South East Film Collective

This is the temporary home of the South East Film Collective. When we have our official organisation in place, we will move to a new web address. For now, here is some early information about us and what we do, as well as useful resources for filmmakers.

Thanks to Hiromi Matsuoka and Sats Kramer for photos


About Us

We are a group of professional/semi-professional/emerging film makers based in the South East region of NSW Australia. We are currently preparing to incorporate as an association in NSW.
Our ‘boundary’ encompasses the Bega Valley, Eurobodalla and Snowy Monaro Shires. If that label also fits you, welcome! If you are just visiting: Hi! We hope you find our page useful.

For now, if you want to contact us, say hi to Hiromi at Indigo Pictures or to Lis at StageFlight. Soon we will have an official presence online and we’ll put you on our mailing list if you like so you’ll be (one of) the first to know about where that is and what is happening next.

What We Do (this is a work in progress)

  • We get together to share our ideas and progress on film projects, usually in a different location each time. Our first get-together was at the Tathra Pub on 1 April 2019.
  • We bounce ideas off each other. We provide mutual support in the form of equipment, advice and encouragement.
  • We raise funds to provide workshops and training to build our skills (stay tuned!).
  • We let our members know when funding opportunities arise for their own projects (though we are not a funding body ourselves).
  • We plan to run a film festival…coming soon.

What We Don’t Do (this is also a work in progress)

  • The collective doesn’t make films itself, though subsets of individuals from our collective may well get together under their own banner(s) to do so from time to time. The collective may however offer support for a project by sharing equipment, informing members of cast or crew opportunities, or cross marketing events such as auditions, film launches etc.
  • We don’t provide legal, accounting, insurance or tax advice (but we can probably put you in touch with others who can).
  • We don’t give endless amounts of time for free…we all have to pay bills too!
  • We are not South East Arts, but they are our friends and we recommend you say hi to them next time you are in Bega. They can help you find grants and other cool stuff.


  • StageFlight has a list of film and theatre resources on its Useful Stuff page

Tech Talk #1

Using music and other copyright material in your film (April 2019 – Lis Shelley) This is a question that came up at our first gathering at Tathra Hotel.

Many may not be aware that copyright law changed in Australia with effect from 1 January 2019. The short story is that the length of time for which things remain under copyright has been extended, to be more like the US system of copyright. This can be a very confusing area and it is always best to get advice from someone skilled in copyright law if you have any doubts – I am not a lawyer.

Copyright can apply to images, background film, music, sound effects, artwork, locations, logos, commercial products in shot etc. Many people confuse the term ‘free” with copyright free, royalty free and public domain.

1. Just because you sourced it on the Internet, doesn’t mean you can use it in your film for free.

2. Being ‘amateur’, or not knowing the law, is not an excuse under copyright law.

3. Owning the CD or paying to download a track from iTunes does not give you the right to use that music in your film. You generally can’t use stuff without gaining permission and/or attributing the owner/writer/author/publisher/musicians in the credits and/or paying for some form of licence.

4. Using commercial music and just saying it is ‘not yours’ and giving them credit is not enough – it is not the same as applying for permission to use it – just ask the many politicians who get caught out using commercial music for campaign launches and ads! You can apply to use commercial recorded music through APRA/AMCOS. However, it can take a long time (up to 12 weeks or more), there is no guarantee you will get permission and it might well exceed your budget.

5. One alternative is to use music that truly is in the public domain (but check that your source is solid) or has a suitable ‘creative commons’ licence (which you must quote in your credits AND your video description) that fits your distribution method. For example, some licences might only allow you to use it for non-commercial purposes, some do not allow distribution on the Internet or in a broadcast etc. Check the wording of the licence carefully!

6. Platforms such as Vimeo, YouTube and Facebook have algorithms that will check your uploaded video for sound that matches commercial music tracks. Your video will be removed if it is found not to have the correct licence/credited the origin. And it can happen as soon as you upload it – it’s that fast!

7. Be careful that ‘free’ music offered on some of the big video platforms such as YouTube may only license the music for use by your film on that platform – if you also want cinema/TV/festival distribution or to also distribute it on another platform, the music might not be covered by that licence.

8. Another way is to be prepared to pay a little something for royalty free music that can be used on commercial / non-commercial films worldwide on any medium. The quality of such tracks is usually far superior to the totally free stuff anyway and your film won’t sound like a thousand other films. Royalty-free is not the same as ‘free’ – but it is generally fairly well priced, and musicians need to pay bills too 🙂

9. Another approach is to ask a local composer. Always agree up front what is expected and what is on offer and make sure you have a written release that outlines where and how you can use their music and at what cost.

10. The rights of the particular recording publisher/artists are separate to those of the original composer/lyricist. If you play a piece that someone else wrote, even on your own instrument, the composer/lyricist may still have rights in that music and you still need their permission to record and use it in your film.

The above should not be taken as legal advice- you are encouraged to always check your own circumstances in relation to any copyright material you want to use in your film.

The latest info on copyright for film makers in Australia, including use of music, can be found at the Australian Copyright Council:

They also provide a free online legal service:

Where do you get it?

Below are some potential sources of royalty-free music for film. Note that royalty-free does not mean ‘free’ – you may have to pay something – but it will probably not be as expensive as the licence for a big name top 10 hit, nor as expensive as the fine you might get if you rip off someone’s music. Always check the actual wording of the licence for the piece you choose and make sure it is appropriate for what you are using it for. This list is provided for general info only and should not be taken as an endorsement of individual websites/composers.

Feel free to contact us with your own favourite sources.


Lights! Canberra! Action! 2019

A 10 day film competition held in Canberra each year. Our entry called Seven Ages was a co-production of StageFlight, Indigo Pictures , Propelled Pictures and Dinesh Moylan Music.