Screen Australia has revealed the first 58 recipients of their Gender Matters: Brilliant Stories and Brilliant Career initiative, marking the largest amount of projects funded in a single day.
Screen Australia’s Gender Matters initiative was announced back in December as a response to the identified gender imbalances in lead creative roles across the screen sector, with statistics showing just 32% of women were working as producers, 23% as writers and only 16% as directors.
The government-backed film fund provides funding and programs to stimulate a shift towards gender parity in the Australian film industry and has set the goal of funding creative teams and stories that are at least 50% female by 2018.
In the first round of the initiative Screen Australia received a record breaking 452 applications, the most applications ever received for a funding program. The first batch of approved projects, include 45 story ideas and 13 industry-backed careers initiatives.
“Gender Matters is unashamedly providing express-lane access to female business idea and stories,” Screen Australia Chief Operating Officer, Fiona Cameron said in a statement.
“The funding boost provided by Screen Australia has been a game changer, providing the industry with an opportunity to get behind some very commercial and creative prospects. It’s now time for action.”
Gender Matters Task Force Chair, Deanne Weir said what is significant is not just the number of applications the program has been able to attract and support, but its also opened up funding opportunities for applicants who might otherwise fall outside of the established structures.
“For instance, nearly 20% of the successful Brilliant Stories teams would not normally be eligible for Screen Australia development funding because they do not have that magic first professional credit. Although there are good reasons for these checks and balances, by opening the door a little wider, Screen Australia is showing faith in the potential of many female filmmakers,” she said.
“I absolutely believe that the opportunities being created today will have a resounding effect on our screen industry for many years to come.”
Some of the approved projects include Rachel Griffith’s directorial debut in Ride Like a Girl, a feature film based on Michelle Payne, the first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup; a romantic comedy from Nakkiah Lui called Kill the Messenger; and Kat Stewart’s TV writing debut in The Elementals, about a group of washed-up superheroes living together in a sharehouse.
The recipients will share in a total of $3 million to help their projects move along to the next stage.
For more information about Screen Australia or the Gender Matters initiative visit www.screenaustralia.gov.au