For Film’s Sake and Sydney Film Festival partner on prizes, incubator program

Sydney Film Festival director Nashen Moodley and For Film's Sake executive director Sophie Mathisen.

For Film’s Sake (FFS), the advocacy organisation behind the female-focused film lab Attagirl, has joined with Sydney Film Festival (SFF) to announce two new prizes and an incubator program aimed at supporting filmmakers of diverse backgrounds.

FFS and SFF today unveiled the Attagirl Production Prize, a $25,000 grant to be awarded to one film from the graduating cohort of the inaugural Attagirl lab.

Jury selected, the prize will support the film deemed most ‘market-ready’ and incentivise additional investment from the film marketplace and community.

Six Australian projects and one from New Zealand were among the 13 from around the world selected to take part in last year’s lab, which aims to support global feature filmmakers to navigate the challenges of development and financing which follow from digital disruption of theatrical exhibition.

Initially imagined as a travel program to international market-driven film festivals, Attagirl was pivoted to digital delivery in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

To date, teams have participated in two online workshop intensives which included access to films and content at the online editions of the Toronto International Film Festival and International Film Festival Rotterdam respectively. Teams are now preparing for their third and final workshop as part of the Sydney Film Festival where they will pitch to interested financiers across public, private and philanthropic sectors.

Attagirl was financed by Screen Australia in conjunction with the British Film Institute (BFI), Telefilm Canada, the Swedish Film Institute and the New Zealand Film Commission, along with domestic screen agencies and philanthropic supporters.

In addition to the production prize, FFS and SFF will present the Attagirl Peer Prize, an open grant of $5,000 to be awarded to a film at an earlier stage of development, selected by producers, writers or directors of films in selection or competition at Sydney Film Festival. 

The aim of the prizes is to accelerate their production for the successful projects. 

FFS executive director Sophie Mathisen said “Attagirl was initiated to support exceptional works of narrative fiction reach production faster than they otherwise would independently. Thanks to the generosity of our philanthropic partners, these awards will spotlight to both industry and audience the quality, distinction and potential of the projects coming through the lab.”

With additional support from major partners the City of Sydney and I.C.E, August will also see FFS and SFF stage Platform, a three-day incubator designed to extend the network of Attagirl mentors and guests for the benefit of Western Sydney filmmakers. Fifteen filmmakers have been invited to participate in the intensive that will see them develop narrative works intended for long-form formats.

SFF festival director Nashen Moodley said: “In 2019, SFF signed the 5050×2020 pledge for gender parity and inclusion in film festivals. The Attagirl prizes solidify the partnership between FFS and SFF and our shared commitment to connecting audiences to a pipeline of exceptional projects by outstanding female and non-binary creators.”

Sydney Film Festival runs August 18 to 29.