Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander storytellers will have the opportunity to work with acclaimed Indigenous screen industry all-rounder Leah Purcell, and her producing partner Bain Stewart, in Screen Queensland’s First Peoples: First Draft initiative.
Kylie Munnich, Screen Queensland CEO, said the organisation was proud to announce the new SQ Mob initiative during Reconciliation Week, as a part of its commitment to supporting Queensland’s Indigenous screen creatives and their stories.
“This year’s Reconciliation Week theme of ‘In this Together’ has greater resonance now due to COVID-19, but it also speaks to our focus of collaborating, partnering, and working with our state’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander storytellers,” Ms Munnich said.
Douglas Watkin, Screen Queensland Vice President of Indigenous Stories and Talent, said that up to five local screen writers would be selected to take part in the development program to prepare first drafts of feature film or broadcast series scripts.
“At Screen Queensland we are very much in this together with our SQ Mob, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander screen creatives in Queensland. We want to unearth and bring out the ‘black voice’ for all our Mobs in the industry,” Mr Watkin said.
Leah Purcell said the initiative was wonderful timing as her company, Oombarra Productions, with Bain Stewart, settled into their new office in Brisbane, and was looking forward to the writers’ workshop with the selected participants.
“I love to give back, share my knowledge, and unpack my whole kit bag of acting, writing, producing and directing experience for the next mob to learn from. I have a long history of creating my own Queensland Murri stories and I can’t wait to help shape and grow the next stories coming through,” Ms Purcell said.
Bain Stewart, Executive Producer Oombarra Productions, said they were excited by the momentum of Indigenous screen creators in Australia.
“We have seen the screen industry change over the last 20 years and we know that there is a market and international audience for Indigenous stories so we’d love to help get more into production,” Mr Stewart said.
The First Peoples: First Draft initiative is part of Screen Queensland’s $3.3 million support package to help sustain the local screen industry through COVID-19.
Applicants must submit a video pitch, one-page story outline, bio and samples of previous work and writing by midnight, Friday 6 July 2020.