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Screen hopefuls size up surging southern industry

Arts

The strong momentum of South Australia’s film industry is set to continue when Hollywood producer E. Bennett Walsh opens the Screen Makers Conference in Adelaide this month.

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Traditionally a two-day event, this year’s conference has been extended by a day to include Out of the Box Lab, a comprehensive overview of the various entertainment formats from game shows to variety talk and talent shows.

Run by the Media Resource Centre, the Screen Makers Conference brings together Australia’s writers, directors and producers to help SA screen creatives pitch new ideas, connect with their industry and network with established professionals.

The July 26-28 conference is an opportunity for entry level and mid-level SA creatives to not only be inspired, but also to learn from the best in the business.

Industry professionals from film, TV, documentary, and online media will run sessions, facilitate one-on-one pitching opportunities, and participate in industry roundtables.

The most notable guest is E. Bennett Walsh, Executive Producer of the upcoming Mortal Kombat blockbuster movie. Walsh will kick off the conference alongside South Australian Film Corporation’s Amanda Duthie with a discussion about his career, his film catalogue and the evolution of the film industry on a global scale.

He is also expected to reveal details of the upcoming Mortal Kombat film. The largest film production in South Australia’s history, Mortal Kombat is forecast to inject some AUD $70 million into the state’s economy.

Walsh has enjoyed many great successes through his career, including as executive producer of Kill Bill: Vol. 1 & 2, with Vol. 1 earning a Golden Globe nomination for star Uma Thurman as well as five BAFTA nominations. He also produced the critically acclaimed The Kite Runner, based on the international best-selling novel; directed by Marc Forster, it garnered Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations for Best Foreign Language Film.

Media Resource Centre Director Gail Kovatseff said Walsh’s presence would be one of the highlight’s of this year’s conference

“This is a rare opportunity for Australia’s emerging creatives to hear from someone who has worked on some of the biggest blockbusters in the world,” she said.

The result of a partnership between the Screen Makers Conference and community television station Channel 44, Out Of The Box Lab will be held on Sunday, July 28. It will feature network executives talking about what they look for in a show, growing market trends, and what makes an Australian television hit.

Entertainment producers such as Todd Abbott (Rove Live, Get Krackin’, Hard Quiz, and The Weekly with Charlie Pickering), Maz Farrelly (X Factor, Dancing With The Stars, Ready Steady Cook) will be be on hand.

South Australian participants will also have a chance to win $15,000 in funding through the Out Of The Box Funding Initiative.

Teams will have six weeks after the conference to develop and pitch a studio-based entertainment pilot set to be broadcast through Out Of The Box partner Channel 44.

The winner will not only receive funding but also mentoring, ABC studio hire, equipment and facilities from the MRC and Channel 44.

Kovatseff said the new initiative was a boon for South Australia’s developing screen creatives.

“There is no-one else in Australia doing anything like this, and we’re hoping it will give a local team a shot at creating an ongoing entertainment show that can underpin employment and production outcomes for the local industry,” she said.

Dan Thorsland of Adelaide-based Mighty Kingdom, one of Australia’s leading games developers will be at the conference with a panel to discuss the digital economy, the new opportunities in VFX, games, VR and AR and how these skills cross over between creative industries.

Other speakers include Producer Julie Ryan of the South Australian made film Hotel Mumbai, AFTRS’ Head of Animation Krista Jordan, and Alistair Baldwin, a writer and comedian based in Melbourne.

The conference is also hosting the Pitch-o-rama, a competition of elevator-style pitches, live on stage in front of a panel of judges. The winner will receive a $10,000 funding grant from the MRC and ABC to realise their concept.

The 2019 Screen Makers Conference will be held at the Mercury Cinema, Adelaide on July 26th until July 28th.

This is a Creative Commons story from The Lead South Australia, a news service providing stories about innovation in South Australia. Please feel free to use the story in any form of media. The story sources are linked in with the copy and all contacts are willing to talk further about the story.

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