SBS On Demand’s ‘Homecoming Queens’. 

SBS has partnered with Film Victoria, Create NSW, Screen Queensland, Screenwest and the South Australian Film Corporation to launch the Short-Form Content Initiative, which will back projects from emerging creatives from backgrounds currently underrepresented in the screen industry.

The co-funded initiative, which builds on SBS’s previous Diversity Talent Escalator scheme, will fund both scripted and non-scripted projects, which will then premiere on SBS On Demand from mid-2019. SBS has told IF the number of projects and funding will vary between each of the states.

Each project will need to demonstrate that two of the three key creatives (writer, director, producer) are from diverse backgrounds. For the purpose of the initiative SBS recognises diversity as “differences in gender; age; Aboriginal identity; cultural and linguistic diversity (CaLD); disability; sexuality and gender identities, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI+); location (including regional and remote regions) and socio-economic status”.

SBS director of TV and online content Marshall Heald said: “Australia is one of the most multicultural countries in the world; however multiple studies have demonstrated a lack of diversity within the sector. The stories we tell and the talent that we foster at all levels of production should reflect the diversity of our communities.

The new Short-Form Content Initiative further strengthens SBS’s commitment to growing diversity in the screen sector, encourages greater collaboration with screen agencies to support the local creative industry and ultimately, will influence how we tell stories on screen.”

The program launches today in WA and Queensland. Other states are said to follow shortly.

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