AACTA Development Initiatives

2021 AACTA PITCH: Focus

AACTA and SONY announce a new partnership and the launch of their inaugural development initiative giving film students the opportunity to win $15k in prizes.

Entries are now open for AACTA Pitch: Focus in partnership with Sony, a national short film pitching competition which encourages Australia’s student filmmakers to team up and submit their unique, creative, and fun ideas for short films.

Entrants are asked to submit their creative idea for a short fiction film (4 – 10 minutes)While an entry can be submitted by a single student (e.g. a Screenwriter or Writer/Director), we encourage entrants to start bringing together a team that may include their student peers to help bring their vision to life, should the entry be shortlisted. At least one member of the team should be pursuing full-time study. The top five pitches will be provided with a loan of state-of-the-art Sony equipment kit, valued at over $2,500, to shoot a short proof of concept. 

On offer, the five finalist teams will be selected to participate in the AACTA Pitch: Focus Live Final event during the 2021 AACTA ScreenFest in December. Each finalist will have the opportunity to screen their proof of concept and pitch their short film in front of an esteemed judging panel for the chance to win a grand prize which includes $15,000 in production funds toward their short film, a loan Sony equipment kit (valued at over $6,000) to shoot their short film, invaluable feedback and guidance throughout the production process, mentoring opportunities, and tickets to the 2021 AACTA Awards presented by Foxtel, and be included in the 2022 Sony Film Festival.

AACTA Pitch: Focus in partnership with Sony aims to help nurture and support Australian film students and Australia’s next generation of filmmakers and screen creatives.

“Sony is delighted to be able to provide this exciting opportunity to students currently studying cinema, film and filmmaking across Australia. Sony hopes this development initiative will unearth Australia’s rising stars in cinema and provide a platform for the future careers of Australian filmmakers.” - says Jun Yoon, Head of Digital Imaging - Sony Australia.

“AACTA are excited to partner with Sony and support student filmmakers. This initiative will allow us to encourage and nurture the next generation of Australian creatives by providing the platform, mentorship, and equipment they need. We can’t wait to see this year’s entries and look forward to offering more opportunities to young Australian screen creatives in the future.” - says Ivan Vukusic, Awards and Industry Development Manager - AACTA.

Projects that demonstrate the following are likely to be the most successful:

  • New, creative and unique ways to engage audiences;
  • Strong characters that resonate with audiences;
  • Ideas that bend genres and break new ground.

Round one calls for a 3-minute video pitch outlining the short film idea. A shortlist of five projects will be determined by a judging panel of leading short film industry figures and representatives of Sony and AACTA. The five finalist teams will be provided Sony equipment and given 2 weeks to shoot a proof of concept short. The teams will be invited to present their films in front of the judging panel and industry experts during the 2021 AACTA ScreenFest.

AACTA encourages teams comprised of new, emerging, and student content creators to enter, particularly those from diverse and under-represented backgrounds. Entry is $50 for teams that have at least one AACTA member and $90 for teams comprised of non-members. AACTA recently introduced a youth membership for people under 25. For $35, young members can view and vote on all short form content to determine Australia’s best online/short form content creators. They will also get access to AACTA TV (our exclusive member streaming service), AACTA’s year-round programming, with industry events showcasing some of Australia’s incredible talent, screen community networking opportunities, and discounted entry to AACTA’s development initiatives, aimed at discovering and supporting emerging screen talent. For more information on AACTA membership, click here.

Initial entry requirements include: Title, logline, 500 word synopsis, 3 minute pitch video, and résumé of the team.

Round one entries close Monday 25 October 2021 at 11.59pm AEDT. 


September 23 - Call for Entries Opens (Round 1)

Entrants are asked to submit a Title, Logline, 3 min video pitch, 500 word synopsis, and resume of the team.

October 25 - Entries Close

Entries are due by 11.59pm AEDT, Monday October 25, 2021. 

November 1 - Shortlist of top 10 announced & start of Round 2

The Top 10 teams are asked to submit a pitch deck, first ten pages of a screenplay and budget. 

November 15 - Round 2 Closes

Entries are due by 09:00am AEDT, Monday November 15, 2021. 

November 19 - Top 5 finalists announced

The top five teams will be provided Sony gear on loan to bring their short film to life.

November 22 - Finalist feedback

The top five teams will receive feedback from the judges and additional guidance on how to pitch. 

December 1 - Final films due

Films are due by 09:00am AEDT, Wednesday December 1, 2021. The five finalist teams are asked to submit their proof of concept to AACTA ahead of the final pitch event. 

December 4 - Final Pitch

The five finalist teams will be given the chance to showcase their short film during AACTA ScreenFest


  • Entry Fee $50 AACTA Members $90 Non-AACTA Members
  • Entries & Materials Deadline Monday 25 October 11.59pm AEDT
  • Rules & Supporting Documents Terms & Conditions
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