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Small Screens

CHAPTER 6

‘Gaps in the National Family Album’

Australian Documentaries on the ABC and SBS

JEANNINE BAKER

During 2015 the main SBS channel (SBS One) broadcast just two commissioned Australian one-off documentaries (that is, not part of a series), neatly bookending the year: Prison Songs in January and Black Panther Woman in November. Although both public broadcasters have reduced their support for one-off Australian documentaries in recent years, many of those that have recently reached our small screens demonstrate just how compelling and important this art form can be in interrogating what it means to be Australian. This essay examines the decline of the one-off Australian documentary on our small screens in the context of audience fragmentation across multiplying viewing platforms, and changes to the funding and commissioning landscape.

The musical documentary Prison Songs (ABC1, 4 January 2015) features the inmates at Berrimah Correctional Centre, the largest prison in the Northern Territory. More than 80 percent of inmates are Indigenous, and the statistical likelihood of recidivism is high. West Australian director Kelrick Martin set out to make a film that went beyond the stereotypical representation of Indigenous people as victims. Martin told me that he’d had two major hurdles to overcome – “that this is an indigenous story, and one that involves inmates. I needed to make the stories penetrate, to push through the disinterest of audiences”. The unusual level of intimacy with both the place and the prisoners, and the trust built up over a relatively long period of development and production, shows in the film. The inspiration was the acclaimed musical documentaries set in British prisons, Feltham Sings (2002) and Songbirds (2005), both directed by Brian Hill (who was a consultant on Prison Songs). Interviews with selected inmates are interspersed with songs sung by the inmates in a variety of musical styles, with lyrics based on the interviewees’ own words and subject to their final approval. Written by Casey Bennetto of Keating: The Musical fame and Indigenous singer-songwriter Shellie Morris, the songs are one of the real surprises and pleasures of the film. The opening number describes the dehumanising, de-individualising effects of prison, and the numbing sameness of daily life inside. Sung by the main character, Max, the song also reflects the fear and humiliation felt by many inmates, and the lurking threat of violence:

Head down low to hide your shame
Speak up once when they call your name
Ticking off the calendar, doing it hard
Never let yourself get caught off guard
Start off scared and you end up scarred

There is no glossing over the crimes that landed these inmates in jail. But in allowing each of the interviewees to reflect on their life outside the prison walls – on their family and upbringing, and on the circumstances and impact of their crime, viewers are forced to consider the individual and shared experiences that led to their incarceration. Common themes emerge – family violence, substance abuse, and disconnection from culture and country.

Max, aged 27, is well-educated, articulate and self-aware, and probably the interviewee that most viewers will be able to connect with. “Anybody could end up in a place like this”, he says. “Life’s all about timing. It’s all about circumstance”. Max is “an example of the precariousness of life”, says Martin. “One bad decision, one uncontrollable emotional reaction can change the course of your life. Anyone’s life”.1 The son of an Aboriginal mother and non-Indigenous father, Max did not feel fully accepted by either the mainstream non-Indigenous community or the Aboriginal community.

Dale, also 27 and light-skinned, says that one of the only places he feels like he belongs is in prison. Dale’s story was the one I found most affecting. With eyes averted, he talks about seeing his schizophrenic stepfather beat up his pregnant mother, when Dale was just seven. That was the first time he’d ever seen someone hit, but since then he’s witnessed a lot of domestic violence in other families. And when Dale drinks, he says, “the anger he holds comes out”. The song that follows includes the heartbreaking line, “that’s what you learn from your Mum and Dad”. Max and Dale also rap together on a hip hop song for “all the outcasts”.

Phil, aged 53, has become institutionalised, but says that the place he dubs the “Berrimah Hilton” has saved him. “When I get out I miss this dirty place. I know when I’m in here I’m straight, I’ve got my health back, I’m alive, I feel alive. I’m not out on the streets mixed up in crime”. Like other interviewees, Phil grew up witnessing a lot of family violence.

The longing for home, family and the bush is palpable. Occasional glimpses of landscape, sky, and birds overhead are interspersed with images of the bareness of the prisoners’ surroundings and the barbed wire that hems them in. Prison life “is sad and lonely”, says Wurdankardi, 51, from Wadeye. “All I think about is my mother country. It’s over there. Not here. This place is no good”. Wurdankardi talks about the issue of having two laws operating within one nation, which has resulted in many Aboriginal people being punished twice for the same crime, and in what he sees as a lack of understanding of Aboriginal ways. “Your story is down there somewhere, and the whitefella’s story sits on top of it”.

The lack of narration is refreshing, when much factual television is irritatingly over-narrated. Instead, facts and figures are conveyed by occasional superimpositions. One reveals that 90 percent of inmates have been involved in or witnessed domestic violence, another that most inmates committed their crimes under the influences of drugs or alcohol. Malcolm, aged 20, sings a song about his “precious love”, which turns out to be alcohol. Despite its serious message, the musical number is upbeat and entertaining, and includes a routine in which female inmates dance with mops, reminiscent of Gene Kelly’s famed 1943 routine in ‘Let Me Call You Sweetheart’. Director Kelrick Martin, who grew up in Broome as a fan of Jimmy Chi and shows like Bran Nue Dae, cleverly uses humour and music as a means of “subverting the message and twisting perceptions”. There is the glimmer of hope, as Max and Dale talk about the future. Dale wants “to change, break the cycle, start a family, do something for my people. But it’s hard, hard to do that. I need to be able to help myself to help others”.

The baffling decision to screen the documentary at 9.30pm Sunday night, in early January, meant that despite uniformly positive media coverage Prison Songs failed to reach the audience it richly deserved. Ground-breaking in its style and content, Prison Songs was also unusual simply because it was a one-off Australian television documentary, at a time when this kind of program is being overtaken by the documentary series. I am not arguing that series are not deserving of support – they are. During 2015, Australian programs such as Go Back to Where You Came From (now in its third season) on SBS and Changing Minds: The Inside Story on the ABC used the series format effectively, to draw in audiences and interrogate complex contemporary issues. But the dramatic decline in the one-off television documentary is worth close examination.

The Head of Documentaries at SBS, John Godfrey, had high hopes that the combination of a provocative subject and an experienced director (Rachel Perkins) would translate to good ratings for Black Panther Woman (SBS One, 1 November).2 It is the story of Sydney musician and singer Marlene Cummins, one of the key members of the Brisbane chapter of the Black Panthers, founded in December 1971 by the charismatic and fiery Denis Walker. In the opening sequence Cummins’ words signal that the film is going to touch on some difficult subjects: “Things were so bad for blackfellas back then. We were angry, in your face, but we were so young. Us women were on the frontline too. Some of us, we paid a price”. Cummins reflects on her experiences in the short-lived Panthers (the group lasted less than a year), and her troubled relationship with Walker. We follow her to New York University where she addresses a conference attended by representatives of the worldwide Black Panther movement.

The role of women within the Aboriginal civil rights movements of the late 1960s and 1970s has previously been under-explored on television. Of particular interest is the relationship between female Aboriginal activists and those in the broader feminist movement. American academic and former Black Panther Kathleen Cleaver explains in the film that the female liberationists “were assuming that their pattern was our pattern [and said] that women have to be liberated from powerful men. But what we needed to be liberated from was racism”. Aboriginal activist Isabel Coe argued at the time that they couldn’t afford to “split the movement”. I would have liked to hear more about these ripples of influence, and about how the Australian groups differentiated from the US Black Panthers, for example in the Australians’ focus on land rights. Crucially, as with Darlene Johnson’s documentary about the beginnings of the National Black Theatre, The Redfern Story (2014), this is a story told entirely from an Indigenous perspective.

The film also details Cummins’ lengthy battles with substance abuse and gambling, her description of Walker’s violent behaviour towards women, and her allegations of sexual abuse by two unnamed Indigenous elders. Making these serious allegations public was a courageous decision. The personal narrative style of the film, however, makes it hard to incorporate (or even acknowledge) alternative or contradictory viewpoints. An end card states simply that Walker disputes Cummins’ account of their relationship. The damaging implication is that the Australian Black Power movement cultivated a widespread culture of sexual violence. “I think it’s time black women of this country came out with the truth of the abuses. With out witch hunting, without necessarily demonising black men either”, says Cummins in the film. But the broader issues relating to the relationship between masculinity, violence and the Aboriginal rights movement are not explored. This remains Cummins’ personal story, and there are no voices of other Aboriginal women activists to add weight to her claims.

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In past years SBS TV, through the activities of its separate commissioning arm SBS Independent (SBSi), which was established in 1994, built a strong reputation for supporting one-off and “typically highly idiosyncratic” Australian documentaries. These were broad cast within slots and strands that encouraged audiences to expect diversity of style and content.3 After SBSi was merged with the main channel in 2007, the number of one-off commissioned Australian documentaries began to decline. Commissioned documentaries involve a substantial commitment of funds for production (typically over $150,000), under a presale agreement that licenses the completed film for a limited number of broadcasts. All commissioned documentaries, Godfrey stresses, must fit the SBS Charter and “explore multicultural Australia”. The SBS website states that commissioning decisions are based on four “key values”: “To provoke debate, push boundaries, surprise audiences, and inspire change”.

SBS screened five commissioned Australian documentary series in 2015. The clear ratings winner was Struggle Street, which garnered an extraordinary 23 percent of the metropolitan free-to-air (FTA) audience share when it was broadcast in May 2015, fuelled initially by a sometimes-heated public conversation about the merits of the series and its impact on the Western Sydney community that it profiled. The number of commissioned single Australian documentaries is due to rise in 2016, advises Godfrey, but in future they will need to be tied to a newsworthy event or to a larger theme, in order to create sustained media coverage and to “fight for an audience”.

The idea that commissioning decisions are being made on the basis of marketing potential – rather than content, story and artistic measures – is deeply depressing to many independent documentary makers. SBS recently declined to acquire the documentary Love Marriage in Kabul (2014), directed by Amin Palangi and produced by Pat Fiske, despite clear pertinence to the SBS charter and its success on the international film festival circuit, arguing that it would not attract “a broad enough audience”. The denial of an FTA broadcast is a blow for independent filmmakers on several fronts. Not only do they lose the potential to reach a large national audience, but also an income that could be used to repay debts incurred in the development, production and marketing of their films (it is common for independent filmmakers to partially or wholly finance their films themselves). They also miss out on royalties that apply when educational institutions copy broadcast material for classroom use.

As audiences fragment across multiplying viewing platforms, the increasing pressure on all free-to-air television channels to compete has resulted in a trend for ‘event’ programming that can attract publicity and hence a reasonable proportion of the shrinking mass audience. Occasionally, major documentaries such as Hitting Home are packaged and promoted as nationally important viewing events, but many one-off documentaries are not able to demand the same level of attention from the broadcaster’s publicity department. Faced with successive budget cuts, public broadcasters have also been forced to compete and to justify their relevance (and their funding) to government. The ways Australian audiences are consuming screen content are changing rapidly, but television continues to attract the largest audiences of all platforms. The federal government’s funding body Screen Australia has acknowledged that the typical style, content and format of many television documentaries has also evolved in recent years:

Today’s television schedules for documentary tend to include larger volumes of lighter factual programming and repeat series, alongside proportionally lower levels of more intensively researched or authorial documentary forms, all complemented by dedicated online content. However, technology has made it easier for audiences to engage beyond the television set, opening up opportunities to create alternative viewing options for specialized audiences.4

Since 1997, production of documentaries by independent production companies (rather than in-house by broadcasters) has been increasing steadily. Funding of documentary production comes primarily from the broadcasters (mainly the ABC and SBS) and other industry sources, with Screen Australia funding comprising a minor part of overall documentary production. Although Screen Australia is still funding a great many single documentaries, they are not necessarily ending up on FTA television. According to Screen Australia, documentary series production has risen dramatically over this period while production of single documentaries has fallen. Of the 311 average hours of documentaries produced annually by production companies in 2012–13 to 2013–14, there were 239 hours of series (57 individual series titles) and 71 hours of single documentaries (79 titles). This trend in favour of series “reflects shifts in broadcaster commissioning strategies, rather than Screen Australia decisions”. To obtain Screen Australia funding documentary producers must show evidence of broad caster interest, or have an alternative strategy for getting their film into the market place. Many filmmakers of ‘authored’ or ‘point of view’ documentaries are choosing to make feature-length documentaries that are funded without a broadcaster attachment, and initially aimed at the film festival circuit and cinema-on-demand (such as Tugg), in the hope that a broadcaster will then acquire it for screening at a later date. Only a handful of Australian documentaries (just eight in 2014) are released in the cinema. A recent example of this pathway is Damon Gameau’s feature documentary That Sugar Film (2014).

Australian content on commercial FTA television is regulated by the mandatory Australian Content Standard (ACS) and administered by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). While Australian TV drama production benefits from content quotas across the free to air networks and subscription television, as well as regulatory measures that require them to invest in new Australian drama production, documentary production is more reliant on subsidy.

The ACS requires all commercial FTA television licensees to broadcast an annual minimum of 20 hours of first-release Australian documentaries, between 6 a.m. and midnight, of at least 30 minutes duration, on either the main channel or the digital channels. In 2014, the three commercial broadcasters (7, 9 and 10) screened less than 133 hours of first-release Australian documentary between them: just 21 minutes per day.5 Many of these hours are devoted to long-running, easily digestible (and undeniably high rating) factual series, produced in-house by the commercial stations and usually broadcast in prime-time, such as Border Security: Australia’s Front Line and The Force: Behind the Line, both on Seven. There is no requirement for the subscription television stations to contribute to Australian documentary production. These factors mean that the main Australian market for independent documentaries remains the two public broadcasters. In 2014, the ABC, SBS and NITV between them screened an average of 64 percent of all first-release documentary hours broadcast on FTA networks (including the main channels and their digital multi-channels).

The ACS defines a documentary as “a program that is a creative treatment of actuality other than a news, current affairs, sports coverage, magazine, infotainment or light entertainment program”. It also acknowledges that the definitions can get blurry:

Documentary and the other program types listed in the definition are all forms of factual programming. These program types are not always distinct. They are on a continuum, with movement over time as new styles of program emerge and others lose popularity. Within the documentary form itself there are various genres, such as the observational versus fully scripted form, and hybrids such as programs which combine re-enactments and interview. This highlights some of the difficulties involved in attempting to define or characterise program types too tightly. As a result, the definition of a documentary is a term of art rather than a precise description.6

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The Australian broadcast audience is increasingly fragmented, and documentaries, like other kinds of content, are thinly spread over rapidly multiplying platforms. In addition to the main FTA channels, documentaries are also screened on the subsidiary digital channels, as well as online-only platforms. SBS Online, for example, has produced sophisticated web-only interactive documentaries such as Africa to Australia and Cronulla Riots. Outgoing ABC Managing Director Mark Scott argues that there is “a hunger for Australian stories in all their guises”, but acknowledges that funding local production of drama, documentary and narrative comedy remains “a persistent challenge”, particularly as a result of cuts over time to the national broadcasters and funding bodies. This matters, argues Scott, because “the work of the Australian content industry in telling Australian stories underpins Australian identity, culture and society”.7 As global content flourishes it can overshadow local stories. Audience fragmentation has led broadcasters and filmmakers to look to digital technology for new ways to get programs to viewers.

The ABC hopes that its new dedicated online arts channel will attract viewers who are looking for less conventional programs. “Viewing habits are changing”, acknowledges the Acting Head of Arts, Kath Earle, and documentaries that appear only on the online arts channel “are not confined by the broadcasting schedule or by other traditional constraints such as duration”.8 The online channel also gives emerging filmmakers the opportunity to produce shorter or smaller-scale projects, thereby getting a toe in the industry. The Screen Australia-ABC initiative Opening Shot (now in its fourth round) is also aimed at providing an entry point to the industry, by funding up to six 30-minute one-off documentary films directed by filmmakers aged under 35 years, to be screened as a series in prime time on ABC 2. Filmmaking is a tough business that is only getting tougher, particularly for emerging practitioners and those from diverse backgrounds. In its final report before closing its doors (after its funding was cut), the not-for-profit media training organisation Metro Screen noted that most (56 to 68 percent) filmmakers who make a professional feature film or documentary make only one.9

In September 2015 the ABC launched Artsville, a new annual series of six commissioned individual Australian documentaries. Artsville is the closest thing to the old documentary strands, albeit with a significantly shorter season. ABC Arts hopes that Artsville will pay off in the long run with increased audiences, once they become familiar with the Artsville “brand”. Deception by Design (ABC 1, 29 September 2015) explores the links between art, nature, technology and warfare, through the story of the international development of military camouflage. I was fascinated to learn of British artist and naval officer Norman Wilkinson, who during World War Two came up with an innovative method called ‘Dazzle’ to confuse enemy submarines by painting the sides of ships with bold geometric patterns. Australian history is not neglected, including as the film does the story of such notable Australian camoufleurs as the artists Max Dupain, Joshua Smith, William Dobell and Frank Hinder. When Max Dupain was sent to the south-west Pacific to teach Australian troops about camouflage he struggled to convince the sceptical troops of the virtues of deception and that “it’s not effeminate to hide”, as the Australians were convinced that warfare was about being aggressive, manly and visible. Unfortunately the film relies too much on narration rather than allowing audiences to sometimes draw their own conclusions, but at least it is not as bloke-ily ocker in style as that of Struggle Street.

Another Artsville documentary, Cast from the Storm (ABC1, Tuesday 6 October 2015, 9.30 p.m.) looks at the work of an innovative theatre program in Western Sydney that helps teenage refugees and asylum seekers overcome trauma. As these young people share their “storm stories” (how and why they came to Australia) and eventually perform them on stage, we learn why some people are forced to risk their lives to seek asylum, and see how art can be harnessed to overcome trauma.

Hopefully the Artsville initiative will attract and build audiences seeking intelligent, thought-provoking Australian content. But inadequate publicity for documentaries is an ongoing issue. The limited number of ‘slots’ available for documentaries in the FTA schedule is also a problem. Filmmakers with a feature length documentary have to either edit it down to one hour, or face having their film screen at unsociable hours.

This was the choice faced by producer Rod Freedman and director Sophia Turkiewicz (now Scheding), who spent years making their powerful documentary Once My Mother, using their personal resources, before they were granted any production funding through Screen Australia. In the film, Turkiewicz investigates the reasons why her Polish mother abandoned her in an Adelaide orphanage, uncovers the truth behind her mother’s wartime escape from a Siberian gulag, and ultimately confronts her own capacity for forgiveness. Both public broadcasters knocked the film back for a presale. John Godfrey argued that SBS had “already done Poland” with an episode of Who Do You Think You Are? featuring actor Magda Szubanski. ABC commissioning editor for documentaries Phil Craig finally commissioned a one-hour version. The ABC subsequently agreed to broad cast the feature-length version (which had garnered numerous awards at Australian and international film festival awards, and enjoyed a successful theatrical release), but scheduled it at 10.15pm Sunday (26 October 2014). “We knew from this non-prime-time, graveyard timeslot, that the ABC would do little to promote the film. Prime-time shows are the only ones to get publicity, including from television reviewers”, wrote Freedman.10

Why does the decrease in the single authored documentary on Australian television matter? “The one-off documentary is a unique cultural form that is appropriate for particular subjects and themes, and particular styles of production”, says Sharon Connolly, the former head of Film Australia (and previously an independent film maker).11 It suits highly personalised storytelling and certain kinds of stories, such as biographical profiles and explorations of specific historical events. It is a form that is manageable by solo producers, who are often committed to rigorous interrogation, intensive research and long development. However, as Connolly argues, “it is not a form that is well supported by the current Screen Australia and federal government policy settings, which are increasingly designed to fund businesses, not people and projects”.12 The reasons for these shifts are complex. In the last ten years, the system of financial support from government for documentaries has been restructured, for example by the collapsing of three federal agencies (Film Australia, Film Finance Corporation and Australian Film Commission) into one, Screen Australia, formed in 2008. The agency’s primary function, as defined in the Screen Australia Act, is to “support and promote the development of a highly creative, innovative and commercially sustainable Australian screen production industry”.13 Fulfilling this function, says Connolly, has led to the agency “orienting its subsidy toward growing larger, more diversified production companies and projects that can demonstrate pre-production market commitments, such as pre-sales from broadcasters and guarantees from theatrical distributors”. This drive for commercially viable businesses has ramifications for small and solo producers, as director John Hughes remarks:

Australian documentary production in recent years has been configured from a practice of independent filmmakers developing and producing works in an artisanal mode, like novelists, writers, independent scholars or painters, in favour of a rationalised ‘creative economy’ where consolidated, larger companies deliver factual programming as outsourced producers to television broadcasters.14

All four documentary series that screened on SBS during 2015 were produced by larger production companies rather than small producer-director teams, and three emanated from CJZ (Cordell Jigsaw Zapruder) which, according to its website, “produces more original prime-time series than any other production company in Australia”.15

Many experienced documentary filmmakers feel that the commissioning editors have become more populist in their tastes, and more interventionist, making it almost impossible to sell traditional documentaries, particularly those with unpredictable storylines or that require a long time in development. “Documentary makers are usually risk-takers,” said filmmaker Tom Murray, “but broadcasters are increasingly risk-averse – and this has flowed down to the filmmakers themselves, because they are forced into making programs they know will sell”. Kath Earle agrees that budget cuts to the ABC have meant that “a certain freedom has been lost, and there is less room to fail”. Critic Julie Rigg argues that “the difficulty of funding films has led to a significant dumbing down of free to air television, and a near disappearance of the high-quality, one-off documentaries which once found a proud place in Australian cinemas and on small screens”.16 Murray warns that the decline in support for one-off documentaries means that “we are degrading our national family album, our national narratives. Our capacity for reflecting on ourselves in screen form has been diminished”.17

Some subjects are best suited to the one-hour format, says Freedman:

But the broadcasters don’t want these films because they don’t rate, because they’re too chancy. It’s hard to measure the gaps in our history, our heritage. When we look back at the one-off documentaries that have been made over the last couple of decades – they are telling us our history. No one’s going to access cooking shows in twenty years’ time to give us a portrait of what we were like as a country.18

Many of the acclaimed documentaries of the last twenty years, such as Mrs Carey’s Concert (2010), Contact (2009), Who Killed Dr Bogle and Mrs Chandler? (2006), Dhakiyarr vs the King (2003), My Mother India (2001) and Rats in the Ranks (1996), are exactly the kind of research-intensive, carefully constructed, risk-taking films that independent filmmakers are now struggling to get funded and broadcast.

There is an audience for documentary – evidenced by the large and enthusiastic crowds who attend film festival screenings such as the popular annual Antenna Documentary Film Festival in Sydney. In a global multi-channel environment, attracting viewers to scheduled FTA television programs is undeniably getting harder. Getting independent Australian documentaries on the small screen requires more than public subsidy. It requires commitment by public broadcasters to this form of storytelling. The digital era presents challenges but it should also bring opportunities – to find new ways for both emerging and experienced filmmakers to make and exhibit complex and diverse Australian stories that reveal our past and inform our present. In this global multi-channel world, I believe there are still social and cultural imperatives to allow Australians to interrogate and reflect on our national identity – and documentary is one of the best ways to achieve this. The danger is that we might not appreciate what we have lost until it is too late.

 

1Victoria Laurie, ‘SBS documentary Prison Songs tells inmates’ tales in their own words’, The Australian, 1 January 2015, www.theaustralian.com.au/arts/television/sbs-documentary-prison-songs-tells-inmates-tales-in-their-own-words/story-fn9d34el-1227171288538.

2Phone conversation with John Godfrey, 29 October 2015; SBS figures show that the consolidated audience for Black Panther Woman was 105,000 (95,000 initial broadcast, and 10,000 time-shifted), just 2.6 percent of the metropolitan audience share. Despite several requests, ABC Factual declined to be interviewed for this essay.

3Trish FitzSimons, Pat Laughren and Dugald Williamson, Australian Documentary: History, Practices and Genres, Cambridge University Press, Melbourne, 2011, p.175.

4Screen Australia discussion paper, ‘Documentary Funding: Stories That Matter’, released 4 March 2014.

5‘Comparison of Compliance Results [2005–2014] – Metropolitan Commercial Television Networks’, available on the ACMA website, www.acma.gov.au/Industry/Broadcast/Television/Australian-content/australian-content-compliance-results.

6‘Documentary Guidelines: Interpretation of “Documentary” for the Australian Content Standard’, Australian Broadcasting Authority, Sydney, 2004).

7Mark Scott, ‘The Future of the Australian Story’, Brian Johns AO Lecture, Macquarie University, 15 September 2015.

8Phone conversation with Kath Earle, 10 November 2015.

9Metro Screen report, ‘Emerging Visions, Career Pathways in the Australian Screen Production Industry’, November 2015.

10Don Groves, ‘ABC rejects Once My Mother plea’, if.com.au, 3 October 2014, http://if.com.au/2014/10/02/article/ABC-rejects-Once-My-Mother-plea/NYTCZXWDKO.html.

11Phone conversations with Sharon Connolly, 19 September 2015, 19 November 2015.

12See also Peter Hegedus, ‘Australian Documentaries at a Crossroads’, Metro Magazine, No.181 (Winter 2014), pp.94–99.

13Screen Australia Act 2008 (my emphasis), via https://www.comlaw.gov.au/Details/C2008A00012/Html/Text#param5.

14John Hughes, ‘After Indonesia Calling’ (PhD thesis, Monash University, 2013), 136.

15Kebab Kings and Go Back to Where You Came From were produced by CJZ, and Uranium: Twisting the Dragon’s Tail by CJZ partner Genepool.

16Julie Rigg, ‘Film festival success of Once My Mother shows audiences crave intelligent films’, ABC Arts Blog, 18 July 2014, http://www.abc.net.au/arts/blog/Julie-Rigg/Film-Festival-success-Once-My-Mother-shows-audiences-crave-intelligent-films/default.htm.

17Conversation with Tom Murray, 21 October 2015.

18Phone conversation with Rod Freedman, 9 November 2015.

Small Screens

   by Michelle Arrow, Jeannine Baker and Clare Monagle