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09 02 2023 - Media release

Australians in Film and Screen Australia announce applications open for UNTAPPED


(From top left) Amy Wang, Aïda Mashaka Croal, Andrew Ahn, Cherien Dabis, Bilal Baig and Fab Filippo

UNTAPPED, Australia’s pre-eminent professional development program for the next generation of writers and directors, kicks off on 8 March (AEST) with a series of exclusive online masterclasses featuring some of the most inspiring voices in the film and television industry. These sessions include writer Aïda Mashaka Croal (Marvel’s Jessica Jones and Luke Cage), writer/director Amy Wang (Crazy Rich Asians 2, From Scratch), writer/director Andrew Ahn (Fire Island, Spa Night), Emmy-nominated writer/director Cherien Dabis (Only Murders in the Building, Ramy), Peabody Award-winning co-creators Bilal Baig and Fab Filippo (Sort Of).

Created in 2020 during the height of the pandemic, UNTAPPED is a breakthrough talent development program for undiscovered and historically excluded Australian screenwriters and directors. Since its inception, the program has forged a dynamic community of Australia’s best new storytellers. Emboldened by invaluable masterclasses from groundbreaking filmmakers, the UNTAPPED talent continues to flourish, with projects in development at leading studios.

UNTAPPED is presented by Australians in Film and Screen Australia. Supporting partners include Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Screen NSW, Screen Queensland, South Australian Film Corporation and Scripted Ink. Industry Partners include Australian Directors Guild, Australian Writers Guild, Screen Canberra, Screen Producers Australia, Screen Tasmania, Screen Territory, Screenwest and Screenworks.

UNTAPPED begins with four open-access online masterclasses for anyone who applies with a feature film or television project in development. Submissions can be at treatment or script stage. The masterclasses run from March to May 2023. Every participant must complete a survey after each masterclass, which is assessed along with the submitted application and corresponding projects. Five to six participants are handpicked to participate in a four-month Development Lab, which runs from July to November 2023.

Peter Ritchie, Executive Director of Australians in Film said, “UNTAPPED is designed to uncover and elevate Australia’s newest and most original screenwriters and directors who are bursting to tell their stories to the world. AiF, as always, is very proud to be working with Screen Australia and all our partners to bring UNTAPPED to life every year.

“This year, rather than announcing our mentoring companies in the Development Lab when we open for submissions, we will specifically match our participants with the most suitable and effective creatives or executives working in Hollywood — once they have been accepted into the Lab and we have assessed their individual creative and professional goals,” Ritchie continued.

Screen Australia’s CEO Graeme Mason said, “UNTAPPED has advanced the careers of incredibly talented storytellers and we’re thrilled to bring it back for its third year together with AiF. We’re proud to support Australian creators in gaining world-class mentorship and development, and the chance to build meaningful connections in the US market through this program. It’s a fantastic opportunity for creators to reach international audiences and take Australian stories to the world. I look forward to seeing the next crop of new voices and bold stories.”

Filmmaker Alex Wu, who was selected for UNTAPPED in 2022 said, “Being able to establish connections and talk one-on-one with experienced writers, producers and development executives provided an insight into the US industry that I would find extremely difficult to obtain otherwise as an early-career filmmaker. The program is impressively catered around each individual creator's needs and knowledge gaps.”

UNTAPPED applications are open until Friday 3 March at 5 pm (PST). For applications and guidelines, click here.

Publicity and social media assets are available here.


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