Six months into its new home at Docklands Studios Melbourne, screen resource organisation OPEN CHANNEL is investing in creative and technical skills development for the State’s film, television and digital media industries.
Stage one of Open Channel’s new $350,000 facility comprising training room and edit facilities was funded through the Australian Government, and launched last August. Open Channel also receives organisational support from Screen Australia and Film Victoria to run an annual program of filmmaker initiatives including production funding, pitching competitions and conferences for its members.
Executive Director Marc Gracie notes that the 40-year old organisation is constantly evolving to meet the needs of industry, saying “40 years ago the ethos of Open Channel was about access to production equipment which was out of the reach of most people. Today, the tools to make content are in the hands of everyone, but what is needed are the skills to make the most of those tools. Some people will be looking to make better content for the web, others will be looking to develop those skills into a professional career. For those seeking a career we also offer industry-led training by leading practitioners, and also offer our production initiatives to help people take that next important step”.
Being based at the Docklands Studios Melbourne, Open Channel is able to place training in the heart of industry. Says Gracie, “We ran two successful conferences in 2013 in childrens entertainment and reality television, attracting over 500 attendees. We produced series for ABC2 and NITV. We have been actively placing graduates on productions, such as INXS: Never Tear Us Apart (mini series which will air on Channel Seven in 2014), House Husbands Season (which will air on Channel Nine in 2014), and Tony Ayres new feature film Cut Snake. The next major production shooting out of the studios will be fantasy film The Moon and the Sun. The film starring Pierce Brosnan, Fan Bing Bing and Bill Nighy is based on a novel from Vonda McIntyre and tells a story of King Louis XIV of France capturing a mermaid to steal its life force.
Open Channel’s 2014 training program includes full qualifications in documentary, drama or webseries filmmaking, intensive feature film and television series script development, and a range of short courses for people who want specific filmmaking skills such as camera, sound or editing. Qualification courses receive support from the Australian and Victorian Government, and are Austudy eligible.
The digital revolution has meant that unlike any time in history, the barriers to developing, making and distributing screen content across a variety of platforms have never been easier, and Open Channel is committed to building Victoria’s bold and innovative screen industries into the future.