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Motion: South Australian Film Corporation

Adjourned debate on motion of Hon. R.B. Martin:

That this council—

1. Acknowledges that 2022 marks the 50th year of the South Australian Film Corporation (SAFC);

2. Recognises the significant social, cultural and economic contributions the SAFC has made to the State of South Australia; and

3. Congratulates all those who have contributed to the fantastic array of films, television series and games that have been produced by the SAFC since 1972.


The Hon. T.A. FRANKS (17:21): I rise to speak in support of this motion. I, too, thank the mover for allowing the Legislative Council to express our congratulations on 50 years of the South Australian Film Corporation. When introducing the bill that created the South Australian Film Corporation back in 1972, then Premier Don Dunstan saw it as a chance to 'rejuvenate the sluggish pulse of the local film industry' and also to 'create an awareness in the community of the value of films'.

What an impact this organisation has had recognising the value of our creative industry. From early productions like Storm Boy and Picnic at Hanging Rock, which are icons in the film world, to recent hits like Thor and Mortal Kombat, the South Australian Film Corporation has helped transform and form the South Australian film industry. Back in 1972, when Don Dunstan recognised what supporting a creative industry could bring, the South Australian film industry was almost non-existent. There were a few films that had not performed too well, some TV commercials being made here and, really, that was largely it.

In 2019-20, the South Australian screen sector contributed $187 million into our state's economy. What a difference that 50 years of support has made. Those iconic films that have been produced with the support of the South Australian Film Corporation have stood the test of time. We watched them as kids, and we will show them to the next generation. Some I will never watch again, such as Wolf Creek and Snowtown, but they will stay with me, and I am glad to have had that experience of having watched them just the once.

They are innovative, challenging and enjoyed by viewers in South Australia and beyond. These films make a name for our state. Imagine if the South Australian creative industries more broadly also received this sort of support. Artists create when they are supported and the value of their work is recognised and nurtured. The arts in South Australia more broadly have been hit particularly hard, hit by COVID, hit by lack of funding and hit by the lingering notion that an artist is meant to be somehow better if they are broke and hungry.

The South Australian Film Corporation shows what happens when we support artists and we support artists to create, the value that they bring, and we would be remiss to allow other creative industries to stagnate when the passion, skill and talent is clearly here in South Australia. We must support our arts. We must ensure our artists have a living wage and, indeed, do away with the concept that we should have any starving artists.

The South Australian Film Corporation's First Nations Screen Strategy continues the tradition of storytelling and is working to amplify First Nations voices through our screens and diversity on-screen, reflecting those within our community. Truth telling is vital in shaping our community's cultural identity and in strengthening our community.

We must also recognise that the support given to other screen mediums—video games, virtual reality and web series—and providing support to those creating work in these new and evolving mediums is just as important to ensure that South Australia remains at the forefront of this creative industry.

We have just heard from the Hon. Jing Lee, and no doubt others, about the success of the children's program Beep and Mort. I do not have young children in my life that make me watch such things at the moment, but I am very familiar with the work of Windmill over many generations, and the role children's theatre plays in our state that is recognised not just across Australia but across the globe. This is where I just want to reflect on how important the eco-story of the arts is here to tell our stories.

One of the iconic movies that I will watch time and again that I quite enjoy is The Club, about a football club. It is a Williamson icon about masculinity. Most recently I have watched at the theatre the Tessa Leong feminist reworking of The Club, with an all-female cast, barely touching the original script, but reflecting on the Me Too generation and the status of not just football but of our society. It was an incredibly powerful production to see in the Adelaide Festival Theatre in recent years.

I am in no doubt that the talent of South Australia on our film screens and through the Film Corporation is in no small part due to the talent of artists right across the board. Whether it is acting, whether it is set and design, lighting and costume, writing and production and sound, these are all part of the eco-story, and at all levels they need to be supported so that we can have the outstanding success that continues and the job opportunities that continue of good living wage jobs for the arts. It is what I think we aspire to in South Australia, what we take pride in having a heritage of.

I commend again former Premier Don Dunstan but also the ongoing support of various premiers for the arts in this state that I would hope is not just bipartisan but cross-party. Whether it is guilty pleasures like Gymnastics Academy—because I love gymnastics and I wanted to be an elite gymnast at one point, but I got way too tall and way too old for that, but I still love it. I take great pride that we make that here in South Australia. We have the celebration of our music heritage as well in a film that I want to see sometime soon and did not get to see during the SA-made schedule of the recent Adelaide Film Festival showings, but I am sure I will get a chance soon—The Angels: Kickin' Down the Door.

I certainly congratulate the South Australian Film Corporation for 50 years, but I hope there are at least 50 more years to come. I certainly for one see the importance of our stories being told on screens and elsewhere and supporting those to tell our stories to do so with the ability to live not in poverty. With that, I commend the motion.

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