Teams selected for development phase of SAFC’s Film Lab: New Voices

From left are Tom Phillips, Leela Varghese, Emma Hough Hobbs, Joshua Trevorrow, Travis Akbar, Alies Sluiter, and William Littleton. Not pictured: Thibul Nettle.

Eight creatives from three teams will undertake a year’s worth of skills development and mentoring via Film Lab: New Voices after progressing to the initiative’s next phase.

Writer/director Alies Sluiter and producer William Littleton; writer/director Emma Hough Hobbs, writer/director Leela Varghese and producer Tom Phillips; and writer Travis Akbar, director Thibul Nettle, and producer Joshua Trevorrow were picked from a shortlist of seven teams to develop their low-budget scripts under the guidance of industry experts.

At the end of the development portion, one project will be selected to move into production with $400,000 in funding, with the final film to be wholly produced and post-produced in South Australia, while also having its premiere Adelaide Film Festival in 2024.

As IF reported last month, round one’s successful team of writer Lucy Campbell, director Matt Vesely and producer Bettina Hamilton are now set to enter production of their feature film Monolith, ahead of a premiere at the 2022 Adelaide Film Festival in October.

The initiative from the South Australian Film Corporation (SAFC) and Adelaide Film Festival, with in-kind support from Mercury CX, at least one member of each selected filmmaking team is required to be from a group underrepresented in the sector including women filmmakers, First Nations filmmakers, culturally and linguistically diverse filmmakers, Deaf and disabled filmmakers, LGBTQIA+ filmmakers and filmmakers from regional and remote South Australia.

This year, one of the three teams selected for the mentoring phase had to be First Nations-led, with at least two members of the key creative team identifying as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.

SAFC CEO Kate Croser said the organisation was “especially delighted” to welcome the program’s first 100 per cent First Nations-led filmmaking team of Akbar, Nettle, and Trevorrow.

“With one feature film already moving into production from round one, and two other projects continuing with further development, this innovative program is already enabling South Australian ‘Greenlighters’ to obtain their first feature film credits, one of the most valuable tools for filmmakers to break through in the film and TV industry,” she said.

“We congratulate the three successful creative teams for round two, which reflect the incredible diversity and outstanding talent of South Australia’s screen sector.”

Mercury CX CEO Karena Slaninka also expressed her pride in being able to champion diverse voices in the program.

“Bespoke development that enhances skills whilst developing a project is a proven methodology that works,” she said.

“Mercury CX strongly supports this approach and is delighted to be able to contribute to this initiative to elevate creative development practice that leads to a production outcome.”

Find out more information about the program here.