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First Nations documentary filmmakers set to get a boost with return of Centralised Documentary Fellowship

19 May 2022
A photo of a woman in a colourful shirt next to a bearded man in a black shirt, on a black background
Centralised First Nations Documentary Australia Fellowship recipients Tamara Whyte, photo by Dylan River, and Josh Trevorrow, image supplied.

Applications are now open for the prestigious Centralised First Nations Documentary Australia Fellowship, an unparalleled career-boosting opportunity for First Nations documentary filmmakers in the Northern Territory and South Australia.

Now in its third year, the Fellowship is a unique partnership between Documentary Australia (DA), the South Australian Film Corporation (SAFC), Screen Territory, National Indigenous Television (NITV) and Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS First Nations & Outreach) to empower storytelling and kickstart new projects from early to mid-career First Nations documentary filmmakers through the centre of Australia.

The initiative will provide one successful Fellow with support to the value of $30,000, as well as up to $10,000 of in-kind support to attend training opportunities at AFTRS.

Supporting an integrated approach to personal career development, the successful Fellow will have a bespoke program tailored to their specific needs including mentorship, research and development, skills development and training, attendance at industry conferences, attachment to a relevant industry professional and more.

This year’s Fellow will join previous awardees from the first two years of the three year program: filmmaker and inaugural fellow Tamara Whyte from Nhulunbuy in the Northern Territory, who undertook professional development to further her documentary project kin, exploring the use of mathematics in First Nations cultures, and South Australian Ngarrindjeri filmmaker Josh Trevorrow who has been developing his documentary project Kondoli, examining the pivotal role of the Ngarrindjeri people in the US and European whaling trade in 1800s South Australia.

Trevorrow said: “The Centralised First Nations Documentary Australia Fellowship has awarded me the opportunity to invest time into one of my beloved projects. I have made great in-roads with my project research and through gaining a wonderful network am actively developing Kondoli and striving toward the ultimate goal of production. Thank you very much to Documentary Australia, the SAFC and all the program partners, it has been an incredible opportunity and support to my career in documentary filmmaking.”

Whyte said: “Living in a remote location, access to the industry, support and mentors is limited. The Fellowship has come with a lot of support from Mitzi, DA and Sue at AFTRS and the ability to identify my own support needs, and the financial means to do it. I’ve been able to access regular professional advice and skills development with Denise Eriksen through Media Mentor out of Melbourne, which has given me the kind of autonomy not usually accessible in remote areas, and keeps me accountable to the continued development of my project. I would also like to acknowledge that despite the limitations brought by COVID on travel and access, the Fellowship partners have never wavered in their support, which I am grateful for.”

Part of the ground-breaking CENTRALISED initiative between the South Australian and Northern Territory governments to boost First Nations filmmakers and screen creatives, the Centralised First Nations Documentary Australia Fellowship is an unparalleled opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander practitioners in SA and NT to accelerate their career to a new level.

Applications are open until Monday 27 June, 2022 for early to mid-career SA and NT Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander filmmakers with relevant experience in the documentary sector, and at least one screen credit in any genre.

For more information including details on how to apply online, click here.


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