SPA announces 2022 Ones To Watch

Top row: Tim Russell, Sierra Schrader, Luke Saliba, Jason Chong. Middle row: Hannah Griffiths, Emma Roberts, Debbie Zhou, Cyna Strachan. Bottom row: Christopher Amos, Chanel Bowen, Bethany Bruce, Aven Yap.

The 2022 Ones To Watch have been announced by Screen Producers Australia (SPA).  

Every year, SPA selects up-and-coming producers looking to accelerate their screen business acumen to the next level.  

12 producers were selected who are passionate about creating screen stories based on First Nations families, extraordinary life stories, off-beat edgy comedies, LGBTQIA+ narratives, female empowerment, and diverse expression.  

SPA CEO Matthew Deaner says: “The high calibre of diverse and exciting applications to the Ones To Watch program continues to impress me and serves as proof that our screen industry is brimming with talent and creativity unique to Australia.”  

The 12 Ones To Watch will be matched with leading Australian producers for 1-on-1 mentoring. The participants are also given the opportunity to apply for the Ones To Watch Internship, supported by Screen Australia, and secure placement with a production company anywhere in the world to the value of $20,000.  

In preparation for SPA’s Screen Forever next May, participants will take part in an exclusive webinar series to develop their creative slate and business skills.  

Deaner thanked the program supporters for their continued support and wished the Ones To Watch luck “as they embark on the next stage in their creative careers.”  

The Ones To Watch began in 2013 and since then has allowed producers to build on their skillsets and professional networks through the SPA program. 

Past selectee Vonne Patiag said: “The Ones To Watch program gave me the confidence to take the next steps in my career and pursue my love for long-form storytelling.”  

Three of the 2022 Ones to Watch, Christopher Amos, Jason Chong, and Sierra Schrader, spoke to IF. 

Chong got into production completely out of chance. “In 2001 I was working and agitated in a London pub when I realised for the first time in my life I wasn’t learning anything, so I went to a bookstore and chose a book on comedy writing. Then screenwriting. And then The Guerilla Filmmaker’s Handbook – the bright green one. It hadn’t ever occurred to me that it was a possible career – even though my Dad’s family had run a successful film studio in Singapore in the 60’s and 70’s. I loved those books so much that when I got home I enrolled in film school.” 

Amos’ advice to other upcoming producers was to “do the sweat labour”.

“Put in the hours researching your film or television project. Addressing the guidelines to submit for Screen Australia funding. Find out what your state funding requirements are. Use these applications to guide your early development. Consult with industry people and attend seminars and festival markets to make connections. I recommend listening to filmmaking podcasts when driving.” 

Schrader is grateful of The Ones to Watch as a career booster. “I feel very fortunate to be a part of the Ones To Watch class of 2022. This is such a great opportunity to network with like-minded producers/creatives working in the same space, working together towards a common goal. Ultimately, this is a great motivator for my career. This program will be fundamental in assisting my personal and professional growth and helping me establish myself further within the Australian film industry.” 

The 12 producers selected for this year’s program are: 

·         Aven YapNimbus Creative (QLD) 

·         Bethany BruceStaple Fiction (NSW) 

·         Chanel BowenIndependent (WA) 

·         Christopher AmosIndependent (QLD) 

·         Cyna StrachanMad Ones Films (NSW) 

·         Debbie ZhouIndependent (NSW) 

·         Emma RobertsPernickety Split (VIC) 

·         Hanna GriffithsBlinded By Rainbows (VIC) 

·         Jason Chong1UP Digital (SA) 

·         Luke SalibaPaperless Films (VIC) 

·         Sierra SchraderEveryNameTaken (SA) 

·         Tim Russell Pivot Studios (NSW)