For the first time, the ABC has teamed with the Northern Territory government for the annual SPARK film initiative, with five shorts from emerging NT filmmakers to be both selected for the Darwin International Film Festival (DIFF) and air on ABC platforms.

The theme for this year is ‘Intergenerational Relationships’, with shorts to launch on the ABC to align with the second series of Old People’s Home For 4 Year Olds.

The NT government has put up a pool of $125,000 in funding, and winners will be selected by ABC and DIFF in collaboration with Screen Territory. Successful recipients will be announced at DIFF 2020: Take One in September, and screen at DIFF 2020: Take Two in May 2021.

To support collaboration and recovery from the impacts of COVID-19, each filmmaker will be required to collaborate with a NT composer or musician to produce the accompanying soundtrack to their film.

NT Minister for Tourism, Sport and Culture Lauren Moss said: “The reimagined SPARK film initiative will provide innovative and collaborative opportunities for our creative industries sector, which has been among the hardest hit due to COVID-19.

“The Territory Labor Government’s $125,000 investment will establish career pathways and development opportunities for emerging screen practitioners to collaborate with NT musicians and composers, forging ongoing creative collaborations.

“In 2020, the new partnership with ABC will provide important development opportunities and showcase the unique talents of the NT Creative Industries sector with national audiences.”

ABC manager, factual Julie Hanna said: “The ABC is excited to be collaborating with Screen Territory on this important initiative. Intergenerational relationships play a vital role in Australian culture and we’re delighted to explore this theme by supporting emerging Northern Territory film makers.”

Darwin International Film Festival manager Blandine Ruffo said: “DIFF, and its parent organisation the Darwin Film Society, are beyond thrilled to welcome the ABC as our first broadcasting partner for the Spark Initiative. For the many talented creatives who call the Territory “home” this represents a powerful opportunity to further reach out to national audiences.

“We see this prodigious new collaboration, facilitated by our long-time partner Screen Territory, as a testament of how strong an impression the NT filmmaking community is making beyond our own borders. Our screen story-tellers are conquering the hearts of national audiences and it’s safe to say that they are just getting started.”

Applications open soon. More info on the DIFF website.

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