Back row: Pete Ninos, mentor Louise Gough, Lucy Campbell, Bettina Hamilton, and Matt Vesely. Front row: Georgia Humphries, Madeleine Parry, Peta Bulsara (Astbury).

Three South Australian filmmaking teams have moved a step closer to having a feature debut at next year’s Adelaide Film Festival after being announced for the Film Lab: New Voices development program.

Delivered through the South Australian Film Corporation (SAFC) and Adelaide Film Festival, in collaboration with Mercury CX, the new initiative provides SA creative teams with industry mentoring from screen story development mentor Louise Gough across a 12-month period to develop a low-budget feature film script.

Screen Australia will also help deliver the development phase of the program’s inaugural round.

One project will be selected to be wholly produced and post- produced in SA, with the final film to premiere at the Adelaide Film Festival in 2022.

The first successful teams for the program include writer/director Peter Ninos and producer Georgia Humphreys; writer Lucy Campbell, producer Bettina Hamilton and director Matt Vesely; and writer/director Madeleine Parry and producer Peta Bulsara (Astbury).

The program will open again for round two applications in August 2021, with the final film to be delivered in time for Adelaide Film Festival 2024.

SAFC CEO Kate Croser said there had been an enthusiastic response to the program so far, with 63 projects submitted by 49 filmmaking teams.

“This career-building program helps to address some of the difficulties faced by up-and-coming filmmakers in breaking through in the film and TV industry – and it’s clear from the number of high-quality applications received in round one that the initiative has already been embraced by the sector,” she said.

Adelaide Film Festival CEO and creative director Mat Kesting said the program would continue the event’s tradition of showcasing “bold and exciting” Australian filmmaking talent.

“Today’s announcement of the three teams is testament to the breadth of talent in the state and we look forward to hosting the premiere of the film selected for production at AFF 2022,” he said.

Mercury CX CEO Karena Slaninka said the company played a key role in supporting professional development and removing barriers to entry.

“Our professional development programs create a pipeline of talent into such initiatives as Film Lab: New Voices, which provides a unique opportunity to gain an invaluable feature film credit through the South Australian Film Corporation and the rich experience of connecting with an audience through a screening at the Adelaide Film Festival,” she said.

“The coordinated pathways through these organisations is quite special and is set to benefit South Australian practitioners enormously.”

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