AiF, HFPA and Screen Australia look to find ‘untapped’ talent

Nisha Ganatra, Alma Har'al, Sarah Violet Bliss, Charles Rogers, Taika Waititi and Warwick Thornton.

Australians in Film (AiF) has partnered with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and Screen Australia to launch Untapped, a breakthrough talent development program for undiscovered and underrepresented filmmakers.

The nine-month online program will include masterclasses and mentorship from internationally successful production companies.

It begins with open-access conversations with Sarah-Violet Bliss and Charles Rogers (Search Party), Nisha Ganatra (The High Note, Late Night), Alma Har’el (Honey Boy, Bombay Beach), Warwick Thornton (Mystery Road, Sweet Country) and Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit, Thor: Ragnarok).

Following the masterclasses, five creators or creative teams will then be selected for the Untapped Development Lab, a four-month intensive mentorship program.

Selected participants will receive individualised mentorship, story consultation, creative feedback and professional development support from top industry mentors including executives from Blossom Films, Made Up Stories, LuckyChap Entertainment, See-Saw Films and Truant Pictures. Each creative team will receive a $2000 stipend.

Overall the Untapped program aims to give emerging screenwriters and directors the education and access needed to fast track their careers and their projects.

Applicants need to submit a logline and project summary for an original narrative fiction feature film or television series project in development. Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander peoples, people with disabilities, LGBTQIA+ persons, culturally diverse peoples, and people living in remote locations will be prioritised.

“We see and understand the frustration and struggle of underrepresented and undiscovered filmmakers in Australia, and with our partners the HFPA and Screen Australia, we have established Untapped to create tangible pathways for new talent. We want to support their dreams and to help them grow as storytellers. Hollywood is definitely listening to find new voices and Untapped will help open doors for emerging Australian creatives who often find the industry impenetrable,” said AiF executive director Peter Ritchie.

Untapped will run April to December this year.

Apply here.