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Special initiatives
Art Bites

An initiative for emerging documentary filmmakers with a passion for the Arts.

Screen Australia and ABC Arts are calling for proposals from early career filmmakers nationwide for another round of Art Bites.

Art Bites will create four 6 x 5 minute Arts web series directed and/or produced by early career filmmakers. The films will premiere on the ABC Arts channel on iview which aims to illuminate the arts with smart, quality and shareable content.

Rather than simply reporting on existing work, the successful web series will be an accessible, engaging and entertaining insight into an aspect of Arts in Australia. Ideally the series will adopt a fresh approach or topic, one which has not previously been explored elsewhere. We’d like to see proposals that go beyond straightforward artists profiles and include unfolding narrative storytelling.

We strongly advise applicants to look at previously-made Art Bites Series on iview as a reference point and in order to pitch a new idea. Proposals will be assessed against the channel’s vision statement ‘Where Life and Culture Collide’. The web series should be designed to appeal to younger audiences, 18–35 years.

The series will be supported by an ABC digital Arts Commissioning Editor, and a Screen Australia Investment Development Manager.

What funding is available?

ABC Arts and Screen Australia will commit a total of up to $240,000 to this initiative ($120,000 each).

Applicants can apply for up to $60,000 for a series and may seek additional funding through discussions with their state agency and other sources. State and Territory screen agencies may provide up to $30,000 in additional funding to series from their State or Territory. Any other funding is subject to ABC approval and compliance with ABC Editorial Policies (see link below) and must be finalised prior to signature of the ABC Licence Agreement.

Who can apply?

An application must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Projects must be a documentary web series of 6 x 5 minute episodes (duration variations will be considered subject to there being at least 6 episodes and at least 30 minutes of overall content). One-off documentary proposals are not eligible.
  • Teams must consist of at least a director and a producer one of whom has at least one documentary screen credit in their respective role on a project that has either been broadcast and/or screened at a recognised film festival. A list of recognised festivals can be found here.
  • All key creatives must be Australian citizens or residents.
  • Applicants must also meet the general eligibility requirements set out in Screen Australia's Terms of Trade. Regretfully we will not be able to receive applications from people who are enrolled full time at a tertiary education institution, or who are current employees of a broadcaster.

What materials do you need to apply?


  • A completed application form which can be found on the Screen Australia website.
  • A 2-page (max) outline or treatment of the proposed project, including an outline of each episode topic/story.
  • CVs of the team, including relevant prior credits, and any other confirmed key personnel (DOP, editor, etc).
  • An example of the relevant director and producer’s previous work (a complete film, not a showreel) via an active website link.
  • If available, up to 5 minutes of footage or sizzle reel from the proposed project to show evidence of character, access and storyline. Please supply as a private download enabled screening link with a password.
  • A proposed finance plan (if requiring funds beyond initiative). Detailed budgets are not required until Second Stage.
Stage One materials should be emailed to Anna Freeland by the published deadline of 11pm, 20 April 2018. Applications received after this deadline will not be accepted. 


At this stage, long list candidates will be contacted and asked to provide further material within 1-2 weeks, including:

  • A budget in the Screen Australia A-Z Documentary format
  • A finance plan using the template provided by Screen Australia
  • A production schedule
  • Written confirmation of key subjects’ willingness to participate
  • Where there is Indigenous community participation or content involved in the project, written confirmation of the willingness of both the subject(s) and the community to be involved in the project is essential. See Pathways & Protocols for more information.

What is the assessment process?

All eligible applications will be read by the digital Arts Commissioning Editor who will long-list the projects. The long-listed projects will be invited to apply to Stage Two by 20 May 2018. A Screen Australia Investment Development Manager will short-list the projects.

Shortlisted applicants and relevant state agencies will be informed of the outcome by mid June 2018.

Applicants who are shortlisted after the second stage may be required to develop their projects further before final ABC commissioning. Extra preparation time may be provided to develop additional materials.

From the shortlist, final projects for commissioning will be selected by the ABC and we will advise applicants in writing of the success or otherwise of their application by end of June 2018.

We aim to make the application process as transparent as possible, but given the volume of applications we receive, we do not have the resources to provide feedback on each project.

Assessment criteria

When assessing applications, we will take the following criteria into account:

  • Creative strength of the project, in the context of the ABC Arts Brief and the channel’s vision statement ‘Where Life and Culture Collide’:
  • the concept/idea/story: its distinctiveness, relevance to iview audience
  • the proposed realisation: creativity in storytelling, entertainment value
  • the quality of the submitted proposal.
  • Capacity of the team to manage the project creatively and their ability to deliver a complete project by March 2019.
  • Project viability in terms of the proposed budget, financing strategy and schedule (assessed at Stage Two only).

The above criteria are weighted evenly.

Other factors including diversity of slate and the gender and cultural diversity of the team may also influence Screen Australia’s and the ABC’s funding decisions.

What is the application timing?

Application deadline: 11pm AEST 20 April 2018. Applicants will be advised of Stage One decisions within 4 weeks. There will be no extensions granted for this initiative.

Terms of funding

All projects selected for production will be subject to the ABC Commissioning and Screen Australia funding processes.

Screen Australia funding for Art Bites is provided as a grant. See Screen Australia’s Terms of Trade for more details.

The films selected for production will enter into a standard Licence Agreement with the ABC and a standard production grant agreement with Screen Australia.