Screen Australia and SBS have announced the Digital Originals initiative is returning in 2021, with applications now open. Digital Originals is a joint initiative of Screen Australia and SBS, aimed at developing drama projects to premiere on SBS On Demand and NITV, from screen creatives who are currently under-represented in the sector.
The initiative aims to support creatives and projects that reflect gender equity and/or the diversity of people and experiences from around Australia. This includes those who identify as First Nations Australians; are from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds; those who are living with a disability; are female or trans/gender diverse; identify as LGBTQIA+; and those who are located in regional and remote areas.
Screen Australia Senior Online Investment Manager, Lee Naimo said, “We have been incredibly impressed with the online original projects we have funded over the years including critically acclaimed Homecoming Queens and Robbie Hood for SBS On Demand, and most recently The Tailings and Iggy & Ace. The web series format is a terrific way for emerging practitioners to explore and develop their creative voices, and this year we are expanding our initiative by supporting up to three projects to fruition with production funding. We hope the Digital Originals initiative will continue to find unique stories that add to the cultural landscape of Australian content and showcase our upcoming and underrepresented creatives to a national audience. We’re thrilled to once again partner with SBS on Digital Originals and unearth more distinctive and emerging voices.”
SBS Director of TV and Online Content, Marshall Heald, said: “We’re thrilled to be continuing this important partnership with Screen Australia which provides tangible opportunities and support for emerging creatives under-represented in our sector, to develop and share their unique stories. As we’ve seen from the success so far, stories which reflect and explore the diversity of Australia today in innovative, entertaining, and compelling ways can really connect with audiences, and that’s something we’re deeply committed to and passionate about across the SBS network.
“It’s also a brilliant screen creative pathway as we’ve seen with Corrie Chen, who directed the short-form series Homecoming Queens, went onto direct numerous TV shows and is currently directing SBS’s upcoming drama series, New Gold Mountain.”
This year, SBS will premiere two new Digital Originals projects. Iggy & Ace, written by AB Morrison and produced by Hannah Ngo (pictured) is a comedy exploring friendship, addiction, and recovery through a queer lens, filming in Western Australia in early 2021. The Tailings, written by Caitlin Richardson and directed by Stevie Cruz-Martin, is a murder mystery set against one of the most fragile, beautiful landscapes in Australia, the west coast of Tasmania, and celebrates the tenacity and pride of regional communities rarely seen on screen.
Submissions are open now and will close 5pm AEDT Thursday 11 March 2021. Please ensure you read the guidelines here before contacting the Program Operations here with any remaining enquiries.