28 September 2021


A new crop of diverse South Australian filmmakers will get a chance to see their work on the big screen, as feature film skills development program Film Lab: New Voices opens for round two with a new opportunity especially for First Nations practitioners.

Following on from the inaugural round of the program which began in March, the initiative from the South Australian Film Corporation (SAFC) and Adelaide Film Festival, with in-kind support from Mercury CX, offers three filmmaking teams the chance to develop and produce a feature film to premiere at the Adelaide Film Festival 2024.
As part of the SAFC’s mission to boost diversity in the South Australian screen industry and the Adelaide Film Festival’s commitment to developing, supporting and engaging a robust and diverse South Australian filmmaking community, at least one member of every filmmaking team – producer, writer and/or director – must be from a group under-represented in the sector.

Furthering the SAFC’s commitment to diversity, in this round one of the three teams selected for development will be First Nations led, with at least two members of the key creative team identifying as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander. This action supports the SAFC First Nations Screen Strategy (2020-2025) aim to grow investment in First Nations practitioners in South Australia.

Applications are now being sought from diverse and emerging filmmakers with original and creatively ambitious concepts.
Three teams will be selected to undergo an intensive 12-month industry mentoring program to develop a feature film script to be produced within an allocated budget. Industry mentors with expertise in low-budget filmmaking will guide the three teams through a rigorous skills development program. One project will be selected to move into production and the final film will premiere at the Adelaide Film Festival 2024.

Applications are open to teams with feature-length projects of any genre that demonstrate a strong authorial voice, authentic storytelling and independent spirit. Applications will be assessed on the originality and creative ambition of the project, the marketability and potential audience, the diversity of the key creative team and the potential for the project to be realised within the proposed budget.

SAFC CEO Kate Croser said: “We are delighted to create opportunities for even more South Australian filmmakers with the opening of the Film Lab: New Voices program for round two, after the inaugural round last year saw an overwhelming number of high quality applications. This innovative skills development initiative is designed to grow and diversify the pool of South Australian ‘Greenlighters’ – key creatives with the credits to trigger finance – by helping them to build their credits, crucial to breaking through into the industry. Our inaugural three filmmaking teams are already deep in development with their projects in round one, and we can’t wait to see what other bold and exciting ideas are out there for round two.”

SAFC First Nations Industry Development Executive Nara Wilson said: “There is a growing hunger both here and internationally for stories on screen to be told from fresh, diverse perspectives, and especially for more films by, about and for First Nations peoples. The Film Lab: New Voices program has always supported the SAFC’s vision to increase participation of people from groups underrepresented in the South Australian screen sector, but it is truly exciting to this year sharpen the focus to provide a career launching opportunity for First Nations practitioners in particular.”

Adelaide Film Festival Director and CEO Mat Kesting said: “South Australia is a hotbed of creative talent and Film Lab New Voices offers an exciting opportunity for the next generation of screen storytellers to burst onto the international festival circuit. Adelaide Film Festival is thrilled to be able to support and invest in our filmmaking community and help to unearth bold and audacious talent in partnership with the SAFC.”

Mercury CX CEO Karena Slaninka said: “Mercury CX, a national centre of excellence supporting the development of talent and story, works collaboratively with the SAFC and Adelaide Film Festival to provide pathways to professional careers in the screen industry. This second round of Film Lab: New Voices is a great opportunity to bring together our collective expertise to support first time feature film producers, directors and writers from culturally and socially diverse backgrounds to cultivate unique, authentic stories that reflect our unique Australian experience.”

The SAFC is presenting a webinar information session for potential applicants to find out more:

  • Film Lab: New Voices – webinar information session Wednesday 13 October, 2021 – 1.00pm Join SAFC Industry Development Executive Kath McIntyre and SAFC First Nations Industry Development Executive Nara Wilson in this online info session as they provide an overview of the Film Lab: New Voices initiative. Participants will be provided with everything they need to know in order to put together a competitive application. More information and register at safilm.com.au/news-events

The first round of Film Lab: New Voices began in March, with selected teams: writer/director Peter Ninos and producer Georgia Humphreys; writer Lucy Campbell, producer Bettina Hamilton and director Matt Vesely; and writer/director Madeleine Parry and producer Peta Bulsara (Astbury). The teams are currently working with highly-credentialled screen story development mentor Louise Gough to develop their projects, with one project soon to be selected to go into production to premiere at Adelaide Film Festival 2022.


The first round of Film lab: New Voices launched in 2020, co-funded by the South Australian Film Corporation (SAFC) and Adelaide Film Festival (AFF), and with the assistance of Mercury CX, and financial assistance from Screen Australia, as a low-budget feature film skills development initiative designed to provide a platform for the next generation of diverse, South Australian filmmaking talent.

A bold, ambitious, and creative program, Film Lab: New Voices gives three South Australian creative teams industry mentoring across a 12-month period to develop a low-budget feature film script. At the end of the development phase, one project will receive a $400,000 production grant to produce a feature film for premiere at the Adelaide Film Festival. At least one member of each filmmaking team (writer, director or producer) must be from a group under-represented in the South Australian screen industry including: women filmmakers; First Nations filmmakers, Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) filmmakers, Deaf and disabled filmmakers, LGBTQIA+ filmmakers and filmmakers from regional and remote South Australia.

Film Lab: New Voices builds on the success of the SAFC’s FilmLab 2009-2012 which launched the careers of at least 12 South Australian Above-the-Line creatives and resulted in critically acclaimed, break out films Shut Up Little Man, 52 Tuesdays and The Infinite Man, among others.

For more information, go to safilm.com.au/industry-and-skills#filmlab

MEDIA CONTACT: Cathy Gallagher 0416 227 282 [email protected]