Western Australia’s peak film body, Screenwest, today released a statement saying that the venerable Film and Television Institute would cease functioning as an independent body and would instead be consolidated with Screenwest, with the latter. “…taking on responsibility for supporting the emerging screen sector.”
“The Department of Culture and the Arts (DCA) will support FTI to wind down the organisation and transition the core screen programs to Screenwest,” the statement read in part. “Screenwest is committed to ensuring FTI’s historical annual funding allocation will continue to support the emerging screen sector into the future.”
Founded in 1971, FTI was a key part of the WA screen community for years, fostering countless nascent filmmakers through it’s funding and development programs and educational resources. However, recent years have seen the organisation fall on hard times, particularly after being forced to relocate from their Fremantle location. Once re-established in the State Library building, it seemed that FTI never quite found its feet again, and recent cuts to funding certainly did no favours.
“FTI’s role in supporting independent and emerging screen sector practitioners over the past 45 years cannot be questioned,”FTI Chair Mitchell Wells said. “We broke new ground in bringing screen culture to the community, providing access to tools and knowledge needed by screen practitioners, bringing a sense of community to the sector, celebrating the achievements and excellence of our best and brightest through the
WASAs, or just being there to give guidance on projects and careers.”
Screenwest Chair Janelle Marr said that emerging filmmakers would see similar levels of support from Screenwest to what they enjoyed from FTI. “Screenwest funded FTI to run programs supporting emerging and early career filmmakers. Moving forward, Screenwest is committed to these funds continuing to go towards this sector in an effective, efficient and strategic manner. During the next six months we will consult with the emerging screen sector to ensure this occurs.”
Nonetheless, this is a sad day for the WA film community.