Recent Australian Broadcasting Cultures and Documentary Practice
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In contemporary Australia long form documentary is fundamentally a tele-visual medium, recent efforts by the Australian Film Commission - now Screen Australia - to reinvigorate cinematic documentary notwithstanding. While commercial free to air stations broadcast a legislated minimum of first run documentary each year under 'Australian Content' regulations most documentaries go to air under the auspices of public broadcasters. The ABC and the SBS have taken diverse approaches to documentary, reflecting varying charters, budgets and institutional cultures. This paper looks at in-house production and the broadcasters' organization of independent commissioning,, especially tradition and innovation in the ABC's Documentary Department (1988-1996) and arrangements since; the recent influence of executive producers and other key roles; the organization of commissioning strategies for independent work through the ABC and SBS Independent and SBS's recent moves to fold documentary production into a broader 'factual' category. Examples and case studies will include selected works such as Cop It Sweet (1992) and Frontier (TV series and online program, 1997) and Australia by Numbers (2003). Comparisons are made with commercial broadcasters' responses to funding and regulatory systems, including 'Australian content'. Through this paper, questions of the individual and institutional voices of documentary will be interrogated. Comparisons will be made with earlier eras when most documentary was produced 'in-house' and with contemporary independent documentary production to understand the way that in-house production allows for particular kinds of intervention in the public domain. Ien Ang, Gay Hawkings, Lamia Dabboussy, 2008 The SBS Story: the challenge of cultural diversity, UNSW Press.?Glynn Davis, 1987, The ABC and SBS, ANU and Royal Australian Institute of Public Administration?FitzSimons, T., 2002. 'Accords, Slots, Slates and Series: Australian Television Takes on Documentary.' Metro 132/2: pp.63 -73.?Trevor Graham, 2009, 'Hula Girls: A cocktail for International Co Production', Written component, Doctorate of Creative Arts, University of Technology, Sydney.?Ken Inglis, 2006, Whose ABC??Ken Inglis, 1983, This is the ABC: The Australian Broadcasting Corporation 1932 -1983.
ACUADS 2009 Conference: Interventions in the Public Domain
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Film and Television