Australia's core film industry bodies have called on the government's key production funding agency to implement measures to open up the evaluation process of feature films.

SYDNEY (The Hollywood Reporter) -- Australia's core film industry bodies have called on the government's key production funding agency to implement measures to open up the evaluation process of feature films.

Australian Screen Directors Assn. chief executive Richard Harris said Feb. 16 that the directors' group, along with representatives from the Screen Producers Assn. of Australia, the Independent Producers Initiative and the Australian Writers Guild, met Feb. 1 with the Film Finance Corporation Australia to express concerns about the organization's new system of evaluation. The groups followed up Feb. 4 with a letter to the Film Finance Corporation formalizing these concerns.

The Film Finance Corporation Australia currently uses anonymous external assessors to assist evaluation managers Tait Brady and Bridget Ikin in appraising the creative and audience potential of feature films seeking funding through the agency's evaluation corridor. Harris said the concerned groups want the funding agency to disclose who is making these assessments. They also want producers to be given the opportunity to vet the list of possible assessors on reasonable grounds.

According to Harris, the four industry associations want producers to be provided with copies of any external assessments and to be made aware of who has seen their project and the extent to which it has been seen.

He said the groups also have asked that producers be able to withdraw from the evaluation process at any time before the Film Finance Corporation Australia board meetings and to switch to the marketplace corridor -- where films are not assessed for their creative worth but instead are rated on the basis of a high level of marketplace commitment -- and that any such decision to withdraw from evaluation be kept confidential to the funding agency.

Film Finance Corporation Australia chief executive Brian Rosen said the funding agency will respond to the concerns in writing and in face-to-face discussions with the industry groups Feb. 25.