• Search Keywords

  • Year

  • Production Status

  • Genre

  • Co-production

  • SA Supported

  • Indigenous creative

  • Length

  • Technique


Cook 2020: Our Right of Reply

Special joint Indigenous initiative of the New Zealand Film Commission and Screen Australia’s Indigenous Department, with support from Create NSW.


The year 2020 is the 250th anniversary of James Cook’s maiden voyage to the Pacific, New Zealand and Australia. Cook 2020: Our Right of Reply is the Australian arm of a dramatic feature film anthology opportunity supporting Indigenous filmmakers throughout the Pacific to respond in their own way to Cook’s arrival and mark a significant moment in our history as nations of the pacific region. Screen Australia’s Indigenous Department, in collaboration with the New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC), is looking to support eight short films as part of an anthology feature film initiative to provide a vital Indigenous perspective and right of reply. 

The dramatic shorts will share the theme of cultural survival and can take many forms, from experimental, comedy, genre and/or animation. The successful screen practitioners must have an open mind in terms of working with the other successful collaborators to ensure the anthology links and screens together as a feature film. Applicants should not think of their short as a standalone, but rather a part of a larger screen story, similar to the recent success of New Zealand feature, Waru.

This one-off initiative is focused on supporting a creative collaboration between Indigenous peoples of the Pacific region impacted by Cook's arrival including Māori, Pacifica, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.


  • Four teams from both New Zealand and Australia will be selected to come together to develop eight dramatic narrative short films exploring their own unique Indigenous perspectives related to the arrival of Cook.
  • On completion of the development process, the short films will be selected and supported with production funding of up to $125,000 grant per short film.
  • Teams will have to work closely with a Series Producer in both New Zealand and Australia, who will have the right to oversee production and market the anthology as a series for up to a 5 year term.


Applicants must:

  • be Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writers and directors, or writer/directors, and
  • have two short drama credits of at least 7 minutes each, this can include standalone shorts, online or web series and or dramatized documentary. Those with extensive documentary directing experience are also encouraged to apply.
  • meet Screen Australia’s Terms of Trade.

This initiative does not require a producer to be attached at application stage. The teams may be a writer and director or a writer/director. A producer can be attached but not required.

Teams must be available to travel to the workshop from 13 – 17  of May 2019, in Sydney and must be able to prove their ability to deliver the finished short film by November 2019.

Successfully funded teams will be supported by an overarching Series Producer team appointed by the NZFC and Screen Australia’s Indigenous Department

This is a collaborative initiative so writer/directors must be willing and open to working with international partners, and co-ownership of the completed anthology feature


Applications can be submitted via the application portal by Friday 5pm AEST 5th April 2019, and will include the following creative material:

  • Stories from Australian applicants must be from an Australian Indigenous perspective
  • Teams need to supply a one-page outline of their concept. Up to three concepts can be submitted in one application
  • Concepts must be for short films no longer than 12 mins in length
  • Writers need to provide a writing sample, maximum five pages
  • Directors need to provide links to previous work, maximum 15 mins
  • Bios for all key creatives.

Applications will be assessed by Screen Australia’s Indigenous Department and an external assessor and final decisions made in consultation with NZFC. Final decisions will be made by Screen Australia’s Indigenous Department

Assessment criteria (equally weighted):

  • Quality and originality of the concept 
  • Ability for the short film to stand out on the world stage
  • Director’s voice/vision and the point of difference
  • The skills of the team as well as their ability to deliver a world class short filmby November 2019
  • Teams ability to collaborate with the other successful teams 

Turnaround time for decisions is within four weeks.

Please contact Program Operations for any further questions on 1 800 507 901 or email the Indigenous Department.

New Zealand residents must apply via NZFC. Please visit the NZFC website for guidelines and further details.