Talent Camp, a screen industry inclusivity project to support the development of emerging creative talent from diverse backgrounds, will see 17 participants from around the country participate in an intensive workshop at AFTRS in May.
The program, initiated by AFTRS and Screen Australia with the support of all state screen agencies, is a response to audience demand for rich and engaging stories and the industry’s concern about the lack of diversity in the Australian screen sector.
Last year, Talent Camp workshops were held across Australia for up to 15 participants in each state. Following the workshop, state agencies worked with AFTRS and Screen Australia to provide a range of opportunities to the talented individuals including mentorships, internships, placements, writers’ rooms and development support.
Now, up to two participants from each State and Territory have been chosen for the National Talent Camp workshop in Sydney, on the strength of a 7-minute short project script that each had to develop and pitch.
National Talent Camp consists of one-on-one mentoring sessions with experienced screen practitioners and small group activities to support the development of creative projects. At the end of the four-day workshop, participants will introduce themselves to industry guests, including broadcasters and production companies, and outline their projects. As a final step, some projects will be selected to receive production funding.
The ‘Campers’ reflect a wide range of emerging talent and creative projects. Eight comedies, four dramas and four documentary projects have been selected, with many stories drawing heavily on lived experience including fresh takes on justice, cross cultural communications, coming out, suburbia and community. The profiles of the ‘Campers’ are provided in further detail below.
The industry mentors participating in National Talent Camp are Adrian Wills, Andrew Dillon, Brita McVeigh, Cate Shortland, Corrie Chen, Darren Ashton, Debbie Lee, Donna Chang , Jonathan Ogilvy, Kath Shelper, Madeleine Heatherton, Nell Greenwood, Pearl Tan, Rich Welsh, Rosie Lourde, Sarah Walker, Tim Ferguson and Tom Zubrycki.
“Talent Camp provides an opportunity for new talent, new perspectives and new voices that reflect the richness and depth of contemporary Australian society. This intensive workshop offers tremendous opportunities for the talented participants to further develop specific projects but also to work closely with experienced professionals to develop their skill set,” says AFTRS CEO Neil Peplow.
Screen Australia Senior Development Executive, Nerida Moore, said: “Authenticity is essential for good storytelling and by telling stories that accurately reflect the breadth of diversity in our society we enhance the richness of our uniquely Australian stories. Talent Camp is an incredible opportunity for emerging creatives to get their ideas production ready and it will play an important part in getting more diverse and distinctive stories on our screens.”
The selected National Talent Camp participants are:
Co-founder of The Kvetch Set Sketch Collective and co-creator of online web series The Kvetch Set. Alana’s work has been featured in The National Play Festival, Sydney Festival, Sydney Writers Festival and more. Alana is of Papua New Guinean/Australian heritage, with a strong desire to see culturally diverse stories on Australian screens.
Belinda has a passion for storytelling, with a love of queer history and stories of identity, migration and the urban landscape. She has written for Archer Magazine, and other publications as a freelance writer, and released CO_The Creative Couples Project with Cecile Knight in 2015. In 2017 she was selected for ACT Writers Centre HARDCOPY professional development.
Chloe has been writing and doing Stand Up Comedy for over 17 years and has performed at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, the Adelaide Fringe and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland. Chloe presents It’s Always Midnight Somewhere (a phantasmagorical mix tape of film-scores and punk rock) and co-hosts Film Central on Edge Radio in Hobart and likes to collect and sell vinyl records online.
Courtney’s first novel, The Burial was published in Australia and in ten other countries. It is currently being adapted as a feature film by Pure Pictures/Renegade. Courtney recently completed her second novel, The Walkman Mix. For the past three years Courtney has been living in Ngukurr, Southeast Arnhem Land, and in collaboration with Ngukurr Art Centre, Ngukurr Language Centre and key community elders, Courtney supports local people to tell the stories they want to tell, in the language they want to tell it in.
Dinah Lewis Boucher
Dinah’s great grandfather was a Tulafale; a Samoan orator or talking chief, a story teller and sharer of cultural traditions in her village and family. Dinah likes to think she continues his storytelling legacy. She’s a dreamer. A Mum. A journalist. A writer. A Polynesian woman. A filmmaker.
Grace Feng Fang Juan
Grace is a writer and photographer based in Melbourne, producing works in Chinese and English languages through different mediums. She writes for Australia Plus, the ABC, Peril Magazine and holds a master’s degree in Creative Media (Film & Television production). Grace currently works as the Audience and Content Expert – Chinese at International Strategy, ABC.
Isabel Olympia Turner
Isabel was born to an Anglo-Australian mother and an East Timorese father who lives in the Gibson Desert of central Australia. Isabel spent her early childhood on the lands and grew up to be included in extended Ngaanyatjarra family. She has a deep passion for expression through film, art and music gained from her cross-cultural experiences, knowing the limitations of language.
Kane has a versatile skillset. Most recently Kane has been working in Art Department, as camera assistant for an ACS accredited DP, and as an editor learning from professionals with over 35 years of experience. While also running his own freelance business, completing music videos and various other projects, Kane is undertaking an Advanced Diploma in Screenwriting for Television at AFTRS.
Llewellyn Michael Bates
Llewellyn is a Melbourne-based freelance screenwriter and creative producer who is AACTA-AFI nominated. His short Nathan Loves Ricky Martin is multi-award winning in both Australia and internationally and was the winner of the prestigious Script Pipeline First Look Project. His recent feature film script Shanghai Go was successful in the Screen Australia China Arclight Co-Pro Development Initiative and he has worked in a writer placement at Princess Pictures.
Michael is an Australian/Indian filmmaker, born in the Western Suburbs of Sydney. He graduated from The Universityof Western Sydney Nepean school in acting and AFTRS screenwriting in 2015. In 2015 Michael was selected to participate in Screen NSW/Metro Screen’s First Breaks Film Lab with his short film THE LAKE selected for the Oscar and BAFTA qualifying Encounters Short Film Festival in the UK and premiering at the St Kilda Film Festival 2017.In 2018 Michael has been shortlisted for the Sydney Film Festival Lexus Fellowship, and will undertake the emerging producer placement with Create NSW.
Nilendra has worked in Corporate Finance for 5+ years, pursuing writing and acting in his spare time. In 2016 he quit his job to start fresh in the screen industry, acted in a range of short films and directed his first short film Navigate. Nilendra continues to hone his producing and story development skills, recently participating in ICE’s Produce Perfect workshop.
Rob Braslin has performed at the The Comedy Store in Sydney and at The Melbourne International Comedy Festival for Deadly Funny, the indigenous comedy competition at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, where he was awarded runner up spot. In the 2017 48 hour horror challenge he received an honourable mention for the short horror Film B-Side he wrote, directed and starred in. Rob was also chosen to be a part of the Shock Treatment Initiative to write and direct his first fully funded short horror film Vale Light.
Sam is an Aboriginal man from Alice Springs who is just starting out in a career in film and television. Writing and storytelling is his passion.
Shevaun is a queer emerging screen and prose writer from South Australia, currently undertaking a Bachelor of Creative Arts (Creative Writing) at Flinders University. She’s nineteen and has a list of short works that have been published and won competitions that can be found on twitter @shevrutherford. Shevaun is drawn to screenwriting, knowing that many of her ideas require visual mediums to be told properly.
Steven Arriagada is an award winning writer and director. His last drama project NATHAN LOVES RICKY MARTIN was nominated for an AFI / AACTA Award. Besides Steven’s recent freelance writing work for Arclight Films and his Film Victoria industry placement with Princess Pictures, Steven’s experience spans over live television broadcasts and directing high end TVC’s. Steven draws on personal experiences to create edgy and confronting scripted drama in order to generate unforgettable social value.
Vincent is 21 years old and from Broome, Western Australia. He is currently studying the Diploma in Camera at AFTRS. He’s interested in the media industry and how many stories there are that need to be told, and is keen to learn how to get these stories on paper and on to the screen.
Zayaan is of mixed heritage, born in South Africa, she grew up in Australia and has also lived in Mexico and the USA. She worked in LA, assisting Oscar nominated Australian film director and editor Luke Doolan. Her first short film Rima screened at the Arab Film Festival Australia 2010, Dubai International Film Festival 2010 amongst others. Her second short film EVE, developed under the guidance of Daniella Ortega was funded through a successful crowdfunding campaign. Zayaan has also worked in federal government policy and recently started freelance writing, her most recent articles published in VICE Noisey Mexico and OKAYAFRICA.
Photo caption: Front row: Vincent Carter, Belinda Raposo, Chloe Black, Samuel Nuggin-Paynter. Middle Row: Alana Hicks, Courtney Collins, Zayaan Jappie, Grace Feng Fang Juan, Shevaun Rutherford, Isabel Olympia Turner, Llewellyn Michael Bates. Back Row: Dinah Lewis Boucher, Rob Braslin, Nilendra Fonseka, Kane Jacobs, Michael Gupta, Steven Arriagada.