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Entries are now open for AACTA Pitch: Focus in partnership with Sony, a national short film development and production initiative. Now in its third year, Focus challenges student filmmakers to form teams and pitch an original production to be assessed by a panel of experienced filmmakers. The initiative offers emerging creatives an opportunity to be mentored throughout the development and production process, and is a great way to break into the industry and build a supportive network.

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 of up to 10 minutes in length, and are guided through additional real-world pitch material requirements in a subsequent round. 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, in addition to a $15,000 production fund, Sony is upping the ante with a loan of state of the art camera equipment valued up to $20,000 to the recipient of Focus.

The 2021 AACTA Pitch: Focus winning film, JIA, has recently been announced in this year’s Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) official program. Earlier this year, the short film was also included in Flickerfest’s official program, winning Best Actor in an Australian Short Film, and filmmaker Vee Shi winning Best Direction at the 2023 festival.

Sony NZ Demand Cultivation Manager, Nick Rowe said, “It gives Sony great pleasure in being able to sponsor this initiative in partnership with AACTA. Australia is recognised around the world for producing exceptional filmmaking practitioners and we are excited to provide this opportunity to help rise the next generation of Australian film makers, cinematographers, and directors.”

AACTA Awards and Industry Development Manager, Ivan Vukusic said, “The ongoing festival success of our inaugural recipient JIA, and the career progression of filmmakers Vee Shi and Nicholson Ren, really speaks to the career fast tracking possible with Focus. AACTA and Sony remain committed to providing meaningful support and profile to the exciting new voices coming out of our schools. And with thanks to our friends at Sony, we have significantly upscaled the production equipment being made available to this year’s recipient.”

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 three-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, and long listed filmmakers will be required to submit additional materials supporting their project. A shortlist of five projects will be determined by the judging panel and the five finalist teams will be provided Sony equipment and will have four 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 fees remain unchanged and is $50 for teams that have at least one AACTA member and $90 for teams comprised of non-members. For more information on AACTA membership, click here.

Initial entry requirements include: Title, logline, 500 word synopsis, 3 minute pitch video, and résumés of the team members. Round one entries close 9:00AM AEST Monday August 14, 2023. For full eligibility requirements and to enter, click here.


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