24 October 2023

Learn more about the successful feature film development program

South Australia’s successful low-budget feature film development initiative, Film Lab: New Voices, is calling for original and ambitious feature-length submissions for its third-round intake.

Co-funded by South Australian Film Corporation (SAFC), Adelaide Film Festival and Screen Australia, Film Lab: New Voices offers three filmmaking teams the chance to develop their first low-budget feature through a 12-month development program. At the completion of the Lab, one team will be selected to receive $600,000 in screen production grant funding with their film to premiere at Adelaide Film Festival in 2026! Previous films funded by the Lab include Monolith, Lesbian Space Princess and The Infinite Man.

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 produced within the proposed budget.

Minister for the Arts Andrea Michaels MP said “At a time when South Australian films are shining on the world stage, this is an incredible opportunity for emerging local film makers to receive mentoring and support to develop their feature films with the winner to premiere at the Adelaide Film Festival in 2026. The Malinauskas Government is committed to supporting our film industry for the future, with previous winners enjoying remarkable success here at home and overseas demonstrating the program’s ability to propel film makers in the early stages of their career forward.”

Film Lab: New Voices has already proven to be an outstanding career escalator program with the first-round film, high-concept science fiction thriller Monolith by the creative team of writer Lucy Campbell, director Matt Vesely and producer Bettina Hamilton, making its mark on a global stage.

The film, starring Australian rising talent Lily Sullivan, was selected for top US indie film festival SXSW, South Korea’s Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival and London’s FrightFest following its world premiere at Adelaide Film Festival last year. Within Australia, Monolith was one of four nominees for the $100,000 CinefestOz Film Prize, screened at the Gold Coast Film Festival and was called one of “ten must-see films” at the Melbourne International Film Festival by industry publication ScreenHub. Internationally the film has sold into the North America, UK and has already released in NZ. You can see Monolith in Australian cinemas nationally on October 26.

Film Lab: New Voices 2 saw the animation comedy Lesbian Space Princess greenlit for production by writer/directors Emma Hough Hobbs and Leela Varghese, and produced by Tom Phillips. Lesbian Space Princess is set to premiere at next year’s Adelaide Film Festival.

CEO of the South Australian Film Corporation Kate Croser said “Film Lab: New Voices is a talent escalator program designed to grow the number of key creatives or “Greenlighters”, in the South Australian screen community. Developing The Infinite Man through the original FilmLab remains one of the best creative experiences of my career, with the FilmLab model pushing the limits of the team to grow our capability in all the collaboration and creative problem-solving skills that are required for success in filmmaking. Film Lab: New Voices continues this successful model for low-budget feature film development, supporting the next generation of talented South Australian filmmakers.”

CEO and Creative Director of the Adelaide Film Festival Mat Kesting said “The phenomenal success of Monolith since its AFF world premiere last October demonstrates now incredibly strong this initiative is. Monolith has now come full circle and opens in cinemas nationally this week. The exciting and innovative Film Lab: New Voices 2 project, Lesbian Space Princess, will premiere at AFF2024, and we can’t wait to see the creativity coming through the submissions for Film Lab: New Voices 3, and look forward to premiering an original new South Australian work at AFF 2026. We are thrilled to be partnering again with the SAFC and Screen Australia on this important initiative.”

Screen Australia Head of Development Bobby Romia said “As we embark on the third round of Film Lab: New Voices, we’re thrilled to continue our journey of empowering emerging South Australian filmmakers to breathe life into their unique stories and take them to the big screen. This initiative is all about harnessing creativity, diversity, and innovation in the local industry and we’re genuinely excited to connect with and nurture the next generation of talented voices in South Australia.”

Film Lab: New Voices 3 is now open for submissions with three teams to 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 2025.

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.

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