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Emerging Australian Screenwriters Join Forces For AFTRS’ National Talent Camp

Top row, L-R: Alysha Herrmann, Anna Miers, Charley Rico, Emily Dash, Katrina Irawati Graham; middle row, L-R: Neilesh Verma, Martine Delaney, Rhianna Malezer, Kim Ho, Lata Periakarpan; bottom row, L-R: Nelya Valamanesh, Suren Jayemanne, Marissa McDowell, Rafeif Ismail, Ra Chapman

Emerging screenwriters from around the country joined forces last month for AFTRS’ National Talent Camp – a skills development program for rising screen creatives from diverse backgrounds.

The workshop took place on Zoom for the first time, spanning four days from Thursday, 3 December through Tuesday, 8 December 2020.

Projects feature Rafeif Ismail’s family saga following afro-diasporic youth across space and time; Martine Delaney’s comedy series on the misadventures of accidental dominatrices; Rhianna Malezer’s dramedy of an Indigenous woman who uncovers her cultural and personal identities; Kim Ho’s crime-comedy series about a University’s volunteer student detectives; and Katrina Irawati Graham’s drama series about a disempowered midwife which weaves healing storytelling with birth advocacy and diverse representation.

The full list of 2020 participants are Alysha Herrmann (SA), Anna K Miers (NT), Charley Rico (TAS), Emily Dash (NSW), Katrina Irawati Graham (QLD), Kim Ho (VIC), Lata Periakarpan (WA), Marissa McDowell (ACT), Martine Delaney (TAS), Neilesh Verma (NSW), Nelya Valamanesh (SA), Ra Kyung Lee Chapman (VIC), Rafeif Ismail (WA), Rhianna Malezer (QLD) and Suren Jayemanne (NSW).

With a focus on Writing for TV, the participants were split into comedy and drama groups and took part in a comedy/drama workshop, a writers’ room simulation, a pitching workshop and a session on streaming and the online sector. Throughout the four days, the participants demonstrated incredible talent and truly impressed the industry professionals who tutored them.

Participant Kim Ho said: “Thank you for four fantastic days. I found this experience incredibly useful, inspiring and constructive. I’m very grateful for all of AFTRS’ work in putting it together!”

Pitching Workshop Tutor Rosie Lourde said: “Thank you for the opportunity to work with this incredibly impressive group of storytellers. I’m beyond excited to watch their careers continue to delight audiences with such dynamic characters and worlds.”

AFTRS has worked with these emerging screen creatives throughout 2020, providing several rounds of industry mentorship and other forms of support prior to December’s workshop. The participants have been given the tools to further finesse their storytelling and screenwriting techniques and will put this years’ experience into action next month when they submit their final application for project funding.

As the culmination of Talent Camp 2019/20, AFTRS will award funding for two projects – to produce a pilot or proof of concept for a web or TV episodic narrative work. The recipients of the grant will be announced in March.

To learn more about the National Talent Camp screenwriters and their projects, head to the Talent Camp Website.

AFTRS Talent Camp is a multi-partner screen industry initiative made possible with the generous support of AWG & Scripted Ink, Screen Australia, Screen Queensland, Screen NSW, Film Victoria, Screen Tasmania, South Australian Film Corporation, ScreenWest, Screen Territory and Screen Canberra. A big thank you to all of our industry mentors and tutors who worked with the participants throughout 2020.