Rachel Ward and Ann Sherry.
Dame Changer’s inaugural Screen Tank program is underway, seeing a variety of female-led projects workshopped by industry experts.
Launched on International Women’s Day, Dame Changer is a new organisation with aims to build successful and sustainable careers for women in screen. With a project-based focus, it hopes to build women’s business skills, professional knowledge and commercial confidence, particularly for women mid-career who have projects that are close-to-market and need assistance to launch.
Screen Tank, which is an intensive three day workshop, is just one of the initiatives the organisation intends to run. Participants will receive constructive project feedback with regards to strategies around audience, sales and distribution, and marketing.
The program launched on Sunday evening at an event at Sydney’s Fox Studios hosted by Beatrice Neumann, director of operations, Inside Pictures (UK) Screen, and there were key industry speakers from Bankside Films, BeA Film, Bureau de Change, Bonsai Films, MPDAA, Screen Australia, SBS, Screen Australia, Screenherd, and STXinternational. Dame Changer patron Margaret Pomeranz was also in attendance along with keynote speaker Ann Sherry and Rachel Ward, as well as The Dressmaker producer Sue Maslin and writer-director Jocelyn Moorhouse, who presented a case study of their film.
Speaking at the event Ward said the industry was “in need of a shake up”, noting that nothing will change for women in the industry unless action is gender-focused, for a time, in order for women “to catch up”.
“We need to organise and consolidate our power bases as men have done for so long,” she said. “Dame Changer gives us the arena to act and create the social change we want to see.”
At the end of the Screen Tank program, teams will pitch their projects directly to Stan, StudioCanal, Village Roadshow, eOne, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment Content Group, Madman Entertainment, SBS and Network Ten.
The Screen Tank projects are:
- Chain Reaction, Renata Gombac – producer, Liz Doran – writer/co-producer
- Project X, Samantha Dinning – producer, Philippa Campey – producer
- Tango Underpants, Tania Chambers – producer, Miranda Edmonds – producer/director, Khrob Edmonds – director, Kathryn Lefroy – writer
- The Writer’s Last Story, Azita Damandan – director/creator/writer, Carolyn Constantine – DOP, John O’Brien – script editor/Angliciser
- The Age of Bones, Sandra Thibodeaux – writer
- Truesong, Eve Spence – writer/director, Liam Branagan – producer
- Secret Threads (Series), Rebecca Ingram – creator/writer/creative producer
- Brendan the Nihilist (Series), Kristen Hodges – producer, Stef Smith – director, Tess Meyer – script producer
- Fragments, Ana Tiwary – director, Sonia Bible – producer
- Ghosts of Neruda, Tatiana Velasco – writer/director/producer, Rachel Higgins – producer
- The Breathing Sea, Abi Tabone – Co-Producer, Bridget Callow-Wright – producer, Gemma Knight – associate producer
- The Burial, Jasmin Tarasin – director, Lucy Maclaren – producer
It was also announced that Stan will sponsor Dame Changer’s Lottie Lyell Scholarship, to be presented each year to a woman who displays the grit and tenacity required to succeed in this industry. It will help subsidise participation in an approved international training program.
Stan CEO Mike Sneesby said: “Stan is thrilled to be part of Dame Changer’s important initiative and the sponsor of the inaugural Lottie Lyell Scholarship which will help advance the careers of female practitioners in the Australian screen industry. Stan is committed to creating fresh, engaging local content showcasing the wealth of talent we have in this country and we are proud to support this ground-breaking program.”
Following this Screen Tank, three projects will be selected for Dame Changer’s Mentor to Market ‘Project Accelerator’, a 12- month tailored project development program. Selection will be made to those Screen Tank participants who show real tenacity and leadership.