Screen Australia announces new recipients for BTL: Next Step, Skills Development Fund

From left are Australian Production Design Guild costume designer and skills development officer Liz Keogh Palmer, BTL recipient Jacob Gibson and BBC Studios Production ANZ's Kylie Washington.

Screen Australia will support three new placements as part of its BTL: Next Step initiative, as well as six programs/projects via its Skills Development Fund, with the recipients sharing $560,000 of industry development funding.

Launched in April 2023, the Skills Development Fund is designed to support screen businesses and games development studios to provide work-based learning, while BTL: Next Step supports mid-career practitioners to upskill from their current area of expertise. 

The initiatives have since provided more than $3.4 million specifically for training and skills development for more than 430 people. 

Screen Australia’s industry development head Ken Crouch said the agency was committed to supporting the skills and talent required for the future success of the Australian screen industry.

“The Skills Development Fund and BTL Next Step initiatives provide unique opportunities for professional crew and game makers to gain the necessary skills and knowledge to advance their careers,” he said.

“We look forward to seeing how this latest cohort will benefit — by being encouraged, challenged and supported to take their career in new and exciting directions.”

The BTL Next Step recipients and host companies are:

Jacob Gibson (Folklore Sound): An aspiring sound designer from Gubbi Gubbi Country on the Sunshine Coast, Gibson obtained a bachelor’s degree in audio engineering from JMC while working as an assistant at post production house, 3P Studio. His credits include diverse freelance projects in game design, short films and music production. Gibson will undertake a sound designer placement with Folklore Sound, who deliver content for a variety of global companies, including Disney, Lucasfilm, Netflix and Warner Bros, and recently announced a new partnership with Spectrum Films.

Daria Latter (Helium Pictures): Graduating from a Bachelor of Film and Television Production at JMC Academy in 2014, Latter worked as a coordinator for the BBC World Service in London and Triple J in Sydney before joining Animal Logic in 2018. Latter has spent the past three years working in post-production and VFX coordination for international and local content, working with companies including Warner Bros, Marvel, Netflix, and Matchbox Pictures. Latter will be undertaking a post-production supervisor placement on Last King of the Cross season two with Helium Pictures, a Sydney-based production label, founded by Mark Fennessy.

Stephanie Tiltman (Hoodlum Entertainment): Tiltman has eight years of experience in film and television production across Australia and Canada. While working in management at the New York Film Academy in Sydney, her TV career kicked off as a production runner and third AD on ABC’s Wham Bam Thank You Ma’am. In 2018, she gained international experience as a post-production coordinator in Canada, handling shows including Jade Fever (Discovery Channel Canada) and Wild Bear Rescue (Discovery+). At Deluxe Entertainment in Vancouver, Tiltman worked as a Digital Intermediate producer and project manager, overseeing post-production for a variety of shows, including Riverdale (CW Network), Snoopy in Space (Apple TV), and Snowpiercer (Netflix). Moving back to Australia in 2020, she served as post-production coordinator for Warner Bros’ Elvis and transitioned to post-production supervising, working on the projects In Our Blood (Hoodlum/ABC) and the Hoodlum/Highland Group feature film Land of Bad. Tiltman will be undertaking a line producer placement with Hoodlum Entertainment.

The projects/programs supported through Skills Development Fund are:

Costume Supervisor Pathway Program – Through this funding, Australian Production Design Guild (APDG) will receive support for their Costume Supervisor Pathway Program – a comprehensive training initiative to address the need for costume supervisors with the expertise to oversee large-scale productions. This will be achieved by upskilling three mid-career costume department practitioners in a new assistant costume supervisor position through a focused mentorship within a production, guided by a highly experienced costume supervisor.

Return to Paradise – BBC Studios Productions Australia aims to grow and support ongoing and fit-for-purpose skills development – creating opportunities for project attachments seeking future employment to leverage their participation on this project for subsequent future series of Return to Paradise and other BBC Studios Productions Australia projects. The core of the company’s Skills Training and Development Plan focuses on mentoring, shadowing and on-the-job training, which is paramount to the success of providing crew with a platform to learn and up-skill.

Post-Production Leadership Initiative – Endemol Shine Australia is a television and digital production company with a focus on the production and post-production of unscripted and scripted content for domestic and international television broadcast. This funding will support Endemol Shine’s Post Production Leadership Initiative, which aims to offer practical leadership mentoring, including targeted workshops and on-the-job guidance, to aid individuals in transitioning from storytelling roles to managerial positions as the industry experiences a shortage in executive producers and supervising producers.

Practical Production Office, Locations and Costume Department Skills Training – With a boom in WA-based screen production activity, there is an opportunity to train additional production office, locations, and costume department personnel. This funding aims to support the upcoming production of the Stan/Banijay 10 x 28-minute series Invisible Boys through Practical Production Skills Training – teaching and guiding a production assistant, an assistant locations manager, and a standby costume assistant to put into practice the skill sets they need to create a strong foundation for future career pathways.

Guck Academy – GUCK: Based in Victoria and led by company directors Hayley Percy (Wiradjuri) and Kati Elizabeth, GUCK has spent the past four years heavily investing into professional development, pre-production, community collaboration, and consultation. GUCK currently employs eight First Nations on-going staff and a wide range of additional First Nations casual staff and contractors, and are committed to supporting people from diverse backgrounds and underrepresented groups.

Iron Crab Level Up Initiative: Chaos Theory operates as a for-purpose business built upon a passion for games with a vision to enhance quality of life and inspire a more sustainable future through the magic of play. Over the past 12 years, Chaos Theory has worked to cultivate a team capable of realising this vision and launched over 150 games and interactive experiences designed to captivate, inspire, and transform players. With this support, Chaos Theory’s Iron Crab Level Up Initiative looks to equip their team with the skills necessary to excel in upcoming game productions including Crab God.