Screen Australia reveals Gender Matters ‘Three Tick Test’

Screen Australia CEO, Graeme Mason.

Screen Australia has launched two new funding programs as part of its $5 million three-year plan to address gender equity in the Australian screen industry.

The Brilliant Careers and Brilliant Stories programs are the latest initiatives from Screen Australia's Gender Matters push, which was launched in December 2015.

Gender Matters aims to ensure that Screen Australia production funding is targeted to creative teams (writer, producer, director and protagonist) that are at least 50 per cent female by 2018 year end. 

The Brilliant Careers program is open to open to companies, industry organisations and guilds for proposals of up to $250,000.

The proposals should generate sustainable careers in the screen industry for women and identify gaps in career development pathways for female creatives; and support slates of projects and businesses that connect content to audiences.

Brilliant Stories is for projects that satisfy the ‘Three Tick Test’.

This means that three out of four creative positions of producer, writer, director, and protagonist are female. 

Brilliant Stories will provide up to $100,000 for feature films, up to $50,000 for teams to develop an inventive concept into a scripted television series of any genre or budget size and up to $50,000 for scripted online and interactive projects.

Federal arts minister, Mitch Fifield, said women in the screen sector were under-represented. 

"To take no action to address this imbalance would be to reinforce the status quo,” he said.

“These two new programs under Screen Australia’s Gender Matters initiative serve to bolster the number of female-led creative teams coming through the system with brilliant stories.  

"These incentives help provide greater representation for more than half of our population. 

"Australian stories should be told through a female and male lens, a lens that represents the richness and diversity of contemporary Australian culture. 

"Screen Australia is on the front foot here and I commend them for their work on this initiative.”

The five point Gender Matters plan includes an immediate $3 million allocation of ‘jump start’ funding, and a further $2 million of support for distribution incentives, marketing and industry networking. 

Brilliant Careers and Brilliant Stories are included in this first allocation of funding.

Screen Australia chief executive, Graeme Mason, said the screen funding body had been working with the Gender Matters Taskforce to develop the new set of guidelines. 

“When we launched Gender Matters in December last year, we made a commitment to making a holistic and integrated approach that would be sustainable and self-generating. 

"Our Gender Matters Taskforce has been instrumental in ensuring these two new funding programs – Brilliant Careers and Brilliant Stories – honour this commitment, and propels it forward.”

Screen Australia chief operating officer, Fiona Cameron, the Brilliant Careers fund was an integrated approach that would increase the participation of women in the screen industry through business and as storytellers. 

"Brilliant Stories recognises, celebrates and supports storytelling by women," she said. 

"We’re confident that by blowing open the eligibility for both funds, we’ll create opportunities for new voices and women who are trying to break back into the industry.

In consultation with the Gender Matters Taskforce, Screen Australia will hold a Brilliant Careers event in late February, which will incorporate networking, discussion and strategic thinking around business and careers in the screen industry. 

Screen Australia has also begun a Gender Matters video series looking at marketplace, audience, stories and characters. These videos are hosted on the Gender Matters National Hub, a place for the exchange of information, links to funding opportunities, as well as events and videos.

 Gender Matters is a direct response to the status of women in the screen industry, but Screen Australia recognises that there are other groups that are under-represented. 

In conjunction with national broadcasters, Screen Australia is working on a new benchmark study on cultural diversity in TV drama, which it expects to release in 2016.

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