On 23 December 2015, Metro Screen closed down permanently due to funding cuts. I had worked there since March 2015 as Learning & Development Coordinator, running their short courses program. In 2014, they'd funded my film.
After my final day at work, I sat down and wrote a reflection of what Metro Screen meant to me:
As you may or may not know, I work at Metro Screen, an organisation that has trained, supported, developed and funded emerging filmmakers for more than 34 years. Until today.
Today Metro Screen closed down and left a gaping hole in the industry.
Last year, Metro Screen selected my film proposal for funding through their Breaks program. But it wasn't just about the money. We were given months of mentored hothouse development sessions, directing workshops and producing seminars. We were given access to equipment and facilities. But I think the most amazing thing was to have an organisation who believed and invested that much in me and my story.
And the film that came out of the Breaks program is MEAT, which I've been banging on about for the last two years. It got me my first directing nomination, it got me into VCA, and it's currently playing the festival circuit across Australia and overseas. And it wouldn't exist without Metro Screen.
But those are the obvious outcomes of Metro Screen's support.
Here are some other things that came about because of Metro Screen: a longtime friend became my producer; a producer we admire greatly mentored our production; an amazing network of filmmakers became my close friends and collaborators; my pathway into the screen industry became clearer to me; an incredible cast and crew came together to realise my story; the passionate and dedicated staff and tutors, many of whom had been there for years and years, became my colleagues. I found my tribe.
And that's just me.
Thousands of emerging filmmakers have found their creative home at Metro Screen over the last 34 years, and I worry about what is to come. I worry about our country where the arts organisations that nurture the young, the emerging and the marginalised, are being defunded.
They are too important. And the Australian government needs to be reminded of that, over and over again. When our creative institutions are dismantled, we need to make a noise.
Thank you, Metro Screen. Your legacy is felt and your presence will be sorely missed.
Over the next few years, look for Metro Screen's logo in the credits at film festivals and give a cheer. I will.