Speech by Senator the Hon Concetta Fierravanti-Wells

Parliamentary Theatre Screening of The Dressmaker

Location: Parliament House Canberra

I would also like to add my acknowledgement of country.

Can I also acknowledge:

  • Parliamentary colleagues
  • Industry professionals
  • Members of Screen Australia and Ausfilm
  • Other distinguished guests
  • Ladies and gentlemen

It is my great pleasure to be here this evening representing my parliamentary colleague and Minister for the Arts Senator the Honourable, George Brandis QC, for this exclusive preview screening of The Dressmaker.

On behalf of the Attorney General and Minister for the Arts, can I welcome you to the Parliamentary Theatre and I hope that you enjoy this evening’s events.

I must say that this theatre has seen many wonderful screenings. I recall many years ago, when I was a staffer here in the early 1990s coming to see a screening of Strictly Ballroom and witnessing my then boss and former minister Jim Carlton and former tourism minister Fran Bailey having a little waltz in the foyer after the performance!

Perhaps after this screening those of us who like to sew and make dresses will hit our sewing machines with greater vigour!

This has already been a huge year for the Australian film industry with The Water Diviner, Paper Planes and Mad Max: Fury Road making significant marks at the box office at home, and overseas.

Next month The Dressmaker will have its highly anticipated opening across Australia and I have no doubt that it will also capture the attention and imagination of the Australian public.

It is a privilege that tonight we get to see this bittersweet and beautiful Australian film before its world premiere at the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival.

I congratulate the producers and creative team for having their work selected as part of the red carpet gala presentations.

Based on the best-selling Australian novel by Rosalie Ham, who joins us here tonight, The Dressmaker illustrates the depth and breadth of creative talent this country has to offer.

We are also honoured to be joined this evening by writer/director Jocelyn Moorhouse and producer Sue Maslin, as well as actors Judy Davis and Sarah Snook.

As this impressive roll call illustrates, this production has brought together an amazing ensemble of Australians, showcasing our talent for writing, directing, acting, producing, costume and production design.

The film also shows what a magnificent filming location Australia is.

The fictional town where The Dressmaker is set was constructed only forty-five minutes from Melbourne’s central business district, showing just how flexible the landscape is to the requirements of a film.

The Australian Government proudly supports the Australian screen industry and its significant contribution to the economy and the unique role it plays in sharing Australian and global stories with global audiences.

Can I also acknowledge the presence of the Chief Executive Officer of Screen Australia, Graeme Mason.

In addition to funding provided by Screen Australia for this project, a key mechanism for support is through the Australian Screen Production Incentive which provides tax offsets through the Producer Offset, Location Offset and Post-production, Digital and Visual Effects Offset.

These incentives ensure that Australia remains globally competitive, that employment opportunities are created and that our considerable creative talents are shared with the rest of the world.

I would now like to invite Screen Australia Chief Executive Officer, Graeme Mason to speak and to introduce the film’s creative team.

Thank you and I hope you enjoy the film.