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Special documentary Initiative
black impact

Black Impact is a special initiative of the Indigenous Department of Screen Australia in association with the ABC to develop 2 x 57-minute Indigenous documentaries for each project.

Black Impact aims to give voice to distinctive Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander documentary stories and add to Australia’s cultural landscape. Projects must have Indigenous Australians in key creative roles, and Indigenous producers are strongly encouraged to apply.

We are looking to develop four bold and original ideas with the view to taking two into production.

These ideas should exhibit a high level of creative ambition, and give fresh insights into contemporary Black Australian life.

Initiative parameters

  • Up to four projects will be selected for development. Successful projects will receive up to $20,000 depending on the needs of the project. This will include writer fees, producer fees, script consultant fees and any research costs.
  • After the development period, the teams will submit an application for production investment, and two projects will be selected for production.

  • For each project, the total budget for production will be up to $400,000, including development funds, depending on the needs of the production. Projects will apply for Producer Equity as part of their production investment application and the Producer Equity payment must be included in the project’s finance plan (see Producer Equity Program).

  • The story must be able to be realised within the specified budget, and the censorship rating should be no greater than M.

  • The final running time must be 57 minutes, including credits.

  • For the selected documentaries, subject to commissioning, the ABC will issue a licence agreement prior to production on the ABC’s standard terms and conditions, including five runs over five years; online rights (streaming, and download subject to digital rights management) for 30 days from first transmission.


  • Individual writer/directors, or teams including at least a writer and director (or a writer/director) may apply.

  • The writer and director must be Indigenous.

  • The writer, director and producer (if attached) must each have at least one short (26-minute) documentary broadcast credit.

  • Projects will only be eligible if the application includes written confirmation that key subjects are willing to participate in filming. This can be a signed letter or an email originating from the subject.

  • Applicants must also meet the general eligibility requirements set out in Screen Australia’s Terms of Trade.

Assessment criteria

When assessing applications for this program, Screen Australia and the ABC will use the following criteria:

  • The strength of the proposal, including the distinctiveness of the idea, and the quality of the script or treatment

  • The project’s potential to connect with its target audience (ABC primetime)

  • The creative vision for the project’s realisation, including the directorial approach, development notes and development plan

  • The track record and capacity of the creative team

  • Project viability, in terms of the proposed production budget and creative team.

Assessment process

The selection panel will be made up of a representative of Screen Australia’s Indigenous Department and the ABC’s Commissioning Editor for Documentary.

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

Terms of funding

Where Screen Australia provides development funding and subsequently invests in the production, its investment in the development phase is added to the production financing amount and the total investment will be recouped in accordance with the terms of trade for production financing. See Terms of Trade for more details.

Screen Australia production funding under $200,000 is provided as a grant. Projects selected for production may also be eligible for a grant under the Producer Equity Program.

For the selected documentaries, subject to commissioning, the ABC will be entitled to five runs over five years and streaming and download rights for 30 days; the ABC will issue a licence agreement prior to production.


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