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New collaborative initiative ‘Centralised’ links screen storytellers north to south

13 August 2019

A ground-breaking initiative between the South Australian and Northern Territory governments will boost Indigenous filmmakers and screen creatives in Australia’s north, south and centre with a raft of new funding, support and development opportunities. 

CENTRALISED, developed by the South Australian Film Corporation & Adelaide Studios and Screen Territory together with collaborating partners Screen Australia’s Indigenous Department, Documentary Australia Foundation (DAF), AFTRS Indigenous (Australian Film, Television & Radio School), ABC and NITV will deliver a range of opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander screen creatives, creating clear pathways for emerging talent including mentoring, workshops, attachments and internships.

Centralised strengthens and formalises the collaborative relationship between SA and the NT, which has already launched successful projects including this year’s box office hit Top End Wedding, and Warwick Thornton’s acclaimed Sweet Country

The initiative will remove the state-territory border for the screen industry, linking creative communities and fostering collaborations to develop and uncover the stories, locations and new and existing talent through the very heart of Australia.

Emerging producers, writers and directors will be supported to develop and produce screen content, from short form to long form, fiction, factual, series or standalone works for possible broadcast on the ABC or NITV. Centralised will also work with existing Aboriginal led media organisations in South Australia and the Northern Territory. 

Centralised Ambassadors Elaine Crombie, the South Australian star of Top End Wedding, Kiki and Kitty and Black Comedy, and Territorian film maker Dylan River (Sweet Country, Robbie Hood) say the initiative is ground-breaking for Indigenous screen creatives.

“As an ambassador for Centralised I’m excited and intrigued for our storytellers from SA and NT to have this opportunity. I would personally love to see our generations both young and old have the chance to share their stories, whatever they may be. My brief is that anything is possible and with this initiative, you will soon see why,” Ms Crombie said.

“As a proud Territorian filmmaker I welcome this opportunity for screen makers across the NT and SA to develop and produce their work. I started my career directing Buckskin, about South Australian Aboriginal Leader Jack Buckskin, and without that chance to make my first work, I would not be working on series like Mystery Road or features like Sweet Country,” Mr River said.

The first major Centralised projects to be announced include South Australian made Deadly Family Portraits, which premiered on ABC iview on Friday 9 August; the Karla Grant Factual Series Initiative for NITV; a web series development initiative to be delivered by CAAMA (Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association) and a DAF Fellowship to empower indigenous storytellers.

The Hon. David Pisoni MP, South Australian Minister for Innovation and Skills: “This is a wonderful initiative which will create significant opportunities for industry expansion, jobs and skills building right across South Australia and the Northern Territory. We look forward to seeing what new, exciting projects emerge as a result of this strengthened collaboration.”

NT Minister for Tourism, Sport and Culture The Hon Lauren Moss: “Storytelling has been central to Indigenous culture for thousands of years in this country. The Northern Territory Labor Government is pleased to support initiatives such as Centralised which foster the important creative links between Territorian and South Australian Indigenous screen professionals to continue to bring their unique stories and perspectives to the screen and the world. We have invested a record amount into our film and screen industry over four years to support the NT screen industry’s development, sustainability and to create opportunities and develop the future growth of local productions and Territory film practitioners. Acclaimed projects such as Top End Wedding and Sweet Country are shining examples of how investment in the screen production sector can support world-class projects that create opportunities for Indigenous storytellers.”

South Australian Film Corporation Aboriginal Screen Strategy Executive, Lee-Ann Tjunypa Buckskin: “This ground-breaking initiative builds on the cultural backbone of our two states and supports the incredible work being done by Indigenous screen creatives in South Australia and the Northern Territory. Centralised will shine a new spotlight on the very heart of Australia, bringing Indigenous stories and storytellers to the fore in exciting new ways. Centralised acknowledges and supports a long line of story tellers and engages the next generation in meaningful ways, to develop and grow our resources and talent for many generations to come.”

Screen Territory CEO Jennie Hughes: “The Northern Territory has a long history of developing masterful Indigenous filmmakers and Screen Territory is proud to be a founding member of the Centralised initiative. Centralised will be key in fostering a new generation of Indigenous screen practitioners, contributing and strengthening to the rich history of Indigenous storytelling in Australian screen content.”

Screen Australia Head of Indigenous Penny Smallacombe: “In 2018 we celebrated 25 years of our Indigenous Department at Screen Australia. Last month we released The Next 25 Year strategy, and core to that is working with sister organisations to form a National Framework for Indigenous Professional Development to make funding opportunities more accessible. We’re thrilled that Centralised will become the first step on that journey to connecting resources for Indigenous creators, and express a heartfelt thanks to all the founding partners.”

Documentary Australia Foundation CEO Dr Mitzi Goldman: “We are thrilled to be partnering on this initiative to support Indigenous filmmakers to develop professionally and have their stories told and seen by broad audiences. We look forward to more powerful work coming from the centre and heart of Australia’s first nations people.”

Head of Indigenous, Executive – Australian Film, Television and Radio School (AFTRS) Kyas Sherriff: “This initiative sees an industry-led focus on the development and growth of unique Indigenous creatives from South Australia through to the Northern Territory. AFTRS is pleased to support the participants in furthering their skills as Australian storytellers.”

Australian Broadcasting Corporation – Head of Indigenous, Kelrick Martin: “The ABC is committed to supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to tell and share their own stories, breaking down prejudices and building a greater understanding of and respect for Indigenous Australians, now and into the future. In line with that commitment, the ABC is proud to be part of the collaborative Centralised initiative to give more Indigenous practitioners the opportunity to bring their content and creativity to all Australians.”

National Indigenous Television (NITV) Channel Manager, Tanya Orman: “NITV is proud to be a collaborating partner on the Centralised initiative.  We are always looking for ways to support emerging Indigenous filmmakers and recognise the importance of providing pathways into the screen sector.  We’re particularly excited to hear stories from different languages and cultures, from Adelaide through to the Northern Territory.”


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