Premiere Fund Application Guidelines

APPLICATION GUIDELINES

 

[1] INTRODUCTION

 

[1.1] General
Supported by the State Government of Victoria, the MIFF Premiere Fund co-finances new quality Australian theatrical (feature-length narrative and feature-length documentary) films that will premiere at the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF). The Fund is a strategic minority supporter of a range of films and seeks diversity of filmmaking teams and genres of films on the slate. Eligible projects are assessed on a range of factors as per the General Assessment Criteria (below).

[1.2] Content
MIFF Premiere Fund
seeks quality theatrical films that will premiere, and then have repeats, at MIFF, as well as playing in MIFF ancillary travelling/special events and will be suitable for Encore screenings at future editions of MIFF. The Premiere Fund is keen for quality cinema that will find its audience – with its MIFF premiere season a key part of this.

Films backed by the Premiere Fund that premiered at MIFF 2008 included the feature-length documentaries Celebrity: Dominick Dunne, Not Quite Hollywood, Rock n Roll Nerd and Bastardy (all of which went on to have theatrical releases). Premiere Fund films for MIFF 2009 comprised theatrical narrative dramas Balibo, Blessed, Bran Nue Dae and The Loved Ones, as well as feature documentary Indonesia Calling. Premiere Fund titles for MIFF 2010 were Blame, Matching Jack and The Wedding Party and feature documentaries Mother of Rock and Machete Maidens Unleashed! Premiere Fund titles for MIFF 2011 included Falling for Sahara, Swerve, Curse of the Gothic Symphony, AutoLuminescent and The Triangle Wars, while MIFF 2012 Premiere Fund titles were 100 Bloody Acres, Last Dance, Save Your Legs! and feature documentaries Make Hummus Not War and The First Fagin. The Premiere Fund 2013 slate comprised Patrick, The Turning, These Final Hours, Galore and feature documentaries In Bob We Trust and Aim High in Creation! The Premiere Fund 2014 slate included Cut Snake, Electric Boogaloo, Paper Planes and My Mistress. The Premiere Fund 2015 slate comprised Downriver, Ecco Homo, Neon, Putuparri & The Rainmakers and Early Winter. The Premiere Fund 2016 slate comprised Bad Girl, Emo the Musical, The Death & Life of Otto Bloom, Ella, Monsieur Mayonnaise, and The Family. The 2017 slate comprised The Butterfly Tree, Have You Seen the Listers, Jungle, The Song Keepers, Rabbit and Westwind. The 2018 slate comprised Acute Misfortune, Coming Back Out Ball, The Eulogy, Undermined: Tales from the Kimberley and Undertow. The 2019 slate comprised Below, Buoyancy, H is for Happiness, Measure for Measure, Iron Fists & Kung Fu Kicks, A Family, and No Time for Quiet. The 2021 slate comprised Ablaze, Lone Wolf, Chef Antonio’s Recipes for Revolution, Hating Peter Tatchell, Uluru & the Magician, Off Country, Little Tornadoes, Nitram, Paper City, Love in Bright Landscapes and Anonymous Club. The 2022 slate comprised Because We Have Each Other, Endangered Generation?, Franklin, Greenhouse by Joost, Moja Vesna, Of An Age, Petrol, Senses of Cinema, Sweet As, Under Cover and Volcano Man. The 2023 slate so far includes Australia’s Open, Magic Beach and Shayda, while the 2024 slate includes Magic Beach.

[1.3] Process
The Premiere Fund operates via a system of Calls for Submissions in Rounds. Each Round seeks different types of projects to allow the Fund (which is administered on a part-time basis to keep costs low and thereby ensure there is more money to distribute to filmmakers) to prioritise the flow of applications in the order that projects may realistically make it to the big screen in time for a MIFF premiere and to build a pipeline of original content for MIFF. Therefore, it is important for applicants to submit to the correct round for which their project is eligible with a completed application form and the required support materials.

In the application form, each project and each applicant must satisfy the eligibility requirements and address the assessment criteria. Applicants are advised to provide as much as possible of the information and support materials sought on the application form as the form outlines the information that the Fund takes into account when making its decisions. Once it is determined that the eligibility criteria have been met, each project is then evaluated against the assessment criteria. Finally, a short list of projects is then considered for funding and each shortlisted project is then assessed competitively against the other shortlisted projects.

These Guidelines will be subject to fine-tuning for each round in recognition of changing operational contexts for the Fund.

[2] TYPES OF SUPPORT

 

Depending on the specifics of each Round, projects can seek one of a range of supports from the MIFF Premiere Fund, as follows:

  • COMPLETED PROJECTS: seeking distribution/marketing support, via advances of up to A$60,000 (generally with strong preference for matching financial commitments of distributors);
  • FULLY or PARTIALLY SHOT PROJECTS: seeking completion/enhancement support, generally via loans [NB: see sections 7.7 and 7.8 of the guidelines] of up to A$95,000;
  • SCRIPTS: (or fully developed proposals/outlines for documentaries) in an advanced state of financing seeking mini-gap equity investment (or loans) of up to A$200,000 (or 10% of the budget, whichever is lower).

The Fund is keen to support a wide range and number of projects for Premiere at MIFF and, therefore, the amounts of its funding awards (which may vary at the discretion of MIFF) will be modest strategic interventions. Such funding supports will generally be for a minority of the budget and MIFF will take into account the financial viability of the financing plan. MIFF will also consider what other sources of funding may be available to applicant projects and if the project has applied to those potential co-financiers with MIFF’s Premiere Fund. NOTE: MIFF does not provide retrospective funding for production expenses already incurred.

As per above, MIFF Support may take the form of an advance, loan or equity investment. However, given that this is a limited Fund which MIFF seeks to benefit as many projects as possible, all amounts are recoupable (pro rata with other investments including those by the producers) so that returns from successful films can be reinvested in future projects. For distribution-marketing Support, priority will be given to scenarios of matching financial commitments by distributors, while equity investments will give priority to those films able to premiere by MIFF 2023 or MIFF 2024 with recognised marketplace attachments that can unlock, or trigger, other Government equity co-investments and incentives. All funding rounds will be competitive with creative and financial matters assessed in the context of the other projects also applying for funding in the same Round.

[3] CALL FOR APPLICATIONS (ROUNDS) AND CLOSING DATES

 

Round  Status Opening Date Closing Date Communication Call for submissions for films meeting these criteria:
1 CLOSED 03 Sept 2007 08 Oct 2007 09 Nov 2007 2008 MIFF Premiere & Dec FFC meeting
2 CLOSED 20 Nov 2007 14 Dec 2007 23 Jan 2008 2009 MIFF Premiere, & April FFC; remaining 2008 premieres
3 CLOSED 01 Feb 2008 28 Feb 2008 02 Apr 2008 Priority for MIFF 2009 Premiere
4 CLOSED 11 Aug 2008 29 Aug 2008 31 Oct 2008 Priority for MIFF 2009, plus Oct/Dec Screen Oz
5 CLOSED 17 Dec 2009 09 Jan 2009 17 March 2009 Priority for MIFF 2010 premiere
6 CLOSED 24 July 2009 17 Aug 2009 15 Sept 2009 Priority for MIFF 2010 premiere & Sept-Dec Screen Oz
7 CLOSED 22 Sept 2009 23 Oct 2009 14 Dec 2009 Priority for MIFF 2011 premiere & last MIFF 2010
8 CLOSED 15 Dec 2009 11 Jan 2010 11 March 2010 Priority for MIFF 2011 premiere
9 CLOSED 16 Feb 2010 16 Mar 2010 23 April 2010 Priority for 2011 premieres (then 2012)
10 CLOSED 10 Aug 2010 27 Aug 2010 06 October 2010 2011 & 2012 premieres
11 CLOSED 06 Oct 2010 28 Oct 2010 10 Dec 2010 Priority 2012 premieres; remaining 2011 material
12 CLOSED 17 Dec 2010 18 Jan 2011 16 March 2011 2011 & 2012 premieres
13 CLOSED 14 July 2011 10 Aug 2011 14 Sept 2011 2012 premieres &/or Screen Oz Sept/Oct meetings
14 CLOSED 14 Sept 2011 14 Oct 2011 25 Nov 2011 Priority for 2013 premieres, second priority for 2012
15 CLOSED 24 Nov 2011 15 Dec 2011 24 Jan 2012 Priority for 2013 premieres, remaining 2012 material
16 CLOSED 07 Feb 2012 06 Mar 2012 23 April 2012 2013 premieres and 2014 premieres
17 CLOSED 27 Aug 2012 21 Sept 2012 29 October 2012 Priority for 2014 premieres, second priority for 2013
18 CLOSED 02 Nov 2012 21 Nov 2012 21 Jan 2013 Priority for 2014 premieres
19 CLOSED 21 Jan 2013 04 Feb 2013 21 March 2013 2014 premieres and 2015 premieres
20 CLOSED 12 Mar 2013 04 Apr 2013 03 May 2013 2014 premieres and 2015 premieres
21 CLOSED 09 Aug 2013 29 Aug 2013 14 October 2013 2015 premieres (second priority for final 2014 premieres)
22 CLOSED 01 Oct 2013 22 Oct 2013 09 Dec 2013 2015 premieres (second priority for final 2014 premieres)
23 CLOSED 18 Nov 2013 09 Dec 2013 22 January 2014 2015 premieres
24 CLOSED 24 Jan 2014 04 Mar 2014 16 April 2014 2015 premieres
25 CLOSED 24 Nov 2014 12 Jan 2015 04 March 2015 2016 premieres
26 CLOSED 04 Mar 2015 24 Mar 2015 06 May 2015 2016 premieres
27 CLOSED 16 June 2015 03 Aug 2015 08 Sept 2015 2016 premieres
28 CLOSED 08 Sept 2015 12 Oct 2015 19 Nov 2015 Priority 2017 premieres; second priority 2016 films
29 CLOSED 20 Nov 2015 18 Jan 2015 15 March 2016 2017 premieres
30 CLOSED 23 Feb 2016 15 Mar 2016 03 May 2016 2017 premieres
31 CLOSED 05 July 2016 08 Aug 2016 06 Sept 2016 2017 premieres (second priority for 2018 premieres)
32 CLOSED 07 Sept 2016 18 Nov 2016 16 Dec 2016 2017 premieres (second priority for 2018 premieres)
33 CLOSED 21 Nov 2016 19 Dec 2016 23 Jan 2017 2018 premieres (second priority for 2017 premieres)
34 CLOSED 20 Jan 2017 24 Feb 2017 12 April 2017 2018 premieres
35 CLOSED 17 July 2017 22 Aug 2017 25 Sept 2017 2018 & 2019 premieres
36 CLOSED 26 Sept 2017 23 Oct 2017 20 Nov 2017 2018 & 2019 premieres
37 CLOSED 21 Nov 2017 14 Dec 2017 31 Jan 2018 2018 & 2019 premieres
38 CLOSED 01 Feb 2018 26 Feb 2018 26 Mar 2018 2019 premieres (second priority for 2018 premieres)
39 CLOSED 01 Mar 2018 26 Mar 2018 04 May 2018 2019 premieres (2nd priority for 2018 & 2020 premieres)
40 CLOSED 24 Jul 2018 23 Aug 2018 28 Sept 2018 2019 premiere priority
41 CLOSED 25 Sept 2018 15 Oct 2018 19 Nov 2018 2019 & 2020 premieres
42 CLOSED 21 Nov 2018 12 Dec 2018 30 Jan 2019 2019 & 2020 premieres
43 CLOSED 31 Jan 2019 25 Feb 2019 08 April 2019 2020 premieres
44 CLOSED 04 Mar 2019 02 Apr 2019 09 May 2019 2020 premieres
45 CLOSED 29 July 2019 27 Aug 2019 01 Oct 2019 2020 & 2021 premieres
46 CLOSED 23 Sept 2019 23 Oct 2019 19 Nov 2019 2020 & 2021 premieres
47 CLOSED 25 Nov 2019 18 Dec 2019 22 Jan 2020 2020 & 2021 premieres
48 CLOSED 22 Jan 2020 27 Feb 2020 09 April 2020 2020 & 2021 premieres
49 CLOSED 09 March 2020 07 Apr 2020 07 May 2020 2021 premieres
50 CLOSED 25 May 2020 15 Jun 2020 15 Jul 2020 2021& 2022 premieres
51 CLOSED 01 Jul 2020 27 Jul 2020 24 Aug 2020 2022 premieres
52 CLOSED 10 Aug 2020 31 Aug 2020 28 Sept 2020 2022 premieres
53 CLOSED 14 Sept 2020 05 Oct 2020 09 Nov 2020 2022 premieres
54 CLOSED 12 Oct 2020 09 Nov 2020 10 Dec 2020 2022 premieres
55 CLOSED 23 Nov 2020 22 Dec 2020 28 Jan 2021 2022 premieres
56 CLOSED 22 Jan 2021 17 Feb 2021 25 Mar 2021 2022 premieres
57 CLOSED 17 Mar 2021 08 Apr 2021 14 Sept 2021 2022 premieres
58 CLOSED 01 Sept 2021 16 Sept 2021 22 Oct 2021 2022 & 2023 premieres
59 CLOSED 20 Oct 2021 15 Nov 2021 03 Dec 2021 2023 premieres
60 CLOSED 17 Nov 2021 03 Dec 2021 17 Dec 2021 2023 premieres
61 CLOSED 19 Aug 2022 06 Sept 2022 29 Sept 2022 2023 & 2024 premieres
62 CLOSED 26 Sept 2022 11 Oct 2022 28 Oct 2022 2023 & 2024 premieres
63 CLOSED 24 Oct 2022 11 Nov 2022 06 Dec 2022 2023 & 2024 premieres
64 OPEN 22 Nov 2022 07 Dec 2022 20 Dec 2022 2023 & 2024 premieres
*** = Dates TBC. Until confirmation of funding and dates, it is not guaranteed that the funding round will be held or held on these dates
Note: Applicants should only submit their project for the relevant Round and applicants are advised to submit fully completed applications with all the requested supporting documentation. Given the demand for funding, incomplete applications tend to be challenged by other complete applications in the same round, while projects falling outside the eligibility and scope of a particular Round’s submission requirements will be set aside and not considered. To enable efficient processing of all applications on a Round-by-Round basis, applicants should only submit the project for the appropriate round from the opening date for that Round. If applicants are re-submitting a previous application for the second time, the application will need to demonstrate substantial change to the creative and financial elements of the project in order to be included in a new round. The Premiere Fund generally does not consider the same project more than twice. Please note that in the event of a high number of applications, the communication date may be later than advertised.

[4] ASSESSMENT PROCESS

 

Each eligible application is assessed by the Premiere Fund Executive Producer, under the system described above in [1.3], who then formulates recommendations for consideration by the MIFF Board Premiere Fund Sub-Committee. The Fund Executive Producer then communicates the Sub-Committee’s final determinations (which are ratified by the Board) on applications for Support. The Fund does not disclose the reasons for its decisions, which are final and not subject to appeal.

[5] GENERAL ELIGIBILITY

 

[5.1] To be eligible to apply for Support from the Fund:

(a) Projects must be an Australian feature film (narrative or documentary) of at least 80 minutes intended for theatrical release which demonstrate in their financing plans and shooting schedules that they will be completed in time to premiere at MIFF 2023 or MIFF 2024.

(b) Applications must have the written agreement (by way of signing the holdback forms here) from their Australian/NZ distributor, and/or world sales agent, and/or TV broadcaster(s)/streamers that the Film will not screen or be promoted in any form prior to the expiry of the MIFF Premiere Period. If the form is not signed by these parties, the application is not eligible.

(c) Applications must submit shooting (and/or post-production) schedules clearly demonstrating that the project can meet MIFF’s delivery deadlines for MIFF 2023 or MIFF 2024, as well as financing scenarios that demonstrate all anticipated funding can be unlocked to allow production to commence in time for such delivery to occur (for example, that Government investments requiring a presale to trigger them have that presale in place).

(d) Applications must be lodged by a producer (*) who is an Australian citizen/permanent resident based in Victoria, who will be signatory to the subsequent long-form contracts/PIA and who will receive a producer credit on the final production (*NOTE: MIFF Premiere Fund does not co-finance student films).

(e) Applications that include as much detail as possible on the terms and nature of recognised marketplace distribution and sales attachments will receive priority.

(f) Where the film is eligible to apply to one or more State-based Screen Agency (or Agencies) for support, the project should generally have applied and have yes/no production investment decisions from the state agency (or agencies) prior to submitting the Premiere Fund application.

(g) Where the project is a feature documentary that has the Screen Australia Producer Program Fund in its financing plan, you will need to provide evidence of an investment decision or confirmation that it has been accepted for assessment.

(h) Have a letter of intent from a Completion Bond. If the application does not have a bonder letter, the application is not eligible.

(i) Have, or plan and budget to have, E&O Insurance.

(j) All applicants have signed the application form, noting at least one applicant must be a Victorian.

(k) Not already be in receipt of a screening invite from MIFF.

[5.2] The Fund may support the following in any of its Rounds.

  • Films at fully-developed script stage (or, in the case of documentary features that have not shot any material, fully developed outlines) with advanced financing plans – via mini-gap equity investment or loans;
  • Films already shot, or partially shot, – via completion/enhancement funding (mini-gap equity investment or loans)
  • Completed films (generally lower budget), seeking marketing/distribution support (for specific items, such as a trailer, TV spot, poster, (test) screenings, etc to allow for an enhanced campaign/release) – generally via a loan/advance (that matches a financial commitment from a distributor which has co-authored the marketing plan with the applicant) [NB: see 7.7 and 7.8 of these guidelines regarding recoupment of loans]

As per Section [2] above, the Fund generally anticipates equity investments of up to A$200,000 (or up to 10% of the budget, whichever is lower), completion funding of up to A$95,000 and marketing/distribution supports of up to A$60,000.

  • [NB: see 7.7 and 7.8 of these guidelines regarding recoupment of the loans]

[6] GENERAL ASSESSMENT CRITERIA

 

In addition to the General Eligibility (as per above) and eligibility criteria specific to each of the Rounds, the following General Assessment Criteria will inform the Premiere Fund’s deliberations on a project. Each application should address, on the Application Form, the General Assessment Criteria below to offer a convincing case for consideration.

Note: The order of listing the Criteria does not indicate an order of priority and the sample open questions below are provided to offer Applicants a suggested framework for writing their submission.

[6a] Creative: Quality & Development:
Deliberations may include the following types of questions:
Is this a project that announces a must-track creative team? Is it an important development of an existing filmmakers work? Does the project offer an important insight for Melbourne audiences – is it uncovering something new or finding an interesting way of traversing more familiar material? How is the project extending or (re-)interpreting the cinematic form? What is the core audience niche – is it a niche that is presently under-catered for? Or perhaps the appeal is that the project is presented in a way that offers wide appeal to important material? The film will be of a similar standing and quality to what other local and international films? How will the film differ to other completed Australian films presented at MIFF – what makes this a Premiere Fund film? In the case of documentary enhancement proposals, is the case made with fully set out treatment for (or assembly evidencing) the need for (and story structure of) a longer length (than a standard TV hour) and the viability of a theatrical release – will it have that theatrical quality of Mad Hot Ballroom, Cane Toads, Capturing the Friedmans, Buena Vista Social Club, Who Killed the Electric Car, Bowling for Columbine, Sicko, Traveling Birds, The Cream will Rise, Outfoxed, Rats in the Ranks, Fahrenheit 911 etc?

[6b] Audience & Programming at MIFF:
Deliberations may include the following types of questions:
What is the target audience for the project – how well does the project cater to its niche? Where could it play in the Festival? Will it be suitable for multiple screenings at MIFF? (And why?) Will it work well for MIFF’s travelling festival/special events? (And why?) Will the project have an evergreen quality making it suitable for Encore screenings at future MIFFs? (And why?) The film will attract similar audience niches to what other films of recent years? (Give examples?) How will the project enhance and enrich the Festival-going experience as a Premiere Fund supported project (versus a regular Australian film showcased at MIFF)? Are there opportunities for extra MIFF activities to tie-in with the Film’s MIFF debut as a Premiere Fund title (above and beyond Q&As which occur in the normal course of events anyway)? Is MIFF guaranteed the film’s premiere as evidenced by letters from distributor/sales agent/TV broadcaster agreeing to holdback all other exhibitions of the film? (Note: Regardless of Premiere Fund support, the final decision on whether to program the film and in which slot rests solely with MIFF’s Programmers and this is a separate decision in the context of programming for the festival from the determination to support the financing of the film.)

[6c] Viability: Financing Plan & Budget:
This area examines if the financing plan, as presented, is viable in terms of the production receiving MIFF Premiere Fund support and then being able to proceed promptly into production using those funds and the funds of all co-financiers identified in the financing plan. A key issue will be if all elements are in line to offer a realistic chance to trigger, or unlock, other elements identified in the financing plan. Other key concerns will be to establish that the submitted budget is realistic and has all the required insurances, legals, bond, deliverables correctly provided for.
Therefore, deliberations may include the following types of questions:
Does the financing plan and supporting documentation demonstrate that there is already a high level of finance in place for the project making it more likely to meet the Premiere timeline? Are the terms of existing finance competitive to allow for other investors to comfortably join the financing plan without causing a delay that could jeopardise either MIFF’s recoupment potential or, most of all, the schedule and endanger the Premiere timelines? For elements of the financing plan yet to be secured, are those aspirations and expectations realistic (Track record of applicant in co-financing)? Can existing elements of the financing plan be easily unlocked to allow production to occur in a timely fashion (for example, are presales in place to unlock an anticipated Government Screen Agency support where that Agency’s guidelines require such presales?) Does the financing plan provide a convincing picture of a project that is finance-able within the required time frame? Is there matching distribution funding for distribution/marketing applications? Is there agreement from equity investors for a completed project to secure marketing funding (which will recoup as a loan) from MIFF? Does an equity investment application have distribution/sales/other equity attachments on reasonable terms with a collections agreement? Is the budget realistic relative to the subject matter, potential audience appeal and talent attached? Can the project realistically be made to a quality standard with the budget? What is the recoupment potential relative to budget, subject matter and talent? Is the budget is line with the value of the project relative to the sales estimates and subject matter? Will the project qualify for the Producer Offset and, if so, what will the Qualifying Australian Production Expenditure (QAPE) be? Does the budget have adequate contingency? SPAA levy? E&O? Indemnities? Warranties? Legals? Completion Bond? Collections Agent? Clearances?

[6d] Balance of Slate: Creative & Financial:
Deliberations on this point will consider the range of applications to the Fund in terms of narrative/documentary, genres, filmmaking teams, themes and budget levels with an aim to support a diverse pipeline of quality content. In deliberating on the amount of Support requested by a project, MIFF will take into account the amount of money remaining in the Fund and the number of overall likely applicants for Support with a view to offering support to a wide number and range of projects. So, in essence, this criterion examines how the applicant’s project fits in with the Premiere Fund slate. Applicants can address these matters by stating what is important about supporting the genre of film they are applying with (is it an under-served genre for example? Or a very popular one?), by demonstrating clearly the specific need for the requested amount, and by highlighting the financial impact strategic minority funding by MIFF would have on the project (see also ADDITIONALITY below). Applicants can also make a case under this criterion by considering the Premiere Fund’s slate to date (see section 1.2 of these guidelines and also www.miffpremierefund.com and also the highlights reel) and offering a case as to where their project fits in the slate.

Also, as the Fund’s prior slate demonstrates, the Fund has a strong interest in and commitment to ‘Stories that need telling’; this includes strongly-authored big stories touching on pressing issues in creative ways (be that narrative drama or feature documentary). The Fund’s ‘Stories that need telling’ are films that have something to say whether it be about the creative endeavour, social issues, historical events, children’s films, indigenous stories, diversity, etc.
The Fund especially seeks content that shares the Fund’s values around inclusion and diversity – including participation by, and representations of, women, LGBTIQ+, first nations peoples, Culturally And Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities, disabled, regional and emerging talent.
In making your case for support from the Fund, be sure to demonstrate that yours is a story that needs telling and how it aligns with, or adds to, the types of films supported by the Fund thus far.

[6e] Victorian – Characteristics & Impacts:
The Premiere Fund supports Victorian projects and all applications must be made by Australian citizens/permanent residents based in Victoria with an ABN and GST registration, who will be a signatory to subsequent long-form contracts/PIA and will receive a producer credit on the final production. Retrospective funding is not provided. Projects must demonstrate strength of connection to Victoria. For Production and Completion applications, Victorian elements would include many or some of the following: Victorian origination and/or Victorian shooting and/or Victorian storyline and/or Victorian Post/Digital/VFX (PDV) and/or Victorian talent/labour/crew/expenditure. For Marketing & Distribution applications, Victorian expenditure would include many or some of the following: generation of trailers, posters, marketing collateral, websites and DCPs; hire of Victorian publicists generating Victorian publicity; placement of advertisement in Victorian media.

Applicants must state what % of their budget will be spent in Victoria and what the leveraging factor of future Victorian spend against the MIFF Premiere Fund finance will be.
NOTE: The project’s future Victorian spend should exceed, by some multiples, the amount requested from the Fund. Applicants are advised to address this point in some detail as the level of Victorian spend is a key consideration for the Fund and a major factor in the determination of the amount of funding awarded to successful applicants. Victorian spend should be greater than the amount requested from MIFF Premiere Fund and the leveraging factor of the future Victorian spend against the requested MIFF funding should be noted (as this is an assessment consideration). For example, if you will spend $900k in Victoria and are seeking $75k from the Fund, then your leveraging factor of spend versus funding is 12:1.
In all cases, the higher the level of non-retrospective Victorian expenditure your project has, the higher the level of the project’s funding request from the Premiere Fund can be.

[6f] Additionality:
Note: Applicants are advised to address this point in some detail as it is a central consideration for the Fund.
Each finance award made by the MIFF Premiere Fund must demonstrate very clearly that the finance awards made a demonstrable difference to creative and/or industrial and and/or audience & distribution outcomes that may not otherwise have occurred in the absence of the funding and that could not have been achieved from other existing finance sources. This is the issue of what “Additionality” MIFF’s Premiere Fund is making by offering a commitment to the project – what additional creative, financial, distribution, industrial outcomes are being added to, or enhanced, that otherwise may not occur in the absence of Premiere Fund support? “Additionality” also concerns a clear demonstration by applicants that Premiere Fund support is additional to other sources of co-financing rather than substituting for other sources of co-financing potentially available to the project.
Therefore, deliberations by the sub-Committee on the issue of Additionality may include the following types of questions: Does the application clearly demonstrate how Premiere Fund Support might make a difference to the project in creative choices? What will not occur for the project in the absence of support by MIFF Premiere Fund? Will the extra funding allow for superior creative choices? (In the case of enhancing TV documentaries to theatrical length, what merits the longer length and theatrical release and how will MIFF PF money assist this to occur?) Will the funding allow for superior Post/Digital/VFX (PDV) or an enhanced marketing campaign? Would the funding influence the choice (or retention) of shooting location or PDV in Victoria? Has the application demonstrated that all other avenues of potential co-funding are being explored (thereby ensuring that the amount sought from MIFF is at the most efficient level that it can be and that Premiere Fund money can be spread across the greatest possible number of projects and that that PF money is additional to (rather than substituting for) other sources of finance potentially available to the project?) How will distribution outcomes be enhanced by Premiere Fund support? Note: Applicants are advised to address this point in some detail as it is a central consideration for the Fund.

[7] STANDARD CONDITIONS OF FUNDING

 

In addition to any conditions of funding specific to any of the Rounds, the following constitute General Conditions of Funding for all projects in receipt of support from the MIFF Premiere Fund and by applying for MIFF Premiere Fund support you are agreeing to the following standard business terms in the event that your application is successful.

[7.1] Premiere holdback & MIFF exhibition rights:
By applying to the Premiere Fund, the applicant producers agree (and certify that their distributors and sales agents will agree) that, in the event that the Premiere Fund provides funding support to the film, MIFF shall have the following screening rights:

(A)

(i) Premiere Period: a Premiere screening during the MIFF 2023 or MIFF 2024 Melbourne International Film Festival (“MIFF 2023” or “MIFF 2024”), with up to four (4) repeat screenings in the course of MIFF 2023 or MIFF 2024 and its associated events up to fourteen (14) days after the end of MIFF 2023 or MIFF 2024, (the “Premiere Period”);

(ii) Travelling & Events Period: up to nine (9) screenings of the Film at MIFF Travelling & Special Screenings Events within 12 months of the start of MIFF 2023 or MIFF 2024 (the “Travelling/Events Period”);

(iii) Encore Period: the right to screen the Picture, as part of retrospective/encore seasons at future editions of MIFF Events (the “Encore Period”).

And the applicant further agrees to the following:

(B) For the avoidance of doubt, the Premiere Period runs the entirety of the period from delivery on 15 May or 01 June 2023 (or 15 May or 01 June 2024) (depending on your Bonder) until fourteen (14) calendar days after the end of MIFF 2023 or MIFF 2024.

(C) The Premiere Period will precede all screenings of the Film (excepting Government, investor or cast/crew screenings) in any form of media worldwide, including (but not limited to) theatrical, internet, airlines, television, pay-TV, pay-per-view, video-on-demand, near-video-on-demand, streaming, video and DVD. For the avoidance of doubt, in all circumstances the Picture will be contracted to screen at MIFF 2023 or MIFF 2024. For the further avoidance of doubt, the MIFF 2023 or MIFF 2024 screenings will be the world premiere of the film. The only exceptions to this world premiere rule will be screenings of the Picture in selection for Sundance 2023 or 2024, Rotterdam2023 or 2024, Berlin 2023 or 2024 and Cannes 2023 or 2024 and in such an eventuality the Licensor will notify MIFF Premiere Fund immediately of such a selection and consult in good faith with MIFF on the publicity and scheduling implications of such a selection it being agreed, however, that the film will at all times remain contracted to screen at MIFF 2023 or MIFF 2024 and that there would be no further screenings after that international festival screening prior to the MIFF Premiere. The producer/sales agent/distributors undertake not to submit the film to any festivals or events that would seek to derogate from the MIFF rights.

(D) For the avoidance of doubt, while the screening holdback runs until fourteen (14) calendar days after the end of MIFF 2023 or MIFF 2024, there is an advertising and promotional holdback on the film that runs until one (1) day after the end of MIFF 2023 or MIFF 2024. Therefore, advertising, marketing, promotion and publicity regarding non-MIFF events and screenings for the Film, in any territory can only occur from one (1) day after the end of MIFF 2023 or MIFF 2024.

(E) The Film must not be subject to any contractual restrictions, or breaches, which prevent MIFF from exhibiting and promoting the Film in accordance with clause A, B, C and D above. Any existing theatrical, internet, airlines, television, pay television, pay-per-view, video-on-demand, near video-on-demand, video and DVD agreements will have agreed to these screening and promotional holdbacks and the Distributor/Sales Agent/Producer(s) undertake not to enter into, seek or entertain, any such agreements or selections in the future which do not accommodate the MIFF screenings or in any way derogates from the MIFF Rights and accept that the screening holdbacks and promotional holdbacks are fundamental to the MIFF Premiere Fund investment and all agreements will include, or be amended to include, these holdbacks.

(F) The Distributor/Sales Agent/Producer will not exhibit (or authorise any exhibition of) the Film in any media during or before the Premiere Period, nor will the Distributor/Sales Agent/Producer enter the film into any festivals that might seek to derogate from the MIFF Rights. The Distributor/Sales Agent/Producer may promote the Film (or authorise the promotion of the Film) after the end of MIFF 2023 or MIFF 2024 and acknowledge and agree that MIFF has the right to advertise and promote the Film’s screening(s) in MIFF 2023 or MIFF 2024 for up to 120 days prior to the commencement of the Premiere Period and thereafter, via all means and media and to also use images of the Film in general promotional campaigns for MIFF.

(G) Other exploitation, and promotion, of the Film may occur during the Travelling/Special Events Period.

(H) MIFF may secure sponsorship for any of the MIFF Screenings of PF films. MIFF will be responsible for all costs of the MIFF Screenings of the PF films and will be entitled to retain all revenue derived from such sponsorship – as well as being entitled to retain all revenue derived from all of the MIFF Screenings of PF films in all slots.

(I) The above rights apply to all versions of, and materials shot for, the Film.

(J) In the event of breaches to the fundamental aspects of the investment agreement (namely the screening holdbacks and the promotional holdbacks), regardless of the sources of the breaches, the producer agrees to be fully liable for the buyback as below.

(K) Where the project does not comply fully with its promotional holdback obligations, regardless of the source of the breach, the Premiere Fund investment may automatically terminate and the producer agrees to assume liability to pay to buy-back the Film for 150% of the investment amount. (So, if there was a $100,000 investment, the producer would pay to MIFF the amount of $150,000 for MIFF to relinquish the holdback rights).

(L) Where the project plans to not comply fully with its screening holdback obligations, the producer will, sooner than 120 days prior to the start of MIFF, submit an application for a buy-back to MIFF setting out the reasons for the proposed non-compliance with the MIFF holdback obligations. The MIFF Board will review the application and, should the MIFF Board approve the application (which is not guaranteed), the producer will then be able to buy-back the film for 150% of the investment amount. (So, if there was a $100,000 investment, the producer would pay to MIFF the amount of $150,000 for MIFF to relinquish the holdback rights). Notwithstanding the repayment, MIFF Premiere Fund will retain its credits on the film.

(M) By applying to the MIFF Premiere Fund, you are agreeing to all the above holdbacks. You are specifically agreeing that neither you nor your sales agent nor any representative of the film will submit the film to any festival or other end-user who will derogate, or seek to derogate, from the film’s contracted screenings at MIFF 2023 or MIFF 2024.

(N) The final decision to screen the completed PF film and in which (if any) slots (be that regular CBD or suburban slots, regional showcase, competition, gala, special events, or other) will be at the sole discretion of MIFF as will the nature of the promotion of the MIFF screenings of the PF film and the production’s entitlement to complimentary tickets

(O) In the year of Premiere, the applicant agrees to participate in panel sessions at MIFF 37ºSouth Market as well as ensuring the director’s availability to participate in panel sessions at MIFF Accelerator Lab while the producer and director will participate in Q&A sessions at the main MIFF Festival. In the year prior to premiere (if relevant and if requested), the producer agrees to be available to participate in panel sessions at MIFF 37ºSouth Market giving an update on the financing and shooting progress of the film.

[7.2] Delivery materials to MIFF Premiere Fund.
As a fundamental condition of Premiere Fund investment, items (a) through (s) below, which will remain MIFF’s property, must be delivered no later than 15 May or 01 June (depending on your Bonder) in the year of the festival premiere (to allow for the Bonder’s force majeure/cure & breach provisions as well as marketing requirements) and no sooner than 01 November the year before festival premiere:

(a) 1x open (unencrypted) DCP in NTFS format, including files containing fully-descriptive closed captioning (for use by the deaf/hearing-impaired) and audio description (VI tracks, for use by the blind/visually- impaired) for use by MIFF in Access Screenings (an accessibility overview for DCP can be found here). The DCP to have a CPL that conforms to the Digital Cinema Naming Convention V 9.5; see here for further details. DCP can be 24 fps or 25 fps, but the fps must be the same as the ProRes.

(b) 1x open (unencrypted) Open Caption DCP, including fully descriptive captioning (for use by the deaf/hearing-impaired) that is displayed on screen.  The Open Captions file will differ from Closed Captions as it doesn’t contain subtitle elements as they would conflict with those on screen.  This can be supplied as a version file(VF) that works with the standard original version DCP(OV).
The two DCPs should be on their own Drive – separate from all other delivery items on this list.

(c) 1x ProRes [HD QT HQ 4.2.2 file, 24 fps or 25 fps (but must be the same fps as the DCP), with audio and stereo tracks] – as a backup exhibition format. The ProRes should be on its own Drive – separate from all other delivery items on this list.

(d) 1 x WebRes (digital file optimised for digital exhibition), 15,000kbps or higher, 1920 x 1080, H.264 video codec, AAC audio codec, stereo mix – as well as files containing fully descriptive open captioning for use by the deaf/hearing-impaired (WebVTT preferred or SRT).

(e) 1 x fully audio described WebRes (digital file optimised for digital exhibition), 15,000kbps or higher, 1920 x 1080, H.264 video codec, AAC audio codec, stereo mix. This delivery item (for use by the blind/visually- impaired) should be separate from item (d) above; and it should have the full audio description track embedded on the main audio track that is mixed so that it is audible against the film audio.

(f) For previewing purposes, 4 x DVDs (PAL) preview copies of the Film (with “Preview Only” burn if desired)

(g) Password-protected Vimeo links to the film given to MIFF and to be operational from 01 June to the last day of the festival (with “Preview Only” burn if desired).

(h)(i) 1x Trailer of the Film (with all clearances and able to be played on any platform) in web-res = 15,000kbps or higher, 1920 x 1080, H.264 video codec, AAC audio codec, stereo mix including files containing fully descriptive captioning (for use by the deaf/hearing-impaired)

(h)(ii) 1 x fully audio-described Trailer of the Film (with all clearances and able to be played on any platform) in web-res = 15,000kbps or higher, 1920 x 1080, H.264 video codec, AAC audio codec, stereo mix. This delivery item (for use by the blind/visually-impaired) should be separate from item (g)(i) above; and it should have the full audio description track embedded on the main audio track

(i) Press Kit (in electronic form and in both word and PDF format) including clippings, synopsis, Director’s Bio (including full name, Place and Date of Birth, and filmography) and web address of the Film; and, If available, additional behind-the-scenes/interview content

(j) 10x publicity still images of the Film (behind-the-scenes images not acceptable) provided in electronic format (300 DPI minimum tif or jpeg). All images must be labeled with Film name and cast name.

(k) Image of director in print quality tif or jpeg format

(l) Digital copy of poster

(m) Completed Technical Credits Form (as provided by Premiere Fund)

(n) a further legal opinion in a form approved by MIFF Premiere Fund, as to the effectiveness of all acquisitions, assignments clearances, licenses and permissions entered into in connection with the production of the Film.

(o) E&O certificate, with no exclusions, naming Filmfest Ltd. trading as Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) as an additional insured

(p) Statutory declaration regarding compliance with the Australian Screen Industry Code of Practice and the Victorian Screen Industry Code of Conduct

(q) If requested, copies of all global clearances, releases and consents including cast, crew, locations, interview subjects, footage, music or any other intellectual property

(r) For projects with significant Indigenous content, Indigenous access agreements and permissions

(s) Final audited cost report, including statutory declaration of Victorian spend, no later than three months after the Delivery Date

Where the delivery materials required under any of (a) (b) (c), (d) or (e) fail MIFF tech-checking and retesting is required, the cost of the second (and any subsequent testing) will be deducted from the final MIFF drawdown.

Should any delivery materials be lost or damaged, owing to circumstances beyond MIFF control, the Producer will generate additional materials for MIFF at no cost to MIFF.

[7.3] Credits:
The credits in clause 7.3 are fundamental conditions of the investment and apply to all versions of the Film in all territories. MIFF Premiere Fund shall receive credits where the Film’s other financial supporters receive them and those credits appear on all versions of the Film and its materials worldwide. MIFF Premiere Fund shall be included in the Film’s copyright notice. The credits in clause 7.3 are fundamental conditions of the investment.

The combined MIFF/Premiere Fund/Victorian Government logo shall appear in advertising and promotional materials (including, but not limited to, posters, key art, DVD, CD, video sleeves, press advertisements greater than five column centimetres) and wherever other investor credits and logos appear. The MIFF Premiere Fund and Victorian Government logos must be adjacent to and the same size as such other financier credits and logos.

 

 

_____________________________________________

Where any other Government-backed financier receives a pre-presentation card credit, MIFF Premiere Fund shall also have a static or animated pre-presentation card before the Film with the logos for the MIFF Premiere Fund and Victorian State Government as follows:

 

 

_____________________________________________

The MIFF Premiere Fund will receive a static full frame presentation credit in the main (opening) credits at the front of the Film along the following lines:

 

In association with
Melbourne International Film Festival Premiere Fund

 

_____________________________________________

MIFF Premiere Fund will receive a static full frame presentation credit in the end (closing)-credits as follows:

_____________________________________________

Where the project was pitched at MIFF 37°South Market, MIFF Premiere Fund will receive a static full frame presentation credit in the end (closing)-credits as follows:

 

_____________________________________________

Where the project’s director attended Accelerator Lab, MIFF Premiere Fund will receive a static full frame presentation credit in the end (closing)-credits as follows:

 

_____________________________________________

Where the project was pitched at MIFF 37°South Market and the project’s director attended Accelerator Lab, MIFF Premiere Fund will receive a static full frame presentation credit in the end (closing)-credits as follows:

 

 

_____________________________________________

 

[7.4] Approval and consultations:
The Fund will generally expect to be consulted on creative matters, such as script changes and cuts of the film, in line with customary norms amongst other film funders and end-user supporters in Australia. This includes invites to, and meaningful consultations on, rough-cut, fine-cut and pre-lock-off screenings – with each screening at least one week apart. Where the Fund Executive Producer is not available to attend a screening, a copy of the cut will be made available for viewing on DVD or vimeo. In the case of equity investments, the Fund would have approval rights over the terms of any distribution and sales agreements – as well as substantial changes to the financing plans that would alter the recoupment position of the Fund’s Support (or its Screenings rights) and changes to key creative personal/talent.

[7.5] Rights Reversion:
For investments post July 2009, MIFF Premiere Fund’s investment will revert seven years after delivery.

[7.6] Collections:
The Fund will expect that projects will have a collections agent where there is a sales agent and/or distributor attached or when the sales agent and/or distributor is later attached.

[7.7] Recoupment:
Should a film generate significant box office and/or ancillary/international sales, MIFF Premiere Fund wants to reinvest its share of returns in future projects seeking support. Therefore, all Support Amounts will be recoupable in proportion to MIFF’s support of the film in proportion to the project’s budget and the Fund will be entitled to a share of revenues from any spin-offs, prequels or sequels. MIFF Premiere Fund’s recoupment of equity investments will be pro-rata parri-passu with other equity investors, including producer investment. There will be a preferred recoupment position for MIFF marketing/distribution advances alongside the distributor/sales agent. For completion- enhancement loans, MIFF Premiere Fund shall recoup 55% of its loan in first position until 55% of the loan is retired and then the remaining 45% of the loan will recoup pro-rata with other financiers of the project. There is no premium charged on Premiere Fund loans.

[7.8] Clearances, Releases & Agreements:
MIFF Premiere Fund will expect that all proposals for support will include evidence of agreement from any cast or talent attached to the project, and, for documentaries, evidence of the agreement of any key personnel to participate in the documentary. It is also expected that the budget would include international clearances for footage and music, including the right to use such footage and music in promotional activities for the film.

[7.9] Drawdowns:
MIFF Premiere Fund drawdowns occur at the following intervals (and only in a sequential manner): (1) Execution of PIA and associated transaction documentation (10%); (2) Start of shoot and delivery of first day DPR and cost report (40%); (3) Viewing of lock-off screening and credits approval & cost report (25%); (4) Delivery to MIFF (as per clause [10 (a) – (s)) and acceptance thereof (20%); (5) Receipt of final audit and Victorian spend approval (as per clause 10 (t)(5%). Premiere Fund drawdowns only occur when the full budget is in place and after full signature of all PIA/long-form paperwork and transaction documents to the satisfaction of major investors and the Bonder.

[7.10] Legals:
Legal costs are a fact of life. Premiere Fund support amounts will be inclusive of a 5% MIFF legal fee, which will be deducted by MIFF Premiere Fund from the project’s first drawdown to go towards payment of Premiere Fund Legal Fees arising in the course of contracting the Fund’s involvement in the project. Applicants need to include this legal fee in the project budget submitted in their applications. Also, by applying to the Premiere Fund, successful applicants undertake that they will agree to the generation of an Inter Party Agreement (IPA) during long-form contracting should MIFF request that the project’s contracting includes an IPA.

[7.11] Insurances:
MIFF Premiere Fund will expect that projects will have all insurances, indemnities and warranties generally accepted as the norm for Australian screen productions, including indemnities and E&O insurances. Projects are also expected to have a completion bond attached and applicants will be required to submit a letter of intent from their completion bonder showing the agreed cost of the bond. All insurances will name Filmfest trading as Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) as an additional insured.

[7.12] Accessibility and inclusion:
MIFF Premiere Fund requires that all funded projects budget for their primary exhibition format to include fully-descriptive captioning (for use by the deaf and/or hearing-impaired) and audio descriptions (for use by the blind and/or visually-impaired).

[7.13] Safe Workplaces:
MIFF Premiere Fund requires that all productions comply with the Australian Screen Industry Code of Practice and the Victorian Screen Industry Code of Conduct and the Screen Industry Covid-Safe Guidelines.

[7.14] Indigenous/First Nations Subjects and Creatives:
For projects dealing with indigenous/first nations content, the Fund will expect that there will be key indigenous creative principals (director or producer or writer) attached to, and having meaningful involvement with, the production of the film

[7.15] Chain of title:
Applicants must demonstrate they hold all relevant rights to the work and are required to submit one copy of Chain of Title documentation – or a solicitor’s opinion on the Chain of Title if preferred.

[7.16] Reports:
MIFF Premiere Fund expects to receive the same reports as other investors/supporters of the project, such as production progress reports, post-production progress reports and, after completion, collections agent reports.

[7.17] Publicity:
Successful applicants agree that MIFF and the Premiere Fund will be able to publicize their Support of the project – both for the Festival exposure and also for the purposes of promoting the Fund to the industry and stakeholders – and that the festival’s publicists will have access to the set and cast/creatives for the purposes of such publicity efforts.

[7.18] Ethical working and supply:
Successful applicants agree that they, and their officers and employees, will, comply with the principles of ethical business conduct and in particular that they: do not employ workers below the minimum age according to applicable law; do not use forced, prison, or indentured labor, or workers subject to any form of compulsion or coercion; comply with applicable laws and regulations protecting the environment and do not adversely affect local communities; do not engage in bribery of government officials; do not infringe the intellectual property rights of any party; and seek to only use suppliers conforming to similar standards.

[7.19] No default:
Applicants must certify that they are not in default of any contractual arrangements to the Victorian and Federal Australian Governments and any of their agencies and that previous Premiere Fund commitments were fully-honored and fully-acquitted.

[7.20] Length of commitment:
Premiere Fund Supports will generally be valid for up to three months from the date of the Premiere Fund commitment letter. If financing has not progressed to the satisfaction of the Premiere Fund and the Premiere Fund is not convinced the project will be ready for premiere at the agreed year of MIFF, then the Funding to the project will expire and that funding will be allocated to a future Round. The project may re-apply for the funding but it will be re-assessed against the other projects in the new Round.

[7.21] Agreement to Guidelines & Conditions:
By applying for Premiere Fund support, applicants are agreeing that they have read these guidelines in full and agree to be bound by the content of these Guidelines (Including, but not limited to, recoupment, draw-downs, credits, delivery date, premiere, promotional holdbacks, screening holdbacks (and all the conditions associated with holdbacks), bond and delivery date) and the terms and conditions of support.

[8] APPLICATION / ROUNDS

 

The General Eligibility Guidelines & General Assessment Criteria in the above Guidelines apply to each funding Round. Before commencing your application, please read thoroughly the above Guidelines – and keep them handy to refer to as you prepare your application. However, each Round may have further specific requirements, so please read the below carefully to ascertain if your project fits the requirements to apply to this Round. (If not, then check out Section THREE of the Guidelines above for more dates of upcoming Rounds).

  • Rounds # 1 – 62: CLOSED
  • Round # 63 – Call for submissions: Projects that:
    • can demonstrate a readiness to premiere at MIFF 2023 or MIFF 2024
      and/or
    • subject to section [5], films “going-up” to a Screen Australia funding meeting by the end of February 2023
  • *Applications are to be submitted by 2pm on the ROUND CLOSING DATE as per the chart in section THREE of the above GUIDELINES.
  • If receipt of your application has not been acknowledged within five (5) business days, please send a short follow up email to both industry@miff.com.au and woods@miff.com.au

Click here to head to the Applications area