Do you want to see your story on the Australian screen?

Special Broadcasting Service (SBS), is launching the Emerging Screenwriters’ Incubator.

It is nationwide initiative to support the development of diverse fiction writing talent in the Australian screen sector.

This is in partnership with Screen Australia, state and territory agencies Film Victoria, Screen Canberra, Screen NSW, Screen Queensland, Screenwest and the South Australian Film Corporation, and with the assistance of the Australian Writers’ Guild.

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Film Victoria CEO, Caroline Pitcher, said:

“Film Victoria’s screen development internship and key talent placement programs have long demonstrated the significant impact these intensive experiences can have on the careers of screen creators. We are proud to support the Emerging Screenwriters’ Incubator to elevate new voices and to ensure that we see more diverse stories on screen.”

This is an amazing opportunity to work with some of Australia’s leading production companies.

SBS Director of TV and Online Content, Marshall Heald, said:

“Not only is this initiative an important investment in the next generation of screenwriting talent, it will help to ensure the unique perspectives and experiences of those who reflect contemporary Australia, are explored on our screens.”

The Emerging Screenwriters’ Incubator will bring provide significant work experience in drama production for 18 emerging writers from diverse backgrounds.

This includes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; people who are from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds; those who are living with a disability; are female or trans/gender diverse; identify as LGBTQIA+; and people located in regional and remote areas.

Ghirija Jayarraj, Creative Director & Founder at Shastram who studied Film and TV at Curtin University, says:

“Being an Australian female filmmaker with a south Asian background has been a challenging journey. Film makers such as myself; have yearned to see our stories being represented in mainstream media. Inclusivity on such primary spaces would mean inclusivity for many of us who grew up feeling almost non-existent or not belonging in mainstream Australia. This initiative by SBS and the various film groups in Australia is fantastic and I’m extremely excited to see the emerging stories that Australians from diverse backgrounds have to share. I truly believe this will lead to a more accurate representation of the real Australia we all call home. Our stories will have various flavours but will still remain uniquely Australian and this will be the most exciting part for me.”

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Each year for the next three years, six successful candidates will be employed for 12 months in production companies around the country acclaimed for their delivery of Australian drama.

During their placement, they will develop ideas into treatments, work across a production company’s fiction slate of programming, participate in writers’ rooms, and work closely with development producers and others to increase their knowledge and further develop their skills.

Well-known a Portuguese Macau-born Australian screenwriter and director in television and feature film industry Tony Ayres added:

“Marshall and I have been having a great and ongoing discussion about the best ways to make long lasting and meaningful change to our industry, and to genuinely shift the needle towards a wider, truer representation of Australia. This initiative is a brilliant start and will broaden the talent pool of writers from underrepresented parts of our society. Writing is where it all starts.” 

Tony Ayres’s most notable works include Walking on Water and The Home Song Stories.

Co-funded by SBS, Screen Australia with participating state and territory screen agencies, the national initiative will launch with its first round of placements in July 2021.

Details on applying for the Emerging Screenwriter’s Incubator will be released in the coming weeks.

Each participating state and territory screen agency will reach out to local networks and from June, the selection process will begin, with placements at production companies from July 2021.

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