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Podcast – Producer Kauthar Abdulalim and Blacksand Pictures

Executive Producer and CEO of Blacksand Pictures Kauthar Abdulalim reflects on her Enterprise journey, reaching international audiences with online stories, and the power of authentic representation in the screen industry.

Kauthar Abdulalim of Blacksand Pictures

Find this episode of the Screen Australia Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Pocket Casts

“We need to dream bigger.”

Growing up in a small town in Kenya, and later as a teen in Melbourne, screen stories were a powerful representation of her community and Muslim stories for producer Kauthar Abdulalim that inspired an interest in not only the types of stories told, but who told them.

“For me, having the sense of the cinema and media that I grew up loving can be so beautiful, but it can also be so damaging was something that I always grappled with,” she says. “How can I be an avenue for change and better representation?

This passion for authentic and diverse representation, coupled with her experiences in community engagement and impact production, inspired the creation of Blacksand Pictures – and independent production company focused on screen content that champions and spotlights stories of underrepresented communities of Australia.

In this episode of the podcast, Abdulalim talks about embracing online content, supporting meaningful diversity behind the scenes, building a strategic plan for your screen career, and how the Enterprise program strengthened her business skills, as she shares her advice for early career practitioners considering applying.

It was after the release of TikTok series Matched, and overwhelming international engagement, that Abdulalim saw the possibilities of global storytelling. “We discovered a whole new audience that was really untapped,” she says. “There was a huge opportunity internationally to find partners who [were] interested in Australian Muslim stories.”

And applying for Screen Australia’s Enterprise Business program was a way to focus on the business side of filmmaking and develop a strategy for engaging with those international audiences.

Enterprise Business funding supports content creation companies with their new business proposals that drive growth, quality, and pathways to sustainability, and benefit the screen industry more broadly. Applicants can apply for funding for one year, and successfully funded businesses will be provided with access to a creative mentor and business consultant, and group learning modules, that are designed to support the development of their business.

Looking to expand their slate, and explore global opportunities, Abdulalim saw Enterprise as “the right next step for our business”.

“When you’re a small company, you’re only focusing on the creative,” she says. “It was a chance to really focus on the business, get strategic business and creative advice.…so Enterprise help[s] you to see that you need the right balance. Because to have a successful business, you need to have both the creative aspect but also that business aspect of it.”

“It’s been an incredible journey. [With support from the Enterprise Program] I feel like Blacksand Pictures has transformed. It’s become something much bigger than I anticipated.”

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