(L-R): Betsy Beers and Yahlin Chang. 

The Handmaid’s Tale writer/producer Yahlin Chang, Silicon Valley director Jamie Babbit, Grey’s Anatomy executive producer Betsy Beers and comedy writer and EP Peter Saji will serve as the US mentors in the second Mentor LA program.

Applications are now open for the career development initiative which was launched in 2016 by Australians in Film and Screen Australia.

Jamie Babbit.

With the greater focus on diversity and inclusion by Hollywood and the wider international industry, AiF and Screen Australia are encouraging applications from groups who are under-represented in the screen industry.

These include women, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, people with disability, LGBTQI and gender diverse people. Applicants must be Australian residents.

Yahlin Chang will mentor a TV episodic drama, short film writer or producer; Beers a TV episodic or feature film producer or director; Babbit a TV episodic, short film or feature director; and Saji a TV episodic comedy, short film writer or producer.

Over 12 months the mentors and mentees will communicate quarterly, three times online and once face-to-face. AiF will then provide return airfares and an accommodation stipend for each mentee to travel to Los Angeles (or where their mentors are working) for five days of curated meetings and/or work sessions.

AiF president Kate Marks said: “The Australian screen industry is held in such high esteem internationally for its original and distinctive voices so AiF is thrilled to be partnering with Screen Australia at a time when inclusion is such an important and key issue globally. Mentor LA is designed to empower creative professionals in the Australian screen industry.”

Peter Saji.

Screen Australia CEO Graeme Mason added: “Mentor LA is a tremendous opportunity for Australian creatives to learn directly from some of the US industry’s best. I encourage applicants to put every effort into their application to stand out. Those selected will undoubtedly get an experience of a lifetime that will arm them with skills to work both in Australia and the US.”

The first Mentor LA program was designed for mid-career screen professionals wanting to move to the next stage of their career. The mentors were producer Bruna Papandrea (who mentored Sarah Shaw), director and writer Stuart Beattie (Josh Tanner), production designer Deborah Riley (Felicity Abbott) and executive Eden Gaha (Breanna Roe).

Applications close on September 8 Australian time. Successful applicants will be notified in the week beginning October 15. To apply go here.

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