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24 01 2022 - Media release

Screen Australia, SBS and NITV announce Digital Originals are back for 2022

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Iggy & Ace, The Tailings

Screen Australia, SBS and National Indigenous Television (NITV) are excited to announce that applications are now open for the third Digital Originals initiative.

The Digital Originals initiative aims to develop exciting and innovative short-form drama projects to premiere as a single episode program on SBS On Demand and NITV, from screen creatives who are currently under-represented in the sector. This includes people who identify as culturally and linguistically diverse, First Nations Australians, people with disability, female and gender diverse, LGBTIQ+ and those who are located in regional and remote areas. 

Past recipients include AACTA Award-winning Tasmanian mystery The Tailings, Western Australian comedy Iggy & Ace, and the upcoming South Australian drama A Beginner’s Guide to Grief, with three more projects from the 2021 cohort heading into production to be announced soon.

Screen Australia’s Head of Online Lee Naimo said, “We are thrilled to partner with SBS and NITV on the third instalment of Digital Originals, to continue to build this pathway for premium online Australian drama. I can’t wait to take the new batch of talent creators through the workshop, and work with them on developing their projects for the SBS OnDemand audience.”

SBS Head of Scripted, Julie Eckersley said, “Digital Originals continues to be a great success and an important initiative SBS is incredibly proud to be a part of. Over three years, we’ve seen unique and award-winning stories from across the country resonate with audiences, while supporting and showcasing incredible emerging talent in our sector. It continues to be a key element of our drama offering, and I’m looking forward to seeing what fresh voices and amazing talent this next round uncovers.”

NITV’s Head of Commissioning and Programming, Kyas Hepworth, added, “Digital Originals provides a brilliant opportunity to support more First Nations narrative writers and practitioners to hone their skills and have their voices heard. NITV, as part of the SBS network, is committed to bringing stories from underrepresented communities to a national audience, I encourage our next wave of creatives to get involved.”

Up to 10 teams will be selected to attend an exclusive workshop from 17 – 19 May 2022, run by Screen Australia, SBS and NITV. The workshop will focus on narrative writing skills, as well as developing the projects to align with the SBS Charter and SBS On Demand platform, culminating in a pitch to Screen Australia, SBS and NITV. Teams of either two or three members are eligible to apply and must include one writer. Teams outside of Sydney will receive flights and accommodation for up to three team members to attend the workshop. The workshop may be held virtually pending travel restrictions in place at the time.

From these 10 teams, up to four will be chosen to take their projects into further development, and from these up to three will be chosen for production funding and commissioning with SBS, NITV and Screen Australia.

Submissions should include an up to three page pitch document outlining the details of the series and more information on the creative team; an up to three minute pitch video outlining the creators’ personal connection to and reason for wanting to develop the project; and an up to 10 page script sample of previous work. For more information on eligibility and application guidelines click here

INFORMATION SESSION

Screen Australia’s Head of Online Lee Naimo, SBS Scripted Commissioning Editor Loani Arman, and NITV’s Head of Commissioning and Programming Kyas Hepworth will host a Zoom webinar for those interested in applying. This will include a panel discussion with more information about the initiative, and a question and answer session.

  • Date: Wednesday 2 February 2022
  • Time: 10am – 11am AEDT
  • Register: Registration is essential, please register here
  • Accessibility: An Auslan interpreter will be available for this session. If you would like to discuss this or other accessibility requirements, please contact RSVP before Friday 28 January.

APPLY

Submissions are open now and will close at 5pm AEDT Thursday 24 February 2022. Please ensure you read the guidelines here before contacting the Program Operations team here with any remaining enquiries.

ABOUT DIGITAL ORIGINALS

The Digital Originals initiative is an evolution of SBS’s Short-Form Content Initiative, and aims to provide opportunities and support for screen creatives from under-represented backgrounds. This includes people identifying as culturally and linguistically diverse, First Nations Australians, people with disability, female and gender diverse, LGBTIQ+ and those who are located in regional and remote areas. 

Under the second iteration of the initiative in 2021, 12 teams were selected to develop their projects through workshops, with mentorship from international and local guest speakers. From this group, six projects were received development funding from Screen Australia, SBS and NITV. The successful projects from this group to be taken into production will be announced soon.

A Beginner’s Guide to Grief is set to premiere on SBS On Demand later in 2022.


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