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*** UPDATED *** Emerging Tasmanian Documentary Makers Take Note

*** UPDATED *** Emerging Tasmanian Documentary Makers Take Note

Screen Australia and ABC TV Documentaries are calling for proposals from emerging filmmakers nationwide. Opening Shot is a series of up to 6 x 29-minute documentary films made by filmmakers 35 years and under to premiere at prime time as a series on ABC2.

*** UPDATE *** The eligibility criteria have been updated and closing date extended, see this press release for further information.

ABC2 is a channel that aims to surprise, enthuse and provoke. The films will engage a broad audience, especially viewers aged 25–39 and have something to say! The series will be a window into contemporary Australian life that is insightful and entertaining. The stories and treatments will be compelling and promotable.

Apart from these broad parameters, the films will reflect the personal talents and vision of their makers. They will employ a range of different storytelling devices. They will move forward the careers of their authors. The Commissioning Editor for the ABC will be Head of Documentaries, Alan Erson. Screen Australia will also appoint an Executive Producer to the projects.


ABC TV and Screen Australia have committed a total of $400,000 to this initiative. Applicants can apply for up to $80,000 for each half-hour documentary.

Opening Shot will fund one-off documentaries for production and post-production. Documentary series proposals cannot be considered.

The ABC and Screen Australia contribution to each documentary may be augmented by the Producer Offset (if your project qualifies) and funding from third parties like state film agencies, distributors, film festivals etc. If appropriate, the ABC and Screen Australia may invest in the development of some projects before deciding whether or not to commission them.


Teams of a director and producer are required. The team may also include a writer.

*** UPDATED *** Applicants are now eligible if they “have at least one screen credit in a significant creative role (eg director, producer, DOP, editor, associate producer, writer, field director, or researcher) that has either been broadcast and/or screened at a recognised film festival. Films made at a film school qualify. Credits can be in documentary or drama production, and may include short films and television series."

The director must be 35 years or under as at the closing date *** 22 July 2011 ***. Producers who are 35 years or under are preferred, but DOB is not a critical factor.

Projects will only be eligible if proof of access to key subjects is provided with the application. This can be a signed letter or an email originating from the subject. Assessment criteria. When assessing applications for this initiative, the following criteria will be used:

  • Does the project have a strong, distinctive story and ideas that will attract viewers and hold them throughout the film?
  • Can the team, given this proposal and their previous work, manage the project creatively and commercially?
  • Is there a significant professional development benefit to the team (especially the director) if funded for this project at this stage of their careers?
  • Is the budget feasible and in line with the story; and can the team raise the remaining money in the required time-frame?
  • Can the film deliver in time for transmission of a series?
  • How well does each project complement others in the series?
For full details, go to the Screen Australia website.