Graeme Mason has Screen Australia for another five years.
The secret fear of all agency heads - that their constituents see them as a ghastly mechanised mother to help their dreams come true. Image: still from 'I am Mother', about a robot who raises a child in a secret bunker.
Running Screen Australia is a tough call, because the industry is such a ragbag of different ambitions, financing methods, training and mindsets.
Nonetheless, Graeme Mason has voluntarily agreed to continue for another five years. In that ten year cycle you can pretty well guarantee the kind of rethink that calls on a whole new suite of skills as the world turns upside down.
The news that Mason has been reappointed until 2023 is not exactly new, but the agency can now officially confirm the fact. This is what it said.
'Mason commenced as CEO of Screen Australia on 11 November 2013 and during his tenure has steered the agency through some of the industry’s most significant changes, including the rise of digital originals, the growth of free-to-air multichannels and catch-up services, plus the advent of commercial streaming.
Over his 20-year career, Mason worked in both factual and scripted TV programming in his native Australia before moving to the UK. In Britain he worked across all aspects of film production, sales and acquisitions, and distribution for companies such as Manifesto and Polygram Filmed Entertainment. From 1998 to 2002 he was President of Worldwide Acquisitions for Universal Studios. He then joined Channel 4 Television as the Head of Media Projects and later as Managing Director of Rights. In 2009 Graeme relocated to New Zealand where he was CEO at the New Zealand Film Commission for four years.
Mason grew up in the Blue Mountains, NSW. He recently completed a wide-ranging podcast interview regarding the challenges and opportunities in the Australian screen sector.'
Mason's background has a lot to do with the distribution, exhibition and the audience end of the business. The agency has managed to ride the intense changes with the rise of the net, the dead promise of diversity with the digital multiplex, the emergence of the streaming ecology, and the morbid pressures on traditional television.
What will happen next? What about the long term implications of connecting Australians to Hollywood? What do we actually mean on a practical level when the sector tries to evolve its production methodologies? The working methods, for instance, of cultures in South Asia are frighteningly different. The next five years is not just a journey further into the unknown, it could be a journey into a different kind of unknown.
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