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SBS Emerging Writers’ Incubator returns, supporting greater diversity in Australian screenwriting

26 April 2022
SBS Emerging Writers Incubator 2021 writers (top L-R) Sebastian Chan, Lâle Teoman, Nicholas Lin; (bottom L-R) Ansuya Nathan, Alberto Di Troia, Cassandra Nguyen, image supplied
SBS Emerging Writers Incubator 2021 writers: Sebastian Chan, Lâle Teoman, Nicholas Lin, Ansuya Nathan, Alberto Di Troia, Cassandra Nguyen.

Applications are open for the SBS Emerging Writers’ Incubator, a nationwide initiative from SBS in partnership with Screen Australia, state and territory agencies Screen NSW, Screen Queensland, Screen Territory, Screenwest, the South Australian Film Corporation and VicScreen, and with the assistance of the Australian Writers’ Guild, supporting the development of under-represented screenwriting talent.

Launched in 2021, the initiative was created to invest in the future of an increasingly diverse sector and more inclusive Australian storytelling, by providing a year of paid employment in a leading Australian production company for emerging writing talent reflecting backgrounds and experiences under-represented in the Australian industry. This includes First Nations peoples; people who are from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds; people who are Deaf, hard of hearing or disabled; people who are female or gender diverse; people who identify as LGBTQIA+; and people located in regional and remote areas.

This year, once again, six successful writers will join the teams of Australian production companies acclaimed for their delivery of Australian drama. Over 12 months, they will gain significant work experience further developing their skills, knowledge, and networks, working across the production companies’ slate of drama productions. They will also be supported by the Australian Writers’ Guild with access to creative and training workshops.

In 2022, the award-winning production companies taking part in the initiative are Brindle Films, who will host a Northern Territory writer; Easy Tiger, who will welcome a Western Australian writer into their NSW offices; Highview Productions, who will host a South Australian writer; Hoodlum Entertainment, hosting a Queensland-based writer; Jungle Entertainment, who will take on a New South Wales writer; and Sweetshop & Green, hosting a writer in Victoria.

The six successful writers from the initiative in 2021 – who were among hundreds of applications received from across Australia – are currently working in their placements around the country, with Sebastian Chan at Bunya Productions (supported by Screen Canberra), Lâle Teoman at Goalpost Pictures (supported by Screen NSW), Nicholas Lin at Ludo Studio (supported by Screen Queensland), Ansuya Nathan at Closer Productions (supported by the South Australian Film Corporation), Alberto Di Troia at Tony Ayres Productions (supported by VicScreen) and Cassandra Nguyen at iGeneration Studios (formerly Komixx Entertainment, supported by Screenwest).

Julie Eckersley, Head of SBS Scripted, said: “The Emerging Writers’ Incubator is such a fantastic and exciting initiative we’re proud to be delivering with our partners. The support it provides to creatives making their way in this industry – from all backgrounds and diverse experiences that reflect Australia today – has the potential to make a significant impact in their careers, as well as the future of our sector and stories on our screens. It’s great to be working with partners again this year who share our passion, particularly the production companies hosting writers in 2022. Good luck to all those applying – I can’t wait to see what we uncover.”

Melissa Lee Speyer, Development Executive, Screen Australia, said: “Screen Australia is excited to support the second year of this initiative, and we can’t wait to see more outstanding talent from under-represented backgrounds unearthed all over Australia, and further escalated in their careers. This year-long placement opportunity with top production companies will make their career readiness undeniable.”

Kate Croser, CEO of the South Australian Film Corporation, said: “The SAFC is delighted to once again support this exciting initiative as part of our ongoing commitment to increase diversity in the South Australian screen sector, and to grow and diversify the pool of credited South Australian key creatives. Following last year’s South Australian recipient, Ansuya Nathan, joining the team at Closer Productions, we are thrilled to provide an opportunity for another South Australian writer to develop their skills at Highview Productions, working directly with Lisa Scott, the producer behind international smash hit The Tourist.”

Susie Hamilton, Professional Development Manager, Australian Writers’ Guild, added: “The AWG is delighted to continue its association with the Emerging Writers’ Incubator in 2022. With the unique opportunities it presents, the value of this initiative cannot be underestimated. We look forward to seeing what this year’s applicants have to offer.”

The Emerging Writers’ Incubator is open for applications from 26 April 2022 until 27 May 2022. Applicants will be notified of the outcome of their application by early August 2022, with placements in host companies due to commence later this year.

Co-funded by SBS and Screen Australia, with participating state and territory screen agencies, the Emerging Writers’ Incubator initiative will support the careers of 18 emerging writers over the three years of the program, with six successful candidates partnered with production companies around Australia each year.

To find out more and apply online, click here.

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