Torres Strait Islands screen initiative opens


Stories from the Torres Strait Islands will be brought to life on screen in a landmark initiative launched today.

Straight out of the Straits is an Australian-first partnership between Screen Queensland, Screen Australia and ABC iView, and provides opportunities for early-career writers, directors and producers to create authentic, character-driven Torres Strait Island stories for the screen.

Successful teams will get the chance to develop their ideas for short factual series in a workshop led by David Batty (Black As, Bush Mechanics), with two teams each going on to make a series for iView.

The content will support the programming for the ABC’s Blue Water Empire, a new TV series about the history of the Torres Strait Islands, commissioned by the ABC and filmed in Queensland last year with the support of Screen Queensland and Screen Australia.

Premier and Arts Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk commended the new initiative.

“It is crucial to develop Queensland’s screen industry at every level,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

Straight out of the Straits is a great opportunity for early career practitioners to gain valuable experience and new skills to help grow the state’s screen industry.”

Screen Queensland CEO Tracey Vieira said, “Straight out of the Straits is a first in giving Torres Strait Islander screen practitioners the opportunity to author and craft their own community stories for the national broadcaster’s digital platform.

“It reflects Screen Queensland’s commitment to giving a voice to authentic Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stories and storytellers, and our faith in diverse talent that makes up our state.”

Penny Smallacombe, Head of Indigenous at Screen Australia said, “Since the inception of our Indigenous unit in 1993, Screen Australia has been supporting Indigenous talent to tell their stories.

“Straight out of the Straits is the first time we have been able to provide a dedicated initiative for Torres Strait Islander people to progress their careers, with a direct path to audience thanks to ABC iview. What’s more, these proposed online series will make for exceptional complimentary viewing for Blue Water Empire,” Ms Smallacombe said.

ABC TV Head of Indigenous Kelrick Martin said, “ABC Indigenous is very excited to be partnering with Screen Queensland and Screen Australia to deliver a fresh, exciting initiative like Straight out of the Straits that promotes and develops new, diverse Indigenous screen talent found in all corners of Australia. – we can’t wait to share these unique stories with our audience.”

Straight Out of the Straits delivers on Screen Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Strategy 2016 – 2019 to advance the state’s distinct storytelling voice, and reflect its unique culture in diverse screen stories shared through traditional and new platforms.

To apply for Straight out of the Straits http://screenqueensland.com.au/initiatives/indigenous-screen-program/

Applications close 20 March 2017.