Indigenous composers and musicians account for less than one 1 per cent of screen composers nationally.

As such, over the past year the Australian Guild of Screen Composers (AGSC) and the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Music Office (NATISMO) have been working together to try to create pathways for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders composers to enter the industry.

That has lead to the 2021 NATSIMO Screen Composer Intensive, a paid, four-week initiative, supported by APRA AMCOS and Create NSW.

The selected participant will work across Sonar Music, Church Street Studios and Jigsaw Music, and with the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS), to expand on their songwriting and composing skills and experience.

They’ll be exposed to the key practices of screen composing and be immersed in production settings, including spotting sessions, approval sessions, preparations for recording/mixing, chart preparation, orchestration, music rough approval sessions, attending recording sessions, music mixes and film mixes.

The intensive will commence from mid-September, and the recipient will be mentored by composer and songwriter Amanda Brown.

“NATSIMO has been engaging with the AGSC and Screen Australia’s Indigenous Department to explore the many reasons for a lack of representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander composers working across the screen sector,” said NATISMO director Leah Flanagan.

“The insight we have gained from the generosity of many screen sector professionals and from consulting with our members is currently being formulated into a wider strategy to develop and advocate for more education, training and employment opportunities for our composers.”

In a joint statement, Dale Cornelius, AGSC board director and chair of education committee and AGSC executive director Annie Parnell said: “By listening to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander composers and musicians talking about their requirements, conducting research in conjunction with Screen Australia’s Indigenous Department, and finding support from fellow screen industry professionals, we are now so incredibly proud to announce the inaugural NATSIMO Screen Composer Intensive.

“This is one of many first steps toward a greater diversity within the screen composition sector, as well as having culturally authentic voices for Australian stories.”

Expressions of interest are now open for eligible APRA AMCOS members based in NSW. Submissions close Friday July 30.

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