CQU Lecturer at forefront of Queensland's screen industry advancement

27 September 2022

The Australian screen industry is booming and CQUniversity's Dr Jan Cattoni wants to see the local screen industry developed in line with our urban counterparts.

The Cairns-based Screen and Film Lecturer was recently announced as a member of the Far North & North Qld Screen Advisory Committee' a group of 10 industry advisors who will help shape and build film production in the region.

The past few years have seen an influx of international movies filmed in Far North Queensland - from George Clooney and Julia Roberts' rom-com Ticket to Paradise in 2021 to the more recent comedy Wizards! which was secured into the state by the Queensland Government through Screen Queensland's Production Attraction Strategy.

The newly established advisory committee will help support this multi-year $4 million North Queensland Regional Program in partnership with Screen Queensland and Screenworks.

As a teacher in the region's only higher education screen production offering' Dr Jan Cattoni said she was excited to bring her knowledge and years of experience as a filmmaker and an academic to the role.

"Being a representative for the higher education sector' alongside my experience as a regional female independent filmmaker' I can offer a unique perspective.

"I've been creating content for a long time in both a broadcast and community setting and this experience gives me longevity in understanding the various stages and challenges of filmmaking'" she said.

"I left a successful career as an independent filmmaker when I relocated from Brisbane to North Queensland over a decade ago. Living in a regional area took a toll on my filmmaking career' so it is of personal importance for me to see opportunities developed in the north.

"Now teaching Film Production into CQU's Bachelor of Digital media also means I am across a range of current digital practices' not to mention pedagogical approaches to learning the complex range of skills that fall under the umbrella of screen production skills.

"We know from research that academic study plays an important role in building a career in the screen industry' so I believe it is important to have someone an as advocate for higher education on the committee."

She said that while it is exciting to attract large-scale productions into the region' developing local creative talent' content and screen businesses is important to support these projects.

"CQU's College of Education and the Arts entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Screenworks in 2021 to support the delivery of screen skills training in North and Far North Queensland'" Dr Cattoni said.

"The CQU Cairns Campus has partnered with Screenworks in the delivery of a range of industry events and skills training to be part of building the local screen' provide opportunities for existing students and to increase awareness of CQU offerings.

"Through this partnership' our students get access to advanced information about upcoming opportunities' and we have already seen our students placed in a range of roles."

Dr Jan Cattoni said this demand for screen and film professionals is likely to continue through the proliferation of productions in the region' particularly after the pandemic saw the north ideally positioned for local productions.

"While it is hard to gauge the full range of opportunities at this point' new infrastructure including the opening of state-of-the-art film and TV studio complex to open in Cairns in 2023' is likely to attract even more international productions.

"We can certainly see that the demand for skilled crew and creatives is not showing signs of slowing down."