Six screen creatives selected for the 2024 SBS Emerging Writers’ Incubator initiative

05 February, 2024

SBS has today announced the six screenwriters selected for the third year of the SBS Emerging Writers’ Incubator. The successful creatives were chosen from hundreds of submissions, and during 2024, they will each join a leading Australian production company acclaimed for their Australian drama, for a year of paid employment as they further develop their careers in the sector. 
The SBS Emerging Writers’ Incubator is a nationwide industry initiative supporting the development of under-represented screenwriting talent in Australia, including 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. In its third year, the initiative is delivered in partnership with SBS, Screen Australia, and state screen agencies Screen NSW, Screen Queensland, Screen Tasmania, Screenwest, the South Australian Film Corporation (SAFC) and VicScreen, and with the assistance of the Australian Writers’ Guild.

The successful emerging writers selected for the initiative in 2024, and the production companies they are joining, are:
  • NSW: Siobhan Domingo joins Endemol Shine Australia, supported by Screen NSW
  • QLD:  Rhianna Malezer joins Orange Entertainment Co, supported by Screen Queensland
  • SA:  Emily Steel joins Kojo Studios, supported by the South Australian Film Corporation
  • TAS: Shauna O’Meara joins TAP (Tony Ayres Productions), supported by Screen Tasmania
  • VIC: Michael Hudson joins Kindling Pictures, supported by VicScreen
  • WA: Lata Periakarpan joins Curio Pictures, supported by Screenwest.
Since its launch in 2021, the initiative has supported 12 writers who have joined Australian production companies acclaimed for their delivery of Australian drama for a 12-month paid placement. Through the placement, they can gain significant, practical and meaningful work experience and further develop their skills, knowledge, and networks while working across the production companies’ slate of drama productions. They are also supported by the Australian Writers’ Guild with access to creative and training workshops.
Catherine Kelleher, Development Executive, SBS Scripted, said: “The Emerging Writers’ Incubator reflects our commitment at SBS to invest, support and elevate new voices and an increasingly inclusive sector. Congratulations to the shortlisted candidates and to the six emerging writers selected for the third year of this initiative. These writers all bring unique perspectives to their work and reflect voices and experiences that are historically under-represented. We’ve seen the benefits that the initiative brings to both the writers involved, and the production companies they join. It is fantastic to be working with our partners as we grow and develop the future of Australian storytelling. We can’t wait to see the impact they’ll have as they continue their careers.”
Bobby Romia, Head of Development, Screen Australia, said: “A huge congratulations to the six talented screenwriters selected for the SBS Emerging Writers’ Incubator. Screen Australia is committed to discovering and developing new creative talent, particularly voices that represent contemporary Australia. We look forward to seeing the results from this year’s participants and are delighted to support them as they develop their craft. This partnership with SBS is a showcase of the incredible diversity of talent working in Australia and a significant opportunity for us to work together to foster a more inclusive landscape for Australian storytelling.”  
Kyas Hepworth, Head of Screen NSW, said: “With its commitment to providing inclusive opportunities to new voices and showcasing Australia’s stories on the world stage, Screen NSW is excited to again support the SBS Emerging Writers’ Incubator initiative in 2024. We look forward to hearing about the experiences that these six talented emerging writers will have with leading production companies, including NSW-based screenwriter and director Siobhan Domingo with Endemol Shine Australia, and see the skills and growth that they will gain from participating in this important program.”
Jacqui Feeney, Screen Queensland CEO, said: “Screen Queensland is delighted to support this program which will pair multi-talented First Nations practitioner Rhianna Malezer with local producers Orange Entertainment Co. (Audrey, Retrograde). The SBS Emerging Writers’ Incubator is a career defining opportunity for Rhianna to develop her voice as a writer with a company committed to producing screen stories from a wide range of perspectives. Rhianna has previously participated in Screen Queensland's Attachment program, development initiatives and Market and Travel Grants, and we are proud to now provide a boost to her screenwriting career through this year-long placement."
Alex Sangston, Executive Manager, Screen Tasmania, said: “The Emerging Writers’ Incubator is a fantastic opportunity for our writers to have their skills nurtured by industry professionals, allowing them to thrive and setting them up for success. We are thrilled to be supporting Tasmanian writer Shauna O’Meara for her placement with Tony Ayres Productions (TAP) this year and congratulate her on being selected from a strong bunch of shortlisted candidates. We can’t wait to see where it leads Shauna next.”
Rikki Lea Bestall, Screenwest CEO, said: “The SBS Emerging Writers’ Incubator has been an incredibly valuable program, establishing significant career pathways for emerging Western Australian writers. We’re proud to have now supported three WA practitioners to hone their talents and skills with exciting Australian production companies.”
Kate Croser, CEO of the South Australian Film Corporation, said: “The SAFC is pleased to support this initiative once again as part of our ongoing commitment to grow and diversify a pool of credited South Australian key creatives that reflects the diversity and vibrancy of the South Australian community. We congratulate South Australian writer Emily Steel on being selected to work and collaborate with Adelaide’s award-winning production company KOJO.”
Caroline Pitcher, CEO of VicScreen, said: “We’re proud to continue our support of this meaningful initiative as it enters its third year. The SBS Emerging Writers Incubator has unearthed exceptional talent from across the country, and this year is no exception. Congratulations to all participants, including Michael Hudson who will join Victoria’s critically acclaimed, Kindling Pictures. We look forward to following all the participant’s careers in the coming years as they grow to be future leaders of our industry.”
Susie Hamilton, Director, Professional Development, Australian Writers’ Guild, added: “This remarkable program continues to deliver exceptional opportunities to some of Australia’s most promising emerging writers. The AWG offers its whole-hearted support to the program and to this year’s exciting cohort.”
The six successful writers this year were selected by SBS, Screen Australia and state and territory agencies, from hundreds of applicants. The following applicants were shortlisted:  
  • NSW: Emily Dash, Jacob Melamed and Emma Meyers
  • QLD: Annisa Belonogoff, Katrina Irawati Graham and Wendy Mocke
  • SA: Alexis West, Stephanie Jaclyn and Jamie Hornsby
  • TAS: Chloe Black, Anthea Pritchard and Caitlin Richardson
  • VIC: Fury, Holly Tosi and Tim Williams
  • WA: Grace Chow and Zac James
Six writers who were selected in the initiative in its second year have undertaken placements around the country during 2022/23, with Becki Bouchier at Sweetshop & Green (supported by VicScreen), Elena Carapetis at Highview Productions (supported by SAFC), Kelli Cross at Easy Tiger (supported by Screenwest), Patrick Hogan at Brindle Films (supported by Screen Territory), Skye Leon at Jungle (supported by Screen NSW), and Aven Yap at Hoodlum Entertainment (supported by Screen Queensland).

They followed on from the first year of the initiative selected in 2021 which saw Sebastian Chan chosen to work 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 TAP (supported by VicScreen) and Cassandra Nguyen at Komixx Entertainment, (supported by Screenwest).

Co-funded by SBS and Screen Australia, with participating state and territory screen agencies, the Emerging Writers’ Incubator is among the range of initiatives and partnerships delivered by SBS to invest in a more inclusive screen industry, and storytelling on Australian screens. Read more about this work here.

About the Emerging Writers’ Incubator selected writers:
Siobhan Domingo (NSW)
Siobhan Domingo is a screenwriter, director and actor based in Gadigal Country (Sydney). A Griffith University Film School graduate, Siobhan completed their Masters in Film and Screen Media Production under the John Bean Memorial Scholarship for cinematography. Before their career in screenwriting, Siobhan worked in various crew roles in Queensland, including in camera department, production and post-production.
Their first short film, Double, went on to screen at Cannes Film Festival's Short Film Corner in 2017 and ran as in-flight entertainment as a part of Virgin Australia's Curated Shorts program. Siobhan's other short films have gone on to return to the Short Film Corner and screen at festivals such as the Melbourne International Lift-Off Festival. In 2021 Siobhan began developing an original series, How To Lose Weight And Survive The Apocalypse, in collaboration with Screen Queensland, Wattpad Webtoon Studios and Orange Entertainment Co.
In 2022, they were selected to participate in the AFTRS Queensland Talent Camp. Later in 2022, Siobhan was selected as an Impact Australia 3 Development Creator, wherein they began developing their comedy-drama series, The Almost Insufferable Burden of Being A Talented Woman, under the mentorship of Stacy Traub (Glee, Daisy Jones & The Six) and Hunter Covington (Community, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia). Siobhan was then selected to participate in Screen Australia's Emerging Writer's Program on season one of NCIS: Sydney, moving on to work as a script consultant and punch-up writer on the show. As a queer, first-generation Australian, Siobhan strives to explore stories that celebrate the comedy of love, heartbreak and diversity (they also hope to eventually come up with projects that have shorter titles).

Michael Hudson (VIC)
Michael Hudson is a writer, director, and producer, and proud Bangarang and Yorta Yorta man from northeast Victoria. One of Michael's notable achievements includes winning the Short Screenplay Award at the Sydney Film Festival in 2019 for his deeply personal short drama film, Ties That Bind. This project also received nominations for Best Director and Best Indigenous Film at CinfestOz in 2020. Michael's storytelling skills and passion for First Nations culture were further showcased when he co-produced, co-wrote, and directed the ABC docu-webseries titled Can You Hear Me?, and Network Ten's Stuff Everyone Should Know About Australia.
Michael has emerged as a promising new filmmaker and has been selected for prestigious programs and initiatives, including SPA Ones to Watch 2023, AiF Untapped 2022, MIFF Accelerator Lab, SBS Digital Originals, AFTRS Talent Camp, Developing the Developer, and Screen Australia First Nations development initiatives - Short Black and Shock Treatment. In 2022, Michael had the opportunity to enhance his skills as a director during an attachment on the sci-fi drama feature film Foe, directed by Garth Davis. Later that year, he joined the producing teams at Causeway Films and No Coincidence Media for the First Nations horror feature, The Moogai, directed by Jon Bell. Both attachments were supported by Screen Australia First Nations and VicScreen.
In 2023, Michael turned his attention to developing his own slate of projects under his production company Third Impact Films which combines his passion for First Nations culture and genre storytelling in a new horror subgenre he describes as ‘Cultural Horror’. These works include horror/fantasy series Summer of Evil (in partnership with Orange Entertainment) as well as two horror feature films, Unravel and Conservation.
Rhianna Malezer (QLD)
Rhianna Malezer is a proudly queer Butchulla and Kamilaroi writer and filmmaker. She has a
decade’s experience working in art department roles, with credits including GOLDSTONE,
THOR: RAGNAROK, and MORTAL ENGINES. In 2019, Rhianna was a writer on season 4 of
ABC’s BLACK COMEDY – an experience that empowered her to continue contributing to the
diverse representation of First Nations stories on-screen.
After completing a writer’s attachment with Ludo Studio, Rhianna was shortlisted for Screen
Queensland’s Greg Coote Scholarship 2020 and selected for AFTRS National Talent Camp
Her drama series SUBURBAN BEATS received development support through Screen
Queensland’s First People’s First Draft initiative, while her web-series pilot BITING DUST
earnt her a place in The Equity Foundation’s Diversity Showcase 2021. In 2022, Rhianna’s
short script THE STOCKMAN, developed with the support of Screen Australia’s First Nations
Department, won the prestigious AWG Monte Miller Award.
Rhianna’s storytelling style is characterised by her ability to take audiences on surprising
journeys, often weaving humour, fantasy and heart into tales that hit unexpectedly close to
home. Dedicated to sharing powerful stories reflective of the communities she belongs to,
Rhianna’s current development slate features narrative drama, documentary and
experimental art films.

Rhianna is also a co-founder of Dhura-li Mob – a Meanjin-based collective for First Nations filmmakers to connect and support each other within the film industry.

Shauna O’Meara (TAS)
Shauna O’Meara is a screenwriter and multiple-Aurealis-Award winning short story writer based in the cold, mountainous reaches of southern Tasmania/lutruwita.
A feature and TV writer in the action-adventure, thriller, and dramedy space, Shauna explores contemporary social issues through a genre lens to create timely stories that keep audiences hooked to the end. Her work features competent, professional and working-class characters of many stripes; chess-move antagonists; found families; and thrown-together teams of regular people that audiences can see themselves in. Ever looking for the high concept means of telling the smaller, personal tales of what it is to be human, Shauna’s humour-laced work often touches upon themes of ambition, class mobility, financial security, belonging, and the opportunity cost of the paths in life not taken.
Shauna has completed Screen Canberra’s TV POD, Screenworks’ selective Write From Home Workshop, Karel Segers’ Immersion Programme and Tim Ferguson’s Comedy Series. In 2023, her veterinary survival thriller Devils Reach placed runner-up in the Los Angeles-based Script Pipeline Screenwriting Contest. Set in the timberlands of southern Tasmania and exploring the divisive forces of gentrification upon rural communities through a thriller lens, Devils Reach draws real-life inspiration from Shauna’s former career as an outback veterinarian.
Lata Periakarpan (WA)
Lata Periakarpan is a screenwriter from Boorloo/Perth, Western Australia. Upon completing her Screen Arts and Creative Writing degree in 2018 from Curtin University, she moved to Canada for a year to work as a film production assistant and set designer for a small independent theatre company, before returning to Australia to develop her own projects.
Lata participated in the AFTRS WA Talent Camp where she developed her project, 90’s Baby, and from talent camp she began working as a writers’ assistant in various writers’ rooms across Perth as well as virtual writers’ rooms around Australia. She was again selected for the AFTRS National Talent Camp the following year, after which she worked as a Script Coordinator on the ABC Kids show, Itch, Season 2.
Lata has participated as a writer in various brainstorming sessions and received Screenwest development funding for a Tik Tok series she co-created. She was nominated for a WA Screen Culture Award for Outstanding achievement in Writing for the short film Good Fortune, which premiered at Flickerfest this year. Lata is passionate about centring diverse voices in her projects to increase representation on screen, which can be seen in her works.
Emily Steel (SA)
Emily Steel is originally from Wales and has lived in Adelaide since 2010. Her stage plays include the AWGIE Award-winning Euphoria, produced by State Theatre Company SA and Country Arts SA, and 19 weeks, which won the Jill Blewett Playwright’s Award, Best Theatre Award at the Adelaide Fringe and Audio AWGIE for her adaptation for BBC Radio 4. She was selected for the AFTRS Talent Camp at the SAFC and the Spark TV writing workshop and has recently completed the AiF Untapped masterclasses and an AFTRS short course in directing.
Emily came up with the original concept and was one of the core writers for the Ruby Award-winning Decameron 2.0, produced by State Theatre Company SA and ActNow, which put 100 new monologues on YouTube during the 2020 lockdown, and she directed and produced a filmed version of 19 weeks, which was screened by the Assemblage Centre for Creative Arts at Flinders University, where she was a recent Artist-in-Residence. The 19 weeks film has since been used as part of university courses in genetic counselling and midwifery. Emily is particularly interested in stories about complex female characters and is thrilled to be working with KOJO through the Emerging Writers’ Incubator.