Screen NSW opens third year Screenability call for emerging filmmakers with disability, News

Screen NSW opens third year Screenability call for emerging filmmakers with disability

06 Nov, 2019

Screen NSW is on the lookout for emerging filmmakers with disability to produce shorts that will be considered for premiere at the 67th Sydney Film Festival in 2020.

The Screenability Film Fund is now open for a third year of applications, offering up to three teams $30,000 each in production finance, the services of an appointed experienced Executive Producer and provision to engage a mentor for the practitioner with disability.

Applications are sought for short film proposals between 5-15 minutes that appeal to a broad audience (with or without disability content), and can be drama, factual, animation or experimental. Applicant teams must have at least one key creative (writer, director, producer) that identifies as having a disability and one key creative must be a NSW resident.

Grainne Brunsdon, Head of Screen NSW says that since launching in 2016, the Screenability initiative has supported a total of 16 screen practitioners with disability, either by facilitating internships with a range of screen companies or by financing production of the six significant short films, which have screened to sold out World Premieres at the Sydney Film Festival.

“It’s been fantastic to see our supported creatives use their experiences to propel them to bigger and better things. Standout recipients include Daniel Monks, who used his time with the Screenability Program as a springboard to catapult his feature film Pulse into the Busan Film Festival, where it was the first Australian film to win the Busan Bank Prize (2018). We then supported him in filming his short Broken, which opened at the Sydney Film Festival in 2018.

“We’ve also been really pleased to see other States follow our lead with support for filmmakers with disability, so this year we’ve refocused our efforts to support a local, rather than national pool of talented, committed and professional emerging NSW-based practitioners with disability, who are all keen to expand their skills. I’m excited to see the applications in the coming month,” said Ms Brunsdon.

The Screenability Film Fund is part of a suite of initiatives under Screenability NSW, an open-ended policy commitment by Screen NSW to work with industry to grow participation in the screen sector by Australians with disability.

Screenability Film Fund applications are now open and close at midnight Sunday 1st December 2019. For guidelines and applications, visit the fund page here.


Working to the Social Model of Disability, the term ‘disability’ refers to barriers, rather than medical conditions or impairments, which are seen as being the disabling factors, preventing or limiting opportunities.

Eligibility in this case covers people with sensory or physical impairments (including deaf people), hidden impairments, intellectual impairments, learning difficulties or mental health conditions, who face barriers accessing opportunities in the screen industry.

Screen NSW is committed to supporting increased participation in the industry of people from under-represented groups including women, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, people with disability, LGBTQI people, people from western Sydney and people from regional NSW. Priority will be given to emerging producers from these under-represented groups.


Image: Still from Deluge (Screenability Film Fund 2019 recipient) with Skye Wansey, Sophie Lowe, Kayla Donaldson. Photo by Giovanni C. Lorusso.

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