C44 and SAFC launch First Nations TV pilot initiative

A Channel 44 and SAFC TV pilot initiative is one of five projects announced today as being supported by the 2022 round of Screenrights’ annual Cultural Fund, receiving $34,000 in funding. The project is also being supported by Screen Australia’s First Nations Department, with $30,000 in funding.

The exciting new program will feature some of Australia’s most experienced First Nations TV practitioners providing mentoring and masterclasses for 20 to 30 emerging South Australian First Nations filmmakers, helping them to grow their skills in developing collaborative writing skills with the aim of creating sustainable careers.

General Manager of Channel 44 Adelaide Lauren Hillman said: “After the success of the recent First Nations-led production of Mob Talks (to be released later in 2022), Channel 44 are thrilled to be able to deliver this new First Nations initiative alongside our partnership with the South Australian Film Corporation’s First Nations Screen Strategy. This exciting initiative will see some of Australia’s most experienced First Nations TV practitioners provide mentoring and masterclasses to elevate emerging SA First Nations screen creators and provide future pathways for ongoing industry employment.”

SAFC’s First Nations Screen Strategy Executive Pauline Clague said: “Our emerging sector wanted to grow their skills further into the industry. This initiative will help to lift the voices of South Australian First Nations into writing not just one-offs, but look at the potential of the stories that are in the community and culminating in working together in a writers’ room with experts from the First Nations sector giving insights into how to write for TV. We know that this initiative will benefit our sector and give our First Nations sector a boost to learn from some of our leading Indigenous voices in TV. The work that (former SAFC First Nations Industry Executive) Nara Wilson and Channel 44 have done in interning our sector into production roles over the last few years at Channel 44 gives us a strategy to hopefully roll one of these projects out into production in the coming years.”

Screen Australia’s Head of First Nations Angela Bates said: “This initiative is a fantastic opportunity for emerging creators to kickstart their careers in television and advance their skills, learning from a range of incredibly talented and experienced screen storytellers. We are proud to support this program as part of our commitment to nurturing the next generation of First Nations creatives and helping them bring their perspectives to life on screen.”

Screenrights Board Director and Cultural Fund Working Group Chair Geoffrey Atherden said: “This year’s New Opportunities focus inspired many fantastic applications, which made a tough job for our assessors. The five funded initiatives showcase a diverse range of project aims and will benefit a variety of participants. We’re excited to see the outcomes of these initiatives, and know that they will help break down barriers for under-represented storytellers to the benefit of our screen industry and audiences.”

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