Call for applications: SBS Emerging Writers Incubator

Call for applications: SBS Emerging Writers Incubator

Applications are now open for the SBS Emerging Writers’ Incubator, a national initiative to support the development of historically underrepresented screenwriting talent in the Australian film industry.

In its third year in 2023, the initiative will be implemented in partnership with Screen Australia and the state agencies Screen NSW, Screen Queensland, Screen Tasmania, Screenwest, the South Australian Film Corporation (SAFC) and VicScreen, and with the assistance of the Australian Writers’ Guild.

Julie Eckersley, Head of SBS Scripted, said: “At SBS, we are committed to bringing a wave of new and diverse voices to tell stories for our screen. Empowering talent and opportunities that reflect the wonderful richness of who we are as a country creates fresh, dynamic, surprising and entertaining stories for more Australians to connect with.

“The Emerging Writers Incubator is an exciting example of how we can come together as an industry and invest in authentic pathways and support careers. It’s fabulous to see the credits of previous attendees of the shows and with so much untapped talent out there I can’t wait to see what this year’s incubator uncovers.

Bobby Romia, Head of Development, Screen Australia, said: “Screen Australia is thrilled to support the third year of SBS’ Emerging Writers Incubator and discover a new generation of screenwriting talent. With a one-year placement with top production companies up for grabs, this initiative is an outstanding launch pad for diverse and emerging voices across the country. I encourage up-and-coming screenwriters with a unique story, voice and perspective to apply.

Kyas Hepworth, Head of Screen NSW, said: “Screen NSW looks forward to supporting the Emerging Writers’ Incubator with SBS for another year. The Emerging Writers Incubator provides a unique opportunity for underrepresented screenwriters across the country to develop new skills and work with major production companies to bring their lived stories to the screen. We can’t wait to see NSW talent unearthed through the Emerging Writers Incubator this year!

Dr Belinda Burns, interim CEO of Screen Queensland, said: “Partnering to deliver SBS’s Emerging Writers Incubator is one of the avenues through which Screen Queensland actively uplifts diverse talent, with a view to supporting screen creatives to tell original and compelling stories.

“Industry contacts, hands-on experience, and credits are essential to launch a lifelong writing career. By creating equal space for diverse writers, we are increasing our industry’s ability to authentically incorporate underrepresented perspectives into the stories we see on screen.”

Alex Sangston, Executive Manager, Screen Tasmania, said: “This is a great opportunity for an up-and-coming Tasmanian writer to develop their skills in an industrial setting and kick-start their career. On behalf of the Tasmanian Government, we are thrilled to be working with TAP, Screen Australia and SBS to support this placement.”

Rikki Lea Bestall, CEO of Screenwest, said: “We are proud to support the third year of the Emerging Writers’ Incubator. This fantastic initiative will once again give WA’s emerging screenwriters from underrepresented backgrounds the opportunity to hone their skills and talent through a one-year internship, which in 2023 will be with the passionate team at Curio Pictures.

Kate Croser, CEO of South Australian Film Corporation (SAFC), said: “SAFC is delighted to once again support the Emerging Writers’ Incubator, an exciting initiative which supports our aim to increase the capacity and diversity of the South Australia’s film sector through increasing the pool of key accredited creatives in the state.In 2022, the SAFC facilitated a record 28 South Australian writers, directors and producers to get their first above-the-line screen credit in a feature film or television programme, half of which came from an underrepresented group in the industry.We look forward to similar career success for the Incubator’s South Australian graduates – Ansuya Nathan, who worked with Closer Productions, and Elena Carapetis, who currently works with Highview Productions – and we look forward to welcoming another South Australian writer to the program in 2023 to work with South Australia’s Emmy Award-winning KOJO Studios.

VicScreen CEO Caroline Pitcher said: “We are proud to partner with SBS on the return of this meaningful program which aims to ensure the stories we see on screens and the talent behind them reflect the diversity of our community.

“The chosen Victorian recipient will receive hands-on experience at Kindling Pictures, a new production company led by prolific producer and creator Imogen Banks, best known for producing the iconic Offspring series and Puberty Blues. We look forward to seeing the talent that will be unearthed this year and look forward to providing that individual with the experience she needs to pursue a successful career on screen.”

Susie Hamilton, Professional Development Manager, Australian Writers’ Guild, added: “The AWG is delighted to continue to support the Emerging Writers’ Incubator. This initiative has proved to be one of the most valuable we have been involved in, providing practical skills and opportunities for some of Australia’s most promising new writing talent.”

The Incubator for Emerging Writers is open for applications from Monday 15 May 2023 until 16 June 2023. Applicants will be notified of the outcome of their application by the end of August 2023, with placements in host companies expected to start by the end of the year.

Applications are submitted with each participating film agency:

Launched in 2021, the initiative is set to invest in the future of an increasingly inclusive Australian film and storytelling industry by providing a year’s paid work in a leading Australian production company to emerging writing talent reflecting historically underrepresented backgrounds and experiences in the Australian industry. This includes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; culturally and linguistically diverse people; people who are deaf, hard of hearing or have disabilities; people who are female or of a different gender; people who identify as LGBTQIA+; and people located in regional and remote areas.

This year, once again, six successful writers will join teams from Australian production companies acclaimed for their output of Australian drama. Over a 12-month period, employed on a full-time basis, they will gain significant work experience further developing their skills, knowledge and networks, working across the production companies’ drama production roster. They will also be supported by the Australian Writers’ Guild with access to creative workshops and training.

In 2023, the award-winning production companies participating in the initiative are Curio Pictures which will host a writer from Western Australia; Endemol Shine Australia which will host a writer from NSW; Kindling Pictures hosting a Victorian writer; Kojo Studios to have a writer from South Australia join the team; Orange Entertainment hosts Queensland writer; and TAP (Tony Ayres Productions) who will host a Tasmanian writer in their office in Melbourne, supported by Screen Tasmania.

The six successful writers of the second round of the initiative in 2022 (pictured above) – who were among hundreds of applications received from across Australia – are currently working their internships across the country with Becki Bouchier at Sweetshop & Green (supported by VicScreen), Elena Carapetis at Highview Productions (supported by SAFC), Kelli Cross at Easy Tiger (supported by Screenwest), Patrick Hogan of Brindle Films (supported by Screen Territory), Skye Leon of Jungle (supported by Screen NSW) and Aven Yap of Hoodlum Entertainment (supported by Screen Queensland).

They followed the initiative’s first year in 2021 which saw Sebastian Chan chosen to work 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 ), Closer Productions’ Ansuya Nathan (with support from South Australian Film Corporation), TAP’s Alberto Di Troia (with support from VicScreen) and Komixx Entertainment’s Cassandra Nguyen, (with support from Screenwest).

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

In 2023, production companies applied to be involved as host companies, with each of the bottom six companies shortlisted by the relevant state agency, Screen Australia and SBS.