Network 10 and Screen Australia have launched a new documentary initiative, Out Here, focused on LGBTQI+ diversity in rural and regional communities.

Storytellers are invited to apply for one of three grants of up to $80,000 to help develop their ideas about the experience of being LGBTQI+ in country towns into a one-off documentary (22 minutes). The successful documentaries will then be broadcast on 10 Play, with the potential for additional broadcast via 10’s free-to-air channels.

Applications must include a director or producer, one of whom identifies as part of the LGBTQI+ community and one of whom has at least one screen credit in their respective role.

According to Screen Australia’s guidelines: “The successful projects will represent authentic and multigenerational LGBTIQ+ characters and stories that are accessible and engaging. The intention of each project should be to promote cultural change and inclusion, ensuring more Australians from all parts of our community are represented on screen and behind the camera. The projects will be character driven, providing audiences with unique access and insight into the perspectives of LGBTIQ+ individuals and communities in regional and/or rural Australia that may have previously been overlooked.”

Network 10’s chief content officer Beverley McGarvey said: “At 10, we have such an important role to play in fostering and creating pathways for production talent across Australia. Out Here is a fantastic initiative that not only opens up opportunities for budding filmmakers to produce a documentary, but also promotes cultural change and inclusion in rural and regional communities. It’s another way we can make sure Australians from all parts of our community are represented on screen and behind the camera. We can’t wait to see all the ideas and uncover future production stars.”

Network 10 talent including 10 News First Perth newsreader Narelda Jacobs, Show Me The Movie presenter Joel Creasey and Dancing With The Stars contestant Courtney Act are supporting the initiative through broadcast, digital and social promotions.

Screen Australia’s head of documentary Bernadine Lim said: “Lived experience is both powerful and raw. We wanted to create a specific space for LGBTQI+ filmmakers to share their real life regional stories with an even wider audience. We’re excited to hear the ideas LGBTQI+ creators will bring to us from across Australia.

“When the time comes to publish the Out Here documentaries, we’re particularly thrilled to be able to partner with 10 to make these Australian stories accessible to view for free on 10 Play.”

Apply on the Screen Australia website. Applications close April 26, with grant recipients announced June 21.

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