Screen Australia and YouTube create Map My Summer initiative

Screen Australia and online video powerhouse YouTube have joined forces to expand Australian content online.

Launched early this morning, the national agency’s new channels will offer behind the scenes footage on productions, footage of local filmmakers as they trek overseas, interviews, as well as highlight archival footage “celebrating our cultural heritage”.

“Working with local distributors, we are able to complement their Australian release strategies by providing a new platform designed to communicate directly with audiences,” Screen Australia’s Head of Marketing Kathleen Drumm said.

“…We’re just so aware that it’s very hard – it’s such a cluttered online environment – and the biggest things for an audience who want to discover our content online is actually finding it – is discovery.

“And the answer to them finding it is in curated content and word of mouth.

“So we’re trying to help bridge that gap – we want to help facilitate the really broad consumption of Australian screen content for Australian audiences and to really complement local release strategies.”

Furthermore, the Sydney-based agency has launched a new online initiative – YouTube Map My Summer – which was inspired by Ridley Scott (Alien) and Kevin Macdonald’s film “experiment” Live In A Day.

The initiative encourages Australians to pick up a camera or mobile phone and capture “the collective Australian summer experience” in under three minutes.

Mad Max and Happy Feet director George Miller has jumped on board and will work with and mentor the winning filmmaker, after he selects the winning entry.

The 18+ winning filmmaker, who shot the piece after December 1 last year, will then make a new short film that will be screened at June’s Sydney Film Festival and flights/accommodation will be taken care of.

“[Miller]’s somebody who’s made some of the most beloved and successful films in Australia and is an enormous supporter of the Australian industry and of new talent,” Drumm said.

“He embraced the whole concept from the outset and we’re very excited to be working with him.”

To provide inspiration, three shorts – made by Ariel Kleiman, Luke Doolan, Amy Gebhardt (and produced by Louise Smith) – have been uploaded online.

“I think it’s all about celebrating our own culture and marking a moment in history,” Drumm said.

“It will provide a unique opportunity to profile upcoming filmmakers in the online space to a broad audience.”

Drumm also wanted to encourage school teachers to get behind the project and submit on behalf of their class.

She expects more than 1000 videos to be created, but believed many more would follow the filmmakers’ journey.

In keeping with embracing the internet, the national agency has also created a Facebook page, which went online last night.

Filmmakers have until March 31 to submit their creative piece of history.