Mentors Program Brief

The Australians in Film Mentor LA Program is a curated program aimed at providing unique, personalized opportunities for underrepresented members of the Australian Screen industry. Four Australian entertainment professionals will be matched to four leading Hollywood practitioners in their respective fields. Applicants from Aboriginal or Torres Straight Islander peoples, people with disabilities, LGBTQI persons, culturally and linguistically diverse peoples, and people living in remote locations will receive special consideration.

Mentorship Program Qualifications and Details

The 2020 Mentorship Program is open to Australian entertainment industry professionals who are currently residents of Australia and who demonstrate significant potential in the areas of producing, directing and screenwriting.


During the program, the mentors and mentees will undertake four sessions. Three of these meetings will be conducted online (via Skype/Facetime) and one meeting will be face-to-face. Australians in Film will provide return airfares and an accommodation stipend for each mentee to travel to Los Angeles for the in-person meeting and/or work session.


The mentor will provide career and project advice,and will share their personal knowledge and experience with the mentee. The mentee must have a clear set of objectives for their mentorship and must come to each session with prepared topics of discussion/agenda items (pre-sent to the mentor and AiF-developed in conjunction with AiF and approved by their mentor). Each session must end with an action plan for the mentee to undertake in the period leading up to the next session. AiF will check in monthly to ensure the mentee is working towards their action plan.The parameters of the mentorship will be determined by each pairing and may differ from one situation to another.


2020 Proposed Timeline (to be confirmed):

First Session/report due:                    Week of May 11/Week of May 18

Second Session/report due:               Week of July 6/Week of July 13

Third Session/report due:                   Week of August 24/Week of August 31

Final Session in-person/report due:   Week of October 19/Week of October 26


  • Only individuals may apply.
  • Applicants must be Australian citizens or permanent residents and domiciled in Australia.
  • Applicants must be actively working within the Australian industry and have acquired significant key credits in their chosen role, and related success must be demonstrated.
  • Applicants cannot be recent University graduates or current students.
  • Where specific projects are to be discussed as part of the mentoring sessions, AiF expects the option or rights to be held by the applicant, or by them in conjunction with other key creatives.
  • Applicants must be credited in their specific role (or a relevant role within the same department) in at least one of the following categories: Director, Producer, Executive Producer, Writer).
  • If you believe you can demonstrate a high level of success in your field that is not reflected in the above criteria, you will be given the opportunity to explain in the application process.
  • Applicants must not be a current employee of an Australian broadcaster or commissioning platform, or currently be enrolled in a full-time capacity in a film, television or interactive digital media course at a film school or other tertiary education institution.


2020 Mentors

Alethea Jones: Feature film, short film and television director

Zareh Nalbandian: Feature film, short film producer

Jiao Chen: Feature film producer, development executive, creative executive

Luke Davies: Feature film and television writer.

Assessment Process

Applications are assessed by Australians in Film and chosen by each Mentor.

The selection process has 3 rounds:

  • 1st Round: Call for applications (applications open Monday, March 9, 2020 at 6PM PST in Los Angeles, CA. Applications close Friday April 3, 2020 at 6PM PDT in Los Angeles, CA)
  • 2nd Round: A select group of applicants are notified and asked to interview via Skype with Australians in Film (on or around the week beginning April 13).
  • Successful applicants are notified (on or around the week beginning April 27th).

Mentees will be notified by Australians in Film.

Assessment Criteria

When assessing applications for this program, the Selection Committee will use the following criteria:

  • The demographic of the applicant (special consideration will be given to less-represented members of the Australian screen sector).
  • The skills, experience and track record of the applicant, career trajectory in their chosen field, references and previous work.
  • The quality of the application and clarity of proposed objectives and Mentorship Plan, as it aligns with the program goals.
  • The strategic career benefit to the applicant.
  • The potential wider benefits to the Australian and international film industry.

Application Materials

Applications must be submitted through the online application form provided, and must include all required information:

  • Completed Online Application
  • Resume
  • A Mentorship Plan detailing what the applicant hopes to achieve if accepted into the program (including Statement of Purpose, Objectives, Goals and Session Plans).
  • Two Industry References


Mentorship Program participants will be required to complete post-meeting reports outlining their progress in relation to their stated goals and action plans. A template will be provided. Mentees must also deliver a final wrap report and attend one face-to-face or Skype meeting with Australians in Film at the conclusion of their mentorship.

Mentorship Program Benefits and Obligations

  • Australians in Film staff will oversee management of the Mentorship Program and the mentees during their travel to the United States.
  • One economy airfare to Los Angeles (return) will be provided for the in-person session with the Mentor.
  • Accommodation will be provided for the approved length of visit, along with a daily stipend to cover expenses.
  • AiF industry membership.
  • AiF introductions and networking events.