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Three programs to support equality - and develop a career

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David Tiley

Great aspirations need concrete programs to make them work. Here's three different ways to skin the equality cat.
Three programs to support equality - and develop a career

 Grab a pineapple, jump in the deep end, take an outrageous risk.  Image: Pixabay 

Screenworks, the Big Pineapple crew and Screen Australia are all offering concrete low budget programs to support filmmakers to engage with gender, diversity and disability. The amounts of money vary from the teeny to the teeny weeny to the busted money box, but the differences in strategy are pretty fascinating. 

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Screenworks films engaged with disability 

Screenworks, the Screen Resource Organisation servicing the Northern Rivers area in NSW, turns out to be a sector pioneer in dealing with disability funding, as it has been running its Creatability Program for three years. Applications are now open for the 2017 group of films. 

Supported by Screen NSW and the ABC, it 

provides funded opportunities for professional filmmakers living in Regional NSW to profile artists with disability living and creating in their communities.

Screenworks has funding available for 8 filmmakers to produce 8 films in total. Each film will between 3 and 7 minutes and will profile an artist with disability who resides and creates in Regional NSW.

Filmmakers with disability are strongly encouraged to apply for this program. All filmmakers selected for this program will be strongly encouraged to connect with and to include emerging filmmakers with disability from regional NSW as part of their team. Opportunities may also include mentorship, skills development, industry networking and/or creative collaborations, with a view to help enable collaborations and project teams for future projects.

The filmmakers must already have a short form broadcast credit and live and work in regional NSW. Each filmmaker will receive $5000 to make a film with a maximum length of seven minutes. 

Low budget feature project for female teams

WIFT NSW has been campaigning to improve the role and representation of women in the screen sector since 1982, has weathered enormous changes in the landscape and is now deeply involved in the most recent upsurge - the one which may finally be permanent. FFS, aka For Film's Sake, once the WOW Film Festival is the other half of The Big Pineapple.

The scheme offers $50,000 towards a low budget feature, along with a total of around $50,000 in pro bono support from Sydney production and marketing companies. So a heap of the producing work has already been done. 

The decision will be made on the basis of a one page synopsis to be delivered by 31 March. 

Producers need to pass the four tick test, by which women must fulfil four of the following five roles; writer, producer, director, cinematographer, lead protagonist. 

On top of this, in a nod to the current issue with the way programs are fenced off by prohibitive credit requirements,there must not be more than two feature credits between the four creative leads, making way for emerging filmmakers.

The total cash budget is expected to be $50,000. No naughty crowdfunding.

This is how it works: 

The Big Pineapple is an ideas-led competition. Teams are invited to submit an initial one-page pitch document (synopsis). The best and brightest ideas will be selected for further assessment and development. The winner will be awarded a $50,000 cash prize to write and produce their feature film, and will receive substantial industry support including a distribution safety net through the Festival’s channels. So far the partners include Sydney based ZIGZAG Post, offering a full post-production package valued at $20,000, a further $20,000 in marketing materials from the Solid State, $5,000 in product sponsorship from RODE Microphones, $2,500 in production accounting support from Moneypenny and a $5,000 Distribution & Promotion plan from Fan-Force, making the total prize value in excess of $100,000. The finished film will be featured in the FFS (For Film’s Sake) Festival in April 2018.

More on this from For Films Sake.

Three minutes on a female topic

Screen Australia used the AIDC as a platform to announce its Doco 180 program, which calls for six emerging women directors to make three minute documentaries 'designed to make the viewer ‘do a 180’ on a topic relevant to Australian women.'

The applicants will be given $6000, three months and the support of a Screen Australia investment manager. The minidocs will be pungent and provocative. The makers will retain copyright and can use their projects as they choose after the exclusive window. 

This is a co-venture with News Digital Networks Australia aka DNA, which is the digital arm of News Corp. Among its new initiatives is 'With Her in Mind Network' aka Whimn which Bandt says 'targets three audience personas – "he high achiever", "the young progressive" and "the opportunity seeker".

It will contain 'a full-service multiplatform for native content, Native in Colour.. and Shoppable Video,  which will be led by news.com.au and be available on whimn.com.au.'

Screen Australia is maintaining strict neutrality about its partners. According to the release, 'Doco180 is 50/50 funded by Screen Australia and the With Her in Mind Network, and is the latest in a range of media partnerships Screen Australia has brokered to offer content makers a direct path to audience, including Skip Ahead with Google and Fresh Blood with the ABC.'

About the author

David Tiley is the editor of Screen Hub.

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