Screenwest puts call out for Indigenous female writer-directors to develop anthology feature

Top: Taryne Laffar, Kiel McNaughton. Bottom: Kerry Warkia, Jodie Bell. 

Together with Pink Pepper Productions, Ramu Productions and Kiwi company Brown Sugar Apple Grunt, Screenwest has launched an initiative that will see eight Western Australian Indigenous female writer-directors develop an anthology feature film that will explore the impact of missing Indigenous women from a female Aboriginal perspective.

The intention is that the film will go into production in late 2020, with all eight creatives writing and directing a 10-minute short that will intertwine with the theme.

The film, RED (working title), follows the format developed by Brown Sugar Apple Grunt’s Kerry Warkia and Kiel McNaughton with films Waru and Vai, which successfully launched Maori and Pacific filmmakers internationally.

Brown Sugar Apple Grant will executive produce the project with Indigenous WA producers Taryne Laffar (Pink Pepper) and Jodie Bell (Ramu).

Laffar and Bell said: “The opportunity to work with Kerry Warkia and Kiel McNaughton, producers of Waru and Vai, and produce a film of this format, is ground-breaking in Western Australia. This project offers a great opportunity for collaboration across the state for female Indigenous filmmakers, to tell a compelling story on a subject that until recently has been taboo territory.”

Warkia said: “We’re excited for the creatives, their stories, themes, landscapes, communities and hope. The importance of collaborative work, the importance of coming together, the importance of visibility, the breaking open of what’s been forced closed, the healing, the beautiful and meaningful work that will come from it, and the solidarity and strength of Indigenous women speaking as one. Its work that the world needs right now.

Short-listed applicants will be interviewed, and selected participants to take part in an intensive development program.

The initial stage will be an intensive weeklong writer’s room ‘ideas’ workshop to be held in a regional location in late April 2020 to produce the draft scripts, and then creative sessions following in the months after until final scripts are complete.

The intention is that each vignette will be filmed as a single shot during one day of shooting, preceded by rehearsal days with actors and a full day camera rehearsal with the whole crew.

Screenwest Indigenous executive Devina McPherson said: “Screenwest are pleased to support this new innovative initiative driven by three exceptional Indigenous production companies. It will explore unique stories from eight Indigenous women’s perspective, giving Indigenous Western Australian women a strong voice that will be heard around the world. I look forward to be seeing, with the community, the final powerful film.”

Applications close February 24. Guidelines are here. Apply here.