Dan and Luke Riches of Ardiol Media.

Screen Australia has announced $1 million worth of funding via its Enterprise program, including four Enterprise People talent opportunities and 11 Enterprise Business & Ideas projects.

One of the major recipients of Business & Ideas funding, which allows entities to develop businesses proposals, hire placements or access business-building services, is For Film Sakes’ recently announced initiative Attagirl, a narrative feature film lab.

The incubator program will enable majority women, female identifying and non-binary creative teams to learn from industry experts, with a focus on getting their feature slate market ready.

Information + Cultural Exchange (I.C.E) and Diversity Arts Australia have received support towards developing Diversity on Screen, an expansion of the Screen Cultures Program, to improve access to opportunities for underrepresented filmmakers.

Also to receive funding is the Documentary Australia Foundation (DAF), to enhance its digital platform to better connect filmmakers and supporters online; and Frame, an incubator program for documentary filmmakers working with emerging media and technologies.

Enterprise People funding allows both emerging and experienced creatives to apply for funding for a domestic or international career placement, and/or other professional development opportunities. Recipients this round include writer/producer Samuel Nuggin-Paynter, actor Adrienne Couper Smith, producer Julie Eckersley and screen executive Debra Liang.

Screen Australia’s head of development Nerida Moore said: “We are proud to support these proposals from all corners of the screen sector that are set to have broad impacts in changing the way we work and creating a more inclusive industry. It’s great to see the Documentary Australia Foundation not only capitalising on this opportunity to foster philanthropy for Australian documentary makers, but also enable those filmmakers to have more independence by developing their skills and experience.”

“Attagirl promises to offer opportunities for female creators beyond our direct sphere of influence and will accelerate the development of female-led features by increasing the chances of these films attracting finance and distribution.”

As of May 1, the Enterprise Business & Ideas fund has been on hiatus and will be reviewed, with the intention of the new program stream becoming active again in 2021. A number of applications for this fund are still under assessment and successful recipients will be announced in the coming months.

The Enterprise People fund remains open for applications.

Enterprise Business and Ideas – major funding recipients:

  • For Film’s Sake, led by Sophie Mathisen, has launched Attagirl, an intensive narrative feature film development lab that will see up to 12 majority female identifying and/or non-binary creative teams participate in a 10-month incubator program, designed to support the development of narrative features in an increasingly digitally-focused marketplace. The course content centres on three major pillars – story, market and audience – with support provided by leading international film festivals and international screen agencies. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the program will be delivered online with support from evolving festival presentations including Toronto International Film Festival and Sydney Film Festival. Applications are now open here.
  • Documentary Australia Foundation (DAF) will develop their website into an enhanced digital platform under their Next Level Digital Project, building broader communities around documentaries by offering interactivity between DAF’s community of documentary filmmakers, funders, impact partners and supporters. The increased digital capability aims to create a hub for collaboration and engagement on documentary projects by allowing donors and supporters to interact with filmmakers more directly. It also aims to scale their impact by improving accessibility, offering more training and resources to filmmakers, and increasing the volume of donations received.

Enterprise Business & Ideas – business plans and strategies:

  • Ardiol Media, founded by Dan and Luke Riches (KGB), will engage a mentor and develop a business plan to cement the company as an Indigenous-led production business in the West Australian screen industry.
  • Big Serious Studios, founded by David Peers (Happy Feet 2), Katrina Peers (Legend of the Guardians) and Charlotte Rose Hamlyn (Beat Bugs, Motown Magic), will bring together world-class experts from filmmaking, science, technology and education to create a new slate of children’s entertainment that has global appeal. They aim to use animated storytelling and evidence-based educational approaches to encourage young viewers to become interested in STEM subjects.
  • South Australian-based Closer Productions (The Hunting, In My Blood It Runs) will undertake business planning to explore partners in the international marketplace, with an aim to co-finance distinctive Australian projects that speak to global audiences.
  • Western Sydney’s Co-Curious will develop a business plan and engage a consultant to develop a sustainable strategy in order to viably support storytellers from underrepresented groups and facilitate strong marketplace partners for these stories.
  • Western Sydney based Information + Cultural Exchange (I.C.E) and Diversity Arts Australia (DARTS) will together undertake business planning and consultancy to deliver Diversity on Screen, an expansion of the successful Screen Cultures Program. The revised program will be rolled out nationally to help filmmakers from underrepresented communities forge pathways into the screen industry. Alongside this work they will also partner with LA-based Film Independent to run six pilot workshops online for Australian creative producers.
  • Frame, a development program that will support Australian documentary filmmakers with projects for diverse media platforms, has received funding to engage consultants in business strategy. Led by VR producer Katy Morrison and AIDC CEO Alice Burgin, Frame is Australia’s first incubator program for creatives working with emerging technologies.
  • Western Australian filmmaker Taryne Laffar, producer of acclaimed documentary Our Law, will develop a business plan for her new production company Pink Pepper.
  • Damon Gameau and Anna Kaplan, whose credits include social impact documentaries 2040 and That Sugar Film, will develop a business model for their new production company Regen Studios, through which they will expand their slate of purpose-driven content and share their expertise as executive producers and consultants.
  • Ljudan Michaelis-Thorpe of Zerodivide Productions is creating production company Three Wise Women with Bobbi-Lea Dionysius of Disruptor Studios. They will develop a business plan to be able to offer impact producing and mentoring support to emerging film practitioners from underrepresented backgrounds through a social enterprise, with a focus on empowering Indigenous women and women of colour to advance their careers in the film industry.

Enterprise people – placement:

  • Writer/producer Samuel Nuggin-Paynter (Little J & Big Cuz) will advance his career through a two-year placement at No Coincidence Media, under the mentorship of development executive Toni Stowers and production executive Mitchell Stanley.

Enterprise people – professional development opportunities:

  • Actor Adrienne Couper Smith will undertake intimacy coordinator training with the Intimacy Professionals Association in Los Angeles, delivered online due to the pandemic, to expand her expertise in telling intimate moments on screen while keeping actors safe.
  • Producer Julie Eckersley (The Family Law, Glitch) will undertake a bespoke development strategy to elevate her skills as a writer and script producer and expand her connections in the international screen community. She will work with Jacquelin Perske, Jenni Tosi, Simonne Overend and acclaimed LA-based writing teacher, Corey Mandell.
  • Screen executive Debra Liang is taking part in Inside Pictures 2020, an intensive film business training and leadership skills development program. Usually held in London and Los Angeles, this year’s program is being held online due to COVID-19,

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