AACTA Development Initiatives

2022 AACTA Pitch: Focus

Entries are now open for AACTA Pitch: Focus in partnership with Sony, now in its second year. This national short film pitching initiative offers emerging creatives an opportunity to break into the industry by challenging student filmmakers to form teams and create an original production to be assessed by a panel of esteemed industry judges.  

Teams can be made up of directors, writers, producers, editors, and/or cinematographers with at least one member of the team actively pursuing studies in film or screen. Teams are asked to submit their creative ideas for a short fiction film (4 – 10 minutes). The top five teams will be provided with state-of-the-art Sony equipment kit on loan (valued at over $2,500) to shoot a short proof of concept.

This year’s recipients will receive $15,000 in production funds toward their short film, a loan Sony equipment kit (valued at over $6,000) to shoot their short film which will be featured in the Sony Catchlight Film Festival, invaluable feedback and guidance throughout the production process, mentoring opportunities, and tickets to the 2022 AACTA Awards presented by Foxtel Group.

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 longlist of 10 projects will be determined by a judging panel of leading short film industry figures and representatives of Sony and AACTA who will be required to submit additional materials supporting their project. A shortlist of 5 projects will be determined by the judging panel and the five finalist teams will be provided Sony equipment and given two 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.

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 $25, youth members can view and vote on the AACTA Awards, access to AACTA TV (our exclusive member streaming service), invitations to our 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.

Last year’s inaugural recipients of AACTA Pitch: Focus in Partnership with Sony were announced at AACTA’s ScreenFest. Vee Shi and his team, earned $15,000 in development funds and an extensive suite of complimentary film equipment from Sony to complete their winning short film concept, JIA.

JIA centred around “Ming, a grieving Chinese mother, arriving in Australia to mourn her son Yao who was recently killed in a road accident. She sets off to embark on a road trip with Eric, only to realise that Eric was in a romantic relationship with Yao which clashes with her conservative values.” 

2021 AACTA Pitch: Focus Recipient, Vee Shi, said of the experience “I would not have started writing the film Jia were it not for the competition, and the support from AACTA and Sony allowed us to do a tech scout and a pre-shoot, so I could revise the script based on the challenges in each location because most of the film took place in rural Victoria. I especially appreciate the support and feedback from AACTA and the judges in post-production. I am now working as an Associate Producer placement for Michael McMahon at Big and Little Films, supported by the Vic Screen Key Talent Company Placement initiative. And having a film funded by AACTA and Sony under my belt definitely helped with the application.”

The five 2021 AACTA Pitch finalists were all praised by the judging panel and Ivan Vukusic, Awards and Industry Development Manager (AACTA), who expressed his pride at the “richness and diversity of stories and storytellers”

“Sony is thrilled to support this unique and vibrant competition for emerging creators for another year. We were blown away by the passion and talent of all entrants last year, and cannot wait to see what 2022 has in store” says Jun Yoon, Head of Digital Imaging, Sony Australia and New Zealand.

“We are very excited to announce that through our ongoing partnership with Sony, we can continue to develop Australian student filmmakers. The success of Vee and his team is a great indication of what this program can offer. We encourage students everywhere to consider this opportunity, which includes advice, mentoring, access to equipment and much more,” says Ivan Vukusic, Awards and Industry Development Manager - AACTA.

Initial entry requirements include:

  • Title and logline
  • 500 word synopsis
  • three minute pitch video, and
  • résumé of the team.

Round one entries close 11.59pm AEST Friday, 16th September 2022. For full eligibility requirements and to enter, click here

 

August 22 - Call for Entries Opens (Round 1)

Entrants are asked to submit a Title, Logline, three minute video pitch, 500 word synopsis, and resumes of the team members.

September 16 - Round 1 Entries Close

Entries are due by 11.59pm AEST, Friday September 16, 2022. 

September 23 - Longlist of Top 10 Confirmed & Start of Round 2

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

October 7 - Round 2 Entries Closes

Entries are due by 09:00am AEDT, Friday October 7, 2022. 

October 14 - Top 5 Finalists Announced

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

October 28 - Final Pitch

The five finalist teams will undertake a final pitch to our panel of judges where they will present their proof of concepts. This year’s recipient will be confirmed.

November 3 - 2022 AACTA Pitch: Focus Recipient Announced

 

 

LYN NORFOR

Lyn Norfor is the Chief Technology Officer (Acting) at the Australian Film Television and Radio School and responsible for all productions, production technology and infrastructure. Previously she was Head of Producing and Production, AFTRS. Lyn was closely involved in the COVIDSafe Industry Taskforce responsible for developing the COVIDSafe Production Protocols for the screen industry at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020.

Lyn is an experienced producer and co-founder of Emerald Productions. She has produced and executive produced a number of feature films that showcase bold new voices and talent including ALI’S WEDDING (writer Osamah Sami, director Jeffrey Walker), UNDERTOW (writer/director Miranda Nation), HOT MESS (writer/director Lucy Coleman), HERE OUT WEST an anthology film that opened the Sydney Film Festival in 2021 (writers Nisrine Amine, Bina Bhattacharya, Matias Bolla, Claire Cao, Arkas das, Dee Drogan, Vonne Patiag and Tien Tran; directors Fadia Abboud, Lucy Gaffy, Julie Kalceff, Ana Kokinos, Leah Purcell).

 

 

NICHOLAS COLLA

Nicholas Colla is a producer and director of film, television & digital content.

Through his production company LateNite, Nick is committed to investing in emerging creatives with strong, unique voices, helping them tell their stories in a creatively supportive and collaborative environment.

Nick’s producing credits include the fantasy comedy series The Wizards of Aus featuring Guy Pearce (SBS2), children’s adventure comedy The Legend of Burnout Barry (ABC) and the AACTA nominated short Rebooted, which featured in competition at festivals including Clermont-Ferrand, Annecy and Austin. Nick’s latest project, the animated comedy series The Future of Everything, is set to premiere at both Adelaide and Austin Film Festivals later in the year. Nick’s first foray into features was with the indie romcom Hannah and the Hasbian which screened in competition at Frameline Film Festival, the oldest and largest queer film festival in the world.

As a director, Nick has directed the much adored Australian soap Neighbours (Fremantle Media) and music videos for some of Australia’s biggest artists including Peking Duk (ADG award nominated), Cosmo’s Midnight and Vera Blue. His short film Palindromes screened in competition at festivals including Flickerfest & Palm Springs and was sold to ABC iView, Virgin Australia and the RTI Network in Italy.

His work uses humour to explore stories that are unmistakably human and straddle the line between light and dark. Nick’s ambition is to tell illuminating narratives that are funny, deeply affecting and keep you up at night.

 

 

IMOGEN THOMAS 

In 2018 Imogen Thomas made her feature film debut with Emu Runner. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and went on to be screened at over twenty film festivals worldwide. It won Best Independent Film at the Gold Coast Film Festival as well as being nominated for an AACTA Award for Best Indie Film in 2019. Imogen has a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Tisch School of Arts graduate film program at New York University and a Bachelor of Arts Honours degree in Drama, from Flinders University, SA. It was here that Imogen began making short films, which ignited her passion for storytelling and cinema. At this time, she also pursued a career in set and costume design for the theatre, designing celebrated productions for Sydney’s Belvoir St Theatre, the Adelaide Theatre Festival and Magpie2. Imogen’s NYU graduating film, Mixed Bag, premiered at the Montreal Film Festival in 2008 with an array of film festival screenings to follow. Mixed Bag was awarded a Gold Award at the Australian Cinematographer's Society Awards and was a finalist for the Wasserman and King Award, First Run Film Festival 2009, NYC.

 

 

LIAM HEYEN

Liam Heyen is a film and television producer who is passionate about telling stories about the LGBTQI+ experience. Between 2014-2020 Liam worked at Goalpost Pictures across all facets of the company, including as the Associate Producer of CLEVERMAN and the Helen Reddy biopic I AM WOMAN, and Co-Producer of the box-office hit TOP END WEDDING and acclaimed revisionist western NEW GOLD MOUNTAIN. During this time Liam was also the Production Executive of feature films UPGRADE and THE INVISIBLE MAN, both directed by Leigh Whannell and produced by Goalpost Pictures and Blumhouse Productions. Alongside his long-form work Liam has produced the award-winning web series LOCATION SCOUTS and an expansive catalogue of shorts including ADULT (SXSW 2017), YOU AND ME, BEFORE AND AFTER (TIFF 2021), STRANGERS (Iris Prize), and VOICE ACTIVATED (SFF) which was recently nominated for a 2022 AACTA award. He is currently producing the groundbreaking series LATECOMERS through the SBS/Screen Australia Digital Originals program, due for release in late-2022. He is a graduate of AFTRS and Griffith Film School.

  • Entries & Materials Deadline Friday 16 September 11.59pm AEST
  • Rules & Supporting Documents Terms & Conditions
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