A Germaine Greer mini-series predating The Female Eunuch; a desperately needed satire that takes aim at the public relation industry; and Western Sydney’s answer to the never-ending question posed by Sex and The City starring three Arab, Muslim and Christian women make up three of the 45 story ideas that will share in $3 million of much-needed funding announced as part of Screen Australia’s Gender Matters initiative.
From a record 452 applicants, 58 recipients were confirmed as the recipients of game-changing grants. Encompassing 45 story ideas across a number of mediums and 13 industry projects, Gender Matters: Brilliant Stories and Brilliant Careers signifies the largest cohort of projects funded in a single day in the history of the industry body.
The Gender Matters program was announced in December last year in response to an identified gender imbalance in lead creative roles across Australia’s film, online and television sector and is working toward a larger goal of gender parity across the screen funding sector by the end of 2018. According to the Gender Matters report – which you can read in full here – the recent success of projects like The Dressmaker (pictured above) made a strong commercial case for increasing the number of projects helmed by women for a female-skewed audience. For those of you playing along at home, only 16% of the directors working in Australian feature films are women; only 31% are producers and 23% are practicing writers.
Fiona Cameron, Screen Australia’s COO, remarked that the program is “unashamedly providing express-lane access to female business ideas and stories,” many of which deal with hero narratives both fictional and otherwise, like The Elementals, the story of “three washed-up, co-dependent ex Superheroes living in a sharehouse”; Rachel Ward’s Propinquity, a period drama about the suffragette Vida Goldstein; and Ride Like A Girl, the directorial debut for Rachel Griffiths that tells the true story of Michelle Payne, the first female winner of the Melbourne Cup.
Successful applicants will receive $100,000 for a feature film, up to $50,000 to develop a scripted television series and up to $50,000 for scripted online and interactive projects. It was stipulated that projects must have females in three of four key roles, including producer, writer, director and protagonist.
You can read a full list of the Gender Matters: Brilliant Stories funding recipients here.