Milla Bell-Hart and Phil Tarl Denson.

Impact Australia is inviting applications for the second iteration of its screenwriter accelerator program, which will take place in-person in Melbourne after being held virtually last year.

Delivered in conjunction with Gentle Giant Media Group, Impact Australia 2 will pair local creators with leading screenwriters, or ‘shapers’, who over eight weeks will help them craft their project and prepare them for pitch day in front of buyers.

This year’s iteration will be held on the Victorian College of the Arts’ (VCA) Southbank campus at the University of Melbourne.

Impact CEO Tyler Mitchell, who founded the concept with Brian Grazer and Ron Howard, said the inaugural Impact Australia had exceeded their expectations in terms of the number and quality of applications.

“It confirmed what we have long suspected and are excited to continue fostering – that Australia is full of talented screenwriters with stories that resonate with audiences everywhere,” he said.

“The attendance at our Pitch Day and interest in the projects from global buyers and producers attest to the level of talent of the writers, and the quality of their projects.

The program has received principal funding from Screen Australia and Film Victoria and is being supported by the University of Melbourne, and the state and territory screen agencies.

Various forms of support are available to participants, including a stipend to allow them to relocate to Melbourne and focus on their projects during the eight-week intensive program. 

Gentle Giant chairman and CEO Greg Basser said he was “thrilled” to bring the program back to Australia.

“Melbourne and Australia continue to show the great creativity and imagination of Australian filmmakers, bringing a global focus to our home-grown compelling original IP,” he said.

The inaugural Impact Australia program featured 14 Australian writers who were mentored by Stuart Beattie, Shaun Grant, Sarah Heyward, Jason Smilovic, and Kai Wu.

Eight of the 10 projects have been set up with attachments in Australia or the United States and three of the unrepresented writers found American representation. Alumni of the program have since been hired in writing rooms for Netflix and AMC, and hired on assignments by companies such as LuckyChap and Hoodlum.

Screen Australia CEO Graeme Mason said the agency was looking forward to again partnering with Impact to discover fresh Australian creatives and provide them with a new pathway to global audiences.

“Australian creators have exciting stories to tell and by connecting them with world-class shapers and key decision-makers in the global marketplace through Impact Australia, we look forward to more Australian voices on the global stage,” he said.

Applications are open until June 20 and the program will begin September 21. Find out more information about how to apply here.

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