Closer Productions and Adelaide Film Festival micro-grants for diverse voices 

Successful applicants have been announced – see AFF News for applicant and project details. 


A small seed grants initiative developed as a direct acknowledgment of – and attempt to challenge – the ways in which sexism, racism and disadvantage are real barriers to more adventurous and diverse filmmakers breaking into the industry. These small grants are aimed at giving creatives space to develop ideas that might otherwise be hard to finance. 

About you;

Do you have an idea that hasn’t found a pathway to traditional funding? Are you often writing on other people’s work but never finding the time (or funds) to follow your own ideas?  Is there something that you are burning to say but you need to find the way to say it? Is there an idea that you want to explore but you haven’t had the space and time to dig into it?  

Are you Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander, a Person of Colour, LGBTIQ+, gender diverse, Deaf or with a disability? This fund is for early ideas from voices and perspectives currently underrepresented, to allow time and space to develop and nurture them.

We want to hear from diverse artists about the stories you want to tell and the ways you want to tell them.

What is on offer?

4 x $5000 grants to diverse filmmakers to develop their own project.

At least one of these four grants is identified as for an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Creative.  

Each grantee will be offered 3 x optional 1 hour sessions to discuss your concept and the creative and practical steps on developing your project further with the Closer Productions team

What projects?

The project can be in any genre or format and at any stage, though we are specifically hoping to give time and space to people to create something that excites them, that is daring and original and that they wouldn’t normally have the time and space to pursue.

Development can take any form but we encourage unusual processes and funding time for YOU to spend on the work in whatever way challenges and supports you. 

Who is eligible? 

Writers, directors, documentary makers, who identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander, LGBTQ+ and gender diverse people, Deaf and disabled people and people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds    

We encourage applications from people who straddle these identities, for instance, First Nations people who also identify as women or are gender diverse, those disabled folks from LGBTQ+ communities.

The focus will be on mid-career or artists emerging from one role to another (such as producers turning to writing, or TV writers working on a film or as ‘creators’).   We want to see some evidence of your work to date even if that is in a different field to what you are proposing.  

Your submission – of no more than 2 pages – will need to include: 

  • A short introduction to you and a link to one piece of previous work such as a script or a finished film
  • A statement about why you qualify for a diversity grant and how this grant will help support your career
  • An outline of your idea – what is it?  Why do you want to make or explore it?
  • A statement on how this will help you develop the work. What is your plan?
  • Links to other relevant details

 Assessment Criteria 

We aim to encourage fresh ideas and ways of making, and understand that certain ideas, people and projects have been at a disadvantage.  Our assessment will be based on:

  • The applicant’s previous work and how they choose to articulate it
  • The applicant’s passion for their idea
  • The development plan 

We encourage any context provided around the quality and limitations of previous work and any doubt around the development process.  We are not expecting certainty.  We want to support exploration and listen to what you need. 

The selection will be made by a team of First Nations, LGBTQ+ creatives with other people from diverse cultural backgrounds and members of the disability community.  The decisions will be final and no correspondence will be entered into. 

Deadline extended! Applications now close Tuesday 24 November.  Please email your application to [email protected] 

Funding Conditions

  • Filmmakers will maintain the rights to their projects.  
  • Closer Productions and Adelaide Film Festival will work with the filmmakers to help consider where the project might fit and help make connections if possible. 
  • This project is funded by individuals at Closer Productions and Closer will not hold any rights in the projects for funding these grants. 
  • If the project proceeds to production without Closer Productions (ie, with another Producer/Production company) this grant does NOT need to be repaid. 
  • If the project proceeds to production with Closer Productions, in the discretion of the Applicant, this grant will form part of the Closer’s overall contribution to the production and will be reflected within the budget; 
  • Adelaide Film Festival will not hold any rights in these projects for the grant nor will the project be expected to premiere at Adelaide Film Festival
  • Closer Productions and The Adelaide Film Festival shall receive a development credit on the draft script cover page, and in the tail credits of the produced project, unless otherwise agreed;

The assessment panel is comprised of First Nations, LGBTQ+ creatives, people from diverse cultural backgrounds and members of the disability community who will select the 4 x $5000 grants.

Larissa Behrendt is an award-winning filmmaker, novelist and writer/director of AFTER THE APOLOGY and MARALINGA TJARUTJA. She is currently in development writing for Season 2 of TOTAL CONTROL. Larissa is Distinguished Professor at the University of Technology Sydney, and host of the Speaking Out on the ABC National Radio network. Larissa was awarded the 2009 NAIDOC Person of the Year award and 2011 NSW Australian of the Year.

Dan Daw is a celebrated performer, disability activist and is Associate Director of Sydney-based performance company, Murmuration.  Dan works in partnership with Sarah-Vyne Vassallo to commission, develop and produce new work by disabled artists. Dan has previously worked as a performer around the world with companies such as Restless Dance Theatre (AUS), Australian Dance Theatre (AUS), Force Majeure (AUS), Scottish Dance Theatre (UK), Candoco Dance Company (UK) and Skånes Dansteater (SWE).

John Harvey is a producer, director, and writer in screen and stage. On screen, he produced SPEAR directed by Stephen Page, the chapter SAND for omnibus the feature film THE TURNING and was a producer on THE WARRIORS (ABC TV).  He has produced numerous short films, documentaries and web series.  For the stage John wrote HEART IS A WASTELAND (Brown Cabs / Malthouse), co-wrote 2020 Sydney Festival hit BLACK TIES and is currently writing THE RETURN for Malthouse Theatre.

Audrey Mason-Hyde is a young, non-binary artist and activist who has extensive experience in acting, writing, public speaking and spoken word poetry and has been an actor in several projects by Closer Productions. Audrey was a peer facilitator on Carclew’s Youth Arts project, ‘Carclew Futures’, and has been a consultant and speaker on Channel Nine’s Cultural Conversations series – The Evolution of Gender and at 12 presented TedX talk about their experience of gender.

Maya Newell is a Japanese/Australian documentary director and impact producer.  Maya’s latest film IN MY BLOOD IT RUNS was made in consultation and co-directed with the family it stars and like her previous film GAYBY BABY has been instrumental in the fight for real change in policy around key issues.  Maya won the ADG award for In My Blood It Runs and was part of Sundance Institutes’ Documentary Lab.

About Closer 

Closer Productions is a multi-award winning filmmaking collective known for drama films 52 Tuesdays and Animals, feature documentaries Shut Up Little Man! An Audio Misadventure,  Life in Movement, Sam Klemke’s Time Machine and In My blood It Runs and episodic work F*cking Adelaide and The Hunting.   

Closer is dedicated to telling compelling stories that entertain, challenge and provoke. Stories that make the heart soar and celebrate the terrible, wonderful complexity of being alive. We believe in deep collaboration and in harnessing unique development and production processes. We maintain an unwavering commitment to emergent ideas, independent spirit and underrepresented people and aim to spark dialogue.

Kaurna Welcome to Country Video Project 

The expression of interest for the 2020 Kaurna Welcome to Country Video project has now closed.

Under this new project, emerging South Australian First Nations filmmakers will receive paid training and mentoring, from pre-production through to delivery, to create a one minute Kaurna Welcome to Country video that will be screened before every film at the 2020 Adelaide Film Festival.

The Kaurna Welcome to Country Video project is presented in partnership with the South Australian Film Corporation (SAFC) and the City of Adelaide.