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Introducing Curious Australia: A New Documentary Initiative

Film & TV  2 Jun 2021

Curious Australia is a new funding opportunity aimed to support screen practitioners from under-represented backgrounds and projects that reflect gender equity and/or the diversity of people and experiences from around Australia, all of which are important culturally, creatively and economically. 

A joint initiative between Screen Australia, SBS and NITV, and Film Victoria with all State and Territory screen agencies, Curious Australia aims to produce exciting and innovative documentaries for SBS and NITV platforms; focusing on telling stories stories that reflect SBS’s Charter and explore issues relevant to contemporary Australia in an innovative way.

As Susie Jones, Commissioning Editor (Documentaries) at SBS, explained: “Through Curious Australia, we’ve partnered with Screen Australia and screen agencies around the country to seek out documentaries which put the spotlight on those things that make Australia unique, the people that inspire us to see things from a different perspective, and authentic stories that spark curiosity, enlighten and engage audiences in powerful and entertaining ways."

"It’s an exciting new addition to our factual offering across the network, providing a unique opportunity for documentary-makers to tackle contemporary Australian stories and issues while also supporting the development of diverse creative talent in the sector.”

Targeted towards mid-career practitioners working on lower-budget, exciting and risk-taking projects, applications can be made directly with relevant local screen agencies in each state, with Film Victoria accepting all Victorian submissions.

If you're looking to apply through Film Victoria's website, applicants must be Victorian and teams must consist of at least two key creatives from under-represented backgrounds. 

In addition, up to three projects from Victoria may be commissioned as part of this initiative for broadcast on SBS On Demand, SBS Viceland, SBS, and NITV

For the purposes of this initiative, ‘under-represented backgrounds’ is defined as: those identifying as First Nations Australians; women; those with diverse age backgrounds; people from cultural and linguistically diverse backgrounds; people living  with disability; people of diverse sexuality and gender identities, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQIA+); people from under-represented locations (including regional and remote areas); and people from diverse socio-economic backgrounds.

 “Victoria is home to a wonderful diversity of people and communities – each with their own story to tell," shared CEO Caroline Pitcher as part of the announcement. " Alongside SBS, Film Victoria is proud to be backing our local creators to share and celebrate their diverse screen stories with audiences around Australia.”

Due to the impacts of recent COVID-19 restrictions, the original July submission deadline has been extended. The application deadline for Curious Australia is now 9 August, 2021. For more information and how to apply, head to our Funding for Production page. 

Cover image from Out of Range, a short-film by Indigenous production company Brown Cabs supported by the SBS/Film Victoria Scripted Short Initiative. Photography by Jacinta Keefe. 

B&W social image for deadline extension from documentary Brazen Hussies, capturing IWD March in Sydney 1975. Photography by Anne Roberts, courtesy of Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales.