Investment & Support

Australians in Film — Untapped 2023

September 12, 2023

Congratulations to Queensland creatives Samuel Leighton-Dore and David Valencia who have been selected for the Australians in Film Untapped professional development program. As part of a national cohort of six exciting new talents, they will undertake masterclasses, mentoring, script and pitch coaching sessions with industry leaders, supported by Screen Australia and Screen Queensland. 

Untapped is a breakthrough talent development program for undiscovered and historically excluded Australian screenwriters and directors.

The eight-month program, which includes masterclasses from visionary filmmakers who are boldly breaking down industry barriers and mentorship from successful creatives and executives currently working in Hollywood is designed to give emerging Australian screenwriters and directors the education and access needed to fast-track their careers and their projects.

Open-access online masterclasses were made available for all eligible applicants. The series, including conversations with ground-breaking filmmakers, gave Untapped applicants a window into the artistic processes and strategies for creative success from some of the most innovative artists working today. 

The eight-month development lab program will provide tangible creative pathways and foster exciting collaborations for a new undiscovered generation of Australian filmmakers. 

First Nations Australians, culturally and linguistically diverse people, people with disabilities, LGBTQIA+ and people living in regional and remote locations were prioritised.

Screen Queensland is a proud supporting partner of Australians in Film. Applications closed March 2023



The program begins with a series of open-access online masterclasses for all eligible applicants. The series, including conversations with ground-breaking filmmakers, will give Untapped applicants a window into the artistic processes and strategies for creative success from some of the most innovative artists working today. 

A survey will be sent out after each masterclass to all the attendees asking about their key takeaways. Eligibility for the Development Lab is contingent upon attendance of the masterclasses and timely completion of the surveys. 


Following the masterclasses, 5-6 creators or creative teams will be selected for the Untapped Development Lab, a virtual four-month intensive mentorship program running from July-November 2023. Selected Lab participants will receive individualised mentorship, story consultation, creative feedback and professional development support from top industry mentors Each creative team will receive a stipend of USD$2,000.

Over the course of the lab, this diverse group of 5-6 creators or creative teams will develop skills through online workshops focused on pitching, story development, and navigating the film and television industry. Each creator or creative team will be paired with a US based development executive or producer as their mentor as well as a writing coach with whom they will meet one-on-one several times over the course of the program via Zoom. Additionally, each of the mentors will join virtual roundtable sessions as guest speakers offering the participants access to a range of industry professionals. AiF will facilitate monthly check-ins to create community among the participants and offer strategic, tailored support throughout the program. 

By the end of the development lab participants will have taken their project to the next level: e.g. a strategic plan for next steps as well as a revised outline, treatment, script, pitch deck or series document, if applicable.


March 4, 2023, 12pm AEDT (11am AEST)

Submission Deadline 

March – May 2023:

All eligible applicants will be invited to attend the Untapped Masterclass series 

June 2023:

All applicants will be notified of their status and selected participants will be announced

July – November 2023:

Untapped Development Lab 


For consideration in the Untapped program, applicants must submit an online application including a logline, project synopsis, applicant biography, statement of interest and prior directing work sample, if applicable. The program is for scripted feature and series projects only, not documentary.

If applying with a narrative fiction feature film project, you must submit a detailed treatment or screenplay. 

If applying with a series project, you must submit a detailed treatment or pilot script along with a series overview. 

There is a one-time application fee of $15 USD to cover some of the expenses incurred from eligibility checks and assessment of applications, and the attendance of applicants of the four masterclasses. 

If you are experiencing financial hardship and would like to request a fee waiver, please send an email with an explanation of your hardship to


Untapped is a program for emerging Australian writers and/or directors who have not yet received significant recognition and opportunity in their artistic career. 

Priority will be given to applicants who have not received prior funding from Screen Australia or state agencies.

Applicants must be the writer and/or director of the submitted project. They may apply as an individual or with a co-applicant who is a writer and/or director on the project. 

Applicants will only be considered if they meet the following eligibility requirements and Screen Australia’s Terms of Trade. If you are submitting as a team, the following must be true for the co-applicant as well.

  • You have not previously participated in any of the following Australians in Film or Screen Australia Programs

Gateway LA

Global Producers Exchange

Mentor LA

Talent Gateway

Talent USA: LA

  • You are 18 years of age or older.
  • You are a permanent resident or citizen of Australia.
  • You are not enrolled full-time or part-time in a film, television or interactive digital media course at a film school or other tertiary educational institution. 
  • You are not an employee of a broadcaster or commissioning platform (e.g. an SVOD service).
  • You are not acting in the capacity of a trustee of a trust. 
  • The project you are submitting is your original creation or is adapted from source material for which the applicant possesses the necessary rights.
  • Your project is not already produced, sold to a third party, or distributed online or otherwise.
  • Your project shall not infringe the copyright or any other proprietary right of another individual or entity. The creator/applicant is responsible for all rights pertaining to the project. 

Inclusion of diverse cultures and perspectives will be a priority in selecting the development lab participants and projects. Candidates are evaluated on the following criteria: 

  1. Uniqueness, creative potential and viability of concept 
  2. Sufficient development and execution of submitted screenplay or treatment
  3. Specificity of stated goals and creative vision in the application
  4. Demonstrated talent in project materials and work sample 
  5. Responsiveness to post masterclass surveys and articulation of lessons learned

For questions about the application or eligibility please contact AiF Program Assistant