First Nations Short Film Writers’ Program opens

Pauline Clague

A new short film initiative to advance the careers of South Australian First Nations filmmakers has been launched today by the South Australian Film Corporation (SAFC), with phase one applications open now for screenwriters.

Up to six First Nations writers will be selected for the First Nations Short Film Writers’ Program, in which they will work with an experienced script consultant through workshops and mentoring over a six month period to develop their short film concepts into polished final drafts. Participants will also receive assistance in developing a production budget and schedule.

The developed projects will then be eligible for production funding through phase two of the initiative set to open later this year – the SAFC’s new First Nations Short Film Production Program, which will see teams of First Nations South Australian writers, directors and producers take their short films into production supervised by an experienced Executive Producer.

The launch of the exciting new First Nations screen skills development program comes as the SAFC also announces the appointment of producer Pauline Clague as First Nations Screen Strategy Executive. A Yaegl woman from North Coast NSW, Pauline has worked as a storyteller and producer in film and TV for 25 years and has been a driving force in the creation and sustainability of First Nations voices in Australian screen and television.

Pauline Clague said: “I am looking forward to working with the team at the SAFC to increase the support and commitment to First Nations filmmakers from South Australia. I am excited to be continuing the work that Lee-Ann Buckskin had commenced in this executive role.”

CEO of the South Australian Film Corporation Kate Croser said Pauline’s appointment was a coup for the organisation.

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“The SAFC is delighted to welcome Pauline Clague to our team – a trailblazing First Nations filmmaker and screen executive who brings with her more than 25 years’ experience in the industry, extensive networks and cultural knowledge – and we look forward to working with her to build on the SAFC’s support of South Australian First Nations practitioners and their stories on screen,” she said.

“We are also pleased to launch the first phase of the SAFC’s new First Nations short film initiative, created to develop the skills and experience of South Australian First Nations screenwriters and filmmakers.

“We know short form experiential film programs have fantastic outcomes for the participants, who gain credits and experience, and create networks within the industry. This is the next step forward for our talented and growing First Nations cohort of writers, directors and producers to further develop their craft and advance their careers in the screen industry.”

SAFC First Nations Industry Development Executive Nara Wilson said: “It is very exciting to launch this new First Nations specific short film initiative, the first such program from the SAFC since 2017. I look forward to working with newly appointed SAFC First Nations Screen Strategy Executive Pauline Clague to deliver this and other innovative programs to grow and support South Australia’s First Nations screen sector.”

Short film initiatives are a key pillar of skills development for First Nations key creatives and crew, and underpin the delivery of the SAFC’s First Nations Screen Strategy (2020 – 2025).

Previous SAFC First Nations Short Film initiatives have included the 2020 Adelaide Film Festival Welcome to Country Video program, which assisted several First Nations practitioners to gain work as Heads of Department with filmmaker Rolf de Heer on his forthcoming feature film The Mountain, and short documentary series Deadly Family Portraits broadcast on ABC iview.

Applications for the First Nations Short Film Writers’ Program are open until 28 February, 2022. For more information, go to safilm.com.au/first-nations-screen-strategy#currentopportunities

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