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CEO's 2021 Year in Review and 2022 Preview

11/02/2022

11 02 2022 - Media release CEO's 2021 Year in Review and 2022 Preview

Love on the Spectrum, Penguin Bloom, Dive Club

In 2021 the screen industry continued to adapt to working in the COVID-19 pandemic, as planning for sudden lockdowns, COVID-Safe ways of working and additional COVID-related costs became the norm. The sector has shown incredible levels of creativity and resilience in producing and distributing content with record-breaking expenditure figures. We enter 2022 knowing that significant challenges and opportunities lie ahead particularly with the arrival of the Omicron variant and logistical issues around supply chains and travel plans.

At the beginning of each year, the agency looks back at the previous year's Australian box office data, television ratings and online viewing figures alongside research such as the Drama Report to provide a more comprehensive snapshot of the sector.

Screen Australia's CEO Graeme Mason said, While box office, television ratings and online viewership figures over the past year remain valuable in measuring the overall health of the industry, similar to 2020 we can't rely solely on these. It is key to consider the impact the pandemic wrought - particularly on our friends in cinema distribution, who went from having three Australian films at the top of the box office in February, to state-wide lockdowns in NSW and Victoria six months later. It's not surprising to see the flow-on effect of this in the full local box office figures. More and more content also continues to premiere on streaming services, who keep viewing figures internally, but also have global reach.

Screen Australia's latest Drama Report showed a record-breaking level of expenditure on drama production in Australia in 2020/21 of $1.9 billion, more than 50% above the five-year average. The unprecedented increase is attributed to projects postponed into the year by COVID shutdowns as well as low levels of COVID-19 in Australia during 2020/21 making Australia an attractive destination, and high-profile Australian creatives attracting foreign titles along with a very strong slate of new Australian projects.

In January 2021 the Our Summer of Cinema campaign, a joint effort between distributors, exhibitors, projects and Screen Australia to entice audiences back into cinemas, helped bring in more than $30 million at the box office for local features The Dry, Penguin Bloom, High Ground and Firestarter The Story of Bangarra.

Feature film is set to continue to shine in 2022. Here Out West released last week (3 Feb) and Wyrmwood Apocalypse on 10 February. The upcoming slate also includes Falling for Figaro (24 Feb), Ruby's Choice (24 Feb), Mother Mountain (28 Apr), The Drover's Wife The Legend of Molly Johnson (5 May), How To Please A Woman (26 May) and Baz Luhrmann's Elvis biopic (23 June). This year production for director Dr George Miller's Mad Max prequel Furiosa kicks off, which is set to be one of the biggest movies ever to shoot in Australia.

In television, the second season of the very popular Stan Original series Bump started off the year, with a third season already in the pipeline, and The PM's Daughter launched on ABC. Upcoming television series include Troppo (ABC, 27 Feb), After the Verdict (Network 9) and Barons (ABC), MaveriX (ABC), The Secrets She Keeps Series 2 (Network 10), Surviving Summer (Netflix) and Darby and Joan (Acorn TV).

Online projects due to release in 2022 include A Beginner's Guide to Grief on SBS On Demand, funded via the Digital Originals initiative, as well as Ginger and the Vegesaurs (ABC iview), First Day Series 2 (ABC iview) and Meta Runner Series 3 (YouTube), and The Monster with Me (TikTok).

In documentary, River, the follow up to award-winning feature documentary Mountain is releasing in March along with feature documentaries Anonymous Club and Blind Ambition. Forthcoming television documentaries include First Wars (SBS), Ningaloo (ABC), Missing Persons Investigation (Network 9), and Shipwreck Hunters Australia (Disney ).

Screen Australia's First Nations Department has a strong slate of upcoming projects. In television this includes the drama series True Colours (SBS/NITV) and the much anticipated third season of Mystery Road, which is set to go back to where it all started with Detective Jay Swan in Mystery Road: Origin (ABC). Coming soon in film are Jub Clerc's feature debut Sweet As, as well as We are Still Here, the joint anthology feature made by eight teams as a co-production with the support of the New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC) and the First Nations Department. In documentary, the upcoming slate includes feature documentaries Alick and Albert and Larapinta (NITV), as well as the six-part series Our Law (NITV), set in Australia's first and only First Nations-run police station.

Mason said, 2022 is shaping up to be an exciting year, both in production and also the fantastic releases across various platforms. I would encourage the sector to continue thinking about how they can take that same collaborative, resilient and adaptable spirit they've demonstrated throughout two years of this pandemic, and bring it into the year ahead. We know it's tough as we head into a third year, and we will continue to look at how we can best support the industry to deal with the various challenges.

FILM According to data from the Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia (MPDAA) and Numero, Australian films took $71.5 million at the local box office, 11.8% of the total share. This result came during a year that continued to see sudden lockdowns particularly in NSW and Victoria, which traditionally represent over half of the domestic box office. In 2021, 52 Australian films were released, and 513 foreign titles including large studio tentpoles that had been held back by
LINK: https://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/sa/media-centre/news/2022/02-11-ceo...
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