(L-R): Johanna Garvin and Holly Lyons.

Women in Film and Television (WIFT) Australia has opened applications for its three-month MentorHer program, which facilitates mentorships between female-identifying practitioners who are in the early stages of their career, or those looking to shift into a new area in the screen industry, with experienced practitioners.

The call out is for both mentors and mentees, with mentors of all genders welcome. People of diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply, as are people from all areas within the industry including games, distribution, cinematography and composition. The MentorHer program will begin in April.

WIFT’s definition of women includes anyone with female experience –past or present– and is trans-inclusive and non-binary inclusive.

MentorHer facilitator and WIFT Australia Queensland board member Katrina Irawati Graham said: “Mentoring is a powerful tool in the nurturing of cultural change and diversity including gender equity. It’s a positive effect on both the mentee and the mentor. MentorHer is about leading from where we are and helping the person behind you so she can have a smoother journey. We are looking for mentors who have a desire to share their experiences, communities, friendships, craft skills and knowledge. This is more important to us than what awards you have won.”

“During MentorHer 2018 we matched 70 mentees across the nation with 70 fabulous mentors. Some of the success stories included craft outcomes like writing new drafts of work, a paid internship, understanding funding bodies better and widening a circle of friends with whom to navigate the industry.”

Script producer and screenwriter Holly Lyons was a mentor in the program in 2018, and was able to secure a sponsored place for her mentee Johanna Garvin on the ‘Writing for TV Intensive’ at AFTRS.

Lyons says: “I am so grateful to WIFT for introducing me to my mentee, Johanna Garvin. Jo and I formed a wonderful working relationship, and I was thrilled when Jo asked me to collaborate with her to apply for Screen Australia and ABC’s DisRupted initiative. We were even happier when we were awarded the funding, and was able to make Rocky & Me, with some other wonderful collaborators including Claire Tonkin from CJZ. This film was an enriching experience, the first time in my career writing a character with a disability. In total, we had eight people working on the project who live with a disability. I can’t wait to see what Jo and I collaborate on next.”

WIFT Australia Tasmania board member Briony Kidd says: “In Tasmania, we have a lot of talented filmmakers, at all career stages, who are disadvantaged by their geographical location. While levels of production have certainly improved in the state in recent times, there are limited opportunities for them to develop the networks and resources necessary to succeed in this highly competitive field. So we are particularly keen to match mentors from right across the country with our mentees, to help to bridge that gap into the industry. With MentorHer a mentor has an opportunity to make a huge difference to a regional filmmaker’s career and we are very grateful to anyone who puts their hand up for this challenge.”

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