CPC requests reinstatement of commercial tv production in Victorian government’s definition

UPDATE: With the swearing in of Danny Pearson as the new Victorian Minister for Creative Industries on 29 September, the CPC has recently redirected its formal request to Pearson’s ministerial office. A response is pending.

When the Victorian Government’s Stage 4 Restrictions were announced for our sector on 3 August, commercial television production was inexplicably excluded from its broader definition of screen production (which included long-form/feature filming and television productions).

At the time Film Victoria was unable to provide a rationale as to why commercial tv production had been singled out. The decision was a baffling one and the exclusion also seems at odds with the way in which our business operates, given that freelancers dominate our sector’s crews and work across commercial production and film as well as television production.

As a consequence, the CPC has recently written to the MInister for Creative Industries, the Hon. Martin Foley, MP, to query the government’s decision to single out commercial television production and to formallly request its reinstatement so that when restrictions are relaxed for our sector, commercial television production can recommence in alignment with film and television production.

The letter also sought clarification regarding critical and essential services, exemption processes, and special conditions that might apply for stills photography shoots and post-production services. A response from the DHHS is pending.

Raven Collective joins CPC

Raven Collective is the CPC’s newest member, joining ARC Edit, Brightworks, Clockwork Films, Division, Eight, Filmgraphics, Friske, Happy Films, Sedona and Spinnaker Films as new members since January 2020. The CPC looks forward to welcoming Michelle Parker to our next committee meeting on Tuesday 1 December.

Update: Stage 4 filming restrictions in Victoria


The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS.vic) Victoria has updated its permitted work premises for the Information Media and Telecommunications Sector. Effective 11.59pm Sunday 11 October 2020, it has extended its permissions to incorporate the following:

“Pre-production of Film Victoria funded screen projects and closed set feature film, television and documentaries that are filmed in Government owned facilities.”

All other Stage 4 restrictions for our sector remain in place until further notice.

CPC welcomes DIVISION as new member

The CPC is delighted to welcome DIVISION as its newest member.

Australian Managing Director and Executive Producer, Geneviève Triquet, had represented her former company as a CPC member, valuable committee member and passionate advocate for the industry up until last year, so it is great to see her return to the Council.

The CPC greatly looks forward to working with Geneviève and her team.

Update: Stage 4 filming restrictions in Victoria



The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS.vic) Victoria has updated its permitted work premises for the Information Media and Telecommunications Sector. Effective 11.59pm Sunday 27 September 2020, ‘Pre production of Film Victoria funded screen projects’ is now permitted.

All other Stage 4 restrictions for our sector remain in place until further notice.


On Wednesday 5 August, the Victorian State Government announced Stage 4 restrictions for permitted work premises, effective for a period of six weeks.

In the case of our sector, specifically articulated as:

Feature film, television and documentary (excluding television commercials, student and corporate productions) that is already in physical production and operating as a closed set and post-production relating to it.

In conjunction with The Communications Council, The Commercial Producers Council is providing this update based on the CPC’s most recent consultation with Film Victoria.

Firstly, there are a number of grey areas so we’re seeking clarification as to:

  • Why commercial television productions have been excluded by the government from broader filming categories.
  • Whether these restrictions/closures also apply to stills photography, including shoots conducted in home studios.
  • Whether post-production is allowed to continue for commercial television productions or just, films, tv and documentaries.

Exemption procedures

Film VIC has advised that a formal exemption process will be distributed by the DHHS in the near future. In the meantime, Film VIC suggests the following course of action:

  • Awarded/planned shoots for Vic Govt projects
    Contact the relevant government department issuing the project work regarding a possible exemption.
  • Awarded/planned shoots for essential services
    Contact the DHHS hotline regarding a possible exemption. 

    NB: While there is no single definition for essential/critical services, the CPC understands they would include supermarkets, pharmacies, transport, health care/wellbeing (physical and mental), schools and universities. We are seeking confirmation of this.

Film VIC consultation

Since Stage 4 restrictions were announced on Wednesday, Film VIC has been swamped with enquiries and are doing their best to respond promptly. The CPC has appreciated their efforts to keep us informed of developments during the past week in particular.

Should you need to consult regarding specific issues, please contact:

Joe Brinkmann
Manager – Production Attraction and Support
Phone: 03 9660 3255 (ext 255)
Email: joe.brinkmann@film.vic.gov.au

Dan Beck
Locations and Production Services Co-ordinator
Phone: 03 9660 3262 (ext 262)
Email: dan.beck@film.vic.gov.au

Emily Dutton
Locations and Production Services Co-ordinator (Mon-Wed)
Phone: 03 9660 3216 (ext 216)
Email: emily.dutton@film.vic.gov.au

Sophie Ghanem
Locations and Production Services Co-ordinator
Phone: 03 9660 3236 (236)
Email: sophie.ghanem@film.vic.gov.au

NSW Border Crossing

The following advice has been provided by Screen NSW this afternoon (7 August).

At this point – noting that advice changes as the situation changes – anyone seeking to come into NSW from Victoria for work in the screen sector needs to apply for an exemption to the border restrictions, as there is not a category readily applicable to this sector.

To request an exemption, NSW Health requires a proposal that covers the following:

Health component of exemption review process: 

  • A proposal will need to include: 
    • Rationale for entering NSW
    • Predeparture swabs and health check
    • Details of transport into NSW
    • Health check on arrival in NSW
  • 14 days isolation in NSW – from Friday 7 August this is hotel quarantine, supervised by NSW Police hotel quarantine in government operated facilities – paid for by the traveller or production at $3,000.
    • Monitoring by NSW Health
    • Day 10 swabs

Proposals will be considered by NSW Health and may then be considered by the Health Minister.

In the first instance, proposals should come to grainne.brunsdon@create.nsw.gov.au at Screen NSW and we will manage the process from here.

City of Sydney Filming Waivers extended to 31 March 2021

Tuesday 29 September: The update below is from Simon Marshall, Manager – Events and Film Liaison, Venue Management, City of Sydney.

I am pleased to confirm that as part of an extensive relief package the City of Sydney has put together in support of a number of business sectors and programs in response to effects of Covid-19 restrictions, we have extended the current waiver of filming related fees until 31st March 2021.

This waiver covers all filming related fees which are normally chargeable for activities on City of Sydney owned or controlled land and is an extension of the fee waiver first adopted on 23rd March 2020.

The City of Sydney recognises that creative industries such as the film industry have been greatly affected due to the complexities of the pandemic and hopes that the waiving of such fees can assist with ever reducing budgets and potential increase in on-going production costs.

The City of Sydney has itself been heavily affected by the previous and ongoing changes to its normal operations. As such I remind and request all Productions to please ensure that all pre-requisites are adhered to for any applications being submitted to the City. This includes the importance of upholding the essential minimum deadlines with fully completed and confirmed details submitted at least 5 working days prior to the first day of shooting (or barricading if included) for non-road closure based activities .

We are unfortunately not able to consider or approve any late applications or applications with incomplete information on submission or later material changes inside these lead times.

The recent events have changed the requirements of many industries and activities across the City and sufficient information and lead times are essential for us to manage not only the general workloads but also try and ensure sufficient conflict checks across multiple parties can be completed, so filming can occur unhindered.

We hope that the waiving of filming related fees within the City of Sydney can allow for Tech Recce’s’ to be completed prior to applications being submitted, so all details can be confirmed at the time of application.

There has been an unfortunate increase in late or incomplete applications over the past few months and some occassions of activities being in breach of approved details and conditions.

We need to ensure that filming within the City of Sydney can be sustainable for all parties involved so we kindly remind all Productions and filming professionals to ensure that all applications and activities are in line with the City of Sydney Filming Guidelines available on the City of Sydney website, the NSW Film Friendly Protocol and associated NSW Filming Legislation.

With the team still working remotely for the majority of the week the usual dedicated filming phone line on 02 9265 9026 cannot always be answered. In the interim please can all enquiries be emailed to the normal openspacebookings@cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au email address so the team can respond or call back once received.

There has been a noticeable positive increase in the number of filming activities over the past few months and we hope this can continue moving forwards sustainably.

Simon can be contacted on 612 9265 9452 (landline) and 61 477 730 994 (mobile).

New Attendee Declaration released

Brightworks ninth new 2020 member

Three new members join CPC

The Commercial Producers Council extends a very warm welcome to its newest members: Sydney-based Clockwork Films, Australasian Spinnaker Films and Brisbane-based Happy Productions. We look forward to collaborating with Heath George, Tony Fry, Angela Murphy and their respective teams.

Production Brief Podcast: State of Play with Film Victoria

17 June 2020

Production Brief‘s Mark Welker and Brendan Lee wrap up its mini-series on shooting safe during COVID with an update from Joe Brinkmann and Dan Beck from Film Victoria. Listen to the podcast here.

Joe and Dan discuss the impact of COVID on the Australian screen production industry, introduce the new Screen Australia COVID-safe filming protocols, and get Film Vic’s outlook for the future of both screen and advertising production in Australia.

Joe Brinkmann is the Manager Production Attraction & Support at Film Victoria and Dan Beck is the Locations & Production Services Coordinator.

The Australian Screen Production COVID-Safe Guidelines on the Screen Australia are available at: https://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/production-during-covid-19

More information on the Production Brief podcast and its episodes here.