Metro Screen To Close

By September 10, 2015 Blog
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It is with deep regret and considerable sadness that the Board of Directors of Metro Screen has announced that the Sydney-based organisation will close at the end of 2015.

With Screen Australia funding to cease at the end of 2015 and no viable alternative funding available, Chair of the Metro Screen Board Kath Shelper said that the only responsible option was to wind down operations.

“Every effort has been made by Metro Screen to secure additional funding but to no avail. We need to be responsible to our staff and ensure we are able to meet our obligations to them, and therefore it is with regret that the Board has made the decision to close Metro Screen in December 2015,” Ms Shelper said.

The Screen Australia funding of $240,000 was directed solely to core operational costs (overheads). Metro Screen CEO Christina Alvarez said to cover this loss, the challenge has been to secure approximately $750,000 annually in new projects: “Whilst Metro Screen has successfully secured some significant high profile projects in the past 12 months, unfortunately the target has not been met. Financial sustainability can not be achieved through downsizing the organisation.”

The current Board Directors of Metro Screen are Kath Shelper (Chair), Stephen Boyle, Jarod Green, Cassie Jackson, Claire Morgan, Cate Smith, Gary Williams and Malinda Wink.

Ms Shelper said the Emerging Sector Working Party, which was established following the funding cut, has been guiding research about talent regeneration in the screen industry and the resulting report is expected to be released in November, with a public forum to be held soon after. Working Party members include independent producers Liz Watts, Martha Coleman and Alex White, ADG’s Kingston Anderson, SPA’s Matt Hancock, Metro Screen Board Members Jarod Green and Kath Shelper and CEO Christina Alvarez.

“Metro Screen would particularly like to acknowledge and thank Screen NSW and the City of Sydney for their unwavering support over many years but particularly over the past 18 months,” Ms Shelper said. “And the Board would also like to thank CEO Christina Alvarez and her staff for their hard work and dedication”.

Established in 1981 with funding from the Australian Film Commission, Metro Screen is a not-for-profit organisation that supports the emerging screen community. Metro Screen has grown over the past decade to manage a span of projects and activities across all screen formats, large and tiny, with a passionate commitment to supporting a diversity of voices amongst emerging practitioners with hands-on production, networking opportunities, skills development and access to equipment and facilities.

Current Metro Screen programs and activities will continue unaffected until the end of the year.

Further details about the research report and forum will be announced in October.

 

Media enquiries:
Tracey Mair, TM Publicity
Ph: 8333 9066 or 0419 221 493

 

CLOSURE FACT SHEET

In taking the decision to close Metro Screen it will be business as usual until the end of this year (2015) as follows:

  • The Emerging Filmmaker Fund will continue with shortlisted applicants to be contacted in early October.
  • The Breaks production program and Emerging Producer Placement scheme will be supported through to the end of this year as scheduled.
  • Current training programs will continue as scheduled. Students will receive specific details regarding graduation and internships.
  • Jumpstart subsidies are available until year-end.
  • Digital Escalator will remain open until year-end.
  • Film Festivals Australia members will receive a direct update on plans.
  • We will continue to hire equipment & facilities until December.

Please contact us on admin@metroscreen.org.au if you are currently participating in a Metro Screen activity and have a specific query.

12 Comments

  • Vicki Sowry says:

    As someone who started my career at Metro Screen, this is very, very sad news. All best wishes to Christina, David, Ian and the rest of the team.

  • Fred Harden says:

    Sad indeed, thank you for the years of encouraging and supporting filmmakers et al.

  • Ali Saad says:

    This is very sad. Thank you for all your support and services throughout the years. It won’t be the same. Good luck to all affected by this.

  • Peter Giles says:

    So sad to hear this news, I started my career at Metro Screen and I’m proud that I played a part in the life of this vital organisation. This is a huge loss for new and emerging filmmakers and underscores the lack of vision in Screen Australia who insist on underwriting baby boomers ahead of providing support to young talent. All the best to the team at Metro – you guys are awesome!

  • Jason Gee says:

    Ditto on all the sadness: This is terrible news, having temporarily filled in for Ian earlier this year I know what a blow this will mean for all the great staff and the many clients that use Metro. I know how important Metro is for this city…

  • John says:

    It is particularly sad for people like me that are in the middle of their studies. I have a couple of subjects left to finalise my Certificate IV in Screen Media and unfortunately cannot graduate by the end of 2015. At least I can say that the teachers were supportive and helpful. Best wishes to the Metro Screen Team. I am grateful for everything you have taught me. I will miss you.

  • Jennifer Long says:

    Thanks for everything George Brandis. Two years of cuts to the screen and arts sectors are starting to bite.

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  • Writers in the Park says:

    Metro Screen has been one of those grass roots organisations that reflect, help and are integral to the film community – the film future for Australian creators is bleak. I guess @witpsyd has come out of a desire to have an Australian creative voice where the clan and community can gather over story and ideas. Please join us Sunday 27th Sept in @CentParklands inside the Paddington Gates #writepark

  • Cathy Vogan says:

    My life as an artist started in this building, at the Australian Video Festival, and I spent 5 great years teaching at Metro. I am deeply saddened to hear of the schools’s demise. Around 2010, this creative space began to suffer under the stringent, corporate demands of the VET system, and we all got swamped with paperwork that hardly corresponded to what we had been doing at all, but upon which a great deal of our funding depended. New certifications of the month became obligatory, on top of our University degrees and industry qualifications, and Metro had to pour back money into this system to re-qualify us just to teach there. Brandis and Screen Australia may have dealt the death blow, but unfortunately the corporate creep had been happening for some time…

  • Dale says:

    No. This is terrible news. Unbelievable. Metro TV was some of the best years of my life.

  • Lisa Milner says:

    My thanks to all at Metro Screen. I’ve been working on and off with those great folks since 1981, and it’s truly unbelievable that the government and its bodies reckon’s it’s OK to shut down Metro Screen. A huge loss for Sydney and NSW.