Talent Camp participants. 

Alana Hicks, Grace Feng and Llewellyn Michael Bates will each receive $24,000 to produce a short work thanks to Talent Camp, a joint initiative of AFTRS, Screen Australia and the state screen agencies to bolster emerging talent from diverse backgrounds.

Talent Camp was devised last year with the aim to support practitioners from communities under-represented in screen, with reference to cultural background, sexual orientation, gender identity, geographic disadvantage, disability, and/or low socio-economic status.

The program supported around 100 emerging screen creatives to participate in skills/story development workshops between September and November last year. From there, two participants from each state were selected for a week-long story development intensive with individual script mentorships, with three of those projects – from Hicks, Feng and Bates – now to receive production funding.

In a survey of Talent Camp participants, the majority of respondents reported the program extended their industry networks, that they felt more confident about their place in the industry and continued to practice their skills. Forty-five per cent have found a mentor, 30 per cent have taken up paid placements and work opportunities and 23 per cent have found funding to develop or make their screen project.

“Talent Camp clearly demonstrates that there is an abundance of new talent and new stories that reflect the richness and depth of contemporary Australian society. The commitment and creativity demonstrated by Talent Camp participants, and the support and engagement of the agencies involved, bodes well for the next generation of authentic and engaging voices in the screen sector,” says AFTRS CEO Neil Peplow.

Screen Australia senior development executive Nerida Moore said: “Talent Camp has been an incredible opportunity for emerging creatives to get their ideas production ready and it will play an important part in getting more diverse and distinctive stories on our screens.”


  • Chicken (Alana Hicks) A web series pilot about Barbara, a mixed race teenager trying to fit in a small country town. One day her mum Rita turns up from the supermarket, having been massively overcharged for a frozen chicken, and now it’s up to Barbara to sort it out.

Hicks, from Sydney, is of Papua New Guinean/Australian heritage and is the co-founder of The Kvetch Set Sketch Collective.

“Australian film and TV has a strong tradition of showcasing dysfunctional families with love and tenderness. I want to contribute a relatable story about a daughter mothering a mother, and give people a sense of what being a mixed race kid in the 90s was like. Through this process I hope to grow and learn as a director and writer,” she said.

  • The Interpreter (Grace Feng) – A web-series pilot loosely based Feng’s own experience as a Chinese language interpreter which explores the ins and outs, and the intensely awkward moments of being a medium between two people trying to communicate.

Feng is a writer and photographer based in Melbourne, producing works in Chinese and English languages through different mediums including for web. Her hope is for The Interpreter to form a long-running web series/TV show.

“The series offers a glimpse into the Chinese Australian community and a profession that is rarely seen or understood by people who only speak one language. It is a fly-on-the-wall experience of an English-deprived life – a story I am very familiar with and hope to bring to life through the Talent Camp initiative”.

  • Fun Times (Llewellyn Michael Bates) A short film that explores male violence and its effect on a suburban Melbourne cul de sac.

Bates is a Melbourne-based freelance screenwriter and creative producer. He wrote and produced short Nathan Loves Ricky Martin which was nominated for an AACTA in 2016 and his feature film script Shanghai Go was recently successfully selected for Arclight’s China co-pro development initiative.

For Fun Times, Bates will team with independent filmmaker Matthew Pastor to realise the vision of the working class neighbourhood he grew up in and the stories he heard and experienced.

“This film is a testament to the strength of my friends and I, growing up where we did. I hope to open up a discussion about abuse and the culture of violence in our communities, and for those who have not experienced it, I want to open a window into a world that is uncomfortable and confronting,” said Bates.

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