VicScreen announces 12 creatives selected for Originate Factual

Originate Factual participants with Fatima Salaria (centre, bottom row). (Photo: Jess Apap)

VicScreen’s inaugural Originate Factual program has kicked off, with 12 writers, directors and producers selected to participate.

The three-month, multi-stage program, also backed by Screen Australia, is designed to support the develop of high-end documentary series with global appeal under the guidance of industry professionals.

The successful participants are Sparsh Ahuja, Alice Burgin, Danny Braunstein, Luke Clarke, David Elliot-Jones, Corrine Innes, Rob Innes, Marta Jelec, Chris Kamen, Dan Lake, Molly O’Connor and Poppy Stockell.

Fatima Salaria, the former managing director of UK’s Naked Television, known for projects such as the UK’s Grand Designs and Planet Sex, is in Melbourne to be the leading international facilitator.

Also guiding the program are filmmaker and journalist Mobeen Azhar (The Trouble with Kanye) and BAFTA-winning director and executive producer Sandy Smith, who previously ran BBC’s Panaroma.

“We are in a golden age of factual TV and the appetite for intelligent, illuminating and entertaining programs isn’t diminishing. It is a privilege for me to spend time with these talented filmmakers to facilitate and collaborate on ideas that can turn into the next generation of returnable factual box set hits,” said Salaria.

Under the trio’s leadership participants will develop a number of series and workshop them until they are ‘pitch ready’. The program culminates with an official pitch day attended by Stan, ABC, SBS, Fremantle and a range of potential co-production partners.

Four projects will be given $15,000 each in development funding, to take their pitch to the next level.

As part of the initiative, a number of the factual practitioners will be given the opportunity to develop their skills through paid and hands-on series producer placements at companies such as Southern Pictures and WildBear Entertainment.

VicScreen CEO Caroline Pitcher said, “From award winning documentaries such as This is Going to Be Big, Franklin, and box-office hit John Farnham: Finding the Voice – it’s evident that we have incredible homegrown talent in the factual space. Originate Factual will work to cement Victoria as the nation’s leader of high-end documentaries series, that are set to resonate with audiences around the world.”