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Applications open for Short Blacks short film initiative

Screen Australia’s Indigenous Department is calling on emerging Indigenous filmmakers to submit 10 minute scripted story ideas for the Short Blacks short film initiative.

2017 Short Blacks film Brown Lips, directed by Nakkiah Lui

This initiative is designed to bring fresh ideas for new Indigenous stories, authored and crafted by Indigenous people, to the screen.

“Some of Australia’s most acclaimed Indigenous filmmakers such as Warwick Thornton (Sweet Country), Wayne Blair (The Sapphires) and Rachel Perkins (Mystery Road – TV Series) made award winning shorts funded by the Indigenous Department,” said Penny Smallacombe, Head of Indigenous at Screen Australia.

“The aim of this initiative is to support the next crop of Indigenous storytellers who exhibit a high level of creative ambition with strong characters and bold ideas that can be developed and financed for production.”

The initiative will involve two phases, development and production. Applicants can apply for up to $5,000 for project development. Eight creative teams will be selected to participate in the development phase, which in addition to funding includes attending a creative workshop in July, 2018. From then, six applicants will be selected for production funding, with up to $120,000 available per creative team.

Stories must be conceived by an Indigenous creative, with Indigenous Australians in key creative roles (minimum of a writer and director). No experience in screenwriting or production is required, but a demonstrated interest in pursuing a career in this field is essential.

Stories should incorporate a maximum of two characters and no more than two locations.

Stars of the new Australian feature Top End Wedding Shari Sebbens and Elaine Crombie urge emerging creatives to apply for Short Blacks.

Applications close Monday 25 June 2018. More details about eligibility and how to apply can be found here

A retrospective of short films funded by the Indigenous Department in the early years will feature in this year’s Sydney Film Festival. The program includes 19 outstanding short films from 15 filmmakers, across four showcases: From Sand to Celluloid, Shifting Sands, Crossing Tracks, and Dreaming in Motion. Shorts by acclaimed directors include Warwick Thornton’s Payback and Mimi, Ivan Sen’s Tears and Wind, Wayne Blair’s Black Talk, Richard Frankland’s No Way to Forget and Harry’s War, and current Sydney Festival Director Wesley Enoch’s Grace.

About the Indigenous Department

This year marks 25 years since the Indigenous Department at Screen Australia was established. Since then, the Department has provided over $35 million in funding for development, production and talent escalation, with over 160 titles produced in that period. Since the Indigenous Department at Screen Australia was established, it has provided over $35 million in funding for development, production and talent escalation, with over 160 titles produced in that period. The work of the Department and its partners is credited with forever changing Indigenous representation on screens, and ensuring Indigenous people can tell their own screen stories. The funding model is considered to have been so successful, it was recently replicated by the Canadian government.