Screen Australia, SBS and National Indigenous Television have called for nominations for its fourth Digital Originals initiative.
Digital Originals aims to develop innovative short-form drama projects such as an hour-long episode program on SBS On Demand and NITV, from historically underrepresented screen creatives, including people who identify as culturally and linguistically diverse, Australian Prime Nations, people with disabilities, women and gender diverse, LGBTQIA+ and those in regional and remote areas.
Lee Naimo, Head of Online and Games at Screen Australia, said: “It’s amazing how quickly Digital Originals has established itself as a meaningful path for emerging creators to advance their careers, and I’m sure this announcement is welcome for many talented creators in the industry want to follow in the footsteps of previous recipients.
“Whether it’s previous recipients stepping up their careers on bigger projects or similar series Latecomers AND Appetite receiving local and international acclaim, this initiative is a proven escalator of talent with a deserved place in the careers of so many exciting writers, directors and producers.
SBS Scripted Commissioning Editor, Donna Chang, said: “Digital Originals continues to break new ground in storytelling and showcases the flood of talent we have here in Australia that reflects the cultures and lived experiences of people who have historically been underrepresented in our sector . It is exciting to be part of an initiative that is having an impact on our industry as a career path: At SBS, we are thrilled to have had a Digital Originals alum like Corrie Chen (Homecoming Queens, New Gold Mountain), Stevie Cruz-Martin (Sterile, safe house), Liam Heen (Latecomers, erotic stories) and others, continue to work on our flagship network dramas. I look forward to seeing the projects and talent this initiative elevates next.”
NITV Chief Commissioner Marissa McDowell added: “Through Digital Originals, we want to shine a spotlight on emerging First Nations storytellers and provide a platform for a new generation of new voices. Every year we continue to be impressed by the caliber of projects, innovative approaches and inspiring stories that Digital Originals offers, a testament to the incredible emerging creative talent we have in this country. It’s a wonderful and meaningful opportunity and I encourage creatives to pitch their ideas and get involved.”
Recent recipients include Appetite, which was shortlisted as one of 10 series in the Short Form Competition at Canneseries 2023 and Latecomers, which was among six series featured in the Short Forms Competition at Series Mania in Lille, France – with both series unique Australian productions selected for each of the prestigious festivals. Three other designs from the 2022 cohort, Warm Props, Moni and Moonbird, are currently in development, with up to three in production.
Teams will be selected to participate in an exclusive workshop in October 2023, run by Screen Australia, SBS and NITV. The workshop will focus on fiction writing skills as well as project development to align with the SBS Charter and the SBS On Demand platform, culminating in a presentation to Screen Australia, SBS and NITV. Teams outside Sydney will receive flights and accommodation for up to three team members to attend the seminar. Teams of two or three members are eligible to apply and must include a writer.
From these teams, up to six will be chosen to further develop their projects, of which up to three will be chosen for production funding and commissioning with SBS, NITV and Screen Australia.