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04 09 2018 - Media release

Talent Camp production funding recipients announced


Participants of the May 2018 Talent Camp workshop at AFTRS, including funding recipients. Front row: Vincent Carter, Belinda Raposo, Chloe Black, Samuel Nuggin-Paynter / middle row: Alana Hicks, Courtney Collins, Zayaan Jappie, Grace Feng Fang Juan, Shevaun Rutherford, Isabel Olympia Turner, Llewellyn Michael Bates / back row: Dinah Lewis Boucher, Rob Braslin, Nilendra Fonseka, Kane Jacobs, Michael Gupta, Steven Arriagada

AFTRS, Screen Australia, and all Australian State screen agencies are proud to announce the funding of three projects that reflect stories from emerging screen creatives under the Talent Camp initiative. Alana Hicks, Grace Feng and Llewellyn Michael Bates will each receive $24,000 to produce their short work for Australian screens.

Talent Camp, a partnership project of AFTRS, Screen Australia, Create NSW, Film Victoria, South Australian Film Corporation, Screen Queensland, Screenwest, Screen Territory, Screen Tasmania and Screen Canberra, was created to support emerging talent around the country from diverse backgrounds, with reference to cultural background, sexual orientation, gender identity, geographic disadvantage, disability, and/or low socio-economic status.

Supporting just under 100 emerging screen creatives from across the country, the Talent Camp program consists of three key initiatives:

  • Seven State Talent Camps: where participants focused on story development, producing skills and career pathways in a five-day workshop
  • National Talent Camp with two Campers competitively selected from each state for a week-long story development intensive with individual script mentorships; and
  • Production Funding of three projects.

In a recent survey of all Talent Camp participants, the majority of respondents reported that since Talent Camp they have extended their industry networks, that they feel more confident about their place in the industry and continue to practice their skills. 45% have found a mentor, 30% have taken up paid placements and work opportunities and 23% have found funding to develop or make their screen project.

“Talent Camp clearly demonstrates that there is an abundance of new talent and new stories that reflect the richness and depth of contemporary Australian society. The commitment and creativity demonstrated by Talent Camp participants, and the support and engagement of the agencies involved, bodes well for the next generation of authentic and engaging voices in the screen sector,” says AFTRS CEO Neil Peplow.

Screen Australia Senior Development Executive, Nerida Moore, said: “Talent Camp has been an incredible opportunity for emerging creatives to get their ideas production ready and it will play an important part in getting more diverse and distinctive stories on our screens.”


  • Alana Hicks, from Sydney, is of Papua New Guinean/Australian heritage and is the co-founder of The Kvetch Set Sketch Collective. Her work has been featured in The National Play Festival, Sydney Festival, Sydney Writers Festival to name a few. She’ll be taking the helm as the writer director of Chicken, a web series pilot about Barbara, a mixed race teenager trying to fit in a small country town. One day her mum Rita turns up from the supermarket, having been massively overcharged for a frozen chicken, and now it's up to Barbara to sort it out. “Australian film and TV has a strong tradition of showcasing dysfunctional families with love and tenderness. I want to contribute a relatable story about a daughter mothering a mother, and give people a sense of what being a mixed race kid in the 90s was like. Through this process I hope to grow and learn as a director and writer” said Alana.
  • Grace Feng is a writer and photographer based in Melbourne, producing works in Chinese and English languages through different mediums including for web. Grace’s web series pilot, titled The Interpreter, loosely based on her own experience as a Chinese language interpreter, explores the ins and outs, and the intensely awkward moments of being a medium between two people trying to communicate. Grace’s work forms what she hopes will be a long running web series turned tv show. Grace says “The series offers a glimpse into the Chinese Australian community and a profession that is rarely seen or understood by people who only speak one language. It is a fly-on-the-wall experience of an English-deprived life - a story I am very familiar with and hope to bring to life through the Talent Camp initiative”.
  • Llewellyn Michael Bates is a Melbourne-based freelance screenwriter and creative producer with AACTA-AFI nominations for his short form work.  He’s been landing a few runs on the board lately, including his recent feature film script Shanghai Go being successful in the Screen Australia China Arclight Co-Pro Development Initiative. Michael’s short film is a chilling exploration of male violence and its effect on a suburban Melbourne cul de sac, titled Fun Times. He’ll be teaming up with independent filmmaker Matthew Pastor to realise the vision of the working class neighbourhood he grew up in and the stories he heard and experienced. Michael said “This film is a testament to the strength of my friends and I, growing up where we did. I hope to open up a discussion about abuse and the culture of violence in our communities, and for those who have not experienced it, I want to open a window into a world that is uncomfortable and confronting”.

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