Screen Australia launches female doco initiative; orders more Art Bites

07 March, 2017 by Jackie Keast

In partnership with News Corp's new female content platform, the With Her in Mind Network, Screen Australia has launched Doco180, a new initiative for emerging female documentary directors. 

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The initiative will see six female directors funded to make a 180-second documentary.

Launching the initiative at the Australian International Documentary Conference today, Screen Australia CEO Graeme Mason said it was calling for social media-friendly works that take a single idea and start a conversation. 

“Each project will be designed to make the viewer do a 180 [degree turn] on a topic that is relevant to contemporary Australian women and dare I say, Australians,” Mason told delegates.

“We’re looking for early career women with something to say, and the talent to say it. You decide how to use 180 seconds. We want different tones, styles and methods. Surprise us.”

Each director will receive $6000 and have three months to complete the work, which will be available for to audiences for free on whimn.com.au.

“I’m really excited about this new partnership," said Mason. "I tell people a lot to think about audiences from the start. This initiative provides an audience, and it could be a launching pad to bigger things. I honestly don’t know what we’ll get and I can’t wait to see it."

Directors will retain copyright on their films, which means they are free to use them as they wish after the whimn.com.au exclusivity period is over.  

In a statement, whimn.com.au’s executive editor Melissa Overman said she encouraged applicants "to submit documentary ideas that will resonate with Australian women – what challenges us, what motivates us, what makes us laugh. We’re interested in everything from politics to the environment to work to kids – no topic is off limits. The most important element is that all Doco180 applications must be female-centric stories told by women.”

Applications open for Doco180 tomorrow, International Women’s Day, and close April 19.

More Art Bites

'The Glass Bedroom', from the 2016 Art Bites initiative. 

Mason also used his address to AIDC to announce a second round of Art Bites, Screen Australia's joint initiative with the ABC.

Art Bites backs four emerging filmmaking teams to make a 6×5 minute doco series which will then premiere on the ABC Arts iview channel. 

Mason said that last year’s series had been diverse and fascinating. 

This year, he said the agency was looking for “something that’s fresh and accessible; that looks at art with a new lens. We’re looking for great talent, some of it new, or with new ideas of form and format and content.”

The ABC and Screen Australia are each committing $120,000 to the initiative, and teams will be supported by a Screen Australia investment manager and ABC Digital Arts commissioning editor. 

In addition, the state screen agencies have signed on to support the final projects, with an additional $30,000 if they are from their state or territory. 

Mason flagged that Screen Australia teaming up with other funding bodies to best leverage the various pools of money and resources was the “way of the future”. 

“It’s wonderful to join together to encourage emerging and early career talent to create intelligent, high quality, shareable content that takes art and aims it at a new audience,” said Mason. 

Last year, two teams from WA, one from Queensland and one from NSW were selectedTwo of the projects, Home: The Art of Ian Strange (WA), and The Glass Bedroom (NSW) are currently up on iview, while Shock Art (WA) and The Wanderers (QLD) will premiere in the coming weeks. 

Both Home: Art of Ian Strange and The Glass Bedroom have received over 45,000 plays. 

Applications for Art Bites close April 7.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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