Untapped is a breakthrough talent development program for undiscovered and historically excluded Australian screenwriters and directors.
The program, which includes masterclasses from visionary filmmakers who are boldly breaking down industry barriers and mentorship from internationally successful and high-profile production companies, is designed to give emerging Australian screenwriters and directors the education and access needed to fast track their careers and their projects.
The nine-month program, which runs online from March to November 2022, will provide tangible creative pathways and foster exciting collaborations for a new generation of Australian filmmakers. First Nations Australians, culturally and linguistically diverse people, people with disabilities, LGBTQIA+ and people living in regional and remote locations will be prioritized.
The program begins with a series of open-access online masterclasses for all eligible applicants. The series will give Untapped applicants a window into the artistic processes and strategies for creative success from some of the most innovative artists working today: Destin Daniel Cretton (Shang-Chi, Short Term 12), Marta Cunningham (Insecure, Transparent), Silas Howard (Dickinson, Pose) and Oscar-nominated screenwriter Meg LeFauve (Inside Out, Captain Marvel)
A survey will be sent out after each masterclass to all the attendees asking about their key takeaways. Eligibility for the Development Lab is contingent upon attendance of the masterclasses and timely completion of the surveys.
Following the masterclasses, 5 creators or creative teams will be selected for the Untapped Development Lab, a virtual four-month intensive mentorship program running from August to November 2022. Selected Lab participants will receive individualized mentorship, story consultation, creative feedback and professional development support from top industry mentors.
Each creative team will receive a stipend of $2,000 AUD.
Over the course of the lab, this diverse group of 5 creators or creative teams will develop skills through online workshops focused on pitching, story development and navigating the film and television industry. Each creator or creative team will be paired with a US based development executive or producer as their mentor as well as a writing coach with whom they will meet one-on-one several times over the course of the program via Zoom. Additionally, each of the mentors will join virtual roundtable sessions as guest speakers offering the participants access to a range of industry professionals. AiF will facilitate monthly check-ins to create community among the participants and offer strategic, tailored support throughout the program.
This year’s mentors include executives from leading Hollywood production companies: James Wan’s Atomic Monster, Nicole Kidman’s Blossom Films, Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine and Tanya Saracho’s Ojalá Productions. Additionally, individualised story consultations and pitch coaching will be led by writing mentors Ellen Shanman and Patricia Verducci.
By the end of the development lab, lab participants will have taken their project to the next level: e.g. a strategic plan for next steps as well as a revised outline, treatment, script, pitch deck or series document, if applicable.
February 1, 2022 USA | February 2, 2022 AUS
Untapped Application opens
March 2, 2022
Submission Deadline (application closes 11:59pm AEDT)
March - May 2022
All eligible applicants will be invited to attend the Untapped Masterclass series
All applicants will be notified of their status and selected participants will be announced
August - November 2022
Untapped Development Lab
For consideration in the Untapped program, applicants must submit an online application including a logline, project synopsis, applicant biography, statement of interest and prior directing work sample, if applicable.
If applying with a narrative fiction feature film project, you must submit a detailed treatment or screenplay.
If applying with a series project, you must submit a detailed treatment or pilot script along with a series overview.
There is a one-time application fee of $15 USD to cover some of the expenses incurred from eligibility checks and assessment of applications, and the attendance of applicants of the four masterclasses.
If you are experiencing financial hardship and would like to request a fee waiver, please send an email with an explanation of your hardship to email@example.com
Untapped is a program for emerging Australian writers and/or directors who have not yet received significant recognition and opportunity in their artistic career.
Applicants must be the writer and/or director of the submitted project. They may apply as an individual or with a co-applicant who is a writer and/or director on the project.
Applicants will only be considered if they meet the following eligibility requirements. If you are submitting as a team, the following must be true for the co-applicant as well.
- You have not previously participated in any of the following Australians in Film or Screen Australia Programs
- Gateway LA
- Global Producers Exchange
- Mentor LA
- Talent Gateway
- Talent USA: LA
- You are 18 years of age or older.
- You are a permanent resident or citizen of Australia.
- You are not enrolled full-time or part-time in a film, television or interactive digital media course at a film school or other tertiary educational institution.
- You are not an employee of a broadcaster or commissioning platform (e.g. an SVOD service).
- You are not acting in the capacity of a trustee of a trust.
- The project you are submitting is your original creation or is adapted from source material for which the applicant possesses the necessary rights.
- Your project is not already produced, sold to a third party, or distributed online or otherwise.
- Your project shall not infringe the copyright or any other proprietary right of another individual or entity. The creator/applicant is responsible for all rights pertaining to the project.
Inclusion of diverse cultures and perspectives will be a priority in selecting the development lab participants and projects. Candidates are evaluated on the following criteria:
- Uniqueness, creative potential and viability of concept
- Sufficient development and execution of submitted screenplay or treatment
- Specificity of stated goals and creative vision in the application
- Demonstrated talent in project materials and work sample
- Responsiveness to post masterclass surveys and articulation of lessons learned