Short to Feature Fast Track Initiative
The Short to Feature Fast Track Initiative combines funding for the production of a short film or proof of concept, as well as script development funds for a low budget feature film.
The aim of this initiative is for emerging to mid-level NSW creative teams with fresh voices to have an opportunity to create a short film or proof of concept alongside script development funding on a feature film to accelerate the project towards financing and production. The feature film script does not have to be the same story or a long version of the short film but should be connected, for example, by creative voice, genre, tone or stylistic approach. The formats can include live action and animation for both the short/proof of concept and feature. All drama genres are eligible. There is no restriction on subject matter or style, but Screen NSW is looking for scripts that are compelling, distinctive and have a strong sense of their audience.
Screen NSW is committed to supporting increased participation in the industry of people from underrepresented groups including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, people from CaLD backgrounds, people with disability, LGBTQIA+ people, people from western Sydney and people from regional NSW. In line with NSW gender equity targets, Screen NSW is also committed to supporting gender balance for both above and below the line talent.
The initiative will identify and track fresh NSW filmmaking talent and invest in developing and establishing their strong and distinctive creative voices. Supporting creative teams in producing a short film or proof of concept will act as a calling card for the feature film and armed with an advanced-stage draft of the feature film, will enable teams to leverage further development support or marketplace finance. The initiative will build networks and relationships between emerging to mid-level creative teams and experienced practitioners, as well as with experienced industry professionals from the distribution sector in order to develop the teams’ understanding and awareness of the intended audience. This initiative will also assist in honing craft skills for both above the line and below the line practitioners through funding short film production.
Screen NSW general eligibility requirements can be found in the Screen NSW Terms of Trade which should be read in conjunction with these guidelines.
The producer must have at least one of the following:
An ‘eligible’ fiction credit (see box ‘What is an eligible credit’) as a producer,
A credit as a producer on a short fiction project which has received production funding through Screen Australia’s Online or First Nations Department fiction programs.
The director must have at least one of the following:
An ‘eligible’ fiction credit (see box ‘What is an eligible credit’) as a director, OR
A credit as a director on a short fiction project which has received production funding through
Screen Australia’s Online or Indigenous Department fiction programs, OR
A high level of critical acclaim as a director in a related field such as theatre, TV fiction, TV
commercials or documentary (i.e. awards, critical reviews, broadcasts, box office, international
Applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis where a director has previously
directed a feature film, however the initiative is supporting creatives moving into features so
materials must demonstrate a strong case to support, i.e. be a significant genre shift from
The Applicant must be the producer and have a valid ABN and, if required by law, be
registered for GST.
The Applicant may be an individual or a production company and must be a NSW permanent
resident or NSW based company.
The Applicant must own or control the rights in the short/ proof of concept and feature film
script and all other rights necessary to carry out the projects.
The “key creative team” means a writer, director and producer. All Key Creatives must be a
permanent resident of NSW. In exceptional circumstances, a member of the producing team
that comes from another state may be considered.
Applications must include at least one Key Creative from Screen NSW’s Strategic Priority
Area groups, which include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, people from CaLD
backgrounds, people with disability, LGBTQI people, people from western Sydney and people
from regional NSW.
Applications must also include at least one female Key Creative in line with NSW gender
A team must comprise of at least two members, and all teams must include a producer. One
person cannot be both the producer and director on the project. Nor can they hold all three
key creative positions: writer, director and producer. However, writer/director or
writer/producer are eligible.
An individual can submit or be attached to multiple applications; however, advice is to put your
most competitive projects forward.
Short film/ proof of concept production
- To be at least 5 minutes to a maximum of 15 minutes in duration.
- To be produced and post-produced entirely in NSW.
- Can include live action and animation.
- For post-production applications, applications must be at the rough-cut or fine-cut stage with the latest footage having been shot within one year of the application closing date.
- Projects must be shot on and mastered on HD and able to be screened via theatrical release, television, online or mobile.
- While encouraging low budget approaches to storytelling, producers are permitted to raise additional finance to produce their films. Screen NSW encourages applicants to approach industry facilities and negotiate deals, as well as crowd funding, distribution, and other sources of funds to finance their project. Please seek approval before committing to crediting requirements. The funds must be in place at the time of submitting your application and evidence of this provided in your second stage application.
- Third-party investment is allowed under specific conditions and following consultation with Screen NSW. Third-party investors must sit behind any deferrals in the recoupment structure.
- Sponsorship and product placement are allowed in the form of a grant, not an investment (it cannot be recoupable) and must be approved by Screen NSW in advance.
- As per our Terms of Trade, Screen NSW funding is conditional on paying at least award minimum rates including key creatives, cast and crew.
- Funding cannot be retrospective.
- Documentary projects are not eligible.
Feature film development
- The feature film script does not have to be the same story or a long version of the short film/proof of concept but should be connected, for example, by creative voice, genre, tone or stylistic approach. The formats can include live action and animation. All genres are eligible. There is no restriction on subject matter or style, but Screen NSW is looking for scripts that are compelling, distinctive and have a strong sense of their audience.
- The feature film must be intended to be produced and post-produced entirely in NSW.
What funding is available?
Screen NSW will fund up to three teams to produce a short film or proof of concept and provide script development funds for a low-budget feature film project. Except where otherwise agreed, the short film or proof of concept is to be produced and post-produced entirely in NSW and the feature film is intended to be produced and post-produced entirely in NSW.
Short film/proof of concept production
Support can be provided for a narrative short film or proof of concept:
- Up to $45,000 for live action and/or animation production as appropriate to the project.
- Up to $30,000 for post-production to completion funds as appropriate to the project.
Feature film development
In your application you will also need to include your plans, which address the requested development funds for your advanced-stage, low budget feature film project.
- Up to $30,000 for development costs
- Funds may include writer fees, director fees, producer fees, pitch deck/look book, workshops with actors, research, mentorships, consultations so as to accelerate the project towards production and financing.
- The funds must also include an appropriately experienced Script Editor.
- You will also need to include the estimated total production budget for the feature film. Strategically, we are looking for low budget projects because they are more likely to be financed and made with emerging teams. For this initiative, we are saying this means features under $5 million.
Successful teams will be allocated an experienced, NSW-based Executive Producer (EP) by Screen NSW to provide guidance across both production of the short film and script development. The selected EP will be reflective of the creative voice, genre, tone and/or stylistic approach of the short/ proof of concept and feature film.
The application process consists of two stages.
The Short Film to Feature Film initiative opened for submissions on Monday 20 March and the closing date for Stage 1 is Friday April 28th 2023.
Applications will be assessed by a combination of Screen NSW Sector Investment Managers and an industry professional from the film distributor sector and a shortlist will be compiled. Shortlisted teams will be interviewed by a Screen NSW Investment Manager and the industry professional who will make recommendations on the final selections to the Head of Screen NSW.
What do I need to submit?
Application – to be received through the Screen NSW online grants administration system, SmartyGrants, and to include:
- Online application form.
- A simple talk-to-camera ‘video pitch’ of no more than 3 minutes, where key principals (producer, writer, director, writer/director) talk about the story concept, creative vision and platform for their narrative short/proof of concept and how it connects to the feature film project in terms of creative voice, genre, tone, stylistic approach and the intended audience as well as the teams’ career goals and plans and how they anticipate these projects will contribute to achieving these.
Screen NSW supports engagement from practitioners with a disability so please contact us for a confidential discussion of your access needs at: email@example.com.
- A link to demonstrate the best example of the director’s previous work that demonstrates the director’s narrative voice. Please do not submit montages or showreels that only show fragments of work.
- A one-page summary of the team’s career plan describing where you are, where you want to be professionally and creatively and how you are planning and thinking strategically about getting there.
- A script for the narrative short film/proof of concept of no more than 15 pages.
- If the application is for completion funds, a downloadable, password protected link to the rough-cut of the project.
- One page synopsis of the feature film.
- Bios/CVs for the creative team and any crew or cast members proposed or confirmed.
Application: If you are shortlisted, you will be invited to submit a further application via the Screen NSW online grants administration system, SmartyGrants, within 2 weeks of the selection notification, which must include:
- Up to 3 pages or 3 minutes of anything you feel will help us understand the creative vision (tone, theme, style, audience experience) for the short/proof of concept and feature film more clearly.
Short film/proof of concept production materials:
- A finance plan for the short film and if attached, evidence that additional funding from investors, crowd funding, sponsorship, etc. is in place.
- A draft A-Z budget. Post production and insurance quotes must also be supplied to support the budget. Please see below for further information on required insurances and refer to our Terms of Trade.
- All Chain of Title documents.
Long-form development materials:
- Screenplay. Must consist of a minimum of 75 pages presented in an industry standard script format. The script must be at least 2nd draft stage but have not yet reached final draft stage.
- A two-page development plan for the feature film that identifies the potential as well as the challenges and the strategies to address them in the next phase of development
- A one-page pathways to audience plan. Projects must be able to demonstrate who the audience is and how the project will reach its audience, including the kind of market partners for whom you are developing the feature for, specifically naming distributors where relevant.
Your application will be competitively assessed against the project’s economic contribution to a robust and continuously developing NSW screen industry, with regard to the following considerations:
- The strength and distinctiveness of the concept(s);
- The originality and quality of the short film/proof of concept script and feature concept and quality of other submitted creative materials;
- The track record and creative potential of the team, their unity of vision, and their balance of experience, along with potential for skills development;
- The potential of the projects to reach the target audience.
- The appropriateness of the budget and finance plan for the short film/proof of concept, and the team’s ability to realise project within them;
- Evidence that the short film/proof of concept is fully developed and ready for production;
- The originality and quality of the feature film script;
- The quality of accompanying document outlining the vision for the project as well as a clear understanding of what the filmmakers intend to address in the next phase of development;
- The potential of the feature to reach its target audience and its viability in terms of likely budget relative to market;
- The cultural and economic benefit projects will provide to NSW, including career development.
What is an ‘eligible fiction credit’?
An ‘eligible fiction credit’ under this program is a short fiction film that has been selected to screen at
one of the following film festivals:
Annecy Animation Festival
Berlin International Film Festival
BFI London Film Festival
Busan International Film Festival
Cannes Film Festival (excluding Shorts Corner)
Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival
Fantastic Fest (Austin,TX)
International Film Festival Rotterdam
Melbourne International Film Festival
Ottawa Animation Festival
South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival
Sundance Film Festival
Stuttgart Festival of Animation
Sydney Film Festival
Telluride Film Festival
Tribeca Film Festival
Venice International Film Festival
Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival
OR, won or been nominated for one of the following awards:
Academy Award® for Best Short Film (Live Action or Animated)
AACTA/AFI Award for Best Short Fiction Film or Best Animation.
OR, won one of the following awards:
Flickerfest Best Short Film or Best Animation
St Kilda Film Festival Best Short Film or Animation.
For more information, please contact Screen Investment Managers Lauren Edwards
(firstname.lastname@example.org) and Amelia Rowe (email@example.com)
If you have any queries about your application, please contact Sector Investment Managers Amelia Rowe at firstname.lastname@example.org or Lauren Edwards at email@example.com