SBS Emerging Writers’ Incubator returns, supporting greater diversity in Australian screenwriting

25 April, 2022

Applications are open for the SBS Emerging Writers’ Incubator, a nationwide initiative from SBS in partnership with Screen Australia, state and territory agencies Screen NSW, Screen Queensland, Screen Territory, Screenwest, the South Australian Film Corporation and VicScreen, and with the assistance of the Australian Writers’ Guild, supporting the development of under-represented screenwriting talent. 

Launched in 2021, the initiative was created to invest in the future of an increasingly diverse sector and more inclusive Australian storytelling, by providing a year of paid employment in a leading Australian production company for emerging writing talent reflecting backgrounds and experiences under-represented in the Australian industry. This includes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; people who are from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds; people who are Deaf, hard of hearing or with disability; people who are female or gender diverse; people who identify as LGBTQIA+; and people located in regional and remote areas.

This year, once again, six successful writers will join the teams of Australian production companies acclaimed for their delivery of Australian drama. Over 12 months, they will gain significant work experience further developing their skills, knowledge, and networks, working across the production companies’ slate of drama productions. They will also be supported by the Australian Writers’ Guild with access to creative and training workshops.

In 2022, the award-winning production companies taking part in the initiative are Brindle Films, who will host a Northern Territory writer; Easy Tiger, who will welcome a Western Australian writer into their NSW offices; Highview Productions, who will host a South Australian writer; Hoodlum Entertainment, hosting a Queensland-based writer; Jungle Entertainment, who will take on a New South Wales writer; and Sweetshop & Green, hosting a writer in Victoria. 

The six successful writers from the initiative in 2021 – who were among hundreds of applications received from across Australia - are currently working in their placements around the country, with Sebastian Chan at Bunya Productions (supported by Screen Canberra), Lâle Teoman at Goalpost Pictures (supported by Screen NSW), Nicholas Lin at Ludo Studio (supported by Screen Queensland), Ansuya Nathan at Closer Productions (supported by the South Australian Film Corporation), Alberto Di Troia at Tony Ayres Productions (supported by VicScreen) and Cassandra Nguyen at iGeneration Studios (formerly Komixx Entertainment, supported by Screenwest). 

Julie Eckersley, Head of SBS Scripted, said: “The Emerging Writers’ Incubator is such a fantastic and exciting initiative we’re proud to be delivering with our partners. The support it provides to creatives making their way in this industry - from all backgrounds and diverse experiences that reflect Australia today - has the potential to make a significant impact in their careers, as well as the future of our sector and stories on our screens. 

“It’s great to be working with partners again this year who share our passion, particularly the production companies hosting writers in 2022. Good luck to all those applying – I can’t wait to see what we uncover.” 

Melissa Lee Speyer, Development Executive, Screen Australia, said: “Screen Australia is excited to support the second year of this initiative, and we can’t wait to see more outstanding talent from under-represented backgrounds unearthed all over Australia, and further escalated in their careers. This year-long placement opportunity with top production companies will make their career readiness undeniable.”

David Gordon, Acting Head of Screen NSW, said: “Screen NSW is proud to support the Emerging Writers’ Incubator with SBS and to back a new generation of diverse writing talents through this program. The Emerging Writers’ Incubator will make possible a pathway for under-represented screenwriters across the country to develop the skills and share new stories that will add to a diverse, equitable, and inclusive screen industry. I encourage any potential screenwriters from NSW with a dream and a unique perspective to give it a go.”

Belinda Burns, Screen Queensland Chief Creative Officer, said: “Screen Queensland is proud to support this initiative again, to help elevate and champion vital stories from Australia's diverse and under-represented talent. This year, we're thrilled to endorse a Queensland screenwriter to join the team at award-winning production company, Hoodlum Entertainment. 

Jennie Hughes, Director of Screen Territory, said: “Screen Territory is delighted to be supporting the Emerging Writers’ Incubator this year with Screen Australia and SBS.  The initiative will provide a unique opportunity for an emerging screenwriter to learn from and collaborate with Brindle Films, one of the NT’s most exciting and successful production companies.” 

Martha Coleman, Screenwest Head of Creative: Content and Industry Development, said: “Screenwest is proud to be supporting this life changing initiative for the second year. Our 2021 recipient, Cassandra Nguyen, is gaining invaluable knowledge and experience at iGeneration Studios (formerly Komixx Entertainment) in Perth, and we’re delighted to provide an equally talented new Western Australian writer this opportunity at Easy Tiger.”

Kate Croser, CEO of the South Australian Film Corporation, said: “The SAFC is delighted to once again support this exciting initiative as part of our ongoing commitment to increase diversity in the South Australian screen sector, and to grow and diversify the pool of credited South Australian key creatives. Following last year’s South Australian recipient, Ansuya Nathan, joining the team at Closer Productions, we are thrilled to provide an opportunity for another South Australian writer to develop their skills at Highview Productions, working directly with Lisa Scott, the producer behind international smash hit The Tourist.”

Caroline Pitcher, CEO of VicScreen, said: “VicScreen is proud to continue to support the Emerging Writers’ Incubator, bringing together the nation’s screen industry to ensure more diverse stories reach our screens. This initiative builds on our Industry Skills and Talent Development program that has long demonstrated the significant impact these experiences can have on the careers of emerging screen creators.”

Susie Hamilton, Professional Development Manager, Australian Writers’ Guild, added: “The AWG is delighted to continue its association with the Emerging Writers’ Incubator in 2022. With the unique opportunities it presents, the value of this initiative cannot be underestimated. We look forward to seeing what this year’s applicants have to offer.”

The Emerging Writers’ Incubator is open for applications from 26 April 2022 until 27 May 2022. Applicants will be notified of the outcome of their application by early August 2022, with placements in host companies due to commence later this year.

Applications are made with each participating screen agency: 
NSW applicants – Screen NSW
Queensland applicants - Screen Queensland
Northern Territory applicants - Screen Territory
West Australian applicants - Screenwest
South Australian applicants - SAFC
Victorian applicants - VicScreen

Co-funded by SBS and Screen Australia, with participating state and territory screen agencies, the Emerging Writers’ Incubator initiative will support the careers of 18 emerging writers over the three years of the program, with six successful candidates partnered with production companies around Australia each year. 

The Emerging Writers' Incubator is one of the many initiatives delivered by SBS designed to improve diversity and inclusion in the screen industry. Read more about this work here.