Typecast announces participants for Inspirit Lab

Inspirit Lab participants Carly Sheppard, Jai Wright and Tahlee Fereday.

Production company Typecast has announced the successful applicants for its inaugural Inspirit Lab initiative, which will see Indigenous filmmakers assemble for a simulated writers room.

Starting next Monday, the lab will involve a series of masterclasses and hands-on experiences, giving participants the opportunity to learn the various stages involved in adapting existing IP and screenwriting. Author Tony Birch’s book The Promise will serve as the source material, with participants to adapt one of the short stories from the book into a script.

The group will gather for two day workshops each month for six months. The lab will be facilitated by Trudy Hellier, with guest mentors including Birch, Tony Briggs, Elise McCredie and
Jan Sardi. The lab is supported by VicScreen and Screen Australia.

Typecast company director Tony Briggs said he was thrilled by the talent of the applicants for the initiative, noting “they bring a rich tapestry of diverse experiences.”

“I’m genuinely excited about the journey ahead as we collaborate with the incredibly talented Trudy Hellier and our esteemed industry mentors in crafting this unique storytelling experience. Being part of creating this platform for fellow First Nations storytellers is a point of pride, and I can hardly wait to see the incredible narratives that will emerge from the fertile ground of Tony Birch’s short stories,” he said.

The 10 successful applicants include:

ISAAC WINZER:  A Ngarabal filmmaker living and working in Naarm. He has spent the last five years building his craft and now works as a professional video editor with work spanning TVCs to short documentaries, with a strong focus on showcasing First Nations language and art.

JAI WRIGHT: A Jinibara Mununjali Wanggerriburra actor, director, impact producer and writer based in Naarm. Jai has screen experience in front of and behind the camera, and recently completed a producer attachment for Suburban Legends (Peculiar Pictures), playing on ViceAu.

JANTY (JANET) BLAIR: A Butchulla, Mununjhali, Woppaburra woman with a passion for creating stories. Winner of the 2022 Melbourne International Comedy Festival’s Deadly Funny Competition, and a current member of the Aboriginal Comedy Allstars.

KALINA LAUER: A Kalkadoon woman who grew up on Darumbal land. She is a multi-disciplinary creative who has an educational and working background in screen, stage and page.

KYNAN CLARKE: A Gunai/Kurnai and Monero filmmaker based in Naarm. Growing up on Wotjuboluk country in Dimboola, Kynan’s passion for filmmaking started small, and he has since completed his Cert III and IV in Screen and Media and a Bachelor of Creative Arts (Media and Communication) at Australian Catholic University.

MAURIAL SPEARIM: A Gamilaraay, Muruwari woman who draws strength from her connection to Country and People. A Victorian College of the Arts and Melbourne University graduate with a Master of Writing (Theatre) and a Bachelor of Dramatic Art.

TAHLEE FEREDAY: A graduate of Victorian College of the Arts, Tahlee is a young talent forging a career in film, television and theatre. Tahlee’s acting credits including Fisk S2 and Super Wog S2 for ABC and Erotic Stories for SBS, as well as numerous productions for Melbourne Theatre Company.

TYELI HANNAH: Born and raised on Boonwurrung country, Tyeli Hannah is an Aboriginal Australian filmmaker. He has recently graduated from a Master of Film and Television at the Victorian College of the Arts, where he also works as a screenwriting teacher.

ZENA CUMPSTON: A Barkandji woman and a blak-of-all-trades, working as a writer, artist, curator and researcher.  Zena’s multidisciplinary practice is centred around protecting and celebrating Country.

CARLY SHEPPARD AND KAMARRA BELL-WYKES (TEAM): Carly Sheppard (Wallangamma/Takalaka) is cross-disciplinary performance artist based in Naarm, working across dance and theatre making and performance, sculpture, drawing, writing, voice, and installation. Kamarra Bell-Wykes (Yagera/Butchulla) is a playwright, director, dramaturge, devisor, facilitator, performer, creative producer, program curator, community developer and education consultant.