Jen Peedom.

Premieres of Breath, Mountain and Sweet Country and panels and workshops with screen industry mentors will be among the highlights of the inaugural Australian International Screen Forum.

The organisers hope the non-profit event will foster new relationships and international growth between the screen industries of Australia and the US as well as highlighting Oz’s creative cinema, television and digital content.

The forum will run from March 19-22 at the Film Society of Lincoln Center with the support of Screen Australia, Ausfilm, the Chris and Francesca Beale Foundation, IFP, the Australian Consulate-General, Qantas and Arthur. J. Gallagher & Co.

Thanks to Screen Australia, a lucky 13 Aussie creatives will take part in a development program to learn how to pitch in the US market, work with talent agents, source finance and glean the latest trends in developing and packaging projects, finding production and distribution partners and pathways to audiences.

They are Kacie Anning, Dave Carter, Nikos Andronicos, Natalie Erika James, Alice Englert, Julie Kalceff, Stephen McCallum, Catherine S. McMullen, Alexei Mizin, Ryan van Dijk, Billie Pleffer, Dylan River and Miley Tunnecliffe.

Simon Baker will take part in a Q&A after the screening of Breath, his directorial debut, as will Jen Peedom after her feature documentary Mountain. Warwick Thornton’s Sweet Country will also have its New York premiere.

The retrospective program includes a 30th anniversary screening of Steve Jodrell’s Shame, whose star Deborra-lee Furness will take part in a Q&A, and the newly restored version of Gillian Armstrong’s 1982 comedy musical Starstruck.

The forum will include keynote conversations from Sheila Nevins, the former president of HBO Documentary Films, cinematographer John Seale, Breath’s producer Mark Johnson and Baker.

There will also be variety of industry events open to industry members, filmmakers and the public, including panels and workshops such as a masterclass in directing, hosted by Gillian Armstrong. Career and project development in the US, particularly in the independent space will also be covered.

Ausfilm will stage a panel and information on screen production tax incentives targeted at small to mid-budget films.

“The Australian International Screen Forum offers a unique platform for the Australian industry to connect with the New York-based studios, distributors, agencies, producers and creatives,” says Chris Beale, the forum’s chairman and co-founder with Michael Kelleher.

“While smaller than Los Angeles, the New York film industry is diverse, from independent features to documentary, TV, digital and advertising and it remains heavily focused on uncovering new talent. This is our opportunity to shine a light on what the Australian screen sector has to offer.”

Kelleher added, “Many cutting edge indie studios and creatives call New York City home – such as A24, IFC, Neon Rated and Scott Rudin Productions – and we thought what better place to set up shop, provide a setting where the local industry can easily turn up, see new Australian film and television, have a wine or two and potentially meet the next Kate Dennis, Shane Brennan or James Wan.”

Screen Australia CEO Graeme Mason said, “It’s remarkable to consider that two countries so geographically distant could become such close creative and commercial partners, in an industry as competitive as entertainment. It speaks to the shared affection for each other’s stories and a genuine desire for our very talented people to be able to work together.”

Additional programming and events will be announced in the coming weeks. Tickets and passes will be available from February 15. For information, tickets, passes and a complete schedule please go here.

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