By March 14, 2013 Blog

An Open Letter to Andrew Stoner MP
NSW Minister for Trade and Investment

Dear Mr Stoner,

Motivated by Nic Watt’s recent open letter ( to you Metro Screen also requests that the Interactive Media Fund be continued beyond June 2013.

Metro Screen supports emerging screen practitioners in NSW. Our role is to provide a range of opportunities and activities that guide emerging talent through careers in the digital screen industries.

Until relatively recently there was a significant chasm between ‘heritage’ and ‘new’ screen media. These sectors didn’t often talk to each other, let alone work together. In the past three years, largely through the Interactive Media Fund, the gap has been closing at a good speed. Cross fertilization has begun and we’re starting to see the fruits of these initiatives.

Emerging screen practitioners are beginning to realize the opportunities of multi-skilling across screens, large and tiny, and to develop creative concepts that leverage new digital platforms along with new audiences.

Despite the recent signs of cross-pollination and entrepreneurialism, much of the interactive screen community is still in experimentation and start-up mode. There is still some way to go in defining best practice and creating the most effective skills development pathways. This experimentation is a positive and bodes well for the future health of the sector.

This year, with funding from the Interactive Media Fund, Metro Screen is managing the Digital Kitchen initiative. Digital Kitchen provides a cash grant (up to $5,000 each) for three to five emerging developers to mature their interactive projects beyond concept stage to a ‘ripe for investment’ or market ready level. The project specifically targets interactive content including games, transmedia narrative projects, virtual worlds and mobile content. At the end of the program participants pitch their project to a panel of industry investors and interactive companies with a view to fully realising the project.

Several of our past students have secured funding directly from the Interactive Media Fund for their projects including Hear Right Now, a game to identify potential hearing loss in pre-schoolers and Crime Plays a locative mobile game which places crime-based narrative in the palm of your hand. In the latter example the funding allowed the team to start their own games-based business rather than having to develop their interactive ideas as an addition to their day job. These same projects do not meet the eligibility criteria for interactive project funding available through Screen Australia.

Metro Screen supports Nic Watt’s observation that although Screen Australia’s newly announced Australia Interactive Games Fund is welcome, it is targeted at experienced and credentialed practitioners. The Interactive Media Fund, administered by Screen NSW, specifically supports new and emerging talent and provides a critical step in the development pathway for a sustainable interactive community in NSW.

It is not possible for the majority of organisations working in this space to self-fund interactive development initiatives therefore the future health of the sector in NSW relies upon ongoing support from the government in the form of the Interactive Media Fund.

Yours sincerely,
Christina Alvarez
CEO, Metro Screen