The ABC launches $5 million arts industry fund

The ABC launches $5 million arts industry fund

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) has launched a $5 million development fund to provide much needed support for Australia's creative industries

Through the 'Fresh Start Fund' the ABC will invest in Australian content across multiple genres including drama, comedy, children's, factual, music and the arts.

The arts industry has been particularly hard hit by gathering restrictions and orders to work from home as galleries shut down, production on film & television programmes put on pause, and music festivals cancelled or postponed nationally.

According to I Lost My Gig Australia, as of 7 April creatives in Australia have reported lost income of around $330 million, and this figure is likely just the tip of the iceberg.

According to the ABC, in addition to the $5 million fund the media organisation has been working closely with local production companies on current projects that have been suspended or postponed due to Covid-19 to find solutions where possible.

Further, the network is acquiring additional Australian content for broadcast on ABC TV and iview to keep the country entertained during the pandemic.

"As Australia's biggest backer of local content, the ABC will provide whatever help possible within our means to shore up the viability of independent producers, who are struggling during this incredibly disruptive time," says ABC director of Entertainment & Specialist content Michael Carrington.

"The Fresh Start Fund will ramp up the development of original and outstanding Australian content to keep our production sector afloat during the COVID-19 restrictions. In times like this we all need to pull together and the ABC remains open for business in supporting Australian talent and stories."

ABC Fresh Start Fund streams:

1. Enhanced Development & Production Fund

Supports Australian production companies that have worked with the ABC or gained some industry recognition, across two areas:

  • Existing productions: Supercharging development assistance to kickstart productions impacted by COVID-19 after the lifting of restrictions.
  • New concepts: Supporting new stories in any genre about Australian culture and communities, particularly in new formats.

2. Innovation Fund

Supports individual Australian creatives who may not have worked with the ABC previously. The Innovation Fund backs Australian talent with bold and innovative content ideas across multiple genres aimed at audiences under 55.

3. Arts Digital Fund

Supports Australian creatives and production companies with innovative ideas for new arts content, particularly documentary storytelling.

4. Children's Content Fund  

Supports excellence in children's content across two areas:

  • Scripted/Factual: Supporting production companies with current animation or live-action development or productions.
  • Music: Commissioning new pieces of children's music from talented and prolific Australian musicians for ABC Kids listen.

5. Australian Music Fund

Support for independent Australian artists and musicians across all ABC music networks, including:

  • New music: Commissioning new works for ABC Classic and ABC Jazz.
  • Music scholarships: Supporting diverse emerging artists across multiple genres and themes, driven by triple j and triple j Unearthed.

Funding applications open on 4 May and close on 12 June.

Updated at 9:42am AEST on 24 April 2020.

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