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SA’s Danny Philippou announced as speaker as UNTAPPED applications open

22 February 2024
(L-R) UNTAPPED 2024 Masterclass speakers Sabir Pirzada, Alice Bell, Noora Niasari, Danny Philippou

Australians in Film (AiF) and Screen Australia have announced the Masterclass speakers for UNTAPPED 2024, with applications for the program now open.

The speakers taking part are South Australian award-winning co-writer and co-director of the global breakout hit, A24’s Talk to Me, Danny Philippou; award-winning executive producer and writer of Amazon’s Expats, Alice Bell; award-winning writer and director of indie feature Shayda, Noora Niasari; and writer of Star Wars: The Bad Batch and Person of Interest, Sabir Pirzada.

SA’s Danny Philippou and twin brother Michael Philippou built a massive global following online from their hometown of Adelaide, South Australia with their YouTube channel RackaRacka. In 2023, their debut feature Talk to Me had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival and was immediately snapped up by powerhouse indie A24, and the brothers were praised by the likes of Jordan Peele, Steven Spielberg, Ari Aster and Stephen King. The film has since gone on to earn a staggering US$93.3m worldwide.

Danny will discuss how to make the most of early career experiences to improve your skills as a storyteller and a filmmaker. He will talk about ways to maximize each stage of your career path, how to create your own opportunities and how to prepare for success. Participants will hear about how Danny has navigated working with international partners from development and production to the festival scene and beyond.

Now in its fourth year, UNTAPPED is Australia’s premier artist development program for undiscovered and historically excluded Australian writers and directors to create career pathways into the LA market. First Nations Australians; people who are culturally and linguistically diverse, living with disability, LGBTQIA+ and/or who are living in regional and remote locations are encouraged to apply for UNTAPPED.

UNTAPPED 2024 is proudly supported by the SAFC. Applications are open until March 15.

UNTAPPED 2024 will comprise a series of masterclasses from March to June 2024 hosted by Philippou, Bell, Niasari and Pirzada. Up to six recipients will be selected to participate in an online Development Lab between August and November 2024, with each receiving individualized mentorship, story consultation, creative feedback and professional development support.

AiF Executive Director Peter Ritchie said: “We are absolutely thrilled that Danny, Alice, Noora and Sabir have agreed to be our Masterclass speakers for UNTAPPED 2024. Craft and skill are the very foundation of telling a successful story, and each of our Masterclass speakers will bring a wealth of knowledge and inspiration to Australian artists wanting to tell their unique stories to the world. Enormous thanks to everyone at Screen Australia and all our partners who continue to keep the doors open for Australia’s best emerging writers and directors.”

Screen Australia CEO Deirdre Brennan said: We’re looking forward to finding another talented cohort of emerging and diverse Australian storytellers for UNTAPPED 2024. This unique program ensures they will have the skills, project direction and global insights needed to navigate the US market. Danny, Alice, Noora and Sabir will each play a pivotal role in guiding participants – offering their wealth of experience and expertise. We’re incredibly excited to have them on board.”

One of the writers selected for Untapped 2023, Miranda Aguilar, said: “Breaking into the industry can be an incredibly daunting, opaque process. Programs like UNTAPPED are critical to bringing in new talented voices that might otherwise be dissuaded from trying to enter this line of work. I genuinely appreciated how AiF and UNTAPPED really cared about setting us on the right path forward in order for us to courageously forge our way through.”

Applications must be submitted by March 15 at 11:59pm AEDT. For further information on how to apply, please go to the AiF website here.

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