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17 03 2017 - Media release

Recipients of Seeing Ourselves: Developing the Developer revealed


Seeing Ourselves: Reflections on Diversity in TV Drama.

Sixteen creatives from across Australia have been selected to come to Sydney for the three-day intensive Developing the Developer workshop, designed to give professionals from diverse backgrounds greater access to the screen sector.

“We know people from non-Anglo Celtic backgrounds, and those who identify as being LGBTQI or having a disability are all chronically under represented on our screens,” said Sally Caplan, Head of Production at Screen Australia. “It’s going to take the whole screen sector to work together to get to a place where the Australia we all experience in our day to day lives is actually represented on screen. For our part, Screen Australia is focussing on the early stages of creating a screen project – development.”

“We want to work with the 16 successful Developing the Developer applicants to help them in enhancing their story development skills and to be equipped to work on projects page to screen. We want to empower these creatives with the knowledge of how to leverage the funding and networking opportunities available to them, so they can inject new ideas, perspectives and authentic stories into an industry that is ready for change, but needs new voices in story development to be able to drive this change.”

Louise Gough, Development Executive at Screen Australia added; “When we first announced Developing the Developer, our hope was to have 10-12 solid workshop participants. We ended up receiving 89 applications and the standard was so high, we have extended the program to take 16 creatives. To see creatives joining us from all over the country, and from such incredibly different life experiences, gives me a quiet confidence that we can engineer some real change in the development of works that more accurately reflect the Australia of today”.

The Developing the Developer workshop will begin on 31 March 2017 and is provided to the recipients at no cost, including sponsored travel and accommodation where applicable. After the three-day intensive is complete, each creative will plan their next career steps with Screen Australia staff.

The list of successful applicants is included below.


The creation of Developing the Developer was motivated by the findings of Screen Australia’s 2016 study Seeing Ourselves: Reflections on Diversity in TV Drama.

The study analysed all 199 Australian TV dramas (fiction excluding animation) that aired between 2011 and 2015 inclusive, finding 18% of main characters in the period were from non-Anglo Celtic backgrounds, compared to 32% of the population. A notable exception to this trend is Indigenous representation, making a dramatic turnaround in screen presence.

Only 4% of main characters had an identified disability compared to an estimated 18% of Australians, whilst 5% of main characters were identified as LGBTQI, yet this group is estimated to be up to 11% of the population.

For the full report, click here.

SUCCESSFUL APPLICANTS (in alphabetical order)

Gary Abrahams (VIC)

Since graduating from the Victorian College of The Arts in 2009, Gary has worked extensively as a director, writer, dramaturge and actor. Recent credits include the national tours of Resident Alien and Bad Jews, and Buyer and Cellar for Melbourne Theatre Company. Through his company Dirty Pretty Theatre he has directed and written several plays. The latest, Therese Raquin, will tour nationally from May this year. He received a Green Room Award for Best Director in Independent Theatre in 2010. From 2010-2014 he was the dramaturge in residence at Red Stitch Theatre and developed several new Australian works for the company. A gay male artist from a Jewish background, he has a strong sense of otherness and is devoted to the creation and production of stories for diverse audiences.

Violeta Ayala (NSW) 

Violeta is an award-winning filmmaker of the First Nations Peoples of the Americas. Her credits include Stolen (2009) which premiered at Toronto International Film Festival, has won 15 awards and aired on PBS in the USA, and The Bolivian Case (2015), which premiered at HotDocs, was nominated for Premios Platino and Fenix (the two most prestigious awards in Ibero-America) and was distributed across Latin America to an audience of 625 million. Her films have been supported by Sundance, MacArthur Foundation and Tribeca amongst others. Violeta is currently finishing Cocaine Prison and The Fight whilst writing the screenplay El Comunista about her grandfather – a Serbian Jew, leader of the Bolivian Communist party and friend to Che Guevara. Violeta wants to produce for other filmmakers of colour and push for change in the Australian screen industry.

Candice Bowers (VIC)

Candy is an award-winning playwright, performer and activist. As co-artistic director of Black Honey Company, she has pioneered a sub-genre of radical feminist hip hop theatre. Born of multi-racial South African parents and raised in Western Sydney, her work is rooted in her outlier positioning. Upon graduating NIDA in 2001, she initially struggled in an industry closed to actors and practitioners from culturally diverse backgrounds, instead making her own work. Candy’s accolades include the Edinburgh Fringe Total Theatre UK Award, British Council of the Arts Realise Your Dream Award, Australia Council of the Arts Cultural Leadership Fellowship, NIDA Glorias Fellowship and Philip Parsons Young Playwright Award Short List. Candy is interested in all forms of storytelling, and wants to shift the current paradigm to shape the next decade of diverse Australian stories.

Elena Carapetis (SA)

Elena is of Greek Cypriot heritage, born on Barngarla land, now living on Kaurna country. She is a graduate of NIDA who has appeared on stage for Windmill Theatre, State Theatre Company SA, Bell Shakespeare, Sydney Theatre Company, Malthouse and Company B Belvoir. Screen credits include Heartbreak HighAll Saints, Dead EuropeLook Both Ways and One-Eyed Girl. Also a writer, Elena’s plays The Good Son and Gorgon both enjoyed sell out seasons. She is State Theatre Company's Resident Artist and teaches at Flinders University Drama Centre and Adelaide College of the Arts. She is a proud member of the MEAA Equity Diversity Committee, passionate about championing people whose stories and points of view are not often seen, and is working to ensure all audiences see themselves represented on stage and onscreen.

Jenevieve Chang (NSW)

Jenevieve is an actor, writer and movement director. After training in London, Jenevieve lived in Shanghai, and became part of China’s first Vaudeville, Variety and Burlesque club, called Chinatown. Returning to Australia, she wrote and performed her family stories in Stories Then and Now, presented by Contemporary Asian Australian Performance (CAAP). Most recently, Jenevieve starred in Monkey Baa Theatre’s The Peasant Prince, the award-winning stage adaptation of Mao’s Last Dancer. Her memoir, The Good Girl of Chinatown will be published by Penguin Random House in May 2017. Jenevieve would like use her skills as a storyteller to explore the screen potential of her own narrative, and more broadly speaking – address the absence of stories for women of colour, whose voices are distinctly contemporary and Australian. 

Santilla Chingaipe (VIC)

Zambian-born Santilla Chingaipe is an award winning journalist and documentary filmmaker. She spent seven years working for SBS World News which saw her report from Kenya, South Sudan, Tanzania and Zambia and interview some of Africa’s most prominent leaders. She reports extensively on Australia’s diverse African community and recently presented a one-off documentary for SBS, Date My Race, which aired in February. Santilla created and hosts the Africa Talks series in partnership with the Wheeler Centre in Melbourne which explores perceptions about African-Australian identity, representation and politics. Santilla is currently directing and producing documentary on the complexities of Australia’s South Sudanese community. Santilla seeks to showcase migrant Australian stories as simply Australian stories, because she feels that many narratives - in an attempt to highlight diversity - highlight differences instead.

Martine Delaney (TAS)

A long-time transgender advocate/LGBTI activist, Martine has been working on a children's book whilst moonlighting as a ghost tour guide around Hobart, and has a feature film in early development. She became the first person in the world to have played both men's and women's Division 1 football, leading to some accidental activism, forcing Football Federation Australia to deal with the issue of transgender participation and develop inclusive policies. She also played a role in resolving problems facing Trans Australians needing a passport and gained greater anti-discrimination protection for transgender and intersex Tasmanians in law. Martine wishes to contribute to diversity in the industry by bringing a decade of LGBTI advocacy to the table, and push open the door for future Australian Trans storytellers.

Ade Djajamihardja (VIC)

Ade’s career began at ABCTV where he worked on iconic Australian programs such as Countdown Revolution, The Big Gig and The Late Show.  Ade held several senior positions overseas including as CEO of Ten on Ten Pictures and Enfiniti Productions, Malaysia. He co-produced the biggest historical epic film in Malaysia’s history, and was one of the producers of Salam Café (SBS 2008), the first ever Muslim entertainment program screened prime time in a Western country. In 2011, Ade joined the board of Disability Media Australia, just three days prior to a massive stroke.  He is currently studying the Master of Screen Arts & Business at AFTRS and is a best-selling author. As an Asian Australian from a Muslim family, and as a stroke survivor living with a disability, Ade contributes a rich and unique perspective on inclusive storytelling.

Mithila Gupta (NSW) 

Mithila is an Indian-born screenwriter. She graduated from the Bachelor of Communication at RMIT in 2006 and in 2009 completed an Advanced Diploma in Screenwriting at RMIT. She then joined the Story Department of iconic Australian drama, Neighbours. She spent two years plotting the show and was heavily involved in introducing an Indian family to the regular cast of Ramsay Street. Since Neighbours Mithila has written for Home and Away, Winners and Losers and Trip For Biscuits. She most recently worked as assistant script editor on Cleverman, and is currently writing pilots for various production companies. Mithila’s career aim is to bridge the gap between Australia and India by creating a slate of co-productions.

Patricia Morton-Thomas (NT)

Trisha is an Indigenous writer, producer and actor with over 20 years of experience in film and television. She has worked with celebrated Australian directors including Rachel Perkins (for Radiance), and starred in TV shows including Redfern Now and 8MMM Aboriginal Radio, the latter of which she also wrote and produced.  From 2004, Trisha worked for CAAMA where she produced, directed and wrote documentaries for Imparja TV, ABC and NITV. In 2007 Trisha joined NITV as a Commissioning Editor, and in 2016 she received the Bob Plasto Award for her contribution towards the Northern Territory’s screen industry. As a filmmaker from a minority background, Trisha has a strong sense of what is missing from our screens, and is committed to contributing a more diverse and truer reflection of Australia.

Bali Padda (NSW) 

Bali is an actor, producer and consultant, and a passionate advocate for diversity in the Australian arts and cultural sector. He is Chair of MEAA’s Equity Diversity Committee, and in that role works with key industry organisations and producers leading the conversation on issues of diversity and inclusion in Australian performing arts. As a producer, Bali's theatrical work focuses on showcasing emerging diverse artists. He is currently developing a new, inclusive children's TV drama and is creating a slate of diverse and engaging TV, film and theatre projects. Bali is a proud first-generation Australian, raised in Western Sydney by migrant parents from the Punjab region of India. Bali is firmly committed to ensuring that our Australian stories are a true representation of contemporary Australia, in all its diversity.

Fatima Mawas (VIC)

A fresh and daring young Australian filmmaker, Fatima’s work takes on themes of identity, racism, war, religion and spirituality.  Having graduated from both the VCA and AFTRS, she has written and directed a number of short films and music videos which have screened locally and internationally. Fatima wants to tell challenging, entertaining and thought provoking stories reflective of true Australian culture, and featuring Muslim protagonists. 

Mala Sujan (WA)

Mala has worked in the screen industry over the past 20 years in project development and production. Productions she has worked on include Shark Net, Red Dog and Cloudstreet. She has worked at Screenwest in the Production funding team, at Beyond West as development coordinator, and is currently working as development for the production company Factor 30. Mala has also worked in development with writer Eoin O’Briain and producer Melissa Kelly on Grooming the Bride, and has had several projects in development including a factual entertainment series with Indian-Australian themes. Born in India, Mala emigrated to Australia as a child and identifies strongly with both cultures. Mala believes screen stories play an important role as a highly influential medium, and that we have the capacity to bring about stories with greater representations of diversity.

Ana Tiwary (NSW)

Ana is a producer/director who nurtures diverse talent and multicultural projects through her company indiVisual films. Ana has worked on Bollywood films (India), at National Geographic Channels (Washington DC), and has produced for ABC TV (Australia). Born in India, Ana has also lived/worked in Germany, Canada, West-Africa and the US, and for the past ten years has called Sydney home. She served on the Women in Film & TV NSW committee for six years and founded their Mentorship program. In 2015, she was selected for Screen Producers Australia’s “Ones to Watch” program. Ana is passionate about telling rich untold Australian stories that bring gender, racial and cultural diversity to our screens.

Fiona Tuomy (VIC)

Fiona is an award winning writer, director and producer. A graduate of the Australian Film Television and Radio School, Fiona’s screen career includes a range of accomplished short films, screenwriting credits, script development roles, and writer/director of the acclaimed ABC documentary Helen Garner’s Monkey Grip. As well as being a creative practitioner, Fiona has worked in a diverse range of leadership and educational roles across the screen, arts, literary and disability sectors. And is Mentor-in-Residence on the award winning and international best practice model Write-ability program for writers with disability, a partnership between Writers Victoria and Arts Access Victoria. Fiona is passionate about bringing stories that encourage the importance of lived experience and authentic voices of disabled people and other marginalised groups to the screen.

Anthea Williams (NSW)

Anthea is currently the Associate Director – New Work at Belvoir Theatre. For the company she has directed plays including Kill the Messenger, Forget Me Not and Old Man and has been dramaturg on a number of works including The Drover’s Wife. Anthea directed Mother’s Ruin: A Cabaret about Gin which toured Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and Tasmania in 2016, and was part of the 2017 Sydney Festival. Prior to joining Belvoir in 2011, Anthea was Associate Director at London’s Bush Theatre.  Anthea trained at the Victorian College of the Arts (Directing) and the University of NSW.  Anthea has had rheumatoid arthritis since she was two years old and identifies as a person with a disability.

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