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SBS and SAFC call for First Nations creatives to get curious

02 June 2021
Edoardo Crismani in rear behind the scenes of Deadly Family Portraits: Crombie Crew
Behind the scenes of documentary Deadly Family Portraits: Crombie Crew

SBS and NITV have announced the launch of Curious Australia, a new, nationwide initiative seeking submissions for standalone, half-hour documentaries reflecting the diversity of people and experiences of contemporary Australia.

In partnership with Screen Australia and the SAFC, as well as other state and Territory agencies Film Victoria, Screen NSW, Screen Queensland, Screen Tasmania, Screen Territory and Screenwest, Curious Australia will support screen practitioners from under-represented backgrounds in the sector to bring their diverse stories to Australian screens. Successful documentaries will be commissioned for SBS platforms, including SBS VICELAND, NITV, and SBS On Demand.

Criteria for Curious Australia applications includes two key creative roles on a project being held by people from an under-represented background, including those identifying as First Nations Australians; women, those with diverse age backgrounds; people from cultural and linguistically diverse backgrounds; people living with disability; people of diverse sexuality and gender identities including LGBTQIA+; people from under-represented locations (including regional and remote areas); and people from diverse socio-economic backgrounds. Projects must be stand-alone unscripted documentaries suitable for a half hour television slot, and they should reflect SBS’s Charter and explore issues relevant to contemporary Australia in an innovative way.

The SAFC will support up to one team for an NITV/SBS co-production. To qualify for this strand, two out of three key creatives must identify as First Nations peoples.

Susie Jones, Commissioning Editor, Documentaries at SBS, said: “Through Curious Australia, we’ve partnered with Screen Australia and screen agencies around the country to seek out documentaries which put the spotlight on those things that make Australia unique, the people that inspire us to see things from a different perspective, and authentic stories that spark curiosity, enlighten and engage audiences in powerful and entertaining ways. It’s an exciting new addition to our factual offering across the network, providing a unique opportunity for documentary-makers to tackle contemporary Australian stories and issues while also supporting the development of diverse creative talent in the sector.”

Kyas Hepworth, Head of Commissioning and Programming at NITV, added: “We’re really looking forward to seeing bold and unique stories from First Nations documentary makers across Australia uncovered through this initiative, exploring and reflecting the diverse experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.”

Screen Australia’s Head of Content Sally Caplan, said: “Curious Australia aims to discover exciting, new content from documentary filmmakers with genuine and powerful Australian stories to share and explore. We are thrilled to be partnering with SBS, and state and territory agencies to bring these captivating projects to audiences around the country.”

SAFC CEO, Kate Croser said: “The SAFC is committed to supporting and promoting South Australian screen practitioners with diverse experiences, cultures and backgrounds who can tell compelling stories on screen that reflect the enormous diversity of their audiences, and engage them in new and exciting ways. We are proud to partner with SBS on this exciting national initiative.”

Applications for Curious Australia are open now and close 12 July, 2021. For more information, and to apply, go to the SAFC’s First Nations Screen Strategy page.


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