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About the Database

The data aggregated in this database was originally compiled as part of a broader research project which examined SBS Independent (SBSi) as a small cultural institution that made a significant impact within Australia's film and television production sector. In terms of production, SBSi supported the independent production industry by commissioning locally produced films, documentaries and television series, providing producers with a much needed distribution platform, and growing audiences for Australian content. SBSi staff also worked closely with other federal and state film institutions to nurture a new generation of culturally diverse film and television makers, such as through their involvement with the Indigenous Drama Initiative, administered by the Australian Film Commission. Involvement in such schemes were ground-breaking insofar as they legitimated the representation of diverse faces, voices and narratives on national television through their commitment to prime time broadcast of commissioned content. It is through SBSi that SBS significantly expanded accepted the category of multiculturalism to include disability, sexuality, gender, religion, race, ethnicity, nationality, etc. When I began my research in 2009, data about SBSi's output was dispersed and quite limited. This database aggregates data from a variety of resources, including SBS Annual Reports; the National Library of Australia online catalogue, Trove; imdb.com; Ronin Films online catalogue; the Screen Australia "Find a Film" database; the Australian Television Information Archive; and the personal records of former General Managers of SBSi, Andy Lloyd James and Bridget Ikin. While these other databases have become considerably more comprehensive, user friendly and numerous in the intervening years, this particular database offers a unique dataset regarding Australian film and television. Because the database was initially designed to identify patterns of production and representation, each of the entries are tagged to identify key themes pertaining to the minority cultures represented therein. As such, the SBSi Content Database facilitates the search for audio-visual texts related to these themes. This provides a telling snapshot of SBSi's contributions to multicultural representation in the 1990s and noughties, and enables researchers to identify individual and aggregate titles that address themes such as disability, domestic violence and colonial history, in this period. One final note, there are some gaps within this database. If you have any information with regard to titles that are not included, or incomplete, and which were commissioned by SBSi between 1994 and 2008, please email amandat@unimelb.edu.au