ADG unveils 2019 Metro Screen fellowships

(L-R) Shideh Faramand, Julietta Boscolo and April Tafe. 

Shideh Faramand, April Tafe and Julietta Boscolo are the recipients of the third instalment of the Australian Directors’ Guild (ADG) Metro Screen Open Fellowship, and will share in $15,000 to fund opportunities in the US.

Further, two short films – Adrian Chiarella’s Dwarf Planet and Joshua Levi Sambono’s Suspect – will each receive $20,000 in production funding as part of the ADG Metro Screen Production Fellowship. The panel also awarded a special commendation to Home-Brand from writer/director Sophie Hattch.

Joshua Levi Sambono.

ADG CEO Kingston Anderson said: “Once again, the ADG have had the great pleasure of overseeing the legacy of Metro Screen, in continuing to administer the Metro Screen Open and Production Fellowships for our screen community. Our Open Fellowship recipients have all been afforded the opportunity to explore new pathways to develop their careers overseas; and this year we have undertaken for the first time, a development component with the Production Fellowship. We were inundated with some fantastic submissions and, thanks to our dedicated development team of Brita McVeigh and Kath Shelper, were able to find two exciting projects to award the Production Fellowship to. We would sincerely like to thank all of the applicants to both Fellowships, and look forward to hearing and seeing further from our successful 2018/19 Fellowship recipients.”

Adrian Chiarella.

Former Metro Screen CEO Christina Alvarez said: “Above all else Metro Screen valued and celebrated those who dared to cut through with new stories and new ways of making screen content. It’s wonderful to see the spirit of Metro Screen live on through the Open and Production Fellowships. This year’s recipients, individually and collectively, reflect a depth of talent which promises great things to come. We also applaud the high standard of storytelling and screen practice reflected in the many submissions we were unable to fund. Many thanks again to the ADG for partnering on the Metro Screen Fellowship to make these opportunities available to emerging talent at a time when direct cash support for personal projects is becoming increasingly hard to find.”

Previous recipients of the ADG Metro Screen Production Fellowship include Shelly Lauman, whose short film Birdie had its world premiere at Melbourne International Film Festival in 2017, and then went on to screen at the Toronto International Film Festival, where Fox Searchlight acquired worldwide rights and a US cinema release. Lauman recently signed with Paradigm Talent Agency for US representation.


  • Shideh Faramand will undertake a director’s attachment with Australian director Alethea Jones (Fun Mom Dinner) in the US. “I’m beyond thrilled to have been given this invaluable opportunity through the Metro Screen Fellowship and the ADG; to learn from Alethea’s impeccable work ethic, gain onset knowledge, confidence, build upon my skills and be guided with insight, support and advice by such an exciting director,” said Faramand.
  • April Tafe is currently in the US as the event director for the recent Australian Screen Forum. Tafe will use the Fellowship funding to transition to a role with The Writers Lab in NYC, a screenwriting lab and community designed for female screenwriters over 40. “I am utterly delighted to have a legitimate excuse to work with the wonderful women behind The Writers Lab. They are a league of inspirational powerhouses, and this time will allow me to hone my script development skills and gain insight into the US screen landscape. I plan to share my new connections and learnings with the screen community back home, and am incredibly grateful for the generous support of the Australian Directors’ Guild and Metro Screen,” said Tafe.
  • Julietta Boscolo will take part in the Hollywood Field Trip, a program in which a select group of established screen practitioners from outside the US, are given the opportunity to pitch to top Hollywood executives, producers, agents and managers in LA over a six-day period. Boscolo said: “The ADG Open Fellowship is an incredible opportunity to develop my distinctive slate of film and television projects by pitching them to top-level Hollywood executives and producers. This opportunity will not only strengthen my work as a director on the world stage, but allow me to share my skills back home.”


  • Dwarf Planet, from writer/director Adrian Chiarella, is based on the short story ‘Concealer’ by Andy Boreham. Dwarf Planet is the tale of a young male sex worker
    who meets his match in an overweight young teen, and discovers love, acceptance, attraction…and the universe, along the way. Of the fellowship mentoring process in Round 2, Adrian reveals: “Script editor Brita McVeigh literally had me walking in the shoes of the characters to open up the emotional and distinctive turning points in the script. With the assistance of producer Kath Shelper, I was given frank and constructive advice on performance and tone that will be key to bringing this subtle but challenging story to life.”
  • Suspect, from writer/director Joshua Levi Sambono, tells the story of 15-year-old Aboriginal boy, Jordan, who has missed the bus and finds himself at the mercy of a faceless cop on the streets of Western Sydney. But they are not alone. Sambono says: I’m thrilled to receive this support from the ADG as it is such a prestigious organisation. I look forward to using this grant to make a short film that shows my style and gives me a chance to learn more about the craft of directing.”

The ADG Metro Screen Fellowships will continue to be administered annually by the ADG with funds left over following the closure of Metro Screen in 2015. Submissions for the 2019-20 Fellowships open later this year.