For Film’s Sake calls for entries for feature film incubator program, Attagirl

For Film’s Sake executive director Sophie Mathisen. 

For Film’s Sake (FFS) is launching a narrative feature film development lab, Attagirl, designed to support female and non-binary filmmakers from around the world.

Created by FFS executive director Sophie Mathisen and backed by Screen Australia’s Enterprise program, up to 12 majority female and/or non-binary creative teams will be invited to participate in the 10-month incubator program, centred on three major pillars – story, market and audience.

Selected teams will each be assigned a project mentor who will, over the course of three workshops, engage script, audience and financial consultants to support creation of strategies for progressing films to production and release.

Initially, Attagirl was designed to include travel to three international festivals, but due to the pandemic has pivoted the program to a predominantly digital delivery.

Among the supporters of the program are the Toronto International Film Festival and the Sydney Film Festival, with participants will be provided festival accreditation.

The workshops include:

Workshop One – September 10-19 2020
Championed by TIFF’s Share Her Journey Campaign
Story, Structure, Development Case Studies, The Film Value Chain, Market, Pitching

Workshop Two – January 2021
Data, Digital Distribution, Theatrical Futures, Audience & Exhibition, Positioning Strategy and Marketing, Innovation and Impact

Workshop Three – June 2021
Championed by Sydney Film Festival
Branding, Financing, Philanthropy, Purpose-driven Partnership, Packaging, Career Planning, Public Pitches

Attagirl will culminate in a financing forum integrated into Sydney Film Festival in 2021.

The program is based on the Mathisen’s Churchill Fellowship in 2018 that identified a need for supported distribution strategies as key to achieving greater participation by female and marginalised filmmakers.

An early pilot of the approach, Filmonomics Australia, ran in conjunction with UK organisation Birds Eye View with support of Screen Australia, Screen Queensland and the Brisbane International Film Festival.

“A major finding of my Fellowship was how the changing nature of distribution is stalling completion of many female-driven films. With the decline of theatrical revenue for smaller budget films, investors are increasingly more risk-averse in deciding whether to support new talent who rely on third-party investment to trigger government support,” says Mathisen.

“If we are to see a significant shift in the numbers of women and non-binary creatives working in feature film, a reimagining of the financial pathway is crucial. A more innovative, audience-centric approach needs to be adopted to prove not only the cultural, but economic viability of their work. Attagirl has brought together an exciting roster of stakeholders committed to the feature film format and we are excited to launch at a time when the wider screen sector is reassessing its methods and mission for working.”

Creative teams must have a minimum of two people (producer/director), and must apply with a narrative feature film (70 minutes+) in development, ideally at first draft stage. The feature can have theatrical and/or streaming release in mind. Documentary features are not eligible.

The cost of the lab is $10,000 per applicant, or $20,000 per team, covering course content, flights, accommodation and festival accreditation.

However, via Screen Australia and some state agencies (Screen Queensland, Screen NSW, South Australian Film Corporation, Screen Territory, Screen Canberra), a number of partial or full subsidies will be available.

Participating overseas film bodies include Telefilm Canada, the British Film Institute and Swedish Film Institute, who will also subsidise places.

A minimum of six creative teams from Australia will be selected, alongside six international teams. All Australian teams must be developing features on the path to being Australian films (i.e. they will satisfy the Significant Australian Content test) or official co-productions.

No professional credits are required, but due to the nature of the program, a sound understanding of marketplace financing and distribution strategy is advised.

Applications close August 16. More info here.