomy in all such matters.

    Rights Reversion

    For all production investments approved by the ACT Government, the ACT Government’s copyright interest and recoupment entitlements will revert in favour of the producer five years after delivery of the project.


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ACT Government contracting process

    Successful applicants will be required to enter into an agreement with the ACT Government. It is expected that applicants will be responsible for their own legal and other costs associated with the contracting process, including preparing the required chain of title documentation (which should ideally be in place before applying). Contact details for film industry lawyers can be found via the Encore Directory or assistance can be sought through Arts Law Centre of Australia (

    Contracting can be expected to take anything up to eight weeks after the funding decision dependant on the complexity of any given project and/or the overall workload at that time. It should be noted that extensive amendments to the ACT Government’s pro forma documents will generally be resisted and that prolonged negotiation may delay the contracting process.

    ACT Government rights

    ACT Government credit

    It is a material contractual condition that ACT Government funded projects must include a pre-approved credit acknowledging the support of the ACT Government in the titles of the production and/or on any scripts or other documentation developed and/or produced with ACT Government funds.

    Acknowledgment should also be given in any promotional material (including advertising, editorial, websites) associated with a funded project or activity. Depending on the project the ACT Government may request other forms of acknowledgement on a case-by-case basis. Examples of approved ACT Government credits can be provided on request.

    Copyright share

    In return for its investment, the ACT Government will require a copyright interest in the production commensurate with its overall investment and pari passu with other investors.


    For finance provided by way of investment the ACT Government requires an initial recoupment entitlement to participate in gross returns commensurate with its investment pro rata pari passu

    with other investors.


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Expenditure incurred prior to contracting

    Any expenditure incurred by the applicant prior to the completion of the contracting process will be the sole responsibility of the applicant, unless pre-approved by the ACT Government. Promotional materials

    The ACT Government will require a non-exclusive right to use excerpts from the production and other promotional materials as delivered by the producer for its corporate, promotional and educational purposes. However where the production is still to be released the ACT Government will seek approval of the production company.

    ACT Government right of approval

    The ACT Government will require right of approval and/or consultation over certain aspects of the production, which will be outlined in the relevant ACT Government contract. Funding must be used solely for the purposes described in the application and approved by the ACT Government. Any major change in the project or the use of funds must be submitted in writing to and be approved by the ACT Government prior to the change.

    The ACT Government will have the following approval rights to all film, television and digital media projects:

    ; approval of changes to any key elements of the project including the script, key personnel,

    finance plan or the budget; and

    ; consultation on rough cut, fine cut and final mix.

    ACT Government access to set

    The ACT Government will require reasonable access to production sets, locations and/or studios while ensuring that it does not cause any undue interference.


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