RMIT staff and graduates are amongst the recipients of Screen Australia’s historic Gender Matters funding.
After a study revealed that just 32% of women were working as producers, 23% as writers and only 16% as directors in the Australian feature film industry, Screen Australia developed a suite of initiatives to address this gender imbalance.
Brilliant Stories and Brilliant Careers are part of a broader $5 million Gender Matters program, which responds to the agency recognition that “in order to make a real difference to women’s participation in the industry, there needs to be a holistic integrated approach to people, projects and business.”
This funding will see 45 story ideas and 13 industry projects developed by Australian women, some of whom are staff and graduates from RMIT.
Associate Professor Lisa French, Deputy Dean of Media in the School of Media and Communication, whose research on gender in the screen industry was referenced by Screen Australia in the initial study, said Gender Matters is a welcome initiative in aiming to foster gender equity in the Australian film and television industry.
“Of particular importance is that it was released with the statement that it aims to "ensure Screen Australia's production funding is targeted to creative teams that are at least 50% female by the end of 2018," French said.
“We are delighted to see so many RMIT alumni funded through this initiative.”
RMIT Adjunct Professor (Media) Sue Maslin who produced last year’s box office hit The Dressmaker has received funding in two categories. The first is in the Brilliant Stories category for six episodes of drama ‘Fallout’, a complex drama series around love, loss and shifting loyalties.
The second is for the Natalie Miller Leadership program, which Maslin is president of, an annual fellowship recognising and nurturing the next generation of female leaders in the Australian screen community, and inspiring them to reach the very top of their fields.
RMIT Screenwriting teacher Glenda Hambly, has received funding to produce Big Girl, a drama feature with writer/director Melanie Scammell about two sisters who escape poverty-stricken suburbia and embark on a dangerous journey to find their absent mother.
Known for her script work on such TV series as Home and Away, State Coroner and Police Rescue, Hambly has received both an AFI award and an AWGIE award for feature film Fran starring Noni Hazlehurst, which she also directed.
Hambly said that it is great Screen Australia is supporting a naturalistic project telling the story of people rarely portrayed on our screens (except as criminals).
“The development requires care and attention as the subject matter and style are not obvious,” Hambly said.
Media graduate Joanna Werner has received funding to produce ‘Fearless’, a two part mini-series based on the inspiring true life story of one of Australia's best-known and most loved female heroes.
Alumni Corrie Chan and Penelope Chai received funding for Arrival, a feature drama/comedy. Chan is a graduate of the Bachelor of Communication (Media) agree and Chai is a graduate of the Professional Writing and Editing program.
Alumni Alica Gwinner is the writer for I Am Woman, a 2 x 2 hr TV drama about the 28-year-old Germaine Greer. Gwinner is also graduate of RMIT’s Professional Writing and Editing program and the Advanced Diploma of Professional Screenwriting.
John Reeves, who lectures in the RMIT Screenwriting program said he was heartened and thrilled to see dedicated former students and current teachers collaborating on so many exciting projects.
“At a time when our screen industries are fragmenting, Screen Australia funding is crucial to the future of these talented screenwriters," Reeves said.
Story: Wendy Little