Screen Australia announces $2 million in Enterprise funding

Enterprise People funding recipients Matt Okine, Alice Willison, Georgia Woodward.

Screen Australia has announced $2 million of funding via its Enterprise program, including four Business & Ideas projects and 11 Enterprise People talent opportunities.

Recipients include Doc Society, which is launching Global Story and Impact Labs that will enable Australian documentary makers to elevate the social impact of their work.

Funding will also be given to A2K Media for an online disability equity and inclusion training program called Disability Justice Lens.

Screen Australia’s CEO Graeme Mason said the past year had inspired “incredible” innovation and adaptability across the screen sector.

“These [are] bold proposals that are set to improve the industry, whether it’s White Spark Pictures developing innovative virtual reality technology, A2K Media improving participation for people with disability, or Typecast Entertainment expanding their ability to support storytelling from First Nations people and people of colour,” he said.

“We’re also excited to support Doc Society’s new labs which will provide opportunities for a new generation of filmmakers to tap into a global network of resources.”

“The Enterprise People stream continues to support a wide range of professional development opportunities and we look forward to seeing these creatives utilise these placements to build their skills in the industry and advance their careers.”

The Enterprise Business & Ideas fund is currently on hiatus and is being reviewed. The Enterprise People fund remains open for applications.

Enterprise business and ideas:

  • A2K Media will launch Disability Justice Lens, an online disability equity and inclusion training program focusing on solutions to the intersectional experience of disability within the screen industry. Developed and delivered by disabled screen practitioners and their non-disabled allies, the program will provide participants with an understanding of the marginalisation faced by people with disabilities in the screen industry, and help them develop practical skills to embed access and inclusion in the sector.
  • Doc Society will launch two Global Story and Impact Labs in Australia to support 10 to 12 social impact documentary projects over two years. These film teams will join over 400 global creative teams who have been mentored by Doc Society alongside programs such as Good Pitch, which have introduced filmmakers to social change partners and funders, and included award-winning Australian projects such as 2040 and In My Blood It Runs. The new labs aim to strengthen participants’ storytelling skills, support them to build audience and distribution strategies and new pathways to finance. Led by global director of Good Pitch at Doc Society, Malinda Wink, the program will comprise of two intensive workshops as well as mentoring from industry experts from Australia and overseas, including Doc Society’s Global Head of Film, Shanida Scotland formerly of BBC Storyville and The Guardian. Applications will open in the coming months and more information is available via the Doc Society newsletter. Alongside the labs, Doc Society will offer industry seminars around social impact and fundraising. The funding will also support a position for a producer/impact producer as Doc Society’s program manager Australia.
  • Indigenous-owned Victorian-based production company Typecast Entertainment led by writer, director, and actor Tony Briggs (The Sapphires) and producer Damienne Pradier (Elders) will build on their strategic and innovative mixed business model. The model at its core focuses on improving outcomes for people of colour and Indigenous screen practitioners. The funding will also support the company to employ a director of content and business operations and an Indigenous production trainee.
  • White Spark Pictures, the team behind the award-winning documentary The Antarctica Experience and upcoming project Beyond the Stars, will develop a new distribution model for virtual reality (VR) content called Surround Sync. The innovative venture will provide a pathway for theatrical VR distribution, and is designed to synchronise hundreds of VR headsets at once to create a cinematic experience for VR projects, increasing accessibility for VR content, building on their recent success of The Antarctica Experience in museums across Australia and overseas. The funding will also support the company to employ Benn Ellard as business development and project manager, working across the company’s slate of projects.

Enterprise Business & Ideas – business plans and strategies:

  • Alice Burgin, former CEO/conference director of the Australian International Documentary Conference, is developing her documentary production practice in a two-year placement as documentary/factual executive at Sweetshop & Green (Vesna), working under co-managing director Gal Greenspan.
  • Director Hattie Dalton (Summer’s Day) worked as shadow director on series 5 of Doctor Doctor under the guidance of Daniel Nettheim, through the Australian Director’s Guild Direct One program. Hattie directed one episode of Doctor Doctor.
  • Filmmaker Ashley Gibb will undertake a placement with Wild Pacific Media (Australia’s Ocean Odyssey) for up to 16 months to expand his skills in natural history documentary making with a focus on writing, directing, and cinematography. 
  • Writer Sarinah Masukor (MaveriX) will undertake a two-year placement at Jungle Entertainment (Wakefield), working as a staff writer under head of drama, Shay Spencer.
  • Producer Molly O’Connor (Running 62) will undertake a two-year placement at Film Camp under the mentorship of company founder Philippa Campey (Brazen Hussies) and producer Samantha Dinning (No Time For Quiet).
  • Writer, comedian, and actor Matt Okine (The Other Guy) has commenced a two-year placement at Wooden Horse where he will be mentored by film and television executives and joint CEO’s, Jude Troy and Richard Finlayson, to drive development and production under the Wooden Horse banner on a slate of projects focusing on diverse and under-represented stories and talent. Okine has two television series in funded development with Wooden Horse and is also working with the Wooden Horse team alongside Aquarius Films on a feature adaptation of his novel, Being Black N Chicken & Chips.
  • Documentary producer Casey Ventura will undertake a one-year placement as a development and impact producer at FINCH (Machine), working across documentary development and production, and innovative impact strategies. Ventura will by mentored by Camilla Mazzaferro and Michael Hilliard.
  • Producer Stephanie Westwood (Triple Swear) will take on a one-year content executive placement with Orange Entertainment Co (Retrograde) where she will work under Head of Content, Dan Lake.
  • Emerging creative and specialist in data analytics, Georgia Woodward, will join Southern Pictures (Miriam Margolyes Almost Australian) for a two-year placement as junior development producer.

Enterprise People – professional development opportunities:

  • Filmmaker and multimedia artist Emma Rozanski (Papagajka) was funded to participate in Torino Film Lab’s online script development workshop in September 2020 to develop her second feature film and build international relationships.
  • Producer Alice Willison (The Other Guy) will be mentored by Amal Baggar (vice president, original movies and limited series at ViacomCBS) for six months.